Toronto Blue Jays Bats Show Up Too Late Against Felix Hernandez
It has become all too familiar for the Toronto Blue Jays, who have lost thirteen of their last seventeen games. Slumping to a dismal 10-20 record through May 3rd, the Blue Jays are in danger of falling into a hole too deep to climb out of. Some outlets are looking to the dominant pitching the Blue Jays have run into, others are accusing these outstanding pitchers of cheating, but the fact of the matter is that this team is flat-out not performing.
The accusations from certain Blue Jays broadcasters that Clay Buchholz cheated during a game against the Jays appears to have video evidence, but at this stage of the season it just seems petty and desperate. Maybe he did doctor the ball, but it is part of the game of baseball and there isn’t a game that goes by where a pitcher doesn’t use water, sweat or rosin for that matter to establish a better grip and gain an advantage.
To say the Blue Jays have faced great pitching for the last four games is the reason for their struggles is sympathetic. This is the big leagues. I don’t know what people expect, but when you’re in the major leagues, there really isn’t too much bad pitching out there. The Blue Jays’ line-up has made these starting pitchers look even more spectacular, but in order to win in baseball you have to beat good pitching.
Last night’s game against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners was a perfect example of the Blue Jays line-up crumbling against good pitching. Going into the eighth inning up by four, King Felix had thrown first-pitch strikes to twenty of the twenty-six batters he had faced. Despite the fantastic percentage, the Blue Jays batters knew what was coming. Duane Ward in the broadcasting booth saw it; even a rookie beat writer from the UK saw it, so why didn’t the team react to it?
Up and till now I have defended John Gibbons and his coaching staff as it has been down to players not performing for the awful start to the season. I guess this is my first criticism of the skipper and his crew as I would have liked to see the batters have a more aggressive approach from the off. The Jays average over eight strike-outs per game this season and last night would have been the perfect time to put that aggressive approach into full-swing.
Instead the line-up and coaches waited until the eighth inning, where they were down by four runs, to use their initiative and start swinging on the first pitch. They had success with it after Adam Lind doubled followed by a Colby Rasmus single, only to be cancelled out by a crushing double-play, but they certainly had their best inning of the game. Like I said though, it was far too late by then. We’ll have to wait and see if they play smarter baseball on Saturday when they take on Hisashi Iwakuma and his 1.67 ERA Saturday afternoon. Go Jays!