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The Orioles. The first-place Orioles.


Tue. - Stroman (2-0, 4.22) vs Wright (1-0, 7.20)
Wed. - Dickey (1-2, 6.75) vs Jimenez (1-1, 3.75)
Thu. - Estrada (1-1, 2.77) vs Tillman (1-1, 5.11)

All games begin at 7:05 PM, because that's just the way it is.
Jays at Orioles, Apr 20-22 | 145 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
scottt - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#321328) #
The Os have  been swinging but their starting pitching hasn't been very good.

Here's hoping everybody remember how to hit those guys.

mathesond - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#321329) #
Nice 1-4-3 to end the first. Loved watching the runner turn around when he slid over second to reach back and make sure he didn't slide past the bag. That's the first time I've really paid attention to it, but I expect I will get used to it soon enough.
Vulg - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#321330) #
Only 1 run out of a bases loaded w/ 1-out situation but at least they've pushed Wright to 40 pitches.

Abusing a bullpen in the first game of a series is always great.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#321333) #
come on luis ya gotta send runners in on trumbo.
mathesond - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#321334) #
Atta Troy!
uglyone - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#321335) #
hmmm. maybe don't run on trumbo.
scottt - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#321337) #
Rickard is doing great as their leadoff man so far.
A left fielder with no power is an uncommon thing these days.

mathesond - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#321338) #
"A left fielder with no power is an uncommon thing these days"

Brings back memories of Shannon Stewart :)
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#321339) #
I am stunned that Smoak couldn't corral that "short" hop. Didn't look like all that difficult of a play, and it might cost the Jays the game.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#321340) #
osuna in in highest lev.

good gibby.
greenfrog - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#321341) #
Michael got the best of Mychal in that PA.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#321342) #
healthy Saunders is a really good player
greenfrog - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#321343) #
Perhaps even a QO-worthy player, if he stays healthy.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#321344) #
It's really interesting that both Saunders andJay Bruce are having really good starts to their seasons after their respective teams basically gave up on them.

....I'll admit Im liking Osuna in the 9th more and more all the time.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#321345) #
Osuna to face Trumbo in the 8th was perfect. A+.

He didn't exactly blister them though...

scottt - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#321346) #
Just look at the list of pitchers with 3 wins.

scottt - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#321347) #
I could also get used to seeing a Jays leading the league in saves.
It's been a long time.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#321348) #
Yep, good pen usage by Gibbons tonight. Cecil was the right move, and then used his best reliever in the 8th to get out of the jam.

Ubaldo will be tough to beat tomorrow, and with Dickey on the mound you never know what you're going to get, so good to get this win to start the series off.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#321349) #
I could also get used to the Jays starters going 7 innings each start. It's been awhile since we've had starting pitching this consistently awesome. Even during last year's run, the offense and the bullpen were doing the heavy lifting. This year's rotation is a great mix of power, efficiency and deception. Also glad Dickey is pitching after Stroman, that's got to be a tough transition for opposing hitters. 



uglyone - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#321350) #
time for Dickey to give us a good start for once.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, April 19 2016 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#321351) #
First time this season for a three-game win streak. Good time for it too. Everyone seems to pick up a faltering Teammate.
eudaimon - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#321357) #
It's good to see the Jays above 500, especially considering it was done against tough teams in a period where the offense has underperformed. The team OPS is currently at .684, good for 21st in the league, and over 100 points under what they put up in 2015 (.797).

The bullpen's been a bit shaky, but if Storen and Cecil can get it together it should be a fine unit. Osuna still has the look of a shutdown closer.

The starters outside of Dickey have looked good, and I do expect him to come around at some point and post his usual solid if unspectacular numbers. The rest look to be legit good, though they probably can't be expected to be quite this good going forward.

Overall, I feel pretty good about this team.

92-93 - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#321359) #
The rotation has been so solid that Chavez, Floyd, Biagini, and Venditte aren't getting enough opportunities to pitch. That's supposed to be a good thing, but maybe not when the manager treats Storen as if he's much better than that crew. I don't think we've really seen anything yet to suggest that should be the case. I accept that Storen will be leaned heavily upon based on his salary & track record, but it would be nice if Gibby tries/continues to establish some trust in some of the other relievers. We're going to need them over the long haul.

With relievers 4-7 so well rested, I expect the leash to be pretty short on Dickey tonight.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#321360) #
Yes.  I have confidence in all of the relievers currently on the club, and it does not seem to me that Storen is ahead of Floyd, in particular. Floyd is a veteran with a track record and it may be easiest to transition him into a role with more responsiblity.  He was up last night in the eighth inning, which I take to be a good sign.

On the other hand, with Osuna's blister preventing him from throwing sliders and the 4 out save last night, it wouldn't surprise me if Gibbons has a "medium" hook with Dickey tonight.  Medium hook would be (broadly speaking) out after 6 innings having allowed 3 runs, before 6 with 4 runs or more and after 6 with 2 runs or less.  

