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After starting out gangbusters in sweeping the Yankees, the Rays have subsequently managed to lose two of three to the Tigers, then get it handed to them by the Red Sox. They lost the first three games of a four game set by a combined margin of 31-11, though they did salvage yesterday's finale 1-0 behind a fine effort from James Shields and sit at .500. However Tampa has the worst run differential in baseball and have scored the fewest runs of any team in the division. Of more concern perhaps is that their fine staff has been pretty poor so far, Shields aside. They're tied for the most runs allowed in baseball, and Tampa's non-Shields pitchers have now walked 39 batters in 62.2 innings, against 42 strikeouts. It's early, but that is, as the kids say, not good.

At least for Tampa's sake they get to face a familiar punching bag in the Blue Jays. Over the last four seasons the Rays are 47-25 against the home nine, which works out to about a 106 win pace over the course of a full season. All of this is a long winded way of setting up unstoppable force vs. immovable object - the Rays slow start vs. their traditional dominance of the Jays. Which will prevail?

Well, really, the Rays continued success against the Jays and their slow start are probably and definitely not statistically significant, respectively. Sometimes statistics are no fun though, which is why we have THE ADVANCE SCOUT.

First of all, on a bit of a non-sequitur, I was in New York for six days (Yankee Stadium is super nice btw, albeit tiny) and the Jays were probably the third most popular ball cap I saw - easily beating out the Red Sox, probably close with the Phillies, and then obviously trailing the Yankees and the Mets. Even if one of those caps was Alex's, I still saw about one Jays cap per day, which I thought was kind of neat, and even saw one of the new hats in a athletic store window (albeit in Brooklyn). Anyway...

Tuesday: Jeff Niemann vs. Ricky Romero

Jeff Niemann has pretty much established his major league bona fides by this point. In his three full seasons his FIP- (FIP relative to league) has gone from 97 (3% better) to 116 (16% worse) to 107. Over his career he's now thrown 511 innings of slightly below average baseball. Given the division in which he works, that is pretty impressive for a guy who's essentially a fifth starter.  The fourth overall pick out of Rice, Niemann never really put it together as a star; one of the the major area's in which he has struggled is in going deep into ballgames - Niemann almost always makes it through five, and usually through six, but goes into the seventh in only about a third of his starts - he usually tires after about 75 pitches. I don't know if this is related to his size - Niemann is a giant, standing 6'9" and weighing in at about 260 pounds - but it's something he hasn't improved on over time.  Despite his stature Niemann is actually a pretty soft tosser, consistently topping out at about 92 MPH. In addition to the heater Niemann has developed a split fingered pitch over the last couple of years, to go with his righty curveball and his slider. The slider and the splitter both run in the mid to low-80s, while the curve tops out at about 78 MPH. Niemann started using the curve more and the splitter less in 2011, but threw both of them about 13% of the time in his 2012 debut. None of the pitches stand out as being really above average. Niemann is recovering from a blister that bothered him in spring training, but seemed fine in his first start, allowing three runs in five innings against the Tigers, with a 6/2 K/BB ratio. Lifetime against Niemann Jose Bautista is 4/18 but with 5 walks; Edwin is 1/9 and Yunel 0/8, while Adam Lind is 11/26 with 2 homers and 4 walks.

Wednesday: David Price vs. Brandon Morrow

If one Ray really personifies Tampa's dominance over Toronto it's Price. The big lefty was called up by the Rays (albeit briefly) in 2008, the first year in the Rays run of dominance against the Jays. Since then he's gone 9-2 in 12 starts against Toronto, holding Blue Jays hitters to a paltry .213/.265/.332 line against him. So basically he makes Jays hitters look like a light-hitting version of Juan Pierre. Yikes. Price has, of course, been quite good against all teams, thanks in no small measure to one of the best fastballs in baseball. Price throws both a two-seamer and four-seamer, which he runs up to 98 MPH. Amongst starters he averaged the third highest velocity in 2011, being narrowly beat out by Alexi Ogando and Justin Verlander; the year before he was fourth overall.  Price mixes speeds effectively, throwing a late breaking slider around 90, a change up around 85 and a curveball around 80. The change up is probably the best of these pitches, which he throws about 10% of the time each. He is coming off one of the worst starts of his career, walking three and allowing three runs in three innings against the Red Sox, needing 83 pitches to do so. Like I said, he's been pretty good for that to be one of the worst starts. If you think that line against the Jays is bad, take out Jose Bautista, who is 9/27 lifetime against Price with 4 homers and 4 walks. JP Arencibia is 1 for 13, while Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar are 3 for 18 and 15 respectively, both with a home run. Adam Lind is 6/30, while KJ is 2/10.

Thursday: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Henderson Alvarez

2011's AL Rookie of the Year (Lawrie wuz robbed!), Jeremy Hellickson was one out away from shutting our the Yankees to start the season. Not too shabby, kid. After that start he got hit with a batted ball in BP but was fine, passing a concussion test and being allowed to start Friday's game against the Red Sox. He maybe should have taken a few more days, as he gave up 5 in 5, and now possesses a 6-4 BB/K ratio in 13.2 innings. Again, nothing really to get worried about at this early juncture, although I will note that in the minors Hellickson struck out about a quarter of the batters he faced, while walking about 6% of them. In his first big league season he was closer to 15%/9%, which isn't bad but isn't going to turn any heads. Hellickson doesn't throw especially hard, spotting his fastball between 89-93 MPH His real plus pitch though is an 80 MPH changeup he threw a remarkable 30% of the time last season. He augments these two offerings with an about average curveball. Career Jose Bautista is 4/5 against Hellickson, actually hitting for the cycle (not all in the same game).


The Rays basically never use the same lineup twice, but it should look approximately like this vs Morrow and Alvarez at least

Desmond Jennings CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Ben Zobrist RF
Luke Scott DH
Jeff Keppinger 2B
Jose Molina C
Reid Brignac/Sean Rodriguez SS

Tonight against Romero Keppinger will probably bat cleanup, with Sean Rodriguez getting the start at short and batting 6th or so.

