A ‘Perfect’ mess of a weekend

on September 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

If you didn’t take my advice on Friday, maybe you will today and start to panic about your Toronto Blue Jays. Not only have they fallen from atop of the AL East but they are barely hanging on to a Wild Card spot as they are now tied with the Baltimore Orioles. This means that teams like the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners are just two or three games away from kicking them out of the 2016 Playoffs. This is a mess that they have created for themselves as they remain as big of a mystery as they are inconsistent. They get blown out Friday night, squeak by on Saturday (after a player’s only meeting) and finally on Sunday they score some runs but the pitching falls apart and they lose 11-8. The Blue Jays need to get their act together and do so now.

Oh, and if you think that they have turned the corner and out of their offensive slump, think again. Outside of Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays only managed 2 hits. One was an infield hit by Devon Travis and the other a single from little-used Ryan Goins. Who’s stirring the pot this year? Apparently no one as they have all lost their mojo. Yes, there were some questionable umpiring calls again, but this series was lost because the Jays don’t have the confidence or swagger they did a year ago. The Jays don’t deserve your sympathy after their performance this weekend, but you know who does? Rich Hill. The starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers was noticeably and rightfully upset this weekend and it was at his own manager, Dave Roberts.

Rich Hill had a 5-0 lead and more importantly, a perfect game heading into the 8th inning against the Florida Marlins on Saturday night when the unthinkable happened. It wasn’t a hit or home run; it wasn’t a walk or even a hit batsman. He was pulled from the game by his manager having thrown only 89 pitches. The obvious question becomes why? Well, Hill had already missed a month this season after coming over to the Dodgers (traded from the Oakland A’s at the deadline) because of blisters on the fingers of his pitching hand. The Dodger manager knew he was going to make the most unpopular decision he could ever make, by deciding to pull Hill from the game to protect the best (healthy) pitcher he has and protect the Dodgers chances of making the playoffs and winning a World Series. The decision wasn’t based on the potential of injury as we experienced in Toronto recently surrounding Aaron Sanchez. Instead, the choice was made after finding out that “heat” was already starting to generate on those fingers and that is the onset of the blisters. Earlier this year, Roberts also pulled Ross Stripling in the 8th of his no-hitter as he was on a strict pitching count and had reached his limit. Stripling’s dad actually praised Roberts for thinking of his son’s arm in that situation and not risking it. Part of the decision may also have been based on the Dodgers breaking a record this year for most players (40 I believe) to be put on the Disabled List (DL) of which 7 were starting pitchers including the best pitcher in the game right now, Clayton Kershaw.

Many might consider Dave Roberts the villain here, but he did what he felt was right and for the right reasons. That doesn’t help console Rich Hill nor does it make that disgusting feeling in the pit of your stomach go away. For those that may not know how prestigious a Perfect Game is, here’s something for you to gnaw on. Major League Baseball has been in existence for about 140 years and in that time there have been about 210,000 baseball games. To date, there have only been 23 perfect games. Rich Hill was close to being 1 of only 24 people in the history of the world to accomplish this. Many others have come close and failed, but no one has ever had the opportunity ripped away from them. This pain stings badly and it will linger for a long, long time. The good news is that there may be a cure for that blistering finger and that would be to put a World Series ring on it.

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