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The Toronto Blue Jays are back home to take on the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals. The 25th anniversary of the SkyDome will also be celebrated with Jays alumni Jimmy Key and Ernie Whitt, the original battery for the first game back on June 5, 1989.

Domer  - the official mascot of SkyDome.

St. Louis finds themselves five games back of Milwaukee for first place in the National League Central. Their record fell to 31-30 after a 3-2 loss to Kansas City last night. The Jays are 5.5 games ahead of Baltimore at 37-24 after sweeping the Tigers in Detroit. They have won five in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Series Schedule & Probable Starters...

Friday, 7:07 pm ET - RHP Marcus Stroman (2-0) vs RHP Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.48).
Saturday, 1:07 pm ET - LHP Mark Buehrle (10-1, 2.10) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (6-5, 4.06).
Sunday, 1:07 pm ET - RHP Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.50) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (1-0, 5.47).

Where were you when the Dome opened its doors? When was your first game? Share your memories here.
Jays vs. St. Louis - June 5-7 | 101 comments | Create New Account
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Eephus - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#287826) #
These might not be the barnburning Cardinals of last season (the team that hit like .320 with runners on base or something ridiculous) but this is still a pretty good team thanks to that excellent pitching staff. While the Blue Jays are fortunate to miss Wacha and Wainwright, Lynn and Miller aren't exactly pushovers and Jaime Garcia is pitching better than his ERA would indicate. What's really surprising about St. Louis is how real bad their bats have been: Holliday only has three home runs, Allen Craig is batting .246 with no power and their bench is something the likes of which I've never seen. I'm also a Matt Carpenter fan and I figure he'll be one guy causing problems for Blue Jay pitchers. Also, why is everyone on this team named Matt? Is that the new market deficiency?

I wasn't even two years old yet when the Dome opened so my memory of the time is hazy beyond plastic toys and playground swings. The first game I remember seeing there might have been 1992 or 1993, and I remember being way more interested in the cool flashing Coca-Cola ad on the Jumbotron than the game itself. Hey, those ads were pretty cool.

John Northey - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#287827) #
The BR Preview is up...
No rest: Janssen (4 pitches over past 3 days), Jenkins
1 day off: Cecil (11 pitches over past week), Loup (1 game in 4 days), McGowan (2 games in past week)
2 days off: Delabar
5 days off: Redmond

So the pen should be fairly fresh tonight.  Jenkins really the only guy not available.  Good situation vs a good team.
smcs - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#287834) #
Honestly can't remember my first game at the SkyDome, but I do remember going to the "Welcome Back" event they had before the beginning of the 1995 season. I probably went to games during the 1993 and 1994 season, but the 1st game I can remember going to was the 2nd game of the 1995 season, because Ed Sprague hit a grand slam.

On balance, I probably have more bad memories about going to Jays games than good memories, like going to a game during the SARS epidemic or that time I saw Victor Zambrano start a game, but there is something comforting about knowing the game you are going to see will never be rained out.
China fan - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#287839) #
My memory of SkyDome:  how Metro Toronto chairman Paul Godfrey assured everyone in 1984 that the taxpayers would only pay $12-million for the thing.  Everything else was allegedly going to be paid by the private sector.   Not the first time that he pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.
mathesond - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#287840) #
My first game at the 'Dome was in early 1990, before moving to the east coast. I remember the Jays played and beat the Twins, and it's possible George Bell homered. My next dome game would have been in '98, when I returned to southern Ontario. It was a Sunday in August, I believe, and once again, the Jays were playing the Twins. Clemens was on the mound, and Molitor was wrapping up his final season in the majors. Although he hadn't announced his retirement, it seemed obvious to me it would be his last year - yet when he cam to bat in the top of the 9th, it seemed that no one in the stands realized it was likely his final plate appearance in Toronto.

Gawd, I hated the Dome in the late 90's. The crowds were small and quiet, and the place just felt like a tomb. Wish I had seen more of the sold-out games when it first opened, and I do enjoy going there now, but the Interbrew years were awful
scottt - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#287846) #
I spent the sumer of 87 in Toronto and I remember how everybody was excited about the Dome in construction.

Never been inside though.

Mike Green - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#287847) #
Encarnacion is back in the lineup DHing tonight.  Otherwise, it is the same LH lineup as usual.

soupman - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#287860) #
AH! I went to school with a girl named Shannon who had heterochromea of the eyes. Her father was a beer-swilling man who worked on the 'dome. I remember her coming to school with a domer plush animal that everyone thought was great, and her father had, what at the time seemed to me, a very nice jacket that all the workers received upon completion.