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#321361) #
Manny Machado looks like he is in the midst of adding serious pop to his already impressive skill set.  The greatest seasons by a third baseman include Schmidt's 80 and 81, Brett's 79 and 80, Mathews 51-53, Al Rosen's 53 (the leader according to bWAR). Josh Donaldson's 2015 is in the conversation.  I can see Machado 2016 finding its way near the top of that list. 
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#321362) #
the crazy thing is in reality, machado should probably at the moment be the best shortstop in baseball, and the likely mvp as a result.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#321367) #
How to tell it is early...
Baltimore leads the AL in team OPS+ at 147 or about what you'd expect Jose Bautista to hit. That is their TEAM OPS+ so far. Yikes. Jays are at 98 for team OPS+. Atlanta and Philly are at 65 (a bit worse than Ryan Goins career line).

For ERA+ you get a 202 for Washington or a 'meh' year for Mariano Rivera. Toronto is at 107. AL leader is the White Sox at 148.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#321370) #
Smoak injured or is Gibbons just going with the hot hand.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#321371) #
Gibby's smoakabello platoon:

Smoak = fastball/changeup pitchers
Cola = breaking ball pitchers



and dickey, man.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#321373) #
Magpie - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#321374) #
Aw. Tell us what you really think!

Kasi - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#321375) #
Well maybe the Mets want him back? Probably no backsies though.

Still with him pitching like this I can't see how they not bring Floyd in if Dickey starts being an auto loss. Then again due to his previous second half success they'll probably stick with him.
Magpie - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#321376) #
The glue factory. It beckons.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#321377) #
I'm still worried about Tulo. Even though he managed an infield hit on that 3-2 pitch, it is concerning that he swung at a pitch around his shoetops (after taking a hittable 3-1 fastball). It's not as if Ubaldo is such a tough pitching opponent these days. Tulo's strike zone judgment, among other aspects of his offensive game, seems poor in the early going.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#321378) #
new nicknames...

R.A. "Injury" Dickey
Josh "Insult" Thole
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:05 PM EDT (#321379) #
through all his struggles tulo has maintained his bb%, which imo is a good sign.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#321380) #
I'm not sure - his BB% was well below his career average last year. And the wide range of advanced plate discipline stats on Fangraphs for Tulo have mostly been trending in the wrong direction over the last year or two.

He would still have significant value as a strong defender and an average or slightly-above hitter, if that's what he ends up being for the next couple of years. Obviously it would be better if reverts to his strong defender / strong hitter former self.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#321381) #
yeah the bb% was down last year which is why i'm encouraged it's back so far this year. during the middle two months last year he hit like tulo usually hits (130wrcish) and had a bb% up around 10%.

it's still so early. tulo's around a 60wrc+ now - EE was at 63 thru all april last year and everyone wanted to trade him cuz he was done.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#321382) #
funny stuff - this may yet turn out to be dickey's 1st good start of the year.
Kasi - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#321383) #
Just Dickey for you. If his stuff is working he's very solid. If not well some posters here could likely hit well off him.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#321384) #
he blocked the plate
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#321385) #
man i love Saunders.

don't think there's even a need to ever stick travis at leadoff unless he's really tearing it up.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#321386) #
and then he messes up. dammit.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#321387) #
phew. no harm no foul.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#321388) #
Boy, Edwin really bailed out Saunders there. Really amazes me how major leaguers can sometimes make the most bone-headed plays. This has been a frustrating game as the jays have had so many chances to blow it open.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#321389) #
this is good baseball. surprising for april.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#321390) #
kinda want cecil to face davis.

guess cecil needs some rest.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#321391) #
Is there such a thing as clutch defensive play?  Why not?  Goins' pick and tag would qualify...
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#321392) #
I joined the game late, but was delighted that Floyd was given the 7th and 8th in a tie game.  I would have brought out Venditte to face Chris Davis (and save Storen for a save situation in extras!).
Chuck - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#321393) #
The ball is round. The bat is round. Yet the foul ball finds the ump's cubes. Geometry is fun.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#321394) #
2-4 in one run games...
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#321395) #
Oh well that was a game they never had a chance to win. Just do tomorrow and take the series.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#321396) #
Interesting that Thole, who has spent time on the DL with concussion issues, misplayed the final pitch of the game (a very catchable FB) for a passed ball right after taking a foul tip off the mask.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#321397) #
That is an absolute joke on Gibbons. Thole either doesn't know that staff well enough to catch them in a crucial situation or he is just a lazy catcher with his receiving.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#321398) #
Thole did not handle that one well.

Tough loss.  Biagini pitched pretty well despite getting nicked for the winning run.  Chalk this one up to missed opportunities.
christaylor - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#321399) #
Thole is, despite being able to catch a knuckleball, not a good defensive catcher. There must be a better option on the scrap heap.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#321400) #
I agree with Gibbons' decision to leave Thole in there.  Martin is 33 and needs his days off. 


