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The #BlueJays head to beautiful Tropicana Field for a trio of games.

Series Preview / Probable Starters

Monday at 7:10 pm ET - Sam Gaviglio (2-1, 2.51) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (4-2, 3.68)
Tuesday at 7:10 pm ET - Jamie Garcia (2-4, 5.57) vs. TBA
Wednesday at 1:10 pm ET - J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.71) vs. TBA

The Rays have won just once in nine games in June, beating Seattle at home Saturday but losing three of four to the M's over the weekend. The Rays are 29-35, a half-game back of the juggernaut Jays who surged ahead with a four-game sweep over baseball savant Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Orioles. The 30-35 Jays are 14 games behind the New York Yankees for top spot in the AL East.
Blue Jays @ Rays - June 11-13 | 69 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, June 11 2018 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#359755) #
Did Vlady just show up and try and promote himself?
hypobole - Monday, June 11 2018 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#359757) #
Gibby's leadoff and cleanup hitters making him look smart so far.
Petey Baseball - Monday, June 11 2018 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#359759) #
Morales looks like a different guy.

hypobole - Monday, June 11 2018 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#359760) #
I was looking at his numbers earlier today. He's traded some ground balls for fly balls. BB's/K's similar to last year. Still has excellent exit velocity, with more hard hit balls than last year. He should be around league average, not where he's at.
uglyone - Monday, June 11 2018 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#359761) #
Morales is always fine vs LHP.
CeeBee - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#359772) #
Looks like Smoak and Pillar don't want to be left out of the mendoza club. Can't remember seeing such an anemic hitting team in a long while.
perlhack - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#359779) #
Just an FYI: tonight on The Agenda (TVO) the second segment will be a piece titled "The Legacy of Babe Ruth". The description states "Then, Toronto-based author Jerry Amernic discusses the legacy of Babe Ruth and why racism may have prevented him from becoming a big league manager."
92-93 - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#359782) #
If he's healthy, Travis will have the highest batting average on the team before June is over.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#359783) #
jays sit 14th in team wrc+ (18th not including pitchers), and 9th in runs.

not so anemic imo.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#359786) #
Here are the AVG/OBP/SLG (and isolated OBP, isolated SLG, K/9) every 10 years starting in 1978.
  • 1978: 258/323/379 (65, 121, 4.8)
  • 1988: 254/318/378 (64, 124, 5.6)
  • 1998: 266/335/420 (69, 154, 6.6)
  • 2008: 264/333/416 (69, 152, 6.8)
  • 2018: 246/317/407 (71, 161, 8.6)

Not sure, really, of what to make of all this.

Isolated OBP has gone up, but not nearly as much as striking out and isolated SLG. Perhaps pitchers are being more cautious (thus more walks) but are enjoying a larger strike zone (thus disproportionately more strike outs). Or maybe a contributing factor to the increase in Ks is the changing pitching strategy of throwing hard, and for a short time, rather than economically with a long outing in mind.

Isolated SLG has been going up and who knows how to apportion the cause. New parks? New baseballs? New hitting strategies? All seem to be contributors.

I was surprised to see the rates not being crazily different from 20 years ago... save for the strike outs, of course. A 20-point drop across the board could simply be blamed on the new strike zone.

As much as I can understand what is driving today's strategies (go big or go home), it seems a less enjoyable game to watch. I am no fan of small ball, but balls in play, and speed and athleticism, are more fun to watch than crunch-homerun, crunch-homerun, crunch-homerun. I feel the same about basketball. I understand the mentality of limiting 2-point shots to the lane and shooting 3's otherwise, but it gets tiresome to watch. Or maybe I'm just betraying my age.

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#359789) #
I'd guess that fly ball rates are up too- lower averages, higher IsoP or IsoSLG.  That probably contributes to the K trend as well- swing paths more conducive to the fly ball are probably more likely to result in Ks. 

Subjectively, I'm seeing signs that some successful teams are taking a more balanced offensive approach.  We'll see if that spreads. 
Chuck - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#359790) #
Subjectively, I'm seeing signs that some successful teams are taking a more balanced offensive approach.

I am thinking that K/9 pretty clearly speaks to offensive and defensive strategies. I guess we'll see if we are at the apex yet and if the pendulum is indeed about to start changing direction. Not sure what exactly would motivate that change. Perhaps being able to cheaply acquire productive players with an atypical profile (high OBP, low SLG)?