The first time i remember going to the skydome was to see robosaurus. heh. i can't recall the first jays game we went to very clearly. we didn't go in '89, but i do remember picking out what game we should go to in '90 during the winter by looking at the schedule in the paper.

the game is lost, but what's not: the crowd , the jumbotron, the postgame show, my dad balking at concession prices, really wanting mcdonalds anyway...heh - those are the things that stand out to me. it's strange, because there are games i'd been to before then that i remember quite vividly, but i think you could still get dazzled by the dome in those days.

grjas - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#287868) #
My memory of SkyDome: how Metro Toronto chairman Paul Godfrey assured everyone in 1984 that the taxpayers would only pay $12-million for the thing. Everything else was allegedly going to be paid by the private sector.

Yeah no kidding. There was a carefully timed strike by one of the unions with 6 months to go and the Jays without a fall back. Surprise, surprise. After the stike, the workers were behind schedule and got paid overtime at higher rates to finish on time. Not as bad the Big Owe, but there were a lot of snouts in the public trough.

Then Rogers bought it for song.
Magpie - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#287871) #
I know the first game I went to at the Dome was a weekend game against Seattle and that the Jays scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win. Which they did on consecutive days during the second homestand at the new place. Seeing as my son and heir was not yet two years old and his mother would have been working on Friday, my money's on the Saturday game.

And about six weeks later, I got to see what is still the most exciting, dramatic in-person baseball experience of my life (yes, even more than Carter's HR off Mitch). Been some good times...
JB21 - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#287872) #
Just got chills thinking about that game pitched by Stieb, maybe his best.

My first memory is seeing David Cone's first start as a Jay in 1992 against the Brewers. The Jays lost, and my mom (who took me by herself) got lost on the way home.

My favourite moment at the Dome, tough call, been to a ton of games over the years, possibly seeing Manny hit one into the 5th deck, maybe the Opener after the Jays acquired AJ, BJ, & Glaus. The Dome gets a bad rap but I really enjoy watching games on a nice summer night. I recently moved to BC and I'm back in Ontario for work in June so I'll definitely be hitting up a game.
John Northey - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#287873) #
Hmm... what was my first dome game.... really cannot recall.  I remember early on going to it for a Yankee game and sitting up near the roof (ordered pre-season and that was as good as it got), in September of '89 being there for John Olerud's first ML hit sitting in the first row of the upper deck with my little sister (promised her to take her, we had fun).  Really remember my last game at Exhibition Stadium though as it was the last Jays game there ever - went with my parents, sisters, and grandmother - she was a heavy smoker so we knew that was the last time she could ever go as she'd never last in the dome where smoking wasn't allowed.  Seeing George Bell's home run to end it was perfect.

For the dome, I've been there for Hentgen's 20th win (clinching the Cy Young) and saw Brady Anderson's 50th home run the same game - had tickets in the 2nd deck (plush seats and stuff) right behind home plate.  Saw a game from a skybox once (free tickets via a supplier for our office) which was fun (ate at least 1/2 a dozen $8 hotdogs and a lousy pizza).  Saw Tony Fernandez' final game (and put into the level of excellence), Dave Stieb's final start, and quite a few other fun moments.
whiterasta80 - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#287874) #
My earliest Skydome memory is Mike Flannagan serving up that Canseco HR in the 89 ALCS. I was 9 at the time and didn't think a human could do that. I was into my 20s before I realized that my original thought was sadly true.

I was lucky enough to see game 6 in 93 as well as the all star game. My dad dropped his seasons right after 1993 in one of the most inspired decisions of his life.

I still think the dome is as good a stadium as there is for baseball (location, functionality, sightlines...). I've been to over half the league including the ones most people would put up to argue with me. I always love a trip back because (for me) it is what baseball is all about.
Chuck - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#287876) #
Memory is a tricky thing. Jimmy Key in the booth at tonight's game had me thinking this was my first game at the Skydome. But that didn't make sense since I somehow scored tickets just a few rows behind home plate. And alas, this game was at the Ex. The Jays would not move into the Dome for a couple of months.

Oh, and you want to know what 85 MPH fastballs thrown by Key and Leibrandt look like up close? Like friggin' peas. The catchers' mitts were just popping. Slow for a major league pitcher is something very different than slow for a civilian.

TangledUpInBlue - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#287878) #
Stroman's looking fantastic. It'd be great to have him turn into a top-of-the-rotation starter and spare us having to give up the farm for one.

Meanwhile, Brett Lawrie's invented a new way to play second base.
scottt - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#287879) #
That's how you get out of a jam. Ouch.

Gose is hanging around .250 .360 .340

greenfrog - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#287880) #

- You know Lawrie is going well when he's powering the ball to right-centre

- Gose looks like he's learning at the plate. I could see him as the Jays' starting CF and #9 hitter in 2015, and being a valuable defense-first player. I like that he has Seitzer helping mould him into a better hitter

- Stroman looks great on the mound. Athletic, fluid delivery; good FB, sharp breaking ball; good control. Lots to like

- I love that the Jays are becoming more patient at the plate, and that they're using the whole field more

Lastly, I really hope the Jays win this one. They've had a tonne of opportunities but have been unable to do anything with them, although they made Lynn work hard out there. That triple play was the icing on the cake.
BlueJayWay - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#287882) #
I can't believe they've only scored two runs. There must have been like fifty baserunners.
scottt - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#287883) #
McGowan is slowly moving towards the setup role.
scottt - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#287884) #
Kolten Wong has shoulder problems and Mark Ellis has been hitting .160.

