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A weekend set against the Angels. A 7-10 team so hopefully the Jays keep them sub-500 this weekend by winning at least 1 of the 4 games.

Alex Meyer is their 8th best prospect and goes on the hill tonight vs Mat Latos making his Jays debut after going 9 innings over 2 starts allowing 1 run 6 BB and 9 K's in AAA. Meyer in his 28 ML innings has walked 20 so this could be a very long night if the Jays are patient.

Saturday sees Casey Lawrence vs Tyler Skaggs (LHP)

Sunday is Marcus Stroman vs Jesse Chavez (yes, that one)

Monday sees Francisco Liriano vs Ricky Nolasco

If this was 2015 or 2016 I'd be rooting for a Jays sweep with that group of 4 pitchers going against them but now I'm hoping for a split. Sigh - lowered expectations. Lets hope the Jays get it going this weekend and work towards ending April on a high note (3 at Cardinals next, then 3 against the Rays in Toronto).
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China fan - Friday, April 21 2017 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#340978) #
Trying to look for the positive:  at least we'll get a good chance to assess the rotation depth this weekend.  Lots of fans have been critical of the lack of depth.  That could be a very legitimate criticism, but maybe Latos and Lawrence will be better than expected and the Jays will have stronger depth than we had realized.  Latos has the pedigree, and Lawrence has been surpassing expectations for years.  Maybe we'll come out of the weekend with a clearer idea of the 6th and 7th starters.   Or maybe not.
scottt - Friday, April 21 2017 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#340979) #
Nothing like a trip on the the west coast to clear your head.

What's on the menu today? Looks like Pork Belly Watermelon Salad.

Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 21 2017 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#340980) #
Bunting with the only hitter who's been worth his salt on a 2-0 pitch. Gibbons trying too hard
Eephus - Friday, April 21 2017 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#340981) #
This season is really shaping up to be a lesson of pain tolerance, and I vividly remember the original Season From Hell...

Also Latos hasn't changed a bit from his Cincinnati days, beyond losing 3-4 mph on the fastball. He's always been a nibbler around the plate and it's always made me wanna pull my hair out.

Alex Obal - Friday, April 21 2017 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#340982) #
I figure Latos should find his way to a flyball-forgiving park (maybe even this one) and reinvent himself as Chris Young, throwing 35% belt high fastballs, 55% eye high fastballs, and 10% other.
krose - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 01:46 AM EDT (#340984) #
What happened to Tulo?
scottt - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 07:12 AM EDT (#340985) #
The bullpen was due to come up with one.
A one-win, extra-innings, comeback win on the road? I'll take it.

Bedrosian? I figured he had to be related, but Steve what kind of name is Cam?

Gerry - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 08:06 AM EDT (#340986) #
Quick summary:

Tulo tweaked his hamstring

Bautista hit a three run shot in the 13th

Bobbles by Smoak and Coughlan helped load the bases in the bottom of the 13th. The Angels made it a one run game and had the bases loaded with one out and Pujols up.

Biagini was supposed to have the day off but came on for the save.
eudaimon - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#340987) #
That was nice to wake up to. Sounds like it would have been stressful to actually watch.

Hopefully that HR will get Bautista out of his funk. A no doubter to not far from straight away center field is nice to see.

Our poor bullpen. I'm guessing Latos gets sent down for another arm. He doesn't look like a guy with much left in the tank.

One run win!
scottt - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#340988) #
And it looks like Graterol had two atbats against the Jays.
It probably says something about the Angels depth or he's their version of Goins.
Let's see.

Graterol was picked on waivers by the Angels in January, picked by the Jays from the Angels 4 days later and finally traded back to the Angels for a PTBNL 4 days ago. Graterol was acquired because their backup catcher Calos Perez has been hitting .077, so they decided to ship him to AAA to get some playing time.  Ironically, Salty is hitting 0.071 on the year so far.
Mike Green - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#340989) #
Aside from Bautista's homer, the big news was Danny Barnes' fine outing. With Howell on the way back also, Gibbons should have some decent alternatives to Biagini soon.
electric carrot - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#340990) #

electric carrot - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#340991) #
Bautista! Back from the Dead!
scottt - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#340992) #
Barnes has been pretty good for a while now. I wonder, in my naivety, if Martin needs some time to figure out how to call the game with those pitchers he doesn't know that well. Well, some of them anyway.
eudaimon - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#340993) #
I like Danny Barnes. If he can contribute some good innings with any consistency it'd be a good boost to the team. I didn't see him last night, but I remember last year that he at least seems to keep the ball down in the zone.
China fan - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#340995) #
"....the big news was Danny Barnes' fine outing...."

Ryan Tepera was even better, and in extra innings too. He threw 3 innings of one-hit ball, with no runs, no walks, and 3 strikeouts.

But that followed two poor outings by Tepera in his last two games.  Meanwhile, Dominic Leone had a poor outing after several good outings.  Frankly all of the relievers (except Biagini and perhaps Joe Smith) have been inconsistent this year, which of course is inherent in the nature of relievers.  I worry that Grilli is finally showing his age this season, and he's maybe showing the reasons why the Braves gave up on him last year.  Howell has made his first rehab appearance in Dunedin, but I haven't heard whether he'll be back soon or not.

