I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Blue Jays had recently been keeping Ezequiel Carrera on the bench and playing Chris Coghlan in his place. Although Carrera ended up playing last night (and actually had 4 hits), he only started after Coghlan had to be pulled from the starting line-up because of a sore back. I haven’t heard any news that Carrera wasn’t feeling well lately, so the only reason I can come up with why the Blue Jays had been sitting their best left fielder was to teach him a lesson of sorts.
Several times already this season, the last time being just prior to Carrera being benched regularly last week, Carrera has failed to throw to the right bag and it’s led to the opposition taking an extra base. It was the third or fourth time this sort of thing had happened in the past few weeks, so upon returning to the dugout after the inning, John Gibbons walked over to Carrera and reminded him what base he needs to be throwing to in that situation. It’s not often you see Gibbons pointing out a players mistakes like that right in the dugout, but considering how often these slip-ups with Carrera had been happening recently, this was an important message he needed to hear. We all know Carrera is a wonderful team player, and anyone like that hates to think they’ve let down their team. You could tell he felt bad about what happened, especially after his conversation with Gibbons.
With Steve Pearce out with injury, Carrera is far and away the best option for the Blue Jays in left field. Even when Pearce is healthy, I think Carrera should still be Toronto’s first choice to be playing in left. That being said, something definitely had to be up for Toronto to be starting Coghlan of all people in left field over Carrera.
Despite all the reasons (i.e. superior hitter/defense/base runner) why Carrera should be starting in left field over Coghlan, the Blue Jays felt Carrera’s lapses of judgement when it comes to throwing to the wrong base or not calling for fly balls needed to be corrected. And apparently part of that learning process includes being benched in order to really get their message across. Over the past few seasons, how many times have we seen Carrera almost collide with Pillar in the outfield simply because he’s not doing something as rudimentary as calling for a pop-up?
Carrera is a wonderful player, but until he learns to throw to the right base or call for pop flies, the Blue Jays are choosing to sit him, even though he’s far better than the player they’ve decided to start over him. Although some might consider this response from the Blue Jays a bit harsh, Carrera is a professional and should be able to learn from this…and he and the Blue Jays will be better for it in the end.