Joey Belfiore, Contributor
Arguably one of the most electrifying players in all of Major League Baseball added to his resume on Tuesday night by getting the baseball world’s attention with his actions. Toronto’s Brett Lawrie erupted at home plate umpire Bill Miller after two consecutive blown calls lead to a ninth inning strikeout.
The Blue Jays (22-18) were down 4-3 to division rival Tampa Bay Rays (24-16) in the ninth inning when Lawrie came to the plate. After battling to get ahead in the count 3-1, Miller called the next pitch – which was CLEARLY outside – a strike.
Lawrie, who was already on his way to first, was in disbelief as he disgruntledly walked back to the batter’s box. The following full count pitch, high and out of the zone, was again called a strike by Miller. Lawrie, who again was on his way to first, turned back and exploded at Miller. An extremely animated Lawrie threw his helmet down, which took an unfortunate bounce and hit Miller’s shoulder. With the two trading obvious profanities, John Farrell stormed in to protect his star third baseman. The Blue Jays’ manager was ejected for arguing the call.
Lawrie’s actions got him a four game suspension. He’s changed his original action to appeal and will serve his last game today as the Jays try to sweep the Mets.
Lawrie hasn’t even played a full season yet and he’s already earned the reputation of being one of the more exciting players in the league. He shows a lot of emotion (see Grand Slam; August 10, 2011) and his actions prove to be great for the young clubhouse. Many have reacted to last Tuesday’s incident in a negative way, saying Lawrie needs to mature and learn to calm himself down. Here’s why this suspension is actually a good thing for the Blue Jays: Lawrie was right.
He was robbed of not one, but two blown calls in the NINTH inning of a one-run game. Bill Miller has to make that call, and another one of the reasons fans continue to starve for more video replay in professional baseball. His reasoning for reacting that way is completely valid and if not for an unfortunate bounce he would have been in the lineup today.
With that comes a spark in the clubhouse. Players react to it in a positive way. Don’t think so? The Blue Jays have outscored both New York teams 28-3 in the past four days. They’re on a healthy four-game win streak and something has to be said about this five-man rotation.
All season long they have been impressive, but this week has been especially striking for the young arms. Most recently Brandon Morrow has been spectacular. On Saturday he threw a complete, three-hitter shutout game against the New York Mets. He’s now at 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA, and is fourth in the American League with a 0.96 WHIP.
The offence has also begun to click and has shown their best four game spurt of the season. Let’s hope guys like Arencebia, Bautista, and Johnson can continue this solid play. The Blue Jays close out a three game series with the Mets today, and look to stretch their win streak to five, their longest of the season.
With Lawrie to return on Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, things can only get better for the surging Blue Jays.