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#359792) #
What would motivate the change?  HR rates are falling.  Last year, they were at 1.3 HR/9IP and this year it is 1.1 HR/9IP.  That's a big difference and changes the dynamics for swing path for many with medium range power and some speed.  The series with the Os illustrated the point, I thought.  There were a few fly balls they hit which I thought would have left the park a year or two ago. 
uglyone - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#359794) #
chuck I'd be interested in seeing the 5yr intervals there. my gut says there's more bounce in those numbers.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#359795) #
What would motivate the change?

I wasn't suggesting that nothing would, only that I don't know what would.

hypobole - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#359799) #
Here's Jeff Z's take on the falling HR rate from a few days ago.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#359803) #
the steroids era (~95-05) may have screwed up all the isO numbers.

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#359808) #
Sorry, Chuck.  I wasn't intending a snarky reply.  I was merely trying to answer your question. 

I wonder how all of this affects a prospect like Cavan Biggio. 
Michael - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#359818) #
On the HR rate, the composition of the ball is likely responsible for some of the local changes over the past few years. The "juiced ball" and "unjuiced ball" will change the number of HR and small changes there can have large impacts in the overall numbers.
John Northey - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#359820) #
I suspect part of the ISO issue is the way teams have so many 90+ throwing relievers (even 100+).  The harder the ball is thrown the harder it will be hit, when contact is made of course.  Seems logical and could probably be checked.
christaylor - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#359826) #
I swore off them after the ridiculous dropping of "Devil" for no logical but the non-tradtional pitcher usage has me rooting for the Tampa team.
#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#359828) #
Good story on Tulo from Arden Zwelling. No idea when he will return.

Magpie - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#359829) #

That Gibbons. Just an incorrigible optimist.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#359831) #
Cash out managed Gibbons in this one.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#359832) #
Gibbons out managed Gibbons.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 12 2018 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#359837) #
Injuries and under-performance aside, it's time for a managerial shakeup. The team hasn't exactly folded up it's tent through this extended awfulness, but hasn't shown any sign (short of beating the worst team in the league) of coming out of it, and we're going on almost two months (if you count the series in New York where they lost 3/4) of bad, at times, terrible baseball. Gibby obviously built up a lot of capital by managing the team through it's best two seasons in a long time, but it's time for a new voice. The last time Gibbons was fired,

I'd love to see DeMarlo Hale get a shot to try and right the ship here in '18. I'm not sure how he'd be tangibly different than Gibby, but he's paid his dues. In 2008, they fired John Gibbons with a 35-39 record on June 19th and the team ended up twelve games over .500 by September.

If they lose tomorrow, I would say it will happen shortly after the game.
85bluejay - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:57 AM EDT (#359840) #
Watching guys like Granderson/Pearce/Morales/Solarte/Estrada etc. on a team going nowhere is Joyless and completely uninteresting to me - so I'm not watching - I'd like a major selloff in July (of course, I wanted that last year also) and have guys like Fields/Smith/Gurriel/Leblebijian etc. play - I know they are mostly AAA fodder but maybe you discover a complementary player or someone increases their trade value but I'd be more inclined to pay attention - Alford/Jansen/Borucki etc in Sept.

I'd wait until winter to change the Manager.
scottt - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 07:07 AM EDT (#359842) #
Watching Solarte is never joyless. I'm not sure how you're watching Pearce--who has the 3rd highest OPS on the team after Hernandez and Smith Jr--ignoring the pitchers with 3 ABs or less.
Granderson is the next highest OPS.

Gurriel had an OPS of .537 while on the team and he was mostly there to replace Diaz.
Don't look now, but Pillar has an OPS of .528 in the last 30 days.
And Martin hasn' t hit all year.

I'm not sold on Travis, but we need to watch him all year.
It's very likely the Jays will sell players in July, but until then, they have to field what they have.

Now, I will admit that I would have preferred to see Leblebijian instead of Urshela, but not at SS.

hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#359843) #
Did anyone else catch the bit in the Gaviglio start the other day where they explained how he had to change the grip on one of his pitches because major and minor league balls are different?

A bit odd for a multi-billion dollar enterprise, at least in my opinion.

I googled at found this from a year and a half ago - don't remember seeing it before (although at my age, there's a lot of things I don't remember).
hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#359844) #
Wilner tweet yesterday:

Gibby: If Donaldson is good to go tomorrow, we’ll activate him, even with the off-day coming Thursday. We want him back as soon as possible. We need a reason to get 85bluejay to start watching games again.

OK, I made that last part up.
ayjackson - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#359853) #
I know Gibbons doesn't want to "jinx" Grichuk by moving him up in the lineup, but maybe he could "reverse-jinx" Pillar and Martin by moving them down?

