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Welcome to October. The Blue Jays have some important games to play this weekend.


And if anybody saw that coming back in March, they didn't say it where I could hear them.

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth if the season ends on Sunday. There will be disappointment. Possibly even the ritual rending of garments. There always is.

And yet - the Jays have gone 19-9 in September. They had seven crucial games with the Yankees this month and they won five of them. What do you want? A miracle?

Well, yeah. And if an actual miracle was required....  If all that wasn't good enough... I still don't think one should be too disappointed. You know,  if the miracle doesn't happen.

Still, it ain't over til the portly lady bursts into song, and whatever it was Yogi once said.  The Jays need to take care of their own business and get help from the Angels and the Nationals. A lot of dominoes have to fall into place. It is by no means impossible, until is actually isn't possible. It's baseball. Stuff can happen.

It's certainly time to invoke a new, guiding spirit for this occasion.



Matchups!

Friday 1 October - Eshelman (0-2, 7.20) vs Matz (13-7, 3.88)
Saturday 2 October - Means (6-8, 3.32) vs Manoah (8-2, 3.35)
Sunday 3 October - Zimmerman (4-4, 4.66)  vs Ryu (13-10, 4.39)
Baltimore at Toronto, October 1-3 | 304 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#408006) #
I've been wondering for a long time who this pitcher  "Some Guy" was.  I'm really grateful, Magpie, that you cleared it up before the season ends with the clever clue at the bottom of your piece.  It's really amazing that so many teams have found pitchers named Zimmerman, or maybe it's that there are a lot of guys whose real name is Zimmerman but take on a different one when they're on a big stage!
Gerry - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#408009) #
Thanks for posting these series previews all season Magpie. Well done.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#408010) #
it ain't over.

we could be back in a playoff position as soon as..... tonight.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#408011) #

Tonight

BAL Ehsleman 7.20 @ TOR Matz 3.88
BOS Rodriguez 4.93 @ WSH Rogers 2.73
LAA Suarez 3.86 @ SEA Gonzales 4.00

Saturday

BAL Means 3.32 @ TOR Manoah 3.35
BOS ?????????? @ WSH Gray 5.85
LAA Diaz 3.12 @ SEA 3.67

Sunday

BAL Zimmerman 4.66 @ TOR Ryu 4.39
BOS ?????????????? @ WSH ??????????
LAA ?????????????? @ SEA Anderson 4.41
BlueJayWay - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#408012) #
It's not dark yet...but it's getting there.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#408014) #
Have to sweep here. Only winning 2 out of 3 means both the Red Sox and Mariners would have to lose 2 out of 3, and that's probably not happening. A sweep doesn't guarantee anything either since the Red Sox and/or M's could sweep their series' as well but that's the only realistic chance the Jays have.

Hopefully the bats wake up in this series. Matz has had a good season but hard to get too confident when he's on the mound due to track record, and Ryu has been awful recently. The bats will need to outslug the O's again.
John Northey - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#408015) #
Remember, this I'd the 4th time since Jow
e touched them all that the Jays are playing games that matter in October. 2015-16 and 2020s freak show season. This is fun. This is why we debate and chat all year. Don't forget with a sweep of Baltimore and the Ray's sweeping the Yankees the Jays would tie the damn Yankees.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#408020) #
Eshelman? So be it. (That wasn't clear at 3:00 AM...)
Chuck - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#408023) #
Eshelman?

ERA in the 7's in both the minors and the majors. Hell of a year. I'm sure his family still loves him.

grjas - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#408024) #
Belushi is a good pick for the spirit, cause if the Jays lose, I am going to slam a beer can against my head! And it may not be empty.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#408028) #
Jansen is catching Matz (NO!), Biggio at 1b, Vlad DHing.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#408029) #
The Red Sox walked Soto on four pitches with a runner on second and one out. They really donít want to let him beat them this series.
Nigel - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#408030) #
Interesting line-up choices. Patience at the plate seems to have been lost in parts of the line-up down the stretch here.
John Northey - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#408031) #
Looks like everyone is trying to hit home runs today. Thus lots of pop ups.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#408032) #
The hitters need to regain their focus and intensity. This is no time to slack off. Matz looks good, though.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:41 PM EDT (#408033) #
Espinal took strike three on an 0-2 pitch. Ump called it a ball. He lined the next pitch into left for a single. Jansen homered on the next pitch. The Jays catch a break.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#408034) #
I just canít get into the same headspace as other posters and see this current stretch as fun.

To me, the front office signalled that the window was open with their off-season and trade deadline moves. In my view, missing playoffs during this period means the season was a disappointment. Furthermore, this team has had a remarkable number of amazing individual performances (we have 3 7WAR players. Thatís never happened before). I canít help but feel disappointed that the team is in this position. If they were close to their Pythagorean record, none of this would be a problem, and then it would be fun.

Thatís just me though, and I get that Iím in the minority
Nigel - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#408035) #
I've been a fan since 1977 and there have been way more years when a game on October 1 was meaningless and the only real excitement was a cameo by a prospect who might contribute next year. Secondly, its also about expectations. Before the year started, I thought that this was a mid 80's win team that was still a year away. So this is all gravy for me. Its true that the number of 80th percentile or above outcomes from players is waaaay up there and you'd hope that that kind of fortune would guarantee playoffs, but the baseball gods are fickle.
BlueJayWay - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#408036) #
That's basically where I am. Before this year began I was expecting about 87-88 wins. They're at 88 with 3 games to go; however, the underlying stats on this team, run differential, pythagorean record, all the great individual seasons etc point to a team that actually should be around 95 wins or so. They really could've contended for the division, and at the least should be cruising into the top wildcard spot.
They're better than I thought they'd be, but have underachieved on that 'overage' such that it cancels out and they have about the record and standings placement (in the mix for the 2nd wildcard) that I expected before the season began. Weird year.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#408037) #
Big moment in the Nats game right now. Bases loaded, none out for Washington, 0-0 score.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#408038) #
Nats fail to score, still 0-0.
grjas - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#408039) #
Juniorís OPS in the last 7 days is 308.

They really need a plan to spell him next year. Itís one of the reasons Iíd like someone like Biggio to be a true super sub and give these guys a break next year. Espinal also fits. But theyíd need a 2nd and 3rd baseman. Not clear Smith or Groshans are ready
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#408040) #
Matz might be pitching better than both Ryu and Ray right now.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#408041) #
If they were close to their Pythagorean record

A big reason their Pythagorean record is out of kilter is because when they blew out the other team, they really piled on the extra runs. They won six of seven games that were decided by more than 10 runs, outscoring their opponents by 63 runs in just those seven games. It was kind of a waste of offense. Certainly, none of their AL East rivals were so extravagant with the extra scoring in those kind of games. TB went 3-2, scored an extra 12 runs; BOS went 4-2, scored an extra 24 runs; NYY went 3-2, scored an extra 9 runs.