So for now they are using a platoon of Ellis/Descalso.

greenfrog - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#287885) #
Clutch hit by Reyes to bring in a precious insurance run. Now let's cash Pillar in as well.
Chuck - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#287886) #
So Steve Bartman has a son.
Richard S.S. - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#287887) #
Nice neat win.
scottt - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#287888) #
With Janssen against the bottom of the order, I felt confident without the assurance run.
China fan - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#287889) #
The Jays just seem to be wearing out the opposition this year. Their lineup is strong from top to bottom, and almost all of them have become patient and intelligent hitters, going deep into counts, creating lengthy at-bats, tiring out the opposing pitcher and forcing the other team into its bullpen early. It just wears down the other team, and eventually the Jays opportunistically find their chance to score. It's what I remember from the Red Sox and Yankee lineups in their peak seasons too. It's a sign of a winning team.

As for the pitching:  Stroman is increasingly looking like a permanent addition to the rotation.  Hutchison and Buehrle are formidable.  I can live with the unpredictability of Dickey and Happ.  And the bullpen is now built around a superb core of 3 relievers: Janssen, McGowan and Loup.  They are an almost unbeatable trio.  If the Jays can hold the lead to the 7th inning, the opposition seems to have little chance any more.

JB21 - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#287890) #
Whiterasta80, as I mentioned I do really enjoy the Dome and I think it doesn't deserve its bad rap I've been to all but a handful and the Dome is definitely not at the top for me.

Also, Brett Lawrie is strong. And watching this team is the best, yet so foreign to me right now. It's like I kind of don't understand what's going on. I feel like a kid watching the 89-93 Jays again, Dominicans and all.
soupman - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#287891) #
i agree cf, lots of good, long plate appearences this year. it's always been hard to see nyy and bos teams come and knock our starters out early. it's great to watch things from the other side for a change.

i think you forgot to mention cecil. he's looked good, and i think has had some bad batted ball luck so far.
China fan - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#287893) #
For some reason, perhaps an irrational feeling, I don't feel quite as confident in Cecil as I do in the other three.  But he's a close fourth in the bullpen hierarchy. 

The Orioles have just lost to Oakland in the 11th inning.  So the Jays now have an incredible 6.5 game lead over Baltimore.  Looks like the Yankees will move into second place, 6 games behind the Jays.

Still feels weird that I'm not checking the Wild Card teams to see how many games behind the Jays are at this point in the season.

Jbar - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#287894) #
My first time in the dome was during that first season when I was 9 or 10. I don't remember much of anything about the game. What sticks out is how STEEP the 500 level stairs seemed. I'm still not quite sure how we got my mother, who suffers from vertigo, into her seat. Also, my dad left our car headlights on so we had to wait around for an hour or so before somebody would give us a jump to make the 2 hour drive back to London. It was memorable, alright.
Super Bluto - Friday, June 06 2014 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#287895) #
My memory of SkyDome: how Metro Toronto chairman Paul Godfrey assured everyone in 1984 that the taxpayers would only pay $12-million for the thing. Everything else was allegedly going to be paid by the private sector.

Yeah no kidding. There was a carefully timed strike by one of the unions with 6 months to go and the Jays without a fall back. Surprise, surprise. After the stike, the workers were behind schedule and got paid overtime at higher rates to finish on time. Not as bad the Big Owe, but there were a lot of snouts in the public trough.

Then Rogers bought it for song.

Has anyone ever written the history of this? At the very least, it deserves a long-format magazine article. Got to get people on the record before they all croak.
John Northey - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 01:36 AM EDT (#287899) #
Stroman is really looking good.  18 1/3 IP 25 H but just 1 HR 3 BB 17 SO.  The hits were high initially but hopefully those regress to where they should be given his other numbers.  ERA down to 5.40 and I suspect going down sub 4 before all is said and done.

What a rotation.  2 vets, 2 kids and a spare part in Happ.  All going good right now.  I know a bad streak will come but as I've said a lot lately this is fun.  Up to 6 games over the Yankees. 

Days with a lead of 6+...
1993: 10 days
1992: never
1991: 24 days (better team than we remember or just a very weak division)
1989: never
1985: 31 days

That's it.  65 times the Jays had a lead this big ever, all in seasons they won a division title.  Lets hope history repeats itself :)
BlueMonday - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 06:45 AM EDT (#287901) #
I can't remember my first Dome visit, but the most memorable game wasn't even a Jays game - the 2009 WBC Canada USA match. Canada's dream lineup - 2 through 6 was Russell Martin (OK, I'll catch rather than play shortstop), Joey Votto (took the subway to the game), Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, and Matt Stairs. The bench included Stubby Clapp in his last hurrah for Canada.

