Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Round 1 to Detroit.

Tigers 7, Jays 1. Max Scherzer plows through the Jays' lineup. The Tigers give him a 6-spot in the fourth and he never looks back.

Much of the offense last night revolved around Edwin Encarnacion. Unfortunately, he only batted three times, and the bases were empty each time. Detroit won 7-1. I was all proud throughout Encarnacion's defensive hot streak in July, but I think it's over.

With runners on first and third and 1 out in the fourth, Encarnacion fielded a ground ball from Ryan Raburn and fired to second to start a double play that would end the inning. Unfortunately, he rushed the throw and airmailed it, both high and way off to the right. Instead of being out of the inning, Romero found himself down 1-0 with runners on the corners and one out. The way Max Scherzer was dealing for Detroit, Romero had to sell out to avoid the sac fly. Sadly, Jhonny Peralta turned on a 1-0 fastball and homered to put the Tigers up 4-0. Two batters later, Gerald Laird added a two-run shot.

I thought it was more a mental error than a mechanical one, and I still think Encarnacion looks a bit more consistent throwing the ball than he did this time last year. Hopefully this game doesn't stick with him.

Encarnacion had a strong night at the plate, going 3-3 with 3 singles, one of which was erased when Ryan Raburn threw him out trying to stretch it into a double. This happened with the score tied 0-0; the other two singles came with the Jays down big. As a result, EE finished with an ultra-rare perfect OBP, negative WPA game (-.002 WPA). That doesn't count his defensive contribution, of course. The error was worth -.110 WPA, charged to Romero.

The Jays' lone run came on Jose Bautista's 100th career homer, an absolute bomb to left off Scherzer. Way to go, Jose. It was his 41st homer of the year - he's now 18 away from matching his career total in 2010 alone.

It wasn't a thrilling game. On the way home from the Dome, I was thinking about David Wells' infamous comments* about Toronto fans.

Honest to God, the Toronto fans suck. If a batter makes an out, he gets booed. If a pitcher walks a batter, he gets booed. If the team loses a game, we all get booed... loudly. Even though this underpaid, understaffed, underloved little team is right in the thick of the hunt, right into the last week of 2000, these mouth-breathers in the stands have no idea what we've accomplished. The wool-hat wankers just boo... relentlessly.

Aside from some grumbling after Encarnacion's ghastly error and the subsequent homers, and maybe Romero's fifth walk (which chased him from the game), I didn't hear much negativity. There was a healthy "f[explicit] the Yankees" chant in the 8th inning  -John, I think the big crowd theory is right on, as it lasted about 5 seconds before an usher ran over and broke it up. Small crowds have their perks. Anyway, none of the hitters caught any crap, and there was no outright booing, not even when the game ended. It seems like the atmosphere inside the stadium has become livelier, more positive, more baseball-savvy, and just generally more worthy of David Wells over the past few years. The music is still too loud, the ads are still overbearing, you still get the wiseass who points out how exciting he finds baseball two minutes into the top of the first... but broadly speaking the people seem more attuned to what's going on.

Of course, I could be dead wrong here. I am not the most observant person... Thoughts?

*I lifted this quote from Dave Till's enormous Minor League Register, from way back in 2004. Thanks, Dave!

Tonight, the Jays will go with The Stopper and order him to stop their losing streak at 1. Marcum and Verlander, Jays -115, first pich 7:07.
27 August 2010: Nothing to See Here | 24 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Anders - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#221577) #

On an unrelated (and crappy note) Stephen Strasburg will probably need TJ surgery and may miss all of 2011.

Mike Green - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#221583) #
I don't often listen to Jerry and Alan for a lengthy period.  Usually, it's just a snatch here and there while driving some place in the city.  Last night, on the way back into the city after a long drive, I heard most of the game for the first time in a long time.  Is it just me, or has Jerry's golly-gee over-the-top enthusiasm mellowed into something more pleasant?  Aside from a minor mistake about the earned/unearned status of one of the Tiger runs, the broadcast was a complete pleasure to listen to. 
Dave Till - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#221585) #
By the way: I took a look at my old Minor League Register (wow, 2004 seems like a long time ago now) and noticed that some of it seems to have been eaten by moths: for example, the first part of the pitching section seems to stop at Tom Henke.