BJ Upton had two hits last night in his first rehab assignment and could be back with the Rays as soon as this weekend... Don't feel too bad for Evan Longoria being tied to an extremely team friendly contract: he's become one of baseball's most sought after spokespeople, having graced the cover of MLB 2K10 in addition to appearing in ads for Gillette and New Era; he has a drumhead cover signed by all the members of Rush, and he's dating Miss January 2010... Luke Scott is no stranger to controversy, having opined that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He's sticking to baseball this time, calling Fenway Park "a dump." He was mainly referring to the cramped conditions the players face, but some things you just don't say... Desmond Jennings has put some right shoulder problems behind him, though he's still off to a slow start...  Yesterday's W was the 500th of Joe Madden's career.

Infirmary: As mentioned, BJ Upton, CF (back) is due back basically as early as this weekend; the legend of Sam Fuld, OF (wrist) is out until July-August, while Kyle Farnsworth, RP (elbow) might be back in May.

Song to Advance Scout By: I'm Coming Home, the J. Cole version (the soft female vocal refrain "I'm Coming Home" is used in a bunch of the Sportsnet Jays commercials). It is infinity times better than the Diddy Dirty Money version, the video for which, combined with Puffy's rapping, actually makes me laugh out loud.

Last edition featuring 2011 numbers! All data from Fangraphs/Yahoo/BR.

Advance Scout: Rays, April 17-19 | 124 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#254646) #
while Adam Lind is 11/26 with 2 homers and 4 walks (against Niemann).

These are the kind of batter vs. pitcher numbers that start to mean something.  Lind hits RHPs pretty well, but he does seem particularly to like hitting against Niemann.  Maybe he sees the ball better when it comes out 3"-7" higher from Niemann than it does from just about anybody else.

Nice job, Anders, as usual. 

Nick Holmes - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#254648) #
I think the limits on Niemann's innings are the Rays taking it easy on him post-injury.
He went 17-0 in 2003 for Rice, with 156 strikeouts [according to Wikipedia] and has never been the same since [according to anecdote].
92-93 - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#254649) #
I lived in Washington Heights for a few years and can definitively say that in that area the Jays cap was more popular than the Mets one, and perhaps even the Yankees one.
92-93 - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#254650) #
Interesting stuff on Niemann's durability. Coming up I remember Law was very against his prospects of being a MLB starter and always suggested he's a bullpen arm longterm.
92-93 - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#254652) #

"He's sticking to baseball this time, calling Fenway Park "a dump." He was mainly referring to the cramped conditions the players face,"

Oh, come on. Let Luke call a spade a spade. Fenway Park is a remarkable experience to catch a ballgame in the summer but it most definitely is a dump, for everybody involved.

hypobole - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#254653) #
With his outrageous and controversial comments, Luke Scott sounds like he would make an excellent Bauxite.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#254654) #

Nice preview, sir. But ...

easily beating out the Red Sox

Um, well .... duh! Wearing a Sawx cap in Yankee stadium is akin to wearing a sign that says "spill your beer on me as you insult my mother. Thank you sir, may I have another?"

85bluejay - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#254655) #
In that 2004 draft, Rice had 3 pitchers - Humber,Niemann and Townsend - drafted in the top 8 picks - all 3 have had arm problems and disappointing pro results - there was some criticism that they were  overworked at Rice and some teams shied away from Rice pitchers for awhile.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#254656) #
P.S., the day we welcome a Bauxite who is an outspoken and avowed vocal "birther," please consider my resignation notice as inevitable! Not just because that particular stance is such sheer nonsense, but because, as has been said many billions of times here, this is a site for baseball, not politicking.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#254657) #
85, good note. There's GOTTA be a "fried Rice" pun in there somewhere ...
uglyone - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#254659) #
GREAT advance scout, anders!

one personal peeve.....Jennings' "bit of a slow start" might just be a nice way of saying's his career monthly splits so far:

SEP '10: 14gms, 21ab, .235babip, .190/.292/.333/.625, .262woba
JUL '11: 9gms, 33ab, .400babip, .333/.463/.576/1.039, .449woba
AUG '11: 28gms, 108ab, .382babip, .333/.415/.611/1.026, .446woba
SEP '11: 26gms, 106ab, .195babip, .160/.258/.245/.504, .244woba
APR '12: 10gms, 40ab, .357babip, .250/.333.300/.633, .290woba

and this is a guy who only managed an .806ops in AAA, despite being there through age 24.
Anders - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#254660) #
Um, well .... duh! Wearing a Sawx cap in Yankee stadium is akin to wearing a sign that says "spill your beer on me as you insult my mother. Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Well I was talking about all five boroughs in general (well, the 1.5 I was in). I actually don't think I saw any Red Sox gear.

Also Yankee stadium was/is ridiculous. I'll post a few pics on the twitter account, but there are great sightlines from everywhere. And honest to goodness 2/3 of the crowd was wearing Yankee gear, and if they didn't have Yankee stuff odds were they were wearing something navy blue. It was pretty great.

Anders - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#254661) #
Oh, apropos of nothing, when Upton comes back Zobrist probably goes to second and Keppinger sits (except against lefties, I assume).
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#254664) #
Make Lind now 13-28 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 4 walks and 3 strikeouts against Niemann.  Somehow I doubt that he will face him again tonight.
JB21 - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#254665) #
New Yankee Stadium is nicer than I thought it was going to be, but obviously it's not the same as the (revised) Original.

Funny story, I was in the Bronx during the final season for Yanks/Mets Sunday Night Baseball and a kid that was selling ice cream (at a stand) was wearing a Mets hat. I took a double take and a pic. Assumed that things have changed since the Boss had moved on.

