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The White Sox and fearsome Cuban slugger Jose Abreu visit Toronto.

The White Sox are coming to town for a four game set. With John Danks on tap for the ChiSox on Friday, that may be the day Brad Glenn get to make his major league debut. Saturday may feature the best pitching matchup of the series, as Marcus Stroman faces off against one of the best five pitchers in baseball.

Earlier today, the White Sox designated old friend Scott Downs for assignment. This may be the end of the road for Downs, who had an ERA over 6 in 38 appearances for the White Sox this year.

Moises Sierra is patrolling right field for the White Sox tonight. In 65 at-bats, hes hitting .246/.275/.323. Hes also notched two assists for the White Sox with his powerful arm. One of the more interesting players to watch on the White Sox is center-fielder Adam Eaton, who was the return for the White Sox dealing Hector Santiago to the Angels in a three-team trade. After suffering through some injuries and a poor 2013, Eaton is patrolling center field comfortably and hitting .284/.352/.387. Never a power hitter in the minors, Eaton posted OBPs north of .450s at Class-A in 2011 and in 2012. While he posted these when he had batting averages above .330, there may be more potential as Eaton recovers from his 2013 elbow injury.

Pitching Matchups
Thursday: Scott Carroll (2-3, 4.30) v. JA Happ (6-4, 4.87)
Friday: John Danks (6-6, 4.34) v. RA Dickey (6-6, 4.04)
Saturday: Chris Sale (6-1, 2.27) v. Marcus Stroman (4-2, 4.25)
Sunday: Jose Quintana (4-7, 3.69) v. Mark Buehrel (10-4, 2.52)

Series Thread: White Sox vs. Blue Jays, June 26-29 | 135 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#289045) #
Interesting that Downs was released.  Sox owe him $3.75 for this year and $250k buyout for next.  His K/9 is fine (8.4) and HR/9 also are fine (0.4) but his BB/9 are scary (5.7).  In April/May he walked 14 in 19 1/3 IP but in June just 1 in 4 1/3 vs 5 K and 1 HR.  In June he faced more than 2 batters just once - in fact in 21 of his 38 games he faced just one or two batters.  In high leverage a 659 OPS against, low leverage 669 medium 1.068.  3+ days rest he gets hit hard, 0/1/2 days rest he has a sub 700 OPS against. 

I think Downs, once he clears, might be worth a shot.  His wildness is calming down, and without the wildness he is a solid reliever still.  Give him regular work so he doesn't get 'too strong' and I suspect he'd still be effective.  Probably better than Rasmussen at least.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#289046) #
That send call of Navarro by Rivera with none out in the bottom of the fifth was...interesting.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#289047) #
Chicago played 12 innings yesterday, so if we get inti the bullpen early tonight, it will go well for the series.
Chuck - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#289048) #
Garry Trudeau nicknamed one of his Doonesbury characters Toggle. I think this moniker applies equally well to Happ who, in his 11 starts this year, has alternated good and bad starts without exception.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#289049) #
Glenn for Lind here?

Mike Green - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#289050) #
I guess not.  Maybe Gibbons wants to give him a start before pinch-hitting.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#289051) #
With tonight's start, Happ's season line is pretty respectable for a back-end AL starter. The home runs and walks are a bit high, but overall he's done a decent job. Nice to see him go seven tonight.

Chuck - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#289052) #
NBA aside: Tyler Ennis goes 18th to Phoenix in advance of Raptors' pick #20.
grjas - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#289053) #
Garry Trudeau nicknamed one of his Doonesbury characters Toggle. I think this moniker applies equally well to Happ who, in his 11 starts this year, has alternated good and bad starts without exception.

Seems to be a microcosm for the whole team. They pile up blown saves in April and then go on a prodigious tear in May. The batters are then hitting everything, then suddenly they're hitting nothing. They stink out the joint inNY then come back from an 8-0deficit. After that emotional win, they stink the next day. Most recently they lose JB and Lawrie and look like they will win 3 of 4 including the Yanks series

I can't figure this team out. They're bipolar, dyslexic or Lind-beard weird. I don't know what.
China fan - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#289055) #
"....Nice to see him go seven tonight...."

He was still throwing 96 mph in the 8th inning too.

Interesting to see Gibbons allowing him to throw 124 pitches tonight.  But he was throwing freely and easily, no apparent problems, 8 strikeouts, only 4 hits allowed.  Hard to argue with the results.
Chuck - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#289056) #
NBA Aside Redux: With the panel fully expecting the Raptors to take PG Shabazz Napier, they take a Brazilian kid perceived as being years away from being able to contribute.
China fan - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#289057) #
Someone has worked out the numbers on Happ's oscillating or toggling starts.  In his odd-numbered starts, he is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA.  In his even-numbered starts, he is 1-4 with a 9.53 ERA. 

At the start of this season, many fans were complaining that Happ was a terrible pitcher. Turns out that they were exactly half-right.

greenfrog - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#289058) #
I choose to see the glass Happ-full.
China fan - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#289059) #
A little disappointed that the Jays didn't allow Brad Glenn to hit for Cabrera in the 8th inning with a 6-run lead.
grjas - Thursday, June 26 2014 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#289061) #
Can't say I expected Happ to be number 2 in wins half way thru the season.
ayjackson - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 12:29 AM EDT (#289065) #
I was always a proponent of only giving Happ the odd start.
uglyone - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 01:15 AM EDT (#289066) #
I may have had too many drinks but you guys sre pretty punny tonight.
whiterasta80 - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#289067) #
Happ has been just fine as a #5, he is about the best you could hope for out of that spot in the rotation and I have no complaints. Sure it can be ugly when "Mr. Hyde" shows up, but he isn't Clayton Kershaw. In fact he's not terribly overpaid in his current role.

If we added a #1 (i.e. Price) I think that you'd find every pitcher in the rotation looking like a good fit for their slot. Otherwise we have to hope that Stro-Show reaches his ceiling very quickly.

The only reason I'd be interested in adding a #3-5 starter is if we were concerned with the innings caps on Hutchinson and Stroman. Even then we have Morrow as a possible option.
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#289068) #
Happ's seasonal ERA/FIP/xFIP line (4.29/4.53/.420) is entirely in line with his career norms (4.25/4.39/4.42).  You may not know what you are going to get start to start, but you have a pretty good idea what to expect over the long haul. Last night, Happ wasn't at his best but a tired and hurting White Sox lineup helped him out a lot by chasing way too many pitches.  That shouldn't be taken as criticism- when Happ is on, he can subdue a good and healthy lineup.

Martinez and Tabler were carrying on last night again about how all Lind needs in order to hit LHPs is practice.  Nooooo.  I have this sneaking suspicion we're going to see Lind in the lineup DHing this weekend against Danks, Sale and/or Quintana.  Conquer your demons, Mr. Gibbons; just say it- "Adam Lind can hit righthanders, but lefthanders are his kryptonite.".  Lind's back has been good and he has been hitting exceptionally well, except when he faces lefthanders.  He looked terrible facing Surkamp and on his last flail, I had a twinge in my back just watching.

