"They only started chasing us once you put on that getaway music!"
I pulled the classic "publish the article at 10am instead of 10pm" trick, like somebody who doesn't know how to program a VCR. At least I got to pull that joke out from the attic.
Any-who, to the Game of the Month! But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our runners up, who helped to make this a fairly exciting month of Blue Jay baseball.
May 4th versus NY Yankees, at Da Dome
Chase Whitley and R.A. Dickey did battle, matching each other with six scoreless innings (back when Dickey really couldn't strike anybody out) until the Yankees scratched out a run in the seventh. Things looked bleak (NY's pen is stupid good) until the Bluebirds got some magic in the bottom of the eighth against Chris Martin (should've stayed in Coldplay!). Dellin Betances was summoned to face Edwin with one out, tying run at second (Donaldson) and go ahead run at first (Bats) but Edwin launched a ball into left that tied it up at one. A few batters late with two out, Russell Martin came up and it a sharp ball down the third base line, which Chase Headley miraculously came up with, jumped up and fired a low throw. Had Mark Teixeira's excellent glove been manning first base, the throw is likely picked and the inning is over with a tie game. But it was Garrett Jones instead, who missed it completely and allowed Martin to be safe, while two more runs scored. This was all Brett Cecil needed for his second (and most recent!) save of the year. FINAL: TOR 3 NYY 1.
May 27th versus Chicago White Sox, at Da Dome
The Bluebirds were looking to sweep away the Pale Hose with Marco Estrada going up against Jeff Samardzija. The White Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead, thanks to Ezequiel Carrera losing a fly ball in sunny right field. Toronto chipped away with one in the 7th inning and another in the eighth. Low on infielders, Gibbons brought Russell Martin in to play second base for the ninth inning. Which does sound insane, though Russell has played a significant amount of infield (mostly 3B) both in the minors and majors. Martin indeed would make a nice backhanded play to get a force out at second base. Bottom of the ninth, David Robertson entered and was greeted fondly by a Josh Donaldson home run to tie it up, forcing extra innings. Roberto Osuna came on but actually looked hittable for a change. The Sox scored two on a triple, single and a double, allowing Robertson to win the game and avoid the series sweep. FINAL: CWS 5 TOR 3.
May 29th versus Minnesota Twins, at Target Field/Bulls Eye Ballpark
This one had the makings of a disaster. Mark Buehrle was serving up meatballs to the Twins in the first inning, surrendering four runs while Ryan Tepera waited ready in the bullpen, ready to replace him. Toronto got one run back in the 2nd but trailed 4-1 until the top of the fifth, when Josh Donaldson launched a missile off of Trevor May into the deepest part of the park. It was a three run shot to tie the game at 4, where it would remain until the top of the ninth, when Twins skipper Paul Molitor (Molly!) brought in his closer Glen Perkins. Former Twin Chris Colabello, after a well fought walk by Russell Martin, unleashed a mighty wallop and sent a ball into the left-field bleachers against his former team. It was 6-4 Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle had settled down from his first inning troubles, retiring 21 of 22 Twins, and came out for the ninth. Buehrle gonna Buehrl (if I may be bearded for a moment), and he finished it up with a tidy 1-2-3 for the complete game. FINAL: TOR 6 MIN 4
Those were all extremely entertaining games, but there can be only one Game of the Month. And it is...
May 26th: Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
A Tuesday night at Da Dome, featuring a battle between the tricky Toronto knuckleballer and The Before Chris Sale Great White Sox Left-hander, John Danks. Dickey had his anti-spinner working early, mesmerizing Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu for strikeouts while retiring former Blue Jay Melky Cabrera inbetween. For Cabrera, I believe you can refer to that as a knuckle sandwich. Danks likewise got off to a good start, getting Jose Reyes to whiff on a low and away changeup and blowing gas right through Edwin Encarnacion's wheelhouse. In the middle of that sandwich, however, was a Josh Donaldson bomb with extra mustard. The ball rattled around in the second deck of the left-field bleachers until it was picked up, hilariously, by a dude in an Adam Lind jersey. 1-0 Toronto.
