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My friends tell me to leave you, that you're bad news, bad news, bad news. That you're bad news, baby, you're bad news, and you're bad news, baby, you're bad news. And you're bad news. I don't care. I like you, and you're bad news. I don't care. I like you.

Jays 5, Mariners 4.

Voodoo Joe's turn to play hero, as he doubles home two runs off Mark Lowe in the bottom of the 10th to give the Jays a 5-4 victory. It's the Jays' fourth win in a row. In their last seven games at the RC, the Jays have walked off three times.

Inglett scorched a first-pitch changeup from Lowe on a line to deep right field, just beyond the reach of Ichiro. You hear all the time about how Cito Gaston demands that his hitters have a plan when they go up to the plate. Well, two batters before, Lowe started Adam Lind with a changeup for a strike and got him to pop up the 0-1. Then he started Brad Wilkerson with a changeup for a strike and quickly got him in an 0-2 hole before walking him. So Inglett probably knew what he was looking for. I'm not sure if the Cito Philosophy is really all that different from what the previous coaching staff preached, but Inglett (presumably) sitting all over a first-pitch change and then unloading on it was pretty awesome to watch.

Inglett's liner was a really difficult play for Ichiro, who had been playing shallow in right field most of the inning, with John McDonald on second representing the tying run. He actually got a hand on the ball after hesitating a bit, and I couldn't help but think that this was a play Ichiro makes more than 50% of the time. So the baseball gods definitely helped the Jays pull it out.

But really, the Mariners deserved unfavorable divine intervention for making the game take forever by shooting through Cesar Jimenez and Roy Corcoran and Arthur Rhodes and Sean Green and J.J. Putz and Brandon Morrow in 3.2 innings, including two pitching changes in the middle of at-bats. When they took the lead in the 10th, they only had one reliever left in their bullpen: Mark Lowe. And since they didn't particularly feel like extending wonderboy Brandon Morrow beyond the 29 pitches he'd thrown in the previous inning, they decided to throw Lowe to the wolves instead.

Here are Lowe's career splits:

vs RH: 164 PA .204/.319/.277 41 K 21 BB
vs LH: 135 PA .296/.391/.470 24 K 16 BB

Which (sample size alert) means he certainly has his uses as a major-league pitcher. But these were the wolves:

Gregg Zaun (S)
John McDonald (R)
Scott Rolen (R)
Adam Lind (L)
Brad Wilkerson (L)
Joe Inglett (L)

It could be worse, but if one of those first three hitters reached... bad news, and nobody to bail him out.

Which brings us to the unsung offensive hero: Brad Wilkerson. Wilkerson was 1-2 with a single and three clutch walks, two of which were instrumental in making the Mariners exhaust their bullpen.

Walk #1 came at the expense of lefty Arthur Rhodes with one out and the bases empty in the bottom of the seventh. Inglett followed with a flyout, but Wilkerson's walk extended the inning so Marco Scutaro got to hit. The M's initially left Rhodes in despite the platoon disadvantage, presumably to stop Wilkerson from stealing second. But when Rhodes threw a wild pitch, the Mariners decided to yank him for funky sidewinding righty Sean Green. Green got Seattle out of the jam, but Wilkerson's walk cost them one reliever, since J.J. Putz was going to pitch the eighth no matter what happened before or who was due up.

Walk #2 came against the flamethrower Morrow, leading off the ninth with the score tied 3-3. Wilkerson fouled off the first pitch and fell behind 0-2 but battled to earn a nine-pitch walk which set the tone for a grueling inning, in which the Jays forced the Mariners' best reliever to throw 29 pitches and rendered him unavailable for the 10th.

And walk #3 extended the game against Lowe in the 10th, again after an 0-2 count. It loaded the bases for Inglett.

So, Wilkerson wound up with a cool .281 WPA and did it about as quietly as possible. Not bad. Stairs had two key game-tying RBIs and Inglett had the big hit, but Wilkerson's heroic walks made it all... slightly more likely.

Other random observations:

Cito Gaston pulled Parrish on 93 pitches, with Beltre, Lopez, Vidro, Cairo, Johjima and Betancourt due up. Six hitters, five righties, one switch. And who'd he bring in to face those hitters instead of Parrish? Camp, the righty-killing sinker-slider guy. Result: 2 innings, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 hits.

Kids, when you're in the front row and your team's first baseman runs over to catch a catchable ball, don't intentionally steal it away from him. And if you must intentionally steal it away from him, don't celebrate your achievement. And if you must celebrate, only do it once... You look like a dildo no matter how confident you are that whichever banjo-hitting Mariner righty is up at the moment has no chance of hitting either of Shawn Camp's pitches. (Although you are right.)