Gerry - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#289069) #
If the Jays do land a new starting pitcher today, who do you bump from the rotation? Dickey and Buehrle are not getting bumped. Stroman has been mostly great since he was promoted. That leaves Happ and Hutchison who have both been inconsistent.

The impractical answer is Hutch starts on the road and Happ at home but if it was today who do you bump?
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#289070) #
As I have said before, a mid-range starter is a low priority on this club for that very reason.  Obviously, if David Price was offered to the Jays for Tirado, you'd happily take him off Tampa's hands and insert him at the top of the rotation and figure it out from there. 

Amberly McAteer has interesting comments on female fandom in the Globe. 

Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#289071) #
Last night's game marked the halfway point in the season; anyone would be pleased with 45 wins at this stage. 
Chuck - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#289072) #
Happ has been just fine as a #5

His ERA+ is 96 which is right around league average for a SP. So that is quite primo for a #5.

Chuck - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#289073) #
I have this sneaking suspicion we're going to see Lind in the lineup DHing this weekend

Agreed. Lind is hitting RHP very well, the roster is banged up and Kratz ain't around. Perfect storm.

Martinez and Tabler were carrying on last night again about... [ed. whatever]

Which is why my mute button is never far from reach.

Dave Till - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#289080) #
I never listen to Buck and Pat. When I watch the game, I watch it with the sound off. Bliss ensues.

Happ is sometimes frustrating because he gets bombed almost half the time, thus giving the Jays virtually no chance to win the game unless they come back from 8-0 or something. Still, he is better than the parade of whosits that the Jays were running out there last year because all of their regular starters got hurt.

And here's a fun set of stats for you:
- J.A. Happ: 4.29 ERA, 65 IP, 70 H, 30 BB, 57 SO
- Ubaldo Jiminez: 4.70 ERA, 88 IP, 84 H, 53 BB (worst in league), 77 SO. His 8 losses lead the league too.
- Ervin Santana: 4.15 ERA, 89 IP, 89 H, 27 BB, 81 SO. Better than Happ, but he faces pitchers regularly.

AA is no doubt feeling a bit happier about his roster construction now than he did back in April.
Dave Till - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#289081) #
And my most favourite J.A. Happ stat: he tied for the National League lead in shutouts in 2009, with 2. He was second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting that year too.
dan gordon - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#289086) #
And Santana's stats are helped by a crazy first 3 starts for the Braves when he faced the Mets twice, and the Phillies. Beginning with start number 4, his ERA is 5.16. In those 11 starts he has given up fewer than 3 earned runs only twice, with one of those being vs the Cubs.
uglyone - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#289088) #
I know most of us worry about the sustainability lf the Jays' pitching, especially when it comes to Buehrle overperforming and the kids holding up. At least in terms of "overperforming", or "being lucky" I think we can address some fears here.

So fangraphs gives us ERA, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA all set to an ERA-scale. FIP just extrapolates from only strikeouts, walks, and homeruns. xFIP taxes that number and sets the HR rate to league average. While SIERA takes into account batted ball data (i.e. linedrives, groundballs, flyballs, etc.). Neither of these metrics is perfect but by looking at all of them together I think we can come up with a pretty good number.

This likely is is far from scientific but what I've been doing occasionally this year is taking all four numbers and averaging them out to give us one number to use. My gut tells me this probably gets rid of most of the outlier issues in any of the numbers and gives us a better number overall than any individual number, at least in most cases. Could be wrong but I'm gonna go with it for now. This gives us these numbers for our pitchers:


Buehrle 16gs, 6.7ip/gs, 3.71
Stroman 5gs, 6.0ip/gs, 3.18
Hutch 16gs, 5.8ip/gs, 3.97
Dickey 16gs, 6.1ip/gs, 4.34
Happ 11gs, 5.5ip/gs, 4.21

and if we go back further, and look at the last 2 years:

Buehrle 49gs, 6.4ip/gs, 3.98
Stroman 5gs, 6.0ip/gs, 3.18
Hutch 16gs, 5.8ip/gs, 3.97
Dickey 50gs, 6.5ip/gs, 4.30
Happ 29gs, 5.3ip/gs, 4.43



In terms of over-performance so far, we probably dont have much to worry about. The average numbers above are pretty solid, both in a possible ERA projection going forward and in terms of how deep the starters are going into games.

So I definitely agree that giving up much to get a "mid-rotation arm" is probably a waste of time, and any trade focus should be on a top of the rotation kind of guy, if we're looking for significant improvement.

The kids of course, could potentially be a worry. Except that I can't shake the feeling that if two 23 year olds were pitching this well for the Yanks or Sox, with their elite MILB track records, that they would be being heralded as one of the best young pitching duos in the game and not as a sign of weakness.

In terms of innings limits, I don't think there's any to worry about with Stroman. Stro pitched about 125 official innings last year, even with his 50gm suspension. But I imagine he threw 30ish more innings in extended ST while under suspension, so that's probably more of a 150-160ip total last year. So far this year he's pitched 72 innings, and we're halfway through the year. A full slate of starts the rest of the year would be about 100 more innings for him....which would bring him up to around 170 innings on the year, which is probably well within the range the Jays are comfortable with him going this year.


Hutch is a bigger question mark interms of durability, but only because of the TJ recovery plan, which I'll admit I don't know much about. As far as I know, the whole "30ish extra innings per year" innings total thing for prospects is just as they're coming up as prospects, and it isn't a clock that gets re-set every time a pitcher misses a large part of the season. Hutch pitched 150 innings in 2011, so I'm not sure we re-set him down to that level again just because he's had TJ. A full slate of starts would have him approaching the 190ip level, which might be too much but might not be, either. I know that, for example, even though Marcum hadn't pitched more than 150-odd innings before his TJ surgery, he still came back and threw around 200ip in the two years immediately returning from injury. Though he was older than Hutch at the time.

Chuck - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#289090) #
And Santana's stats are helped by a crazy first 3 starts

Yeah, but they still count. Cherry-picking AB and IP to ignore can always prop up any argument.

dan gordon - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#289091) #
I remember hearing somebody from the Jays, maybe AA, on The Fan a month ago saying that they didn't have concern about innings for Hutchison this year, and he had no predetermined innings limit.
uglyone - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#289095) #
Tonight's lineup vs. the Lefty:

SS Reyes
LF Cabrera
1B Encarnacion
DH Navarro
RF Glenn
3B Tolleson
2B Kawasaki
CF Gose
C Thole

Not the most inspiring lineup. And we'll likely see it for 3 games in a row.

Hopefully our pitchers perform.
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#289096) #
I am delighted that Lind is sitting.  Hopefully Bautista is ready soon. 

Gose over Rasmus would be puzzling, were it not for the showcasing issue.

Ryan Day - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#289097) #
Neither Rasmus nor Gose are likely to hit much against a lefty, so you might as well go with Gose's defence.

