Don’t Blame Cordero

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I know how frustrated Blue Jays fans are at witnessing the opposing team win in walk-off fashion in back to back games. As Francisco Cordero was the losing pitcher on both occasions, it can be easy to point the finger and blame the pitcher of record for both losses.

This might not be a popular opinion around the blogosphere or Twitterverse today, but it’s not Cordero’s fault. Francisco Cordero was actually the least of the Blue Jays’ worries last night in Atlanta.

There were many factors at play in the loss, and Cordero’s appearance in the 10th was just the tipping point. Not only that, but J.P. Arencibia’s bad throw to third base just put things right over the top.


I understand the rationale behind the frustration towards Cordero because fans want to hold the players accountable in losses. But it’s much easier to vilify one particular player and harbour all their anger towards them as opposed to the collective team.

If people want to be upset, they should be upset that the Blue Jays were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Or the fact that they left 9 men on base. In the past two games combined, the Blue Jays were 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position and left 19 men on base.

Looking at those statistics, it should come as no surprise that the Blue Jays lost the last two games. All that considered, it’s rather impressive Toronto managed to actually keep it close and make it one-run losses.

The fact is that when you go 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position, there’s an extremely small margin of error. When the Blue Jays were that stingy with the runs, they couldn’t afford to make any pitching or defensive mistakes or miscues late in the game.

The Atlanta Braves went 0 for 12 themselves, and still somehow managed to win. It’s because they capitalized on those errors made by the Blue Jays and that’s how they won the game. The Blue Jays also received a few lucky bounces (the Rajai Davis call at second), but couldn’t capitalize.

I’m not saying fans shouldn’t be pissed off, because everyone has the right to be angry about those losses. Perhaps that anger is misplaced in Francisco Cordero, J.P. Arencibia, or even the first base umpire who called a balk on Chad Beck.

People are mad at those guys when they should really be upset at the starting lineup for only scoring with one runner in scoring position in 17 tries the past two games. Then again, it’s easier to make one player a scapegoat instead of a collective of nine hitters.

Considering how up and down this season has been for Francisco Cordero, I find it somewhat surprising that I’m defending him here. Cordero has not been without his faults in 2012, which is why he’s been an easy target for scrutiny.

Since Cordero and Arencibia were the last two people to touch the baseball, they’re the last players that stick out in people’s minds in a walk-off loss. However, they’re the last two players who should’ve been scapegoats in that game.


Over the course of a 162 game season, teams will be on the receiving end of lucky breaks as well as tough bounces. The past two games, the Blue Jays suffered some tough bounces.

The best way to minimize those tough bounces and maximize those lucky breaks is quite simple … score more runs.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Cordero

  • June 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Who cares about Rajai being safe at 2nd — he didn't score.

  • June 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Easiest way for the Jays to improve their bullpen? Get better starting pitching. Drabek going 5 innings ain't going to get it done. Farrell is a terrible bullpen manager, though. But to BJH's point, the offense needs to pick up the team. Solo shots are nice 'n all, but some three or four run innings would be really sweet.

    • June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Walks have especially been a big problem in this recent road swing. The starters need to cut down on giving away those free passes.

  • June 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I don't blame Cordero for the last 2 games. That said, show of hands who wants him on the mound late in a tight game? That's what I thought. Santos, Stroman and Brett Myers, please.

    • June 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Here's the incredibly frustrating thing about Cordero – just when you think he's turned it around and can be used in high leverage situations, he has back to back outings like he did in Chicago and Atlanta.

      Don't forget – it wasn't all that long ago that they took the closer role away from him and relegated him to mop up duty. Then he strung together some great appearances, gained the trust back, and it blew up once again.

  • June 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I don't blame Coco. It's not his faul that Farrell insists on using him in high-leverage situations.

  • June 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    In other word JPA is due blame on both sides of the ball.

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