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Dustin McGowan showed us all why everyone is excited about him, as he fanned six and held Texas to one run in his major league debut. Jason Frasor came in and instantly gave up the lead. The Jays bats were done for the day after the second man hit in the first inning. Adams reached base four times, Koskie three times, and the rest of the team.... just three times (Wells HBP, Hinske BB, Hudson single.)
Jays 2, Rangers 3: Down Goes Frasor | 31 comments | Create New Account
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David Goodwin - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#124260) #
Worthy of note is another missed call costing the Jays a run in a one-run game. Though TSN didn't show many replays or angles, it appeared that Mench didn't touch home in the top of the 6th inning.

The strange play began with Mench on first and two out, the score 2-2 after Gonzalez went yard. Matthews grounder took a very high bounce and by the time Frasor could field it he had little time to get the ball down to first. Frasor's throw was on line but hit Matthews in the head and Matthews collided with Hillenbrand, knocking him down briefly. Hillenbrand seemed to lose track of the ball, which bounced toward the stands. By the time Hillenbrand jogged over to pick it up, Mench was on his way home. Hillenbrand made a decent throw, but Zaun had to field it to the right of the plate, then slide over to tag Mench. Zaun definitely tagged Mench, and it looked like he got his leg in front of the plate before Mench could get his hand in there.

My chief complaint with the play was that the ump was in no position to make the call, a good five feet behind the plate, with Zaun obstructing his view. Of course he didn't ask for help from any of the other umps, despite the protesting of Zaun and Gibbons.

The Jays' suddenly cold bats are to blame for the loss, but this call sure didn't help the cause.
Rob - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#124261) #
Three things on the game today, which I just watched on tape:

- I hate to jump over a guy after a bad game, but I'm just about done with Eric Hinske.

- Gregg Zaun is slowly Going Going Off The Handle. If it only happens the one time, that's fine, but when he was out at first today and threw up his hands, I rolled my eyes. The umpires missed the call at home, it happens. Deal with it.

- Dustin McGowan's slider is fun to watch. So was his whole start, but I noticed right away that something was way off on that pitch, the HBP -- even before the ball left his hand -- though I couldn't figure it out by rewinding, pausing and going frame-by-frame through the tape. Something in that pitching motion just looked wrong. It's bothering me...does anyone know what happened there? Arm slot? Arm angle?
Keith Talent - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#124262) #
I too find it absolutely frustrating when you have a catcher who is talented at blocking the plate, but umpires who are not used to making a good call at home plate. What good, then, is that talent?

But yes, Zaun needs to get a grip or pretty soon he's going to get a reputation and the strike zone of our pitchers will suffer. If he expects umpires to be professionals, he needs to act like a professional himself.

Even though Wilner jumpes all over anyone who suggests the Jays need help at cathcer; let me say that Zaun and the Blue Jays would be even better if he had a worthy platoon partner.

I understand the reason for taking McGowan out after 5. I wonder how long he's going to stay with the big club: could he be here to stay?
VBF - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#124263) #
Sorry about those expecting me to be at the game today. I went with my neighbour and splurged on Club level seats.

I take the side of Zaun. He's was screwed over for the nth time today this year and any frustration physically is expected. It hasn't just happened once, it hasn't just happened twice, but there have been some very questionable strikezones and very questionable calls, and enough is enough.

I take the opposite view Rob. If it happens once, you shake it off like a professional. If it happens more, than physical frustration happens.
Joe - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#124265) #
I hope you mean 'backup' rather than 'platoon partner,' because I don't think that Zaun's that weak against righthanders (his power really does suffer, though). Plus, I think he's earned a fulltime job. The dude's quietly become the #2 catcher in MLB offensively, only behind Varitek. He calls a great game, blocks the plate as well as anybody I've seen; his only weakness is throwing out runners.

Who would you rather have right now: Zaun, or Pudge's .300/.310/.462? Maybe Pudge rebounds, but I'd rather have Zaun. (Pudge as a backup to Zaun... now that's something to dream about.)
Named For Hank - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#124266) #
Did anyone else notice that Zaun abandoned his batting gloves today? He usually wears black gloves. I'm pretty sure he was wearing them yesterday, and I confirmed by watching my recording that he was wearing them in the 18 inning marathon against the Angels.