This would be a good week for Pillar, had he not been sent to the penalty box.
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#289098) #
Well, if you're going to give that much weight to Gose's defensive superiority, why wouldn't you have Gose in centerfield and Rasmus in right-field when facing a RHP?  Evidently seniority counts for something, but apparently it takes second fiddle to showcasing talent near the deadline.  Rasmus is a better hitter than Gose against all types of pitching...
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#289099) #
Yeah, but they still count. Cherry-picking AB and IP to ignore can always prop up any argument.

While I generally support the 'they all count' approach, I think the point that is being made is that a few good games against poor offences like the Mets, Phils and Cubs is probably less indicative of what he would have done n the AL East than the larger number of starts against the remaining NL teams in which he has pitched rather poorly.
uglyone - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#289100) #
Barry Davis @SNBarryDavis
Gibbons says the Gose for Rasmus is strictly to give Colby a day off, especially having just returned from hamstring inj. #bluejays



for what it's worth.
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#289101) #
I can't remember a manager ever saying, "y'know, Jerry, we don't really think that much of Larry Anderschmidt as a reliever but we are going to give him as much work as possible so that we can sucker the Argonauts out of Jeff Baggypants at the deadline".  You might as well ask him which player has the poorest hygiene or something. 
85bluejay - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#289102) #
I'll be interested to see if Pillar ever gets another shot with the Jays - I won't be surprised to see him as a sweetener in a July trade - way back, the Jays dumped Dereck Bell and released David Wells when they pissed off Cito Gaston.
Hodgie - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#289104) #
Hopefully the Pillar saga is more Hudson than Bell/Wells who by most accounts were a pain in the posterior on days that ended with 'y'.
92-93 - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#289106) #
It's worth a lot, uglyone. Makes perfect sense to give Colby a blow vs. a LHP, even if tonight's lineup looks horrendous. Dickey's going to have to battle to keep this lineup in the game, though I suppose the White Sox one isn't that much better.

"Even then we have Morrow as a possible option."

If Morrow comes back, I'd like to see him in the bullpen at this point. He could probably really help back there in short stints.
Dewey - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#289107) #
You might as well ask him which player has the poorest hygiene or something.

C'mon, Mike; no contestHave you seen Lind's beard up close -- all those little creatures in there?  He's like something from L'il Abner (sorry kids).
Gerry - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#289108) #
If I was Colby I would ask to play and volunteer to rest tomorrow.
Magpie - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#289109) #
The immortal Derek Bell. Who can forget Operation Shutdown?
Magpie - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#289110) #
Does Edwin know that you're allowed to come off the bag if that's the only way to keep the throw from going by you?
John Northey - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#289111) #
Nice - Dickey has 5 K's in 3 IP and the only baserunner due to an error.  The nasty factor (weird measure at MLB.com) has been in the 80 and 70's for most pitches I've seen, most games I see numbers in the 30's and 40's. 

Lets hope the offense can score a couple today. 

dan gordon - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#289112) #
I would love to see some stats on this, but it sure seems to me that the Blue Jays get caught an awful lot on plays like that one today where Kawasaki was caught in a rundown on a throw in from the outfield where the ball is cut off by the defending team. Bautista, in particular seems to be vulnerable to that. There also seems to be a problem with runners being thrown out at home, particularly vexing when there are no outs like Navarro yesterday. No idea if stats on this kind of thing are available anywhere, but it sure seems to me like the Jays make a lot of outs on the bases on plays like those.
John Northey - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#289113) #
Boy, when Dickey loses it he loses it fast doesn't he?
Kasi - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#289114) #
Yup, Gibbons needs to learn to be a lot quicker on the hook with Dickey. Shame that Dickey threw away his first 5 innings, but you can't give up 4 HRs.
AWeb - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#289115) #
For dan - http://tootblan.tumblr.com/post/89860319925/with-roughly-nearly-half-the-games-and-more-than

The Jays aren't actually too bad at getting thrown out on the bases (a tootblan is Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop). But tonight won't help, and that graph was before last night's misadventure as well.
Magpie - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#289116) #
Moises Sierra into the game as a defensive replacement.

One of those sentences one never thought to hear...
Mike Green - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#289117) #

C'mon, Mike; no contest.  Have you seen Lind's beard up close -- all those little creatures in there?  He's like something from L'il Abner (sorry kids).

If pressed, a manager would pull a Reagan and totally deny.  "I don't know about the fashions of kids these days...a ferret on the shoulder, aphids in the beard...as long as the league allows it, Pat, I don't think that there's a thing I can do"
dan gordon - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#289118) #
AWeb, thanks for the link to the TOOTBLAN site. Very interesting data. Looks like I was bang on about Bautista - he leads the team by a mile with 8 TOOTBLANs, fully 25% of the team total. Shades of Tony Fernandez.

I guess it's comforting to know the Jays aren't particularly bad in this department when you factor in the number of baserunners they've had, but it sure is annoying when those mistakes happen, especially in a 1-run loss like tonight.
John Northey - Friday, June 27 2014 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#289119) #
One thing I do give Gibbons credit for is making full use of his starting pitchers as pinch runners.  When you have a short bench you need to be creative and this is something Bobby Cox used to do all the time as I recall even though he had a roster of 15 hitters and 10 pitchers.

Just frustrating, trying to figure out when Dickey is going to lose it.  For a few innings he is unbeatable then suddenly it goes kaboom.  Wonder if using him for 6 max would be a good idea, just pull him unless it is a massive blowout.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#289121) #
You should probably treat Dickey the same way as the other starters on the staff, rather than as an ace.  So, in last night's game, it's 2-2 after 6 innings.  Dickey has thrown 89 pitches.  You would bring any other starter to begin the seventh, but you might have Loup warming with Dunn on deck.  Abreu homers on the 2-2 pitch, you've got to have someone warming and maybe you bring in Loup to face Dunn if you didn't have him warming.  After Dunn is walked on 4 pitches, you take Dickey out for sure (the same way that you would if Hutchison or Stroman was pitching).  Obviously, you would give him a longer rope if the score was 9-3 Blue Jays.

I checked Dickey's records since he started using the knuckleball.  His ERAs in the 7th-9th innings  have been 2010-2014: 5.16, 5.84, 2.82, 5.62 and 13.50.  Realistically, you are generally looking at an ERA over 5 given current performance.  You can probably do better than that from the pen. 

The difficulty, of course, is ego.  Hasn't Gibbons already made the point that it's a team game?

uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#289122) #
I can't say they've clearly been bad moves but i think that over the last couple of weeks gibbons has made a number of arguable decisions tyat have blown up in his face.

I would have tried to get dickey through that key inning as well. But imo you're right, Mike, that the four pitch walk to dunn should probably have been the end....and gibby probably knows it.