SK in NJ - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#321401) #
Martin is catching 4 of every 5 games as it is. Giving him a full day off makes sense. Unfortunately, thanks to Dickey, the only viable back-up is Thole. If anything, seeing what we saw tonight makes it more imperative to keep Martin healthy. Lord help us if Thole has to catch more than Dickey's starts in the future.

I wish the Jays had let Jimenez catch Dickey in ST to give him a feel for the KB and maybe make him a viable back-up candidate. He can't hit either but at least he has a good defensive reputation.

This loss was on the bad luck by the offense. Hard hit balls found gloves, and they lost the game of inches tonight on both ends. That's baseball. I liked the pen usage, though. Floyd was a really good pick up. I still want to see him start, but right now he looks pretty good as a late inning RP option.
scottt - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#321402) #
Though break, but at that point who knows when the Jays were going to score their next run.
Dickey is on the right path and they have a good chance to win the series tomorrow.

scottt - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#321403) #
Imagine the pressure on Biagini who is still wondering why he's on the team.

John Northey - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#321404) #
Yeah, Martin needs days off but we also need a better backup than Thole. I'm sure someone out there can catch the knuckleball. Erik Kratz is probably available for a song, although he is 0-11 for Houston so far this year (he did a decent job with Dickey iirc) and can't be much worse than Thole.

Checking Dickey's career by catcher, Thole is #1, Martin #2, Blanco #3 (retired), Rod Barajas #4 (retired), Einar Diaz (very long retired), Mike Nickeas (retired) ... most appear retired. Wonder if Jorge Saez can catch him? Hitting the cover off the ball in his first year in AA. Or AJ Jimenez? Or if someone out there has a spare catcher they want to dump?
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#321405) #
I didn't think Thole should be taken out at all. Martin needs days off.

What I found funny was that Gibbons couldn't pinch hit for Goins because he had to pinch hit for the guy he started at first base. You really don't see that often. I was very surprised that Smoak didn't start at first base tonight despite being on base 3 times last night, almost equalling Colabello's times on base for the month.

I was also surprised that Dickey was taken out with the score tied 3-3 in the 7th and Chavez unavailable for extra innings. Hence Biagnini.

Anyway, an entertaining game, though seeing minor leaguers playing such a big role is never easy.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#321406) #
And at least we have some good news for the evening, with Curt Shilling finally got the boot from ESPN for degrading transgendered people.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#321407) #
Jays just need a better record when not scoring four or more runs.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 20 2016 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#321408) #
having an awful backup catcher on the team just because a mediocre starter needs him is definitely not the manager's fault.

showalter got to play his backup catcher tonight too and give his aging expensive starter a rest.

sucks when you have to play your worst players but every team has to.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#321409) #
http://deadspin.com/the-blue-jays-lost-in-the-saddest-way-1772199147?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

The Blue Jays Lost In The Saddest Way

Sometimes, your team really bones it and gives up a walk-off home run. Or maybe they lose after a new MLB rule bites them in the ass. Both of those scenarios suck, but neither is outright embarrassing. The Blue Jaysí 4-3 loss to the Orioles in extras tonight, however, ended in sad, humiliating fashion:

(video)

Thole took full responsibility for the final play "I have to catch that ball and I missed it" #BlueJays

The Blue Jays now have the two most frustrating losses of the 2016 MLB season. Sorry my bird pals.

Other most frustrating loss: http://deadspin.com/new-mlb-slide-rule-costs-the-blue-jays-a-game-and-they-1769301803#_ga=1.55263723.172790216.1450136263
Magpie - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 05:02 AM EDT (#321410) #
The physical error - not catching the ball - is very forgiveable. Thole was obviously crossed up on the pitch. He was set up for a breaking ball away.

But with a winning run on third in extras, you have got to get the signs right.
SK in NJ - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#321412) #
Dickey now leads the team in WAR for pitchers (0.4), and is 2nd on the team behind Estrada in FIP for starters (3.29), and that's despite his skill set being undervalued by FIP based WAR. Looking at his numbers does suggest a ton of bad luck (.370 BABIP, 8.27 K/9). If he maintains this type of pitching, then he should improve as the season goes on. Now let's find a way to give him a personal catcher that is at least a MLB calibre back-up rather than someone who would be out of the game completely if it wasn't for Dickey.
grjas - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#321413) #
16 baserunners and 3 runs. Hard to fathom. Hard hit balls or not it's time for this supposedly world class offence to get their act together.

What worries me is that the bottom 5 save Tulo have produced at abominable levels at other times in their career. I certainly hope this isn't all we can get from them this year.
Jonny German - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#321415) #
Goins: Yup.

Colabello: in small samples, with injuries. Has a $4M insurance policy named Smoak (yeah yeah, Smoak is also part of the problem).

Martin: is a catcher, has never been terrible and has been great the last 3 years.

Pillar: in his 36 games as a rookie? That's significant?

