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The Blue Jays return home after a 4-2 road trip that saw them take two of three from Baltimore. Homers by Dalton Pompey, Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista and a strong performance from the bullpen rescued a shaky Drew Hutchison in a 10-7 triumph at Camden Yards Sunday afternoon. The Jays are tied with the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East.

The Rays won the Battle of Florida by taking two of three to the Miami Marlins over the weekend to even their record at 3-3. Tampa bounced back from a 10th inning loss in the series opener Friday in a game that saw them score seven runs in the seventh to erase a 9-2 deficit. Matt Andriesi — Tuesday's listed starter — made his major league debut Friday.

Series Schedule & Probable Starters

Monday at 7:07 pm ET — Jake Odorizzi (1-0, 0.00) vs R.A. Dickey (0-0, 1.42)
Tuesday at 7:07 pm ET —  Matt Andriesi (0-0, 0.00) vs Daniel Norris (1-0, 4.76)
Wednesday at 7:07 pm ET — TBA vs Mark Buehrle (1-0, 3.00)
Thursday at 7:07 pm ET — Chris Archer (1-1, 2.13) vs Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 8.10)

Current members of the Jays are just 5-for-39 against Jake Odorizzi. Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion and Dioner Navarro are all 1-for-6 against Odorizzi. Reyes is 9-for-20 with three walks against Chris Archer while Justin Smoak is 3-for-5 with a homer. Encarnacion is 4-for-21 but three of those hits were home runs.

Extra Innings...

The Toronto Star talks about the dumbeffery that has taken place during past home openers at the Dome.
The team worked with the Toronto police and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to put policies in place to reduce the drunkenness, such as limiting alcohol sales in the 500 level to one drink per person, not selling beer in the seating area in the 500 level and adding extra security. Problems have decreased substantially enough that even those minimal measures may be dropped. Mario Coutinho, the Jays’ vice-president of stadium operations and security said: “Quite frankly, this year we probably won’t have that in place. It’s been that good.”
Great! Give the drunken idiots more ammo!! What a great idea!

Kyle Schultz, a 42-year-old high school teacher, said he finds that hard to believe. He was at a home opener just two years ago when a group of young men, who arrived drunk in the second inning, threatened to fight him — he still isn’t sure why — and security had to intervene to throw them out. He’s had beer spilled on him from the upper deck, watched teens smoke pot in their seats and seen several fights. Schultz says he likes the atmosphere of the home opener, but any enjoyment is “outweighed by the idiocy.” His 9-year-old son would like to go to Monday’s opener, but Schultz said he doesn’t feel comfortable bringing him: “It’s not an appropriate game for him at all.”

Hopefully, the fans will behave themselves but I think the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup is more likely to happen. If you're brave enough to attend, keep in mind there are new security measures in place, namely metal detectors, so arrive early.

Blue Jays vs Rays - April 13-16 | 168 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ryan Day - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#299439) #
Metal detectors are the worst sort of security theatre. It'll inconvenience everyone, and provide no meaningful benefit.

Meanwhile, if the Jays' priority was truly "fan safety & security", as they claim, you'd think banning alcohol at games would be a sensible plan. Alcohol leads to far more injury & death than terrorism.

(I'm not actually advocating banning alcohol, but it would be more sensible than some of their other policies.)
Gerry - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#299440) #
The top of the order has been strong for the Rays. Kevin Kiermaier, David DeJesus and Asdrubal Carrera are all hitting over .300. Kiermaier made an impression at the RC last season with his aggressive play, you can never relax when he is up to bat.
Mylegacy - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#299441) #
Ah, the Home Opener, Oh Joy, Oh Bliss...NOT.

Living on Vancouver Island a trip for opening day (or any games for that matter - excluding those in Seattle) is a major time, financial and otherwise pain the back side undertaking. A decade or so ago I made the investment three years in a row. The long and short of it was that opening day almost disgusted me. While (each series) I was sitting 15(ish) rows back from the field, almost right behind home plate, and so had no immediate disturbances around me, the obvious fights and disturbances above me (mostly in the 500 deck) were more than an unpleasant intrusion. Interestingly, I always enjoyed the other two games of the Home Opening series. Less people, less drunks, Bliss.

Chuck - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#299442) #
Meanwhile, if the Jays' priority was truly "fan safety & security"

That's obviously just corporatespeak for "illusion of fan safety & security and profits, baby, profits!"

uglyone - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#299443) #
Don't sleep on the rays. They're still good.

I sure hope our SP pick it up soon. Worst fip in baseball so a healthy margin. Making me nervous.
Richard S.S. - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#299444) #
Ah yes, the Starting Rotation. Anyone complaining about the Starting Rotation this early in the Season needs to take a breath and sit down in a dark room until the impulse fades. Please consider that some people know last week's weather was WINTER/unusually cold and it makes everything so much harder.

R.A. Dickey (0-0, NDL) and Mark Buehrle (1-0) were just Dickey and Buehrle doing what they normally do. They will be just fine.

Drew Hutchison (1-0, NDW) has mostly been an on again/off again type of Pitcher almost every game of his career. We won't know if he's made the right changes to his off-speed stuff until 5 or 6 games in.

Daniel Norris (1-0) is pitching his first MLB Start, in this Starting Rotation, in New York City, with a massive 6.2 innings of professional experience. At least give him a chance for a few more Starts, 10 more to be sure.

Aaron Sanchez (0-1) has always had control issues and trust issues with some of his pitches. That was apparent Saturday. This will be a Sanchez/Martin issue most of the Season. If he listens to Martin and develops he's a Starter. If he doesn't, he back in the Bullpen as fast as A.A. has a replacement (in-house or not).
CSHunt68 - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#299445) #
Actually, cold weather hurts offense. The only offensive stat that increases in the cold is BB%. Everything else decreases. So, pitchers should have it easier, even with a cold, greasy ball.
John Northey - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#299446) #
Funny - the way games have gone you'd expect more than a 96 OPS+ for the team thus far.  91 ERA+ too.  Yet 38 scored vs 27 allowed for a 4-2 record.  Go figure. 

Martin offensively a big bust at -8 OPS+ (yes negative).  Reyes leads at 170  gotta love early season.  289 ERA+ for Dickey to a 26 for Redmond (in 2 IP).  Perfect 0 ER for Castro, Hendricks, Osuna and Cecil.

So far 7 IP for the 20 year olds 2 H 2 BB 8 SO.  Looks like a good move so far to rush them.

whiterasta80 - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#299447) #
Or not rush them based on those numbers John.
Chuck - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#299448) #
OPS+ and ERA+ are predicated on park factors, no? And wouldn't park factors figure to be WAY WAY WAY crazy a week into the schedule?

Isn't it best to just avoid rates of any kind for a while?

Super Bluto - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#299449) #
I'm surprised there hasn't been more about the metal detectors. Unless I missed something, the announcement of their inclusion in MLB parks seemed to come late and with little noise. I didn't see anything prominent on, for example. I wonder what's behind it? I don't recall any incidents at MLB parks - stabbings, shootings, brass knucklings - that would have been prevented by metal detectors. Was there a threat that we're not being told about? I hope some sniffy reporter is looking into this; otherwise, it seems like a needless inconvenience, not only for the fans but for the club that loses an inning or two worth of beer sales because fans are waiting outside.
John Northey - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#299450) #
I'd put them as an incentive NOT to go to a game.  Metal detectors are yet another way for teams to prevent people from bringing anything into the park.  Waste of time & money - hope the cost isn't taxpayer funded via any back doors.
Richard S.S. - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#299451) #
Actually, cold weather hurts offense.

You are joking, right? 38 Runs scored by the Jays in 6 games (6.33 avg.) and 65 Runs in total (10.83 avg.). Donaldson, Bautista, Martin and Pompey were underachievers for a large portion of that week. Reyes hit very well, but everyone else was about average.