Chuck - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#289123) #
No feared Lind starts against the LH starters now that Mastroianni is in town.
John Northey - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#289124) #
I think this group would've gone insane back in the early 90's with Gaston.  He would leave guys in when it made no sense at all on the surface but come playoff time suddenly his 'let them play' method made sense.  You see just how far guys can be pushed in the regular season, you let them hit vs pitchers who should get them out just to see if they can adapt.  Then in the playoffs it all changes - you pinch hit, you run, you use defensive replacements, etc. as you now should have seen just what each guy can do and gave them every chance to prove you wrong and now it matters.

Gibbons isn't quite there yet, nor is the team really, but hopefully he is learning that Dickey cannot be trusted after 6, that Lind cannot hit a LHP to save his life, and so on.  The parade from AAA (10 hitters and 8 pitchers used who are not currently on the 25 man roster) has helped to figure out some of who can have value and who won't.  It'll be interesting if the Jays stay in it come September to see who is called up.  Guys like Goins, Kratz, Pillar, and Mastroianni would have value on the roster then (defense, speed, etc.).  More pitchers will be called up but who knows who at this point.

The big question now is who will AA trade for by July 31st.  If Cliff Lee comes back healthy I hope the Jays put in a strong offer but a starter who isn't an ace I'd have little use for unless the cost was very low.  Stroman is looking promising, Happ is solid as a #5, Buehrle, Dickey, and Hutch are solid #3's and maybe even #2's but none I would count on as a #1 at this point. 

As to offense, Gose is the only guy with 80+ PA and an OPS+ under 90 right now.  For 150+ PA the only guy under 95 is Navarro.  That is a sweet spot to be in.  I just hope someone emerges who can be a RH bat off the bench at some point or AA finds one via trade.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#289125) #
One more quick word.  Dickey's ERA this year overstates his effectiveness.  He's allowed 8 unearned runs.  The rest of the starters (Buehrle, Hutchison, Happ, Morrow, McGowan, Stroman and Hendriks)  have allowed 7 unearned runs.
Magpie - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#289126) #
His ERAs in the 7th-9th innings have been 2010-2014: 5.16, 5.84, 2.82, 5.62 and 13.50.

One of those things is not like the others.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#289127) #
I don't mean to come across as critical, John - I love Gibby in general.

And I don't really get the angst about Lind hitting lefties in general, since Gibby really has been great with his strict platoons whenever he's had healthy options available.

I do like discussing disagreements with his choices though, even though I agree with him most of the time.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#289128) #
thru 3:

C.Sale (25): 3.0ip, 2ht, 0r, 2bb, 4k, 47pc/29st, 1go/1fo
Stroman (23): 3.0ip, 1ht, 0r, 0bb, 3k, 44pc, 25st, 5go/1fo
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#289129) #
This is fun.  Stroman seems to have the slight upper hand, but luck may have a lot to do with how this one ends.  The Blue Jays do have a better bullpen and so working counts definitely has its place.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#289130) #
ah, the beauty of platoon splits. Righty Mastro goes deep for the big 2-0 lead.

nice job by rasmus getting a walk off of the tough lefty, too.
Magpie - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#289131) #
Somewhere in upstate New York, Kevin Pillar is slamming his head against the wall. Again and again.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#289132) #
heh.

funny cuz its true.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#289133) #
thru 6:

C.Sale (25): 6.0ip, 3ht, 2er, 5bb, 6k, 3go/4fo, 98pc/58st
Stroman (23): 6.0ip, 1ht, 0er, 1bb, 6k, 7go/2fo, 81pc/46st
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#289134) #
Stroman just threw the prettiest curveball I have yet seen him for the 1st pitch strike to Gillaspie.  He's coming along all right.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#289135) #
Don't like this decision from Gibbons.  Stroman had plenty left, and had intentionally pitched around Dunn to get to Viciedo. 
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#289136) #
agreed.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#289137) #
gibby is making all the wrong moves lately.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#289138) #
I would rather have been wrong.
Chuck - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#289139) #
McGowan has made a nice return to relieving (the very recent gopher ball notwithstanding), but why is his K rate so low this year?
Magpie - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#289140) #
why is his K rate so low this year?

It's a mystery. It's nothing to do with his role - coming into today's game, his K rate was actually higher when he was still in the rotation. (The 2 Ks today have probably changed that.)
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#289141) #
"McGowan has made a nice return to relieving"

might be a bit deceiving, to be honest....as might be last year's performance.

his pretty 1.06era (prior to today) this year as a reliever is belied by a 3.97fip and 3.98xfip, and last year's 2.45era is belied by 3.67fip and 4.20xfip.

he hasn't been bad as a reliever but Gibbons IMO has been overstating how good and important he's been. His peripherals suggest a reliever in the 3.50-4.00era range over these two years comeback (i.e. a decent middle reliever), but not the ace reliever that his 1.90era seems to have convinced Gibby he is.
Chuck - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#289142) #
With the Blue Jays so LHB-heavy, you'd have thought Chicago would have reached into the minors to have a second lefty reliever on hand for this series.
Kasi - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#289143) #
They need Bautista back badly, especially versus LHP. This lineup is anemic without him in it. Surprisingly our pitching has been holding pretty well, but not good enough to win many game scoring 2-4 runs.
Chuck - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#289144) #
might be a bit deceiving, to be honest

Fair enough. I imagine my impression is overly coloured by his success in his first 5 or 10 outings upon his return to the pen. He has been a little wobbly lately.

uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#289145) #
Gose is starting to win me over. Though Pillar's flailing probably helps there. It's just pretty impressive how well Gose can work the count on a consistent basis despite not being a dangerous hitter. Though I guess that might change once pitchers get a book on him.
uglyone - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#289146) #
reyes and melky can be annoyingly hacktastic sometimes.
Kasi - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#289147) #
Chicago has an awful bullpen, but unlike Baltimore our offense is not good enough right now to pull back into these games.
Chuck - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#289148) #
reyes and melky can be annoyingly hacktastic sometimes.

Indeed. Neither of their ABs were terribly Seitzerish. They both chased balls on the first pitch.

BlueJayWay - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#289149) #
Pitching around Dunn was a mistake...then pulling Stroman was a mistake. Not pulling Dickey after the homerun & walk in the seventh last night was a mistake. Not the best couple of days from Gibbons and two frustrating losses.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#289150) #
Stroman pitched a great game and was outduelling Chris Sale when removed prematurely.  Hopefully Gibbons adjusts his sights for both Dickey and Stroman (in different directions). You can tell from the intensity of Buehrle's gaze when Stroman pitches that he knows how good Stroman is.
bpoz - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#289153) #
I hope somehow we keep Stroman & Hutchison. They are both young & inexperienced, but both seem to know what they are doing. So far their results have been quite good.
So to me, it is not a fetch to see them as a powerful combo in the Jay's future rotations.
China fan - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#289154) #
Although I'm still concerned about the lack of depth for the Jays rotation beyond the current 5 starters, I'm now beginning to think -- for the first time in a year -- that Anthopoulos should be prioritizing a 2B or 3B ahead of a starting pitcher in his trade talks.

