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Well, our season ending thread is overloaded so lets have a between series thread.

Jays are using Stroman as the starter. Roster is... (via BlueJays.com)

RH Pitchers: Roberto Osuna, Jason Grilli, Joe Biagini, Ryan Tepera, Scott Feldman, Marco Estrada

LH Pitchers: Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, and Francisco Liriano

Infield: Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Smoak, Darwin Barney, and Ryan Goins.

Outfield: Kevin Pillar, Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders, Ezequiel Carrera, Melvin Upton Jr., and Dalton Pompey.

Catchers: Russell Martin, Dioner Navarro

Anyone who can come up with a reason for Feldman to be on the roster please let us know. I figure I have as much chance of pitching as he does in that game.
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ComebyDeanChance - Monday, October 03 2016 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#332868) #
Feldman is on the roster for the possibility of a blowout. The Jays play next in Texas Thursday, so it gives others a rest.
scottt - Monday, October 03 2016 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#332869) #
Gibbons isn't resting any reliever, even if the score is 12-0 after 5.
uglyone - Monday, October 03 2016 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#332870) #
last year's playoff team vs this year's - which one do you like better?


*Revere - Travis*
Donaldson - Donaldson
Encarnacion - Encarnacion
Bautista - Bautista
Martin - Martin
Tulowitzki - Tulowitzki
*Colabello - Saunders*
Pillar - Pillar
*Goins - Upton*

Smoak - Smoak
Carrera - Carrera
*Pennington - Barney*
Navarro - Navarro
Pompey - Pompey


Price - Sanchez
Stroman - Stroman
Estrada - Estrada
*Dickey - Happ*

Osuna - Osuna
Sanchez - Cecil
*Hendriks - Biagini*
*Lowe - Grilli*
*Hawkins - Liriano*
Tepera - Tepera
*Loup - Loup/Feldman*
(*Cecil - Benoit*)
uglyone - Monday, October 03 2016 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#332872) #
Last year's playoff performamces:

Revere 51pa, 65wrc+
Bautista 49pa, 188wrc+
Donaldson 48pa, 143wrc+
Encarnacion 47pa, 105wrc+
Colabello 41pa, 124wrc+
Tulowitzki 46pa, 66wrc+
Pillar 45pa, 120wrc+
Martin 33pa, 71wrc+
Goins 40pa, 3wrc+

Smoak 8pa, -100wrc+
Carrera 2pa, -100wrc+
Pennington 2pa, 116wrc+
Navarro 14pa, -25wrc+
Pompey 1pa, 487wrc+



Price 23.1ip, 151era-
Stroman 19.1ip, 103era-
Estrada 19.1ip, 57era-
Dickey 6.1ip, 174era-

Osuna 8.1ip, 53era-
Sanchez 7.1ip, 0era-
Hendriks 5.0ip, 132era-
Lowe 4.1ip, 102era-
Cecil 2.0ip, 0era-
Loup 2.0ip, 110era-
Hawkins 1.2ip, 927era-
Jevant - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#332878) #
That's an interesting dilemma.  Arms are arguably better (or at least, no worse and probably deeper), and in theory, the bats look like they shouldn't be any worse, but they have performed worse this year. 

Just get to Texas.  Can't wait.

Glevin - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#332882) #
Feldman should be there. Gibbs likes to burn through pitchers and if the game goes fifteen innings, you need to have more arms in the pen. I'd rather have Feldman for that possibility that a third catcher or seventh outfielder.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#332884) #
Personally, I would have preferred if Dickey had received a little more work so that he would be available out of the pen in case the game goes 16 innings or something.  I'd prefer Dickey for 5 innings rather than Feldman.  It's a small point obviously. 
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#332885) #
If you go by just people involved then clearly this year looks better. Saunders + Uptone + Travis is better than Revere + Goins/Barney + Colabello. But then when you look at the regression out of all the core hitters than last year's lneup is better because Martin, Donaldson, EE and Jose were all either better or significantly better last year.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#332886) #
Some scary power on this Orioles team, and that bullpen is downright frightening.