Nice J Cole link, kid is talented.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#254666) #
The Rays certainly make one pay for conventional thinking, with the bunt singles by Pena when the Rays are down by a bunch and nobody is on a perfect illustration. 
PeteMoss - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#254667) #
I know the Rays get kudos for their outside of the box thinking (and those Pena bunts were smart), but sometimes I wonder if they get too cute for their own good at times when they fiddle with their lineup or that shift on Batista where they couldn't turn a double play b/c no one could get to 2nd base.
PeteMoss - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#254668) #
One other thing to note is the Rays bullpen has been pitiful this year. The only guy who's pitched decent is Rodney and I just cant imagine he'll keep it up, Wade Davis has been ok... no one else has an ERA below 6.75.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 11:56 PM EDT (#254669) #
Here's the thing now.  The Jays win the Romero Niemann matchup as would be expected.  This is where they would typically lose the next two games to drop the series.  It would be nice if they could at least split and finally take a series from Tbay.  Had so many problems with that team.
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 02:31 AM EDT (#254671) #
I have no worries about the Rays pitching this year - or Desmond Jennings.

Once Farnsworth comes back it shold help the pen and Matt Moore was great against the Tigers (look for more inconsistency the rest of the year). Fenway and the Red Sox offense is unforgiving if you don't bring both good stuff and command with you.

Rays defense last night was horrible - I've never seen Longoria have as bad a defensive game as that.

ColiverPhD - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 08:10 AM EDT (#254673) #

One time Blue Jays prospect Franklyn Gracesqui is from Washington Heights.  He is a Dominican born left-hand pitcher who went to high school in NYC.  He had a cup of coffee with the Marlins.  I believe he is still pitching in Indy ball.

The odd thing about him is that he was listed as a switch hitter.  Also, he always seemed to be in the concession line when he played in St. Catherines, buying beaver tails (a funnel cake of some sort).

The funny things we remember...

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#254675) #
Normally one wouldn't expect that Farrell would pinch-hit for Thames with Francisco against a LH reliever and then bring in Davis to play the outfield with a 6-3 lead late.  I am hoping that Farrell was trying to get them both in the game last night with the expectation that both would start against Price tonight (Davis in left, Francisco at DH and EE at first).  Price has a very significant platoon split over his career, as does Lind.  A side benefit is that the club gets the optimal outfield defence behind Morrow.
92-93 - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#254678) #
Had never heard of Gracesqui, ColiverPhD. Interesting. I see he pitched in St. Cat in 98-99, and that he went to George Washington HS, which was down the block from me and where Manny Ramirez went to school, also after moving over from the D.R.. ARod was born in Washington Heights.
92-93 - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#254679) #
Does Rajai playing 2 innings of defense really help keep him sharper for tonight's game? Hasn't he been playing more defense than Francisco anyway, so you'd want to give Ben the reps instead of Rajai in a 3 run game? I wasn't expecting Farrell to burn 2 players when he PH for Thames with a 3 run lead, and figured he'd hold back Rajai to PR in case the game went deeper or the score got closer heading into the 9th.

The team is off to a great start through 10 games. They've only won 6, but they've had a legitimate shot at winning every single one of them. Who was the manager who talked about evaluating the season in 10 game stretches?
John Northey - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#254680) #
Winning 6 of 10 is a good thing (97 win pace) but I agree the big thing is the Jays have been in all of them. Losses have been by 1 run once, 2 runs 3 times. Of those 3 2 run losses they were leading going into the 9th in one, tied going to the 9th in another, and leading going to the 8th in the 3rd. Just the one game they never lead in. Nice that after 10 games we can still say the Jays lead at some point in 90% of their games.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#254683) #
I figured that Farrell wanted to put out the best defence (and hence Rajai Davis) with a 6-3 lead, but decided to pinch-hit with Francisco because Price is pitching today.  If that was the logic, I like it. 
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#254686) #
Of the Jays four losses, they've led in the 8th inning or later in three of them (two in the eighth inning, one in the ninth).  The only other loss was just by one run, in which they left the bases loaded.  That's really being in every game.  They've yet to have a "normal" loss, where they go down 3-0 and lose 6-2 or 7-3 or something like that.
Dewey - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#254687) #
Just the one game they never lead in. Nice that after 10 games we can still say the Jays lead at some point in 90% of their games.

Ow, ow, ow.    You’ve hit one of my sore spots, John.  Twice. (Yes, they grow in number as one ages.)   “Lead” is the metal;  “led” is the past tense of the verb “to lead”.   I know:  the sound of the words confuses us.  But still, this is Da Box.

By the way, speaking of aging, Jamie Moyer won a game last night.  Went 7 innings.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#254688) #
"I have no worries about the Rays pitching this year - or Desmond Jennings."

No need to "worry" about Desmond Jennings, but it might be a good idea to put him in the proper perspective. I mean, he's no Brett Lawrie. More of an Eric Thames with defensive value.


MLB (21-22): 190ab, .295/.366/.553/.919
AAA (21-21): 292ab, .353/.415/.661/1.076


MLB (23-25): 312ab, .250/.345/.417/.761
AAA (22-24): 851ab, .283/.375/.431/.806


MLB (24-25): 388ab, .263/.314/.446/.760
AAA (24-24): 210ab, .352/.423/.610/1.033


MLB (20-23): 799ab, .248/.307/.423/.730
AAA (20-24): 531ab, .341/.413/.569/.982
Gerry - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#254689) #
Joel Carreno is listed as the 51's starting pitcher for tonight's game.  If he does take the mound it will be down to Hutchison, Chavez or someone from the bullpen for the start on Saturday.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#254690) #
I did a quick 10 game scan of the majors, and didn't realize just how hot a start Kinsler had- 4 homers, 7 walks and 2 Ks so far.  So, I checked his BBRef age 29 comparables and they are a wonderful lot- Joe Gordon, Marcus Giles, Jeff Kent, Chase Utley and both Aaron Hill and Kelly Johnson.  I didn't really think of Kinsler as being on a borderline Hall of Fame path, but perhaps he is. 
John Northey - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#254691) #
Y'know, I'm starting to think Hutchison is the likely choice. Multiple starts in a row until McGowan is back, thus not a 'one and one' like Carreno's start earlier. His 3-12 BB-SO ratio is solid in AA, total in AA over 2 seasons is 31 2/3 IP 5 BB 33 SO 1 HR. That is extremely solid and strongly suggests AA is too low a level for him. Might be time to really test the kid and see if he can do what Alvarez did last year except a whole lot earlier in the season.