That said, it's a sign of quality to be able to beat the other fellow senseless. They need to find a way to arrange those runs in more productive groups.
JohnL - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#408042) #

A big reason their Pythagorean record is out of kilter is because when they blew out the other team, they really piled on the extra runs. They won six of seven games that were decided by more than 10 runs,

Sort of like the federal Conservatives winning popular vote, losing the elections. They blow out the other teams in Alberta & Saskatchewan, but their rivals aren't so extravagant.

greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#408043) #
I would keep Matz in. The short leash made sense yesterday for the reasons Mike Green mentioned. The circumstances in this game are different. Matz has a low pitch count, heís pitching well, and he has a wider assortment of pitches to keep the hitters guessing.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#408044) #
Tense night of scoreboard watching. Nats and BoSox are tied 0-0, and the Rays are clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Yankees.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#408045) #
Three-run HR for Boston. You could feel the wheels coming off but Washington stuck with their starting pitcher (Rogers). Now another HR. 4-0 Boston.
grjas - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#408046) #
Thank Belushi for the bottom of the line up. They showed up.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#408047) #
Matz doesn't have the same kind of splits.  He's nowhere near as effective as Ray the first two times through the order but considerably more effective than Ray the third time.  Tonight he has three effective pitches.  And with a 4-0 lead now and Matz being very efficient so far, there's no reason to not let him pitch 7 or 8 innings if he keeps going. 
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#408048) #
Wish the top of the order would have the same approach as the bottom.

Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#408049) #
Cavan's frisky tonight.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#408050) #
Welcome back cavan.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#408051) #
And that's why pulling your ace against their best hitters ain't always a great idea.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#408053) #
This is what choking looks like.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#408054) #
Going to the bullpen is often an adventure, but Matz was done.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#408055) #
It's all a question of percentages.  Montoyo and Walker played this one perfectly in terms of timing. 
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#408056) #
Matz was done and not good enough to just keep in agreed. But Ray is a different story.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#408057) #
So many sliders.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#408058) #
Holy phew.

Romano can't do the 9th tho.
Nigel - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#408059) #
No issues with the bullpen usage there but I agree that I think someone else probably needs to handle the 9th.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#408060) #
The Orioles have 7-8-9 due up. I'll stick with Romano. But I do want Mayza stretching down there...
Polite Nate - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#408061) #
I don't trust Romano past 15 pitches in the best of times.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#408062) #
Not only is he iffy at this many pitches, but getting him thru this inning might burn him for the series.
Polite Nate - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#408063) #
I hope the non-stop sliders from last inning were an attempt to save his bullets for this one.
grjas - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#408064) #
Clearly.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#408065) #
Phew.

Gonna need to win without our closer tommorrow at least tho.

Nats kinda coming back too.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#408066) #
Is this a good idea? On the radio they said that a few days ago Romano was ďsoreĒ and wasnít sure he would be able to pitch (he later determined that he could).
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#408068) #
Well, when Romano threw 29 pitches on a Tuesday night against Atlanta for his first save of the season, he was back on Thursday afternoon to strike out the side on 14 pitches. He should be fine for Sunday, anyway.
John Northey - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#408069) #
It is almost win or go home time so Romano was going to be left in no matter what here. If he can't pitch again this weekend so be it. Lose tonight and Saturday and Sunday might not matter. Now Saturday matters for sure.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#408070) #
Sean Nolin pitching the ninth for Washington. I seem to remember high hopes....
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#408071) #
It is almost win or go home time

Ain't no "almost" about it, my friend.
uglyone - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#408072) #
Nats down 2 heading into the 9th. Top of the order coming up.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#408073) #
Big base hit for Wander Franco in the ninth. Rays up 4-1. Yankees bullpen getting a workout tonight.
blu-j - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#408074) #
Rays with a questionable decision up 4-1--Runner on 2nd, moved all infielders to the right side of the diamond, allowing the runner to walk to 3rd, and then Gallo a free bunt single/RBI to bring the tying run to the plate.  I get the shift, but that was an open invite to bring the tying run up.  He singled, so now it's first and second with one out.  $%@#$ Garder at bat....
blu-j - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#408075) #
And a single by Gardner to make it 4-3 with one out, runners on 1st and 2nd.  Sanchez to the plate now.  It's never easy.
Dr. Zarco - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#408076) #
Damn, Nats got 2 on in 9th and Ruiz missed a cookie. Fastball down broadway on a 1-0 count, just got under it and flew out to Renfroe to end the game.
blu-j - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#408077) #
Red Sox hold on 4-2; Yankees fall to the Rays 4-3 and making a run in the 9th.  Now to hope for an Angels win over the M's.
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#408078) #
Rays hold on to win.
grjas - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#408079) #
If the Jays had won last night, it would be a 4 way tie in the WC rankings. Theoretically could still happen yet. Can always hope
blu-j - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#408080) #
M's up 1-0.  Why does it feel like they won't trip up?  Here's hoping, but right now, I worry that the Yankees might slip back to the Jays, while Boston and Seattle win out.  Come on, Angels!
greenfrog - Friday, October 01 2021 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#408081) #
The difference in the Red Sox-Nats game was the fourth inning. The Nats had the bases loaded with none out and the 6/7/8 hitters coming up, but couldn't score.
uglyone - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#408082) #
Whoa ump just did us a huge favor to get LAA out of that inning with a lead.
John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:58 AM EDT (#408083) #
Right now the Jays have 2 hopes - Yankees get swept by the Rays (seems Yankees find the Rays as annoying as we Jay fans do), or Red Sox and Seattle each lose at least one game this weekend. The Sox I expect to lose at least one but Seattle...they have been the anti-Jays all year (winning despite poor runs for/against). Right now the Yankees and Sox both losing Saturday and Sunday seems the best chance for the Jays. Of course, that requires the Jays to win both days too. A game 163 in Toronto vs the Yankees would be exciting. The Jays have never had that.
So below is what we need to know for all situations (all possible still) via MLB itself

Jays vs NYY: 11-8 so home field to Jays
Jays vs Seattle: 2-4 so home field to Seattle
Jays vs Red Sox: 9-10 so home field to Boston
Also...
Yankees vs Boston: 9-10 (Boston home)
Yankees vs Seattle: 5-2 (Yankees home)
Seattle vs Boston: 3-4 (Boston home)

If all 4 are tied home field is based on record vs each other (seed in brackets)...
Jays vs all 3: 22-22 (2), Yankees: 22-23 (3), Boston: 24-21 (1), Seattle: 9-11 (4)

If 3 are tied, record vs each other...
Jays vs Seattle & Sox: 11-14 (3), Seattle: 7-6 (1), Boston: 14-12 (2)
Jays vs Yankees & Sox: 20-18 (1), Yankees: 17-21 (3), Boston: 20-18 (2)
Jays vs Yankees & Seattle: 13-12 (1), Yankees: 13-13 (2), Seattle: 6-7 (3)

You might notice a few ties for head-to-head records. The tiebreaker then becomes record in your own division...

