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"This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around"

No Game Of The Week this week, for I am suffering from a common ailment known as Lazinus Disinternos. The doctors say it's mild and I'm expected to be fully recovered by next week. For now here's this.

In all my thirteen years of following the Blue Jays I've never experienced a season as deflating as this one. There have been seasons more horrible (2004) and seasons more disappointing (2004 again. Man that year sucked.) But I've gotta say I've never seen this fanbase go from "We're the asskickers of baseball forever!!!!1!111" to "This team is useless fire everyone BLOW IT UP!!!!111" in the span of just two months. Two months, people. I've been as discouraged by this team's miserable play as anybody but the problems are not as bad as they might seem. We're not the Marlins or the Astros and I still believe this team can be dangerous during the next few seasons. The only real issues seem to be: starting pitchers can't stay healthy, our infield defense without Brett Lawrie is awful, and J.P. Arencibia. Aside from that hey, things could be a lot worse. Look up the 2013 Marlins on Baseball Reference and I'm sure you'll feel much better.

Anyway, I'm here today to remind you of the good, enjoyable things about this season. This is baseball after all, this is supposed to be fun. If we put the nightmares of horrible injuries and Arencibia behind the plate aside, there are lots of entertaining things about this team right now. For instance:

R.A. Dickey's Knuckleball

He hasn't been consistent and he hasn't been completely healthy, but boy is that knuckleball fun to watch when it's working. Even when it's only working a little bit. You won't see good major league hitters take such pathetic swings at too many other pitchers on the planet Earth.

Munenori Kawasaki

I'm not convinced this guy is even real. The crouching outside the batters box, the way he seems to flail his entire body as he makes a throw from shortstop, the JAPANESE!!!!!!! This guy is like the little kid who's just so happy to get a chance to play that his excitement comes out in adorably awkward ways. He also must be one of the few professional baseball players who appears so 100 percent genuine: he's not putting on a face for the cameras because who could or would choose to behave so abnormally?

Oh yeah, he's also a very useful major league baseball player. A solid defensive infielder, good baserunner who makes contact and I'm sure he's had five times as many good at-bats this season as Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia put together.

The Bullpen

This has really been the only strength of the team since Day One. The top four of this bullpen (Janssen, Cecil, Delabar, Loup) has been phenomonenal, not to mention solid contributions from Esmil Rogers and Darren Oliver. With this depth the injured Sergio Santos has become a forgotten man again (sidenote: this is hindsight of course but people wanted Santos to close instead of Janssen? Really?) What I love about this bullpen though is how different each of these pitchers are: Aaron Loup slings frisbees onto the corners; Steve Delabar hides his vicious splitter like a magician, pumping fastball after fastball until at last unleashing the beast once the batter seems to forget it exists; and Casey Janssen is not so much a pitcher as he is a sculpter, carving away at the strikezone with any tool at any time until his work is complete.

Edwin Encarnacion's Bat

Enough said.

That's all I've got for now. Has there been anything about this season you guys have enjoyed so far? Big things, small things, Colby Rasmus hair things? Please do share.
The Season. (So Far) | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
jmoney - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#273575) #
The Melk man playing with a bad hammy and spray line drives all over the place has been pretty cool.
CeeBee - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#273582) #
Colby doubling against his little brother and feeling bad..probably not for long tho.
Blanco scoring from first on a double the other day. Probably my only memory of his whole career.
katman - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#273586) #
Rasmus has been productive with his bat, even as I appreciate the defense. I will not speak the name of those that went before, but we all remember them (despite our best efforts). So I an quietly grateful.

Watching MB turn it around on the mound has been nice. Hope it continues. Otherwise... yeah, that's it.

The Melk man gets props for his guts, and the bat is nice, but I still think he has cost us more games than his bat has won for us. Not a happy memory.

China fan - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#273596) #
I've enjoyed Adam Lind defying the predictions of every single pundit and fan, and thereby reminding us that nobody knows anything.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#273604) #
I can't see Blanco being DFA'd and Thole being called up without talking to Dickey about the move.   I am happy he was called up.   I'd like to see Laroche play soon, just to get his feet wet.
Magpie - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#273606) #
I can't see Blanco being DFA'd and Thole being called up without talking to Dickey about the move.

One might think. But Dickey says he wasn't consulted, did not want to be consulted, and didn't think he should be consulted.