I certainly didn't think so while he was briefly a Jay, but Michael Bourne might have been a good fit here after all.

Is it gametime yet?
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#332889) #
Bourn woulda fit better than upton.

Jevant - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#332890) #

Jevant - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#332891) #
No idea why my comments aren't showing up, but what I keep trying to say/quote is Biagini's comments on "fun" in his interview with David Laurila, which is currently up on Fangraphs.  It's a great read, and really a good way to reset going into the game tonight.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#332892) #
In minor transactions I noticed the Venditte trade is now done. The Jays got Tim Lopes a right handed hitting infielder who reached AA last year at age 22. 284/358/355 26/6 SB/CS. Mainly at 2B but also some SS. 5 years in the minors. If his defense is good could be a backup someday but obviously not a star potential. Still, not bad for a guy the Jays had no use for.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#332893) #
jevant - double check that your comment appears in the typing box on the post preview page (not just at the top of the preview page) before you hit submit. if it's not there just copy and paste the preview into the box first.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#332894) #
Nice catch, John.

Lopes looks good statistically - he missed being counted as 21yrs old this year by just a week, so he's a young 22 and 22 is age appropriate for AA. He's got zero power but his bat and zone control were still good enough to post a well above average 111wrc+ this year. Looks like he could be useful.
Jevant - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#332896) #
Yeah, it was both times...maybe because I was trying to include the link it didn't work properly?  Not sure.  Ah well.  Go read Fangraphs. :)
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#332897) #
The Oct 4 birthday team has one Hall of Famer, but can fill all the positions with competent players:

Mgr- Tony LaRussa

C- Kurt Suzuki
1B- Don Lenhart
2B- Mark McLemore
SS- Frankie Crosetti
3B- Lonnie Chisenhall
LF- Rip Repulski
CF- Billy Hatcher
RF- Ossie Hauser

Bench- John Wathan, Mike Sharperson, Chris James, Drew Stubbs

SP- Jered Weaver
SP- Kyle Lohse
SP- Charlie Leibrandt
SP- Bob Rhoads
SP- Ray Fisher

CL- Steve Olin
RP- Lary Sorensen
RP- Ed Halicki
RP- Dennis Cook
RP- Bruce Ruffin
RP- Joe Boever
Swingman- Ray Munger

Missed the cut: Tony Gwynn Jr., Roger Pavlik, Horace Speed, Glenn Adams, Jimy Williams

I wonder how many wins LaRussa could coax out of this bunch. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#332898) #
Lopes had a fine year, and was a postseason Southern League All-Star.  He was 26-6 stealing bases and has made a lot of progress on his W/K. 

He has a great name for a second baseman...

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#332899) #
Swingman- Ray Munger

Oops.  It's Red Munger.  He's a fine swingman, by the way, and would be the kind of pitcher LaRussa would probably use very well. 
mathesond - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#332902) #
Heh, after reading this, I'm beginning to wonder if either team will win tonight!
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#332904) #
Among other things, tonight's game could settle the fate of John Gibbons.   If the Jays advance to the league's final four, Gibbons will surely return in 2017 (despite what some Bauxites were saying as recently as Friday).   If they lose tonight, he could become the scapegoat for a season that could have gone better.

If we're looking for data to assess Gibbons, here is the latest contribution from FanGraphs:
 http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-should-we-evaluate-a-manager/

The FanGraphs article pulls together a bunch of interesting charts and metrics on managerial performance and tries to reach some conclusions.  Here is the concluding paragraph:

In sum, we have some arguments for the managers who will be on the short list for American League Manager of the Year. John Farrell, John Gibbons, and Buck Showalter do well across the board, while Jeff Banister and Terry Francona have their strengths and weaknesses. Picking between them will be difficult. Almost impossible, even.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#332905) #
A lot is being made of the Oriole's road record, but they won every one of their last six road series down the stretch, including at Toronto, Boston, NY twice, Detroit and Tampa. That's pretty darned good. Toronto meanwhile, has not fared particularly well at home of late, having lost 3 of their 4 home series since September 1 and in those 13 games, scored more than 3 runs only 4 times.