I'll see if I can find the old files somewhere - they were written about three computers ago - and fill in the gaps.

wdc - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#221597) #
I agree with you, Mike.  Jerry has changed over the past few years.  I have wondered whether it is the influence of Alan Ashby.  What I like about Ashby, from the very start, he will give his opinion on things, even when they are negative.  For example, he always points out when one of the Jays catchers does not get down and get behind the ball when it is in the dirt rather than just using the glove. He explains the psychological impact it has on pitchers, particularly if they need to throw a slider low and into the dirt. He also evaluates base running often.  And I have noticed that increasingly when he does, Jerry engages and will agree or disagree but at least take a critical look at the game.  Gerry did not do that before.  I listen often; I don't have a TV.  In addition, there is something about baseball and radio that I find very agreeable.
Magpie - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#221598) #
eaten by moths

I would especially like to see what you wrote about Vernon Wells.
Magpie - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#221599) #
And Aaron Hill! The moths got him as well.
jerjapan - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#221602) #
Jerry and Alan make a wonderful team.  I grew up listening to Jerry and Tom Cheek at my first job (gas jockey) and always find the sound of baseball on the radio just wonderful - it fits the rhythm of the game so well.

I also think that Buck's been improving - but maybe it's just the siren song of the sounds of my youth talking on that one...

electric carrot - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#221608) #
Listening on the radio is the only way I enjoy participating in the game aside from coming to this site. I like Jerry tons. I listen to a lot of announcers and he's really really smooth. I think he has perfect delivery and I like his turns of phrases and his general demeanor and his questions to Allan. I like Allan's knowledge but his tone makes me crazy. He's always ends his sentences by raising his voice higher. To me it sounds like the way you talk to a kid who's in kindergarten. He's got none of the nuance, none of the playfulness, none of musical quality of Jerry's delivery who seems whimsical and fun. Ashby by comparison sounds perfunctory and condescending. I just wish someone would say "hey Allan, loosen up ... and pretend you're talking to an intelligent adult.
greenfrog - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#221609) #
wdc, I think you're bang on. Having Alan as part of the team seems to have had a positive influence on Jerry, who somehow seems freer to speak his mind (more balanced, and less Pollyanna-ish). To provide one example, during a recent Red Sox series he commented that all the home runs are nice, but that the team is really being hurt by their low OBP, suggesting that just swinging for the fences isn't going to get it done. He also provided some useful stats to back up his argument, which I thought was interesting. Both Alan and Jerry are pretty positive in general (albeit in very different ways), but the broadcasts now seem more authentic to me. I can honestly say that they're my favourite Jays broadcasting duo, TV or otherwise, of the last 20 years or so.
Dave Till - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#221611) #
Magpie: I found the original file for the hitters portion of the Minor League Register, and here's what I wrote about Vernon Wells:

Vernon Wells
Buzz Factor: 9
Only Stieb and Moseby shot through the minors faster than V-Dub.  There were doubts about him after he struggled in Syracuse in 2000 and 2001, but players asked to wait their turn often slump a bit.  When looking at his 1999 numbers, you can see why he was promoted so quickly:  he had a .946 OPS at Dunedin, a .919 OPS at Knoxville, and an .838 OPS at Syracuse.  Has a chance to become the greatest Blue Jay hitter ever, and that's including Delgado.

This was written in November 2003, right after Vernon's best year.

I don't have anything for Aaron Hill - he was still in high-A ball that year.

JohnL - Friday, August 27 2010 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#221613) #
I've found I enjoy Jerry & Alan more than I did Tom & Jerry.

Perhaps it's partly because the contrast between their two styles work , and also having one of them bring the experience of the field to the booth without making too big a deal about it.  Ashby is a broadcaster and commenter first, and only occasionally (but often usefully) directly brings his player experience up front.

I also find there is much more, and better two-way communication on air between the two of them than there was with Tom & Jerry.

I've occasionally heard Jerry actually voice some pretty explicit criticisms which was a bit jarring coming from him.

