Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cito made right decision to not pinch run for Molina

Despite the Jays phenomenal come from behind victory and series sweep yesterday in Cleveland, there still has been much consternation on the air waves and newspapers about Cito Gaston's decision to not use a pinch runner for the slow as molasses Jose Molina with Toronto down a run in the 7th inning. In hindsight, that move came back to bite Gaston in the posterior when Fred Lewis ripped a double to the gap but Molina could not come around to plate, instead only making it to third base. Aaron Hill and Adam Lind followed by recording outs, which kept the Jays down a run. Had Mike McCoy, for example, pinch run for Molina, the game would've been tied on the Lewis double easily. Despite my views before the season that the Jays bench boss shouldn't be the manager this year, I'm going to come to his defense on this one.

I'll admit I was scratching my head when I saw Molina was left out at first base until I thought about the strategy on a deeper level. First of all, it was still only the 7th frame. Had it been in the 8th or not, surely Cito would've brought in a pinch runner. Furthermore, if Molina been able to come around to score the game would have been tied. Without question, Cito would prefer to have the better defensive catcher playing in that situation. With the presumed pinch runner, McCoy, taking over for Molina, they both would've been out of the game in the bottom of the 7th, and John Buck would then replace the departed Molina behind the plate. That would have left only John McDonald on the bench for the remaining 2 and a half innings, because Randy Ruiz was not with the team due to personal reasons.

It's easy to second guess a managers decisions when they don't work, but it certainly won't be the last last time Cito is criticized, along with every other head man in baseball for that matter. It also seems, in an unrelated note, several fans are upset with Gaston for leaving in his pitchers too long when they are in deep trouble, but I believe the exact opposite. Going out to the mound to talk to a youngster and leaving him in the contest such as in the case of Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow this year, can only lift a young pitchers confidence that the team believes in them. Cito is doing things his way, which, in the long run, is the right way. If only he'd commit to staying on in the same capacity for longer than just the current campaign, it would be much more worthwhile.

Slump busted; Lind cranks game winning homer!

What a thrilling comeback victory for the Jays yesterday against Cleveland! Once again this young team proved that you can never totally give up on them like in years past. Down 4-2 in the final frame, without nobody on base and two outs, I was very tempting to turn off the TV. However, I stuck around in hopes of a ridiculous comeback. And oh baby for sure I was rewarded! With 2 strikes against him, Fred Lewis doubled to right to give Toronto a glimmer of hope. That appeared dashed when Aaron Hill's weak grounder headed to shortstop Luis Valbuena. Remarkably it went under his glove into left field, allowing Lewis to count. Then that's when Adam Lind played hero, picking a phenomenal time to break out of his nasty funk.

Down to their final strike again, Lind broke out the crank stick, smashing one over the wall in left to give the Jays the runs they'd need for a stirring victory! Lind has such exceptional power to the opposite field, and it was on full display right there, what a clutch homer by the Silver Slugger! Lind came into the ball game riding a miserable career worst 0-for-19 streak at the plate, and he had broken out earlier in the contest with a single, but he saved the theatrics for just the right time. As Tiger Woods would say, huge.

UPDATE: Watch this classic rant from Cleveland Indians broadcaster Bruce Drennan following the meltdown in the 9th inning.