Longtime National League first baseman Adam LaRoche led off the top of the second by working Dickey to a full count before lining a single into right-field, Chicago's first hit of the game. (By the way, LaRoche has over 5300 big league plate appearances, he's played for six different team, only a little over 200 have been as an American Leaguer. Coming into 2015, that number was 19! So, now you know that crucial piece of information. That's why I'm here). Anyhow, Alexei Ramirez was next and hit an 0-2 comebacker right to Dickey. Dickey turned and fired to Goins at second, who pivoted and unleashed to first-base, but Ramirez beat it by the tiniest of steps and was safe. There was one out now for J.B. Shuck, the Chicago right-fielder. Dickey jumped ahead 0-2 again but Shuck lined a ball just past a sliding Steve Tolleson into right-field, moving Ramirez to second base. Aw shucks. The next batter was Gordon Beckham (whom it felt like Jays fans wanted to acquire for decades, at least until Devon Travis showed up). Beckham took a 1-1 knuckleball and fisted it in front of a charging Kevin Pillar. Even with one out, Ramirez was running all the way and scored without any trouble. It was tied up at 1-1, still with two ChiSox runners on. The next batter, catcher Tyler Flowers, thought: "hey, this hitting a ball weakly into centerfield thing sounds good. I gotta try that some day!" That day turned out to be this day, as he hit a Dickey pitch into nearly the exact same spot as Beckham's single. This too dropped in front of Kevin Pillar but this time the runner (Shuck) held up at third. The bases were now loaded with one out, White Sox second baseman Carlos Sanchez due up. Dickey got ahead again 0-2 (for like the billionth time this inning) to which Sanchez said: "Ha! I'll just hit a weak ball into centerfield, like all the cool kids are doing!" Sadly, Sanchez wasn't as cool as those kids. He connected cleanly on a high Dickey knuckler but hit it too hard into center, right into Pillar's glove. Shuck tagged and charged home, giving Pillar a chance to showcase his awesome arm OF MEGA STRENGTH POWER UP IT'S OVER THREE MILLION WHOOOAAAAA oh whoops he threw it over everybody. The throw sailed way over Dickey's head (he was backing up the play at home) and bounced off the screen behind the plate, scoring Shuck and allowing the runners to advance. 2-1 Chicago. Now the White Sox really had an opportunity, with a single scoring two more and the top of their order back up with Adam Eaton. Eaton battled Dickey to a nine pitch full count until he squared one up into the left-center gap. Pillar raced over, reached his glove out and on the run made the catch, saving two runs and ending the frame. And thus, The Inning Of Kevin Pillar was at last complete. 2-1 Chicago.
John Danks came out for the bottom of the second and dealt himself three of a kind: Chris Colabello hit a 2-2 fly ball to right-field, Danny Valencia hit a 2-2 into centerfield, and Kevin Pillar completed it with a lazy flyer into left, also on a 2-2 count. Neat. After two innings, still 2-1 White Sox. The top of the third was a Typical Dickey Inning, as he got a quick two outs (including a nasty second strikeout of Jose Abreu) before losing the strikezone entirely and walking Adam LaRoche on four pitches. His next pitch to Ramirez bounced in front of Josh Thole's glove, whose backhand attempt was as futile as telling Brett Lawrie to lay off the Red Bulls. The ball skipped away from Thole and LaRoche moved up to second. Dickey continued to struggle, falling behind Ramirez 3-1 before leaving a juicy spinner over the plate. Alexei was slightly tied up, but still lined it hard towards second base. Fortunately for the home nine, that spot happened to be right where Steve Tolleson was. The ball was caught without damage, ending the frame and keeping it 2-1. The bottom of the third brought the bottom of the Jays order to face Danks. Tolleson was disposed of quickly, but Thole managed to lunge at an 0-2 Danks offering and drop it into centerfield for a one out single. It was astonishing to watch the reaction of the Sox fielders, their body language almost saying: "How did that find a hole?" The top of the Blue Jays order was back up and Reyes wasted no time, hacking the first pitch foul and into LaRoche's glove for the second out. Up came Donaldson, who was feeling greedy for the Extra-Base Hits Off John Danks Trust Fund. Donaldson deposited a ball hard down the left-field line past a diving Beckham, which bounced off the side wall and quickly towards Melky in left-field. Thole was still able to reach third and The Bringer of Rain stood at second base with a double. Here came Bautista. Danks worked to a 2-2, but Bats managed to pop a low off-speed pitch into deep centerfield. Eaton froze for a moment, misreading the swing, and by the time he charged back it was too late. The ball bounced behind him and over the wall for a ground rule double. Both runs scored and the Blue Jays were back on top, 3-2. Danks got Edwin to whiff to finish the frame but after three, it was 3-2 Toronto.