Consider where the kids spent their lives pitching: Sanchez - California, they never see weather like that; Drew Hutchison - Florida, they never see weather like this; Daniel Norris - Tennessee (NE corner, in the Appalachians).

I can see Pitching having weather issue problems more.
Mike Green - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#299452) #
OPS+ and ERA+ are predicated on park factors, no? And wouldn't park factors figure to be WAY WAY WAY crazy a week into the schedule?

Yep.  It is true that the offence so far has been hyper-efficient.  The team is batting .185/.241/.282 with nobody on and .329/.384/.549 with runners on (133 PAs and 100 PAs respectively). Neither slash line will be anything like those numbers when the season is over. 
Ryan Day - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#299453) #
This Globe article cites the Boston Marathon bombing as the main impetus behind new MLB security policies. That doesn't seem particularly relevant - those bombs were carried in backpacks, which have almost always been subject to a (half-assed) search.

There was a stabbing at a Giants game a couple years ago, but I believe that happened outside the ballpark.

That's where these metal detectors really miss the point - if someone is intent on causing harm, they can do it outside the stadium, immediately before or after the game.
Chuck - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#299454) #
One of many studies researching the impact of weather on scoring.

A physicist discusses the effects of cold on a baseball.

So does another one.

John Northey - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#299455) #
I suspect some idiotic lawyer told MLB that if they didn't do metal detectors they could be liable if someone gets stabbed.  So no real gain just fake security for everyone.  Much like how airlines don't let you take 100 ml of liquid on the flight.
scottt - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#299456) #
One of many studies researching the impact of weather on scoring.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, Nevada.

It's all about gambling on games, isn't it?

The University is called "University of Nevada, Reno"? That looks positively weird.

Parker - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#299457) #
Much like how airlines don't let you take 100 ml of liquid on the flight.

Sure they do - you just have to carry it in separate containers, thus saving the world from terror.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if MLB's new "security" measures came from TSA recommendations.
CSHunt68 - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#299458) #
"You are joking, right? ... I can see Pitching having weather issue problems more."

No; and not to be offensive, but so? You could look at the studies that have been done, and discover that cold weather hurts almost all facets of offense. Or you could do it your way, that's another choice.
dan gordon - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#299459) #
I highly recommend Adair's book, The Physics Of Baseball, referred to in one of the above links. It explains a great deal about the game, such as the effects of temperature, altitude, the flight of a pitched ball, the reasons why batters hit better vs opposite handed pitchers, the distance a ball will travel when struck at different points in the swing, etc. I found it fascinating, and highly educational in terms of my understanding of the game.

I see the new turf is longer than the old stuff. Should decrease offense a bit - fewer balls will get through the infield, and fewer balls hit into the LCF and RCF gaps will go through to the wall. It will be interesting to see the Rogers Centre park effect numbers at year end, although that stat can take a few years to become fully apparent as there can be a lot of variability from year to year. In any event, I think the new stuff looks a bit better on TV than the old stuff.

Nice extreme slo-mo close up on that pickoff attempt on Bautista at 1B. You could see the glove move when it hit Bautista's arm just before he touched the base - he was out. They got a break, but unfortunately, couldn't capitalize.

uglyone - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#299460) #
Put Osuna in the rotation.
BlueJayWay - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#299461) #
I might rather have Osuna there than Sanchez right now.
uglyone - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#299462) #
finch - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#299463) #
The TB Rays broadcasters couldn't stop raving about Osuna and the quality of his stuff. They were pretty much in awe of him. It's great to see the fruits of AA's labour. Haven't seen such a promising group of prospects in a long long time for the Jays!
cruzin - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#299464) #
After seeing how the Pillar's hit practically die when I thought it had a chance to roll to the wall and then Pompey's shot up the middle that I expected to scoot through but didn't.

How thick, soft and slow is this new turf going to play?
John Northey - Monday, April 13 2015 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#299465) #
Blinking Rays - even in their Devil Ray horrid years they were a nightmare for the Jays.  If the Jays still get 2 of 3 from the Rays then this season will be a great one I'm sure as beating Rays = luck on Jays side for once.  A 140-156 lifetime record for the Jays vs Rays - much better than I expected.  They always just seem to be a nightmare.  Miami is the one the Jays suck most against - 6-18 all-time.  For teams with 100+ games the worst is Milwaukee 119-161 (used to be the team you didn't want the Jays to play in 85-93).
christaylor - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:18 AM EDT (#299466) #
Not that weird. Consider University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley California. Many state university systems use this naming system.
85bluejay - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 07:31 AM EDT (#299467) #
That was possibly the most boring baseball game I've ever watched.
I wish Gibbons would use Osuna & Castro when the Jays are ahead/tied - you have to use & try to build the confidence of the other BP guys sometime - I am having visions of 2013 when Cecil & Delabar were used so much pre-allstar break that they ran out of gas in the 2nd half.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#299468) #
I'd keep Osuna right where he is.  His stuff is great.  His command comes and goes, but considering that he is just back from TJ surgery, he is doing fine in that regard too.  You want him to solidify his command, and not to overdo the number of innings he pitches in a season anyway.  If he is pitching well and has command of all of his pitches in July, then maybe you think about the rotation.

Sanchez was looking awfully impressive in the bullpen late last year.  It's a different thing than succeeding in the rotation.. 

I don't know what it is, but every year it seems that the Blue Jay staff surrenders more walks than league average.  Drives me nuts. The last Blue Jay pitching staff that was pretty good in this department was the 2008 one led by Roy Halladay.  Man, I miss him.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#299469) #
85, agree with you on using Osuna in a game they were losing/lost. Using Osuna for two innings in a game they were losing and lost, means he'll be unavailable tonight. Maybe Gibbons was being less sensible because it was Opening Day and there was a big crowd.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#299470) #
Down by 1 in the top of the 7th inning has a leverage of 1.0.  Down by 1 in the top of the 8th inning also has a leverage of 1.0.  It's not a bad situation to use Osuna. 

I am glad that Gibbons didn't go through 3 relievers last night.  It would be better, in my opinion, if Hendriks or Redmond or Estrada were in the rotation, and Sanchez was in the pen, but even without that, the team does have two relievers from each side that the manager has confidence in medium to high leverage situations.  That's not bad.
Paul D - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#299471) #
Jose Bautista is my favourite player. But I do not understand letting yourself get thrown out as the tying runner in the 9th inning. Particularly on an attempted steal against a catcher who's already thrown out 2 people this game.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#299472) #
I attended last night's game. Some comments.

1. The metal detectors will prove to be a disincentive to attendance. Knowing that you have to wait for 30-60 minutes when there is a big crowd, depending on which gate you choose, will probably make lots of fans not bother. I may be one. Apparently, the metal detectors were agreed upon by MLB with Homeland Security.

2. I think I'm done with Opening Day. The metal detectors add to the inconvenience of trying to watch a baseball game in a facility which doesn't handle large crowds well. At one point, my pal and I decided to get a sandwich and a beer. We split the chores, and I stood in a line for 25-30 minutes trying to buy two beers. It would be nice if they would have some 'cash only' lines, as it can be infuriating watching someone take the time of others to use a debit card to buy a bottle of water. I missed an inning and a half on that adventure. I don't expect cheap food or beer at a ballpark, but you should be able to buy something without missing a good portion of the game. And you should be able to buy beer other than Budweiser without a stadium map to find some 'special' beer outlet.

3. Odorizzi pitched very, very well. He'd thrown 98 pitches by the end of the 7th and I thought he would be done, but he came out for the 8th and the Jays helped him out by going down on 5 pitches in the top of the 8th.

