The Toronto Blue Jays are down 0-2 in their ALCS matchup against the Cleveland Indians and clearly frustrated. They scored just a single run over those first two games, due to a combination of poor hitting, missed chances, and great Cleveland pitching. But Toronto bat flipper Jose Bautista thinks there may be something more sinister going on.
“All you gotta do is look at video and count how many times Indians pitchers have thrown pitches over the heart of the plate. It hasn’t been many,” Bautista said, according to Mike Vorkunov of USA Today. “They’ve been able to do that because of the circumstances – that I’m not trying to talk about, because I can’t.
“That’s for you guys [the media] to do. But you guys don’t really want to talk about that, either.”
Many of the Jays players were frustrated with the seemingly wandering strike zones that home plate umpires had in Games 1 and 2, although statistical data shows that the zone was consistent for both teams, even if slightly askew from a “normal” zone.
“Sometimes the elements and the circumstances that we have to deal with as hitters don’t go out way. I’m not really trying to get into that,” said Bautista, while completely getting into whatever it is that he wasn’t trying to get into.
Cleveland got excellent pitching in Game 1 from starter Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller has been absolutely lights out in relief, striking out almost everyone he faces with his wipeout slider. The Blue Jays do have great hitters, but many of them have been hot and cold all season long. After a tepid September saw the Toronto bats go so quiet that the team almost dropped out of the playoffs altogether, they rattled off six straight wins in October — including the American League Wild Card Game against Baltimore and an ALDS sweep of the Texas Rangers.
Game 3 of the series goes Monday night in Toronto. Bautista and teammates better figure out a way to score some runs, regardless of wandering strike zones, or the Blue Jays season is all but over.