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Some sightings and mentions of ex-Jays, Mark "Craig" Buehrle shuts down the current Jays, and some updates on things I've been following for my own personal amusement are all coming at you today in This Day...well, These [Past Few] Days In Baseball.

Star of the Game: Mark Buehrle, obviously. Aside from Alex Rios' first AB, he got 24 outs with just six baserunners allowed, and he had four three-up, three-down innings out of his eight. Great night for the lefthanded Roy Halladay. And I swear I said the "lefthanded Roy Halladay" just because he's a workhorse ace who isn't a crazy strikeout guy, not because he's Doc's #1 Most Similar Player at Baseball-Reference, which I did not know until I looked it up after writing the previous sentence. Honourable mention to Paul Konerko, since the score was really PK 4, TOR 2.

For The Jays: Alex Rios, I suppose. Even though Buehrle basically gave him that HR with his cookie of a pitch. I actually don't think A.J. Burnett was very good yesterday, even if you throw out Konerko's ABs. He wasn't hitting his spots enough for my liking, though I might just be picky about my preferences for $55 million starters.

Defensive Play of the Game: Tadahito Iguchi in the ninth. I know Bengie Molina is slow, but that was still tremendous. If you don't like that choice, take one of Joe Crede's stops earlier in the game.

Defensive Misplay of the Game: Sure, Aaron Hill didn't pick up that one ball, but he did get to the other one that Shea Hillenbrand just messed up and dropped in the dirt. It's easy to complain about a player when he's off to a slow start, so I won't. However, that doesn't compare to Russ Adams' "throw" in the bottom of the fifth. I'm not sure where that one was going.

Where's Jordan Bastian?
Right here.

Shad Fullenbrand: Hillenbrand somehow reminded both Jamie Campbell and Darrin Fletcher of Brad Fullmer. Except that Hillenbrand won't hit 32 homers, nor will he mysteriously fall off the map at age 29 (well, Shea turns 30 soon, but you get the point). The only similarity I can think between these hitters is their tendency to avoid a smile at all costs -- most of the time, anyway.

Rios (4), Konerko 2 (4), Fletcher (1): Darrin Fletcher had his first homer moment of the season, as he talked about Russ Adams and Aaron Hill as "our middle infielders." He also said "Fullmer had some good years here in Toronto." I suppose it's to be expected, as he was a Blue Jay very recently. More recently than the other colour guys, at least.

But Seriously, Folks: Fletcher continued his fine commentary by being one of the few colour men who says "I think this will be a significant inning/at-bat/part of the game here" rather than "Looking back, that homer in the fifth really was the turning point." He did it in the top of the fifth: "I think this particular point in the ballgame is key." And wouldn't you know it, just as Konerko was stepping in, Fletcher then said, "This is the at bat right here, in my opinion, that says is it going to be a positive start or is it going to be a negative start." 34 seconds later, it was 4-2.

Save, Save, SAVE ME!: I've been tracking the different types of save leaders so far in the American League, using the old STATS Inc. definition of a save type: easy if the first batter isn't the tying run and the pitcher goes one inning or less, tough if the pitcher enters with the tying run on base, and regular for any other save opportunity. After the first few games, your AL leader in Saves Above Average (adjusted for how likely it is to save each type of save opportunity) is Jon Papelbon. It's not just because he has the most saves, period -- he's saved three regular and two easy saves, and nobody else has more than two regular ones.

What About B.J.? B.J. Ryan is at the 0.0 baseline: all of his saves have been easy and all easy saves around the league have been converted, meaning his expected number of saves given three chances is three...which he did. And as we all remember, three minus three gives you zero.

Wells, That Was Quick: Bad news for Yankees and Blue Jays fans as Boomer is back on the DL.

You're Still Around? Scott Cassidy (yes, that Scott Cassidy) relieved Jake Peavy in the Braves' 2-0 win over the Padres. Peavy's on my fantasy team and I was following the start, only to see "Cassidy" show up in CBS Sportsline's boxscore. Couldn't be him, I thought. I was wrong.

This Eight-Year-Old Quote Will Make Craig Burley Cry: While unpacking and sorting out my stuff, I found a baseball preview magazine from just before the 1998 season. One certain team's preview begins with the following: "The Expos have a plan, a bold plan. They say it will result in a championship team by the time they move into their new stadium in 2001."

David Bush Update: The second start of the season wasn't as good for Bush, as he gave up eight runs in six innings: two each in the second and third, then four in the fifth. Why did they leave him in for those four after he already gave up four, you ask? Well, the bases were loaded, Jim Edmonds hit a double that Geoff Jenkins misplayed (so the third runner scored) and then Rickie Weeks relayed it past Corey Koskie and into the dugout for the fourth run of the play. A Game Score of 28 means Bush's average GS is now at 51. If there's anything good about this start, it's that he only gave up one extra-base hit, as seven of the eight hits were singles, Edmonds' shot being the odd one out.
TDIB: Sunday, April 16th | 33 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
zeppelinkm - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#145259) #

That should ease some the minds of some Jay's fans... It's exciting to think of Halladay as good as he was, pitching with pain and injury. It's also funny to think that Burehle is Halladay's #1 comparable.  I think of Halladay's stuff as being overpowering, shattering bats without mercy, whereas Burehle is a finesse pitcher who hits his spots.