The current depth chart in the bullpen might be:  Osuna, Biagini and Smith for the high-leverage situations; the rest of them for middle innings or lower-leverage situations.
Cracka - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#340996) #
Did anyone end up staying awake until ~3:40 am EST to watch the end? I managed until about 2 am...

Likely going to see a few roster moves today - the bullpen is in rough shape with Tepera/Barnes/Biagini certainly unavailable and Smith & Leone either unavailable or greatly restricted. That leaves Grilli, Osuna, and Loup, who can cover 3 innings AT BEST...

Options from Buffalo aren't great: Bolsinger, Dermody, and Girodo all pitched extensively yesterday; T.J. House is today's scheduled starter and is likely the best option (has ML experience, can go 5+ innings if needed); John Stilson would be the other option I suppose. JP Howell could be also be added 2 days ahead of schedule... but he's not a multiple inning guy.

Then there's Tulo - he may need a DL stint to rest his hammy. Ty Kelly would have been the replacement, except he was DFA'ed. The team is still thin in the OF - and Zeke made two awful plays last night in LF - so maybe Ceciliani gets the call.

Regardless, there are a bunch of moves coming. My guess is that Latos is DFA'ed and TJ House is added. Lawrence will swap spots with either Tepara or Leone. And we'll know more later today about Tulo's health...
PeterG - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#340997) #
I too like Barnes. He should be a permanent fixture as opposed to riding the shuttle. But with unrealistic 25 man rosters, that may not be possible.
greenfrog - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#340998) #
For what it's worth, there is precedent for a slugger around Bautista's age to have an atrocious April, and then continue on with a very productive career.

In April 2010, David Ortiz had a wRC+ of 38 (Bautista currently has a wRC+ of 36). Ortiz turned it around in May and finished with 2.5 fWAR that year, and went on to post an additional 19.5 fWAR from 2011-2016.
scottt - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#340999) #
The shuttle is between Buffalo and Toronto. It's not that easy to get someone from Buffalo to LA in less than 24 hours.
scottt - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#341001) #
Well, I don't expect Bautista to turn into a hulking DH who can barely run the bases.
Not without getting  some sort of suspension.

James W - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#341002) #
Did anyone end up staying awake until ~3:40 am EST to watch the end? I managed until about 2 am...

I dozed off in the middle innings, but was wide awake from 1:30 until 4:00am.
China fan - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#341006) #
Tulo to the DL, Barnes optioned down, Campos promoted. 

Campos becomes the 18th pitcher to wear the Jays uniform this season, and it's still April 22.

John Northey - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#341012) #
17 pitchers have thrown so far with only Osuna and Sanchez under 25. Dominic Leone is 25. Stroman & Matt Dermody 26. On the other hand only Grilli is 35+ (he is 40).

10 pitchers have under 9 IP with a 10th at 9 on the nose (Tepera). Two have only got one out this year (Dermody, Howell). 5.6 IP per start for the starters (6 starters). 1 cheap win, 3 tough losses for the starters. The Jays have yet to win twice with the same starter, ie: the 4 wins came with 4 different guys starting. None have 110+ pitches in a start yet.
John Northey - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#341013) #
Well, Lawrence didn't do well but he wasn't horrid either. 4 ER in 6 1/3 IP plus 1 unearned run 3 BB 4 SO - it was that grand slam that kills it for him. Still, for a career minor leaguer it could've been a lot worse.

Now the challenge - who do you keep between him and Latos once one of Happ and Sanchez comes back or do you dump one and bring up someone else? If so who? I'd give each of them one more start before cutting bait on them. Lawrence impresses with the one baserunner after the GS until he got in trouble in the 7th. Look forward to seeing what he does next time.
cybercavalier - Saturday, April 22 2017 @ 11:32 PM EDT (#341014) #
Coglan pinched hit and substitute Barney. Why not Coglan and Pearce swap defensive position? That is LF Coglan, 3B Pearce, not LF Pearce, 3B Coglan
Thomas - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#341015) #
Why would you have swapped Pearce and Coghlan? For what reason?

Pearce played 12.2 innings at 3B in the majors between 2012 and 2016. Coghlan played 213.1 and made a nice defensive stop on a ball hit by Trout (and later an error) on Friday night.
dan gordon - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 02:43 AM EDT (#341017) #
Barnes looks better to me than he did last year. I was complaining about him not being called up when he was so utterly dominant in the minors last season, but then he looked tentative with the Jays, walked a few guys (which he wasn't doing at all in the minors), and gave up a fair number of very hard hit balls. This year he looks more in charge, like he feels he belongs. I'm sure he'll be back soon. If they get one starter back, I would expect Latos would be kept and Lawrence sent back down. Latos used to be a very good starter, and I think the Jays would like to hang on to him for a while and see what they have. Lawrence was decent today. He found another gear last year that changed him from mediocre AA pitcher to good AAA pitcher. He may need to find one more gear to be more than a fringy mlb/AAA guy. John Stilson is the latest one to claw his way back into the prospect books. He's mostly been good in AAA this year, and his last 2 outings have been excellent, with 7 K's, 0 walks over 4 IP. Hopefully he stays healthy this time.