Tolleson and Kawasaki are nice back-ups, and Francisco is okay in a platoon, but the Jays are going to be horribly exposed if they keep running out these guys for the next month.  Tolleson and Francisco had good starts to their Jays careers, but now they are sinking back to reality. Over the past month, Tolleson is sporting a hitting line of .150/.209/.175.   Over the same period, Francisco has a line of .183/.247/.402.   Kawasaki is a hard-working guy with a decent OBP and bunting skills, but let's not forget that his MLB career OPS is still .594.  The Jays can survive with one of these guys in the starting lineup, but allocating both 2B and 3B to this trio of journeymen is a bit much, and it's becoming a factor in the team's losses.  By the time Lawrie gets back, the Jays could have lost too much ground to the Yankees and Orioles and it might be difficult to climb back.  (And there's not much help available from Buffalo, where Goins now has a .642 OPS.  Goedert might be worth a gamble, I suppose, but neither his hitting nor his defence seem particularly promising as a replacement for Lawrie.)

As for the rotation:  barring injury, and barring a major regression by Stroman and/or Hutchison, it's looking quite good.  The bullpen will also be fine when Cecil and Delabar are back.  Morrow will be back in August too.  So, in conclusion, I think 2B or 3B has to be the priority for Anthopoulos now.  The good news is:  it should be much easier to acquire a 2B or 3B at a reasonable cost than it will be to acquire a top starting pitcher.

uglyone - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#289157) #
Just a reminder of just how good stroman has been as an SP, in case you're just looking at his overall line including his out of element stint in the bullpen....

As SP: 6.1ip/gs, 7.9k/9, 2.0bb/9, 0.7hr/9, .267babip, 1.05whip, 2.48era, 3.16fip, 3.43xfip, 3.37siera

Legit excellent line through and through, without any significant flukish or unsustainable numbers in there.
uglyone - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#289159) #
alright offense feel free to score at any time now, please.
Chuck - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#289160) #
Buehrle's career HR/9 is 1.0.

After allowing just 2 HR in his first 12 starts (81 innings), he has now allowed 6 in his past 5 starts (30 innings and counting).

Kasi - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#289161) #
Even with that he's still been giving quality starts. This offense reeks right now. They need Bautista back badly and I agree with china in that getting a legit 2b who can be league average would be huge.
electric carrot - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#289162) #
for the first time in a year -- that Anthopoulos should be prioritizing a 2B or 3B ahead of a starting pitcher in his trade talks.

Well, I get why you say this -- but the blue jays despite this still have one of the top offenses in baseball.  I really don't think having a below average 2nd baseman is going to kill this team.  Tolleson and Francisco aren't as good as they were but they're not as bad as they're showing at the moment.  And Lawrie is coming back for third.  I still think that what we need to prioritize is a lights out pitcher.  That, we do not have.
uglyone - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#289163) #
Injuries or no, this would be an extremely, extremely dissappointing series loss.
uglyone - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#289164) #
welp, we've frittered away our comfortable first place lead real good now.

and now we've got a real tough run to the All-Star break against some of the hottest teams in the league, almost all on the road. Brewers, A's, Angels are red hot good teams, and even the Rays have been heating up lately.

We better get Bautista and Cecil back ASAP, and bring our hard hats to work on tuesday. No more joking around. We need another hot streak....or at the least, we have to up our play and at least play these good and hot teams even up until the allstar break.
Kasi - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#289165) #
Top of the line pitchers are scarce and really expensive. We see what selling our farm got us the first time. Basically Beurhle and a very inconsistent Reyes. Dickey right now is our number five starter. Getting someone like Price would be horrifically costly. I don't mind a rental like Hammel for depth, but I think getting a legit replacement in there for 2b so we have something to tide us over to Lawrie returns and allows us to bench Francisco is a good thing.
grjas - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#289166) #
I don't envy AA and the decisions he has to make.

On one hand this is an unusual year where neither the Sox or Yanks dominate. With the ridiculous gobs of money they can throw at their teams, this situation is unlikely to last long. Plus JB and EE will likely start to age soon, with few position players of interest in the minors. So half of me says bet the farm now while we have the chance.

On the other hand, this team no longer looks like a near powerhouse needing only one or two adds. The hitting is strong, but only when both JB and EE are in the lineup and healthy, the starters are better than expected, but little better than league average, and the relievers below. Throw in declining defence and this team still looks better than league average, but not by much. And you know the Yanks at least will be spending in the next month.

Is this team worth throwing away a significant part of its future? It's no longer clear.

Everyone has an opinion. Time will tell whose right.
scottt - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#289170) #
The Yanks will be spending... money, not prospects. The Jays can compete if they do the same.
It's pretty hard to acquire good inexpensive players. Who trade away those?

I think they could trade for a good reliever since there no more compensation for those.
Having a real setup guy in front of Jenssen would certainly help. 
Mike Green - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#289173) #
I just caught parts of today's game on the radio.  Was there an explanation for the decision to rest Cabrera and start Lind at 1B?  I know that Cabrera needs a day off, but with Bautista and Lawrie out, it was a bad time for it (particularly with Monday off).  It would have been so much better if Gibbons had waited one day.  Bautista is apparently going to try to run on it tomorrow and if he's ready to go for Tuesday afternoon's game, that would be a good time to rest Cabrera to give him the 2 days off.  They face a RHP on Tuesday, so an OF of Gose, Rasmus and Bautista with Lind DHing would be perfectly fine. 
Mylegacy - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#289175) #
We owned May. We grew skunk weed in June. Fortunately, neither the O's or the Evil Empire did much better.

Someone will own July (since my birthday is in July) - I've decided WE shall own July and will take a serious lead into August. No need to thank me - it's my birthday present to you all.

Happy Birthday!

Mylegacy - Sunday, June 29 2014 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#289176) #
I just noticed that if we were in the AL West now - with our record - we'd be in fourth place.

Sobering. Is this really the team that just needs a new pitcher and we find the Promise Land?
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 06:38 AM EDT (#289177) #
There is the little matter of the strength of the competition in the AL East. Despite it being a down year for the East, it is difficult to defend the West as the stronger division -- look at the A's pitching staff.

That being said, I am bullish on the Jays chances of making the play-offs but something about this team (even with a healthy Cecil, Morrow, and Lawrie that makes me believe it won't go deep into the play-offs.
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 06:44 AM EDT (#289178) #
Did the Jays really sell the farm? Given the performance of what they gave up so far, I don't think that trade provides a great argument for hanging onto prospects. It seems common today for people to vastly over-rate what a prospect, even a high-ranked one, is worth.

For the flip side -- who's happy with the return from the Halladay trade? Sure AA was canny enough to deal for Lawrie in the end, but Drabek will be a reliever, if everything breaks right for him. I'm glad they gave Doc his shot, but it would have been better for the team if they'd hung on to him.
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 06:47 AM EDT (#289179) #
Regression to the mean -- it's kind of like gravity.
Chuck - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#289180) #
Was there an explanation for the decision to rest Cabrera and start Lind at 1B?

