Munenori Kawasaki An Unlikely Hero Again! Just Barely, Is He Worth It?
Munenori Kawasaki has won the hearts of many… and even a few ball games to boot.
Everyone remembers the home game earlier in the season against the Baltimore Orioles, in which the Blue Jays were down 5-2 in the 9th inning, and Kawasaki came to the plate to drill a walk-off double to win the game. And let’s not forget the post-game interview he delivered as well… Forever immortalized on the internet, it will live on for generations for all to enjoy.
Fast forward to Wednesday night’s game. Esmil Rogers throws a fantastic 6IP, 1R, 1ER, 7K outing, leaving with the Cleveland Indians ahead 1-0 in the 7th. The Blue Jays muster up some runs to get ahead 2-1, but the Indians never give up, and club their way back to lock the game up at 2. The score will stay like this until the top of the 9th, with 2 outs. Bases loaded, he clears them with a double and the crowd goes wild.
I stopped going wild in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs… Kawasaki totally butchers a routine ground ball courtesy of Nick Swisher and overthrows it to Edwin Encarnacion, patiently camping at his first base bag. Just like that, the Jays’ 3-run lead gets cut down to just 1. What ticked me off even more, is the fact that Kawasaki’s blunder costed Casey Janssen his save opportunity after he was removed in favor of Steve Delabar. For the record, the Delabar got the out and the Blue Jays did go on to win 5-4.
I know the Blue Jays nation loves Munenori Kawasaki and I’ll admit it… even I do, probably more than I should. I’m a stats man. I believe in baseball numbers. When it comes down to it, Kawasaki’s numbers just aren’t good. With a line of .212/.315/.300/.615, the only thing that has value – just barely – is his 24BB in 205PA/170AB and his uncanny ability to eat up opposing pitch counts. Is the fan-favorite worth his sub-par numbers? Is he worth his hilarious antics and clubhouse support?
Just like most of you, I’d really like to think so too… Nearly every Jays fan has a love affair with him, but tonight was way too close for comfort.
The Blue Jays cannot afford to keep losing close games whether they’re ahead or behind, or keep blowing leads they’ve had from the beginning, and it nearly happened again Wednesday night.
Eventually, the numbers might just come back to bite him. Until then, we love you Kawasaki.