Games » Toronto Blue JaysJul19
How to steal a base without even trying: in the 10th inning of a tie game, Billy Butler walked with two outs. Ned Yost sent Chris Getz out to pinch run. Blue Jays pitcher Kevin Gregg knew Getz was capable of stealing a base, so he hurried his delivery to the plate.
(I may have forgotten these numbers and it’s too late and I’m too tired to find them, but I think a pitcher’s average delivery home is 1.2 seconds. A catcher’s average throw to second takes 2.0 and the average base stealer takes 3.2 to steal the base. Interesting how that works, huh? Everybody’s got stopwatches and if anyone is a little slower or faster than average, somebody’s got an advantage.)
Gregg’s delivery home was taking 1.0 seconds, so Getz couldn’t steal, but the faster delivery affected accuracy. Gregg walked Guillen on four pitches. That pushed the tying run into scoring position. Callaspo singled up the middle, Getz scored from second and everybody went home happy. Gotta love speed, it affects the game even when you don’t use it.
Intense enough for you?
The team seemed flatter than Paris Hilton’s learning curve on Sunday, but it bounced back in this game. David DeJesus did a headfirst slide into first to avoid a tag early in the game and that kind of play can send a message to teammates: guys, we need to pick it up.
And they did. Willie Bloomquist got points for advancing from second to third on a ball that never left the infield (and scored the tying run because of it). Jason Kendall got points for blocking a ball in the dirt with a runner on third (that’s seven one-run victories in which he’s done that, if anyone’s counting besides me). Alberto Callaspo sacrificed his body diving to tag a runner at third after receiving a throw from DeJesus. Betancourt and Aviles turned a beauty of a double play to end a rally in the ninth (the best I’ve seen Mike look on the DP).
Most of all, Kyle Davies limited the damage by walking nobody, zero, nada, zippo in his seven innings. Three times the Blue Jays got runners to third and they didn’t score. Stick a walk in one of those innings and the Royals might not be playing in the 10th.
Walks issued by the Blue Jays played a part in three of the Royals runs. Walks WILL kill you.
Willie Bloomquist was taking groundballs in the heat Sunday morning. (It was so hot I was sweating like an atheist in church — heck, it was so hot I was sweating like an atheist on a baseball field.) It was an interesting workout: another coach was feeding soft-toss to Eddie Rodriguez, who was hitting the balls to Bloomquist from home plate. Willie said it was more realistic than fungos and helped him work on “first-step” (getting a jump on the ball at the correct angle).
He talked about the difficulty of staying ready on the bench (he took grounders at third, short and second), but agreed it was easier now with the batting cages just behind the dugout. In the old days they just sent you to the on-deck circle for a few warm-up swings and a “best of luck with that Nolan Ryan fastball.” (In the history of baseball do you think anyone ever refused to pinch hit? Just took a look at Goose Gossage and said no thanks?)
Bloomquist said they may sound like idiots, but he and Jason Kendall are semi-serious about trying to reach the Winter Olympics in two-man bobsled. I told him I believed him, but I’d pay good money to be there the first time they went down a bobsled run. I’m guessing that might be a short Olympic career.
That’s what you get for being a nice guy
Kanekoa Texeira was headed for the clubhouse when a kid with a baseball and a pen starts yelling “Texeira! Texeira! Texeira!” Kanekoa, trying to be a nice guy, goes over to sign the ball, but the kid doesn’t want Kanekoa’s autograph. He wants to know if Kanekoa can take the ball to Zack Greinke and have him sign it.
I started laughing and said, “That’s brutal.”
Kanekoa is laughing and shaking his head, “Geez, kid, I KNOW I’m a rookie, but C’MON!” (And YOU thought the players could be jerks.)
I congratulated Chris Getz on his walk-up music, Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” Good taste, dude. He said A.J. Pierzynski gave him a hard time about it, “You’re walking up to THAT? You better #@&*%$# bring it!”
I pointed out that the song only said SOMETHING was happening, not what, so he could tell A.J. to stuff it. We talked about the last game against the Athletics, Chris admitted the team had been flat and miserable in the heat, but pointed out wherever you play, there’s always something to deal with. Sunday in Kansas City, it was heat and humidity. We both agreed games like that happen, but the important thing is how you react to them.
Last night’s game was a good sign.
P.S. He also told me I was wrong about Callaspo needing to tag the bag instead of the runner in Sunday’s game to complete a double play. I’m not sure I’m convinced and I’ve been trying to see a replay (local TV didn’t carry that game) and MLB.com has been having technical difficulties. Getz said Callaspo had a better angle at the runner, but I’d like to the play again before changing the scoring.