We got to Jake Peavy early with runs in the 1st and 3rd. Mike Johnson (who shuttled between the Expo's and the Ottawa Lynx for a while) started. By the end of the 4th it was 4-2 USA. We traded runs, and by the 7th we were down 6-4. The most memorable inning was the bottom of 7, when 20 year old Philippe Aumont (up and down with the Phillies now) took the mound. He proceeded to load the bases, but retired the next 3 in order, including strikeouts to Youkilis and Granderson with the 42,000 cheering for every pitch. It was electric! In the ninth we drew to within 1 on doubles from Martin and Votto. Lawrie (19 years old, sans tattoo's) pinch ran for Votto, but JJ Putz got Bay to fly out of Victorino to end the game. What might have been ...
Jonny German - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 07:05 AM EDT (#287902) #
My first game at the Dome was in September of '89. We were a little late getting there. I remember walking into the 500s and being amazed at how the huge the place seemed after that long walk up the ramps. Before I had taken it in WHAM, Joe Carter hits a home run... for the Indians. That was uncool as he'd been battling McGriff back and forth all season for the home run lead.

I don't remember much else of the game itself but it was a good one, the Jays walking it off in the 11th inning.
ayjackson - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 07:36 AM EDT (#287903) #

My first Dome experience was Aerosmith on or around January 4, 1989.

My first and only Jays game was Jays v Rays in August 2010. Jays starter, Brett Cecil, got the win in a low scoring game (I want to say 2-1).

ayjackson - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 07:38 AM EDT (#287904) #
Sorry, that was 1990 for Aerosmith.
Dave Till - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#287905) #
I don't remember when my first Dome game was, but I remember my most intense baseball experience: September 29, 1989, the first game of the showdown series between Baltimore and Toronto.
Dave Till - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#287906) #
Stroman is really looking good.  18 1/3 IP 25 H but just 1 HR 3 BB 17 SO.  The hits were high initially but hopefully those regress to where they should be given his other numbers.  ERA down to 5.40 and I suspect going down sub 4 before all is said and done.

This morning, I watched highlights of his latest start, and I noticed that he was getting a lot of strikeouts on a nasty breaking pitch that dived out of the strike zone. I'm wondering whether hitters will learn to lay off it, or whether it's just so good that it is impossible to lay off.

In related news, Ubaldo Jiminez has an ERA of 4.39, and Ervin Santana is at 4.10.

I don't know if I recall the Jays ever having a streak as hot as their current 20-4. But, thanks to Baseball Reference, I can look it up:
  • The 1985 Jays went 16-4 in one stretch during the summer.
  • The '92 Jays started the season 15-4.
  • The 1993 Jays had a 16-2 run in September, going from tied to 8 up.
  • The 1984 Jays went 15-2 in May and early June, getting close to the Tigers before Detroit turned on the afterburners.
  • It turns out that the 1991 Jays had a comparable streak: they went 21-5 in June and early July, going from 34-31 to 55-36.
They can't possibly keep this up - can they? - but math is now on their side for a change: if they play .500 ball the rest of the way, they finish at 88-74. The Yankees have to go 58-44 the rest of the way to top that (which, of course, they could easily do).
92-93 - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#287910) #
It isn't irrational at all to lack confidence in Cecil right now - Gibby was clearly protecting him from something, and he hasn't looked that sharp all season. It's nice to have McGowan & Loup to step up and fill Cecil & Delabar's shoes, but the latter two along with Santos need to get healthy for the bullpen to be a strength down the stretch. Brandon Morrow might eventually be a big piece too.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#287911) #
Cecil was very effective early in the season throwing way too many curveballs.  His fastball command has not been there this season so far, and whether that was caused by him throwing too many curveballs, resulted in him throwing too many curveballs or neither, I don't know. Regardless, it would be best if Gibbons changed his approach somewhat.  Give him a complete inning (in a relatively moderate leverage situation to begin) and see how it goes.

At the Danforth Music Hall last night, the Swedish folk (Americana?) singers did one song without amplification at all and asked for complete silence.  The crowd managed to comply until about 3 minutes until some well-beered Canadian dude somewhat bashfully called out "Blue Jays".  At least, I was pretty sure how the game had went.

I too watched the highlights of the game.  I was glad to see Lawrie doing exactly what he should with the pitch away.  As CF says, the offence is relentless and there is great pleasure in watching your club beat the opponents into submission.  Stroman's slider was awfully impressive.  I imagine that he's going to see lineups with six or seven LHHs soon and we'll see how he handles that.

laketrout - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#287913) #
My first time at the Dome was the spring training game on St Patrick's day 1992 in Toronto. I was 18 and had dragged two of my best friends down from Sudbury to watch the game. Neither of them were ball fans but the experience of the SkyDome was worth it regardless.