The top of the fourth for the White Sox began with J.B. Shuck. On a knuckler low and in, the Chicago right-fielder golfed one into the corner, bouncing up against the wall and forcing Chris Colabello to make a play (always hazardous). It was a leadoff double for the White Sox, aw shucks. This time R.A. Dickey was not feeling generous with a big inning, however. After a weak flyout and ground ball from Beckham and Flowers respectively, Dickey threw a mean knuckler right past Carlos Sanchez to end the inning, stranding Shuck right at second and adding to Sanchez's uncoolness. Poor guy. The bottom of the fourth brought Colabello to the plate, and he squared one into centerfield that was falling fast. Eaton charged in and slid into the turf, a trail of rubber smoke following him as he made a nice catch for the first out. Valencia was dispatched quickly and Pillar, with two out, knocked one up the middle that Danks snagged nicely with the backhand and tossed to first, ending the Blue Jay fourth. 3-2 Toronto.
To the top of the fifth! The knuckleball began another brief waltz with the strikezone, walking Eaton on five pitches to lead it off for Chicago. Next came Jose Molina, I mean Melky Cabrera! Sorry. Anyhow, Melky popped one high into right-field and both second baseman and outfielder converged. On a play like this, the outfielder always has the right-of-way: it's a much easier catch when you're charging in, instead of back pedalling and trying to keep your eye on it. Unfortunately, that outfielder was Chris Colabello, who (understandably so) seems willing to defer to anybody else out there when it comes to making a catch. So without calling Tolleson off, Colabello ran in, and Tolleson gave chase, and the ball was still up there, and they both kept going, and Colabello slowed up and stopped because Tolleson was getting close to him, and the STUPID BALL DROPPED FOUR FEET FROM EITHER OF THEM! Ah, darnit. Well Dickey was in trouble now, with two on and nobody out, the dangerous Jose Abreu looming in the batter's box. But Dickey had already struck out Abreu twice in this game. This was a case of a great batter being utterly bamboozled by an unusual pitch, surely? How many pitchers throw knuckleballs in Cuba? Do any? Anyhow, if Dickey stuck with that pitch that had worked twice thus far, surely he could whiff Abreu again no? Or perhaps even get that precious ground ball double play. A tough spot, but not hopeless thanks to that fickle knuckling wizard. Dickey fell behind 3-1, and so went right after Abreu up and in with... a fastball? What? Abreu teed off, blasting the sad thing like a laser beam well over the bullpen wall in left-field, scoring three runs and granting the White Sox a 5-3 advantage. Bamboozled indeed. And the trouble didn't end there. After LaRoche grounded out, Ramirez roped one into centerfield for a one out single. Not wasting time, Ramirez took off first pitch for second base. This was Josh Thole's turn to throw a knuckleball, as his throw to Reyes was right on the money and beat Ramirez, yet Reyes somehow couldn't hold it in his glove and the ball rolled away. Dickey managed to get Shuck to groundout (aw shucks) and knowing he was likely at the end, unleashed his best placed knuckler of the game on 1-2 to Gordon Beckham. It rose up and fluttered back down to catch the upper away part of the zone, catching Beckham looking. The damage was done, however, and the score was now 5-3 Chicago. But at least I got to use the word bamboozled. Twice!
To the bottom of the fifth where the Blue Jays hit the sticks. Tolleson smacked the second Danks pitch he saw into the turf in left-field. Melky scampered over and made an off balance throw but Tolleson rolled into second with a leadoff double. Next was Thole, who ripped an inside Danks changeup into the right-field corner (and when I say ripped, I mean just pummelled). The ball took one hop up against the wall and Thole slid into second with another double, scoring Tolleson and making the score 5-4. The lineup was turned over for Jose Reyes, and for the second straight at-bat he wasted no time in getting himself out, this time on a foul bunt pop up to third base. With one out and the tying run at second, Donaldson and Danks were ready to duel. Danks tried working him away but Donaldson would not chase that pitch, leading to a full count. Danks went upstairs and away, just high, and once again Donaldson didn't chase, drawing the walk. Up came Bats again, and again Danks jumped ahead 1-2 before trying to finish him with a pitch low and away, this time a fastball. Bats would not be fooled, slicing it down the right field line and into the corner. Thole and Donaldson both scored, Bats had another double off Danks and Toronto had jumped ahead once more, 6-5. Danks took his revenge by whiffing Encarnacion and Colabello both on off-speed pitches, ending the inning. The lead had now changed four times, and it was 6-5 Toronto after five.