I caught most of the game on the idiot box and none was given, other than Cabrera had been playing almost every day to that point. I agreed that he needed a day off, but the timing was obviously questionable.

Not a future weatherman, Buck Martinez, twice informed us the humidex was 34 percent.

scottt - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#289181) #
I'm glad they gave Doc his shot, but it would have been better for the team if they'd hung on to him.

What? 2 draft picks and Doc to the Yankees? I don't think I agree with you there.
BlueJayWay - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#289182) #
Still crazy to me how quickly the AL East went from awesome to completely mediocre.
scottt - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#289183) #
I don't mind a rental like Hammel for depth, but I think getting a legit replacement in there for 2b so we have something to tide us over to Lawrie returns and allows us to bench Francisco is a good thing.

Rentals are very expensive now. The good ones worthy of a QO anyways. The other team gives up a pick along with the player so the starting cost would be at least a first round pick that hasn't soured yet.

I don't think there's a way to improve the team without increasing the payroll. That's the sticking point I see.
bpoz - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#289185) #
Our .536 winning percent gives us 87 wins for the season. We may still make the playoffs but you generally have to get about 91-92 wins to qualify for the post season as a wild card.
That said 92 wins I define as a good team. So at the trade deadline I would be very careful how much I give up to improve this team, if it does not qualify as a good team.

There will be talk about who is available in regards to a good SP. Then we will know what these good SPs were traded for. I do not want to give up a promising future for a maybe present. However with our good offense I do not mind adding another good bat, a rental. Then maybe we can make the playoffs and have success in the playoffs without it costing our future. This is a maybe team. We do not have an elite SP, unless Buehrle can do it all year & carry the team in the playoffs. It is possible he can.
uglyone - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#289187) #
Annoying thing is that we've played well against the good/hot teams, taken care of business against the bad/cold teams.....but haven't held our own vs. the teams in the middle:


Vs Opponent:

1 OAK 3-0
2 MIL 0-0
3 DET 3-0
4 LAA 1-3
5 SFG 0-0

Top-5 7-3

6 LAD 0-0
7 ATL 0-0
8 SEA 0-0
9 TOR 0-0
10 WSH 0-0

6-10: 0-0

Top-10: 7-3

11 CIN 1-2
12 STL 1-2
13 KC 3-4
14 BAL 5-5
15 NYY 3-6

11-15: 13-19

16 PIT 1-2
17 CLE 4-2
18 MIA 0-0
19 CHX 1-3
20 BOS 4-2

16-20: 10-9

Mid-10: 23-28

21 MIN 2-4
22 TEX 2-1
23 NYM 0-0
24 PHI 4-0
25 COL 0-0

21-25: 8-5

26 HOU 2-1
27 SDP 0-0
28 CHC 0-0
29 ARZ 0-0
30 TBR 5-2

26-30: 7-3

Bot-10: 15-8




Top-10: 10gms, 7-3 (.700)
Mid-10: 51gms, 23-28 (.451)
Gerry - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#289188) #
According to Baseball America the Jays have signed Frank Francisco. I assume he will head to Buffalo.
John Northey - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#289189) #
Well, he still K's them like mad so if he can keep the ball in the strike zone maybe he'll be useful. Hopefully he is in Buffalo for a bit and if successful then try hm out in the 6/7/8 role in the pen.
greenfrog - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#289190) #
One problem with standing pat in the off-season is that you typically have to wait until the end of July to make significant upgrades.

The positive side of the Jays' inactivity is that they didn't deal prospects like Stroman, Hutchison, Norris or Pompey, and they didn't throw money at underperforming free agents like Infante, Ellis, Ubaldo or Nolasco (among others).

While signing someone like Kazmir, Hudson or Hammel (or, thinking bigger, Jose Abreu) would have been a nifty move, on the whole, the Jays' restrained approach last off-season seems to have served them well.
Magpie - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#289191) #
it would have been better for the team if they'd hung on to [Halladay].

Obviously not true in the long run. But they just might have snuck into the post-season in 2010, the one extra year he would have been around. The 2010 Halladay would have been an upgrade on the gang of ne'er-do-wells who joined Romero, Marcum, Cecil, and Morrow in the 2010 rotation. The team went 12-26 in games started by Eveland, Litsch, Tallet, Rzepczynski, and Drabek. Four of those games were against the Yankees, and Toronto lost three of them.
Paul D - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#289192) #
If you believe the leaked Astros trade emails, AA was pretty much willing to deal any minor leaguer other than Sanchez last year:
http://deadspin.com/leaked-10-months-of-the-houston-astros-internal-trade-1597951970
Mike Green - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#289193) #
That is probably true.  Anthopoulos keeps using the term "upside", and frankly, I wince every time he does, particularly in relation to pitchers. 

Sanchez seems to be Anthopoulos' favourite, in much the same way that Arencibia was Ricciardi's favourite.  Let's hope this one turns out better than the last.

uglyone - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#289194) #
I think these numbers are right but they could use triple checking:


April

Offense: 4.6r/g (5th), 104wrc+ (6th),
Pitching: 4.6ra/g (7th), 4.64era (10th)
Defense: -2.4 (6th)
Record: .462 (11th)

Record here wasn't really deserved. The bullpen meltdown kind of screwed up what was a pretty well played month.


May

Offense: 5.5r/g (1st), 129wrc+ (1st),
Pitching: 4.1r/g (8th), 3.74era (6th)
Defense: -3.6 (8th)
Record: .700 (1st)

The record here was pretty deserved. They earned it.



June

Offense: 3.9r/g (10th), 98wrc+ (8th)
Pitching: 4.1r/g (6th), 3.93era (9th)
Defense: -4.8 (9th)
Record: .444 (10th)

Unfortunately, the poor record in June was also fully earned. Thye played like a bad team in every department.




The good news might be that after the Jays settled their starting rotation and got janssen back, their pitching has settled for two months now into a solid average maybe slightly above average level.

This slumping offense won't likely stay as poor as it has been this month, though it likely won't repeat its May surge.




All this probably points to our current overall stats being a pretty good true talent evaluation of our team. That would be 4.3 runs allowed per game, 8th in the AL, pretty much dead average. And 4.7 runs scored per game, 3rd in the AL, and up their with pretty much any other team's.


Halfway through the year I'd say we can pretty safely say that we have an offense that can hit with any team in the league, and an average pitching staff.
Mike Green - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#289195) #
So far this year, the RC is playing as a "110" ballpark.  This significantly skews both the offensive performance (which has been just somewhat above average once you take that into account) and the pitching (which has been as good as can be expected once you factor in the poor defence and the park). 
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#289196) #
Given the unbalanced schedule a strong division with a narrow distribution of talent will look a lot like a weak division with a narrow distribution of talent. My bet is that the AL East is fundamentally the former and not the latter.
John Northey - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#289197) #
Those leaked Astros trade emails have some 'phew' moments... like the Astros asking for Stroman + in exchange for Norris.  AA said he'd get back to them but doesn't to ever have got back to them on that.  Thank goodness. 
Jays content....