The team wore ugly green uniforms and played in front of maybe 15000 fans. My biggest disappointment though was Robbie Alomar wasn't playing. In his place was some punk rookie named "Jeff Kent", the kid even had the nerve to be the hero of the game with a monster home run...shheessh.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#287919) #
My wife and I travelled to Toronto this weekend and went to the game last night. My firm in the 80's and 90's had tickets which I used for the first 1989 game, and last night's nostalgia had me compare the experience then and now.

The biggest difference by far in my view, is the fans. Then, the dome was full but the crowd was a quiet one, that often reminded me of a Roger Angell description of a Sarasota spring training game, and the quiet, almost embarrassed, crowd in attendance. People complained a lot then - about Bitove in particular - and there was a love of winning but not much love of baseball. People came late and left early, and spoke about their imagined history of playing a game they really weren't that familiar with.

Now, the crowds are much younger, more involved and knowledgable, much, much happier, and have much more fun. I would trade any of the sellout crowds from the late 89-93 period for last night's younger crowd of 33,000.
uglyone - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#287924) #
"Sorry, that was 1990 for Aerosmith."

Pump tour? With Skid Row opening?

My first real concert ever.
Kasi - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#287925) #
I went to that one too, although it was at Saddledome in Calgary.
grjas - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#287926) #
Now, the crowds are much younger, more involved and knowledgable, much, much happier, and have much more fun. I would trade any of the sellout crowds from the late 89-93 period for last night's younger crowd of 33,000.

That's a huge win for the team. Wasn't long ago that all the fans walking to the dome were old white guys like me. Young fans of all ethnic backgrounds and more women at the games is a great sight to behold.
Lylemcr - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#287927) #

Nice pitching Stroman!  I feel really good about Hutch and Stroman as our future 2 anchors.  (Sanchez is # 3)

On another note, Syndergaard was minorly hurt... 

uglyone - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#287930) #
yuck. losing feels weird.
JB21 - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#287931) #
Friday night crowds are particularly younger. It's almost like a pre-drink bar / post-work drinks crowd on Friday nights. The crowd is definitely younger, and more female in general, but Fridays are an extreme case.

Love intenitional walks that cause runs to be walked in.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 07 2014 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#287932) #
Sometimes you just tip your hat. Miller pitched very well today.

Miller was the player I was hoping would fall to the Jays in the 2009 draft. He ended up getting selected 19th overall and the Jays chose Chad Jenkins at #20.

Four Seamer - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#287948) #
I can't recall whether I was there earlier in the season (I feel like I must have been as, as my dad and aunt shared season tickets in the 500 level, way up the right field line) but I was definitely there Sunday October 1, 1989 to see John Olerud get his first major league start.  I was enormously relieved that it had turned out to be a meaningless game, but a very small part of me was a tiny bit disappointed that I wasn't able to bask in the glory of a pennant-deciding victory.  1985 and 1987 should have rendered me a fatalistic Jays fan (it took the 1989 ALCS to do that, as it turned out), but I was convinced the Jays only needed me there to turn the tide of history.
Mike Green - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#287951) #
Garcia has a small but noticeable reverse split over his career, but we'll probably see the RH lineup anyway.  Tolleson and Pillar could use the work, and we'll probably see Kratz as well.
Mike Green - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#287954) #
David Laurilia has a fairly brief interview with Aaron Sanchez in fangraphs today.  When the Blue Jays had him tandem starting, he did equally well coming out of the bullpen and starting.  I see a lot of merit to starting him off as a swingman in the major leagues, like the Dodgers did with Koufax.  We'll probably get a look at him in September, and maybe even late August, if he starts pitching a little better.
John Northey - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#287955) #
When it comes to the dome I remember watching on TV the first game where the roof closed during a game. It was quite funny as most of the field was dry but the hitter was getting soaked while it closed until the ump called time out as he and the hitter were getting drenched while everyone else was dry.  Weird sight.  I have it on videotape somewhere...will have to see if I can ever get it moved onto the computer so I could post on YouTube.  I think it was Lloyd Moseby who was hitting when it happened.

My first games were to the Ex though.  Seeing the Jays slaughtered 11-3 for my first game by the Yankees (1978...always thought it was 77 but found the scorebook we bought and it said '78 then checked BR and the score suggested it had to be 78).  Sitting in those lousy metal benches that faced the outfield fence rather than the infield.  The most comfortable seats being the grandstand where many seats could only see the outfield fence from behind (had a few dates out there that went well).  The behind home plate metal seats I used a few times and got a couple of foul balls at.  Seeing the Canadian National team play before a Jays game once, with almost no one in the stands.  In 1987 saying to my dad that if Willie Upshaw (who wasn't hitting worth beans) hit a home run I'd put him on my All-Star ballot then he proceeded to hit one.  Going there with the gang from McDonald's (where I worked as a teen) and the gang of us chanting (while pointing to the body parts) To-Ny Arm-as.  Going to the Ex after a game and seeing Rob Ducey (then a Jays outfield) listed as the fasted pitch at the 'see how hard you can throw' booth (135 KM/Hr).  Seeing David Wells driving home after a game right beside our car when he was a rookie and stuck with the Jays car (a Honda with a Jays logo on it).