Toronto: 40-34 (2 to go vs Baltimore, win both and 42-34, win 1 and 41-35, lose both and out no matter what)
NYY: 35-39
Boston: 41-35
Seattle: 46-27

If still tied at this point (possible for Jays/Boston in a Toronto vs NYY vs Boston situation) the next is vs AL only.
Toronto: 75-65 - 2 games to go, win both and better than Boston for this, go 1-1 and tied still.
Boston: 76-66 - done vs AL

Next is the team with the best record in the final 81 games of the season, ignoring interleague play
Toronto: 46-33 with 2 to go
Boston: 42-39

Phew. Lots of tiebreakers needed. FYI: the next tiebreaker is the team with the best record in the final 82 games of the season (provided the game added is not between the tied teams), continue one game back until the tie is broken (Interleague games are skipped and ignored in this process.) If all but the Yankees win tomorrow expect the TV crews to be going nuts trying to figure this all out. 3 way ties have worst 2 ranked going day one, winner goes against the team ranked #1 to decide who gets in. 4 way is A vs B, C vs D then 2 winners face off in wild card game - A/B/C/D decided by team with the best seed going 1st (picks home field), next seed either plays team A or gets home field (odds are they pick 2nd home field), then team C picks who they play, then team D gets whatever is left as the road team. So in the super-messy all 4 tie situation the Jays get to play at home vs either the Yankees or Seattle - depending who the Yankees pick (I suspect the Yankees would pick to play in Boston while the Jays get Seattle - damn would that be a fun game 163 all around eh? Legendary battle NY vs Boston, expansion cousins who are mirrors of each other this year, one with a great run for/against record, one with a poor scored/allowed but the same record. Let's hope for that one.
uglyone - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 01:20 AM EDT (#408085) #
Leadoff double be seager down 1 in the 9th.

But 2 outs since and he's still at 2nd.

1 more to go.
uglyone - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 01:23 AM EDT (#408086) #
And the mariners lose.

Just need Boston to lose one now.
Michael - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 01:37 AM EDT (#408087) #
It really is telling looking at the run differentials:

Toronto 824 RS 658 RA +166 RD XRecord 96-64
Boston 817 RS 741 RA +76 RD XRecord 87-73
New York 708 RS 657 RA +51 RD XRecord 85-75
Seattle 688 RS 737 RA -49 RD XRecord 75-85

By expected runs only Dodgers, San Francisco, Houston, and Tampa (in that order) are ahead of the Jays.

It is almost like there were a lot of winnable games in the summer that would have made a difference. But still, 2 more wins and a Boston loss and we are in (to play-ins at least).
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:46 AM EDT (#408088) #
Somebody recently mentioned the game where Semien botched his throw to first with one out needed for the win. It's crazy how a single play could determine a season but, of course, there were some amazing comebacks with two outs so I guess it all balances out in the end.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:24 AM EDT (#408089) #
NYY +1
Boston --
Toronto 1
Seattle 1

It's going to be an interesting weekend. Very hard to predict what will happen.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:47 AM EDT (#408090) #
Santiago Espinal now has 304 career major league PAs through age 26, good for 1.9 fWAR and 2.4 bWAR.  This year, his BABIP is down, his power is up, his W rate is up and his K rate is down. With all that, he's a slightly above average hitter so far (which is a shocker).  He runs well, steals bases effectively, fields shortstop well and third base very well, and doesn't ground into double plays.  What more could you want?




grjas - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#408091) #
Hopefully Manoah goes deep today. Then they can stack Ryu, Pearson and Merryweather on Sunday for 6 or 7 innings
Thomas - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:56 AM EDT (#408092) #
Today's Red Sox and Nationals game is huge (to state the bleeding obvious).

If I have it right, Sale lines up to start on regular rest on Sunday. As such, it seems to me that he'll start Sunday if the game matters and, if it doesn't, he'll be held back for the Wild Card game.

I don't like our odds with Ryu on the mound and needing the Nationals and Josiah Gray to beat Sale (although crazier things have happened), so it really would help if the Nationals beat Tanner Houck(?) today.
85bluejay - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#408093) #
Steven Matz was very serviceable this year and a Happ like contract (3/36) would be welcome especially since I don't think Ray will be back.
bpoz - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#408094) #
Jansen, Biggio and Espinal are all useful as regular players IMO. They are probably not stars but provide tough outs as they gain experience. They provide V good defense.

We have stars. Springer, Vlad, Bo, Teoscar, Gurriel and Kirk (DH/C). Kirk has the least PA's of this group.

With injuries Grichuk will get playing time and produce as well as he has. He seems consistent.

We still need about 4 more position players to fill the roster. Bench players I suppose.

electric carrot - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#408095) #
It's an interesting riddle how these these next two games will go for the four teams still in contention. And I have the same question here as Tom Waits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVaQN240G80
pooks137 - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#408096) #
Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker hosted the revamped Jays Talk last night after the ballgame on the radio after the Fan590 made sweeping layoffs including Josh Goldberg, who had been one of the rotating hosts all season.

Barker made some surprisingly harsh comments about Cavan Biggio last night during the postgame, specifically about Biggio's swing path.

Barker implied that Biggio changed his swing path sometime in the last year or two to try to make himself less vulnerable to the shift, while creating a huge hole in his swing up in the zone that all pitchers are now exploiting.

He essentially implied that Biggio was at a crossroads in his career and that he would have to make drastic changes to his approach to "remain a big leaguer", implying that his current form isn't one.

Barker also implied that the required overhaul is massive, so Biggio is stuck with who he is in the present and any changes have to be left to the offseason.

There was also some insinuation perhaps from Jeff Blair that Biggio was also a prideful person and may be resistant to tearing everything down and again.

It surprised me that these usually milquetoast radio commenters were so down on Biggio, especially on a night where he returned with 3 hits.

I had mostly attributed Biggio's lost season to injuries. It was interesting hearing a former major leaguer in Kevin Barker, whose commentary is usually so banal and vapid, openly suggest that Cavan Biggio's current offensive approach is so flawed presently that he isn't a MLB player without a complete overhaul of his uppercut swing.