4. It will be funny if Martin loses the starting job to Navarro. And Pillar may still win the cf job when Saunders comes back. Pompey's obp is lower than Martin's.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#299473) #
Do we know that Bautista was attempting to steal on his own?  I wasn't watching at the time, but it was 3-2 on Encarnacion and I figured that that he was started to stay out of a double play.  Encarnacion had fouled off a bunch of pitches and doesn't strike out that much.

Here's a brief 2014 scouting report on tonight's Rays starter Matt Andriese. With the deception from his delivery, you would expect that he would be tougher on RHBs.  It seems that he is. With Saunders out and the turf slowing things down, I wouldn't mind seeing Gibbons using 1 run strategies (hit and run particularly) from Pillar/Travis/Reyes/Pompey. 

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#299474) #
But I do not understand letting yourself get thrown out as the tying runner in the 9th inning. Particularly on an attempted steal against a catcher who's already thrown out 2 people this game.

Paul, there was a full count. I assumed that Gibbons sent the runner to stay out of a double play. Did you read somewhere that Gibbons was holding the runner and Bautista decided otherwise?
Paul D - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#299475) #
Fair points. I did not read that Bautista was going on his own, just a reaction to the number of pick offs attempted during the Encarnacion at bat.
Jevant - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#299476) #
I was quite happy that Gibbons used Osuna.  A one run deficit with 3 innings to go should not be an insurmountable hill for this offence, so keeping it close should be the priority.  Many other days if the BP can shut em out in the 7 through 9th, the bats will make it up.
bpoz - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#299477) #
I remember Pillar saying in the off season that he just wanted a chance to win an available OF position.

I think that the Saunders injury gave him that opportunity. I honestly thought that as the 4th OF he would not get enough ABs. Actually the 4th, whomever it was. I figured him, because "it was Pompey's CF position to lose". So Pillar would be sent to AAA to get full time ABs.

The "its his job to lose" theory when it comes to prospects can backfire.

Pitchers for example.

In the current OF situation for the Jays, it is possible that both Pompey & Pillar could become decent ML outfielders. If Bautista leaves or/and Saunders does not perform that would create a need. Snider, Sierra, Thames and Rasmus did not work out for example.
92-93 - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#299478) #
I showed up to gate 5/6 at around 6:55, and was inside within 10-15 minutes. The line looked a lot scarier than it turned out to be. I agree that it's completely pointless from a security perspective.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#299480) #
"Sanchez was looking awfully impressive in the bullpen late last year. It's a different thing than succeeding in the rotation.. "

there were warning signs that even Sanchez' bullpen success wasn't sustainable - namely his 6% swinging strike rate, which is the kind of number Buehrle puts up as a starter and everyone wonders how he can be successful. as a reliever that's even more ominous. and sanchez featured a strict 2 pitch arsensl in the pen - fastball and curve. nothing else. there was a legit question whether he could sustain even his success in the bullpen this year.

Osuna's getting a very good 14% swinging strike rate so far, and featuring a full 3 pitches. I've also seen him nailing the bottom outside corber with all his pitches, which i'm not sure i've seen from sanchez.

I know it's crazy to even think of using Osuna in the rotation but i'm not sure it's any crazier than using sanchez there.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#299481) #
"I was quite happy that Gibbons used Osuna. A one run deficit with 3 innings to go should not be an insurmountable hill for this offence, so keeping it close should be the priority. Many other days if the BP can shut em out in the 7 through 9th, the bats will make it up."

agreed. one run game (at home), i want our best rp in there if they're rested.

Conspiracy Theory: Osuna threw 29 pitches last night. if he gets a few days off snd then comes in for another multi inning appearance later this week and throws, say, 50 pitches....then suddenly he's getting close enough to being stretched out enough to start.
92-93 - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#299482) #
uglyone, did you hack @MartyYork?

"So here's the lowdown from insiders about the Sanchez kid with the #Jays: Seriously overrated by Jays Junkies. I mean, SERIOUSLY overrated."
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#299483) #
My god that guy is still alive?
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#299484) #
John Sickels had Sanchez as the #14 prospect in baseball ahead of Joc Pederson, Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Sano and J. P. Crawford.  The love was not limited to "Jays junkies".  Different people have different views of the relative importance of pitchers and position players.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#299485) #
An OF/DH/1B rotation might be best once Saunders is back.  Pillar rotates through the 3 OF positions giving each guy a day off or day at DH.  EE and Smoak alternating DH/1B.  Have one of the 6 sit each day so all get rest and play and DH time.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#299486) #
yeah Sanchez ranked top 25 by BA and and top 50 by everyone else.

marty york is a nobody who knows nobody.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#299487) #
if we're 100% healthy you'd figure smoak's playing time takes the biggest hit....but we'll never be 100% healthy for long.

valencia pillar tolleson navarro....even if none of them hits rhp well that's still a bench full of useful hitters, which we haven't seeen on this team in a long while. the fact that they also provide good (not great) defensive value is a bonus.

i'm not eager to trade any of them...or move any of them out in favor of izturis goins or an 8th rp.

speaking of 8th rp...does redmond have options? estrada?
Ryan Day - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#299488) #
I think you can make a reasonable distinction between "Sanchez is a great pitching prospect" - a widely-held opinion - and "Sanchez is ready to be a starter in 2015." I'm not sure even the Jays fully believed in the latter, since they seemed to be leaning towards Sanchez relieving before Stroman got hurt.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#299491) #
Smoak sits and Navarro DHs tonight. 

Comparing the defence of Smoak and Encarnacion is a mixed bag.  Encarnacion is significantly quicker on ground balls and better on pop-ups.  Smoak is better at scooping. You definitely don't want Encarnacion playing first base on the turf too often, although it may be the softer turf makes it less of an issue.

jerjapan - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#299492) #
Ugly, Redmond and Estrada are both out of options.  demoting Estrada seems way premature anyways, but I have been wondering if Hendricks might beat out Redmond.  With Cecil out of the closer's role we need a third lefty even less, so I'd guess it's Colt Hynes who goes down - and  he still has options.  Loup does as well, if he struggles.  I don't see that happening but I also thought that Jenkins and Delabar were locks for the team.    

this is a great table for option status with the team:

Chuck - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#299493) #
You wonder how the Smoak/Navarro thing will play out. Smoak doesn't have any kind of track record to inspire confidence and take over fulltime play vs RHP, even if he were to suddenly go on a hitting tear. Navarro is a decent and "safe" enough hitter to merit staying in the mix, even at the cost of not being traded for something helpful.

I don't believe an either/or decision will soon be forthcoming and maybe one won't come at all. They both might stick all season long.

Encarnacion seems healthy enough that he can play part-time at least, thereby creating an opening for Navarro, though having him on the field is no great shakes for the defense.

I wonder if the brass has a plan that they are (rightfully) not saying out loud. And maybe that plan is just to wait and see how things shake out.

jerjapan - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#299494) #
it sounds like AA's team are high on Smoak as a reclamation project - his pop-up tendency will play well in the dome, and they seem to value his D more than the metrics do.  AA thinks he has gone all Tampa bay-like, unearthing his very own James Loney diamond in the rough.  time will tell. 
scottt - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#299495) #
April stats are a lot like spring training stats, except they count. It's often better to be patient.
Chuck - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#299496) #
Hard to believe the replay ump thought Jennings was out.
dan gordon - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#299497) #
Yah, that was nuts - he was obviously safe.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#299498) #
The standard isn't correctness.  I guess the review umpire wasn't sufficiently satisfied that Travis didn't get Jennings' uniform on the arm with the swipe.  I thought he was clearly safe too though.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#299499) #
This is interesting.  Castro into the game in the 7th as "the closer".  Maybe he's now "the ace".  It's a 1.5 leverage situation.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#299500) #
Castro hasn't pitched since Sunday. He needs the work.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#299501) #
Yeah, I guess the rust explains his rough outing.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#299502) #
do we really need to swing for the fences on every pitch?

get it together, guys.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#299503) #
Have I mentioned how annoying the Rays are lately?  My wife always would cheer them on just because she knew it would annoy me.  Sigh.  It'll be odd when they become the Montreal Rays or the Vegas Rays or whatever in a decade.
dan gordon - Tuesday, April 14 2015 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#299504) #
Wait til they get Moore and Cobb and Smyly back. They're missing 3 good/great starters, and they're still hard to score against. Not much offense, but they sure have a good pitching staff. When you add up total runs scored + allowed at year end, the Rays may well be lowest in the league.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#299505) #
It's kind of funny that Friedman went to the Dodgers.  The Rays are playing Dodgerball circa 1963.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#299506) #
Nolan Arenado made one of the best catches (and recoveries) you are likely to see last night.  Here's the link.   You can compare it with Mays' famous catch for degree of difficulty. 