Panic is premature.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#321416) #
"What worries me is that the bottom 5 save Tulo have produced at abominable levels at other times in their career. I certainly hope this isn't all we can get from them this year."

Career:

1.Donaldson 137wrc+
2.Travis 135
3.Bautista 133
4.Encarnacion 125
5.Tulowitzki 122
6.Martin 106
7.Colabello 104 / Smoak 94
8.Saunders 93
9.Pillar 87


Last 5yrs

1.Encarnacion 149
2.Bautista 148
3.Donaldson 138
4.Travis 135
5.Tulowitzki 128
6.Martin 110
7.Saunders 109
8.Colabello 104 / Smoak 97
9.Pillar 87
Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#321417) #
Dear Marcus,

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but old man Buehrle taught you a thing or two about fielding your position, not to mention about staying classy.  At least it seemed that way to me.  It's time to pay it forward.  The young Biagini needs your help- Rickard's ball in the 10th that passed him by has created a first-class learning opportunity.  The man made a beautiful pitch and got the weak contact but had nothing to show because he just was in no position to field the ball.  Go to him and lend a hand, man.  That's what aces do.

With fond regards,

Mike
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#321419) #
Is nobody going to retract those "glue factory" and "auto loss" jokes about Dickey now that the game is over and it turned out to be a quality start?   One bad inning isn't worth all the angst and unfunny jokes that people toss around.  (And I do understand that people are frustrated when they see the Jays falling behind early because of a poor first inning by the pitcher.)

If we look at Dickey's four starts this season with some perspective, only one was really terrible.  The others, at least measured by ERA, weren't really all that awful.  He's obviously allowing too many walks, but that usually improves as the season goes on.  He's only allowed one HR this year. If we exclude his first Boston start, he's only allowing an average of one hit per inning.  His ERA in the past two starts is 4.22, which is okay if it continues.

I'm not trying to be an apologist.  If he still has an ERA above 5 by June, they should put him in the bullpen.  Until then, I think we've got to give him a little more patience.

Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#321420) #
David Laurilia interviewed Marco Estrada for an article at fangraphs.  Educational stuff, as always from Laurilia.
Magpie - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#321421) #
I retract "glue factory" and I'm happy to so!

Actually, Dickey looks good to me. Things have bunched up on him, and there've been some nasty innings - which obviously can't continue - but he still looks like he's throwing the ball better. Kind of weird.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#321422) #
"....Dickey now leads the team in WAR for pitchers (0.4), and is 2nd on the team behind Estrada in FIP for starters (3.29)...."

If these numbers are correct, this too is useful perspective.   Hadn't noticed it in my first read through this thread.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#321423) #
Nope, china, no apologies or retractions. I reserve the right to rage against the knuckleball.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#321424) #
"...man i love Saunders...."

If he keeps this up, I'll be very happy to admit that I was wrong in my skepticism about him as a leadoff hitter.

However, it also seems that he has increased his OBP and decreased his SLG since taking the leadoff role, so he is becoming more of a prototypical leadoff hitter.
grjas - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#321426) #
I do find it amusing that when someone raises a concern on this site that others immediately jump to the "panic" word.

It's also interesting that there is an assumption that the Jays will duplicate their run producing success despite the fact that last year virtually everything went the Jays way, particular for the bottom of the lineup.

Obviously we all hope this happens again, but in fact it may not. Some additional OPS data:
. Goins- LY - .672; all other years .600 or lower
. Smoak- LY- .768; only one other year over .700
. Colabello- LY- .886; other years .660 or bbelow
. Martin- LY- .787; 6 years before that- .732; but 4 of 6 years around 700 or lower
Bench:
Barney; LY- 804; 4 of preceding 5 years at 650 or lower
Carerra; LY- 693; 2 of preceding 3 years well below 620
Thole; LY- 495; ok well even his pathetic career is better than that one

Of course it's foolish to panic. It's also foolish to assume last year will be the norm.

Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#321427) #
Using prior year OPS without regard for context is a very rough guide.  Russell Martin played in less favourable environments in New York and Los Angeles.  His stat line in Pittsburgh in 2013-14 was consistent with what he did in 2015.    The main issue with him is age. 

Justin Smoak played in Seattle, a pitcher's paradise  His 2015 season in Toronto was a little better than his 2011-14 seasons here.

The pitching patterns to Smoak this year have been truly weird.  He has had 23 PAs, walked 7 times, been hit by a pitch, struck out 12 times and had 3 singles on 3 balls in play.  Pitchers have been pitching extremely carefully to him despite him missing at a pitches right down the middle of the plate regularly.  It would help to have a better pinch-running threat than Carrera so that the mid to late-inning walk is more punishing than it currently is. 


Jonny German - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#321431) #
abominable -> panic

I'd say they're the same tone.
Dave Till - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#321432) #
Perhaps I'm being too naive, but I'm actually reasonably optimistic about what has happened so far.