Barker made a comment suggesting that Biggio's current approach is challenging pitchers to see if they have enough command to throw him 3 high strikes every AB.
John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#408097) #
No matter what happens the next 2 days (and hopefully beyond) the Jays management has some tough choices. Fiscally it makes sense to let Ray and Semien go, both had career years they are unlikely to repeat but will demand contracts that assume they stay near that level for 3-5 years or more. But emotionally it would be hard - 14 wins are hard to replace. Pythagorean W-L is 96-64 vs real 89-71 - loss of 7 wins to dumb luck. That covers one of the two. A healthy Springer (140 games vs 76 - 1.8 WAR vs 4.4 average per 130 lifetime - FYI 130 is his average games per full season played) plus full seasons of Manoah (2.5 over 19 starts vs 3.9 over 30 starts) and Berrios (1.4 over 12 starts vs 3.1 overall) would cover a chunk (5.7) plus hopefully some stability at 3B/2B via Biggio (0.5 WAR this year vs 3.2 per 140 lifetime) and Espinal (2.2 WAR, 2.9 per 140 lifetime) or via some one else (those 2 on their own playing everyday at 2B/3B at career levels = 3.4 more wins thus adding 9.1 total so far). No massive crazy expectations there, just guys doing what they've done so far, including low playing time expectations.

So even staying put with no changes and letting the big 2 go the Jays could easily be in the same position in game 161 next year as this year. Of course, that isn't factoring in the loss of Matz (2 WAR) or losses of Tellez (-0.7), Hand (-0.6), Panik (-0.5), Adams (-0.4), Lamb (-0.3), Dolis (-0.3), Roark (-0.3), Davis (-0.2), Chatwood (-0.2) and others who will probably be replaced with other guys who will dance around 0 WAR (net -3.5 there, hurt the team more than Gurriel [3.0] helped). A great reminder of the value of good backups (like Espinal) vs crappy ones (Panik).

Big keys are Vlad & Bo both being 5+ WAR guys, Teoscar & Gurriel around 3-4. Ideally getting a solid 3B or 2B so Espinal and Biggio can share 2B or 3B with the other being a backup each game. Dickerson has been a 0.5 WAR guy so far and compliments the OF nicely - maybe find some sucker to take Grichuk (eat his salary) and see if Dickerson will resign here as the 4th OF/sorta platoon DH with Kirk (who would be the backup catcher as well).
pooks137 - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#408098) #
He runs well, steals bases effectively, fields shortstop well and third base very well, and doesn't ground into double plays. What more could you want?

A 3B that can hit for more power would be one. A 3B or backup IF who hits LH would also be more desirable based on current roster construction.

Espinal is a fine backup infielder. But I feel like there's a fan and media narrative that wants to push him beyond his talent level to play him as an everyday player.

John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#408099) #
Biggio's great eye suggests he'd be massively helped by robo-umps. No more counting on umps getting it right. If he can get hits on pitches other than high strikes, then that approach should work well. Not many ML pitchers have the command to throw 3 high strikes hard enough to get past Biggio without throwing 4 out of the zone first so that approach might work out for him. Especially if he is just hitting at the bottom of a killer lineup (2nd leadoff man in the 9 hole taking tons of walks might be good to up Springer's RBI's). Remove Semien and Dickerson (both free agents) and the lineup probably is...
  1. CF: Springer
  2. SS: Bo
  3. 1B: Vlad
  4. RF: Hernandez
  5. LF: Gurriel
  6. DH/C: Kirk
  7. 3B: Espinal
  8. C: Jansen (DH Grichuk who'd probably be in CF instead giving a 'day off' to Springer when Kirk catches, or in RF to shift Hernandez to LF and Gurriel to 1B to give Vlad a 'day off')
  9. 2B: Biggio
Backups: 2-3 guys - backup IF ala Valera, speed demon OF ala Dyson, maybe McGuire so running for the catcher can happen with Kirk in the lineup nearly everyday and Berrios can have his personal catcher. Screw that the manager doesn't like having 3 catchers.

Rotation: Ryu/Berrios/Manoah/Stripling/Pearson or Hatch (maybe a tandem?)
Bullpen: Romano/Mayza/Cimber/Richards/Merryweather/3+ more slots for Saucedo/Castro/Borucki/etc. - I strongly suspect we'll see some FA's signed cheaply and more minor leaguers get a shot.

That still looks like a strong contender to me. A bit nervous about 4/5 slots in rotation but I expect the Jays to sign someone to fill one of those slots leaving Stripling to fight with the kids for the 5th slot. I wonder if they'll put Ryu on a more strict pitch/inning limit each game and give him more days off next year too in a desperate effort to get him to be effective in late September/October.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#408100) #
I think the Jays will make a push to resign Ray and I believe he will be more open than Semien to coming back. Semien would probably like to be situated nearer the west coast for his family while Ray has a good relationship with Pete Walker. Matz has rebounded well this season and I'm sure last night's performance didn't hurt his standing with management.

I'm sure that the front office will be keeping in mind that Vlad and Bo will command big money soon, as well as Teoscar in a year's time, and won't want to hand out too many high-cost, long term contracts.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#408101) #
It's true.  Butch Hobson is the ideal third baseman.  Snark aside, it's really important for clubs to move beyond these kinds of expectations.  It is difficult to be a good offensive player without enough power to keep pitchers honest.  Espinal is making strides with that.  But beyond that, power is just one part of the profile of a good offensive player and not a necessary part. 

Strangely, the really good defensive third basemen all have had power although a few of the OBP guys (Boggs, Seitzer, Madlock, Oberkfell, Kell, Hack...) were pretty good with the glove too.  Espinal is second on the 2021 Blue Jays in OBP.
jerjapan - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#408102) #
I'm with you Mike.  I continue to think that between Biggio and Espinal, we can cover third base just fine next year, until say a Groshans or Martinez gets here.  Unless we can acquire a Martinez-level talent, I think there are better uses for our resources - like a deal for at least one of Ray and Semien.  Lately, I've been thinking we should Qualify Matz, and obviously we need at least one impact reliever. 
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#408104) #
Lowe three-run HR in the first, 3-0 Rays.
uglyone - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#408105) #
7-1 rays.

Always been a huge rays fan.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#408106) #
This year, [Espinal's] BABIP is down,

It's "down" to .342, which is still some 50 points higher than the league average. I can't help but think there might be a reckoning to come as the wheel of fortune turns. The deity of BABiP is notoriously fickle. She smiles on Espinal and Hernandez, she gives the back of her hand to Jansen and Grichuk.

But in the meantime, let the good times roll.
Nigel - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#408107) #
Iíve talked about the team needing to balance the lineup to some extent. Thereís a L/R imbalance but I also think a broader range of offensive approaches (OBP, contact skills, all field approaches) would be helpful. The lineup currently leans a little too much towards aggressive, RH pull hitters. I think Espinal provides some of that balance, as does Kirk. Having Biggio back to some semblance of himself would definitely help too.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#408108) #
Lowe three-run HR in the first

Lowe three-run HR in the third. Nice to see him ruining somebody else's day.
electric carrot - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#408109) #
I never noticed till now how close the words Lowe and Love are.
pooks137 - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#408110) #
I continue to think that between Biggio and Espinal, we can cover third base just fine next year

I think you could probably get away with platooning Espinal and Biggio at either 2B or 3B next year. The problem is that with Semien's inevitable departure, without bringing in outside help, you're not having them share a position. You're now starting two flawed players as everyday guys while trying to contend and have lost your above average backup IF because you now need him to start everyday.