Between Arenado and Machado, we have some pretty impressive defensive third basemen.  Josh Donaldson is a helluva bronze medalist.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#299507) #
Josh Donaldson is a helluva bronze medalist.

And Evan Longoria is yesterday's man (last gold glove was 5 years ago). The metrics have suggested bigtime slippage the last two seasons, but subjectively he still looks good out there.

Chuck - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#299508) #
Sorry, Longaria's slippage was in 2 of the last 3 years. His 2013 was viewed favourably by the metrics.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#299509) #
The Blue Jays are facing Erasmo Ramirez tonight.  What are the odds that there would be two major league players with the first name Erasmo and they would both have the last name Ramirez and that they would be unrelated?  The English version might be Luther Smith- there have been three minor league players by that name but no major league players.
85bluejay - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#299512) #
Coming off 2 disappointing seasons & having never had a team outperform preseason expectations in his managerial career, I would think that the leash on John Gibbons can't be too long - I wonder if Beeston has asked Cito to keep tack of the team on TV.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#299513) #
In light of Gibbons' contract, the effective decision about him was made by December 31, 2014.  It's unlikely that the club would make a decision to fire him in mid-season unless the team was functioning at levels comparable to early 1989.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#299515) #
Early season musing...VERY early season musing.

The new grass is slow - a fly in a spider's web slow. Glacier slow. How slow is it? So slow all the sluggers are only trying for home runs - either a home run or a single appear to be the only two alternatives. Almost - can't play Baseball on that field slow. Seriously distracting slow...OK enough of that VERY slow rant...

Ironically the tail end of the Batting order looks god like - the HEART of the order looks pedestrian. Any chance It's just a small sample size? Natch, like duh. Martin, as I feared, is turning into the guy that played in NY for a couple of years and not the guy that played in that other place where he could actually hit a ball and take walks.

I'm starting a rumour that perhaps, maybe, who knows, Castro might actually be human, perhaps just a cyborg.

This year the loss of Stroman will prove to be, "A Bridge too far." This time next year the crying call will be, "Bring up Hoffman and Reid-Foley."

I continue to be beyond even giddy just thinking about about Stroman, Hutchison, Norris, Osuna, Hoffman and Reid-Foley fighting for rotation spots with Sanchez, Castro and Hynes becoming Henke, Ward and Eichhorn in the pen. Mid-2017, and for 5 to 10 more years, this team will be like the great Dodgers teams of the '60's.

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#299516) #
When Saunders returns and assuming he can run well at that point, it might be an idea to have him hitting 3rd with one of the sluggers hitting 2nd (probably Donaldson) and the others hitting 4-5.  I think that Chuck might have suggested this already.  It's not really ideal to have 3 right-handed sluggers in a row in the batting order. 
dan gordon - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#299517) #
Some interesting comments about the Jays' bullpen in today's Saves & Steals column on Rotoworld. Critical of the team for not getting a closer in the offseason, saying they need to get somebody.
Gerry - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#299518) #
Donaldson batting in the second spot tonight, Pompey to eighth.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#299519) #
That rotoworld column isn't exactly persuasive.  They say that Castro looks like a Rule 5 pick on the mound.  If so, he'd be a helluva Rule 5 pick.

The salient point they do make is that Gibbons hasn't sorted out roles yet.  It wouldn't be the first time that a manager had not sorted out bullpen roles in April and sometimes that does work out.  But you don't want to let things sit like that for long. 
dan gordon - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#299520) #
Roles are important. So is absolute ability. I'm not convinced the Jays have the necessary horses to have a sufficiently reliable bullpen, no matter how you shuffle the roles. I think they need one more guy you can reasonably project to give you something like a 1.00-1.10 WHIP and a 2.50-3.00 ERA.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#299521) #
I see the pen as a minimal concern - we have 4 guys who haven't given up an earned run yet.  Castro/Osuna are now at 10 1/3 IP 4 H 1 R 0 ER 4 BB  (one intentional) 11 SO.  Hard to complain.  The worst results so far would be Loup who was used as he should be and just had a bad game.  Yes, this could all collapse tomorrow but blowing over $10 mil a year for Papelbon or trading good prospects to get another closer makes no sense to me.
Another starter in the rotation to allow Sanchez to go back to the pen could make sense.  Or replacing Smoak at 1B.  Overall I'd say stick as is until forced to change things.  Saunders will force some change and I figure by mid-May we should know if Pompey can hit, Smoak can be endurable, etc.

dan gordon - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#299522) #
I don't want Papelbon either. There were a lot of quality bullpen names who changed hands this offseason without sacrificing top prospects or $10 million contracts. Sanchez back to the pen might be an answer if they can find a 5th starter. There is also the possibility of somebody emerging from the vast horde of arms in the minors.
Maldoff - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#299523) #
Let's just hope that Canada Post found the lost Jays bats that didn't make it back to Toronto from Baltimore and got them delivered today!
uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#299524) #
proven bullpen arms are for the most part still just guys not good enough to start. highly overrated, and entirely fungible.

for example... let's see how the top free agent RP did last year:

The Best Bullpen Money Could Buy:

J.Nathan ($10.0m/2yrs): 58.0ip, 4.81era, 0.0war
B.Wilson ($10.0m/1yrs): 48.1ip, 4.66era, -0.2war
J.Benoit ($7.8m/2yrs): 54.1ip, 1.49era, 1.3war
F.Rodney ($7.0m/2yrs): 66.1ip, 2.81era, 1.1war
G.Balfour ($6.0m/2yrs): 62.1ip, 4.91era, 0.1war
J.Howell ($5.6m/2yrs): 49.0ip, 2.39era, 0.4war
B.Loogan ($5.5m/2yrs): 25.0ip, 6.84era, -0.4war

"Mediocre" might be too generous a description. You would have a decent late inning trio, but horrible middle relief, if you had bought the most expensive bullpen on the market last year.

2nd Best Bullpen Money Could Buy:

J.Smith ($5.3m/2yrs): 74.2ip, 1.81era, 1.1war
E.Mujica ($4.8m/2yrs): 60.0ip, 3.90era, 0.2war
J.Axford ($4.5m/1yrs): 54.2ip, 3.95era, -0.5war
J.Lopez ($4.3m/3yrs): 37.2ip, 3.11era, -0.4war
B.Chen ($4.3m/1yrs): 48.1ip, 7.45era, 0.0war
J.Veras ($4.0m/1yrs): 46.0ip, 4.50era, -0.2war
S.Downs ($3.8m/1yrs): 38.0ip, 4.97era, -0.1war

just awful stuff here. one good reliever and 6 others you'd want to waive down to buffalo.

the lesson? spending money on RP is a fool's game.

jays fans should know this by now. Our best RPs are always the Janssens and Cecils and Loups and Downses, not the Franciscos and Greggs and Corderos and Rauches.