The Jays are only 8-8, but they've already had two road series in two of their historic Worst Places To Play (Fenway and the Big Ugly Tampa Dome), and had splits in both. They've played nothing but divisional rivals - the only team in the American League to do so - and have held their own. (Oddly enough, they get to go back to Tampa again at the end of next week. What have they done to deserve this?)

The parts of the team that we were most worried about - the starting rotation and left field - have worked out just fine so far. The worst starter has been Dickey, and that's mostly because his knuckler has moved too much at times, and he has to figure out how to keep the thing from dancing too much. That's better than having it not move enough. And Saunders has been doing well in left.

The worst problem has been batter's strikeouts - the Jays are the worst in the league in that department, with 155. My guess is that this is because they're trying too hard - each batter wants to single-handedly live up to the billing of being The Best Offense In Baseball, Like, Ever. I assume that this will sort itself out over time.

The one player that I am worried about is Colabello. It's too early to give up on him, but it does look like (as many predicted) that his 2015 was based at least partly on BABIP luck. His BABIP this year is .100 - you have to figure that this will improve, unless the Baseball Gods are determined to average out 2015.
SK in NJ - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#321435) #
Count me in as being optimistic with what I see so far. I like the bullpen (once Storen/Cecil settle in). The rotation is solid, not great, but probably better than most expected. The defense is good. The offense should bounce back. This should be one of the best teams in the AL by season's end, barring the usual caveats (injuries, massive underperforming).

My biggest concerns are depth in general and roster construction on the bench. I really don't think having two 1B works, especially if neither one is very good. They should just pick one (preferably Smoak) and roll with him while demoting the other (Colabello has options, IIRC, so it would work). That extra bench spot should go to someone with a little more versatility. I don't like Carrera as the 4th OF and Thole as the back-up, either. Might have to live with Thole, but Carrera should have a short shelf life. He's not good.

I expect things to turn around. As mentioned, it's been nothing but AL East opponents so far, and the one really glaring flaw right now (strike outs by the offense) should be correctable. I'd prefer being better than 8-8, even 9-7 would look better, but I think things will turn around soon.
85bluejay - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#321437) #
On a completely non-baseball subject - The death of Prince is a real downer - one of my all time favorites.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#321439) #
Chris Colabello's .100 BABIP is obviously partly due to luck.  On the other hand, his batted ball profile is much different so far this year from last.  He has hit many fewer line drives and many more softly hit balls (especially on the ground).  With Colabello's lack of speed, this is not what you want.

His plate discipline statistics are very close to his career norms, and I anticipate that his batted ball profile will eventually regress to a point near his career norms and lead to offensive numbers close to his career wRC+ of 104. 

92-93 - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#321440) #
Uglyone's retraction came when he spent most of 2015 complaining about RA Dickey, declaring him "toast" before he went through a terrific stretch, and then proceeded to not harp on Dickey all offseason, as he is wont to do. On numerous occasions he even speculated JA Happ may not even be good enough to make the rotation without crapping on Dickey - does glue fall behind toast on the depth chart?

I share the sentiments that this is a very good looking 8-8 team that is competitive every night and could easily be 10-6 with a bounce or two here and there. If this rotation can keep this mojo working all season, they are going to win 95+ games.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#321441) #
Even as a big Colabello fan, I wouldn't mind optioning him to Buffalo for a month if he continues to hit poorly -- let him relax and see if he can regain his success of last season -- but only if Smoak is hitting better than he is now.  Smoak has an impressive OBP but he also has an incredible 52% strikeout rate.  I don't see how the Jays can just give a full-time lineup position to a guy with a 52% strikeout rate.  That's a little too risky.  So let's see how it plays out over the next couple of weeks, and see if one of them goes on a tear.  Colabello does have options, so it's fine to send him to Buffalo and see if that unleashes his hitting.  Maybe he is pressing too hard.  But it's too early just yet to anoint Smoak as the full-time 1B.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#321442) #
Dickey has been neither as bad as his ERA would suggest nor as good as his FIP would.  He has, as Magpie said, given up hits in bunches and this has led to more runs allowed that one would expect given his three true outcomes and batted ball information.  On the other hand, he is walking way too many and giving up more line drives and more hard hit balls than at any point in his career (by a long shot).  He's been a tad unlucky with the BABIP but conversely lucky with the HR/FB rate. Over the last 3 years, he's given up 4.28 runs per game, and I'd venture a guess that he'll end up a little higher than that in 2016 (probably in the 4.4-4.5 range).  If he's your best starter, you are in trouble.  If he's your 5th best starter, you are in very good shape.

China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#321443) #
Wow.  As of today, David Price has an ERA of 7.06 this season.  A little perspective for anyone who worries about the poor starts of a few Jays.
Kasi - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#321444) #
Grienke might be even worse. This is why you don't pay 30 year old pitchers 200 million dollars. I've been quite happy with the pitching so far. Happ I think while it seemed expensive early actually ended up being a good value contract. Like SK I think the bench could use help. This should be a 90 win team.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#321445) #
"....Happ I think while it seemed expensive early actually ended up being a good value contract...."

