Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts on a Late Night Loss and a Dumbfounding Umpire

The Blue Jays lost again on Monday night, and holy shit, people are sour about this team and this start. Rightly so, I should add. Uh… to a point. It hasn’t been fun! And yet there’s so much negative low-hanging fruit being devoured and then shat out into the digital ether! Oh, did you notice things aren’t going well? Please share with me your super special insight into why they’re fucked, how their fucked, who fucked them, why they won’t get unfucked, which players are playing badly, which usually bad players are playing well but will surely soon be bad again, which umpires are fucking us…

Anywho, some thoughts on the game, the loss, and where the Jays are at:

  • Your umpire with a personal vendetta against your team conspiracies would feel a little weightier if said team wasn’t struggling to annihilate Jesse fucking Chavez. Y’know?
  • That’s not to say tonight’s umpire wasn’t trash. Perhaps it was because I was watching the Angels feed, but I felt I was going a little less out of my mind over Toby Basner’s night than a lot of people, but make no mistake: it was ugly. Tossing Gibbers for complaining about a trash strike call? The absolute mess that was the Devon Travis interference call? The strike zone? Yeesh.
  • OK, so the Travis thing. As best as I can tell, Travis was declared out because he violated Rule 6.03(a)(3) — which you can see from the rule book here. It says that “A batter is out for illegal action when: … (3) He interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home base.”
  • Travis did step out of the box and onto the plate after his follow-through, but there are two issues here (and perhaps more that I’m missing — I’m no human encyclopedia of official baseball rules, so I really only know what I’m looking up). First is the fact that Travis also “interfered” when his bat hit the catcher. The rule pertaining to that states that “if a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around an, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play.” So, before the interference he was called out for happened, the play should have been ruled dead. Unless the umpire thought the interference with the bat was intentional, which I’ll be polite and say is dubious — though what I really mean is that’s a load of shit.
  • There’s also this:
  • So… yeah. I’m cool with saying that’s bullshit. Not to the point that I’m OK with dredging up the umpire’s wife’s Facebook (she boasted on it about his shamefully quick tossing of Josh Donaldson last year), but not good. Very, very not good.
  • Still, though, Jesse Chavez. And Bud Norris, for fuck sakes.
  • Some Big Zeke truthers were out there on the internet tonight, because he’s… y’know… not so good. Except… well… is he? Yeah, he threw to the wrong base in a potentially critical moment, and ended up getting picked off in the eighth, but he also raised his wRC+ on the season to 113 and his slash line to .302/.318/.442. I said for much of the spring (i.e. the part of the spring after I got resigned to the fact that Zeke would be making this damn team) that Zeke’s not a problem until he’s a problem. Despite the other bullshit, I can’t look at those numbers and say that he’s a problem yet.
  • Perhaps the Zeke thing has to do with the fact Justin Smoak is immune to being shit on for the moment, because he’s actually hitting well. Ditto Russell Martin, who jacked his second home run of the season. You’re next, Coghlan!
  • Speaking of hitters not looking useless, though it obviously could be too little too late, but the thing is, the hitters really don’t look nearly as useless right now as they did over the first couple weeks of the season. The results for the most part are still a-fucking-bysmal, and yeah, I get that the Angels are good for what ails a team like this. But also… maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe Bautista hits a bit, maybe Martin is really back to what he was for his good four months of 2016, maybe Pillar keeps it up and Travis figures it out, maybe Smoak can keep on with this charade at least until Donaldson and Tulo get back, and maybe they can hit and pitch well enough to tread water well enough to get healthy enough to actually go on a run.
  • “Maybe they can hit and pitch well enough to tread water well enough to get healthy enough to actually go on a run.” Good lord, isn’t this season fun so far?
  • Shit, and did I miss the Maybin run on the play at the plate where he was ruled safe? I thought he might have been actually out, but I’m not sure I could have called the evidence I saw on the Angels broadcast conclusive. It’s another one where it’s hard to complain about the call, given that Travis made such a poor throw and Martin didn’t make sure to clearly tag him even after the fact — both of which would have turned that run into an out (especially the not-poor throw).
  • Oh, and, uh, RussellTheBest:
  • A few more weeks and we can start paying attention to their record! WHO’S WITH ME???
  • Rob Ray

    During spring training I posted and said I thought it might be good to let Travis stay in Florida for an extended spring because he was so late being activated, and you agreed with me at the time. Do you think he could have benefited from more time in Florida? He looks like he’s coming around. yeah, 40 or 50 games in and I think we’ll have a pretty good bead on this team. It doesn’t look good now, but a month could change everything.

  • wb

    Yup, Morales really has looked terrible, lately, and now sports a 96 wRC+ on the season. I agree, though, that at least most of the Jays are making better contact, now, and despite last night’s terrible showing (only 4 hits against Chavez, c’mon!), I’m feeling a bit more confident in their ability to score runs. Confident enough that they can go on a 97ish win pace for the rest of the season and thus eke out 90 wins? Well, not that confident, but stranger things have happened (like starting the season 5-14).

  • A Guy

    I have several friends new to this baseball thing – remarkably they discovered the sport around the same time – about the 1st week of August 2015 – and they are losing their shit over this early season funk. Myself, not being new to this baseball thing, explain that EVERY team goes through a period where they look like shit. I also remind them when they piss and moan like a child not getting a second ice cream cone they sound like, well, a whiny little kid that wants more ice cream. If the Jays still suck like this at the end of May, I will understand the negativity. Heck, I’m sure I’ll be doing it myself. But for christ’s sake people, relax, it’s tiresome and makes you sound like a novice fan that doesn’t understand the game.