Look, going down 0-2 and being on the brink of losing your second-straight ALCS is rough. Going 0-for-3 with three ugly strikeouts in Game 1 of said series is difficult to internalize. According to Jose Bautista of the Toronto baseball club, that must mean the whole system is rigged. Or something.
Bautista did not explicitly come out and say the ALCS was rigged, but he said just about as much as he could say without eliciting a fine from Major League Baseball.
You’re right, Jose. The Cleveland Indians haven’t thrown many balls over the plate. Do you know why? Could it be becasue the Toronto Blue Jays were 17th in team contact outside of the zone in 2016? Or maybe because the Blue Jays had a -0.67 weighted value against curveballs — the second-lowest in the majors?
Nah, rigged system.
We cannot know for sure which pitches Bautista thinks the Indians are able to throw out of the zone “due to circumstances,” but we can make some inferences.
In the eighth inning of Game 1, when the Blue Jays were in the process of being shutout 0-2, Edwin Encarnacion was an angry, angry man. To the point where he probably would have been thrown out of the game in a regular season game. After getting ahead of Andrew Miller, 2-0, Edwin was quickly brought back down to earth with three-straight strikes, two of which were looking.
Well, surely, Miller was just lobbing junk outside of the zone because the umpires are in his pocket. There’s no way he could have pitched with precision. Let’s look.
Oh, yeesh, that doesn’t look good, Edwin. Not exactly meatballs for your to hit over an outfield wall, but still on the edge. But, you know what, TBS’ Strike Zone is crap. We all know this. Maybe TBS is just in on it with the crooked umps to sink the Blue Jays and end Canada’s reign as a sports powerhouse. Let’s check MLB.com.
Upon further review, the three strikes are all pretty close to the heart of the zone. How much did the Indians have to pay to rig this game? Will they be able to pay the umpires in loonies for Game’s 3-5?
But this isn’t about Edwin. He’s the angry one, the muscle, but it’s about ya boi Jose Bautista.
Rigged baseball did this*.
*Rigged baseball also made Josh Donaldson lazily jog around second base instead of paying attention to the outfield and running all the way home on a ball that got stuck in the outfield wall.
As for those outside calls, luckily the internet is a big place full of people smarter, and quicker, than I am. It doesn’t look good, Jose.
I reviewed Brooks/Fx data after first two games. The home plate ump in the first two games missed 11 calls for the Jays, 10 for Cleveland https://t.co/sE1ZSQTk4S— Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) October 16, 2016
I like Jose Bautista, in general. I enjoy the loud personality, the bat flips, the aggression — those kind of things make baseball fun for me. But when you take it to the point of whining that the game is rigged against you, you sound like, well, a whiner. A big ‘ole doopy whiner.
The Blue Jays could very well come storming back in this series, sweep their home games, and put the Indians on the ropes for Games 4 & 5. If that happens, it will be interesting just how far Bautista plans to carry this “the game is rigged” mentality.
Or are “circumstances” only present for the Indians when they are winning? I’m still new to Team Jose Bautista Conspiracy Club, but I can’t wait to earn my Cerulean Badge.