Me i'm a huge fan of hendriks and hynes. to go along with cecil and loup and the kids.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#299525) #
on the other hand, we most definitely need a starting pitcher.
jerjapan - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#299526) #
James Shields would sure look good here right now.  Sanchez to the pen, and perhaps whichever rookie pitcher struggles most (if any) to the minors to save service time.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#299527) #
This new turf is ridiculous. Like playing on a shag carpet. Groovy, baby.
scottt - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#299528) #
I feel bad for Martin. He could have used this batting practice.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#299529) #
That was what I saw from Travis on the minor league video- impressive contact ability and power.  That wasn't the easiest pitch to hit out. 

I guess a one-run victory will come sometime.

uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#299530) #
lots of easy power from that little man with the short stroke, that's for sure.

He didn't get a whole lot of that pitch and it still got out in a hurry.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#299531) #
you better start hitting, Mr.Pompey, because Mr.Pillar doesn't want to come out of the lineup.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#299532) #
Pillar made a catch that I'm sure is impossible to make.
Spifficus - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#299533) #
There's Pompey's response, Ugly.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#299534) #
heh. perfect.
Gerry - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#299535) #
Great catch by Pillar.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#299536) #
Redmond may have just earned himself a demotion. he's not getting lucky like last year. Hendriks and Hynes have been too good to cut.
dan gordon - Wednesday, April 15 2015 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#299537) #
Hynes has now pitched 3 innings, has given up 6 hits and 2 walks - 8 base runners in 3 IP - I don't understand the concept of calling that "too good to cut". Too soon to cut, maybe, simply because it's such a small number of innings, but he has not produced good numbers so far. There are lots of guys in Buffalo they can try if Hynes and Redmond don't pitch better.
Oceanbound - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:07 AM EDT (#299538) #
Great catch by Pillar.

Understatement of the year. How the heck did he do that.
jerjapan - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 06:58 AM EDT (#299539) #
Redmond is out of options and has two years of solid pitching as a big league middle reliever.  Hynes has been terrible in three appearances thus far - not a clean inning yet - and has a brief track record of being dreadful in the bigs - and he's got options remaining.  Unless they are married to three lefties, I don't see how he sticks around.  Why the optimism for him Ugly?  with Gibbons showing some solid bullpen management this season, I don't see them sticking with a struggling Hynes just due to a desire to have three lefties.   
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#299540) #
heh go figure hynes sucks right after i post that. i was looking at hynes' great spring and last 2 outings and giving him a pass for his first outing.....and then he screws up in this one.

i won't argue with you guys.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#299541) #
Is something up with Marco Estrada?  He last pitched 5 days ago, and when the score got out of hand, I expected that he would be on at some point.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#299542) #
Random statistical trivia.  According to DRS, Kevin Pillar has saved 7 runs with his glove so far this season, 3 with his arm, 2 with good fielding plays and 2 with ordinary fielding plays.  Those figures are for amusement only...
mathesond - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#299543) #
"Kevin Pillar has saved 7 runs with his glove so far this season"

On pace for 126 runs saved!
Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#299544) #
When Saunders returns, he won't be fully healthy. In fact, I'm not sure that it's even possible for Saunders to ever be fully healthy. I can see there being enough outfield AB for 3 guys at 2 positions. Nothing says that any of Saunders, Pillar or Pompey was or should have been destined for a 600 PA season.
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#299545) #

well, sanchez starts today, do maybe that's why.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#299546) #
When Saunders returns, there is also the possibility of using Bautista sometimes at first base.  Alternatively, if Saunders' knee is significantly limiting his speed, the club could try him at first base during his rehab stint.
Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#299547) #
Is something up with Marco Estrada?

One inning in 9 games sure seems fishy. You gotta figure he's the first one in tonight.

Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#299548) #
there is also the possibility of using Bautista sometimes at first base

I was going to suggest the same but I think this is a fan construct more than potential reality. We are the ones who talk about rotating players through the DH spot (which almost never happens) and moving players to less demanding defensive positions (which happens in real life years after it really should).

I don't know, but I am guessing that Bautista derives a great deal of self-esteem from being the gun in right field, and that a move to first base would be seen as a demotion of sorts. Without management floating trial balloons to foreshadow such a move, I can't believe it is a real possibility. The same with moving Reyes off of shortstop. I would expect a great deal of words spoken aloud about thought be giving to such a move, over a nice long ramp-up period. These kinds of moves don't tend to happen without the fanbase fully seeing them coming.

JB21 - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#299549) #
I think Joey would be fine with a game at 1B once every 7-10 days. I've been mentioning this for a couple months now but I really hope the Jays do get a little creative with the DH and 1B slot to give Pillar, Saunders, and Pompey all regular AB's.
Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#299550) #
give Pillar, Saunders, and Pompey all regular AB's

Saunders strikes me as the kind of player that you just accept that he'll give 300 AB. So you rest him against LHP. You rest him after too many games in a row. You gauge what he can give you defensively now, and perhaps take him out late in games. Pillar then nicely fills in the remaining AB and provides insurance in CF as well.

Pillar has played very well, but he has walked just 8 times in 250 career PA. I still think he has a limited ceiling vs RHP (though he has hit them well thus far this season) but he does provide enough defense and baserunning to plug a hole even if he doesn't hit RHP.

Okay, ignore me now. I don't want to interfere with the Kevin Pillar love parade.

uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#299551) #
my meaningless first impression of Joey at 1B was that he kinda liked being in the middle of every play and yapping and leadering in there like he can't do in rf.

and i'm not sure there's as much pride at stake going from corner OF to 1B as there is coming off a glamour position like SS or CF.

of course there's also the question whether Bautista is any good at 1B.

I kinda like that suggestion of trying Saunders at 1b, given the injury. and hey, he's 6'4".
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#299552) #
OK, uglyone.  So, the theory then is that Redmond was Sanchez' caddy for the first start (and was held back from the game last Friday as a result), and that Estrada is the caddy for this start? If that were the plan, I would have tried to have Estrada throw an inning in the middle just to keep fresh.  I guess that there weren't any appropriate low-leverage opportunities. 
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#299553) #
Nah, it's not a love parade Chuck.  If given a near full time job (rested once every two weeks against a tough RHP), I like Pillar .270/.300/.420.  That combined with his baserunning and defence is an average regular.  Whether he should be given that job, depends on how the health and performance of the other players involved (Saunders, Smoak, Pompey) are doing. It's really a debate about whether he gets 450 PAs as a heavily used 4th outfielder or 575 PAs as a somewhat lightly used regular, and the key thing is not so much his talents but the circumstances.
eungar - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#299554) #
I almost feel like i'm missing a comment that was said above but ill say it anyways since i couldn't find anyone else you said it........... When Saunders comes back he can easily slide right into the DH spot. That will allow Navarro to be used more strictly as the backup catcher and more importantly, allow Saunders to rest his balky knee in a more limited fashion. Besides, (as has been mentioned already by numerous people) Bautista won't move from right field and be a happy camper even though we all fantasize about it.
Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#299555) #

Or .270/.270/.420. The man loves to swing!

Ryan Day - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#299556) #
Gibbons might not trust Estrada yet. He's new to the organization, has an inconsistent track record, and got hit pretty hard in spring training. Redmond might not be an objectively superior pitcher, but at least Gibbons has seen him pitch effectively over the past 2 years.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#299557) #
Sanchez pitches tonight and unless he's figured out his fastball issues it could be another short night. Chances are good Estrada picks up the slack, eating some of those innings.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#299558) #
Gibbons might not trust Estrada yet. He's new to the organization, has an inconsistent track record, and got hit pretty hard in spring training. Redmond might not be an objectively superior pitcher, but at least Gibbons has seen him pitch effectively over the past 2 years.