As you can tell by the time of some of my posts, I tend to stay up pretty late, so yes, I saw the whole game on Friday. That last inning was maddening - to almost blow that lead after the 3-run home run, wow. Big sigh of relief when they got the last out.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#341019) #
I've not followed the team as long as some on here, so maybe this doesn't mean much, but the bad luck in first handful of games here really sticks out to me. From injuries, bad bounces, diving catches and wall scrapers going wrong way, double plays and in general the "you have got to be kidding me" moments, it's hard to imagine a group being as snakebit as the Jays have been.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#341020) #
I would second that, Petey. As I heard Ryan Goins say on an interview, it's not like they are having the crap beat out of them every game. Ice-cold hitting and injuries are a bad combination, and while I don't think the Jays are more than a .500 team at best, I also don't think they're as bad as their record so far.
scottt - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#341021) #
Lawrence pitched into the 7th, so he did his job. I don't think they were really looking for more extra innings.
Pearce and Travis had hits.

John Northey - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#341023) #
Be glad you weren't around for 1987. If you think this is maddening imagine it in the last week of the season with the playoffs on the line and the Jays lose and keep losing by 1 run as injuries keep happening. Drove us all nuts.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#341024) #
I agree that the Jays have been unlucky this year, but I don't think the injuries are necessarily a fluke. Before the season I thought that injuries would likely be more of a factor this year, especially among the aging veterans and the rotation (which was unusually healthy last year). So far that's what we've seen in 2017.
rpriske - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#341030) #
Does anyone understand how Calhoun was on 1st? At all?
rpriske - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#341031) #
I just found the answer.

Basically Buck and Pat are wrong. With nobody on base a quick pitch is called a ball.

That happened.

(With men on base it is a balk.)
China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#341032) #
The Jays continuing to invent new ways to give up runs.  That time, apparently, it was an illegal quick pitch by Stroman, leading to a run.  Gibbons and Stroman obviously disagreed very strongly, and the broadcasting team didn't understand it at all.  Stroman let it rattle him too much.
China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#341033) #
And now:  three base-running errors by the Jays in less than 4 innings.  Things just go from bad to worse.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#341034) #
In the rulebook, if the umpire thinks the pitcher quick pitched, it's an automatic ball if no one on base (a balk if there are baserunners). I've hardly ever seen that called.
China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#341035) #
Buck and Pat were so befuddled that they gave us endless analysis of the umpire allegedly "calling time" -- and zero analysis of whether the batter was set in the box, which was the actual reason why he was awarded a walk. 

Two innings later, they finally understood it when Arash explained it to them.  (Meanwhile it was explained by many people on Twitter about 15 minutes earlier.)  The replay does show that the batter wasn't really set in the box when Stroman threw.  That's a judgment call by the umpire, and he's perfectly entitled to rule that Stroman's pitch was an illegal quick pitch.

rpriske - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#341036) #
Yeah, looks like a good call to me.

Gibbons and Stroman were wrong. (and Buck... and Pat... and Mike Wilner on twitter... and... and...)
electric carrot - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#341037) #
"April is the cruelest month"
John Gibbons

James W - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#341039) #
I'm curious how the batter wasn't really set. He had both feet in the box. He had both hands on the bat. So he just wasn't paying attention.

I don't fully believe this, and by the letter of the rule, it was probably called correct. I suppose I'm REALLY mostly curious why NOW was the time they chose to enforce the rule, when any other time I've seen it, they'd just call time, and no pitch.

Another side note: Buck and Pat are bad enough as it is. I can't imagine how much worse they'd be if they were trying to read Twitter while broadcasting.
China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#341041) #
Stroman has been very pleased with his various pitching gimmicks:  the hitch, the delay, the quick pitch etc.   But you can't throw a pitch when the batter is still digging into the box and waving his bat in warm-up swings, which is what Stroman did.

Separate questions might be:  was Calhoun taking too long to set up, especially in view of MLB's attempts to speed up the pace of play?  Why is the "illegal quick pitch" so rarely called?  Should the umpire simply have called a time out, instead of an illegal pitch?   I don't know the answers.  But regardless of all that, it was a judgment call, the umpire was allowed to call it, and Stroman allowed himself to get much too rattled by the call.   I hope it doesn't prove to be the deciding run.

China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#341042) #
Yeah, I think James W made the relevant points more clearly than I did....
hypobole - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#341043) #
I'm not sure how "rattled" Stroman was. He gave up a hard hit single to Mike Trout and a seeing-eye multi-hopper ground ball to Pujols that scored the one run, then got Cron to ground out to end the inning.
China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#341044) #
Well, we're just guessing about Stroman's state of mind, and admittedly he didn't give up an extra-base hit in the inning, but his behavior was extraordinary:  stomping around the diamond, arguing with the umpire, still furious at the end of the inning, throwing his glove, and needing to be restrained multiple times by Martin and Bautista.   He certainly gave up more base-runners in that inning than he did in the rest of the game.