Let's hope Towers rebounds today and gives the Jays 6 - 7 solid innings.

Burnett has the stuff to be dominating, but Rob you hit the nail squarely - his control just wasn't there yestarday. He consistently missed a lot of his spots and that forced him to go deep into the count on a regular basis. I personally feel, and I hate doing this, but if Burnett had gotten that called 3rd strike against Thome in the 1st that might have had the potential to change the rest of the game. Before that, he seemed much more confident, after that, it looked like he was battling.

Although, on a positive note, its good to know he can be effective without clearly having his best stuff.

Happy Easter everyone. Let's hope the Jays will rebound and take 2 of 3 from the defending champs!


NDG - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#145265) #
I hate doing this, but if Burnett had gotten that called 3rd strike against Thome in the 1st that might have had the potential to change the rest of the game

If you're going to point this out, you should also point out the only time Burnett got Konerko, it was a fly ball to the warning track.  The score could have easly been PK 5 Jays 0.   Speaking of which, I guess Konerko is the poster boy for the prospect saying, 'it doesn't matter how hard you throw if you can't locate, big leaguers can hit the heat'.
Geoff - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#145269) #
Gabe Gross, CF, leadoff hitter.

And striking out for the second time in two at bats this afternoon just now.

Somebody has the wrong idea out there.

VBF - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#145270) #
I'm not sure where I could find the stats to prove this notion, without going through every individual espn team page, but it seems to me that a heck of alot of home runs are being hit this year, not just by the Jays but in general. Could this be due to alot of games being played in warmer climates or Domes to start the season, or as silly as it sounds, as one espn conspirator believes, could there be some sort of different, unannounced materials now made in baseballs?
6-4-3 - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#145271) #

David Pinto at baseball musings has been looking at this.  As of a few days ago, runs per game were at the highest level in the past 6 years, and homers were way up (2.62 per game versus 2.00 last year, or an average of  2.16 over the past five years). 

It might be a case of the dreaded small sample size, but it's worth watching as the season goes on.

King Ryan - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#145272) #
The thing is, it really isn't all that small of a sample size.  We've gotta be a good 180 or so games into the season by now. 

Frankly, I love it.  All the yapping about steroids and getting rid of homeruns and smallball and blah blah blah, and now HR's are higher than ever.  Hilarious.
ScottTS - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#145273) #
It might be a case of the dreaded small sample size, but it's worth watching as the season goes on. My impression this season is that umpires are calling a *much* smaller strike zone. Granted, I've not seen a lot of games this season, but I think I've seen at least one pitch in every game that I've watched where the umpire called it a ball and I thought "that was a strike". It would also explain Towers' struggles this year. Pitchers like him would be hurt the most by a shrinking strike zone.
6-4-3 - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#145275) #
Pinto mentions the strike zone being smaller as possibility for the higher runs and homers, but strikeouts are at the same level as before.  Last year K's were 16.4% of PA, this year they're down slightly to 16.1%.  If the strike zone was changed dramatically, there'd probably be fewer strikeouts to go wtih the homers and the runs.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#145276) #
It is a day of miracles, right?  Prince Fielder stole his first base of the season today. 

Gabe Gross doubled and scored for the Brewers, as well.  He's perfectly fine as a 4th outfielder/leadoff hitter against a right-handed pitcher in centerfield.  Give him 300-400 ABs in a season, and he'll produce a .270/.350/.400 line, with very good defence.  Every team can use these guys.

Jim - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#145282) #

Bush league performance from C.B. Bucknor today  Had the Blue Jays managed to take the lead in the fifth there is no doubt that the bottom of the fifth inning never would have been played and the game would have been rained out. 

These games count in the standings.  They should be taken seriously by the crew and the league.  

VBF - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#145288) #

I wonder if the unbalanced schedule played into the minds of the umpires today. Under a balanced schedule, Toronto would likely play another series in Chicago at some point later in the season. Because Toronto will not be in Chicago at all for the rest of the season, the umpires may have wanted to speed up the game as to save them another possible roadtrip in the future. Just a thought.

On a totally different note, the Rochester-Toronto ferry has been discontinued. That should save us a few thousand Yankee fans to have to deal with. Tomorrow's game is a near sell-out and should be sold out by gametime. Say what you want about Toonie Tuesdays, if the fans didn't care, they wouldn't come at all. Heck, they still filled up the lower bowl.

Jim - Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#145290) #

Because Toronto will not be in Chicago at all for the rest of the season, the umpires may have wanted to speed up the game as to save them another possible roadtrip in the future.

Which wouldn't be a problem if the schedule was done correctly:

Kansas City starts a three game set in Chicago tomorrow.  The Jays have Monday and Thursday off.  The Royals and White Sox both have Thursday off.  So if it's the one trip the Jays make to Chicago the simple solution is to have the Sox play KC Tuesday-Thursday and then if any of the three games are rained out, it can be played on the mutual off-day (Monday).   Now both a potential doubleheader (if Friday or Saturday were rained out) and the foolishness of today's fifth inning are both avoided. 

I understand the difficulty of creating a schedule, but none of the teams are at any sort of risk of playing on the maximum number of consecutive days no matter how you break up the schedule in April, and why would any team want a Monday home date over a Thursday home date?

TDIB: Sunday, April 16th | 33 comments | Create New Account
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