Baseball sure is a humbling game

Ex-Blue Jay Felipe Lopez is back in town this weekend, now a member of the Washington Nationals. So far it’s been a tough series for the second baseman — especially on Saturday. Hitting out of the No. 2 spot, Lopez went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on the day — three via Shaun Marcum and one against Brian Tallet. Meanwhile, he also made a fielding error in the sixth, though it didn’t end up costing the Nationals.
Baseball is a funny game that way. Some days you’re better off not getting out of bed, it seems. Alex Rios, who coincidentally reached on Lopez’s error, knows a thing or two about that …
Auvrbr7kBy all accounts, Rios was enjoying a breakout season in 2006 before hitting the disabled list with a staph infection in late June. Before the injury, the right-fielder had hit a team-high .330 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs through 72 games. But a month off will affect your timing at the plate, which was brutally evident on July 29, 2006, a day Alex Rios would surely like to forget.
In his second game back from the DL, Rios — hitting out of the No. 5 hole — went 0-for-5 during a 7-4 Jays loss to the Athletics in Oakland. It was no ordinary 0-for-5, however, as the outfielder struck out all five times at the plate (four swinging and once looking). As a team, the Jays only struck out eight times all game. Fittingly, Rios ended the contest by striking out against A’s closer Huston Street.
In all fairness, his contribution at the plate that day was non-existent. In other words, a cardboard cutout would have produced the same result (think Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn in the classic movie ‘Major League’). Now, I’ve probably given more thought to this than the average person. But that’s only because I can recall enduring a few of these nights myself back when I played in University. Naturally, my next thought was always this: even though one accomplishes nothing at the plate, surely one can make up for it in the field, no?
Not always. And certainly not in Rios’ case on that forgettable Saturday afternoon in Oakland. Ironically, the Jays’ right-fielder was the only Toronto player that day who failed to record either an assist or a putout. Not one fly ball was hit to him all game. Save for tossing the ball back to the infield after a couple of base hits, Rios wasn’t needed in the field that day either.
Baseball sure is a humbling game.
Note: Rios was certainly a contributor to the Blue Jays’ offense on Saturday, as the right-fielder went 2-for-4 with a triple and a pair of runs scored during Toronto’s 7-3 victory, their third straight.

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