Of course, if the Jays sign Semien, they'll likely have no choice but to platoon the two at third because they'll be broke for the foreseeable future.

uglyone - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#408111) #
Still waiting for the balloon to burst but enjoying the Espinal ride while it lasts.
Nigel - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#408112) #
You canít stop Jansen you can only hope to contain him.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#408113) #
Lowe hits another homer? The Rays have 17 hits?

Kiermaier did say he wanted to see the Jays again.
lexomatic - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#408114) #
I was curious to see how Biggios swing stats looked. His launch angle has dropped by 5 and he's hitting for less power. Without seeing the differences,  it's hard to know how much is injury,  getting all messed up mechanically, or physical change in ability. Injury and mechanics will help. So will robo umps. I kinda see this as an old school rant from Blair and Barker.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#408115) #
Jordan Romano needed a day off!
lexomatic - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#408116) #
I hope Boston and Seattle are nervous
Chuck - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#408117) #
Remember when Jansen started the year 2 for 45? His slash line at the time was 044/140/067.

In the 90 at-bats since then, his slash line is 289/356/622.

Mike Green - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#408118) #
Of course, Espinal will not be able to continue with a BABIP of .353.  He's not likely to hit .311 or even .291, but his walk rate is increasing and as a .285 hitter say, he's a 3-4 WAR player if he can play a full season.  For me, that's the big issue.  Durability. 

Danny Jansen has a fine slash line with a .234 BABIP.  And yeah, he's due for the 25-30 points that Espinal is likely to lose.  They're both good players.
Nigel - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#408119) #
If Jansen gets those 25-30 points of BABIP heís a borderline All-Star.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#408120) #
The lineup currently leans a little too much towards aggressive, RH pull hitters.

I agree with this general idea, so it seems more than a little ironic that Jansen emerges as a powerful offensive force by embracing an aggressive, RH pull hitter approach. Hey, I'll take it.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#408121) #
Itís too soon to tell, but the Jaysí season could come down to whether or not the Rays can beat New York tomorrow.
pooks137 - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#408122) #
I kinda see this as an old school rant from Blair and Barker.

It's certainly possible.

I just found it weird that a former MLB player, who understands hitting mechanics much better than I do, essentially gave an unsolicited opinion of "current version Cavan Biggio isn't a big leaguer without a major overhaul" on a night of a huge Jays win and a triumphant return for Biggio.

I had just assumed that it was a lost year for Biggio to injuries as he was already banged up coming out of Spring Training.

I agree with you that I don't usually value Barker's analytic skills highly, as he usually just talks in clichťs like Tabler.

So it makes me wonder if there's a narrative surrounding Biggio behind the scenes that isn't out in the open for whatever reason.

greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#408123) #
The trajectory of the younger Jays players is a good reminder that development (1) takes time and (2) is not always linear. There are a number of players on the team who have taken a step forward this year, offensively and/or defensively. Their progress has been a pleasure to watch.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#408124) #
Interesting. Cora pinch hits for Houck leading off in the sixth. Houck's thrown just 53 pitches, he's been perfect through five, and he's certainly capable of going longer (because he has.)
Mike Green - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#408125) #
It is interesting.  He'd have had 3 more batters before 3rd time through the order, but he has been tattoed 3rd time through.  I understand why Cora did it, by I would have probably played it differently.  A perfect game with 8 Ks and a low pitch count through 5 innings is a bit of an exception.
Nigel - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#408126) #
Keith Law has been saying for years now that Biggio wasnít a legitimate prospect because his hitting philosophy and swing mechanics wouldnít allow him to hit velocity. Law wasnít the only one to suggest this.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#408127) #
Particularly if the first man out of the pen is Garrett Richards.  I'd rather have Houck on 53 pitches and a perfect game than a fresh Richards by a long shot.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#408128) #
The next few innings are obviously very important to the Jaysí postseason chances. Can the Nats scrape together a bit of offense and upend the AL WC race?
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#408129) #
Well, Juan Soto isn't getting my MVP vote. Grumble, grumble.
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#408130) #
Ack. Nats stranded the bases loaded in the 7th. But at least they got enough base runners to ensure Soto hits again. However, he has 2 Kís today, so maybe that isnít as important! But come on, Nats! Score a damn run. 2 would be better.
Thomas - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#408131) #
Having Toronto's postseason hopes rest, in part, on the shoulders of Jordy Mercer is very frustrating.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#408132) #
Phil Cuzzi strikes out Mercer on a borderline pitch (it might have been low, but too close to take with two strikes.) Mercer gets himself tossed. The Nationals don't have a second baseman available. Outfielder Lane Thomas (who played some 2b in the Jays system in Lansing six years) has to move into the infield and play second.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#408133) #
Oooh, bad vibes in the Bronx. Gleyber Torres strikes out on a ball that goes all the way to the backstop. He lollygags half way down the line, finally starts running hard, but gets thrown out. The fans aren't impressed. Aaron Judge has a quiet word with him in the dugout (something which would put the fear of God into me, I can tell you. I wouldn't want to see him angry.)
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#408134) #
Whew, after walking the bases loaded with 2 outs in top 8, Nats strand 'em. Come on, now, offense!
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#408135) #
You'd think a guy with a name like "Kieboom" could hit, wouldn't you.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#408136) #
One out, bases loaded, Soto up.

Prove you're the MVP. Prove it to me.
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#408137) #
Wow, this Nats/Sox game is something. Crazy for a 1-0 game. Bases loaded, 1 out, bottom 8 for Soto. Jays playoff percentage will swing enormously with this at bat. Phil Cuzzi has had a large role here, unfortunately..
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#408138) #
Ohhhh. Soto just misses a grand slam, settles for a tying SF. So close. Not sure he gets your MVP vote with that, Magpie. New game, though.
Chuck - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#408139) #
Phil Cuzzi has had a large role here, unfortunately..

Phil Cuzzi is to umpiring as Joe West is to umpiring.

Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#408140) #
He hasn't disqualified himself, at any rate. Still leaning to Harper!
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#408141) #
This might be worse than watching the Jays in clutch time. Rooting for a 95 loss team seems not to be very fruitful.
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#408142) #
Eventually, walks will get you. 10 consecutive Sox batters were either walk or K, then a 2-out rope RBI triple by Vazquez. Ouch.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#408143) #
So is counting on a pitcher with a 6.75 ERA at Fenway in the ninth inning of a tie game.
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#408144) #
Well, itís not at Fenway, but yes, thatís a valid point. Just donít get swept at home, Nats. They wonít be getting my Christmas card this year.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#408145) #
Not at Fenway? Gosh, it looks like Fenway on GameDay. All that green. But the Nats are hitting last. Duh.

