Jose Bautista has led the Major Leagues in home runs the past two seasons.
So it’s not too often that the Toronto Blue Jays right fielder has witnessed a runner trying to steal home while he’s standing in the batter’s box with two out and the bases loaded.
That was the situation that unfolded Saturday when Brett Lawrie, the energetic Blue Jays’ third baseman, took off from third only to be tagged out by Baltimore Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters.
That brought about a very unappetizing conclusion to the inning in a game that the Orioles went on to record a 6-4 win and brought a rebuke from Toronto manager John Farrell, who afterward said Lawrie probably didn’t make the best decision.
As for Bautista, after a night’s sleep on the matter, he didn’t appear too upset by Lawrie’s failed derring-do.
“He’s an aggressive player and that’s what led him here [to the Major Leagues]” Bautista said Sunday morning before the Blue Jays third and final game of the series against the Orioles at Rogers Centre. “Whenever he feels like he needs to take a chance on a play like that, he has to in order to stay true to his nature.
“If he slides with his feet a little bit more forward, he would have been safe. So I don’t necessarily think that it would have been a bad idea because he would have been successful.”
When pressed, Bautista did say that Lawrie running when the count was 0-2 was perhaps something he might want to rethink.
“Ideally it’s not the best situation when the hitter at the plate has two strikes because if the pitch is delivered then I have to swing [if it’s a strike]or I’m out and the inning’s over.
“But I think it was a gutsy play and I think he got it correct. It was just that he didn’t slide the proper way.”
Who knows, with the way Bautista and most of the rest of the lineup is swinging the bats to begin the season, maybe there was method to Lawrie’s madness.
Toronto came into Sunday’s game ranked 26th in the Major Leagues in team batting average (.214), 24th in on-base percentage (.278) and 22nd in slugging (.354).
After hitting .282 as a team through spring training, Bautista didn’t think it was all that surprising that the Blue Jays have struggled offensively to start the regular season.
“Teams go through ups and downs in the offence or any other aspect of the game throughout the year,” said Bautista, who is hitting just 3-for-26 (.115) since opening day. “It’s just one of those times for us right now. We’ll pick it up. We’re not worried about that at all.”