Gibbons was clearly trying to sacrifice himself by getting himself ejected, so that Stroman would settle down.  I don't think it worked.

Luckily it seems that Travis might yet save the game.  He needed that one.
hypobole - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#341045) #
It was Buck (Pat?) who brought up "rattled".

I think your "furious" is more apt.
snider - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#341046) #
Did the umpire signal play ball? I thought it was his job to do that otherwise it's not a pitch.
Gerry - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#341047) #
For seven innings the offense looked listless, just three hits and three runners eliminated on the bases. The Jays were heading for a bad loss.

Then for the last two innings the Jays were hitting machines.

You never know.

It was a good day of rest for the overworked bullpen.
Dave Till - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#341048) #
I've been following Blue Jays baseball seriously since 1983, and that's the first time I've ever seen a quick pitch called against a pitcher. Of course, most pitchers don't try to pitch the way that Stroman does.

It's such a rare call that I don't think Gibbons knew the rule. Buck and Pat didn't know it. I didn't know it (I had to look it up). And I don't think all the umpires knew the rule either - hence, the umpire conference.

What I'd like to know is whether the home plate umpire's call - while within the rules - deviated from standard practice.

Wasn't there a game a couple of years ago where the home plate umpire decided that he didn't like R.A. Dickey's set position, and called two balks on him?

scottt - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#341049) #
A quick pitch and a timeout called when the ball is already on its way home.
Forget about the managerial intentional walk. Don't these things exist only to slow the game down?
The hitter is in the box. The ump signals the pitcher to throw. Why is the hitter allowed to call time unless the pitcher is taking too long?

Nice comeback victory and, unlike Zaun, I don't mind the Jays pitchers celebrating victories.
What irritates me is the Boston outfield striking poses after a win.

I watched the last 2 Bautista at-bats. He saw 11 pitches. All outside. Maybe 3 were on the corner and all the others were balls. It's pretty clear the book on him is "everthing outside". I don't know if he can adjust to that, but he doesn't look like he plans to. He's just swinging at some balls outside his reach in the hope of hitting one out of the park.

China fan - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#341050) #
Deep respect to Stroman for getting past the "quick pitch" inning and then dominating the Angels for the rest of the game.  He took that emotion, that feeling of injustice, and turned it into a motivating force for a complete-game victory.  (Helped by some excellent defence and some much-needed HR power.) 

If we ignore the first 10 or 11 games of the season and focus instead on the past few games, almost all of the Jays hitters are greatly improved, and most of their numbers are now approaching respectability (or better).  The major problem now is simply the injuries.  But as others have noted, the Jays were lucky with their good health in the 2016 season and they were due to suffer some counter-balancing misfortune this season.  Most of the injuries have been relatively minor, so at least there's that.

In the meantime, they can assess what they've got in Coghlan and Latos and Lawrence.  I'd like to see T.J. House get a look at some point too.

John Northey - Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#341051) #
To me the #1 thing today is Stroman really showing he is the ace for this staff. Him and Sanchez are having a battle for who is the ace (always a good thing) and no question Stroman is in the lead with 2 complete games and showing despite two extremely bizarre calls from the home plate umpire, one of which I've never seen in my years of watching the Jays (since '78) and years in amateur ball (with University of Guelph) says something about that ump's call. To me it is secondary if it is technically right what matters is it is never called and goes against what MLB is trying to do - namely speed up the games. Technically right is secondary as shown by the infamous Pine Tar game where Billy Martin had the ump check George Brett's bat after he hit a home run, and it clearly had too much pine tar as he always played that way, then the famous charge out of the dugout. After the game one of the worst commissioners ever would overturn the call and force the teams to play from the home run on. I think MLB needs to go through the rule book and clean out any old rules that never are enforced or tell umps to start calling them all the time.
dan gordon - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#341052) #
I've been watching major league baseball for longer than the vast majority of you folks, I think I know the game extremely well, but I've never seen that quick pitch rule called, and in fact, I had never even hear of the rule. Looking at the replay several times, the batter just finished taking his last warm up swing as Stroman started his delivery. He was upset by the timing of the delivery, and motioned to the umpire, as if he was calling for time. Of course the batter can't call time after the pitcher starts his motion. I think the call by the umpire was marginal at best, and to pull an extremely obscure rule like that out of nowhere and call it on a marginal play is bizarre. I could see making that call if the batter was adjusting his helmet, or in the middle of a warm up swing or some such thing, when Stroman started his motion, but that was not the case.

I have to agree with Zaun about Stroman's gesticulations at the end of the game. Sure, celebrate with your teammates, I love seeing Jason Grilli's passion when he gets a big out, but all the chest pounding and gesturing and other stuff looks unprofessional to me. As Zaun said, maybe this is just the way the younger generation of players behave. I'm sure there are a lot of people who think it's OK - the Angels certainly didn't. Pujols looked like he wanted to tear him in half.
christaylor - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 06:48 AM EDT (#341055) #
Cultures change -- it really isn't a bad thing that baseball players look like they are having fun.

