Thursday, April 4, 2013

Game 2 Recap - Indians 3, Blue Jays 2 (11 innings)

Well, that's two games down and two losses for the home squad.  The offense is sputtering while the pitching continues to look very sharp.

Brandon Morrow was quite good yesterday, but seemed to struggle with control, especially early.  While he was able to work his way out of trouble, he ended up with a higher pitch count than one would like, especially this early in the year.  I think we saw a little bit of the 2011 Brandon Morrow, where he was trying to take things into his own hands a bit too much.  He wasn't really helped out by his defense, though and of the 6 hits he gave up, I think only about 2 of them were hit really well.  Still, 8 strikeouts in six innings is quite fantastic, and while he threw a lot of pitches, he only walked two batters.

The bullpen was also extremely solid.  With an inning each from Delabar, Oliver, Rogers, Janssen, and Santos, the only runs were an unearned one off Oliver (again, not being helped by the defense) and the Mark Reynolds HR off Santos.  Which was on a pitch that almost no human beings even swing at, let alone hit out of the park.  That HR is definitely not Santos's fault.  The pitch was literally at Reynolds's shoulders.  The last guy I saw hit a pitch like that out of the park was Rob Deer, another free swinging strikeout king.

As far as the offense went, except for solo bombs from Maicer Izturis and Jose Bautista, it didn't.  There were a couple of nice patience at the plate by Encarnacion, Lind, and Arencibia but the Jays couldn't capitalize, or really get any rallies going off Ubaldo Jimenez or anyone else.  In the 11 innings of this ballgame, the Jays brought more than 4 batters to the plate only once.

A lot of people will be talking about the umpires in last night's game.  The fact is that home plate umpire Kerwin Danley probably helped Brandon Morrow than he hurt him.  There was one pitch that was clearly a strike that he missed, but he was generally calling a wide strike zone all night.  Either Danley is known for a wide zone, or the hitters picked that up early on, which is why you didn't see very much complaining about the strike zone during the game. I think in the general scheme of things, if you went by the Pitch Tracker graphic on the broadcast, Morrow got a lot more pitches that were outside the zone called strikes than he got pitches inside the zone called balls.

The big issue was over a ground ball down the first base line hit by Maicer Izturis in the 8th inning.  Called fair by first base umpire Lance Barksdale, it was much more questionable (the TV broadcast didn't provide a  definitive angle).  There were two problems with that call (and I say this with 15 years of umpiring experience).  One - It wasn't his call.  Fair and foul calls are the home plate umpire's until the ball passes the first and third base bags.  Two - The first base umpire had NO WAY of seeing the ball through a sliding Nick Swisher.

I have a feeling that the reason that the first base umpire made the call in the first place was because the plate umpire, Danley, was blocked out by Izturis running down the line.  In this case, it's his job to get clear of the runner to make sure he can see the ball.  That is his first priority.  On the broadcast, you can clearly see that the first base umpire made the call first, after a hesitation, which was then mirrored by the home plate umpire.  My gut (and on-the-field experience) tells me that the hesitation was because Danley was blocked out, couldn't see the ball, and asked his partner Barksdale to make the call for him.

This is probably the reason that the umpires never conferred with each other after Jays manager John Gibbons came out to argue the call.  If he had come to me and I knew that my partner didn't have a good look, I would have gotten together with the crew and made a decision after we could talk it over.  Because there was no conference following Gibbons's discussion with Danley, it's my hunch that Danley didn't see it clearly either and therefore, the only two umpires who could have seen the play from the proper angle were both blocked out and therefore had to live with the call.

So, that's it for last night's game.  I'm not sure what I'll do about tonight's game, which is on Sportsnet 1, which I don't get.  Thank you, Rogers.

No comments:

Post a Comment