So I guess the Jays are counting on... Michael Wacha? Gulp. And whoever Washington throws out there (it's Corbin's turn. He used to be good.)
Kelekin - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#408146) #
There's also the very visible "Nationals Park" sign that can be seen during every pitch and at-bat. ;)

This was very tough to watch...tomorrow will be even tougher.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#408147) #
I may need new glasses.
John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 07:46 PM EDT (#408148) #
Looking like the Jays will be counting on the Yankees losing to the Rays tomorrow - far higher odds of that vs the Red Sox losing to the Nationals it seems. Sigh. So promising for a moment there when Soto hit that deep fly. Jays have 90 wins now, 7th best in team history. They had 91 wins was 1991 - no one can forget what happened the next 2 years. A repeat of that would make a near finish OK this year. That winter they blew the wad on the WS game 7 MVP (Morris getting a then record contract for starting pitchers) and on a solid DH (Winfield). This winter they'll be looking for a starter (Ray, Matz, or someone else, lots of quality guys out there this winter) and a 3B/2B (Semien or someone else but a lot thinner unless another SS will be willing to move). Like in 1991/1992 offseason the Jays will be viewed as a team on the rise with tons of talent ready to win and a players manager. Very attractive things for free agents.

Regardless of that tomorrow will be fun with Ryu trying to show he is an ace still and not the #5 guy in the rotation (I'd use Ray / Manoah / Matz / Berrios all ahead of him right now). Thanks to Manoah and Stripling the entire pen is available tomorrow outside of Stripling. C'mon Ryu and c'mon Rays - lets get a game 163 or more!
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#408149) #
The Jaysí situation could be a lot worse, especially after the recent series against Tampa, Minnesota, and the Yankees. Itís game 162, and the Jays will get to play at least one game of postseason baseball if (a) they beat the Oís and (b) either the Yankees or the Red Sox lose.

Wachaís last start (Sept. 28 against Houston) was very good. Maybe he can produce another one. Letís hope that TB fields a competitive lineup.

Boston should feel pretty good with Sale on the mound, but you never know. Baseball can be unpredictable sometimes.
bpoz - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#408150) #
Life returns to da Box!!
John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#408151) #
Given the Rays have 3 days off (at least) I suspect they'll put out all the stops to stop the Yankees- it is in their best interest to force them to play a 163rd game or more. For the Rays a 4 way tie is perfect - then whoever they play has to play 2 elimination games in a row and will have drained their pitching staff.
John Northey - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#408152) #
Current schedule is wild card game on Tuesday, ALDS on Thursday.  I doubt the Rays want their pitchers sitting for 3+ days so all will be available, even starters who have had enough rest.  I figure Cash will treat it a lot like a WS game 7 given he knows no one will be used for 3 days or more.  If 3 teams are tied (Toronto/Boston/Seattle or NY/Toronto/Seattle) then 2 games needed over 2 days pushing WC game back one.  Odds are that would push the ALDS back a day as well at least.  If 2 are tied for the last slot then I doubt any schedule change happens.  If all 4 are tied then 2 games happen on Monday (Boston & Toronto host the other 2 - see my earlier post) followed by the winners facing off on the Tuesday, and the winner of that being exhausted to face the Rays Thursday.

No matter what tomorrow will be fun.  Would've been better if Boston lost today, but so be it.  Going into game 162 with 4 teams fighting for 2 playoff spots is cool.  NYY and Red Sox control their own fates, Jays and Mariners need help (and Seattle needs to win today and tomorrow).  Kind of hope Seattle does win both days just to make things even more insane.  I'm really hoping for a 3 or 4 way tie.
hypobole - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#408153) #
The Jays now the 4th AL East team with 90 wins. When was the last time 4 teams from the same division won 90?
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#408154) #
When was the last time 4 teams from the same division won 90?

Al East, 1978. Yankees and Boston tied with 99 and had to have a playoff in Fenway on the Monday (the Bucky Dent game.) Milwaukee was third with 93 wins, Baltimore fourth with 90.

One of the reasons was the presence of the two second year expansion clubs who lost more than 100 games. Three other teams lost more than 90 as well.
Michael - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#408155) #
The last time for 4 90+ win teams in the same division was, based on my quick checking now, the AL East in 1978 (Yankees 100W, Red Sox 99W, Brewers 93W, Orioles 90W .... Jays 59W and last place - but 4 games better than the fellow sophomore Mariners). This is a different configuration with 7 teams in the division, not 5, so much "easier" to do. There were 2 or 3 other times in the 80s with 3 teams 90+ and the 4th at 89 wins.

In the modern era of divisions with 6 divisions there have been a small number of 3+ teams, the most impressive 3 team bunch was probably the 2015 NL Central that had 3 teams all 97+ wins (St Louis 100W, Pittsburgh 98W, Cubs 97W - 4th place Brewers 68W). But no one with 4 teams 90+ and none where the 4th team was especially close to 90 wins (a couple of the AL East ones for example are 3 with 90+ and Jays in 4th with 81, or another year where Jays are 4th with 85 wins but only 2 ahead of them are 90+).

The best 4th place team in any division other than the AL East this year is the Angels who will have a losing record (76-84 going into today).
Thomas - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#408156) #
Washington's calling up someone called Joan Adon for tomorrow's start, apparently.

So our season rests on the left arm of Ryu and the right arm of Wacha.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#408157) #
Best case scenario is Adon manages to hold the Red Sox at bay for a few innings and then the bullpen takes over and somehow continues the trend. Four of Adon's last five starts in the minors (spanning A+ to AAA) were pretty decent.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#408158) #
Washington's calling up someone called Joan Adon

Making his major league debut, a 23 year old RH from the Dominican who spent most of the year in A ball, where he went 5-4, 4.97; he made 3 starts in AA (1-2, 6.43) - he did K 24 in 14 IP in AA (1-2, 6.43); one start in AAA (he fanned 7 in 4 innings.)

Okay. We'll see what happens. But we'll remember this one, Washington. So will people in New York and Seattle.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#408159) #
First, Washington doesnít owe Toronto, New York, Seattle or any other team anything. Those teams got themselves into this pickle, not Washington.

Second, here are Adonís ERA by start in his last seven starts in the minors (starting with the most recent):

0.00
3.60
18.00
3.00
0.00
3.60
1.50

So, one bad start in the last seven. Will he bomb tomorrow? It very well could happen. Could he hold Boston at bay for a couple or a few innings in an abbreviated start before giving way to a series of relievers? Itís possible.
electric carrot - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#408160) #
I have to admit that a perverse part of me wants a 4 way tie for the wildcard spots.
Thomas - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#408161) #
I, and many others on here and elsewhere on the internet, said the Jays needed to win 2 of 3 against the Yankees earlier this week to have a real chance at the playoffs.

