|Image courtesy of Daylife via Getty Images|
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.