Today he was rubbing his hands in the dirt. I wonder why?
Keith Talent - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 11:32 PM EDT (#124267) #
I should be careful with my terms. But Zaun has a "backup" now. Ideally, I would like to see a guy you wouldn't mind starting for 40-60 games per year, without losing much. Wouldn't Zaun be even better if he didn't have to do so many day-games after night-games? Wouldn't it have been good to sub somebody in for him after, say, inning 11 on Thursday night?

Agreed, Zaun's offensive numbers numbers are great. But don't many catchers mix in up with a "backup" or "platoon partner" more? Didn't even Ernie Whitt have a good thing going with Buck Martinez? (Before my time.)

As for showing physical frustration against the umpires, it doesn't really make sense when the umpiring squad changes after every series. To carry a grudge against "umpires" when it's not even the same crew is pretty juvenile. And I think the home plate umpires have been calling good games this series so far.

I wouldn't mind seeing a strict platoon between Hill and Hinske for the rest of the season.
Jdog - Saturday, July 30 2005 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#124268) #
To start off i want to mention that i am one of Jason Frasor's biggest fans, there is just something about the guy that i like. Anyways he hit a wall last year after having a very good start to the season, and his numbers are starting to balloon up again. I wonder If maybe giving him a week off to just rest would help him get back to his more effective self. Is it that he is just a smaller guy and is getting used to much or what? At very least they need to give Speier the high leverage innings rather than Frasor.

I'm also tired of Hinske.

Rotation next year of
Doc, Lilly, Gus, Bush, McGowan

Its looking very good,

If there is any market out there for Joshua Towers i would like to see him shipped.

Ryan Day - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#124270) #
I was at the game, and enjoyed it for the most part. Random observations:

* McGowan is good. He was shaky, particularly in the early going, but even still, Texas batters couldn't touch him. Neither of the hits he gave up were particularly hard.

* Dear God, Benoit is a slug on the mound. Between McGowan's walks and Benoit's coffee breaks, the game took way too long.

* Vernon's running catch was great. O-Dog's double play was incredible. Lucky, but incredible.

* Some people are jerks. When Matthews went down, there were a few people around shouting at him to get back up, and then one guy actually booed when he did.

* Everything was so good before, and after, Frasor came on. Gah.

* The ninth was pretty lame, though, as they went down pretty easy against an admittedly great closer. As others have said, I really think it's time to give up on Hinske.
VBF - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:04 AM EDT (#124271) #
I'm not an advocate of Hinske, but to just put everything on the table, he's second on the team in walks.
Named For Hank - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:10 AM EDT (#124272) #
I wouldn't want to jettison Towers without getting something of value back for him. I, too, am excited by McGowan, but it was just one start. One totally kick-ass start, but I'd like to see a few more before I declare him emperor and give him a golden car. But so far I have to say I'm really jazzed about the pitching that's starting to show up from the farm system. I'm not one of those guys who really follows the Jays minor league system, so I'm surprised by what comes up more often than not. Can't wait to see what's coming next. Oh, and...
VBF - Friday, July 29 2005 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#124120)
If McGowan leaves the game in a position to get the win, I will buy a McGowan jersey.
So, did you buy a jersey today, VBF?
King Ryan - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:15 AM EDT (#124273) #
I remember in Moneyball it mentioned that the Oakland A's tracked each game how many pitches their players swung at that were out of the zone. I can understand why they'd do this, as it's a good measure of discipline, but I wonder if maybe it's more useful to look at how many times a guy misses on pitches in the zone.

Hinske, as posted by VBF, still draws a lot of walks, and has an above average OBP despite his terrible BA. Off the top of my head, I don't really recall him chasing many pitches either. So clearly he's still disciplined. But his AB's are painful to watch because he seemingly can't make contact on pitches that are actually in the zone. That seems worrisome.

He struck out twice tonight. I think all 6 strikes were swinging strikes. But they weren't "chase one out of the zone" like Wells and Reed Johnson are wont to do. They were "swing through a pitch right down the middle." And I think that's a terrible sign. It's like Hinske can still recognize the pitches, and can tell if it's a ball or a strike, but if it's a strike, he can't hit it. And is that fixable? I mean if your problem is seeing the pitches, then a tweak in batting stance or something can maybe help that, but what does Mickey Brantley do if Hinske can see the pitches just fine, but doesn't have the ability to hit them?