I'm reminded of a scene in the movie The Big Short when two young characters are stopped by Brad Pitt's character from celebrating a bet they made -- a bet that if it comes true (spoiler: it does) the US economy will be in crisis. Now that's a time to gripe about celebration.

It is a game. No harm in making it look like it is fun. Especially now, with replay, where the game has added a whole metric ton of no fun.
BlueJayWay - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#341057) #
What is the difference between Stroman's gesticulations and Grilli's passion?
rpriske - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#341060) #
Celebrate the game.

The other team SHOULD look unhappy about it, because they DIDN'T win... but there is nothing to be angry about.

This old school idea that celebrating is somehow a negative thing really needs to be extinguished.

hypobole - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#341064) #
Early season oddities.

The 3 best batters on our 25 man today by wRC+ - Pillar (140), Smoak (134) and Goins (129). They also have the 3 lowest K rates.

uglyone - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#341065) #
The Jays are finally starting to play some baseball.

Hope it's not too late to dig out of it. Would be nice if they could run off a couple series wins (sweeps?) to end the month and then start getting guys back from the DL.
PeterG - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#341066) #
I would contain my enthusiasm until the Jays play a couple of series against decent teams. The Angels are horrible with one of the worst pitching staffs I have seen in quite a while.
Dave Till - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#341067) #

What is the difference between Stroman's gesticulations and Grilli's passion?

Objectively, nothing. From the point of view of a Crusty Old-School Baseball Person [tm], I can think of only two reasons why their behaviour might be treated differently:

  • Racism. Grilli is white, Stroman is not.
  • Service time. Grilli has been in the game a long time, and Stroman has comparatively less experience.

I'm with you - I think that Stroman's celebrations are awesome.

I would contain my enthusiasm until the Jays play a couple of series against decent teams. The Angels are horrible with one of the worst pitching staffs I have seen in quite a while.

I am experiencing (muted) enthusiasm because there is a distinct possibility that the Jays are not the worst team in baseball. I suppose that we have found out whether bad pitching beats bad hitting, or vice versa. :-)

John Northey - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#341071) #
I hope Stroman stays enthusiastic. That is much more fun to watch - this was a hard fought game where he had to deal with 2 weird calls from the home plate umpire. A beauty of a play to end the game helps get the blood pumping. I enjoy watching enthusiasm instead of 'ho hum, we won again, big whoop.'
Mike Green - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#341072) #
I am pretty sure that this is not a really bad ballclub and also not a great one.  They simply have put themselves in a good-sized hole with a team-wide offensive slump, a few too many injuries at once and some bad luck. 

It's funny to see Pillar banging out these extra-base hits.  He still doesn't have good pitch recognition, but he can be pretty good with the bat if he displays medium-range pop.  He hasn't been great with the glove despite the highlight reel catches- on many of them, he gets a mediocre to bad break and doesn't really run well to the ball but saves the day with the dive. 

dan gordon - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#341073) #
Dave Till. I sincerely hope you are not calling me a racist. Shame on you if you are. The fact that Stroman and Grilli are of different skin colour is irrelevant. It's a matter of degree. Grilli isn't pounding his chest, pointing at himself, as if to say look at me, look how good I am. He's just happy and is showing it, which I think is great. There was another example of what I don't like in the Leaf game a few days ago. Kuznetsov turned to one of the Leafs after his team scored a goal, and yelled and laughed right in his face, and continued to do so while he backed away from him - Cherry called him out for doing it on Coach's Corner and then mentioned it again the next game. Not all celebrations or displays of emotion are created equal.
Nigel - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#341074) #
Mike Green, its interesting that you pointed out Pillar's defence. Based solely on the eye test, I've thought that Pillar was struggling in the field. Whether that's just a slump or some age related decline we will see. Fangraph's defensive WAR measurements don't like his defence either. Although small sample sizes definitely apply to that measurement, I think the Fangraphs' number coincides with the eye test.
Dewey - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#341075) #
I didn’t see the Stroman Show, so my comments are of a general nature,
not about whatever he did. But as a “Crusty Old-School Baseball Person
[tm]” myself, I can see how opposing players might object to excessive
“celebration”. When it tips over into gloating, in-your-face taunting,
finger-pointing and glowering stares it becomes simply provocation, more
concerned with ‘getting even’ than with having won. Is the focus on
your victory or on the other team’s loss?
christaylor - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#341076) #
Just asking -- what did you think of the bat flip? What do you think Rangers fans thought of it?

Stroman is good. I do want to look at how good he is -- that's why I watch him pitch. I believe he has every right to walk with as much swagger as he wants as long as he can back it up on the field. I don't care if a player cares to celebrate with a taunt, a silly dance, a flip, golf clap, or queenly wave. A baseball fan wants to see good baseball and a hockey fan good hockey.