If that's the case, why not throw Estrada in yesterday's game?  He needed the work more than Redmond.
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#299559) #
mike i guess i was thinking that estrada is still the #6sp if gibby thinks he needs one, and redmond strictly an rp, so after sanchez' awful start he might want to line it up so that estrada might be ready to replace sanchez next time through. and i guess i was thinking that castro/osuna/Hendriks' solid relief has lessened the urgency to neef estrada in short relief.

but that's just guesswork.

on a related note - monday's offday could be used to skip the #5 slot next time through if sanchez struggles today.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#299560) #
They set up the Rotation to get the best matchups verses the right Teams to start the Season. It's possible they might use the off day Monday to "adjust" the Rotation again.
Hodgie - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#299561) #
For all the grief that Gibbons takes in these parts I guess it isn't surprising little is said about the good decisions. Donaldson batting second, high leverage relievers in high leverage situations, Reyes getting rested early - I certainly approve. Not a lot of Jays are off to good starts this season but I would argue Gibbons is one of those.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#299562) #
I don't know about that Hodgie.  The team is 5-4 and has outscored the opposition 53-39.  Obviously a significant number of the players are doing something right (Travis, Reyes, Pillar, Castro, Osuna to start).

My criticisms of Gibbons this year have been pretty muted.  I don't think that he's a very good game manager, but a number of the younger players have performed very well so far.  He deserves some of the credit for that.  His job with the lineup is pretty straightforward, but not so with the pitching staff especially after the injury to Stroman.  In a way, the injury to Saunders clarified things while the injury to Stroman muddied them. 
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#299563) #
I missed this article about neuroscouting.  Interesting.  Is there some reason why you couldn't do the whole thing with a bat in a simulated batting cage like environment, rather than by pushing a space bar on a keyboard?
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#299564) #
i'm a huge fan of gibbons' in game managing. i think he's great at it. it boggles my mind when people actually complain about him using platoon matchups - it's such a massively important part of the game imo.

i'm not sure he's so great at the leadership part of the job, but that's harder to judge, and could be on the players he's had.
Lylemcr - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#299565) #
Pillar is really trying to hold onto the CF position. When Saunders comes back, maybe we will see Bautista at DH\1st more.

I really hope that the Jays do a trade to do something about the bullpen. Outside of Osuna, Castro, Loup and Cecil, I have so little confidence in this bullpen. I couldn't imagine this year if Osuna and Castro didn't emerge.
eudaimon - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#299566) #
I'm also a Gibbons fan. As a manager, it's inevitable that some decisions will not work out no matter what you do. I think the logic he uses is mostly good (with, say, playing Valencia against righties last year being the outlier), which is about as good as you can expect. He generally uses platoons well, creates solid matchups in the bullpen, and shows creativity in making the lineup (I tend to think this skill is slightly underated, what with the research that says that lineups really don't matter that much. However, where you put someone in the lineup does impact the types of pitches they see, ie: Pompey in the #2 spot).

It's been a fun, if erratic team to watch so far. They seem to occilate between scoring double digit runs or 1-2 runs - without their big boppers making that much of an impact. I'm bullish on the team, but expect some changes on the pitching front. I figure Sanchez has this and one more start to figure it out, before we go a different direction (Hendricks? Estrada?). Hynes is likely the one to go when Saunders returns, though if Redmond continues to struggle he could go as well. Does he have options?

Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#299567) #
During Gibbons' tenure with the Blue Jays, the club's record in one-run games is 110-135, and it has been much, much better than that in other games.  It might be purely bad luck, but one doesn't usually see that from universally well-regarded game managers.  As managers manage many games, normally the one-run record is closer to .500 than the record in other games. Gibbons' record isn't like that. 

I can think of a couple of reasons why his decisions might have played a role.  He has tended to favour longer bullpens and a shorter bench.  On average, his bullpens have been only so-so despite the length and the shorter bench has left him with fewer options for pinch-running or hitting.  His teams usually have not been good at executing one-run strategies (bunting, hitting and running).  There is a time and place for those especially in a lower run environment.

Dave Till - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#299568) #

I can think of a couple of reasons why his decisions might have played a role. He has tended to favour longer bullpens and a shorter bench. On average, his bullpens have been only so-so despite the length and the shorter bench has left him with fewer options for pinch-running or hitting. His teams usually have not been good at executing one-run strategies (bunting, hitting and running). There is a time and place for those especially in a lower run environment.

I'm not sure how much of this is Gibbons' fault and how much is his just playing the hand he's been dealt. In 2014, the Jays' bench options included Moises Sierra and Erik Kratz; later, Gibbons was presented with the opportunity to use Chris Getz, Nolan Reimold, and Darin Mastroianni. Given these options, he might as well put another pitcher in the bullpen. Or sit quietly in one corner of the dugout and weep silently to himself.

I score Gibbons highly on three things:

  • He's not afraid to try stuff. It seems obvious now that Adam Lind is a platoon player, but Gibbons was the first manager to actually do it. Lawrie at second wasn't a great idea, but it got Ryan Goins's bat out of the lineup. Yesterday, he tried Josh Donaldson in the #2 slot. It might work, or it might not, but it's better than just standing there and looking managerial (which was John Farrell's primary problem solving technique).
  • He seems to have the respect of the clubhouse. This is an accomplishment, given the Jays' meltdowns in 2013 and 2014. If the players were grumpy or gave up, they didn't blab about it to the media.
  • The bullpen isn't wearing out; pitchers aren't getting hurt. If you don't count Marcus Stroman's freak injury - which is just proof that the Baseball Gods don't like artificial turf - the Jays' pitchers have remained more or less healthy the last couple of years. Heck, even Dustin McGowan made it through an entire season, and I would have bet money on that not ever happening. Some of this might be due to the weighted ball program or whatever it is, but Gibbons then gets credit for allowing this to happen on his watch.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#299569) #
His bench quality has varied over the years.  Some years he has some talent there, including some that may have been under-utilized (Gabe Gross in his first go-round, Josh Thole in 2013).  My point wasn't that he was a bad game manager, but that his record doesn't suggest that he is a good one. 
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#299570) #
Goins up, Redmond DFA'd.

So perhaps that's why Redmond pitched instead of Estrada - either "one last shot", or Gibbons knew the plan was to bring up Goins and got one last appearance out of Redmond.
85bluejay - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#299571) #
It must be just bad luck that such a good manager as John Gibbons, now in his 8th managerial season has never had a team that exceeded expectations - I don't think any other active manager can lay claim to that type of record.

It's not that Gibbons is a terrible manager, it's just that he's very pedestrian - and the 5th best manager in the AL East.
Hodgie - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#299572) #
I wasn't making a sweeping evaluation of Gibbons' career Mike, rather just his decisions to start the 2015 season. Considering he has often been accused of being a slave to convention, over utilization of players, and bullpen micro-management (among other deficiencies), I have found his decisions in the first nine games encouraging.

I am also somewhat reluctant to hold his record against the man. Mike Matheny has the 19th best winning percentage in baseball history and he might be able to trademark the #smrtbaseball hashtag in the near future.

Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#299573) #
I concur with the sentiment that Gibbons is middlin'. And that's where most managers tend to be. Middle of the pack. Meh.

That he does obvious things like resting players with big leads and using his best relievers when he should is all fine and well, but hardly a basis for celebration. Those should be givens.

uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#299574) #
Redmond DFA'd, Goins up.

Redmond was getting smashed around good, and the #s say he was lucky last year, but i hope we don't lose him.
Hodgie - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#299575) #
"it's just that he's very pedestrian - and the 5th best manager in the AL East"

Not saying you are wrong, but not sure that you are correct either. There is Showalter and then there is the rest of the AL East. I have seen nothing from the likes of Girardi or Farrell to distinguish them from Gibbons and Kevin Cash has all of 9 games on his resume.

uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#299576) #
gibbons is so far and away better than farrel its hilarious. farrel is godawful.

