Covering the Bases: Game 25
The Jays’ offense had struggled for most of the game and was finally putting together a rally. There were two outs, though, and Lewis drove on into the right-center gap for a sure double.
Lyle Overbay scored on the play to cut Oakland’s lead to one run. If Lewis holds up at second base, he’s likely a single away from scoring. If he legs out the triple, a wild pitch or passed ball ties the game. There was a catch, though…
“It’s like I was telling my third base coach,” Lewis said. “Out there in the gap, you can’t see the ball with the sign out there. So I told him, I said, ‘If we had that dark out, I probably would’ve pulled up.’”
There are video boards built into the walls in the right-center and left-center gaps at Rogers Center. For years, players, coaches and managers on both sides have complained about them. In short, the complaint is that baseballs disappear when they fly in front of the signs, making it hard for runners to properly track the ball.
This is what happened with Lewis. He said he could not tell where the ball was. As it turned out, right fielder Gabe Gross was picking it up and making a quick relay to second baseman Adam Rosales. Lewis nearly made it to third, but the throw came into third just ahead of Lewis.
Lewis was out. The rally was over. And the A’s went on to win.
“It was one of those tough plays,” Lewis said. “It was real bright out there in that gap, I couldn’t tell if he had the ball or not. [Third base coach Brian Butterfield] told me they’ve been trying to tell them about it for years.”
SECOND: Dana Eveland wasn’t sharp in the early going for the Jays, allowing four runs on six hits over the first four innings. The pitch that hurt the most came in the fourth, when Eveland allowed a two-run homer to rookie catcher Josh Donaldson with one out and a runner on third base.
Congrats to Donaldson, though. Nice way to get your first big league hit.
“I really wish i could have that pitch back,” Eveland said. “I was trying to get in. It was a runner on third, less than two out situation. A lot of times, hitters are looking for balls out over in that situation, trying to get a sac fly or drive a ball up the middle. So I tried to get in on him and I threw it inner half and up.
“He can pull the ball — that’s one thing I remember about him from when we played in Spring Training a year ago. He hits the ball pretty well to left. He’s got some pop. I just didn’t get it in enough.”
THIRD: Don’t look now, but manager Cito Gaston has used five pinch hitters in the past four games (yes, I realize John McDonald’s appearance was bases on the rout yesterday). On Saturday, Gaston called upon Lyle Overbay as a pinch hitter with two outs and a runner on first base in the seventh. Overbay doubled to right, helping to continue the rally that later ended with Lewis being thrown out at third base. And, what do you know? Overbay is 8-for-his-last-24. His average has climbed to .181 in the process.
HOME: The bullpen had been thrown under the bus quite a few times in recent days, so now it’s time to show some love. Scott Downs and Casey Janssen turned in 2.1 shutout innings in Saturday’s loss, giving the bullpen no runs allowed over its last 8.1 innings of work. That’s called progress. In their previous 18.1 innings, the relievers combined to give up 21 runs.