If Hutch is the choice then the Jays staff ages would be 27-27-24-22-21 (Romero, Morrow, Drabek, Alvarez, Hutchison) with a 25 year old as the #6 in Carreno and a geezer at 30 in McGowan rehabbing.
Moe - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#254692) #
I was just reading about the recent lack of playing time for Mark Trumbo because his transition to 3B isn't going too smoothly. With the Angels excess number of 1B/DH/OF options, they have no where to put him. But what is his trade value if he is purely a 1B/DH guy? Say you include EE (to play 3B and clear the roster spot) and 2 relievers (the Angels need them) what else would one need? I have honestly no idea but I wouldn't give up too much since for that position he is not that great of a hitter and was never regarded as a super prospect.

Of course, the guy I would really want from the Angels is Morales. Wonder what that would cost -- he is a FA after next season and the Angels probably don't have the money to keep him and could use Trumbo instead of him at DH.

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#254693) #
I am guessing that it will be Luis Perez.  We will see if he is used today or tomorrow. He faced two batters on Sunday, but did have a longer outing in Cleveland. 
uglyone - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#254694) #
I'm also starting to think it's Perez, both because he's looked great, and because they really like Crawford as another lefty in the 'pen, and i don't think they want to send him back down.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#254696) #
Also, AA recently said (I think) that Hutch still needs to work on a couple of his pitches, which would suggest that he isn't in line for an imminent callup.

I agree that the team probably wants to keep Crawford on the team. He has looked good for a while and had an impressive first appearance. He's also 25 and will be 26 in September - probably time to see what he's got.
ColiverPhD - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#254697) #

92-93, Gracesqui was interesting.  He went to the New York Penn League right from high school.  He and Jossephang Bernhardt were the youngsters from the 1997-1998 St. Catherines Stompers.  While Gracesqui at least had a brief time in MLB, Bernhardt, the underage $750,000 signee from the Dominican Republic, was released one month into J.P's "reign of terror".

Assistant V.P. Dave Stewart was a big supporter both of Gracesqui and Bernhardt.  I had the opportunity to talk to Stweart once in Buffalo when Gracesqui, ironically, was demoted to Medicine Hat.  Stewart insisted that Gracesqui had a good career ahead of him.  He also believed that Bernhardt just had to make a couple of adjustments to be a legitimate prospect. 

I guess maturity issues did both of them in.  Bernhardt went back to the D.R. because he was homesick one year and I am still amazed that a ballplayer would be in the concession line during a Gracesqui's case.  Baseball America mentioned Gracesqui's maturity level a couple times even though he was a "Top 30" prospect at one time.

I guess Stewart was a better pitcher than an evaluator of talent.  But in Stewart's defence, one cannot get inside a player's head.

92-93 - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#254698) #
I'd keep Crawford on the team just to keep Rasmus comfortable.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#254699) #
Yeah, Dave Stewart was a talented pitcher but was very poor at assessing talent from what we have seen. The one trade that was attributed to him was a disaster while the two prospects that he was a big supporter of never did anything of note, let alone reach the majors. If JP's era was bad, just imagine if Dave Stewart was in charge instead (which the media wanted to see).
ColiverPhD - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#254700) #

Agreed, John Northey.  In my same conversation with Stewart I asked him about Andy Thompson, who was with Syracuse at the time (Andy's aunt worked with my wife, at one point).  Thompson was a pure pull hitter, and Stewart was real down on him.

Now I know that Thompson did not make it either...he was with the Blue Jays for about 10 days and had to leave the team during half of that time when his wife gave birth, but it seemed once Stewart made a judgement, that was it...seemed inflexible.

Also I have to correct myself...Bernhardt (who went from SS to 3B to 1B--you see that pattern and you know you are in trouble) and Beaver Tail Gracesqui (who pitched for Jose Canseco's team last season) were with the 98-99 Stompers, the last years of the franchise...thanks 92-93.

The two last Stompers in the major leagues???

Vernon Wells and Reed Johnson.



perlhack - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#254701) #
Matthew E - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#254703) #
And don't forget that Stewart could have become GM of this team. That thought still scares me.

I mean, here's a guy who was the assistant GM, and from there became the pitching coach. (I wonder whose idea that was.) As the pitching coach, he got into a public argument with one of his relievers, one who may not have been a big star but was generally effective as a Blue Jay, and said that he refused to coach the guy. Say what you want about Ricciardi and Ash; I think they were both Branch Rickey compared to how Stewart would have done.

Chuck - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#254704) #
I had trouble with perlhack's link. Here it is again.

What's the forecast on the Jays' defensive positioning tonight with Pena batting?
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#254705) #
Variable.  The left side of the infield should be clear in the early innings, but there is the possibility of late-inning crowdiness.  I'll go home now.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#254706) #
LInd at first and batting fifth against Price.  Ugh.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#254707) #

LInd at first and batting fifth against Price.

I was anticipating such a reward for yesterday's performance, particularly the single off McGee.

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#254708) #
I know, Chuck.  Hands too hot to handle. 
JB21 - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#254709) #
AA says Hutch or Chavez.
Waveburner - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#254711) #
Morrow with 9 K's in 20 innings. I'm a little concerned, he's not fooling anyone.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#254712) #
Vizquel pinch-hitting for Davis to face Wade Davis?  Is Thames not available?
Gerry - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#254713) #
Carreno pulled after three innings and 62 pitches tonight. He also allowed 8 hits. I still don't think he would be in line for Saturday after 62 pitches.
JB21 - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#254714) #
Gerry AA said he's out of the running.

Morrow 9 K's in 20 innings, how many HR's? Has to be close.
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#254715) #
Somebody said something about run differential?
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#254716) #
Well I don't know, but the Jays have the (tied for) best run differential in the division right now.