It seemed expensive if you bought into the negative stereotype of "the old Happ" but it never seemed expensive to me and to a lot of other people.  Seemed like a reasonable deal to me.   Of course it's still early and we shouldn't count our chickens, but I'm optimistic that he will continue to be good.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#321446) #
And in fact, even when he was "the old Happ", I never thought he was as bad as his many critics believed.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#321447) #
I don't buy the notion that we should in any way be happy about the start this year....but at the same time, I'm every bit as optimistic about this team as I was in preseason. It's a great team.

I don't really think we should be looking at any numbers yet - including the standings - though. Joey and Josh are out of their minds so far and tulo and martin are ice cold, but that won't last.

if there's one thing that might have me more excited about this year than before it's how good Aaron Sanchez looks. That could be a bigtime game changer.
jerjapan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#321450) #
Agreed Ugly - Sanchez is our best chance to turn a very good team into a great one.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#321451) #
Estrada is such a competitor. O's with the bases loaded, none out, down by a run and Marco holds the line with a strikeout and a double play. Love it.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#321452) #
yeah that was nuts. can't believe he houdinied out of that.

only run that scored was a ball through donaldson's webbing.

scottt - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#321453) #
They strike out a ton, but I still like out they run up the starter's pitch count.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#321454) #
gutsy stuff from marco. but we need him to get thru their meat one more time.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#321455) #
as good a 5ip start i've seen in a while. had no command but still shut down a good lineup.

rest of the team has to get his back now. with floyd and chavez unavailable this might get interesting.
China fan - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#321456) #
Haven't we seen this movie before? A few times this season already?   In the first inning or two, the Jays have the opposition pitcher on the ropes.  They run up the pitch count and fill the bases.  It looks like a romp.  But somehow the runs don't get scored, despite the chances, and the Jays let the pitcher bounce back.  Instead of breaking the game wide open, they manage to score only a couple of runs.  Then the game becomes a nail-biter, and suddenly the Jays have squandered their chance, allowing the game to be decided by a close struggle in the late innings. 

Seems like the Jays need the killer instinct this season, to put these games away with their big-hitting lineup, instead of relying on the pitchers.

greenfrog - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#321457) #
Get him early or don't get him at all. The saying applies equally to Tillman and Estrada tonight.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#321458) #
whoa some confidence shown in venditte here.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#321459) #
This is a familiar story for Cecil.  His luck will return.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#321460) #
don't wanna say bounces, but....
Petey Baseball - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#321461) #
It's time for Troy Tulowitzki to start hitting the baseball again.
snider - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#321462) #
On a lighter note, If you haven't seen this "Biagini in a Bottle" video you should really view it. Once is probably enough though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlOsnlnr33I

uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#321463) #
will we lose 2 games in a row on passed balls?

unprecedented?
Four Seamer - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#321464) #
What a terrible play from the 17 million dollar man behind the dish. I'd hazard a guess we're not going to hear as much about his miscue on here as we did about Thole's last night, however.
Four Seamer - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#321465) #
What a terrible play from the 17 million dollar man behind the dish. I'd hazard a guess we're not going to hear as much about his miscue on here as we did about Thole's last night, however.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#321466) #
2-5 in one run games.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#321467) #
A 4 hopper up the middle, a passed ball and a short high fly ball that no one could get to.  The O's put 20 balls in play today and 10 went for hits.  Keeler city.
Gerry - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#321468) #
The Jays are making lots of small mistakes and non-plays that come back to bite them. We know the passed balls, there have been at least two balls stuck in gloves so far this season. Yesterday Goins couldn't deliver with runners in scoring position. Tonight Smoak gets a lead off double and doesn't move. Saunders gets doubled off yesterday, Smoak gets doubled off today. Saunders tags incorrectly yesterday.

I am sure there are more but this team is not playing good baseball at the moment.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#321469) #
will we lose 2 games in a row on passed balls?

When you score 3 runs then 2 runs in the AL, it's hard to blame losing on a passed ball. The supposed weakness of the team, the starting pitching, has been very good. The bullpen hasn't. The first four batters have hit well. The rest of the lineup hasn't hit anything.
uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#321470) #
"When you score 3 runs then 2 runs in the AL, it's hard to blame losing on a passed ball. "

pretty easy when both winning runs came on passed balls actually.