Don Cherry wants to see good hockey like any hockey fan, but for him, being a true hockey fan includes ripping on Russians and Europeans. Greg Zaun wants to see good baseball but can't get past being a miserable git. They are as they are and both are clowns.
vw_fan17 - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#341077) #
I see on MLBTR that former Jay Steve Delabar has been suspended 80 games for failing a PED test..
jerjapan - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#341078) #
I certainly didn't see anything accusatory in Dave Till's comment - I think it's become a reasonable debate if SOME of the resistance to celebrations in baseball are based on older, less inclusive times and social mores.  I've certainly seen the idea raised in multiple forums over the past few years, and having coached high school athletics for a decade (not well, but I do have longevity), I have often seen cultural differences in the way people celebrate.  The same issues came up with the Latin presence in the Jays clubhouse, the bat flip, etc. 

I can respect the old school preference for 'doing things the right way'.  Heck, I'm a fan of sumo wrestling - you can't get more old school than that.  But personally, I like the emotion - it's more fun, and baseball could use a bit more of that relative to some of the other major sports. 

Tough guy taunting is gross, joyful celebrating is cool. 

Dave Till - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#341079) #

Dave Till. I sincerely hope you are not calling me a racist. Shame on you if you are.

Yikes! I wasn't accusing anybody of anything - sorry if it was misinterpreted. To me, Grilli and Stroman's emotional reactions on the mound are virtually identical, but other people's mileage may vary.

Michael - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#341080) #
On the celebrations, I think there are a couple of other additional dimensions:

Starter versus Reliever
Star player versus fringe player

I think racism is a factor at play in "traditional" coverage of this, and know players have claimed this as well (including Jays players).

Personally, I enjoy the celebrations. I like them more if they seem spontaneous and emotional than overly scripted or rehearsed (so I prefer the bat flip to the jumping outfielders on the pitcher-catcher door knocking or the closer bow and arrow), but any and all are fine.
Dave Till - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#341081) #
Just to add: my idea of a Crusty Old-School Baseball Person wasn't anyone on this board. I was thinking of some long-time scout or minor-league manager, thirty years in the game, expounding opinions while spitting tobacco juice into a cup in front of him. Such persons are (according to my carefully chosen stereotype) possibly prone to overgeneralizations about African-American or Latin ballplayers.

Much of the work of modern sabermetrics is overcoming some of the superstitions of old-time baseball players. (One of my favourites: I recall reading somewhere that one old-time manager always made sure, when forming a line of pitchers to do wind sprints, that the left-handers were not all at one end. They would throw off your whole line, he said.) A few old-school superstitions still remain: you're not allowed to mention a no-hitter while it is happening, for example.

I honestly think that Stroman isn't trying to show up the opposition - I think he's just overwhelmingly happy to have succeeded at his job. But I could be wrong.
electric carrot - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#341082) #
Personally, I can barely think of anything less appealing than a discussion between grown men (it is ALWAYS men) about exactly the precise semantic meaning of a celebration. So often the conversation begins as if each person talking should be given an honourary doctorate from Harvard University for their lifelong study of nonverbal communication. It's mostly embarrassing to the entire world and I wish they would just let it go and let people express themselves a little tiny bit every once in a while.

China fan - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#341083) #
".....They simply have put themselves in a good-sized hole with a team-wide offensive slump, a few too many injuries at once and some bad luck...."

Someone tweeted an interesting fact today:  if the Jays can manage to win 14 of their next 24 games (difficult but certainly not impossible), they will have the same record after 42 games that they had at this stage of their ALDS-winning season last year.

They are currently 5.5 games out of a Wild Card slot.

greenfrog - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#341084) #
* With nine teams to pass to garner the second WC spot.
Dewey - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#341085) #
1. As I said, I didn’t see Stroman’s behaviour. My comment wasn’t about him.
2. I loved Jose’s bat-flip, Chris.
3. I like celebrations generally, if they aren’t stupidly obnoxious.
4. I’ve only seen people like your tobaccy-spitter in movies, Dave. You’re right, it’s a stereotype.
5. Have no idea what’s up Mr Carrot’s nose. 
6. All I said was that I could see why other teams objected to excessive celebration. I’m amazed such a comment elicits discussion. (And some of the comments do seem a tad defensive, as I read them.)

 It’s television, of course. If someone thinks he's being watched the showmanship starts.  (I cant watch Andy Murray play tennis because his feral howls and fiercely clenched fists look so damned silly. But hey, he’s on TV. Everybody screams. Nothing attractive about screaming mouths filling your screen.) Was it Earl Weaver who advised one of his more histrionic homer-hitters to act “as if he’d done it before”?
China fan - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#341086) #
"....With nine teams to pass to garner the second WC spot....."

Of course.  My comments were absurdly optimistic and deliberately provocative.  There's no way to disguise the ugliness of the team's .278 record at the moment.  Even if they manage to win 3 of 4 from the sad-sack Angels, that won't convince anyone of anything.