Jevant - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#299577) #
Except that they aren't givens.  They probably should be, but they traditionally aren't.  Most managers would insist on putting a slappy hitter at #2, rather than a stud.  And the reason for doing it is spot on correct analysis too, which means he's not just stumbling into it with dumb luck.  The bullpen management has been superb this year.  A couple of results not working out should not mean the process is wrong, it just means that baseball is gonna baseball, and sometimes you can't come back from a small deficit.  But Gibbons is giving them the best chance to do that, more often than not.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#299578) #
Not saying you are wrong, but not sure that you are correct either. There is Showalter and then there is the rest of the AL East. I have seen nothing from the likes of Girardi or Farrell to distinguish them from Gibbons and Kevin Cash has all of 9 games on his resume.

I've actually liked Girardi than I did previously.  He's learning, I guess, as is Gibbons.  It is indeed early days for Kevin Cash, but I like his approach a lot.  Before the season started, I had Tampa winning 70-75 games. That may turn out to be correct, but I had deducted a couple of games for the loss of Maddon and I'm not seeing much change so far in the quality of Tampa's managing. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#299579) #
Teams that are league average (AKA mediocre) do not make the Postseason. If Gibbons consistently had Teams better than this, someone's judgement is slipping. Injuries can crush Postseason aspirations.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#299580) #
Hodgie, my response was not to you but to those who describe Gibbons' in-game managing as "very good".  There's much more to the job than in-game managing, of course, and many argue that it is actually a small part of the job. 
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#299581) #
nobody else cares that redmond got dropped for goins?

how about this deserved bit of news?

Barry Davis ✔ @SNBarryDavis
Devon Travis now credited with 3-run 2B in Apr 12 game at BAL. Call overturned by review. #BlueJays
5:16 PM - 16 Apr 2015
scottt - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#299582) #
If Redmond wasn't going to start any games, than it's not a  big loss.

So, why Goins? Is anyone injured or does Gibbons need a late inning defender?

dan gordon - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#299583) #
I'm a little surprised that Redmond was axed after just 2 appearances, but really, they've got lots of guys at AA and AAA who are about at the same level of ability. As McCown would say, he's just a guy.

I probably have a bit better view of Goins than a lot of people. Given his track record of performing very poorly after a promotion, then improving significantly, I still think he has a chance to be a decent hitter for a middle infielder, and of course, he's a great defender. Early season results may indicate he's figured a few things out with the bat. Doing a bit of cherry picking, he did produce OPS's of .797, .751, and .745 in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in nearly full seasons at Lansing, Dunedin and New Hampshire. I don't think he's the complete stiff with the bat that some people think. What they intend to do with him is another matter. Travis has been wonderful at 2B, so I guess Goins is the backup infielder for now, and then they decide on either him or Tolleson once Saunders is healthy.
eudaimon - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#299584) #
I figure it's Goins because he's versatile and a solid defender. I don't think they ever intended to keep an 8 man bullpen all year.
scottt - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#299585) #
Apparently Gibbons mentioned that Reyes gets Saturday off.
Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#299586) #
So, why Goins? Is anyone injured

Reyes has apparently been plagued by a pulled lat (or whatever the vernacular might be) from the start of the season. Goins is probably up as insurance.

Chuck - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#299587) #
Just turned the game on and see that Reyes has been pulled. I guess management saw this coming.
scottt - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#299588) #
I wouldn't bat Reyes first if I wasn't sure he could finish the game.
dan gordon - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#299589) #
Travis nearly got his left leg badly injured on that DP attempt. I've noticed that he is really taking a pounding on DP attempts. I admire his courage, but I think he needs to either get behind the bag, or get airborne earlier when he relays the throw. If he stands planted flat footed at the side of the bag like that, he's likely to get a torn knee ligament or a broken leg.

Too bad about Reyes - hopefully he only misses a game or two.

Good to see Sanchez' velocity back up. Last start he was in the low 90's.
Smaj - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#299590) #
The Rays have absolutely befuddled the Jays offence in this series (exception being the AAA starter last night).  Hitters are struggling badly & the K rates are concerning.  How many balls have been hit hard by the Jays in this series (other than game 3)?  Seems like they are guessing wrong on most swings.  I respect Archer's talent, it appears like the hitters are indecisive & in some cases over-matched.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#299591) #
Oblique injuries can take a while to recover from.
uglyone - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#299592) #
A.Sanchez, 4/16/2015:
jerjapan - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#299593) #
Ugly, clearly that graphic speaks for itself in your mind, but I'm old fashioned and out of date ... could you spell that out for me? 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, April 16 2015 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#299594) #
Every year there's a worry going into the Season about something undone on the Team. The Bullpen and the Kids are this year's worries. Everything else looked to be fine. There weren't any other worries of any consequence.

With just 10 games in on the new Season, some results are apparent. The Kids are fine, not a problem. The Bullpen is fine, not a problem. The Rotation is fine, not a problem. The Bench is even fine, not a problem. Basically not really any issues with everything working out well enough.

The rest of the Team is not fine, the more experienced hitters are struggling a bit. It's as if they're not judging the Strike Zone as well as they should. I seen some ugly swings on too many good hitters. It may be too soon to worry, but four of their five losses were easily winnable. This really could be their year, if they are not buried early.
Mike Green - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#299597) #
I wasn't watching last night but I take it from the strike zone plot that Sanchez didn't have command last night.  I see fangraphs that he is throwing 85% fastballs, more than half of which are two-seamers.   On the radio, Jerry Howarth was saying that Sanchez was up in the zone with the two-seamer. 

Hendriks is throwing 93 with pretty good control, and there's tighter spin on his slider.  He hasn't thrown a changeup all season though, and it's a lot easier to succeed in the bullpen than in the rotation.  He at least does have a history of success in a starting role in the high minors. 

You could call the whole 5th starter discussion "The Downside of Upside".  I don't know if it'd be a soap opera or a British comedy.  Maybe both. 

Ryan Day - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#299599) #
I was at the game last night, and it was easy to see why people love Sanchez: He throws so hard, and makes it look easy. I didn't have a great vantage for watching his location, but even though he clearly didn't have great control, the Rays weren't hitting very much hard. I kept worrying that the wheels were going to fall off at any moment, but they never did. (Not until Sanchez left the game, anyway.)

Meanwhile, Marco Estrada is one of the most boring pitchers I've ever seen. He nibbles around the plate, doesn't do anything particularly well. The boxscore performance was there, but the aesthetics are terrible; it felt like the game slowed down to a crawl once he came in.

None of this matters, of course, because Archer was untouchable. Sanchez kept the team in the game, but the bats couldn't do anything.
Mike Green - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#299600) #
It was definitely better than the last outing, but it's very hard to succeed if you strike out fewer than 8 batters per 9 innings and walk more than 4.   To see how often, I ran a Play Index for pitchers with these W and K rates, an ERA+ of 100 or more and 160 IP.  It's been done plenty of times with seasons like Juan Guzman and David Cone, 1993, Hideo Nomo, 2002 and Chuck Finley, 2000 being fairly recent examples.  Bob Turley in 1954 walked  6.59/9IP and struck out 6.73/9IP but pitched to 104 ERA+ in 247 innings by allowing a .245 BABIP and only 7 homers.  He ended up 14-15 on a bad Oriole club and was traded to the Yankees after the season in the Larson/Woodling/Triandos/etc. deal.  He ended up wining a Cy Young award with the Yankees in 1958 while walking 4.7/9IP and striking out 6.2/9IP.  Of course, strikeout rates were much lower in the 1950s, and Turley was among the league leaders during his prime.

If you tighten it up to striking out fewer than 7 batters per 9 IP and walking more than 4, you get other results, Jim Clancy 1980, Mike Moore, 1991, Barry Zito 2006, Danny Jackson 1987, Russ Ortiz, 2003. Ortiz finished 4th in the CYA voting that year thanks to an Atlanta defence which helped him to a .252 BABIP. 