Into the Chicago sixth and R.A. Dickey was done, on the hook for a W. Summoned from the much maligned Blue Jay bullpen was hard thrower Ryan Tepera. Ryan Goins was also in defensively for Tolleson. Beginning the fun was catcher Tyler Flowers, who clubbed a sinking line drive right into centerfield. This was about the sixteen thousandth ball that had been hit to Kevin Pillar this game, and he looked more like a soccer goalkeeper than an outfielder with this one. He charged in, realized he had no chance and tried to leap at the ball to try and block it. It deflected off of him and bounced into right-field, where Colabello picked it up and tossed it in, just as Flowers slid into second as the tying run. Next was Carlos Sanchez, and the second pitch he saw got him right in the thigh. He took one for the team, but his uncoolness shone through immediately as he rubbed the spot the pitch had got him. Wear that, kid! This was the end for Tepera, as both batters he'd faced were on base and nobody was out. In came Aaron Loup to face the lefty batter Eaton. Loup louped his way to a 2-2 count (you know, lots of low sliders, outside corner yada yada) but on that pitch Eaton threw his hands out and rolled a ball slowly to Donaldson at third. For an instant Donaldson hesitated (probably thinking Goins wasn't at the bag yet) before throwing over to second base. Goins stepped on the bag and pivoted to first, but that brief hesitation was just enough time for speedy Eaton to beat it out. White Sox at the corners, one out. Melky turned around to face Loup as a righty, and he grounded another slow grounder, this one to Jose Reyes. Reyes flipped it to second and Goins once more pivoted to first base, but Melky beat that one out barely and the run scored. The game was tied at 6-6. John Gibbons asked for a review (the play at first was extremely close) but the safe call stood. It seems possible that the review had led Gibbons to forget that Jose Abreu was next, and as such he forget to take Loup out. And, naturally, Loup struck Abreu out to end the inning. It's a funny game.
The bottom of the sixth was also when White Sox skipper went to his pen, summoning right-hander Jake Petricka. Petricka must've eaten his Wheaties (what a dated joke. Geez) because right away he whiffed Valencia on three pitches, got a weak groundout from Pillar and whiffed Goins on some nasty sinking action for a quick 1-2-3 inning. Heading into the 7th, Tied 6-6.
For the top of seven, Toronto brought in the young and talented Roberto Osuna, whom at this point owned a nifty 0.76 ERA and a WHIP of 0.75 in 19 games. Ah, the life of a reliever. This first task was Adam LaRoche. On a 1-2 count, LaRoache bounced one up slowly up the middle towards Jose Reyes who was playing the shift. The ball was hit soft enough that Reyes would've had to rush the play even with the slow footed LaRoche, but Reyes bobbled it anyhow and there was no play. It was an E6 and Chicago had the leadoff batter on. After Alexei Ramiriez flew out to left field, J.B. Shuck bounced one to Goins at second. The Bluebird two bagger flipped to Reyes for one but again the ball was not hit hard enough to roll a double play. Aw shucks. The inning was still alive for Gordon Beckham. Osuna threw him a fastball inside up and Beckham turned on it, hitting it well into left-field, right into the glove of Danny Valencia to end the inning. To the bottom, where Jake Petricka came back with two quick outs of Thole and Reyes (four total pitches) before Josh Donaldson knocked a five hop seeing eye single up the middle to keep the frame alive. Next was Bautista. Like Danks before him, Petricka seemed convinced the way to get Bautista out was to pitch him low and away, despite Bats already having two doubles against that exact approach. Well Petricka tried that very thing, and Bats did exactly what he'd been doing all game: lining the pitch into opposite field for extra bases. Shuck threw it into second baseman Sanchez (the cut-off man) but Sanchez could not handle the throw and it dribbled away from him. Donaldson scored (he might've anyway) and Bautista advanced to third on the error. 7-6. Edwin was next and hit a ball that stayed up a little too long, landing in right-fielder Shuck's glove to end the inning. 7-6 Toronto after seven.