While I obviously want to see a Toronto win tonight, I have to admit feeling about this offence much like Oscar Wilde did about the wallpaper in his Paris apartment.

China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#332908) #
"....I have to admit feeling about this offence much like Oscar Wilde did about the wallpaper in his Paris apartment..."

Good line.   It's extraordinary how the offence has declined this year, despite an additional 40 games from Devon Travis, a substantial improvement from Troy Tulowitzki, and an upgrade over Revere in LF.

If I had to pick a key player for the Jays tonight, it would have to be Bautista.   If he has a big game, as he is capable of doing, the Jays will surely do well. 

The fact that Carrera was starting in the outfield in several of the most crucial games of the regular season, ahead of Saunders and Upton, with Smoak also on the bench, speaks volumes about the offense's problems this year.  Carrera is a nice speedy guy who can bunt and can work the count, but he shouldn't be a starter on any team with pretensions of being one of the better-hitting teams in the league.
Parker - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#332909) #
Well, at least they got Navarro in there.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#332910) #
Tim Lopes is brother of Christian Lopes - if Christian is not added to the 40 man roster, he's eligible for the rule v draft - I could see a team like the Angels drafting him.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#332911) #
While I would have started Liriano ahead of Stroman, it's the anemic offense that has me worried - if the Jays use Liriano and/or Estrada, I hope it's to start an inning & not coming in with men on base.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#332912) #
I have read the Sarris' article, and I am mystified.  The conclusion doesn't seem to follow from the substance of the article.  Gibbons is found to be 9 runs below the average manager in bullpen management, and he scores badly in the other bullpen management metrics.  He does score well on lineup construction.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#332913) #
The offense for the Jays is a huge concern, and it's an even bigger issue when you factor the O's bullpen. Tillman doesn't even have to go deep into the game. The O's have many high leverage quality relievers to use, and could conceivably decide to use Britton for two innings if necessary.

I think the Orioles are a bad match-up for the Jays in a one game coin flip.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#332914) #
"....The conclusion doesn't seem to follow from the substance of the article...."

Mike, I think you missed the point that Sarris questions the use of wOBA in the first metric.  He prefers something called Weighted Reliever Management Score, in which Gibbons does better.

It's true that another metric, Reliever Role Rigidity, shows Gibbons as less flexible than other managers on when to bring the relievers into the game.  (Personally I don't really understand why that would be a significant metric for measuring a manager's performance.)

Lineup construction would seem, to me, to be the most useful metric, and here Gibbons does quite well.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#332915) #
In the end it is a single game and in one game the '62 Mets could beat the '27 Yankees by dumb luck.

Whats funny is that under the old Wild Card format the Jays would be playing this game as well except it would be a rare game 163 instead of a playoff game. Same stakes, just a different name and the stats would count towards the regular season, thus giving Stroman a shot at a 500 record, although I suspect that would be the last thing we'd worry about.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#332916) #
Heck, for an extreme example, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders - without a doubt the worst ML team ever (20-134 84 games back at seasons end) won 3 games vs the Boston Beaneaters who came in 2nd that year with a 95-57 record.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#332917) #
Gibbons came 20th out of 30 managers on the WRM measure.  Rob Arthur who created the measure has had a pretty negative opinion of Gibbons' bullpen management, and has essentially described it as costing about 1 win per season- which is in line with the wOBA measure.  The scale does seem about right to me (bullpen management being + or - 1 win for a season). 

Lineup construction is a weird one.  The big issue is not how you place hitters in the order but who is in your starting lineup.  I don't know how you would measure that- there is no way of knowing whether a regular player is nursing an injury or whether a manager is playing a hunch in using a replacement (for instance). 

Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#332919) #
Posted this in the other thread, but Dan Szymborski came out with his article on the matchup today. His projections state that going with Stroman instead of Liriano takes it from a 61-39 matchup in Toronto's favor to a 50/50 coin flip.
Jevant - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#332922) #
I struggle with those projections.  That seems like an absurdly massive swing for two fairly similar pitchers, not to mention the fact that if the Jays were starting Clayton Kershaw I couldn't see them having much more than a 61% win probability.  61 feels too high with Liriano, and 50 seems too low with Stroman.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#332923) #
"....The scale does seem about right to me (bullpen management being + or - 1 win for a season)....."