OK, here comes a three-part lineup construction rampage. If you find this stuff dull skip the next three paragraphs. I grudgingly accept that if Marco Scutaro can keep his OBP above .350 he can hit second anytime he wants.

I don't really have a side in the debate over whether Adam Lind batting 8th is ridiculous or not, but I do think it's tempting to cop out by quietly noting that the OBPs in the 6 and 7 holes (Stairs' .332 and Rolen's .361) are higher than those of Scutaro and Rios (.352 and .330) and even more so when you factor in the platoon differential.

Finally, I'd be curious to hear what people think about Rod Barajas being entrenched as the 5 hitter against righties. Obviously, he has high isolated power, and he's not a double play threat against most pitchers due to his strikeout and flyball tendencies. His career splits are small. But his OBP is weak and it always has been. But his at-bat song is pretty solid, and you do want pop immediately behind Overbay. So I'm not sure. If there were no young-slugger-character-building issues with Lind, I'd think batting him 5th behind Overbay would be ideal.

Today: Two exhausted bullpens. One knuckleballer. One guy who hasn't made it through 5 innings in a big-league start yet. Who ya got? Purcey and Dickey, 1:07.
26 July 2008: You're Bad News | 31 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#189498) #
I'd be curious to hear what people think about Rod Barajas being entrenched as the 5 hitter against righties.

Not the ideal solution. It looks like Gaston wants to alternate LH and RH batters, and right now he's got the LH bats in the 4 and 6 spots. Which means Barajas or Rolen get the 5 hole, and right now I'd like to see Rolen hitting 10th. You were too... tactful? to say anything but Rolen had one of the lousiest games at the plate last night it's possible to have. He ended up scoring the winning run, of course, but even that was because he couldn't get the sac bunt to work (although that was a pretty nice play by Cairo, and while Zaun runs exceptionally well for a 37 year old catcher, he is a 37 year old catcher..)

Glad somebody noticed the Wilkerson at bats, and Riggelman burning through his bullpen as if extra innings are a theoretical construct that never occur in real life. And finally... a Blue Jay reaches double figures in homers. Last time it took this long was 1981. That's right, the year they went on strike in mid-season.
Mike D - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#189499) #
Nice piece, Alex.

My office building is connected to the Eaton Centre, and I saw a twenty-something guy in the mall yesterday wearing a full-on, custom-made gray Inglett jersey. It goes to show you -- release one Reed Johnson, and the fans will simply find another one.
Mike D - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#189500) #
Rolen had one of the lousiest games at the plate last night it's possible to have.

Exactly, and was I the only one who noticed that he had a pretty frustrated/sheepish/guilty look on his face for a guy scoring the winning run in extra innings?
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#189502) #
Gaston has said he thinks Lind will eventually hit 4th or 5th, but I'll be surprised if he even hits as high as 6th this season.  Gaston is treating him with Ultra Kid Gloves, giving him nothing at all to worry about and no reason to press. You're going to be in the lineup every day, don't worry about it. You're not expected to carry the offense and be a key RBI guy, don't worry about it. And Gaston's unlikely to let a three week hot streak change his plan. Lind is due to run off a 2-20 stretch - the law of Large Numbers says so - better for Lind if he's not hitting 4th or 5th when it does. (Better for the team, too.)
Rob - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#189503) #
The only opinion I have on Lind batting 8th is it's better than Stewart batting 2nd.

Riggelman burning through his bullpen as if extra innings are a theoretical construct

Yeah, what was that all about? (Seriously. I missed the game.) Does it really make sense to LOOGY your way through Barajas and Stairs? Why couldn't Putz come in with two outs in the 7th?

Ah, the Mariners.
Chuck - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#189504) #

A couple of odd managerial decisions, I thought: 
* not pinch-hitting Eckstein for Inglett against Rhodes
* the Rolen bunt (has anyone ever looked so awkward bunting before?)

I couldn't help but think that this was a play Ichiro makes more than 50% of the time.

I definitely agree. I was shocked when Suzuki didn't make the catch. The W was a gift.

Wilkerson was 1-2 with a single and three clutch walks

Sadly, Wilkerson is another data point supporting the early demise theory of those with "old player" skills. He is basically Lance Blankenship at this point, going to the plate specifically looking to walk. Last night it worked, though walk #3 could have easily been a punch-out on a very close inside pitch. Is he even replacement level at this stage of his career?

Finally, I'd be curious to hear what people think about Rod Barajas being entrenched as the 5 hitter against righties.