So began the top of the eighth, and John Gibbons decided to hand this moment of a tight ballgame to Liam Hendriks, one of the bright spots in what thus far had been a fairly rotten bullpen. Hendriks began by whiffing Tyler Flowers on three pitches, the last of which was a 97 mph heater that he missed so badly they were throwing it around the bases when he finally swung. Next was Carlos Sanchez, who finally notched a point in his coolness belt by slashing a liner into the left-field corner for a double. The tying run was in scoring position and the top of the order was back up. Hendriks jumped ahead of Adam Eaton quickly 1-2, the White Sox centerfielder looking completely overmatched. The fourth pitch was a slider down in the zone, which Eaton swung at like a golfer attempting a chip shot, and somehow the bat connected with the ball and somehow the ball landed softly into right-field. Colabello came up throwing to the plate and the play was somewhat close, but Sanchez evaded Thole's swipe tag and was safe, tying the game at 7-7. The White Sox weren't quite done yet, as Melky Cabrera hit a slow ground ball to the left of shortstop. Reyes dove on the turf, came up with the ball but there was no play anywhere. It was an infield single for Melky, putting Sox on the corners with one out. (For what it's worth, Reyes likely saved a run here. If that ball gets by him, Eaton was already rounding third and scores easily). Next was Jose Abreu in a big spot: him looking for a big single and Hendriks praying to the disciplines of Our Holy Lord of Ground Ball Double Plays. His prayer seemed to work: Abreu bounced a high hopper to second base, which Goins smoothly flipped to Reyes for one. Melky Cabrera's slide nearly took Reyes out but Jose manged to flip the ball mid leap over to first base. The throw pulled Edwin to stretch off the bag but he came up with the bounce, and Abreu was called out. Inning over.
Wait, no it wasn't. Robin Ventura wanted a challenge, and the replays showed that Abreu's foot indeed beat the ball hitting Edwin's glove. Had Reyes' throw been right where Edwin was standing (instead of pulling him to stretch for it) Abreu would've been out. Instead he was safe, Eaton scored from third and Chicago had sneaked ahead 8-7. By the way, that was not the fault of Reyes. Remember he was leaping to avoid Melky Cabrera's hard slide. Not an easy play whatsoever. Well with new life, the White Sox kept going. LaRoche singled off Hendriks into right-field, moving Abreu to third base. Alexei Ramirez then grounded one between the second and first base hole, scoring Abreu to make it 9-7, marking the end of Liam Hendriks in this one. Hendriks wasn't sharp, but nothing was hit that hard and a lot of balls just found holes. Ah, the life of a relief pitcher. In came Steve Delabar for J.B Shuck, and the former Delabeard got his man with a groundout to second base. But the White Sox now had a two run advantage for the sixth lead change of the game. 9-7 Chicago. Aw shucks.
To the bottom of the eighth, where Zach Duke (who by the way, turned his career around with the Reds. Look it up. You did? Well damnit, I stand by what I said) came on for the Pale Hose. Up first was Chris Colabello (who gave an interview on MLBtv's Intentional talk you should totally check out) and he drilled a Duke offering into deep left-field for a leadoff double. One thing that struck me about this play was how well Melky played it in left-field. Familiarity with the park could certainly be a factor, but he genuinely hustled over quickly to get it and fire it back in, even though it was a certain double for Cola. And he wasn't moving like 2013 Melky either (though that would be alarming for his sake). It makes me wonder that this isn't a guy who just cashed in on a nice contract and is content to sail on into the sunset, he just might be in a terrible, season consuming slump. It's happened to him before: in his dreadful 2010 with the Braves, he posted an OPS of .740, .710 and .813 in May, June and July respectively. Not great but not completely useless either. It was April (.508) and September (.543) that did him in then, which is similar to his current .543 two months in. No, I wouldn't want him back either, but a lot of that is in retrospect. He's never been this bad for a full season, and I doubt he will be.
Anyhow, the Blue Jays had started the inning in business. The tying run at the plate, nobody out with Lefty Nightmareist Danny Valencia up. Duke was not fazed, retiring both Valencia and Kevin Pillar on groundouts, pushing Colabello only to third with two out. Gibbons went to his bench, summoning Russell Martin to bat for Goins. Ventura countered by bringing in his closer early, David Robertson. The former Yankee had insanely good numbers to this point, boasting an ERA under a run, a WHIP right at 0.65 and a K-BB ratio of 29-2! So, swing away Russ. And swing away he did, but he couldn't square up Robertson, bouncing a ball to the right side that was handled easily by Sanchez at second. No runs in, Chicago still led 9-7 after eight.