However, I've wondered if part of his change in approach might be because he's now "top dog", in addition to the "Ashby" factor.

He can of course, still get a bit too gushy, especially in interviews where he, like way too many on air folks, has a tendency to fawn over players (although he's not too bad in this regard).  But he's great in communicating the feel, excitement and tension in a game.

Jonny German - Saturday, August 28 2010 @ 08:09 AM EDT (#221616) #
"during a recent Red Sox series he commented that all the home runs are nice, but that the team is really being hurt by their low OBP"

This is more likely to Mike Wilner's credit rather than Ashby's. It's a great trio.
Ducey - Saturday, August 28 2010 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#221633) #

Gregg, Fraser, Camp and Downs all claimed on waivers.  Per TSN.

Teams have until Tuesday to finalize a trade otherwise presumably the Jays will pull (all of them) them back?

If I was AA I wouldn't be holding out for too much for Gregg or Fraser. Fraser might just take an arbitration offer and Gregg is one of those guys who has maximized the role of closer.  He always seems like he is on the verge of disaster.

But Camp is quite good (cheap,rubber arm, ground baller) and Downs is a Type A in fairly high demand so I would be charging arms and legs for them. 

I would have thought Buck would have been in more demand...

greenfrog - Saturday, August 28 2010 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#221634) #
I agree. I think Wilner has made a big difference to the Jays radio broadcasts. He's quite a bit younger than Jerry and Alan, which helps create a range of voices and (to some extent) a link to the sabermetric community.

On a different note: I wonder where Bautista will end up in MVP voting. His stats stack up pretty well with those of Cabrera, Hamilton, Cano, Youkilis, Konerko, Beltre and other leading position players (his BA is relatively low at .266, but he's third in the AL in OPS, second in RBI, and leads the league in HR and walks). The Jays aren't contenders, so that will work against him, but he's clearly played a huge role on the team.

Of course, some pitchers like Sabathia and Price will likely get some love from the BBWAA as well. King Felix has the most impressive stats of all AL starters, but he plays for Seattle and as a result is only 10-10. If I were an M's fan, I would be worried about his IP (already up to 204.1).

I would guess that if the MVP voting were held today, J-Bau would be in the top 10, and might even sneak into the top 5. If he somehow manages to finish first in HR, walks, and RBI, things could get pretty interesting.
China fan - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 05:33 AM EDT (#221639) #
....I would have thought Buck would have been in more demand...

It's likely that Buck is in demand, but the Jays might be keeping him.  He's done a good job with the young pitchers, and his hitting is adequate -- actually top 10 for catchers, as discussed in another thread.  The Jays will keep either Buck or Molina next season -- it's a question of which one would make a better match with JPA, and how they assess JPA's readiness for a major-league workload.  If the Jays decide that JPA is ready for the bulk of the games, they'd keep Molina, who is better-suited as a back-up.  If they think that JPA should play only 40 or 60 games at catcher next year, with the rest of his time at DH or the bench, then they will keep Buck.  At this point, they're probably leaning towards the latter.  If they trade Buck, they'll almost certainly suffer a decline in production from the catcher spot.  (I like JPA but I don't think he's going to be a top-10 catcher in his rookie season.)   And Buck has a huge advantage: he knows the Jays pitching staff, including the young pitchers, and he might be the right guy to help them continue developing next season.

I'd also like to see the Jays keeping Camp and Downs for sure, and maybe Gregg, unless they get a very good offer of young prospects.  Decimating the bullpen -- and replacing them with the uncertainties of Accardo, Lewis and Roenicke -- is not a recipe for improvement next season.  And, rebuilding or not, this team should be trying to improve each season.
Mike Green - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#221641) #
As I said early in the year, this year's pen was flat.  This is not ideal, particularly when you've got 4 starters routinely giving your 6-7 good innings.

Uncertainty is a given with pitchers, as the past week has illustrated all too painfully.  It would be nice to have a pitcher who can fill the high leverage relief role in 2011, but whether that pitcher will be Zach Stewart, Josh Roenicke, Jeremy Accardo or some acquisition, I have no idea.  I would rather that it not be Kevin Gregg.