If I recall correctly, the #5 hitter leads off the 2nd inning most of the time, so a low-OBP guy is technically not who you want here. I'm not sure if Barajas batting 5th is a sign of confidence in the man, despite his numbers having slipped back to his career norms, or a shot across the bow at all the under-achievers who should otherwise lay claim to such a prominent batting order slot, notably Rolen and Stairs.

Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#189505) #
We live in strange and disturbing times, and nothing could be more strange or more disturbing than this. From last night's New York-Boston game, sure proof that the the apocalypse is nigh.

J Giambi struck out swinging. 1 0
Boston - Bottom of 8th SCORE
K Farnsworth relieved J Chamberlain. 1 0
R Sexson at first base. 1 0

Yes, you are reading that correctly.

Richie Sexson, Defensive Replacement.
kettch - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#189506) #
That was one heck of a finish; the first seven innings were not very entertaining, but the roller-coaster ride over the last three more than made up for it (and sitting in the 500s I didn't notice as many people leaving before the end as usual, for what that's worth).

Aside from the two decisions Chuck noted above - I know that Cito is not Eckstein's biggest booster, but why didn't he pinch-run Johnny Mac for Barajas instead of Eckstein (and then pinch-run Eckstein for Stairs) in the eighth? I love Johnny Mac, but I never, ever want to see "John McDonald, DH" again.
Rob - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#189507) #
In honour of Mike D, let's do a 2004 Advance Scout throwback:

* General: 38-64 after last night's Adventures with Ichiro. 21 games out of a playoff spot, compared to 7.5 for Toronto. 2-6 in extra innings, possibly because they have no pitchers left by the 11th ... Their DHs have a 47 OPS+ relative to all other AL DHs. Only left field is above-average (by OPS), though 2B is close ... OPS+ relative to league for each lineup spot: 96, 99, 94, 64, 74, 57, 80, 78, 131 (!) ... In high leverage situations, they're hitting .217/.290/.334 ... In short, not a good hitting team ... None of these hitters have faced Purcey except possibly maybe in college ... The M's and Sox played 12 innings on Wednesday, but somehow they only used five pitchers to Boston's six ...

* R.A. Dickey: Pitching on three days of rest ... 31 walks and 40 strikeouts on the year. Vultured a win on June 9 in Toronto when Frasor couldn't find the plate ... Last start against the Jays was Canada Day Monday out in Seattle, when Doc shut everyone down ... 100+ pitches in each of his last five starts, but never more than seven innings. Those walks again ... Eckstein is a .421/.421/.526 hitter against Dickey in 20 PA, 15 of which came before 2005 ... The third Dickey in major-league history ...

* Arthur Rhodes: First pitched to Matt Stairs over 11 years ago. The A's lineup on May 3, 1997 featured Jason Giambi batting second and playing left (really!) and Scott Brosius playing three innings at shortstop. This ancient history favours Rhodes over Stairs: 15 PA, one single, one walk since 1997 ... Has not allowed a run in 30 of his last 34 appearances ...

* Jeremy Reed: Has faced LHP just 6% of the time this year compared to the Mariner average of 26% ...

* Bryan LaHair: His name roughly--very roughly--translates as The Hate. (The Noisy Hate?) More or less replaced Richie Sexson on the roster, after the Tug Hulett (no relation to Joe Inglett) interregnum. Lefty hitter in his third year at AAA Tacoma, .263/.357/.467 this year and .282/.351/.459 in 277 triple-A games. He and Cairo should split time at first base. The first LaHair in major-league history ...

* Jose Vidro: Hitting poorly despite a good history. Has a 2009 option based on plate appearances. Does that sound familiar? ...

* Raul Ibanez: Best hitter on the team, but Downs can handle him ... Horrifically bad in left field. No range. No hands. UZR has him at -12 in left field from 2003 to 2007 ... How does one deal with this team? (Take a deep breath...) "You keep going. Regardless of what's going around you, you keep going. You keep battling, no matter how many times you get knocked down. You get back up and you do it again tomorrow. If you don't have that mind-set, you're in trouble, not just in this game, but in life. No matter how many times you get punched right between the eyes, you get back and keep coming after them. Every day, you come out as tenacious as ever and get it done somehow. Just get it done, that's the name of the game. [...] It's tough. But you keep battling and keep fighting. Scratch and claw all the way to the finish line, no matter what happens. Whether 22 games up or 22 games down, you go out there with same tenacity every single day, no matter what's going on around you."

* Jose Lopez: The other not-terrible hitter on the team ... 12-game hitting streak ...

