Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo may have just learned a valuable lesson
Everything worked out just fine for the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, and Charlie Montoyo has to be even more thankful for the heroics of Brandon Drury after what could have been a different outcome.
The Blue Jays finished off their series and season swap of the Oakland A’s on Sunday in dramatic fashion. It took 11 innings and another big home run from Brandon Drury, but they eventually prevailed by a score of 5-4.
There were several times when it looked like the Blue Jays were going to end up on the losing side of this game, and there were frustrating moments even before the A’s took a 4-1 lead in the top of the 11th. The umpires made an incorrect call on the field when Alen Hanson was called out on a fielder’s choice at second base, and despite the fact that it was reviewed in New York, somehow the play on the field stood. I don’t care what the score sheet says, or how bias you think I am, that was a blown call.
Between that and the win though, Charlie Montoyo is probably thanking his lucky stars that his young team came out on top in this one. The 11th inning ended up working out just fine thanks to Drury, and the rest of the offence, but it was the lack of a star hitter that had fans in a tizzy on social media (myself included). That’s because Montoyo had taken Vladimir Guerrero Jr. out of the game in the bottom of the ninth in favour of a pinch runner, who happened to be Alen Hanson.
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Hanson would come to the plate in the 11th in an important spot, and many fans were frustrated to think about how it could have been Guerrero Jr. in his place instead. When you also consider that Hanson is only marginally quicker than Vlad Jr., Montoyo could have been in the hot seat for the way the decision came back to bite him. Instead, Hanson walked and Drury ended up knocking him in with his game-tying blast.
As I said, everything worked out just fine for the Blue Jays, but I would think that Montoyo will second guess taking Guerrero out of the game the next time a similar scenario plays out. I realize he’s only 20 years old and has a lot of learning to do at the big league level, but he’s shown that he’s already an impact player on this team, and there’s no better way for him to develop into a future star than by gaining experience in every scenario the game throws his way. Maybe Montoyo feels the need to protect him in some of these situations as well, but I hope that doesn’t last long. If this year is really about rebuilding, then Guerrero needs to gain the experience as much as anyone.
It’s also possible that MAYBE the team is trying to protect him from any injury setbacks, but even that feels like a reach. He’s played third base and moved well in all three games so far, and he’s looked just fine running the bases too. If he’s still feeling the effects of any injury, you would hope the Blue Jays would have him DH-ing instead or something.
Instead, I’m willing to bet that Montoyo may think twice the next time that Guerrero gets on base late in a game, especially one that’s still tied. He has the type of game-changing talent that you can’t be without in the extra innings, and the Blue Jays are lucky that it didn’t come back to bite them in the butt on Sunday. Next time, it probably will.