Mike, if you go back to the original article on bullpen management by Rob Arthur a couple weeks ago (which one or two fans on our site have already touted as "proof" against Gibbons), you'll see that he surrounds it with many caveats.  And then he uses the dubious metric of "Manager of the Year" awards as his test for whether his own experimental data can "pass the sniff test" or not.  I'd say it's a very tentative and unclear.  And then he adds this huge caveat:

Perhaps surprisingly, we found that bullpen management ó good or bad ó doesnít actually affect a teamís overall performance all that much. Certainly itís not as important as, say, having good relievers to employ in the first place. A manager whoís bad at managing a bullpen (for example, Manny Acta) might be expected to win about 0.5 fewer games per season as a result of his bullpen-management problems than an average manager with the same ípen, while a good one (such as Joe Girardi) might win 0.5 games more than average over the course of a season.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#332924) #
Not surprised to see a big difference in their odds due to the pitching decision, but I think the odds with Liriano are probably not quite that big. Maybe in the high 50's. The Orioles have 1 major weakness, hitting left handed pitchers, and the Jays have a pitcher ready to take advantage of that, a pitcher who very recently completely shut down the Orioles for 6 innings, yet they are deciding not to use him. The Orioles' team OPS is nearly 100 points lower against lefties, a very large difference. I understand the desire to show loyalty to Stroman, which Gibbons has stated. Perhaps in the long run, this will be good for the team, but it sure hurts for today's game.

In a completely different topic, BNN had a very interesting segment on air today about Forbes' look at the Blue Jays' financial situation. They speculate that Rogers is looking at selling the team, and that it would make a lot of financial sense. Forbes estimates they could realize about $1 billion from selling the team, which really is a very minor piece of the organization. According to Forbes, the Jays' payroll cost this year is about $160 million US, and their revenue is about $240 million US. Compared to Rogers' total revenue of more than $13 billion Cdn, or about $10 billion US, it's tiny. I have heard previously that Rogers was looking at possibly selling the team, so this isn't completely out of left field, so to speak. The thinking is that Rogers could put the cash received to better use in their core business operations.
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#332925) #
Orioles have a 83 WRC versus LHP and a 107 WRC versus RHP. It's basically the different between a team with a mix of Travis/Tulo types versus a team made up of Pillar/Zeke. It's pretty massive.
James W - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#332926) #
The massive swing comes entirely on Baltimore's side. They hit for a 107 wRC against righties, but only an 83 against LHP.

Hopefully the Jays offense comes to life, and makes all of this moot.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#332927) #
".... I understand the desire to show loyalty to Stroman, which Gibbons has stated....."

Before this version somehow becomes the accepted mythology about today's decision, let me jump in here.  I don't think Gibbons has stated that he is using Stroman purely for reasons of "loyalty."   I'm not aware of him making such a statement, and even if he did, I seriously doubt that this is the reason for the choice of Stroman over Liriano  (which, by the way, was certainly a collective decision of the Jays front office, and not solely a Gibbons decision).  I think it's pretty clear that the Jays believe Stroman is a better choice to win tonight's game.  We might disagree -- and personally I would rather see Liriano tonight myself -- but I think we should at least give them the credit for having thought about which pitcher would be better tonight and making the decision on that basis.   Even though I disagree with the choice myself, there are conceivable reasons that would support a Stroman choice.   I don't need to list those reasons -- others have already done so -- but the point is that there are plausible reasons for choosing Stroman, even if we might feel that the reasons supporting Liriano are stronger.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#332928) #
Speaking of lineup construction, the lineup for today's game is out.  Travis leads off, Bautista bats cleanup and plays right-field, Saunders bats 7th and DHs and Carrera bats 9th and plays left-field. 
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#332929) #
I think the biggest on field reasons for Stroman are:

- He won't walk people as much, so less chance of things getting out of hand. (likely same reason Baltimore didn't want Jiminez)
- Liriano coming in in relief can push their guys out of their lineup that are good against Osuna/Grili like Bourn and Kim.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#332930) #
I'm a bit surprised to see Bautista rather than Saunders in the field.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#332931) #
Gibbons is a loyalty guy and I think it's why he chose Stroman over Liriano (not the only reason, after all Stroman is a quality pitcher) - it's why Gibbons will use Carrera and Navarro over others - that's his MO and he will live or die with that approach.That Shapiro is supporting the decision is not surprising - why create an unnecessary
controversy. Of course, if your'e into conspiracy theories, well there's this - 1) If the Jays have a deep playoff run, Gibbons will be back, but a quick exit leaves Shapiro with options & 2) If the Jays win the world series, most fans and media will say they did it with AA's team, next year will likely be Shapiro's team.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#332932) #
Here is a three-minute audio clip of Gibbons describing the reasons why the Jays have opted for Stroman to start tonight's game: 

https://soundcloud.com/mlbnetworkradio/blue-jays-manager-john-gibbons-talks-about-why-he-went-with-marcus-stroman-in-the-wild-card-game

We always have to allow for the fact that a manager isn't going to reveal any secrets of the team's strategy in a media interview.  His rambling and vague answer might be more of a cover than anything else.  But even allowing for that, when asked about the reasons for the Stroman choice, Gibbons doesn't mention anything about "loyalty" or "team morale" or "long-term benefit for the team."  He says they considered the analytics and considered everything else, and ultimately decided that -- among other reasons -- Stroman has a track record of "rising to the occasion" in big games.  He also mentioned that Liriano has a history (this year) of allowing a lot of walks, which they didn't want to risk tonight.  And he emphasized (twice) that Liriano will be "waiting in the wings" if they want someone to go after the LHB in the Baltimore lineup.

Again, we might disagree with these reasons, but I think we should at least give them the courtesy of acknowledging that they might have plausible reasons for their decision.
mathesond - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#332933) #
Well, I for one will be at tonight's game. My company lucked into one of the distant boxes above the hotel, and likely parallel to the video board. So the view won't be spectacular, but the atmosphere should more than make up for it. And since I don't own a mobile device of any sort, I certainly won't be following this here discussion during the game!

Any idea who's throwing out the first pitch? Be cool if Delgado was brought back for that. Of course, I could see them getting someone who was active on one of the previous playoff teams. But I suspect a military veteran will get the honour.

I have a major presentation due EOD tomorrow. Haven't really started it yet. Tomorrow will be an interesting day at the office...
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#332934) #
""I'm a bit surprised to see Bautista rather than Saunders in the field."

as am I, but it's all about that 1 runner gunned out at home or held up at 3B by his arm.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#332935) #
"I think the biggest on field reasons for Stroman are:

- He won't walk people as much, so less chance of things getting out of hand. (likely same reason Baltimore didn't want Jiminez)
- Liriano coming in in relief can push their guys out of their lineup that are good against Osuna/Grili like Bourn and Kim."

3. Stroman is much better than Liriano.
Parker - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#332936) #
The fan support this year is insane. Yesterday afternoon I was out for coffee with a friend and some old dude walks past, sees my Jays cap, does a double-take, then walks back and starts talking to me about the Liriano vs. Stroman decision for tonight's game.

Today, I'm at the gas station and the clerk sees the cap and asks if I'm a Jays fan. He ALSO mentions the Stroman-Liriano thing.

It's so awesome how it's not just "Go Jays" anymore, but actual legit discussion about the team.

The old lady wants to watch tonight's game at a local watering hole. Hopefully we can actually get a table!