uglyone - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#321471) #
wouldn't mind seeing barney get more playing time. not sure handing goins the permanent gig is justified.
Four Seamer - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#321473) #
For that matter, let Goins play shortstop for all the good Tulowitzki is doing out there.
dalimon5 - Thursday, April 21 2016 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#321474) #
Yes, let's replace an on-track hall of fame shortstop with Ryan Goins...makes tons of sense. Forget about 2007-2015 stats.
Four Seamer - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#321475) #
Have no fear, dalimon5, I was merely being sarcastic, in service of the broader (and perhaps too subtle) point that posters here like to rage about players of the pedigree of Thole and Goins, when it's really the performance of players like Martin and Tulowitzki (in whom our former GM has committed roughly 40 million real American dollars this year and for several more) that is tethering this team to mediocrity at the moment.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 04:49 AM EDT (#321476) #
Last year the Jays had brilliant hitting and ordinary pitching.  This year it seems to be the reverse.  If that formula persists, they could still win.  But I have to say:  last year's formula was a lot more fun.  And less stressful.
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 07:31 AM EDT (#321477) #
Not really ... At least not until August.
SK in NJ - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 07:43 AM EDT (#321478) #
"wouldn't mind seeing barney get more playing time. not sure handing goins the permanent gig is justified."


Agreed. Goins' upside is a Barney level player (all defense, utility IF caliber bat). They are probably equal as far as talent, if not a slight edge to Barney based on track record, with Goins being two years younger. I wouldn't mind Barney getting more playing time, although in the end it likely won't make too big of a difference.

Needless to say, Travis needs to come back healthy.
BlueJayWay - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 07:56 AM EDT (#321479) #
Another frustrating thing is that was their 4th loss already when leading into the 7th inning or later.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#321480) #
"Have no fear, dalimon5, I was merely being sarcastic, in service of the broader (and perhaps too subtle) point that posters here like to rage about players of the pedigree of Thole and Goins, when it's really the performance of players like Martin and Tulowitzki (in whom our former GM has committed roughly 40 million real American dollars this year and for several more) that is tethering this team to mediocrity at the moment."

are you saying that tulo's struggles are being ignored? pretty sure they've been a major focus of blue jays nation so far.

meanwhile, nobody seems to have noticed that goins has been even worse, while his backup is legitimately arguably a better player.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#321481) #
Tulo (31): 4669pa, 122wrc+, 35.5war, 4.9war/650pa
Barney (30): 2107pa, 71wrc+, 6.1war, 1.9war/650
Goins (28): 797pa, 65wrc+, 1.2war, 1.0war/650

imo goins and barney should be battling each other for playing time, and at the very least being used as a true platoon:

v rhp

goins 71wrc+
barney 65

v lhp

goins 42
barney 91
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#321482) #
Tulo (31): 4669pa, 122wrc+, 35.5war, 4.9war/650pa

That's helpful for every team with a time machine. This year's model so far has a 54 wrc+ and can't get around on the high fastball.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#321483) #
".....goins has been even worse, while his backup is legitimately arguably a better player....."

That depends on how much weight you give to the final 200 plate appearances of last season, in which Goins had an OBP of .376.  Was that a fluke?  Maybe it was, but I'm not prepared to reach that conclusion after only 55 plate appearances this season.  (Goins also had a poor OBP in the post-season last year, so you could argue that we now have 95 plate appearances that contradict the high OBP of last August and September.) 

In other words, Goins is definitely better than Barney if he can recapture what he did in the final two months of last season.  But based on the 95 plate appearances since then, it's arguable that the "high-OBP Goins" was unsustainable, and therefore Barney should get a chance to platoon with Goins at least.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#321484) #
"That's helpful for every team with a time machine. This year's model so far has a 54 wrc+ and can't get around on the high fastball."

Yep, we need a time machine to see past Votto's 26wrc+ too, just like we needed a time machine to look past EE's 63wrc+ april last year.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#321485) #
"That depends on how much weight you give to the final 200 plate appearances of last season, in which Goins had an OBP of .376."

looking at players' best hot streaks usually isn't the best strategy. Barney has had hot streaks as good or better.
Mike Green - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#321486) #
In my view, Goins is a somewhat better defender than Barney as well.  The Blue Jays see a left-handed starter about once every 5 or 6 games, it seems.  It makes sense to platoon Barney with Goins and to pinch-hit for Goins if the opposition brings on a left-hander in an important situation. 
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#321487) #
If we put him in a time machine, Tulo wouldn't have to go back very far -- just to the first half of last season.  His OPS was .818 in the first half of last season, before the trade.  If he could approach anything like that, everyone would be happy.  And that was less than a year ago.  Seems reasonable to think that he has a good chance of returning to the hitting abilities that he was demonstrating less than a year ago.

Of course Coors Field did help him.  His OPS in Coors Field was 130 points higher than his career OPS in away games.  Still, even the away-games number (.804) would be plenty good enough, if he can duplicate it.  And Rogers is not exactly a pitcher's park, even if it's not quite Coors Field.  So personally, I'm going to give him a lot more rope before I give up on him.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#321488) #
Barney does have pristine defensive numbers (both DRS and UZR), and a gold glove to his name, so I'm not sure defense should be a concern.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#321489) #
Apparently Shapiro just re-signed one of his biggest mistakes - Michael Bourn.

