Monday night Johnny Cueto pitched two innings and gave up eight runs to the Toronto Blue Jays. You could see Cueto was not happy with his mechanics; he was practicing his throwing motion after throwing unsatisfactory pitches — and working on your mechanics during playoff games is not ideal.
When Cueto does not extend and finish off pitches, they stay up and out over the plate and when that happens, the Blue Jays will jump on them.
Chris Young, a guy who pitches up in the zone and gets fly balls, will have to hope those fly balls stay in play during Game 4. And pitching in off the plate might not hurt; the Blue Jays have the reputation of bellying up to the dish and making the outside corner the middle of the plate.
In Game 4, watch for pitches in off the plate, backing Blue Jays hitters away from the outside corner. And if that doesn’t happen, watch for Blue Jay hitters diving to the outside corner and squaring up good pitches away.
Toronto hitters showing up umps
It’s part of baseball etiquette: You do not turn to the umpire to dispute a ball/strike call. You can protest, but you do it looking down or while staring straight ahead. Toronto hitters — particularly Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki — have had no problem turning back and complaining about an umpire’s call.
To be fair, the Royals’ Alex Rios stuck a finger in an umpire’s face after a call he didn’t like, and it was surprising Alex was not tossed. Had it been a regular-season game, Rios might have been gone.
Players get more leeway during playoff games — no umpire wants to change the outcome by tossing an important player — but the Blue Jays have been pushing it. Tulowitzki pushed it too far as he was ejected at the start of the eighth inning after continuing to jaw at the home plate umpire.
But John Gibbons is a good guy
The Blue Jays’ manager, John Gibbons, was the Royals bench coach when I started covering the team in 2010. Gibby was a popular coach with the players and the media, and he and I spent a lot of time talking baseball (he’d talk, I’d listen).
When the Blue Jays visited Kansas City during the regular season, Gibby invited me into the visiting manager’s office and asked me to help him destroy a box of LaMar’s donuts; how do you not like a guy who would do that?
Other than kicking a puppy, Jose Bautista has done just about everything possible to alienate Kansas City Royals fans, but John Gibbons is a good guy.
A good guy that Kansas City fans wouldn’t mind seeing lose two more games to the Royals.
Is Toronto stealing signs?
Tom Verducci pointed this out on the TV broadcast: Salvador Perez was giving multiple signs with no runner on second base. You only do that when you think someone in the stadium is stealing signs and Toronto — fair or not — has that reputation. A bunch of hotel rooms with a view of home plate tend to make people suspicious.
When they come back to Kansas City, maybe if I bring John Gibbons a dozen of LaMar’s finest, he’ll spill the beans.