Keith Talent - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#124274) #
Hinske is way, way too tense as well. On TSN today they got some good close shots of his face as he was beginning his ABs and he looked like he wanted to rip someone's head off. Then he'd strike out and you could hear him cursing over all the crowd noise. I thought the secret of hitting is to be loosey-goosey at the plate despite whatever pressure there may be.

About O-Dog's defence; on This Week in Baseball today they were showing highlights of Ryne Sandberg with talking heads going on about his defence, and he looked positvely pedestrian compared to Orlando.
Orlando's double play was the coolest thing I've ever seen. How did he catch that line drive while running away from it? Do you think he envisioned the double play the entire time? Give that man a contract!
VBF - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#124275) #
Well, not today, as I am saving funds for vacation, but when I get back, I certainly will.

I was sorta hoping for McGowan to be in line for a no-decision so I could get a Schoenweiss jersey (especially for my trip to Chicago for all those Sox fans to see, if I could've gotten the jersey in time), but I will stick to my word and become THE FIRST BLUE JAY FAN TO WEAR A MCGOWAN JERSEY.

Now, since this may be my last hour or so posting on Batter's Box for a week, does anyone have any requests or want me to get anything in Chicago for them (e.g. Billy Koch bobblehead)?

Look for the sign on the Upper Deck that says "THE DOCTOR IS IN" on Tuesday. Then I'll try to get behind the Jays bullpen on Thursday and have a SS related sign. It's going to be Halladay vs. Garland on Tuesday!

Named For Hank - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:33 AM EDT (#124276) #
Kick ass, VBF, have a great trip. I'll record the games for you in case you're on.

I have a request, though I don't think the thing I want exists: you know those cheap t-shirt "jerseys" that have the team logo screened on the front and a player name and number on the back? I want a Tadahito Iguchi one, though I doubt that they make that.

This may be as impossible or more impossible than my request for my friend living in Japan, who has been looking for a Nippon Ham Fighters jersey in North American XXL -- Japanese sizes are, well, smaller.
Paul D - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#124277) #
I really don't think the Jays got screwed on that play at the plate.

It looked to me like Mench hit the plate with his hand, then Zaun smacked his hand of the plate and freaked out. This isn't third base, you don't have to stay on the base to be safe. He hit the plate before being tagged, end of story.

It was exciting though.
VBF - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:36 AM EDT (#124278) #
Yep, I'll absolutely see if I can get my hands on one. Thanks to the Brumfields, I have an idea of where I can get some Sox merchandise in various parts of Chicago.
Named For Hank - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:51 AM EDT (#124279) #

Almost as good as this one:

Keith Talent - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:52 AM EDT (#124280) #
NFH, do you know people in Sapporo?
King Ryan - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:57 AM EDT (#124281) #
I hate to break it to you, VBF, but Doc isn't starting on Tuesday. His start has been pushed back to next weekend:

Enjoy your trip, though.
VBF - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#124282) #
Thanks. This is a huge disappointment. Instead of seeing Halladay and Bush, it will now be Towers and Downs/McGowan. I'm suddenly not as excited.

So, I now need to make a sign for Josh. Any suggestions?
TorontoDan - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#124283) #
Bring a chorus of children with you and start a "We want H" chant.
VBF - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:15 AM EDT (#124284) #
Well, the Blue jays Fan Club is also apparantly making the trip, so that may not be out of the question. And they should be sitting in the same section as us which will be cool, and good for protection.

hugh - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#124285) #
I'm really frustrated about the call that Zaun got at the plate -- even watching the take on it, the rangers commentary are going, 'well, coulda gone either way', while showing that he's clearly out.

I don't think that Zaun risks gaining a reputation with these umpires, because I think that these umps likely watch these plays after the game.

What I do think is that MLB should really encourage conferences after calls like that. But how do we encourage that?
Elijah - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:51 AM EDT (#124286) #
I actually have that gray Nippon Ham jersey that NFH linked to. I got a Japanese L and it fits nicely. But if that's the biggest size, it's a far cry from North American XXL. I want to get an official Seibu Matsuzaka jersey but that costs in the neighborhood of $400. No thanks... yet.