Ultimately, the failure of the Jays to win Tuesday or Thursday may be what leaves them on the outside looking in.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#408162) #
First, Washington doesnít owe Toronto, New York, Seattle or any other team anything.

Oh, that's true. It's merely considered Good Form. Although if Washington wanted to take a look at someone, until this weekend it had been three whole weeks since they had played anyone with a chance at making the post-season fun. There was no shortage of opportunity.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#408163) #
Having said that, you look at the people on the major league roster and you think - what the hell. Why not?
greenfrog - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:16 PM EDT (#408164) #
The most likely path for the Jays to the postseason is that the Jays beat the Oís, and the Rays play competently and beat the Yankees. The Washington game is a lottery ticket thrown into the mix.

Rough guesses (could be way off base):

70% chance the Jays beat Baltimore
30% chance the Nationals beat Boston
50% chance the Rays beat New York
Polite Nate - Saturday, October 02 2021 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#408165) #
4 way tie is our best option now, I think -- either way we'll have to win two games but at least this way the 2nd opponent won't have a day off.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#408166) #
Seems like you're about to get your wish, Polite Nate. Seattle scored 2 with 2 outs in the 8th on a 3-2 count to take a 5-4 lead.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:37 AM EDT (#408167) #
I missed the fact that Mitch Haniger has driven in all 5 runs.

Seattle seems too clutch for me - we had nothing but trouble with them, whereas we seem to be competitive with Boston and the Yankees. If it's a 4-way tie, and Seattle gets a choice, they might pick Toronto..
John Northey - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#408169) #
4 way tie means Boston & Toronto get home field and the Yankees pick their opponent while Seattle is stuck with whoever the Yankees run from.  It would be a fun thing to have happen.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#408170) #
The four way tie is still in play.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:10 AM EDT (#408172) #
" Washington is calling up someone called Joan Adon."

Never heard of her.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#408173) #
Failing to win at least 2 of 3 at home from the Yankees is all on the Jays especially the bats that scored so few runs in games started by Taillon and Kluber.
Thomas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#408174) #
According to Fangraphs, the Jays playoff odds dipped slightly after yesterday's game from just over 20% to just under (19.9%).
ayjackson - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#408175) #
What's our rotation after today (play-ins, wildcard)?

Berrios - Ray - Matz - Manoah - Ryu ? is that where we're at?

Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#408176) #
Failing to win at least 2 of 3 at home from the Yankees is all on the Jays

And every other team can nitpick their entire season and after a bunch of woulda coulda shouldas land on 140 wins.

bpoz - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#408177) #
The easy to understand reasons for Jays losses were the pen often enough failing to hold a big lead. The other reason is losses resulting from the offense being able to only score 3 or fewer runs.

A much improved pen will improve the won/loss record. Atkins has said that is an off season priority. He has not said how he will accomplish that. A healthy Pearson (SP,pen), Merryweather (pen) and Borucki (pen) are probably enough. But Atkins will not rely on those 3 being healthy a lot. He will add.

I cannot think of any way to plan for preventing low scoring games by the Jays. That will happen because it happens to everyone IMO. Atkins may try for a lineup that is strong 1-9 to improve the odds. The C spot is strong with Kirk because he has a successful history (SSS). Biggio, Espinal, K Smith and O Lopez cannot progress if they are not given the ABs to do so.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#408178) #
And every other team can nitpick their entire season and after a bunch of woulda coulda shouldas land on 140 wins.

True dat. So, so true. Nevertheless, I actually spent several hours last night going through the Game Logs and identifying the most dreadful, soul-crushing defeats of 2021. I may even produce a summary...
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#408179) #
The Jays and Mís have an identical W-L record with one game to play. Have there ever been two teams in the same league that finished the season with an identical W-L record and as large a gap between their respective run differentials (222)? I would be surprised if that is not a record. I mean, that is a huge, almost inexplicable gap.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#408180) #
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe today is just the third time in franchise history that the Jays have gone right down to the final game of the season not knowing if they were going to keep playing or if they were going home. (They knew they'd be playing someone in 2016 - Detroit was still in the picture heading into the final Sunday.)

The first two occasions did not end happily. They went into the final day of 1987 trailing Detroit by one game. They had lost six in a row, the last two (each by one run) to the Tigers. In the finale, Jimmy Key went the distance and allowed just three hits. Alas, one of them was Larry Herndon's second inning homer. In the fourth inning, Cecil Fielder singled with one out but he was then caught stealing with Manuel Lee at the plate. Naturally, Lee then hit a triple to right field. He was left on third when Iorg flied out. Tanana scattered a few singles the rest of the way in the 1-0 Tiger victory.

In 1990, a sudden six game winning streak lifted the Jays from three games back into first place. With one week left, they led Boston by a game and a half. They promptly lost five of six to fall two games behind the Red Sox with two left to play. They edged Baltimore 2-1 in the first game on McGriff's ninth inning homer, while Boston was losing to the White Sox in eleven innings. So on the final day, they needed Boston to lose while they beat the Orioles. Both games were tight. Dave Stieb took a 2-1 lead into the eighth, but loaded the bases with no one out. Henke allowed a game tying sac fly, but got a double play to escape the jam with the score still tied. Meanwhile, Boston took a 3-1 lead into the ninth at Fenway. Which is when the White Sox mounted a last ditch threat. They got the tying run on base with two out. Ozzie Guillen lined a ball down the right field line, which would have tied the game if Tom Brunansky hadn't made a diving grab near the Pesky Pole. It was all over, so Tom Henke went out to the mound and served a BP fastball to Mickey Tettleton so everyone could go home.

So... maybe they're due!
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#408181) #
Have there ever been two teams in the same league that finished the season with an identical W-L record and as large a gap between their respective run differentials

That's a really interesting question, and I just happen to have an Excel spreadsheet with all the necessary information, once it's updated after the season ends.... Just thinking about how to get the answer out of that data is already giving me a headache, but if they do finish with the same record I know I'm gonna have to find out!
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#408182) #
Thanks for that, Magpie! Hopefully, third timeís the charm! Going to be a fun day of baseball watching.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#408183) #
every other team can nitpick their entire season

Plus, while the Jays endured some extremely painful defeats, it's also true that they inflicted some monumentally painful defeats on the other guys. We tend to accept that as our due...
Mike Green - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#408187) #
The Fangraphs' odds make sense- they've got about a 45% chance of getting to the tie using the rough 70% Blue Jay Win, 50% Rays Win and 30% Nats Win as the game result probabilities, and about 50% chance of getting through to the actual Wild card game if they do.  Personally, I'd have the chances at a little better than that, but definitely less than 25%.

I wonder what the pitching plan is for Ryu.  His line last time out made his outing look worse than it was, and my hunch is that the missed start will help him this time.  Over the season and his career, he has not tended to fade much as the game goes on.  I wouldn't at all be surprised if he goes 6 or 7.


