The (Spring Training) Half-Inning From Hell
Baseball greybeards in the pressbox were left mouths agape by the top of the fifth inning here at Knology.
It started off with Jonny Gomes planting the first pitch over the wall in left field off Roy Halladay. Okay, not so good. Then Dioner Navarro singled. Alright.
Then the clown college took over. Minor leaguer John Tolisano, starting at second, bobbled Andy Cannizaro's fieldable grounder. Error Number One. Elliot Johnson took first on a fielder's choice when the Jays couldn't catch Navarro sliding into third for the force out.
Bases loaded. No outs.
Carl Crawford grounded the next one to Tolisano, who first dropped the ball, then skied the throw over Lyle Overbay's head for the rare double botch. Errors number two and three. At this point, Roy Halladay looked like he wanted to murder someone. Significantly, Tolisano was doing his best to stare longingly into right field.
Carlos Pena doubled, making the score 5-0. Upton doubled. At some point here, I forget exactly where, pitching coach Brad Arsnberg came out to calm Halladay. The next batter didn't help much.
Cliff Floyd plowed one straight at Lyle Overbay. The normally reliable first basemen leaned down and the ball carromed off his glove into right field. Error number four. At this point, the assembled media were left screaming their heads off (a real rarity) and pressing Jays PR impressario and scorer Mal Romanin for instructions. We were lost.
Hinske doubled. Score now approaching infinity. Then Jonny Gomes singled. The relay slips into the infield and Gomes races for second. Catcher Rod Barajas spikes the throw to second and it bounces into centre field. Error number five. Hinske scores. Ten batters in, there are none out.
A shaken Halladay is then pulled and replaced by sidearmer Connor Falckenbach. The pitcher I will now refer to as 'Fritz' allows a single to Andy Cannizaro, but manages to escape the inning in four batters.
"Did some guy down here bet the game or what?" the Star's Dave Perkins wonders aloud. That would make more sense than what we've just seen.
Five errors by the team, three by Tolisano. Ten runs allowed by Halladay, but only four earned.
6:38 - Halladay's reaction after the game was classic. The Globe's Jeff Blair asked him if he'd talked to Tolisano after the rueful fifth.
"Yeah," said Halladay.
Well, what'd you say to him?
"He seems like a tough kid," Halladay replied, ignoring the question. Ouch.