I don't know if this means anything yet but with the AL East going 0-3 in inter division games tonight, the entire division is under .500, with a negative run differential.  That is something we don't usually see, even this early on.

John Northey - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 08:07 AM EDT (#254717) #
OK everyone, my bad for pointing out how well they have been doing. Time for a turnaround today.
Braby21 - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#254718) #

Brandon Morrow in 2012 has pitched 20 innings, has 7 BB's, 9 K's has given up 6 HR's, and what seems like 57 warning track fly balls.

Pitching to contact isn't for everybody.

Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#254719) #
The Giants and Phillies had a "superb Cain-Lee duel" yesterday.  Which, of course, leads to the song of the day
MatO - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#254720) #
I guessed right on the song.  I read just this morning that Levon Helm has only a short time to live due to cancer.
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#254721) #
Pitching to contact isn't for everybody.

On the other hand, striking everyone out wasn't entirely working for him, either.

He has - in a meaningless sample sort of way - a lower ERA & WHIP than last year. Not that he's likely to survive on 4.1 k/9 or 2.7 hr/9, but it's possible the finished product may be an improvement.
Chuck - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#254722) #
Clifton Phifer Lee was certainly able, and maybe that's why Cain slew him. Meanwhile, brother Tim turns his attention to inevitable April 20 festivities.

Last night's Modern Family episode was called The Last Walt. Ah, synchronicity. He shall be Levon. He shall be a good man.
85bluejay - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#254723) #
AA musing to MLB about another impact bat - that's why I was so disappointed that Carlos Beltran said no to the Jays - would have been ideal guy - though I completely understand Beltran's reluctance about artificial turf/DHing & preference for staying in the NL - that was a real coup for the Cardinals
uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#254725) #
Fielder was idealer.
Sister - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#254726) #
The inability to get another impact bat and #2 or #3 starter was an off-season frustration of mine (and many others).

While it is still early, the Yankees and Red Sox seem far more vulnerable this year. I think this year represents a perfect opportunity for the Jays to jump into the frey to vie for a playoff birth and the the largely lateral off-season moves made by AA/Jays will come back to haunt them.

The East is ripe for the picking....

BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#254727) #
Still way too early to say the East is "ripe for the picking" imo.

Last year at this time the Red Sox were like 2-9 and the Yankees were hanging around .500, and everyone was saying the same thing ie they're vulnerable and the division is up for grabs, etc.  Of course Boston ended up winning 90 games and only missed the wildcard because of the famous collapse, and NYY had the best record in the AL and best run differential in baseball. 

uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#254730) #
"only missed the wildcard because of the famous collapse"

yes, they missed the playoffs because they didn't win enough games.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#254732) #
Pena might have been a good pickup, although Lind would have become redundant (which might happen anyway, but the Jays would miss out on the low-percentage possibility that he might have another breakout year). In my view, Pena will likely be both a better fielder and hitter than Lind in 2012.

It will be interesting to see how Pena + Scott (at 1B and DH) compares to Lind + EE by year's end.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#254733) #
Does anyone else feel that tonight's game is important (in an April kind of way)? If the Jays win, they would improve to 7-5, win a home series against the well-regarded Rays (who would drop to 6-7), be over .500 against the team's AL East rivals, win a battle of highly-touted young SPs (Hellickson and Alvarez), etc. A win would also curb (for now) the annoying habit of winning the first game of a series and then losing the series. Plus, winning games against divisional rivals is always key (you get a win, they get a loss)...
BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#254734) #
yes, they missed the playoffs because they didn't win enough games.

Yes but of course the point is they won 90 games in baseball's toughest division after 2-9 start.  So it's wayyyyy too early to get exicted about 'vulnerability'.  And also Tampa got enough to a similar bad start end ended up winning more games. 
uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#254735) #
don't worry, we have our Ace on the mound tonight.
uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#254736) #
"Yes but of course the point is they won 90 games in baseball's toughest division after 2-9 start. So it's wayyyyy too early to get exicted about 'vulnerability'. And also Tampa got enough to a similar bad start end ended up winning more games."

yup, they've won 89 and 90 games the past two years, still pretty good. Though I'd argue this year's sox roster is a solid step down from either of the last 2.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#254737) #
It very well could be a step down.  Of the 'big three' in this division I thought Boston had the best chance of falling back.  That all remains to be seen.
92-93 - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#254738) #
I still can't figure out why Ben Francisco is on the roster if Adam Lind is going to start and bat 5th vs. LHP.
truefan - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#254739) #

Does anyone care to comment on Morrow's reluctance to throw fastballs this year? 

Yes, we understand the revised 2012 plan -- that trying to strike out 27 batters is not a good recipe for longevity.  But mixing in a few at 95+mph would make it harder for the batters to time the junk...

Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#254740) #
Francisco's role is to sub in for "Cool Hand Lind", not the other one who looked so good on Tuesday night.  I had hopes that Farrell's use of both Francisco and Davis on Tuesday night meant something about plans for Wednesday night.  Dashed again. 
uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#254741) #
well, it's been 3 years since he could hit them, so Lind was DUE to break out against a lefty last night.
John Northey - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#254742) #
It does seem odd that Francisco didn't play last night. If he isn't getting in vs the tough LHP'ers then why is he here? Better to carry either another arm in the pen or a utility infielder or a third catcher or something if he isn't going to play in those situations.

Speaking of odd... 5 relievers have been used 5 times each, then comes Oliver at 4, Villanueva 3, and Crawford at 1. Odd to have 5 guys used exactly the same number of times.

