Is there something wrong with Robinson Cano’s phone?
Perhaps his mobility plan restricts long distance calls from the U.S. to Canada.
How else to explain the fact that Cano, the New York Yankee second baseman and captain of this year’s American League home run derby team at the all-star game, has yet to place a call to Toronto to request the presence of Jose Bautista at the event.
As he was preparing for Thursday’s game at Rogers Centre against the Los Angeles Angels, a nonplussed Bautista shook his head no, that he had still not received an invite to the affair, which is to take place on July 9th in Kansas City.
“We’ll see,” Bautista said as he knotted a shoelace.
As if he needed to strengthen his case, Bautista would go out and launch another dinger, his 14th in the month of June, which is a franchise record.
It was not enough as the powerful L.A. lineup feasted on the velocity-challenged offerings of Toronto pitcher Brett Cecil, banging out 10 hits, including three homers, off the Blue Jays lefty, to record a 9-7 victory.
Toronto came close, loading the bases in the ninth inning only to see Edwin Encarnacion hit into a game-ending double playCecil was one of the recent call-ups from the minors, summoned to help bolster a Toronto pitching staff ravaged by injury.
After solid performances in his first two outings following his return the Blue Jays (38-38) were hoping for more of the same in the first of a three-game set against the Angels (43-33).
Cecil needs to rely on pinpoint control to offset a fastball that rarely exceeds 90-miles-an-hour, but his aim was off as Alberto Callaspo, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout all homered to pace the Angels attack.
Callaspo put a charge into an 89 MPH fastball in the second inning while Trumbo was able to turn on an 88 MPH heater in the fourth, a two-run shot.
In the sixth, Trout laced a two-run homer off a changeup that moved the Angels in front 8-6 and spelled the end of the night for Cecil.
“At some point we’ve got to find a way to get deeper into games,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “We’re putting an awful lot of pressure on our bullpen right now, that goes without saying.”
Farrell was blunt in assessment of what ailed Cecil.
“When he left a pitch up over the plate, they didn’t miss it,” he said.
With Toronto’s starting rotation a train wreck these days with a myriad of injuries, Bautista’s bat has eased some of that pain and helped prevent Toronto’s season from sliding completely off the rails – at least for the time being.
With a rip-roaring month of June, Bautista has vaulted himself back into familiar territory, his three-run shot in the fifth inning giving him a Major League-leading 26 on the season.
This month, heading into Thursday’s game, Bautista was hitting a home run once for every 6.6 at-bats, a phenomenal rate even by Bautista’s lofty standards.
But his average – .237 following Thursday’s 1-for-4 showing – is not to his liking.
“I’m still hit and miss,” Bautista said. “I either hit a home run or I get outs. I’d like to be more consistent with putting the ball in play hard.
“But for the most part I’m applying my game plan and executing it by being selective and swinging at strikes, taking balls. That’s what I’ve got to be doing.”
The Blue Jays led 2-1 and 6-5 in the entertaining contest, but the Angels kept battling back to win for the 25th time in their last 33 games.
Jeff Mathis went 4-for-4 in the game for Toronto, including a home run.
Trailing by a run in the seventh, Colby Rasmus was perhaps a little to eager to take off for home from third base with one out after Bautista grounded to the left side.
With the Angels infield drawn in, Rasmus was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Erick Aybar.