For some reason, after ripping Adam Lind for years and calling for him to be replaced by David Cooper, I ventured to suggest this spring that Lind would hit well enough against RH - so well, in fact, that they'd start playing him against LH. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. Blind pigs, acorns, it happens...
Mike Green - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#273612) #
Many of us felt that Lind would be all right against RH pitching, and are delighted that he has changed his approach and become a better hitter than "all right".  Would that he could share that wisdom with a few of his younger teammates.
John Northey - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#273613) #
Feeling comfortable that the game is over once Janssen comes in - in a good way.  First time that has happened since Duane Ward in 1993.  Right after I type that he blows the save.  Sigh.  So much for that.

Lind doing well has been a shocker - especially the way he has done it.  Start to May 2nd - 220/394/280...a bizarre line from a slugger all walks not much else.  Then May 3rd to yesterday 391/426/652 - virtually no walks but tons of hits and power.  Go figure.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, June 08 2013 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#273644) #
With the usual people who do draft reviews and such being unavailable due to Life, I'd be interested in being informed about who should be signed and why.
ayjackson - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#273656) #
I always felt the problem with Adam was injuries; if he was 100%, he generally raked, and if he was less than so, especially with back discomfort, he really struggled.

The truth is he can hit. He's hit over .850 OPS in 8 different months since the start of 2009. That's a lot to be flukes. He's offset those months with truly horrid ones (roughly 7, leaving a few average months and a few DL trips), which makes his overall numbers look really poor (or acceptable against RHP).

So I'm not surprised Adam's hitting well again, and you won't find any offseason rants about him from me, but I do worry about his back.

At the end of the day, you may still get the good, bad or ugly from Adam, depending on his health, and I'm not sure whether you want to bank on that going forward, or trade it at the deadline. It's a tough call.

As to his approach changing, the jury's still out for me. I don't like drawing conclusions on two months' sample size. He says it has, but ball players say all sorts of crazy things.
ayjackson - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#273657) #
One thing I'd like to see from the stats on Adam (which I'm not sure how to search), is when he's "on" and has hit over .900 OPS versus RHP in a month, what is his OPS versus LHP in that month? How much does his "seeing the ball well" when hot carry over to LHP. I'm betting it's quite acceptable (maybe north of .750 OPS).
CeeBee - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#273661) #
The biggest difference I'm noticing about Adam Lind is his mobility. He's still not that fast or athletic but he's moving and running better than I've seen him since the back injury. I know firsthand what a back injury can do to a person and maybe with a little luck it won't cause him any more major problems.........knock on wood!
China fan - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#273665) #
Everyone knew that Adam Lind might do "all right" if he was fully healthy and strictly platooned. The shocker is that he has actually posted -- by far -- the highest OPS on the team (aside from the injured Reyes). Lind's OPS is nearly a hundred points higher than the next-best hitter (Encarnacion). He's also got, by far, the highest OBP on the team (aside from Reyes). And in a small sample, he's done even better against LHP. Who predicted any of this?

I haven't tried to go through the pre-season discussion threads, but a lot of people wanted to get rid of Lind, and a lot of people thought he would be a weak link in the lineup. All quite badly wrong.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#273666) #
Lind also seems to feel very comfortable working with Chad Mottola.
92-93 - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#273668) #
I think, after the trades, that many of us accepted that Lind in a platoon role vs. RHP wasn't going to hold back the team from contending. Obviously nobody could have reasonably expected just how well he's done, and especially that his 17 PA vs. LHP actually bring up his totals, not anchor them down.
Magpie - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#273673) #
I always felt the problem with Adam was injuries

Part of it, certainly. He has been prone to awful, and awfully extended, slumps - and perhaps all of them were injury-related. Who knows? In both 2010 and 2011 he had extended stretches when he was hitting just as well as has this year. But what happened over the rest of the season was awful enough to more or less cancel it out. His 2010 season was ruined by a two month spell in mid-season when he hit .169/.219/.276; in 2011, after a very strong first half (in the midst of which he missed a lot of time with injury), he simply stopped hitting (.210/.249/.349) for the final three-months. Even in 2012 he had spells when he was a decent hitter.

So that's the thing with Lind. We know he can get hot, it's how he copes with cooling off.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#273676) #
Magpie, I disagree.  Lind needs to stay 100% healthy because when he's not, his hitting suffers.   I don't think he cools off so much as tweaks something and try to play througfh it.
uglyone - Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#273677) #
I'm always wary of trying to assess a player by virtue of his hot months.

Rasmus is another guy with plenty of outstanding months on his resume, and plenty of incompetent months as well. Same with Kelly Johnson.

Pretty much every major leaguer is capable of having outstanding months. The good players are the ones who avoid too many bad ones.
The Season. (So Far) | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.