FYI: 119 ERA+ for the staff vs a 90 OPS+ for the hitters. Kind of odd given what was expected.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#254743) #
I think Lind's solid opposite-field single off the hard-throwing McGee on Tuesday (in addition to his good night overall) helped earn him the start against Price. Farrell was probably hoping to ride the wave for one more night, but the surf never came up.
Chuck - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#254744) #
JP Arencibia is being mocked by a "journalist" on Twitter. I don't know who exactly The Mirl is, but he thinks he's pretty important.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#254745) #
hot hand, due, sweet swing, just a gut feeling...Most of us act on these kind of impressions in our work or everyday life; I guess that we cannot expect a manager to be any different. 
hypobole - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#254746) #
hot hand, due, sweet swing, just a gut feeling...Most of us act on these kind of impressions

Very true, and that's why Vegas and lotteries love most of us.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#254747) #
Levon Helm died this morning.  I was in Massey Hall earlier this week, and remembered Richard Manuel and Rick Danko, and thought again about Helm, Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson.  Some great music was born here.  Back to baseball.

sam - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#254748) #
Chuck, I saw that too. Outside of the lame insults/responses, Arencibia seems to be a sensitive/not so bright dude. Check his twitter feed and you'll see "haters" appear quite frequently, "doubters," and other references to Jays fans in not so nice terms. He seems to take to twitter anytime the Jays lose or he has a bad game not to apologize for his performance or anything of that sort but to criticize people for their comments on the team and his own performance. I agree that the season is young and that his performance in particular is nothing to fret about just yet. But, why engage with people who are criticizing him in such a way? Why go back at fans who are devoting time and money to watch him play? I may just be speaking for myself here, but I don't think he's doing himself any favours engaging these people, nor is engendering any good will to the franchise.
ogator - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#254749) #
Rag, mama, rag.
Gerry - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#254750) #
JP is starting tonight, he can answer with his bat.
Alex Obal - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#254751) #
heck his twitter feed and you'll see "haters" appear quite frequently, "doubters," and other references to Jays fans in not so nice terms.

I wouldn't read anything into that. "The haters" is a standard corporate hip-hop term of art. In rap it serves two functions, both annoying: (1) it's the backs-to-the-wall, nobody-believes-in-us, siege mentality routine at its most generic, and (2) it polarizes listeners - you can be a hater or a fan, but you can't be indifferent or have a nuanced view, no sir. Drake is among the worst offenders. Anyway, in this context JP's just taking aim at invisible demons for motivation. At worst, he's pressing, but it's not like he's contemptuous of the paying customers or anything.
Chuck - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#254752) #

But, why engage with people who are criticizing him in such a way? Why go back at fans who are devoting time and money to watch him play?

I think I'm too old to see the appeal in Twitter. I caught the Arencibia story at BTF, not by following his tweets. I can't imagine following anyone's tweets, let alone those of pro athletes. Again, this probably speaks to my age.

Unfortunately for young Mr. Arencibia, he apparently shows the same impulse control on Twitter that he shows at the plate. I'm not sure if teams should have the right to intercede, but maybe they could pressure their players into not getting sucked into feuds with "fans" and "journalists". It doesn't do the players any good and reflects badly on the brand image of their employer.

The generational differences reveal themselves little by little. In the same thread, I find myself bemoaning Twitter and bidding farewell to Levon Helm. To which many in these parts might be thinking "what the hell is wrong with Twitter?" and "who the hell is Levon Helm?".

Get off my lawn.

92-93 - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#254753) #
Another reliever is the last thing this team needs. Villanueva got hammered yesterday likely because he hadn't pitched in 10 days - it's tough to have a feel for the mound when you've been inactive that long.

Perez threw 20 good pitches last night, and was very fresh. The only reason to pull him for the 9th was because you hadn't gotten Villanueva any work.
electric carrot - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#254754) #
I'm with you Chuck on all counts.

And I want all you kids off my lawn NOW!

uglyone - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#254755) #
highly recommend twitter, chuck, even for someone of such an advanced age!

not so much about following personal tweets, but for following "professional tweets" - i.e. news sources and sources for any information you're interested in, whether it's news, sports, or some hobby or interest you're into.

it's aces for getting the information you need, and there's no need to follow some semi-famous person's inane tweets if you don't want to.

as for JPA - the amount of hate pro athletes get on twitter is unfathomable, really. No surprise when one of them lashes out a bit.
92-93 - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#254758) #
There is no better news amalgamator than Twitter. So really, you're spiting yourself.
CeeBee - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#254759) #
Ditto on the tweets. The only tweeting going on in my yard is the robin that was sitting in my hawthorne tree. :) and no... it wasn't a Brooklyn Robin
Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#254760) #
I agree, 92-93.  The Blue Jays do now have 20 games without a break, and they will be using a 5th starter who may need some extra bullpen support.  I still think that 7 relievers in April or early May is more than enough.
sam - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#254761) #
Thank you uglyone Alex, Chuck, and all for their comments on the matter. I'm not on twitter, but I do check it sometimes for information. I don't really know how to use it either. I just learned that if you click on someones "tweet" you can then see the history of the conversation. So I agree with uglyone when he says professional athletes do get a lot of stick on twitter and it's no surprise that one of them lashes out.

Thank you too for the primer on the language.

On Arencibia: he can answer critics with his bat, I sure hope he does. But it seems he'll then return to twitter to comment on it or engage with people in not so pleasant ways. It doesn't reflect well on the individual or the brand when he does this in my opinion. Which I'm sure I would then be called a "hater" or "doubter" for.

greenfrog - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#254762) #
A bit off-topic, but Aybar's 4/$35M contract (with no options) with LAA sure makes Escobar's 2/$10M contract (with two club options at $5M each) look good.
Alex Obal - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#254763) #
I definitely agree that Arencibia would be best served saving his frustrations for 2-0 fastballs.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#254764) #
It's not the 2-0 fastball.  If he lays off the 2-2 slider six inches out of the zone and then either hammers the 3-2 fastball or lays off another slider off the plate, that will be good.  Disciplined aggression or aggressive discipline, take your pick, is what all hitters need to aim for.  Arencibia has one-half of it.  And in that, he is hardly alone. 
sam - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#254765) #
Just thinking the same greenfrog!
Alex Obal - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#254766) #
True enough. That, and it's hard to unload on 2-0 fastballs when you never see any, of course. Wanna guess how many 2-0 counts Arencibia's seen this year? (Hint: Answer is 4 in 35 PA.)
sam - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#254768) #
Did anyone here know that JP Arencibia is appealing the play the other night in which he hit a ball to third base that was ruled an error on Evan Longoria?