Go Jays! ;)
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#332938) #
TSN.ca has an article on their website by Scott MacArthur that says loyalty likely played a role in Gibbons' decision to go with Stroman. Of course, it's not the only factor. Stroman is a very good pitcher. I don't think anybody is suggesting otherwise. The issue is Baltimore's major weakness against left handed pitching. Also, the decision was not solely Gibbons', no doubt. I don't think anybody thinks that, either. In any event, Stroman gets the call, and lets hope it works out. Dirk Hayhurst's TSN article says that the Orioles' decision to start Tillman is actually worse, given how good Jimenez has been in the 2nd half.
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#332939) #
Stroman is not better than Liriano against the Orioles, so that point is irrelevant.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#332940) #
again, nobody would be talking about lefty matchups if this was Sanchez v Liriano, and Stroman has been better than Sanchez for the last 2+ months now (and was better coming into the year as well).

I mean, Donaldson has the worst stats vs Tillman of any hitter in the lineup tonight - should he be hitting 9th? Is Gibbons just hitting him 2nd out of "loyalty"?
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#332941) #
Szymborski went into that in his article as well:

- Even though ZiPS thinks Liriano is a slightly worse pitcher than Stroman against a neutral team/league (4.11 ERA vs. 4.01 ERA),

4.11 ERA vs a 4.01 ERA for a neutral team/league does not compute to a much better pitcher. I'll take his numbers over yours.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#332942) #
unfortunately zips has dissappeared from fangraphs since the season ended but something must have radically changed in them from last week.

But Steamer has it as 3.47 for stroman vs 3.89 for Liriano, meaning Liriano's is 12% worse. And that's without even taking into account that that is projecting Stroman for 6.2ip/gs vs 5.7 for Liriano - 8% worse for Liriano.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#332943) #
For one game I think everything is out the window. This is a case where we need some hitters to wake up or the Jays lose. We need the pen to be good or the Jays lose. Stroman vs Liriano is a coin toss right now - both are very good pitchers, neither right now is an ace.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#332944) #
If the Jays putrid offense doesn't wake up, it could be vintage Pedro Martinez pitching for the Jays and it wouldn't matter.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#332945) #
Regardless of what happens tonight, the mere fact that Liriano could be seriously considered as the pitcher for such a crucial game is testament to the fact that he was an excellent acquisition for the Jays at the trade deadline, and he should be a major asset in 2017.  

I know it's too early to be looking ahead to next season, but it's a huge advantage for the Jays to have 5 above-average starters already under contract for 2017, plus a good closer and a couple of good set-up men, plus a bunch of excellent hitters, even if two or three of the hitters depart.  It simplifies the off-season and allows the front office to focus on acquiring a couple of hitters and two or three relievers.  The premium positions are basically filled.  The Jays just need to reinforce the edges (DH, 1B, LF, RF).

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#332946) #
The projections on fangraphs were from the beginning of the year.  Dan Szymborski could probably produce projections for Liriano and Stroman current to today. 

I love Marcus Stroman and subjectively I am happy to see him get a start.  I hope that he's been told to not worry about going deep into the game.  If it's Stroman for 4 or 5 innings and then Liriano for 2 or 3, that works for me.  But then I always did have a soft spot for the tandem start...

Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#332947) #
Completely agree with that China Fan. One good thing is even without Jose/EE there is actually a glut of 1B/DH types. So it should be reasonable to get one. I am concerned about OF though. There isn't a lot out there. We're putting a lot of faith in Pompey not being awful.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#332948) #
no, the projections on fangraphs are updated with every game.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#332949) #
"I mean, Donaldson has the worst stats vs Tillman of any hitter in the lineup tonight - should he be hitting 9th? Is Gibbons just hitting him 2nd out of "loyalty"?"

OK, now you're getting absurd. How many career AB's does Donaldson have against Tillman? The Orioles weakness against left handed pitchers this year encompasses over 6,000 AB's, and is a definite, and very significant team weakness.

Some interesting comments by Shapiro about it on The Fan just now. Talked about the likely use of both during the game, and what is the best order for them to appear in the game. Got the impression that Stroman may only go a few innings, and then Liriano comes in. Of course, a lot depends on how the game is going.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#332950) #
"....I always did have a soft spot for the tandem start..."

