- A late-inning meltdown contributing a fifth straight loss, to the freaking Kansas City Royals, does seem like the stuff of a managerial firing waiting to happen..
The reaction from a fan's-eye view is that the Blue Jays have reached the point of diminishing returns with John Gibbons as the manager. The Jays seem to be very fragile. The heavy foreboding, waiting for the other shoe to drop, is written in their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. It's like that's the symptom of a teamwide shutdown. There hasn't been much about in the papers and J.P. Ricciardi has stepped up and said it's his fault since he put the team together, but how much longer can it go on?
It's just reasonable to wonder if the Jays are pressing because they're worried for Gibbons, who by all accounts is liked by his players. They're smart guys. They would be aware that if they don't start putting up some Ws (other than What-Ifs), then a change is coming. Thing is, athletes being the way they are, if they get a new coach or manager, they've usually forgotten the other guy's name within a week. Gibbons is three-plus years into this, so he'll get another chance to manage a major-league or Triple-A team.
That elephant in the room might account for David Eckstein botching a sure double play and opening the door to a six-run Royals eighth. It might vouch for why the Jays, in their last 88 times at bat with runners in scoring position, have musted the grand total of nine singles, one double (from Scott Rolen in his first game last night) and two walks.
Gibbons can't swing the bat for them. That has a double edge.
With respect to last night, Mike Wilner went to town over not putting in John McDonald at shortstop once the Jays went ahead in the eighth inning. Jeff Blair found fault with letting A.J. Burnett pitch to lefty-hitting Mark Teahen, who got a big hit in the eighth inning. Burnett had only thrown 80-some pitches, he had his curveball snapping and B.J. Ryan wasn't available to pitch. Most managers would have rode with their No. 2 starter in that scenario.
Please keep in mind how many times last summer Gibbons had Burnett throw 110, 120 pitches last summer. Last night's collapse could be considered karmic. Gibbons being a "terrible handler of starting pitchers" (Baseball Prospectus 2008) caught up with him.
- Since nothing is in and of itself, remember that any warm feelings you might accidentally have toward the Detroit Red Wings should be tempered by the fact owner Mike Ilitch also turned the screws for the eventual demolition of Tiger Stadium. Those pro sports owners can't get enough about bringing history to life
- There is a certain bent appeal to looking at David Ortiz' stats after 25 games. Having 20 RBI off a .177 batting average and .323 slugging percentage is something straight out of Joe Carter's most fevered dreams.
It's a small reminder that RBI is not a meaningful stat; it's just a reflection of hitting with men on base. Ortiz is good and should straighten out, but the hitters ahead of him give him a lot of chances to bat with runners on second and third base.
- Reed Johnson's catch for the Chicago Cubs last night just twists the knife a little more.
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