I guess if I was to look for any glimmer of hope from the Jays so far this year, it would be the fact that they didn't look over-matched against the Red Sox in that series.  Boston is supposed to be the class of the division, but the Jays held their own and could have won the series if Stroman has pitched to his usual standard, or if Osuna hadn't surrendered a 9th-inning run.

electric carrot - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#341087) #

eudaimon - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#341088) #
It's a little early to be talking about having to pass X amount of teams. The 5.5 games back statement goes to show that we're really only a hot streak away from having a competitive record, nothing more. Whether the team is capable of that hot streak is a matter of debate, but I think that it's at least theoretically possible.
greenfrog - Monday, April 24 2017 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#341090) #
Of course, the competition is also capable of going on a hot streak, and the Jays could end up staying cool (especially with several of their best players on the DL).

The reality is that to make the postseason in 2017, the Jays' winning percentage will have to well exceed that of a number of other teams in the league between now and the rest of the year.
krose - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#341091) #
This home base umpire should lose his job. That third strike was an intentional missed call.
krose - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#341092) #
Wow! This game should be played under protest. Interference for swinging the bat in the box. This home plate ump is worse than the guy who got Laurie a few years ago. Not competent!
krose - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:33 AM EDT (#341093) #
Am I the only one seeing this? Have watched and played ball for over half a century. Only time I've seen this level of blatant bias was decades ago when we had a dad umpiring his son's game.
krose - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:41 AM EDT (#341094) #
Worth considering whether this ump is getting some extra money on the side for his performance tonight.
scottt - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 07:01 AM EDT (#341096) #
Sounds like it's a good thing this was too late for me to watch.
eudaimon - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#341097) #
If the opposition gets hot then they're more likely to win the division as well. Point being, to be competitive for the wild card we just have to be in reach of the 86-90 win mark. It doesn't really matter how many teams are ahead of us now, because the eventually number of wins needed stays around the same regardless.

We really need JD.
Gerry - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#341099) #
By my count the Jays have had five base runners thrown out in the last two games. Yesterday Pillar was caught stealing for the second game in a row. Carrera was picked off yesterday and Sunday. And Bautista was thrown out stretching a single into a double on Sunday.

Its sloppy play and sort of sums up the season so far.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#341103) #
The outs on the basepath are definitely irritating.  They are not stealing bases (4-5 as a club) and not taking extra bases, which is expected for an older slower club, but the outs are unnecessary and unexpected.

The umpires did not distinguish themselves in this series.  Come to think of it, they did distinguish themselves but not in a good way.

hypobole - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#341104) #
I'd like to add those 2 sacrifice bunt attempts by Coghlan. The one Sunday could have been a double play if Martin had been a bit less alert. Yesterday's brought back memories of 2013 Emilio Bonifacio.

Sacrifice bunts by anyone but a pitcher are questionable strategy at best. Watching Coghlan butcher it again last night was infuriating.

Trying to add a positive note, Lariano wasn't good, but he was good enough. And Leone was terrific getting out of that bases loaded jam he inherited.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#341105) #
So the Jays are 2-12 in games decided by 2 runs or fewer, or in extra innings. That's...frustrating....
Nigel - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#341106) #
Bunting with none out in the 9th on the road with a LH hitter up got the result it deserved. Both pitches that were bunted foul were borderline at best. Bad baseball from the manager on down this year, apart from the starters. They are an ugly team to watch this year, from a purist's perspective. Which is odd because they were pretty good on the fundamentals last year.
bpoz - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#341108) #
I am going to compare the actual record with the pythag record at the end of the months of April, May,June and a week before the trading deadline.

Also try to decide/rank the RH set up roles in the pen.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#341109) #

Francisco with a lariat?

Bunting with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out, down one run in the ninth, is a perfectly reasonable strategy as far as I am concerned.  You'd think that Coghlan would be able to give you something, given his history and age, even if it was as simple as getting down a bunt when you really need it.  Coghlan has given them zip- well, actually less than zero (as Elvis Costello sang four freaking decades ago).  
hypobole - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#341111) #

Doh, maybe I shouldn't have stayed up so late last night. Or maybe not maybe.

Reasonable, questionable strategy. Does sacrificing really improve the odds of scoring? Coghlan may be a competent bunter, but I'd have to see some real evidence after watching him butcher 2 in 2 days.

Nigel - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#341112) #
hyperbole - going off memory (again) on the win probabilities chart for bunting with runners on 1st and 2nd no out; I believe bunting increases (I think only fairly modestly) your chances of scoring one run in that situation and fairly significantly decreases your chances of scoring more than one run. I will admit that this probably isn't a stat that should be run off memory. Having said that, the way that the Angels played it last night (they practically had the 3rd and 1st baseman standing on home plate when the pitch was delivered) was going to make bunting a challenge. I think you rely on a LH batter to pull the ball to the right side in that situation, with a distinct hope of getting a single. With a RH hitter up, I think a bunt is more defensible. Worst of all though was that the pitcher had just walked Martin to put a runner in scoring position. Coghlan then bunted at two marginal pitches.
Nigel - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#341113) #
Sorry - run probabilities not win probabilities. Brain cramp.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#341114) #
In general terms, a successful sacrifice (with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs in the top of the ninth down 1) does not improve the visitor's chance of winning (roughly 45%) according to Tango's win expectancy tables.  However, that is the general rule, and includes circumstances where the batter is Josh Donaldson and those where the batter is Chris Coghlan.  You also have to factor in the risk of failure and the chance that the defence will screw up the bunt play. 