I have a hunch that this could be the scenario for tonight.  Gibbons repeatedly mentioned that Liriano will be "waiting in the wings" to tackle the LHBs, which are a big percentage of the Baltimore lineup, so he could easily be the choice for 2 or 3 middle innings.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#332951) #
""The Orioles weakness against left handed pitchers this year encompasses over 6,000 AB's"

Actually only 1389ab, spread out over 24 hitters.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#332952) #
The Orioles weakness against left handed pitchers this year encompasses over 6,000 AB's, and is a definite, and very significant team weakness.

...
which they tried to address by acquiring Pearce at the deadline.  If he had been healthy and performing at his usual level or if Rickard was healthy, the calculus would be substantially different.  It's about the combination of history and injuries which specifically hit them at a weakness. 
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#332953) #
Win or lose I'm not a big fan of the one game playoff. It's great to have more teams in the postseason but I just wish there was a way to have a best of three for the wild card. We'll be talking about heroes or goats tomorrow.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#332954) #
Had Gibbons chosen Liriano, would anyone be suggesting an error and that Stroman should start instead? I suspect not.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#332955) #
Win or lose I'm not a big fan of the one game playoff.

Shapiro discussed this in an interview yesterday, and was on the commissioner's committee that came up with the format. He indicated that people on the committee, in particular he recalled Mike Scioscia advocating, thought that anything more than a single game would detract from the more important achievement of winning the division over 162 games. If the team is unhappy about having to win today to make the playoffs, its opportunity rested in not scoring the fewest runs in the league in September, not in playing multiple Wild Card games. I'm good with that.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#332956) #
which they tried to address by acquiring Pearce at the deadline. If he had been healthy and performing at his usual level or if Rickard was healthy, the calculus would be substantially different.

The decision to start Stroman certainly reduces the significance of what would have otherwise been a major injury to Pearce. It largely takes it out of the equation for the biggest game of the year so far. Not that a decision should be made on that basis alone of course, but i suspect Showalter is somewhat relieved.

If the Jays get by the O's, I'm curious to see the remaining rotation decisions. Shapiro was asked if this meant Liriano is now relegated to the pen for the playoffs and answered in the negative, but I suspect Gibbons will want the flexibility for as many platoon bullpen match ups as possible.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#332957) #
"Actually only 1389ab, spread out over 24 hitters"

Not true. They have over 6,000 AB's this season. You need to compare their AB's vs right handed pitchers to their AB's vs left handed pitchers in order to see the difference. Just looking at the AB's vs left handed pitchers would tell you nothing - you would have nothing to compare it to.
Parker - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 05:51 PM EDT (#332958) #
Had Gibbons chosen Liriano, would anyone be suggesting an error and that Stroman should start instead? I suspect not.

I don't think Gibbons gets to make these decisions on his own. I sure hope he doesn't.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#332959) #
It's completely certain that Gibbons wasn't the sole decision-maker on the Stroman decision.  In fact I suspect Shapiro was the most influential voice on the decision, given his seniority in the Jays hierarchy.  But don't listen to me, listen to this interview with Shapiro himself:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/590/prime-time-sports/shapiro-wild-card-game-picking-stroman/

In this interview, Shapiro repeatedly calls it a "collective" decision to choose Stroman, where there was consensus among everyone.  He mentions the analytics team, he mentions Gibbons, and he even mentions Russell Martin as being among the voices in the decision.  And Shapiro, like Gibbons, is emphasizing that Stroman and Liriano are likely the two main pitchers tonight.  The only question was their sequencing.  They decided to go with Stroman first and Liriano second.  (Obviously this depends on the game situation.  They might choose another pitcher for a batter or two, or they might choose a different hurler if the Jays have a big lead.  But Shapiro clearly identified Stroman and Liriano as the two priority pitchers for the Jays tonight.)

I really don't like the conspiracy theory that Shapiro would use the Stroman decision as a way of getting rid of Gibbons.  Shapiro has made it clear that this was a "collective decision", so they won't be able to use it as a pretext to get rid of Gibbons.