As for the bad calls, I think I've learned to just brush them off. Bad calls happen. According to Jerry, Gibbons was quoted as saying that bad calls by umpires never determine the results of games. As frustrating as bad calls that go against your favorite team are, they do tend to even out. I can remember a couple poor calls when the Jays played the Mariners that went the Jays' way. When I play in my softball league, I shrug off an umpire's mistakes. They happen - I have to assume that they don't have a personal vendetta against a particular team. As bad as John Hirschbeck and Phil Cuzzi's calls have seemed to hurt the Jays the last several years, I cannot believe they are trying to screw them over.

The reason the Blue Jays lost tonight is because they couldn't score enough runs. The bad call would not have gotten them anymore runs by itself. Forget the bad calls and move on and hope for a better result on Sunday.
Named For Hank - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#124287) #
NFH, do you know people in Sapporo?

A friend of mine is living in Osaka.
Jim - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#124289) #
'The dude's quietly become the #2 catcher in MLB offensively, only behind Varitek. '

Come on Joe. He's having a nice year but Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, I-Rod and Paul LoDuca are clearly having better seasons and are all younger. Jason LaRue, Jorge Posada and Mike Piazza are all having seasons that if not better, are no worse.

Zaun has had a great late career surge, but this team needs to find their next catcher ASAP.
Joe - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#124293) #
There's nothing clear about it, Jim. How is Ivan Rodriguez having a clearly better season? He hits for more power but gets on base less. Martinez is similar to I-Rod. Lo Duca is basically the same as Zaun in OBP and SLG. Mauer I'll give you; he's having a pretty nice season. Basically, I'm asking you to make an argument for those guys, because just looking at them, there's nothing 'clear' about their superiority to GGZ.

The age thing is certainly a factor — Zaun can't keep this up forever; nobody can. And everyone knows that the Jays have to find their next catcher. But right now, Zaun's the man, and it might not be too long before the rest of the league knows it.

Jim - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#124295) #
Zaun 268/369/403
LoDuca 298/355/398

Same stats - completely different parks.

Joe Mauer 305/378/444
Jason LaRue 254/352/446
Victor Martinez 266/346/436
Michael Barrett 273/332/465

Zaun's 10th in VORP and 11th in PMVL. He's having a nice season and he's been very valuable but to call him the 2nd best offensive catcher in baseball is a inaccurate stretch.

He's also going to surpass all of his prior highs in playing time, so let's see how he holds up in August and September when reaching those highs in his mid 30's.

Craig B - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#124296) #
Jim, only Mauer and Varitek (and Jason LaRue, who's red-hot) are ahead of Zaun in offensive production this year. That's by rate, not gross, since Zaun's injury has left him a tiny bit behind on the count stats. Zaun's been just as good as Martinez, Rodriguez, Posada and LoDuca and better than Piazza. The EqA numbers confirm this.

Earlier in the year, he was ahead of all of them, but a mini-slump has put him right in with those other guys.

I agree that the Blue Jays need to find their catcher of the future, or rather need to get their existing catcher of the future (Quiroz) healthy, but Zaun is the undisputed and unquestioned leader of this team in the clubhouse and on the field. Getting rid of him in any way, or even reducing his role on the team, would be utter madness.
Jim - Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#124297) #
I agree that Zaun has been a great revelation. I wouldn't consider any course of action at this point that removes him from his current role as the #1 catcher.

I disagree that he's been as good as LoDuca and Martinez, because gross production matters, otherwise Javier Valentin is the best offensive catcher in baseball in 2005. He's having a tremendous season and I'm not trying to be negative about him, just trying to show that he isn't the 2nd best offensive catcher in baseball, which is a severe overstatement.

As far as finding the next catcher, that is as much a statement about Quiroz's (non-)ability to stay healthy as it is Zaun's play. Hopefully GQ can get to Toronto in September and then is able to be a suitable backup in 2006 playing in the neighborhood of 55-65 games. They have given away enough plate appearances with Myers/Dominique/Huckaby this season, JP cannot let the situation repeat itself.
Jays 2, Rangers 3: Down Goes Frasor | 31 comments | Create New Account
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