Let’s Play Two: How the Doubleheader Rule Helps the Jays

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Late in Tuesday’s 9-3 win over the Minnesota Twins, the Blue Jays found themselves in an all too familiar position. With Colby Rasmus already shelved with a sore hamstring and the Jays once again carrying a 3-man bench (but hey, 3 long relievers!), Adam Lind went down with a recurrence of the back problems that have plagued him for the last few seasons. This left the Blue Jays with Jose Bautista in CF, Josh Thole at DH and Jonathan Diaz as the only player on the bench. Not exactly what you would call an optimal situation.

With no off days scheduled until Monday, the Jays were essentially forced to put Lind on the disabled list and call up someone from the minors. But with Rasmus’ return date uncertain – hamstring injuries are notoriously hard to predict – there was serious uncertainty as to who that call up should be. If Rasmus were healthy it would be easy. They would just call up Dan Johnson or Fat Juan (both would require moving Maicer Izturis to the 60-day DL) and be done with it. But if the man with the (former) perfect flow was still ailing, it would need to be someone who can handle CF, like Anthony Gose. So much uncertainty, such a mess.

But then, for what feels like the first time in twenty years, the Baseball Gods smiled upon the Blue Jays; Wednesday’s game was rained out. Even on the surface this was beneficial to the Toronto. They were able to rest their short relievers, all of whom were used on Tuesday, and it gave them another day to evaluate Rasmus. But thanks to a quirky rule that has been on the books since the new CBA was instituted in 2012 (and amended this year), that rain out means so much more.

Because the postponed game was rescheduled as part of a Thursday doubleheader, the Blue Jays are allowed to temporarily increase their roster to 26 men for the night game (would have been both games if they had 48 hours notice – an odd distinction). This is exactly what the Blue Jays needed. It is being reported that the Jays will call up Gose to be that 26th man. What the Jays should do is DL Lind (to let him heal properly) and call Gose up for game 1, then add one of the “slugging” first basemen/DHs as the extra man.

This would give the Blue Jays so much flexibility. If Rasmus is healthy, then Gose gives the Jays the option of going with the better defensive OF and using one of Melky Cabrera or Bautista at DH for game one. If not, just slide Gose into CF. For game 2 they would have another choice; they would gain the the ability to go with the better hitting lineup by inserting Johnson/Francisco as the DH and saving Gose for a late-game pinch running appearance. All of those options are clear upgrades over the ridiculous lineup the Jays had out there by the end of Tuesday’s game.

After the game, the Blue Jays can just send down whichever one of the two makes more sense. If Rasmus is fully healthy, send down Gose. If not, send down the bat. Or better yet, waive Esmil Rogers, keep both hitters, and the flexibility until Casey Janssen is ready (at which point they should send down another reliever). I doubt the Blue Jays will do this, but it certainly would be ideal. With Jose Reyes coming back on the weekend, the top of the lineup will be strong again. Having additional options to fill the bottom of the lineup would be very helpful.

Regardless of how it actually plays out, it was nice to have things go the Blue Jays way for once.

Thank you, Baseball Gods.

Picture Courtesy of James G via Flickr

  • Geoff

    Snowed out *