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Bugs & Cranks
July 20, 2008 at 11:41 am ET
Not The Start We Wanted

Not your average rookie.Friday night we couldn’t get a run.

Saturday night we couldn’t get a call.

Both nights the Tampa Bay Rays got the win.

Coming out of the gate following the All-Star Break, AJ Burnett became the first Jays pitcher to ever start back-to-back games and he was outstanding, again.

Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t manage to scratch out more than one run and when Tampa collected two on an unlikely Ben Zobrist home run, they had all they needed to take the first game of the series.

To his credit, Burnett did all he could and has even been saying all the right things in the media as of late. Since GM JP says they have no intention of trading Burnett, it’ll be interesting to see if Burnett decides to stick around following the season and honour his current deal. He’s in the midst of what should end up being a career year and while that is usually a good time to walk and cash in, he’s got friend and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg in Toronto with him and maybe a little perspective that the grass isn’t always greener.

* * * * * * * * * *

Saturday night, a foul ball call – or should I say a fair ball call – led to a big inning and big enough lead.

Doc thought the ball was foul, so he picked it up. The home plate umpire disagreed with him. A handful of batters later, Evan Longoria clubbed his first career Grand Slam into the left field seats en route to a 6-4 Tampa triumph.

While the loss stung, it was nice to see this team getting fiesty.

Cito mildly argued the foul ball call and the usually mild-mannered Halladay was absolutely livid by his standards, but the best display of the night came from Brandon League.

TFC Dionner Navarro bunted with a five run lead. He bunted. Dionner “The Fat Catcher” Navarro.

Next time he came to the dish, League drilled him with a fastball in the knee.

That’s what you get for bunting with a five run lead.

For team that has taken exception to some base-running and gamey antics this season from the Red Sox, Navarro dropping this bunt shows that maybe Coco Crisp was right and these guys are a bunch of dirty bastards who deserve a beating.

I can’t wait to hear what Chalk has to say.

* * * * * * * * * *

John Parrish goes in the closer tonight in Tampa and I’m actually looking forward to it. He was solid in his first start and with Marcum and McGowan on the mend, Toronto is going to need a strong contribution from the lefty over the next few weeks, if not months, or else this could get ugly like Bubba Sparxxx.

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3 Responses to “Not The Start We Wanted”
  1. Cork says:

    “That’s what you get for bunting with a five run lead.”

    so you thought the game was over when it was 5-0? Did the Jays stop trying when the game was 5-0? Apparently you missed the part where the Jays scored 4 runs in the 9th inning.

    Let’s say the Rays had NOT added that 6th run in the 8th inning. Would the game have a different feel with 2 outs in the 9th and Matt Stairs standing on second as the TYING run?

    But really. It’s OK. I completely understand. You see…these games don’t mean anything for the Jays or their fans. The Jays season is already over. On the other hand, the Rays are fighting for a playoff spot, so every game is important and EVERY run counts.

    Better luck next year.

  2. Matt says:

    Pretty amazing that the Jays would think a 5 run lead is insurmountable in the American League. It probably says more about what Jays fans think of their offense than about anyone’s understanding of those pesky “unwritten rules”. Leads of 5 runs or more have been given up 9 times in MLB in July, 7 of those for losses. Just because the Jays have no plan to produce offense doesn’t mean the Rays should assume it to be so.

    And the fact that the Jays managed to put up 4 runs in the 9th should pretty much end that “debate” for all thinking humans.

  3. Spencer Kyte says:

    Funny how it’s those pesky unwritten rules like not putting your knee in front of the bag that Rays fans thought was okay, but when I say something anti-Tampa citing unwritten rules I’m a whiner because our season is over.

    No matter what happened post-bunt, the bunt itself was bush league. Of course you think it was great and smart baseball, it was done by a member of your beloved Rays. All that means is we disagree on the play.

    And Matt – look at how our offense has produced thus far… what would lead us to believe that a five run lead is surmountable? Have we come back from five down yet? Been scoring in bunches routinely?

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