7/19/2013

[Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos] texted [Luhnow] and asked what it would take for Norris. AA said Aaron Sanchez is off the table but might be willing to talk about anyone else.

7/20/2013

[Luhnow] told [Alex Anthopoulos] that we would consider Stroman +. AA said he had a bunch of balls in the air at once but would get back to JL.

7/29/2013

[Alex Anthopoulos] texted [Luhnow] and asked what a package around Stroman might look like. JL said Stroman + Gose would be in consideration.

11/13/2013

[Alex Anthopoulos] said Lawrie was untouchable. Sounded like they might consider a smaller deal for Stroman but later in off season.

Wow, can you imagine how nuts we'd have gone if they sent Stroman AND Gose for Norris?  Ugh that would've been terrible.  In Baltimore Norris had a 86 ERA+ last year, 111 so far this year in 14 starts.  His 1.0 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.2 K/9 rates are nice but not 'wow' leading to a 4.49 FIP vs his 3.62 ERA suggesting he isn't really this good.  Lifetime 93 ERA+... if he cost Stroman boy would it look bad now.  Stroman's ERA+ is 103 now, with a FIP of 3.41 vs 4.01 ERA.  0.8 HR/9 1.9 BB/9 7.6 K/9.  No question which I'd rather have, let alone Stroman & Gose.
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#289198) #
I can't lay hands on a source, but if memory serves, one-year park adjustment factors have been found to be relatively unreliable. A half-season, presumably even less reliable...

Roger's Centre has played as a slightly above average hitters park for a while and my understanding is that comes from the lack of play in cold April weather and artificial turf.
China fan - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#289199) #
"....Halfway through the year I'd say we can pretty safely say that we have an offense that can hit with any team in the league, and an average pitching staff...."

I agree on the pitching staff, and that's making a huge difference this year.

On the offense, however, I worry that June might be an indication of the troubles ahead.  Lawrie is gone for several weeks, Bautista might not be 100 per cent, and the league's pitchers are fast catching up to Francisco and Tolleson and Thole.  I don't see a repeat of May in the future.
christaylor - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#289200) #
I wonder about these emails -- they're all from the Astro's side. The internal email for the Jays could just as easily read, "The Astros think they can get Stroman and Gose for Norris! LOL!"

It seems to me that the incentives are aligned for a GM to have other teams think they can get plus value from the Jays while the teams are still in negotiation. From what little information there is in the leaked email sounds like a polite blow-off to me. Considering a trade could amount to, "Yep. I thought for 2 seconds. No."
John Northey - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#289201) #
Back the 'oh crap' Stroman trade...
Stroman this year as a starter: 6+ IP per start, 7.9 SO/9 1.99 BB/9 0.7 HR/9
Norris this year: 6.2 IP per start, 6.2 K/9 2.9 BB/9 1.0 HR/9

Stroman is _already_ better than Norris it seems and getting stronger.  2.48 ERA as a starter and would be lower if McGowan had done his job.  Yikes.
Magpie - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#289202) #
a strong division with a narrow distribution of talent will look a lot like a weak division with a narrow distribution of talent. My bet is that the AL East is fundamentally the former and not the latter.

I think the AL East is a pretty mediocre division. The five teams are 86-86 (natch) against each other, 84-97 against the rest of the AL. Toronto is the only AL East team with a winning record outside the division, and while we're all quite familiar with the Jays' shortcomings... take a good close look at the Yankees infield. Or Baltimore's starting rotation.
Chuck - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#289203) #
Stroman is _already_ better than Norris it seems and getting stronger.

Stroman has looked terrific. Absolutely. But a fairer evaluation will come when he's gone through the league a couple of times. Hitters will adjust. And he will have to adjust. The element of surprise only lasts so long.

None of this is to say I'd rather have Norris than Stroman.

And as for those internal e-mails? Those trade discussions sound like something from internet forums and not the real world. They're almost hoax-like.

uglyone - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#289204) #
"On the offense, however, I worry that June might be an indication of the troubles ahead. Lawrie is gone for several weeks, Bautista might not be 100 per cent, and the league's pitchers are fast catching up to Francisco and Tolleson and Thole. I don't see a repeat of May in the future."

thing is, you're not going to find any teams without a hole or two in the lineup.

Navarro has been the worst Jays starter offensively this year, and he's got a decent 90wrc+.

RF Bautista 166
1B En'cion 163
DH Lind 153
3B Francisco 126
LF Cabrera 123
CF Rasmus 104
SS Reyes 102
2B Lawrie 98
C Navarro 90

So there's really been no holes in the lineup so far this year. Even if you blow two holes in with, say, the Lawrie injury and Francisco regressing to uselessness, then that's still no more holes than any other lineup has.

and on top of that, Bautista/EE is pretty much the best duo in baseball, and that's not just true this year but looking at the past few years, which few teams can match.

Oakland

C Norris 160
1B Moss 143
C Crisp 135
DH Jaso 133
LF Cespedes 128
3B Donaldson 124
RF Reddick 86
2B Punto 86
SS Lowrie 82


Angels

CF Trout 182
DH Cron 133
LF Hamilton 135
RF Calhoun 132
C Iannetta 125
1B Pujols 115
SS Aybar 112
2B Hendrik 104
3B Freese 76



Detroit

DH Martinez 160
1B Cabrera 144
2B Kinsler 128
C Avila 107
LF Davis 100
3B Castellanos 97
RF Hunter 90
CF Jackson 84
SS Romine 52


Orioles

DH Pearce 160
LF Cruz 150
CF Jones 121
RF Markakis 112
1B Davis 103
SS Hardy 85
3B Machado 81
C Hundley 71
2B Schoop 63



Red Sox

1B Napoli 140
RF Holt 125
DH Ortiz 119
2B Pedroia 101
3B Bogaerts 97
LF Nava 72
C Pierzynski 67
CF Bradley 61
SS Drew -15




I don't really see the Jays' facing regression at one position, and an injury at a second position, as being a huge cause of concern, relative to the other lineups.
John Northey - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#289205) #
Baltimore's rotation is funny.
Ubaldo Jimenez: I know I wanted the Jays to sign him. Phew. 85 ERA+, FIP of 4.74 (ERA 4.70), 5 1/2 IP per start
Wei-Yin Chen: 95 ERA+, FIP worse than ERA
Bud Norris: on DL with his 111 ERA+ but lifetime is just 93 so don't expect that good in the future
Chris Tillman: 96 ERA+, FIP worse than ERA
Miguel Gonzalez: 88 ERA+ but his FIP is 5.27 so even worse can be expected from him.
Kevin Gausman : 5 starts, 105 ERA+ in age 23 season but keeps yo-yo'ing between AAA and the majors (3rd call up already).  Are they trying to mess up the kids head?

A rotation of Dickey's basically.  Hovering near 100 for ERA+ but no one you can count on for 'wow' factor. 