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#359856) #
Gibbons went an awful long way with Garcia last night.  In the bottom of the 5th, the Rays didn't score but Gameday has it as "Refsnyder lined out sharply to Pillar, Duffy lines out sharply to Hernandez, Bauers walks, and Ramos lines out to Grichuk".  I was watching and Gameday isn't lying.  His control during the game wasn't great and he had thrown 93 pitches.  Gibbons has Biagini up and warming in the 5th.

You've got Cron, Adames and Arroyo coming up in the sixth, and you're down 2-1.  Personally, I would have pulled Garcia after the 5th.  The loud outs, the pitch count and Garcia's career record in the 3rd time though the order would have done it for me.  And if I am going to bring on a struggling pitcher, I want him to have a clean slate.  Cron walks on 5 pitches, and Gibbons sticks with Garcia to face Adames.  This is, I think, pretty extreme.  He's at 98 pitches and the last 5 batters have either walked or lined out, and you have a RHH at the plate. Gibbons leaves Garcia in, Adames lines a double to left and he then brings in Biagini with runners on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out.  Biagini is so-so and the two runs come into score, but it's not a great way to build confidence, and from the game perspective, probably the wrong tactical decision.   
hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#359858) #
Was watching also and agree 100% with Mike.

hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#359859) #
On another note, the one ESPN item I check every day is the "Real or Not".

Today's has more good stuff, including a terrific throw/tag play by Haniger/Segura. But this as well:

"Oh, Haniger had two home runs as the Mariners beat the Angels to overcome Mike Trout's two home runs. Although this is a pretty awesome little factoid: Trout became the first player to have consecutive multihomer games at Safeco Field -- yes, no Mariner has ever done it."

Safeco opened July 15, 1999.
Gerry - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#359862) #
Stroman starts for Dunedin tonight.
CeeBee - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#359863) #
Looks like Smoak and Pillar have turned back into pumpkins.
James W - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#359864) #
Smoak's still got a .370 OBP. He's getting walks, even if nothing else is working.
CeeBee - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#359865) #
how many of those walks are intentional or pitching around to get to even weaker hitters?
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#359867) #
Just want to say what a pleasure it is to have Grichuk in RF.

It has been a long, long time when we've seen this kind of defense from a corner OF spot.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#359868) #
Last 30 days:

Grichuk 181wrc+
Smoak 128wrc+
Teoscar 124wrc+
Morales 110wrc+
Travis 93wrc+
Donaldson 92wrc+
Granderson 84wrc+
Solarte 81wrc+
Martin 78wrc+
Diaz 60wrc+
Maile 47wrc+
Pillar 37wrc+
hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#359873) #
Happ did nothing to hurt his trade value and neither has Oh so far. Those 2 seem to be our only FA-to-be pitchers with any real value. Otherwise this game reeks.
CeeBee - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#359874) #
And Granderson with 3 hits. Everybody else... not so much.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#359875) #
Other than the first 4 months of last year, Smoak is what he has always been. This year, his line looks every bit like his career line other than he has been modestly lucky on balls in play (.290 vs a career .268) and has materially upped his BB%. The increased patience is continuing a trend from the latter half of last year, so a small uptick in his OBP may be sustainable. Unfortunately, that would probably only move the needle on Smoak from poor to mediocre.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#359876) #
eh, Smoak's still much better this year than he was before last year imo. Going into last year he was a solidly below average hitter (90-95wrc+ type), both the year prior and over various multi year splits.

This year his ~120wrc+ is still much closer to his 132wrc+ breakout year last year than what he was before.
CeeBee - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#359877) #
you forgot that he's pretty much a gold glove first baseman as well. Pat and Buck tell us that pretty much every game so it must be true.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#359878) #
Coming into today's game, Smoak had a 121 wRC+. That's much better than what he was pre-2017. Even if this is his new norm, he's a drastically better player than he was prior to last year (when he was sub-replacement level). I don't think he's been an issue this year. Would have been nice if he repeated 2017, but a 120 wRC+ from your 1B is fine either way.

Around my area, there is a lot of talk about the Yankees and Happ. Seems like NY media and possibly the Yankees themselves see him as the best fit for their team, and hard to argue with that. I'd be scared to death to trade with Cashman, though.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#359879) #
But uglyone, even if his BB% increase is sustainable, once his BABIP normalizes he's probably a 100-105ish RC+ hitter.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#359880) #
But his babip is already in the .280s. that's pretty low. and lower than it has been the 3 years.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#359881) #
that being said - we should definitely sell Smoak this year while he's at peak value.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#359882) #
nothing is worse than jays series in that hellhole of a stadium.

hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#359883) #
Oh, well. At least this series helped bring some more clarity to our trade deadline plans.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#359884) #
"here is a lot of talk about the Yankees and Happ. Seems like NY media and possibly the Yankees themselves see him as the best fit for their team, and hard to argue with that."