I did not enjoy watching these pitchers throw when they did not have control, but I do have to admit that they were able for a season to help a club win.

Chuck - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#299601) #
Sanchez was able to walk the razor's edge yesterday because the TB offense is not especially fearsome. They are currently a smidge below league average in scoring but I don't see that lasting. When Asdrubal Cabrera is your #3 hitter, that says something.
Chuck - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#299602) #
I missed the part of the game where Navarro pinch-hit for Smoak. Was there a reason given for this? This made Navarro unable to PH for Goins (representing the tying run) in the 9th.
CeeBee - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#299603) #
Sanchez didn't appear to be getting any help on the close calls either. I realize he is a rookie and a bit wild but a couple of calls on in the zone borderline strikes might would probably have helped too.
Ryan Day - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#299604) #
There's no question Sanchez needs to improve, and he promises to be a frustrating pitcher to watch this year. But I also don't see any clearly superior options: maybe you like Hendriks or Estrada, and that's perfectly reasonable, but I think their upside is limited to "pretty okay", while Sanchez has a (small) chance to be much better. (Though I would also approve of an expanded role for Osuna, if both players continue their performance to date.)

One other note from last night: Russell Martin must have been sore after smothering several of Sanchez's pitches, and then taking one in the back from Archer. But that guy looks good behind the plate. I kind of want to see him catch Buehrle and witness the complete death of the running game.
Mike Green - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#299605) #
Chuck, I was more impressed with the Rays offence than I thought I would be.  Kiermaier, Souza, DeJesus, Jennings all look to me like they'll produce reasonably well in the outfield/DH roles.  Longoria and Loney will probably hit at their career norms.  Cabrera is probably the 6th best hitter in the lineup most days and really not much better than any of the other options.  Kiermaier has been batting 8th, but I expect that he'll be higher in the batting order pretty soon.

Ryan Day - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#299606) #
Sportsnet is reporting that Reyes has a small rib fracture.
Mylegacy - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#299607) #
We have FOUR very young starting pitchers on the team now...Norris, Sanchez, Castro and Osuna. We NEED two of them in the rotation, two in the pen. FORGET their names, forget their minor league records. Gibby - do what you GOTTA do... namely - clearly Sanchez has SPECTACULAR stuff and almost no serious control or command. PUT him back in the pen. Promote either Castro or Osuna - I think Osuna has the better starting arsenal at this point - BUT Castro is seriously good too - I will not be angry at you whoever you put in the rotation - I will be angry (just mildly pissed actually) IF you don't try either...

We owe none of these four guys any particular loyalty - IF Stroman was available we'd only need one of these guys in the rotation - Gibby DON'T wait too long to move up Osuna or Castro - I guarantee you at least one of those two WILL take it and run with it from the get go - both of them are WAY more mature (despite their years) and have way better control and command than Sanchez - DO IT - NOW!

And Gibby - remember, next year Stroman will be back, Hoffman and Reid-Foley will be knocking on the door, and at least a few of Hutchison, Osuna, Castro, Norris and Sanchez will still be breathing with have beating hearts (hopefully).

Mylegacy - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#299608) #
Good Grief " breathing with have beating hearts (hopefully)."

I gotta get off the stuff this early in the morning! How about I replace the above with - " breathing and still have beating hearts (hopefully)."

See you guys later, I'm late for my AA meeting....

Chuck - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#299609) #
We NEED two of them in the rotation, two in the pen.

Why though? Not having Sanchez or Osuna in the rotation now, at such young ages, doesn't preclude such a role for them in the future.

I have no objections to handing the 5-slot this season to a meh pitcher with limited upside, like Hendriks or Estrada. Given potentially better options in the future, they would serve as a placeholder to allow Sanchez and Osuna to get some major league innings under their belt in the bullpen, to say nothing of adding valuable RH arms to the pen.

uglyone - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#299610) #
Ryan Day - its funny how different feelings can be. I was the exact opposite of you last night.

I was tearing my dwindling hair out watching Sanchez. I think he hit his spot maybe 3 or 4 times all night. Poor Martin had no idea where the ball was going. Sanchez couldn't throw a strike, and still doesn't have a swing and miss pitch when he can't locate that FB - he only strikes them out when they give up on his curveball and watch it drop back into the zone. its nice that he doesn't give up hard contact but its still too much contact imo.

Estrada was a breath of fresh air after that. 90mph fastballs and an 80mph changeup consistently spotted on the bottom corners of the zone. Nice and simple, and efficient.

My problem with Sanchez is that i think he needs to take two giant leaps forward, not just one. He has to get command of that fastball, and he needs to turn the changeup into a usable pitch. I doubt he learns how starting in mlb right now.

uglyone - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#299611) #
"small rib fracture" is actually better news than "oblique" strain. just a matter of dealing with the pain.
Spifficus - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#299612) #
I'm less worried about Sanchez today than reading about his first start (didn't get to watch it, gladly it turns out). He was able to make some corrections after missing badly for an at-bat or two (a couple of times). He's not as quick at it as Norris, and even when he's right-ish, he's not going to be painting the corners. That said, when he wasn't out of sync, he was keeping the ball down, and got his curveball in the zone half the time.

To me, he needs to throw more changeups (or get it more consistently at 88-90... he had some pitches at 92 that could have been changeups). Also, he should drop that cutter/slider until he gets a better feel for it in his sides. The few times I recall seeing it seemed to be followed by missing up with his next few pitches.

Also, what's he doing shaking off Martin with any frequency? I hope that gets corrected quick.

Overall, though, it was a tolerably decent start for someone struggling with their mechanics. Not great (or good), but not bad, either. Something with some positives, and some definite areas for improvement, all the while keeping his team in the game.
Mike Green - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#299613) #
Also, what's he doing shaking off Martin with any frequency? I hope that gets corrected quick.

Jerry mentioned this (without any criticism). 

I do agree that Sanchez ought to take a page from Buehrle's book.  You've got a great defensive catcher back there.  Don't shake him off.  If you want to talk with him in general terms before or after the game, do that. 
jester00 - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#299614) #
Agree with this.  Trending in the right direction at least for Sanchez.  At the end of the day for me, the reality is that we probably don't have anyone who would be a noticeable upgrade on Sanchez.  So just keep rolling him out there and let him continue to work with Martin.  Unless we make a trade to upgrade (no idea who) or the Jays really believe that Copeland is something (not sure about that), then Sanchez is the best option.  He hasn't been a complete disaster.
dan gordon - Friday, April 17 2015 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#299615) #
When the Jays acquired Estrada, I figured he'd be a part of the rotation, and I still think that would make sense. He started 23 games in 2012 (plus 6 relief appearances), and 21 games in 2013, and had ERA's of 3.64 and 3.86 those 2 years, before his poor first half of 2014. Sanchez could give them another good late inning option for the pen, if he can be even somewhat close to what he did last year. Maybe give Sanchez another 2-3 starts and see if he shows definite improvement, and if not, then make the switch.

The Navarro for Smoak pinch hit appearance vs Jepsen seemed odd to me as well. Obviously, Gibbons thinks Navarro hitting lefty is a better hitter than Smoak hitting lefty, but Navarro's career OPS is 106 points higher hitting right and Smoak's strong side is hitting left, so he's saying that he thinks Navarro's weaker side is better than Smoak's stronger side. Smoak's career OPS as a lefty is 46 points higher than Navarro's, and that's playing most of his career in Seattle. Navarro does have a higher batting average for his career than Smoak as a lefty, but Smoak has more power, and a HR would have been great there, with a 3-run deficit, 2 on and 2 out. Maybe there was something in the matchup vs Jepsen.
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