Ah, the blame game. Whose fault is it? Regardless of whom you decide is your sacrificial lamb, it doesnt change the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays have just lost their third straight winnable game, falling Friday night to the Toronto Blue Jays 1-2.
Do you blame starting pitcher Matt Garza for his atrocious toss to first, which allowed the winning run aboard, in the form of Jose Bautitsta, to lead off the seventh inning? No, he probably blames himself anyway. You dont throw an ace pitcher under the bus for an uncharacteristic misplay, especially not when he threw eight innings without an earned run against him. Thats right, folks, both runs against the Rays were scored on errors, big, fat, ugly, smelly errors.
Do you blame the bats for not picking up their pitcher? That idea holds some water. Jason Bartlett gave up an easy ground out in the first inning with Willy Aybar in scoring position in the opening frame. Toronto starter Brett Cecil was sharp but not lights-out sharp and Tampa Bay should have pounced when he started having control issues in the sixth. Instead, Ben Zobrist struck out with B.J. Upton on third base.
Do you blame home plate umpire Jeff Nelson for his ridiculous strike zone? If it was bad, at least it was consistently bad.
I think you can give some blame to Gabe Kapler, and Joe Maddon by extension. The decision to put Kapler in left field is the decision that turned this game into a loss. Kap, whos done nothing notable all season, let Edwin Encarnacions double go by him to lead off the third. Carl Crawford had the night off but I think could have gotten to that ball running from the dugout. Instead, Encarnacion scored on a Sean Rodriguez throwing error after Jose Molina lined out to second. Sure, Sea-Rod made the mistake but if Encarnacion hadnt been aboard in the first place, there's not a throwing error to make.