If they decide to dump Gibbons at the end of the season, it will be for other reasons.
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#332960) #
Yeah I don't think anyone who blames Gibbons for this knows how the Jays operate. They're extremely collaborative now. We saw with the Sanchez innings limits issue how much they discussed and planned and analyzed things. I don't think there is any alpha dog in the Jays org who makes decisions on his own. It's just not Shapiro's MO.
Mylegacy - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#332961) #
Baseball's beauty is that it is a magnificent marathon. An exhausting 6 month journey punctuated by single games or short series who's impact is inordinately out of proportion to most games.

Our next game (our last game?) is one such game. Win or lose. These are MY Jays, and I love 'em!

Play ball like your lives depend on it, you beautiful bast*ards!!

I hope the front office is readying our tickets to Texas BEFORE the game!! No guts, no glory!!
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#332962) #
""Had Gibbons chosen Liriano, would anyone be suggesting an error and that Stroman should start instead? I suspect not."

Choosing a trade deadline castoff that won't male the playoff rotation over your opening day starter (who's dominated the last 2+ months) in a one game playoff? kinda nutso idea when you think about it.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#332963) #
"he even mentions Russell Martin as being among the voices in the decision"

this i'm not surprised about.
Kasi - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#332964) #
I don't think thats nuts. Any more than taking the guy who is a top 5 at the time SP in baseball and playing him with a 6 run lead in middle relief when he would have pitched on full rest in the next game 5 for a guy who missed most of the season.
Parker - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#332965) #
I'd go with Liriano, personally. Baltimore as a team struggles hard against lefties, and Liriano is a better pitcher. Yeha, he struggled in Pittsburgh this year, but the career numbers don't lie. Stroman is very good in a small sample, but in one game, I think you go with the platoon split. Gimme two more years of last year's Stroman and yeah, he's a better pitcher. He just hasn't been that much better for long enough to make any claims of superiority.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#332966) #
Of course, the Jays could always pull a stunt like the Royals did in '85 to the Jays. Bobby Cox was known for platoons and was always shifting guys so in game 7 (win or go home) he started Brett Saberhagen (RHP) and pulled him after just 3 shutout innings and brought in Charlie Leibrandt (LHP) who went 5 1/3 giving up just 2 runs. By the time closer Dan Quisenberry was in there were no pinch hitters left not that it would've mattered as Cox never would've hit for Damaso Garcia (around a 300 OBP).
scottt - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#332967) #
Stroman has been good occasionally.

Last two month were better in some way, but still pretty underwhelming overall.

Game scores of 79, 43, 65, 68, 38, 49, 52, 52, 51, 77, 44.

For comparison, Liriano has gone 51, 37, 67, 52, 64, 50, 70, 70.

If a 50 wins, we're good, but if it takes a 70 the odds don't look that good.

Against Baltimore this year, 55, 37, 17, and 44.

We'll know soon enough, but this could easily make Stroman unpopular with the fans.

scottt - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#332968) #
The preshow presented this as Gibbons saying "This is my decision and my decision only."

Zaun stated that Stroman pitched very poorly against Baltimore.

jerjapan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#332969) #
I don't think thats nuts.  Any more than taking the guy who is a top 5 at the time SP in baseball and playing him with a 6 run lead in middle relief when he would have pitched on full rest in the next game 5 for a guy who missed most of the season.

That was truly, inexplicably, nuts.  people get too cute this time of year.
China fan - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#332970) #
".....The preshow presented this as Gibbons saying "This is my decision and my decision only."...."

I assume that's not a direct quote from Gibbons, but merely someone trying to do a rough summary or paraphrase of his comments retroactively.

Shapiro made it very clear that it was a "collective" decision, and I provided the actual audio of his comments earlier.

Magpie - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#332971) #
Game Thread ready to go. Thought about sacrificing a goat. Real old-school, that...
scottt - Tuesday, October 04 2016 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#332972) #
Oh, and  please, no outside pitches while shifting with 2 strikes on.
Parker - Wednesday, October 05 2016 @ 08:04 AM EDT (#333239) #
I sacrificed a bucket of fried chicken. Seems to have worked.
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