Many great memories.  More from the Ex than the Dome but lots there too.  It isn't so much the park that makes the memories as the events and people and ones attitude towards it all.
Dewey - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#287961) #
My first game at the Dome wasn’t nearly as exciting as my second one,
the following Saturday afternoon, June 10.  Jimmy Key was pitching (not
very well, as it happens).  Early on, the Tigers third-baseman, Rick
Schu, lined a foul up over the visitors’ dugout -- prime foul-ball
territory-- right at me; or rather right at the guy in the seat in front
of me.  As it happened I had brought along my trusty Wilson A2000.  No
thought was involved in what ensued.  None.  No time for any of that.  I
stood up quickly and stuck the glove in front of the guy’s face (he was
covering it with his hands at the time).  Smack!  Right in the glove.
Over in a trice.  There was even applause.  I sat down, gazed at the
ball, and pretty much ignored the rest of the game, which I believe the
Jays lost anyway. 
China fan - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#287964) #
Hutchison getting hammered in the second inning, his velocity is down -- time to revive all the previous concerns about him?
TangledUpInBlue - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#287968) #
The most comfortable seats being the grandstand where many seats could only see the outfield fence from behind…

Even in mid-summer, it could get really cold under that grandstand. As a kid, I went with my family to a handful of games in 1983 or so, sitting out there under the grandstand, and I couldn't even make it through the whole game in that cold. Around the 4th or 5th inning, my brother and I used to go down several rows to sit in the sun. We couldn't see anything but the back of the left field fence, but at least we were warm.
uglyone - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#287971) #
this is no fun.
uglyone - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#287972) #
"Hutchison getting hammered in the second inning, his velocity is down"

Getting hammered? yes.

Velocity down? no.

Is this really going to be a thing every time Hutch has a bad start?
China fan - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#287974) #
"....Velocity down? no...."

I'll await the final analysis from the experts, but a number of observers said the velocity seemed to be down.

"....Is this really going to be a thing every time Hutch has a bad start?...."

If the bad starts were randomly distributed, it wouldn't be a thing.  But it doesn't seem to be entirely random.  Gregor Chisholm tweeted the following numbers:

Hutchison on normal rest: 6 GS, 30 1/3 innings, 20 ER, 7 HR, 15 BB, 22 K
On extra rest: 7 GS, 44 2/3 innings, 13 ER, 3 HR, 8 BB, 45 K

TangledUpInBlue - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#287975) #
Speaking of the Ex, you can watch (most of) the most memorable game ever played there, October 5, 1985. Right from the start of the broadcast, you can see the wind and the cold in the ballpark that day. From a warm, comfortable home 30 years on, it's all rather charming. (Not enough, I don't think, that you'd want to trade the SkyDome for the whole experience.)

A while ago, I got wondering why it was that Fergie Oliver called the famous final play of the game that day. Wasn't he the host, not the play-by-play guy? Well, he clears that up pretty early on -- Chevrier and Kubek were otherwise engaged in the U.S. that day, I suppose because the game itself wasn't a regularly scheduled broadcast for CTV (as Fergie also explained).

Anyway, great memories. Still my favourite day in Blue Jay history.
uglyone - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#287976) #
random splits.

Just like this one:

Home: 5gs, 4.3ip/gs, 1.89whip, 8.72era
Away: 8gs, 6.7ip/gs, 0.96whip, 2.03era

as for his velo, here's how gameday classified his fastballs today:

4 seamer:

95: 2
94: 3
93: 11
92: 17
91: 9
90: 4
89: 3

2-seam fastball:

93: 0
92: 1
91: 3
90: 1
89: 0

velocity was normal.
scottt - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#287983) #
Nice showing by Redmond there to keep the team (almost) in the game.

The offense wasn't really there in this series. They should probably have given Encarnation an extra day of rest.

Chuck - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#287985) #
They should probably have given Encarnation an extra day of rest.

Encarnation... the Encarnacion fan club!

grjas - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#287988) #
"Hutchison getting hammered in the second inning"

Could be worse. We could have Jimenez. Hammered again. 2-7 and 5.01 ERA. And I was pining for him?
BlueJayWay - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#287990) #
The AL East is 10 games under .500 with a -67 run differential.

Is this real life?

grjas - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#287992) #
Is this real life?

