Things will be different one of these years, I imagine. It just won’t be this one.
The Royals fell to 3-12 by losing 5-3 to the Blue Jays on Sunday. Toronto got its fifth run on a double-steal with two outs in the top of the eighth. Here’s the video. Humberto Quintero opted to throw to second base with Brett Lawrie on third. Second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt came in a bit to cut the throw off, but he didn’t even come close to nailing the runner at home.
I’m not sure which of the duo deserves more blame. Quintero could have held on to the ball, but J.P. Arencibia would have been a dead duck had the throw gone through. The only question is whether he could have stayed in a rundown long enough for the run to score. Betancourt, for his part, committed too late to have a chance to cut down the speedy Lawrie. He needed to be more aggressive in trying to cut the ball off or in grabbing it and trying to chase down Arencibia.
Regardless, it was bad execution on the part of a team that’s famous for it. And it still wasn’t the ugliest play for the team today. That came a half-inning later, when Jason Bourgeois was picked off and caught stealing… in the bottom of the eighth with the Royals down three runs and the team’s No. 3 batter and hottest hitter (Billy Butler) at the plate.
I mean, duh.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.