Cito Gaston was in a no-win situation with JP Arencibia yesterday. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Brian Tallet went to bat for a Blue Jays fan.
JP Arencibia didnít start yesterday, while Jose Molina and John Buck did. I didnít check, but Iím sure that produced a lot of hand-wringing and twittering around the internet. However, Iím not sure how different it would have been if Arencibia had started at DH , as people would have taken that as proof that Cito is starting JP against Cy Young-worthy lefties (and King Felix) exclusively in order to send some message to the rookie.* Given that JP has sat against Brian Matusz, Derek Holland and Luke French, but started against Gio Gonzalez, John Lester, David Price, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia, this isnít an accusation without foundation.
* That above comment was perhaps slightly facetious. If people were to make those comments, they also probably would have been glad to see JP receiving more playing time.
It is plausible that Cito believes starting JP against these pitchers will benefit Arencibiaís career in some way, whether by sending him a message or giving him the opportunity to face some of the best pitching in the major leagues. However, it is also possible that part of Citoís motivation might be to sit a struggling Adam Lind against tough lefties, as he did again last night against Liriano. I wouldnít be surprised if both of these factors are at work in Citoís decision-making, but this is just speculation.
I donít have a problem with JP sitting and Molina and Buck playing last night. Buckís OPS against lefties going into the game in 2010 is 1.108. At that rate of production, he should start against any lefty. As for Molina, personally, I think itís nice to try to get every position player into a teamís last few games, if there is not anything specific to play for. I donít have a problem with McCoy getting a start last night, either. It was good to also see Wise and Hoffpauir see game action and I would like to see them (and maybe McDonald, although heís played a bunch recently) get a start against Minnesota. With regards to the catching situation, I expect this means that JP will start on Saturday against Brian Duensing and it will be good to see him bat against a non-elite pitcher. If I was the manager, Iíd also give him a second start over the weekend, but Iím not sure Cito will. My thoughts about position players getting starts over the last few games is just personal preference and I understand many people may not feel similarly**, and consequently be upset to see Molina playing and Arencibia on the bench.
** Do other people feel similarly? I feel like, for example, Jarret Hoffpauir should receive more than 3 at-bats after sitting on a major league bench for a month. If for no other reason than as a reward for his Triple-A season. However, I can see the argument that a major league paycheque and service time is a reward enough. That is the question: if your team is out of it, do you have any desire or think there is any benefit to seeing bench players getting a start during the last four or five games of the year?
If you were at Wednesday nightís home finale, you probably saw a fan toss A-Rodís 30th home run ball back onto the field. As per Rogers Centre protocol, after a few minutes an usher (and possibly security) came down to eject the fan. However, the usher left after a few minutes and the fan remained seated. Unfortunately, it appeared as if the fan was forced to leave when police returned about 10 or 15 minutes later. Also, puzzlingly, you may have heard a section of outfield fans chanting ďTallet, TalletĒ for about half a minute during the game.
I noticed both of these events from my perch in the 500s, but failed to connect them, despite the fact that Tallet chants occurred in between the two security events in the outfield. A friend forward me the story and, apparently, what happened is that the usher/stadium security came to eject the fan and, in the course of the discussion, Brian Tallet went to the end of the bullpen and yelled up at the usher that he had told the fan to throw the ball back and that it was his fault and the fan should be allowed to stay. At that point, the security departed. Unfortunately, the fan was forced to leave shortly thereafter by the police on duty in the stadium. In what may have been his last home game as a Blue Jay, a hat tip to Brian Tallet for sticking up for the fans.