I'm guessing for a bit cheaper than last time.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#321493) #
"....Barney has had hot streaks as good or better...."

Not for 200 plate appearances, unless you go back to 2011 or 2012.  His "hot streaks" since then have been limited to a few dozen PAs, which is not the same as what Goins did last August and September.  And Barney's trajectory has been generally downward since his first season, whereas Goins has had a generally upward trajectory over the past couple of seasons (until this month).
James W - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#321494) #
I'm guessing for a bit cheaper than last time.

The prorated portion of $507,000. Atlanta is on the hook for the rest of his $14,000,000 salary.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#321496) #
Pompey and Ceciliani are both injured.  Carrera doesn't have options.  So some outfield depth could be useful.  And at a minimum, Bourn can be the classic late-inning defensive replacement if the Jays want someone to fill that role.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#321497) #
last 250pa:

Barney: 97wrc+
Goins: 102wrc+
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#321498) #
Just noticed that Bourn had 17 stolen bases last season.  So he can do the pinch-running role too.
SK in NJ - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#321499) #
Tulo had a 104 wRC+ in 2015 for the Rockies, and it dropped to 91 after the trade. He's currently at 54, though it's a really small sample size. Most projections have him as a slightly above league average bat with very good defense, and I think that's probably a fair expectation going forward. As his defense declines over time, then it will start becoming problematic.

Maybe we get lucky and he still has some very good offensive years in him, but I'm not expecting 'Super Elite Tulo' ever again.
uglyone - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#321504) #
I wouldn't be shocked in the least if Tulo had many good years left.

It's interesting to see people writing off his hall of fame career after a single mediocre year at age 30. Many good players have bounced back from much worse.

I get that people are worried about his injuries piling up but looking at him fielding like a wizard still and it's tough to see him as a broken down player quite yet.

His timing is all off, but he's rocking a ridiculous low babip even considering that. He's improved so far this year from unplayable (20wrc+ first 9gms) to mediocre (91wrc+ last 8gms), even though he's still rocking a super low .200babip over that stretch. He's still seeing the ball well, with a very good walk rate, and he's stopped striking out at a ridiculous rate too (32.4% down to 20.0% over those stretches). And to my eye test he's been taking much better swings lately, including last night, especially against heat. I'm betting on a hot streak soon.
greenfrog - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#321506) #
"His OPS was .818 in the first half of last season"

Which translated into a wRC+ of 104, or slightly above average, and well below his career wRC+ of 122. It was fuelled by a BABIP of .351. For the most part, his plate discipline stats were trending downward last year as well.

When we look back on Tulo's career, we may see 2015 as the beginning of his decline offensively. I hope this isn't the case, but he looks a mess at the plate these days.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#321507) #
".....last 250pa:
Barney: 97wrc+
Goins: 102wrc+..."

Sure, but you have to go back as far as early 2014 to accumulate 250 plate appearances for Barney, whereas you only need to go back to last August to get the 250 for Goins.   I prefer the more recent data, since it's likely to be more relevant.  Over the past two years, both the Cubs and Dodgers benched Barney and then traded him for marginal prospects, which suggests that both teams were concerned about the deterioration of his hitting. 

I don't mind if Barney gets more time in the lineup, but I still think the Jays should prioritize the younger guy who still has a bit of potential upside and seems to be learning some OBP skills.
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#321510) #
His OPS was .818 in the first half of last season, before the trade. If he could approach anything like that, everyone would be happy. And that was less than a year ago. Seems reasonable to think that he has a good chance of returning to the hitting abilities that he was demonstrating less than a year ago.

Tulo's OPS+ in Coors last year was 106. In Toronto it was 92. Overall last year his OPS+ was 102, a steep decline from 170 in 2014. I would say listing his career numbers at Coors is unhelpful.

From the Rockies' perspective, the Tulo deal looks very, very good. They were able to unload tens of millions of dollars in salary on a contract signed when Tulo was playing at a much higher level, and get paid with prospects, including the organization's best pitching prospect, to do it. Tulo right now is a great defensive shortstop with a contract designed for a great offensive shortstop.
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#321514) #
The lineup card has no Colabello and Girodo instead, an outcome of the bullpen depletion in Baltimore I suspect.

In other news, Michael Bourn is now a minor league Jay apparently. Or almost.
Kasi - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#321520) #
I would be very happy if Tulo and Martin can rebound, but like CBDC I'm not optimistic about it. Actually I am more optimistic about Tulo since he does seem to still move quite good in the field, so I feel he has more of a chance. Plus he is nearly two years younger than Martin and not playing as difficult a position on the body.

Still considering Tulo has 4 more years of 20 million after this one, and Martin next year starts his 3 straight years at 20 I have concerns about them not performing to their contract as soon as next year.
China fan - Friday, April 22 2016 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#321536) #
"....I would say listing his career numbers at Coors is unhelpful...."

You missed the part where I also discussed his numbers AWAY from Coors.
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