* Miguel Cairo: Old friend is one of three non-trivial Mariners slugging less than .300 and one of five with an OPS under .600 ... Has played first, second, third, and left this year, earning him the nickname WFBL at USS Mariner. (The L stands for Light, the B for Bloomquist.) DMZ on Cairo in March: "The team was so happy having a no-hit, good baserunning, decent-fielding utility player that they decided they needed a worse-hitting, worse-running, worse-fielding backup to allow them to use the first one more often." ...
Chuck - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#189508) #
Richie Sexson, Defensive Replacement.

I'm too lazy to check the boxscores, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first time that Sexson was brought in for defense.
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#189509) #
Ah, the Miguel Cairo odyssey. Which began even before he made his major league debut with the Blue Jays back in 1996.

Signed by the Dodgers
Traded to Seattle
Traded to Toronto 
Traded to the Cubs
Drafted by Tampa
Signed by Oakland
Traded to the Cubs
Waiver Claim by St Louis
Signed by the Yankees
Signed by the Mets
Signed by the Yankees
Signed by the Yankees
Signed by the Cardinals
Signed by Seattle

And so much for my notion that Gaston wants to alternate LH and RH bats. Today's lineup has Over bay 4th, Stairs 5th, and then Lind 7th, Wilkerson 8th. Of course there's only 3 RH batters in the lineup.

Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#189510) #
I'm trying to figure out who's throwing BP for the Mariners. Coaches used to do that, and it's possible that this LH is the old reliever and current bullpen coach Norm Charlton (although he must have changed since his playing days.) But teams carry BP pitchers now, don't they? Would Mel Stottlemyre pitch BP? He's a little elderly for that, no?
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#189511) #
I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first time that Sexson was brought in for defense.

And we're all still here? The universe hasn't come to a fiery death?

Ah, hell. I guess it's like "Now pinch-hitting, John McDonald." We all survived that. I think.
Chuck - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#189512) #

Of course there's only 3 RH batters in the lineup.

Against a RH pitcher with a career reverse-skew trend (he's weaker against RHB than LHB). That said, I'm not sure which lefties could reasonably be bumped. Barajas certainly needs a day off once in a while. Neither Mench for Wilkerson nor Scutaro for Inglett are moves screaming out to be made.

And we're all still here? The universe hasn't come to a fiery death?

No need to get ahead of ourselves here. Isn't the next scheduled rapture due in 2012? A question for the panel: how should the impending end times influence roster construction?

greenfrog - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#189513) #
Talk about missing Vernon Wells. His career OPS against RA Dickey (in 11 PA) is 1.155. Some other Jays' track records against the M's knuckleballer:

Stairs: 1.194 OPS (9 PA)
Rolen: 2.333 OPS (!) (6 PA)
Rios: 453 OPS (7 PA)
Overbay: 250 OPS (4 PA)

McDonald has a cosmically great 3.000 OPS against him, but that's in the smallest sample size possible (1 PA)...
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#189514) #
I'm working all three Seattle games, and coming into the series Suzuki had 2995 hits. I was pretty sure I'd see him clear 3000, and I've never seen that. I've never seen anyone do that. It would be very cool. But 0-5 last night...
Magpie - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#189515) #
bWord around here is the Dodgers have just picked up Casey Blake.
Geoff - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#189517) #
Indeed they have. Move over, Blake DeWitt, Casey Blake's in town.
Rob - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#189520) #
It amazes me how many people are so surprised with Seattle's suckage (Black and Tabler are the latest). Was there anything from 2007 that didn't scream "dead cat bounce" with this team?

Purcey was almost certainly left in there too long today. It seemed he was pitching well, but a couple of early ABs by Cairo and Vidro just drove home how much any pitcher can look good against the Mariners. Sure enough, once they got used to him...well. The game wasn't affected much, so it comes down to what's better for a young pitcher: leaving after 5 IP and one run or 6 IP and 3? I don't know.

Also, when was the last time the Jays scored in all nine innings? (Or all eight, if it's a home win.)
Rob - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#189521) #
Well, doesn't matter now. I know the last time any team did it was at most two years ago: April 29, 2006. And I just found a page that claims it's happened just 13 times in history, four times since the 1950s (including that awful game in New York). Sounds about right.
Rob - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#189522) #
What the hell, one more:

Great contrast in speeds just now. League throws smoke and Cairo totally dogs it down the line.
Thomas - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#189527) #
The Cards have dealt Anthony Reyes to the Indians for Double-A reliever Luis Perdomo. Reyes clashed with Duncan and LaRussa and his exit from St Louis was just a matter of when and I guess St. Louis' recent bullpen woes caused them to make the deal.
Thomas - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#189528) #
I don't think Perdomo's going to step into the bullpen right away, I meant more that the upcoming deadline in combination with an organisational need for RP and a lack of better offers was the impetus to finally pull the trigger on the Reyes deal.
Jdog - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#189531) #

A question for the masses here in Da Box.