Steve Delabar came back out for the ninth and had such an unremarkable inning that I feel like skipping it. What? Oh fine. He got the bottom of the White Sox in order (Beckham, Flowers and Sanchez) with a whiff of Flowers for good measure. All right, to the bottom of the ninth, where the Bluebirds faced the daunting task of going up against one of the finest closers in the game. First up was Josh Thole, 2-3 (I know!) so far. Robertson blasted ahead 0-2, and tried sneaking a curveball by him. It was right down the middle and Thole turned on it, lining it softly just past Sanchez into right-field for a single. Thole was now 3-4 (I know!!!). Next was Reyes, representing the tying run. You might think here: "Thole on base? Why not pinch run?" Because the only one left on the bench was Justin Smoak, whom I'm pretty sure has never pinch ran for anybody (Edit: it had never happened before until Wednesday.) Anyhow, Reyes waited on a 1-1 Robertson cutter and bashed it into right-field, skipping into the corner. Thole charged hard into second while Reyes stopped at second base, doing his demonstrative Reyes thing to the Blue Jays dugout. It's funny how this both why Mets fans loved him and why Blue Jays fans are irritated by him (Marlins fans, meanwhile, probably barely remember him).
Well Robertson was in trouble now. Tying runs on base, nobody out, and three dangerous bats due up in Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion. Not an enviable situation for any pitcher on the planet Earth. Robertson got the count to 1-1, threw a cutter low and over the plate and...
FINAL: Toronto 10, Chicago White Sox 9.
That was fun.
The Curious Case of The Hutch and The Road
Okay, I'll bite. What's the problem?
*all stats as of June 17th
HOME: 2.72 ERA (39.2 IP) 1.034 WHIP, .570 OPS against, 7-37 BB-K ratio
ROAD: 9.46 ERA (32.1 IP) 1.887 WHIP, 1.020 OPS against, 13-25 BB-K ratio.
So basically on the road: he allows way more runs, gives up more baserunners (WHIP), more hard contact (OPS), and gives away more free passes. There! Mystery solved! That cheque for thousands of dollars better be in the mail...
What's The Diff?
Here's another one. The Blue Jays insane run differential is a result of two simple things. They blow out a lot of teams, and they themselves are rarely blown out. That second one is important when you consider this:
April 24: 12-3 to TB
April 11: 7-1 to BAL
May 1: 9-4 to CLE
May 13: 6-1 to BAL
April 26: 5-1 to TB
May 15: 8-4 to HOU
These are the only games so far in 2015 that the Blue Jays have lost by more than 3 runs. By comparison, the insanely good St. Louis Cardinals have only lost five games by more than three runs, one less than the Blue Jays. Being close in ballgames isn't a problem for the Bluebirds. Well, except that they have won fifteen games so far by five runs or more. Those same Cardinals have only done that eight times. What does this mean? Beats me. I don't get paid by the conclusion, dammit!
Look everybody, just calm down. Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman aren't appearing in Blue Jay blue tomorrow morning. Nevermind the awkwardness that would come from Cueto wearing another team's laundry when he pitches in the all-star game in Cincinnati, the Reds aren't as buried in the standings as people seem to assume. They're 5.5 out of the NL wildcard, which is significantly closer to the Giants, Cubs and Nationals than the true bottom feeders like Milwaukee or the Phillies. I can think of another team that was five games out of it just a few weeks back. Until that hole gets deeper, Cincinnati is holding on to their stars. Besides, I don't see them trading Chapman anyway. At least not this year.
If we are talking potential Reds trades though, I always wonder why Mike Leake doesn't get any respect. Sure, he doesn't throw that hard or strike out tons of guys, but he's sneaky effective, limits the free passes and pitches a ton of innings. Like Cueto, he's an impending free agent but unlike Cueto, he isn't going to cost an insane prospect haul. I'm an eternal optimist (it's on my business card. Or rather, it is my business card) but even I don't think Cincinnati can re-sign both Cueto and Leake. One of them is probably gonna get dealt, and if the Reds sputter along just under the surface of .500 all year, it'll be Leake.
That's it, that's all! See you next month, which is like a week from now. Slow down, baseball season. Slow down.
As always, you can watch the condensed GotM at mlb.com here: http://m.mlb.com/video/v133238883/52615-condensed-game-cwstor