China fan - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#221647) #
Mike, are you suggesting that Stewart, Roenicke or Accardo would be a better closer than Kevin Gregg in 2011?  You seem to be hinting that, without actually saying it.  Curious to know if you actually believe it.
I agree that the bullpen needs improvement -- I'm just cautioning that the Jays shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater.  In this metaphor, Tallet and Frasor might be the bathwater, while Downs and Camp would be the baby.  The Jays might be able to upgrade the bullpen by replacing Tallet and Frasor with pitchers such as Richmond, Hill, Mills, Stewart, Roenicke or Accardo.  But each of those has problems, and none of those is a likely closer.  I don't see a replacement for Gregg in the current farm system at this point in time.  Maybe by 2012, but not next season.  If Gregg is replaced from within the Jays organization, it would probably be a current member of the bullpen, such as Downs or Camp or Purcey.  But the Jays might still keep Gregg as a set-up man or middle reliever.

Jonny German - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#221658) #
Camp is arbitration-eligible and unlikely to earn more than $2M for 2011. No reason for him not to be back.
Alex Obal - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#221660) #
I'd also like to see the Jays keeping Camp and Downs for sure, and maybe Gregg, unless they get a very good offer of young prospects

Downs is one of my favorites and the most accomplished Blue Jays reliever since Duane Ward*, but I'm probably letting him walk. Free agent contracts tend to be worth about 0 when they are signed, and often go downhill from there. If the Yankees decide they'd be indifferent between having Scott Downs at $30M/4 and having nothing, that's the offer you are going to have to match. Scott Downs is 35, and the value of a draft pick is higher than 0...

*Dead serious. In his 313.2 career innings as a reliever, all of them for Toronto, Downs has a 2.61 ERA and a .220/.294/.332 line. Beat that. Who am I forgetting? Not Q, Plesac, Koch, Ryan, Escobar, Timlin, Speier...
Alex Obal - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#221661) #
Scott Downs is 35

***will be 35 next March.
Mike Green - Sunday, August 29 2010 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#221668) #
CF, I really do not know as I have not seen Roenicke or Accardo pitch in a long time, and I have never seen Zach Stewart pitch.  But, if the organization decided that Stewart (say) was ready to step up and be an ace reliever, I'd react positively.  I know what Kevin Gregg offers as a closer. He's basically an average reliever, and that's not what you what in the high leverage role.   It won't help the Jays make the playoffs in the AL East.  Stewart might be good enough to actually help them. 

If you're trying to tread water for a few years, a player like Gregg would be OK.  I don't think that this is the organization's current plan. 

China fan - Monday, August 30 2010 @ 03:57 AM EDT (#221679) #
Mike, thanks for the clarification, and I agree with you.  But my point is -- do the Jays have anyone capable of replacing Gregg as closer in 2011?  It's really much too early for Stewart to be considered. Same for Magnusson and Farina.  Accardo and Roenicke and Lewis just don't seem like candidates -- they didn't even get the call when Purcey went down this month.  Internally, the only options would be Downs or Purcey.  And as someone pointed out in the other thread, the Jays probably won't be able to sign Downs if he gets a big offer from the Yankees or Red Sox.  It's a little early for Purcey to become the closer in April 2011.  So, seems to me that it's either Kevin Gregg or another free-agent closer -- for 2011 at least.  Developing a good closer has got to be one of AA's priorities for 2012 when the Jays should be competing.
Alex Obal - Monday, August 30 2010 @ 04:39 AM EDT (#221681) #
Marc Rzepczynski could be a lethal short reliever. I'd rather he start, but the 2011 rotation looks a bit crowded.
Alex Obal - Monday, August 30 2010 @ 05:10 AM EDT (#221682) #
Bonus actual data! Rzepczynski has pitched in 18 big-league games. Over his first 25 pitches of those appearances, Scrabble has held hitters to .241/.298/.345 with 26.0% K and 6.2% BB. (Small sample, 96 PA, but against strong hitters...)
27 August 2010: Nothing to See Here | 24 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.