Yankees infield...
Jeter & Roberts both in the 80's for OPS+ and given their ages (both over 35) I doubt that middle infield is very solid on defense.  Teixeira has a 128 OPS+ which is nice and solid but hardly worth $22 mil for this year (plus the same for each of the next 2 years). Yangervis Solarte has been a wonderful surprise for them, but after a wonderful start (336/414/521 on May 14th) he has hit 164/282/213 in June. Carlos Beltran as the DH has a 89 OPS+.  Brian McCann who we all wanted I think has a 79 OPS+.

The Rays have had 8 starting pitchers so far this year.  Not their usual MO although just 6 have more than 2 starts.  Molina being down to 16 for OPS+ might have found the bottom limit a team will put up with for offense vs defense.

Boston has had a nightmare year but is back in striking distance (6 out).  Having their entire outfield have OPS+ below 95 is killing them I suspect.  In fact just one outfielder is over 75 who has played more than 1 game.  Yikes.  A.J. Pierzynski*, another catcher some wanted here, has a 73 OPS+.

Who knew Navarro's 89 OPS+ would be better than many other options.
Mike Green - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#289206) #
I can't lay hands on a source, but if memory serves, one-year park adjustment factors have been found to be relatively unreliable. A half-season, presumably even less reliable...
Roger's Centre has played as a slightly above average hitters park for a while and my understanding is that comes from the lack of play in cold April weather and artificial turf.

That is mostly true; it's also a pretty good home run park. 

However, if you are looking at one part year team runs scored and runs allowed to measure the strength of the offence and pitching/defence (as uglyone did), you have to take into account one year park factors. 


China fan - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#289207) #
"....So there's really been no holes in the lineup so far this year...."

I agree with your broader point about the fact that every team has a couple of holes, so the Jays shouldn't be expected to have a perfect lineup.  Fair enough.  But I still think your assessment of the Jays offense is distorted and inflated by that almost flukish month of May.  You're using the season numbers for each hitter, without considering that their June performance might be a closer reflection of how the hitters will perform in the future.  Why?  Because the league's pitchers are adjusting to hitters such as Francisco and Tolleson who are being increasingly exposed.  And the injury to Lawrie can't be discounted entirely either.  If you do the calculation again, but using the June numbers instead of the season numbers, the picture would be less rosy.
John Northey - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#289208) #
Jays team OPS / sOPS+ by month... (sOPS+ is OPS+ vs others for this split)
April: 735 - 108
May: 829 - 131
June: 712 - 103
  • Using sOPS+ you see in April 97+ PA for Rasmus & Lawrie who both had mid 70's sOPS+.  Goines & Reyes had over 45 PA and had sOPS+ of 20 + 64 respectively. 
  • In May you get the top 6 players in PA (85+ each) having sOPS+ over 100, 3 over 160.  A 58 for Navarro, then 100+ for all 11 over 40 PA.  Talk about a perfect storm.
  • In June the top 7 in PA were all over 100 again but just one over 140 (Encarnacion).  Then 2 in the 60's (Francisco & Gose).  Tolleson was at 12 for the month (ugh).
So, the offense didn't tank so much in June as it was just mediocre for most with 3 key guys tanking although none played everyday.  Clearly the league has caught up to Francisco and Tolleson and the Jays need to figure out an alternative.
uglyone - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#289209) #
well, I can use bigger samples. say the last 3yrs.

(I'll use ops+ here because B/R has easier search tools than fangraphs)

Encarnacion 150 (1621pa)
Bautista 141 (1266pq)
Cabrera 124 (1246pa)
Lind 122 (1054pa)
Navarro 109 (600pa)
Reyes 108 (1440pa)
Rasmus 102 (1272pa)
Francisco 100 (785pa)
Lawrie 95 (1259pa)

Kratz 92 (445pa)
Tolleson 80 (227pa)
Gose 79 (465pa)
Izturis 71 (252pa)

Mastroianni 66 (279pa)
Kawasaki 65 (466pa)
Thole 59 (566pa)
Pillar 53 (151pa)



still no real holes in the lineup, and still led by a stud 3-4 combo.....though of course too many injuries could do them in.
Mike Green - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#289210) #
Here you go, uglyone. It does understate Melky because you don't get his year in San Fran, but that might be more accurate overall because of the PED issue.  It's a good offence, but it is important to bear in mind that you do have some holes especially against LHP with Lawrie out.  For the year, the offence is hitting .268/.337/.441 against RHP and .237/.306/.411 against LHP, but they have almost 3 times as many PAs against RHPs.  That will be changing shortly...
uglyone - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#289211) #
Thanks mike. I was trying to get their non-jay stats too, though...

...but thanks to you, i took a closer look at that page and Just realized that if you check the "active roster" box at the top right, i get exactly what i was looking for. And all this time i never figured that out. Cool - a new toy to play with.

Last 3yrs wrc+, playing for all teams:

En'cion 151
Bautista 144
Lind 124
Melky 123
Navarro 111
Reyes 109
Rasmus 103
Francisco 101
Lawrie 97

Kratz 89
Gose 80
Tolleson 72
Izturis 72
Kawasaki 68
Mastro 66
Thole 58
Pillar 51
Goins 45



Vs. LHP

En'cion 163
Bautista 156
Cabrera 138
Navarro 133
Tolleson 112
Reyes 95
Lawrie 91
Mastro 85
Kratz 80


Vs. RHP

En'cion 148
Lind 146
Bautista 141
Cabrera 127
Rasmus 115
Francisco 115
Reyes 114
Navarro 103
Lawrie 99

BlueJayWay - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#289212) #
Given the unbalanced schedule a strong division with a narrow distribution of talent will look a lot like a weak division with a narrow distribution of talent. My bet is that the AL East is fundamentally the former and not the latter.

Except that the AL East, coming into today, is collectively 9 wins under .500 with a -68 run differential. Since divisional teams will "split" against each other (resulting in a .500 record and zero run diff in intradivisional games), this means ALE teams are 9 games under .500 with a -68 run differential when facing teams outside the division.

If the division were strong with a narrow distribution of talent, you'd expect a close division...where the teams are collectively well over .500, since they would beat up on the non-divisional teams.
BlueJayWay - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#289213) #
I mean just for comparison's sake, last year the ALE was something like 53 wins over .500 with a +220 run differential. That's a strong division.
Mike Green - Monday, June 30 2014 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#289214) #
I just noticed that Melky's 2014 line is pretty much identical to his 2011 line in Kansas City.  A few more walks, a couple more home runs and a lower batting average on balls in play in 2014, but the same overall quality.  It's exactly what you would expect to see from a somewhat older player but one still in his prime. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 01 2014 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#289219) #
Cabrera in left field, Bautista DHing and Lind on the bench against a RHP today.  The decision to rest Cabrera on Sunday rather than today turns out to be quite strange in hindsight (and in foresight).  It's great to see Jose back in the lineup, anyways.
Series Thread: White Sox vs. Blue Jays, June 26-29 | 135 comments | Create New Account
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