Personally, if I had any confidence that Coghlan could execute, I would have been happy to run the play. Coghlan isn't hitting and  I'd much rather have Travis coming up with runners on 2nd and 3rd. If they walk Travis, then presumably Pearce for Goins.  It would work out nicely if you do come back because Barney pinch-ran for Smoak. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#341115) #
Of course, if the infield is in very severely, that does change the percentages. 
James W - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#341116) #
Using data from 1984-1994, the run expectancy of 1st and 2nd, 0 outs is 1.50 runs. Run expectancy of 2nd and 3rd, 1 out is 1.40 runs.

Chance of scoring 1+ runs at 12-, 0 outs was 63.6%. Chance of scoring at -23, 1 out was 68.6%.

So a successful sacrifice bunt would increase the chance of scoring 1 run, while decreasing your expected number of runs.
Nigel - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#341117) #
Coglan declared his intent to bunt so early that the P was shaking hands with the 3B and 1B on his follow through. It was like watching a pitcher bunt in the NL.
#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#341118) #
Another discouraging effort. I would like to see Coghlan gone, the Phillies were right to send him packing. Terrible bunting, atrocious.

Carrera not throwing to the right base again. Should be benched for his brain-dead outfield play. Call up Dwight Smith Jr. or Leblebijian because there has to be consequences for this type of brutal play.

Grilli was lucky to get out of the eighth. The Angels were hitting rockets but right at people.

Toby Bastard is an awful umpire. Needs to be demoted immediately.

hypobole - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#341119) #
It was like watching a pitcher bunt in the NL.

It was worse. Many NL pitchers can bunt, because they practice it a lot. Position players for the most part rarely practice bunting.
Nigel - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#341120) #
On the positive side both Smith and Leone looked excellent. Smith, in particular, has looked capable of handling significant high leverage work. I would be happy with an Osuna, Biagini, Smith pecking order in the pen right now. Grilli looks like a problem to me right now.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#341121) #
How bad was the ump? Checking Pitch F/X he was very bad.

vs LHH: LAA pitchers: 3 balls called strikes, 1 strike called a ball
vs LHH: Tor Pitchers: 1 ball called a strike

vs RHH: LAA pitchers: 6 balls called strikes, 1 strike called a ball
vs RHH: Tor pitchers: 3 balls called strikes, 2 strikes called balls

Net situation: LAA pitchers: 9 balls called strikes, 2 strikes called balls = net benefit of 7 for them

Tor pitchers: 4 balls called strikes, 2 strikes called balls = net benefit of 2 for Jays

Net loss of 5 pitch calls for the Jays when all is factored in. Note: I just ignored all pitches on the line.

This obviously isn't factoring in situation (runners on or not, quality of hitter, etc.) Still it doesn't look good does it?
PeterG - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#341122) #
Coghlan will be gone when JD returns. If Dwight Smith and Jason Leblejijian continue to hit in Buffalo, we will likely see them in TO sometime in June or July.
krose - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#341123) #
Sorry for last nights rant about the ump. I was particularly galled because he seemed intent on angering some players and coaches.

Looking forward to the remainder of the season because something very interesting is going to happen ... for certain. Either they start playing a lot better or we will be seeing some player moves. A distinguished and dignified veteran team, ala the early 2000 Yankees, can be fun to watch. Also very interesting to watch these new era, hyper tuned athletes make their professional debuts.
Gerry - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#341124) #
Russell Martin...third base...tonight. Desperate much?
PeterG - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#341125) #
Is there any available news on Borucki, Gerry?
scottt - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#341127) #
I guess Martin plays 3B because Gibby is always scared to play without a DH.
This is reminiscent of Glauss playing SS.

Salty is done to .056. It's hard to get going when you're only playing twice a week.
It's less of a problem when you have a defense first backup catcher.
Meanwhile, A.J. Jiminez has an OPS of .371.. in the PCL.

hypobole - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#341128) #
Salty is doing his best to make us miss Thole.
China fan - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 07:46 PM EDT (#341129) #
"....I guess Martin plays 3B because Gibby is always scared to play without a DH..."

Not sure of the logic of that.   More plausible is what Gibby himself says:  Martin is probably the best athlete on the team, has played 96 innings at 3B in the past, and has been one of the team's best hitters recently, and the team needs to keep his bat in the lineup, while also providing some occasional playing time for Saltalamacchia.  I guess 3B is not as physically taxing as catching, so it does provide him with a break from the catching duties.

Even after his terrible start, Martin currently has the highest OBP of anyone on the team's active roster.  It makes sense to find a way to keep his bat in the lineup, while also helping him avoid an excessively heavy workload at the C position.
scottt - Tuesday, April 25 2017 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#341133) #
the team needs to keep his bat in the lineup,

Like I said, reminiscent of Glauss playing SS.  The Cards haven't been hitting either, so the key might just be to play good defense, although, with Estrada starting, that might be more a job for the outfielders.

This is considered a pitcher's park which might works for Estrada.

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