Antihero

What Brandon Morrow did with the goat, I don’t want to know. But whatever it was, it worked: Jo-Jo Reyes got a win. His winless streak ended at 28 starts — tied for longest all-time with Oakland’s Matt Keough, who did it in 1978-79.

As meaningless as a winless streak is, I’m sure Jo-Jo feels good to get it out of the way. Good on him.

I was only able to watch random bits and pieces of the game — and they were all when the Jays were on offence — so I’ve got nothing to say whatsoever about how Reyes pitched, but I did manage to catch the bottom half of the 4th, when Toronto’s offence exploded for 7 runs. Two things stood out to me. They were both base running decisions.

1) Bases loaded, Rajai Davis on second, Corey Patterson at bat. Patterson hits what looks like a double play to Indians second baseman Orlando Cabrera, but Cabrera misplays the ball and ends up facing the outfield. Davis gets to third, glances at Cabrera fumbling with the ball and breaks for home. He scores without so much as a throw coming his way.

2) Jose Bautista on second, Juan Rivera at the plate. Rivera grounds the ball to the left side, Bautista gets looked back to second, but breaks for third as soon as the ball is thrown to first. The first baseman sees this and launches the ball back to third after disposing of Rivera. I don’t know if the throw was slightly off or the third baseman made a bad tag attempt, but Bautista makes it in safely.

Davis’s break for home was very smart baserunning. When I see the Hustle & Heart ads, that’s the kind of thing I like to picture as the hustle. (What I picture as the heart? Nothing that happens on the diamond.)

Bautista’s decision was dubious. It was a risky play that barely worked out. On top of that, Toronto was already winning by 7. It’s the type of thing that could be perceived by the opposition as disrespectful — and it comes the day after John Danks got all huffy.

But you know what? If Bautista’s competitive fire drive him to be somewhat unlikeable for people who aren’t Toronto fans, I’m OK with that. Guy’s doing what he has to do to produce at an extremely high level. Keep producing and you can do whatever you want out there, Jose.

Besides, I enjoy rooting for the antihero.

Links!

• Time writes about Jose Bautista. This is interesting because the headline is false by the time you’re done reading it.
• Ghostrunner on First pulls thoughts about John McDonald out my brain and does much better with them than I ever could.
• A smart man calls the Rogers Centre “dreary and passé.”
• A different smart man takes the common “E5 should never play the field; he is a DH” argument and convincingly turns it into “E5 is not a Major Leaguer.”
• Toronto Life dirties itself up with some sport talk. Corey Patterson even! One problem though: They seem to think he plays centre field.
• Joe Carter did some great things in Toronto, but was he overrated in general? Yes.
• Bautista wears Chucks!

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5 errors for E5

If there’s anybody out there who still thinks that ERA is a good stat by which to assess the abilities of a given pitcher, last night’s outing by Jo-Jo Reyes should serve as a nice nail in ERA’s coffin.

He pitched 2-2/3 innings and didn’t give up an earned run. Sounds good, until you realize that he started the game, pitched horribly and gave up six runs which, because of the rule that states runs can’t be charged against a pitcher if an error is committed on what would be a third out, weren’t charged against him.

I know he doesn’t have any options left, but how many chances are the Jays going to give him to keep proving he can’t cut it at the major-league level?

But this post is not meant to be about Reyes. This post is meant to be about the guy who committed the error with two outs.

I know John Farrell said, near the end of spring training, that Edwin (E5) Encarnacion had worked hard over the off-season, improved his footwork and really picked up his defensive game and, because of all that, he’d be playing third base. But, as I said at the time, E5′s problem is not his glove, it’s his arm.

Again, let me reiterate that Texas’s 6-run third inning last night was almost entirely Reyes’s fault. But if E5 doesn’t make a poor throw to first to allow Texas to keep the inning going, none of those six runs score.

I am not a big believer in errors or fielding percentage as a method of evaluating a player’s defensive abilities, but sometimes it can be used a decent shorthand, so I’m going to do it right now:

So far this year, in 58 innings at 3B, Encarnacion has been charged with 5 errors and has a fielding percentage of .615.

I don’t care what you think about fielding percentage or sample sizes or whatever — that’s a horrendous number.

So what to do with E5?

His bat’s nice enough that it’s worth keeping in the lineup, so how about he be used in the manner he was intended to be used in when he was brought back? Wouldn’t the Jays’ lineup look a lot nicer with E5 as the DH and occasional first baseman?

Of course, such a move would open up a hole at third and with the way Juan Rivera’s been swinging the bat lately, we’d want to keep him going, so why not go with an alignment much more like what we saw in spring training?

Encarnacion as 1B/DH, Rivera in RF Jose Bautista at 3B?

That’s what I would do anyway. I know it’s not perfect, but I don’t know how much more of E5 at 3B I can handle. It’s kind of like watching Reyes holding a spot in the rotation.