With the Braves being on the fence of selling/buying would they be open to trading Texiera (who will be a FA) for Overbay and a prospect? Of course the bluejays would only do this deal if they could lock up Texiera long term(which im guessing would be unlikely). This would be something I hope JP has looked into. Not sure what the Braves are planning to do at 1b next year but i know they dont want to do a huge deal for Texiera. So Overbay and Arencibia for Texiera?? Am I out to lunch, im sure getting Texierra signed before FA would be very difficult, maybe impossible. Thoughts?

Thomas - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#189535) #
Teixera will absolutely 100% test free agency and will absolutely 100% not sign with Toronto.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#189536) #
A question for the panel: how should the impending end times influence roster construction?

Don't trust anyone under 20 because they aint never gonna reach their peak. :)
TamRa - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#189543) #
Which means Barajas or Rolen get the 5 hole, and right now I'd like to see Rolen hitting 10th

Not to carry a brief for Rolen in the midst of a horrible month BUT...

In his last 103 At Bats (since June 9) Barajas has the following line:
.204  .224  .311  .535 

Since July 6 (which begins with the end of a 0-for-16 stretch to maximize his
current numbers) he's hitting...

.204 .216 .327 .543

By contrast:
Since July 13 (again maximizing his current performance) Rolen is hitting
.265  .390  .324  .715 

Obviously a massive under-performance for him but way better than the slump
of his previous 10 games:

.111 .238 .139 .377

On June 30 (before the slump started on July 1) his total for the season was:

.288 .377 .474 .851

I don't find it credible in ANY way that we want Barajas to get more AB and
more in important situations than Rolen. Even with this horrible month.

Not to overly question Cito but some of his lineup decisions mystify me.

Geoff - Saturday, July 26 2008 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#189544) #
With the impending doom, might as well impress free agents with the security of 10-year offers. Heavily back loaded, lots of deferred money. Perhaps that could attract Teixeira.

And just to cover bases, there is also a suggestion that the end will come on May 21, 2011. But if Sir Isaac Newton is to be satisfied, we have more than 50 years to hope the Jays return to the World Series.
China fan - Sunday, July 27 2008 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#189556) #
Adam Lind's steady march up the lineup is continuing today.  He is batting 6th in today's lineup, ahead of Rolen, Mench and McDonald.   I guess Cito is inching him up the lineup, keeping the pressure off but still giving him progressively more to handle.  I like it.   By the way, today's fun fact:  Lind's batting average of .397 in July is the best in the entire league this month.

Magpie - Sunday, July 27 2008 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#189561) #
Gaston's still learning his new personnel and it hurt him a little today. This was just the second game Shaun Marcum's started for him, and I don't think Cito really understands yet that Marcum hits the wall earlier than most starters and he hits it  hard when he does. The sixth inning and less than 80 pitches is early even for Marcum, but it was just his second game back. He was at 71 pitches through 5, and walked Suzuki to lead off the sixth. I would have pulled him then - because it's Marcum, because it was just his second start, and because a leadoff walk is always a Bad Indicator for me.

Suzuki worked for his walk, falling behind 0-2, fouling off 2-2 and 3-2 strikes - but if the count goes full, you just throw it down the middle. It's Ichiro, he's not going to hit it out. Give your defense a chance. If the pitcher can't do that, I worry.

The Jays played some nice defense this weekend. Today Mench's very strong throw (after his poor route to the ball, but I can't think he's very familiar with how the ball comes off that curving low wall down the RF line), and a remarkable spinning tag by Barajas saved a run. Rios made a very nice catch on a sinking liner right in front of him. Rolen made a very impresive stop in the second inning on a hard grounder that took a lethal final hop right at his head. Nothing to it. Yesterday, Eckstein (Eck?) saved a run with a diving stop that kept a ball in the infield and Overbay made a couple of very good plays at first, especially his diving grab on a popped up bunt.

Mike Green - Sunday, July 27 2008 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#189573) #
Yes.  Marcum had thrown only a 4 inning rehab outing prior to his return.  I was dubious about his return in the sixth, and agree that he should have been pulled after Suzuki's walk. 

I guess Cito's  feeling was that Marcum had thrown a shutout to that point, and so was on his game.  That  might be so for Jesse Litsch, but when Marcum is on his game, he misses more bats.

26 July 2008: You're Bad News | 31 comments | Create New Account
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