Apparently you can do this. Appeal to ML baseball. OK, granted he's probably right, but get over it. Help your team win and stop whining about personal stats.
sam - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#254769) #
Richard S.S. - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#254773) #

Romero (1st - NDW) 5.0, 3 hits, 1 HR, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; (2nd - W) 8.1, 3 hits, 1ER, 2 BB, 2 BB, 5 K; (3rd - W) 6.0, 8 hits, 1 HR, 3 ER. 3 BB, 4 K.   Drabek   (1st - W) 5.1, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3 BB 4 K; (2nd - W) 7.1, 6 hits 1 HR, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.   Who becomes the third starter to win a game for this team, and when?

Morrow (1st - NDW) 7.0, 1 hit, 1 HR, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; (2nd - NDL) 7.0, 6 hits, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K; (3rd - L) 6.0, 8 hits, 3 HR, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.   He's having problems to numerous to list.   Alavarez (1st - NDL) 6.0, 4 hits, 1 HR, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; (2nd - NDL) 7.0, 6 hits 1 HR, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K: (3rd - L) 6.1, 6 hits, 2 HR, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.   Young pitchers can break your heart.  

Besides poor overall Offense, 5 Blown Saves, total inability to throw a shutdown inning after your team ties the game or goes ahead, it`s hard to determine exactly what the problem is.   Drabek tomorrow, our 5th starter Saturday, Romero on Sunday, looks like a good weekend ahead.

TamRa - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#254774) #
rational or not, I think I hate the Rays at this point. Certainly I dislike them more than any team other than the Yankees.

I can't figure out what the Jays' hang-up is with these guys but they need to see the witch doctor or something.

Chuck - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#254775) #

I think I hate the Rays at this point.

Not terribly sporting to hate a team with such a small payroll.

BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#254776) #
Here's the thing now.  The Jays win the Romero Niemann matchup as would be expected.  This is where they would typically lose the next two games to drop the series.  It would be nice if they could at least split and finally take a series from Tbay.  Had so many problems with that team.

Somehow I knew when I wrote that 48 hours ago that we'd be here.  I hate Tampa.  Are the Jays aware they are, in fact, allowed to beat this team more than once in a series?  Because they, like, never do that.
JB21 - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#254777) #
Crawford down, Hutch up to start Saturday in KC.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#254778) #
One reason the Rays are hard to like is that they're very good, but sort of no-name good, which perhaps makes them even more infuriating (instead of A-Rods, A-Gons, and Sabathias, they have Longorias and Zobrists and Hellicksons and Joyces and a no-name bullpen). They look like a confident bunch and I expect they'll be in the thick of things all year. The Jays certainly looked like the inferior team (more hacktastic, for one thing), but it's only one series and it's still April.
smcs - Thursday, April 19 2012 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#254780) #
You're not going to believe this, but Drew Hutchison will be the first person drafted in the 15th round of the 2009 draft to make it to the MLB. Shocking, really.

He'll also be the 3rd high schooler, following Jacob Turner and Mike Trout, from the 2009 draft.
robertdudek - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 12:13 AM EDT (#254782) #
The Rays are only no name if you don't follow baseball. There are certainly more "names" on the Rays than the current Jays.
TamRa - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 12:52 AM EDT (#254785) #
Not terribly sporting to hate a team with such a small payroll.

I couldn't possibly care less.
they could all be playing for free and I'd hate them. Same way i used to hate the Brewers when it seemed like they always had the Blue Jays number no matter how things might have been going otherwise.

bpoz - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#254789) #
I agree with you TamRa on everything but your use of the word hate. But not sure.

IMO the Rays & Brewers have the baseball gods smiling upon them when they play the Jays. It would be interesting to find a player who excels against the Rays who then comes to the Jays, just to see if his personal magic is stronger than the Jays bad magic.

Re: Hate. If I used the word hate, then how would I express myself when we have a 1 game WC play in against TB. Something bad could happen where we snatched defeat from the Jaws of victory. I am thinking Loathe may suffice. It is probably best that we do not share the same window of opportunity with TB.
Gerry - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#254790) #

I think the call-up of Hutchison is early but the Jays are short on options.  When I have seen Hutchison pitch his trademark has been his pinpoint control.  The question in my mind is how well will that work against major league hitters?  Starting against KC is probably a good choice before he has to face the foul-off boys in Boston and New York.  Although this is not a great comparison, Hutchison reminded me a bit of a harder throwing Shaun Marcum, whose command was usually excellent.

Hutchison has generally had good results against major league teams when he has faced them in spring training, but of course that is spring training.  He appears to be unflappable and that should help but first time pitchers always have nerves.

bpoz - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#254795) #
Hutchison's call up surprised me. This whole season is surprising me.

My biggest surprise is that AA is being so aggressive. I thought that Marsnick should have been promoted to Dunedin last year, but I figured that AA wants to be cautious. I was OK with the parameters talk, but when AA stated that he was looking for a front line pitcher & a big bat my thoughts were "why put pressure on yourself". Now he unexpectedly is talking about a middle of the order bat. That is a huge acquisition for anyone and IMO is not easy to make, especially this early in the season. Getting Miggy from Detroit makes sense to me. I can see Miggy's 3B defense hurting Detroit. Lind or EE at DH for Detroit & any reliever other than Santos (keep him) should IMO make Detroit a more balanced team. In a close game how well can Miggy handle a bunt for example?
Someone is always ready to dump salary so a bat can be had that way.
If Bautista can get cold now and then, any of our players can. We have too many unproven players, both pitching & position that are young. I expect some struggles as they get experience.
To me the only thing that makes sense is for AA to improve his trading chips for the July 31 deadline. If we make the playoffs I will continue to be surprised.
Mike Green - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#254796) #
I thought of Marcum too, but actually the post-surgery version.  Hutchison appears to be much stronger in the lower body than I expected. He roughly has the body type of a young Mike Mussina.

