I don’t mean to gloat, but in last week’s recap, I correctly predicted that the Blue Jays would have a difficult time with the Tampa Bay Rays at home and then have a good offensive series against the Twins in Minnesota. It lacks any logical explanation, but the Blue Jays have always knocked the cover off the ball at Target Field. I’ll try again to make a fairly easy and obvious prediction for the week ahead. But first, let’s look back on some of the more interesting aspects of the week just passed.
Teoscar Hernandez and the TOOTBLAN (Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop)
To put it mildly, we already know that Teoscar Hernandez is a less-than-capable defender. This week we learned that he’s maybe even less adept on the basepaths. In Minnesota on Monday, Hernandez was fooled by Brandon Drury’s forgetfulness. Drury started towards first base on ball three after he lost track of the count. Hernandez, who was occupying first base at the time, started towards second, and was a dead duck on Martin Perez’s pickoff throw. It’s hard to put all the blame on Hernandez, as it was Drury who forgot the count during his own at-bat and really committed to his phantom base on balls. The other way to view this is that two professional athletes made embarrassing mental errors and only Hernandez looks like the nincompoop in the box score. Luckily for Hernandez and the Blue Jays (and Charlie Montoyo’s sanity), Teoscar redeemed himself with a game winning three-run homer in the eighth inning.
The very next night Hernandez again played the hero, hitting a two-run single to untie the score in the seventh, and promptly TOOTBLANed by rounding first with his head down and running to a Justin Smoak-occupied second base. Smoak was tagged out, and we were all at a loss. Yes, this man delivered the Blue Jays to victory on successive nights, but he may also be a literal nincompoop.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. v The Yips:
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. may legitimately have the yips, which I can only imagine is sad and terrifying for such a talented young ballplayer. In the rubber match of the weekend series against Tampa Bay, Gurriel Jr. made a throwing error on a routine thirty-footer to first base. It’s no secret that he’s been struggling with the routine plays all spring, and the way he yanked this throw coupled with his immediate removal from the game and designation to Buffalo indicate that this really is a mental problem. These issues can, of course, be worked through, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts getting lots of outfield reps in Buffalo.
In that same game, Thomas Pannone threw an Immaculate inning. That’s three strikeouts on nine pitches. Though very rare and difficult to achieve, immaculate innings aren’t nearly as thrilling as no-hitters or perfect games. However, the odds of throwing an immaculate inning are around 19,683 to 1. The odds of throwing a no-hitter are 1,548 to 1, and the odds of throwing a perfect game are 18,192 to 1. Pannone joined Roger Clemens and Steve Delabar as the only Blue Jays to accomplish this feat.
The New Jays:
The Blue Jays’ roster underwent some changes this week. Eric Sogard received a call-up to replace Gurriel Jr. All he’s done is hit since he arrived. In thirteen plate appearances he’s collected six hits and drawn a walk. One of those hits was a bases-clearing double in the final game in Minnesota. Can we expect this from Sogard for the foreseeable future? I don’t think so, but I think he can provide solid defense and smart at-bats for the team. He and Freddy Galvis have been a nice one-two punch at the top of the order. Richard Urena was sent back to Buffalo to make room for Clay Buchholz. Coming off the injured list, Buchholz looked great in his first two starts, yielding four runs in 10.2 innings pitched. Though I’ve done no research into this, I’m pretty confident Buchholz is the only player in Blue Jay history with a double H in his name. Finally, the Jays welcomed Ryan Tepera back into the fold on Thursday afternoon. He found his way into the game in the sixth inning and recorded a strikeout without surrendering a hit or walk. Javy Guerra was sent to Buffalo to open up a roster spot for Tepera.
So what’s up this week? Oakland. A tough Oakland squad, in Oakland, no less. The Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum is not a friendly ballpark for the Jays. It’s the anti-Target Field. It’s Tropicana Field West. I’m not holding my breath for positive outcomes for any of the games. And then Kevin Pillar returns with his Giants. A very beatable Giants team. On top of crying into your beer at the site of Pillar in any uniform other than a blue one, come see the great Bruce Bochy in his final year at the helm of the San Franciscos. There have also been some significant rumblings of a much-anticipated debut on Tuesday evening.
Follow me on Twitter: @macklongpre
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2018) and may not be used without permission.