We'll know in the next 3 weeks. 10 of 16 against Orioles and Yankees.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, June 08 2014 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#287998) #
The A.L. East lost today. Toronto's two game skid moved them from 6 games up to 5.5 games up. The same thing happened the last two game skid. The Team only lost 1/2 a game in the Standings. Seems like Toronto is meant to win it all.
ayjackson - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 08:06 AM EDT (#288005) #
Interesting to look at the velocity data on Hutchison's player card at Brooks Baseball. His velocity is down about .4mph per month, but has been up over where he was in 2012, before the injury. Also, looking at the gamelogs, there are only really three concerning games from a velocity standpoint - @Boston, vTBR, and vStL. It's worth monitoring and the cautious approach would be to keep sneaking him extra days off where you can.
ayjackson - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 08:17 AM EDT (#288006) #
Looking at the 2014 data, there has been some creep up in slider velocity as fastball velocity has decreased. I wonder if he's throwing some cutters that are getting classified mostly as FB bu sometimes as SL and that's creating some of the velocity movement. [not sure why it would happen primarily in three games though]
China fan - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#288007) #
"....there are only really three concerning games from a velocity standpoint...."

I respect uglyone's analysis of Hutchison's fastball velocity, earlier in this thread.  On the other hand, Mike Wilner (for what it's worth) was convinced that Hutchison's velocity was reduced yesterday, especially in the second inning when the hits started to come.  Wilner also argues that Hutchison is definitely helped by the extra day of rest.  I don't know who is right and who is wrong in this debate, but both sides are worth considering.  Here is an excerpt from Wilner's column last night:

Hutchison only walked one, but his stuff was neither hard nor sharp. He hung sliders and change-ups and paid for it. In the second inning, he often struggled to hump his fastball up over 90 miles an hour....   It was the second time in his last three starts that Hutchison hasn’t been good, and the second time that he hasn’t been able to carry the 92-93 mile an hour fastball that he usually sits with.

Spifficus - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#288010) #

Looking at the play-by-play for the outing, Hutchison definitely seemed to have a problem getting above 90 for the first half of the second inning, but that was really only isolated to three or four at-bats. This makes me think it was more of a mechanical issue he had to work through than anything. With the amount of fastballs that seemed to find their way up and over the middle (or up and out of the zone), that makes even more sense to me.

Since Hutchison is someone that relies on fastball location more than anything, it doesn't surprise me that when he can't locate it that bad things are going to happen.

bpoz - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#288012) #
I know that Hutch can throw quite hard 93-95. When he first came up and struggled, I believe he coped by throwing as hard as he could. This did result in some success, but it probably also caused the injury.
This velocity debate has me worried again about an injury. All this is my opinion only.
Mike Green - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#288013) #
I just saw bits of the weekend games.  It looked to me like the hitters were pressing some, and swinging at borderline pitches they would normally lay off.  I wondered if they were trying to impress the big crowds.
soupman - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#288016) #
i think it was just the way the zones were being called. i saw a few outside pitches called strikes that surprised me.
uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#288018) #
China...never, ever listen to wilner's "analysis".....let alone quote it.
vw_fan17 - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#288020) #
Just some random thoughts:
-first game was at the Ex, 1981 against Seattle, and we lost 4-1, IIRC.
-next game was probably at the Dome in '89 or '90. I remember a lot of the excitement, and I think we went at some point with the family or friends, but not 100% sure anymore
-definitely went in '91 or '92 a couple of times, as I was a co-op student in Toronto at the time. One time was through work - got 2nd row seats above the bullpen, and Joe Carter hit a home run that would have landed in my lap had it carried 10 feet farther (or so it seemed)..
-went to the dome a few more times in the late 90s/early 2000s, before I moved to CA (2004). Saw the last time Stieb ever pitched, which was cool, as he was a personal favourite of mine, along with Barfield.


Around Thursday/Friday, after it started feeling like we just couldn't lose, had flashbacks to Fergie Olvr and (thanks to whoever mentioned the names as I'd forgotten) Don Chevrier/Tony Kubek and their post-game interviews: "I have here with me Lloyd Moseby, and Lloyd - how sweet it is!"

uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#288021) #
Oh, and per fangraphs' velo charts, hutch's velo was UP this start over last start, and was his sixth hardest throwing start of the season.
MatO - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#288022) #
I was at the first and last games at the Ex.

My first game at the Dome was a doubleheader against the Angels on July 17, 1989 (thank you Baseball Reference). There had been a rain out at the Ex earlier in the season. Boomer Wells won both games in relief and Henke saved both games (pitchers were super-human in those days). Those were the best tickets I ever had, just above the visitor dugout and I really don't remember how I got them.
China fan - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#288024) #
"...never, ever listen to wilner's 'analysis'....."

He wasn't the only one saying it.  Many people noticed that Hutchison's velocity was down in the first part of the 2nd inning -- the part where he got into serious trouble.  That wouldn't necessarily show up in an overall analysis of his average for the entire game.  Also -- while I'm not a huge fan of Wilner -- I don't think you can begin with the premise that he is always wrong.
Lylemcr - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#288026) #

Seriously?  Every time Hutch has a bad outing, are there going to be whispers of losing velocity?  Come on.  Really?

China fan - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#288027) #
"....are there going to be whispers of losing velocity?...."

I think you're missing the point.  Nobody is "whispering" it. This is not some secret rumor campaign.  It's an actual debate, conducted by reasonable people, examining actual data and discussing it.