I thought so to, Happ being a lefty in Yankee Stadium. But thinking further, I've heard on a few occasions Yankees pitching philosophy seems to be avoiding the fastball. Their 52% is dead last among MLB teams.

Of the 74 pitchers who've thrown 70 innings this year, Happ has the 2nd highest rate at 73%. Another lefty, Cole Hamels, is 5th lowest at 37%. Tyson Ross, though not a lefty is 10th lowest at 42%. Anyway, every contender other than Houston could use another decent SP, so there will be a market.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#359886) #
Power outage at home today. Seems appropriate!
scottt - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#359889) #
I'm not a fan of sending a starter over 90 pitches back either.
Unless you're late in innings and he's dealing.
If he's been around 20 pitches per inning, he's probably not going to get 3 outs.

With Garcia, it was mostly motivated by Gaviglio getting the quick hook the night before and using 5 relievers.
It's clear they need a long man but nobody's really assigned that role.
That's what the buffalo shuttle is for.

Pillar starts hot but eventually cools down. Like every year.
I wonder if resting him here and there after an 0-for night might help.
Grichuk can play center.

hypobole - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#359890) #
Stroman's rehab in Dunedin 4.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

60 Pitches, 34 Strikes
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#359893) #
Does the provincial and municipal governments combined 300 million dollar renovation to Olympic Stadium for the world cup basically end the dream of a return of baseball to Montreal? Or perhaps just maybe does a retractable roof, grass and extensive renos make it tolerable enough?

Count me in on the I wish they spent 500-800 million on a new stadium instead.
jerjapan - Wednesday, June 13 2018 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#359895) #
Shoeless, I heard Shulman talking this week about Montreal getting a franchise when the league expands to 32 teams - 32 teams makes far too much sense not to happen.  Not sure that Montreal will be one of those expansion teams, but I certainly agreed with his timeframe - we may see a team in Montreal in, say, 20 years.  The history and the clear fanbase are factors in favour of the Expos, and MLB does want to be more international.  I'm optimistic in a 'my lifetime' kind of way.... what do you think?
scottt - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#359902) #
In the short term, North Korea is probably more likely to get a team.
rpriske - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#359916) #
Fangraphs article about the present and future of the Jays.

hypobole - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#359922) #
Another entry from my "I don't have a clue" department

ESPN mentioned the team with the highest OPS in high leverage situations as of June 13 are the Red Sox at .846 per BRef. Is this correct? I can't find this stat on the site.

Fangraphs has the Red Sox at .692 one day later.

If the BRef number is correct the only explanation is that the 2 sites have differing criteria for high leverage, though both claim to use Tango's research.
James W - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#359927) #
"2 outs, RISP" - they're at .834, which could have been .846 a day ago.

"Late and close" is .697, which might have been .692 recently.
James W - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#359928) #
And then just below it on the page is "High Lvrge", where they're now at .843.
hypobole - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#359929) #
James, I can't find that page. Link, please?
James W - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#359931) #

There's the direct link to the Leverage section. (Sorry, copy-and-paste please.) Scroll up for the first table I was referencing.
hypobole - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#359933) #
Thanks, James. So BRef considers far more PA's as high leverage than FG does, Be nice if they actually agreed on something.
hypobole - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#359935) #
Twins are optioning former top prospect (and MLB All Star last year) Miguel Sano to the minors after some mighty struggles at the plate. But not to AAA, Twins are going the full Roy Halladay and sending Sano down to A ball.
scottt - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#359937) #
Twins are done rebuilding and trying to compete and they are just 1 game ahead of the Jays overall.
However, Cleveland has not been great and they are not out of the division race yet.

hypobole - Thursday, June 14 2018 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#359938) #
On the subject of Cleveland, a story on their bullpen highlights the volatility issue with relievers

Last year - "Collectively, Cleveland's relievers had the game's lowest ERA. Their sOPS+ -- OPS allowed, relative to the rest of the league's relievers -- was baseball's 19th best since 1988"

This year - "Collectively, Cleveland's relievers have the game's highest ERA. By sOPS+, they have the seventh-worst bullpen since 1988."

Most of the pen are holdovers and the 2 main guys that left, ex-Jay Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw have ERA's of 5.49 in Houston and 7.09 in Colorado.
hypobole - Friday, June 15 2018 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#359967) #
Brad Doolittle at ESPN on the Ohtani injury and a bunch of other stuff, including an interesting interview with Alex Anthopoulos.
Blue Jays @ Rays - June 11-13 | 69 comments | Create New Account
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