So far in his minor league career, he has struck out over a batter an inning at each level, but his stuff isn't that impressive (he doesn't have Marcum's change), and so if he succeeds at the major league level, it will likely be as a pitcher who walks 2.5 per 9 and strikes out 6.  I sure wish that he had another half-season to face more developed hitters.
BlueJayWay - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#254797) #
The Jays have given up 15 runs (14 earned) in 10 9th innings this year.  Batters have hit 333/442/690 against.
rtcaino - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#254798) #
I think some posters may be overlooking the point - haters are going to hate. It's a fact of life.
JB21 - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#254799) #
Bpoz, we, nor anybody else in the MLB, is getting Miggy from the D.
greenfrog - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#254800) #
"The Rays are only no name if you don't follow baseball"

Agreed, except that I would add the word "closely" to that phrase. I bet most fans would still be hard-pressed to name more than two or three Rays (Longoria, Price, maybe Shields or Zobrist). I suspect many more would be able to recite, in large part, the catechism of Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youkilis, Lester, Beckett (and, in recent seasons, Varitek, Papelbon, Dice-K). Or CC, Rivera, A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, Teixeira, Granderson, maybe Swisher and Gardner. Or the Tigers' Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder.

A lot of this is a function of media coverage (sometimes related to big-money issues like payroll or superstar contracts, which don't arise in Tampa).

But part of it relates to the way the Rays are constructed. Zobrist has never scored or driven in 100 runs. Longoria doesn't post the monster stats that other household stars do. TB makes ample use of role players and younger, cost-controlled players (Joyce, Rodriguez, Keppinger, Brignac, Scott, Molina). There is no Papelbon or Rivera anchoring the bullpen. Defense is a big part of the team's success, which mostly doesn't show up in traditional stats.

Admittedly, this seems to be changing. Maddon is getting ever more love in the media, Hellickson just won the ROY award, Matt Moore has some recognition as a top prospect, and the team's success is attracting more and more attention (although often the spotlight seems to be more on the team's successful "model" than on individual players).
John Northey - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#254802) #
An interesting stat when I looked at Baseball Reference today... JP Arencibia is now 'up' to an OPS+ of 1. Yup, 1.

Scary how bad some hitters are for the Jays right now...
Sub-70's (ie: John McDonald territory)...
JPA, Thames (60), Rasmus (64), Davis (55), Vizquel (36..OK, no shock there).

Over-100's: Lind (113), Bautista (105), Encarnacion (145), Mathis (290 over 10 PA).

Yup, Lind is our 2nd best hitter (not counting Mathis) right now.

Say, what is it with backup no-hit catchers doing well offensively here lately? Not complaining but kind of odd.
Magpie - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#254803) #
In the same thread, I find myself bemoaning Twitter and bidding farewell to Levon Helm.

I'm with you on Levon - my heart hurts today - but I also find the Twitter thing useful. Not because a whole lot interesting actually gets said there, but because lots of links appear along the way...
robertdudek - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#254948) #
First inning against Porcello, Texas Rangers hitting:

Top 1
  • 1.Ian Kinsler singles on a ground ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, deflected by pitcher Rick Porcello.
  • With Elvis Andrus batting, Ian Kinsler steals (2) 2nd base.
  • 2.Elvis Andrus walks.
  • 3.Josh Hamilton homers (6) on a fly ball to right field. Ian Kinsler scores. Elvis Andrus scores.
  • 4.Adrian Beltre singles on a ground ball to center fielder Austin Jackson.
  • 5.Michael Young reaches on throwing error by second baseman Brandon Inge. Adrian Beltre to 2nd.
  • Coaching visit to mound.
  • 6.Nelson Cruz singles on a ground ball to left fielder Delmon Young. Adrian Beltre scores. Michael Young to 2nd.
  • 7.David Murphy singles on a ground ball to right fielder Ryan Raburn. Michael Young to 3rd. Nelson Cruz to 2nd.
  • 8.Mike Napoli called out on strikes.
  • 9.Mitch Moreland singles on a ground ball to right fielder Ryan Raburn. Michael Young scores. Nelson Cruz scores. David Murphy to 3rd.
  • 10.Ian Kinsler triples (2) on a fly ball to center fielder Austin Jackson. David Murphy scores. Mitch Moreland scores.
  • 11.Elvis Andrus lines out to second baseman Brandon Inge.
  • 12.Josh Hamilton grounds out sharply, second baseman Brandon Inge to first baseman Prince Fielder.

In the second inning there were two more groundball singles off Porcello before he departed. In all, the Rangers hit 9 ground balls off of Porcello and only 1 was turned into an out. Those are the kinds of things that can happen if you have a ground-ball pitcher on the mound and four below average defenders in the infield.
vw_fan17 - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#255002) #
I think I'm too old to see the appeal in Twitter.

Chuck: as per a "fortune" from my home linux box (yes, I'm a unix guy who is going on 41 this year...)
(as best as I can remember it)

Stuff that is invented anytime up until you are 10:
-this technology has always existed - don't know why older people don't "get it"

Stuff that is invented when you are 10-35:
-this is useful technology, and I can use it improve my life in area X or Y

Stuff that is invented after you are 35:
-this blasphemous devil spawn should be outlawed

I'm a computer engineer, so I understand the technology - heck, I've had a "home page" since 1995. Mind you, I don't know all the nuances or the best programs to use with RSS feeds, for example, but I understand the concept and am subscribed to a couple of RSS feeds with firefox.

Same thing with twitter - I know how to search for simple phrases, but I haven't taken the time to learn how to really use it. If I was single, I would probably be a twitter ninja :-)
JB21 - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#255007) #
Just saw the lineup. Has anybody figured out why Ben Francisco is on this team yet? And why Adam Lind gets to hit against leftys?
Mike Green - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#255010) #
Today's projected rationale is "with a right-handed starter going, we need the better defender at first base".
Thomas - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#255014) #
Maybe AA's counting on making the ALDS and wants to have Francisco available to pinch-hit.
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