The other point is that Hutchison is statistically better as a pitcher this year when he has additional days of rest.  Uglyone says this is "random splits."  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  But it is a legitimate subject for debate -- not "whispers."
uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#288029) #
It's not a debate.

We have the numbers. There is no velocity decline. Just normal fluctuations.

We know this.

China fan - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#288031) #
"'s not a debate...."

Declaring that something is "not a debate" does not necessarily render it so.
China fan - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#288032) #
Here's one example of the debate that allegedly does not exist:

uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#288033) #
Saying that there is a velocity decline, when there is provably no velocity decline, does not make it a debate.
uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#288035) #
Mike Green - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#288037) #
I tried to post a quote from John Gibbons from today's Globe and Mail, but for some reason, it didn't work.  The gist of the quote follows:  Hutchison is healthy, but sometimes doesn't have the snap.  He's just off TJ. 

It is true that Hutchison has pitched much better this year on 5 days rest than on 4 days rest.  It would probably not hurt Dickey, Buehrle, Happ or Stroman to have an extra day as well in this stretch of games with only one day off until June 29.  You could give Redmond or Hendriks a spot start if so inclined.

I liked Gibbons' use of the pen yesterday- 5 innings for Redmond and a complete inning for Cecil both in low leverage roles.  They are both set up for more challenging work.

Kasi - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#288038) #
Seems more likely he just sucks pitching at home like an awful lot of our pitchers considering the bandbox skydome is.
Chuck - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#288041) #
In the little I saw of Hutchison's outing, he seemed to have two problems: not being able to locate his fastball and hanging his breaking ball. It seems to me that even were he throwing 98, these would have gotten him in trouble.
John Northey - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#288043) #
It is a tough one.  A 6th man in the rotation means more use of the pen with fewer relievers (unless we go short on the bench).  But if it improves results for starters is it worth it?  Hrm....

4 days rest: 3.93 ERA 744 OPS against (30 starts)
5 days: 3.70 ERA 775 OPS against (23 starts)
6 days+: 3.10 ERA 625 OPS against (11 starts)

I don't see enough of a spread to go to a 6 man rotation myself.  Hutch should get extra days whenever possible for now, but otherwise I'd just stick to the 5 man rotation.  Maybe see if he can be pushed back regularly and someone else moved up a day whenever an offday happens.
Mike Green - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#288045) #
I wasn't suggesting a 6 man rotation, John, just one or two spot starts.  It's a long stretch in June with very few days off. 
Jonny German - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#288046) #
I'm wondering about a 5.5 man rotation, where Hendriks comes up for just 1 day to make a spot start, then back to Buffalo for 10 days, then back up for 1 day. The tricky part is managing the roster spot between spot starts - do you shuffle Jenkins and Wagner and Korecky? That could work, but only until Santos comes off the DL.
rfan8 - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#288049) #
I just saw bits of the weekend games. It looked to me like the hitters were pressing some, and swinging at borderline pitches they would normally lay off. I wondered if they were trying to impress the big crowds.


I thought they were swinging at borderline pitches too, but I thought it had to do with the strike zone, which seemed to be somewhat inconsistent (based on ym viewing of the game).
uglyone - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#288052) #
To note, Hutch's best start of the year, his complete game three hit shutout of texas, came on normal four day rest.

His worst normal rest start (9 basreunners and 6 runs in 3.1ip) came against the yanks in his second start of the year, when fatigue could hardly have been an issue.

These tiny sample splits are almost certainly meaningless correlations.

Richard S.S. - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#288085) #
A lot of Hutch's pitches were not on the corners and straighter than he'd like. Otherwise known as batting practise pitches. Hutch and Dickey need to vary their pitches better and not be predictable.
Richard S.S. - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#288097) #
Let's see, almost 24 hours between games. Who's the lazy wuss who's supposed to do the Minnesota - Toronto Post? I rarely see one before the third or fourth inning.

And since when is Toronto or Minnesota an NL team. What moron wants Pitchers hitting, or at least as according to Gameday?
Mike Green - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#288101) #
Another reasonably quick hook from Gibbons of Dickey.  I agree with the decision.
greenfrog - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#288103) #
Some good defense by the Jays tonight, but weak defense in the 9th (Tolleson's inability to turn the DP, Pillar's positioning and subsequent dive on Suzuki's blooper) were costly.
greenfrog - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#288104) #
Also, some weak plays on offense (Gose getting picked off, Gose's failure to get the bunt down in the 9th, Lind's failure to advance the runner in the 8th with Bautista on second and none out).

Overall, not the best game for the Jays from an execution standpoint, the timely DPs notwithstanding.
Mike Green - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#288105) #
Pillar's positioning was fine.  The point of the positioning was "no doubles".  The ill-considered dive defeated the purpose of the positioning. 
greenfrog - Monday, June 09 2014 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#288108) #
Nice, Pillar!
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