Playing out the string here folks, both on the field and in the Advance Scout (sorry! Though not actually.) The Jays need to win one to finish exactly .500, and at least two to surpass that arbitrary but oh-so-fantastic mark. Otherwise let's just hope for the Red Sox to lose I guess?
Thanks for sticking around for this half (ok, third) season of Advance Scouting, we'll see you next year, assuming the robotpocalypse hasn't happened by then.
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with an Advance Scout.
Monday: Dustin McGowan v. Dylan Axelrod
No, I've never heard of him either, but Dylan Axelrod is the nephew of a prominent player agent and made it to the Majors as a 30th round draft pick. At age 26 Axelrod blew threw AA and AAA, with a K/BB approaching 4 and a FIP in the mid 2's. He's made 2 starts and one relief appearance in the bigs, and from what little there is to go on it seems that he's a fastball/slider guy.
Tuesday: Henderson Alvarez v. Mark Buehrle
Mark Buehrle keeps on chugging. This is his 12th major league season, and after his mid-season debut in 2000 it will be his 11th straight over 200 innings, assuming he makes it out of the second against the Jays. Despite being only 32, Buehrle is already firmly in Jamie Moyer territory, hitting 85 with the heater and striking out about 4 batters a game. He doesn't walk anyone, doesn't give up many home runs, never gets stolen on (baserunners are 3/10 this year, and have 49 steals in almost 2500 innings.) So, those are pretty good things if you aren't blowing the ball by anyone. Buehrle doesn't rely on his fastball much, mixing in an array of cutters, curves and changes at a variety of speeds, and assuming he doesn't get bombed, will post an ERA under 4 for the 4th time in 5 years. He's got 160 wins and unless the wheels fall off he could get well into the 200s. Jose Bautista is 5/19, Jose Molina 7/21, and Mark Teahan 24/53 for a 1.153 OPS. That is probably a reasonable sample size, as far as these things go.
Wednesday: Brandon Morrow v. Phillip Humber
Phil Humber is 29, and this is essentially his first full season in the Major Leagues. Wow. Cause Humber's been around forever, it seems. He throws the standard Fastball-Curve-Slider-Change, in that order, touching 90 with the heat and dropping to 80 with the deuce. Anyway, he's actually having a pretty great year. As you may have picked up, the two things that I'm a big fan of in pitchers is keeping the ball down and not walking anyone, and Humber's been good at both those things, and he strikes out a reasonable number of batters. So, Mazel Tov! Speaking of, don't watch this if you don't want Humber get smoked in the face with a batted ball. No Jay has faced Humber more than 5 times.
Otherwise: Stuff, probably. It's the White Sox.
Elsewhere: Jose Bautista is I guess what you would call a game time decision with a knee contusion. He wants to keep playing, perhaps sensing that Jacoby Ellsbury's three home runs have vaulted him closer to the MVP lead. Speaking as a Toronto fan, I most sincerely hope that Boston doesn't make the playoffs, for two reasons now! Some stuff from the Times: on run scoring being down, and a good article about Billy Beane, post-Moneyball, that touches on some of the problems smaller market teams have.
Infirmary: Tony Pena and Ramon Castro
Credit: The usual, Fangraphs, Yahoo, BR.
Chart: Use your imagination!