Mike Green - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#408188) #
" Washington is calling up someone called Joan Adon."
Never heard of her.

Paging Named For Miro.  No wonder he doesn't paint the corners.
John Northey - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#408189) #
As a reminder of where we started.... here is a link to the AL East preview on the Box.
  • For Boston: Are we underestimating this team? was the question -
  • Jonny German deserves big marks - he predicted 91 wins which hopefully will be the pre-game 163 total.
  • Dave Till was reasonable with his 'reminds me of the 2015 team in the first 100 games' as this team was a LOT like that, then like 2015 came to life late, but maybe 1 win too late.
  • I didn't do too bad - said this was a lot like the 84 team - very close but not quite there (89 wins and 2nd place) - that Tellez would be traded for pitching at some point.
  • Dave Till also reminded of the 83/84 Jays but said those teams had good starting rotations vs this one.  Who knew?
  • Island Boy predicted 87 wins - so not far off,
  • Eephus called 89 wins - very close, but also predicted a WS of Dodgers/Angels.  Oops.
Questions asked...
  • Will Springer live up to his contract - when healthy yes, but only half a season.
  • Will Vlad get 100 RBI's, uh yeah
  • Will Ray & Matz extend their strong springs into the season: Oh yeah.  Magpie was wary of Ray (hey, we all were).
  • Will Pearson pitch 100 innings: uh no.
  • With no Yates who is the closer: #2JB said Romano (ding ding), Magpie wanted Dolis to get it, Eephus got it best saying it'd be a mishmosh of guys for awhile but Romano would win out
  • Who will be the first player traded: Roark and Grichuk listed - Roark of course was released while Grichuk is here still.  First ML trade was Traded Andrew McInvale (minors) and Joe Panik to the Miami Marlins. Received Adam Cimber, Corey Dickerson and cash.  Yeah, that worked well I'd say.  Tellez was traded a couple days later
  • Who gets here first - Manoah or SWR?  Manoah by a mile as SWR is now in the minors for someone else.  All 3 who answered said Manoah.
  • Who gets here first - Wall or Warmoth?  Neither
  • How many wins? #2JB 78 to 82, Magpie 86 or 89, Eephus 89
  • Playoff prediction: Look at the link for fun.
Fun to look back as we get ready for the big #162 hoping for a 163.  I hate to say it but c'mon Rays!


85bluejay - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#408190) #
Interesting, If there's a 4 way tie (I hope ) the Yankees have chosen to play the Red Sox rather the Jays.
dalimon5 - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#408191) #
Iíve been pumping Ray all pre season.
John Northey - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#408192) #
I think the Jays made the right move with Semien vs LeMathieu eh?  Today's news:Yankees Place DJ LeMahieu On Injured List
hypobole - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#408193) #
Whatever happens, 2 90 win teams will not make the 10 team playoffs. Has never happened before.

2004, Oakland and SF missed out with 91 wins in the 8 team playoff format. 2002, 2 AL teams (Boston and Seattle) missed out despite 93 wins each.

Stopped checking at 1996, but I'm guessing this year is the 1st time ever 7 teams in one league won 90 games.

John Northey - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#408194) #
No surprises in the lineup today - Gurriel DH'ing, Grichuk in RF batting 9th, Jansen catching, Espinal at 3B facing the LHP.
Springer-Semien-Vlad-Bo-Hernandez-Gurriel-Espinal-Jansen-Grichuk.  All right handed vs the left handed Zimmerman who has pitched once since June 13 - 4 innings of 1 run ball vs the Red Sox.  Lets hope the hitters are on today and pound him hard and quick.

No shock the Yankees decided they'd rather face the Red Sox in Boston than the Jays in Toronto should a game 163 be needed (4 way tie).  Lets hope for it.
Other options: Red Sox win, get top WC, Yankees lose, Jays win, Mariners win - Yankees host Mariners, if they win they host the Jays on Tuesday to decide who plays the Red Sox on Wednesday.
If it is Red Sox/Yankees/Mariners lose and Jays win then Jays face the Red Sox in Fenway, winner gets a wild card, loser plays at home to face the Yankees.  Then the 2 winners face off in the WC game.

So much fun ahead today.  #1 we need the Jays to win.  #2 we need one of the Yankees/Red Sox to lose (ideally both).  Seattle just adds to the chaos if they win.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#408195) #
With all the focus on the AL East, no one has mentioned that the Giants and Dodgers are now only a game apart. If the Dodgers win today and the Giants lose, there will be a one game playoff tomorrow to determine the division winner with the Giants being the home team. That would be an exciting game as neither team would want to lose and then have to face playing a one game wild card match after a 106 win season.
electric carrot - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#408196) #
Here's my way of thinking about the odds:

Jays win today: Better than 50%
One of Red Sox/Yankees lose today: Better than 50%
Jays win game 163: Better than 50%
Jays win wildcard playoff game: Better than 50%

Looks good that way, no?
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#408197) #
The Rays are starting their ďAĒ lineup today ó thatís good.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#408198) #
I offer a chocolate glazed donut.

For John Belushi.

The Olympian.
AWeb - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#408199) #
I will be greatly overreacting to all early scores today. Me at 4 pm (ast) Everyone is tied in the first! We need to pick up a game, we're doomed!
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#408200) #
Jays win today: Better than 50%
One of Red Sox/Yankees lose today: Better than 50%
Jays win game 163: Better than 50%
Jays win wildcard playoff game: Better than 50%

Looks good that way, no?

If each event has a 70% probability (generous, yes), the odds of all four events happening is still only about 24%. Admittedly, this is better than 0%.

FG has the probability at 20%, BBRef at 23% and ESPN at 20%.

Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#408201) #
This is the moment the quad-split screen on mlb.tv was made for.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#408202) #
Ryu looks dialed in. Couple good changeups with movement already.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#408203) #
First blood - Ohtani with a leadoff HR in Seattle.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#408204) #
Adon pitched a scoreless first inning for Washington.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#408205) #
Springer with First Blood Part 2.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#408206) #
Ohtani with a leadoff HR

Round numbers are appealing to us because of our fingers and toes. I get that. Still, it is nice to see Ohtani now with 100 RBI. Too bad his last start didn't earn him his 10th win.

greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#408207) #
Joan of Arcing Pitches works a scoreless second inning in Washington.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#408208) #
First blood part 3 - Mercer driving in Bell in the bottom of the 2nd.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#408209) #
So I guess the Jays are counting on... Michael Wacha? Gulp.

Wacha has now run his no-hit streak to 9.1 innings (1.1 vs Toronto, 5 vs Houston, 3 vs NY).

grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#408210) #
Ryu and Jr bouncing back. Awesome.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#408211) #
Guerrero has restored his attractive 3xx/4xx/6xx slash line. He'll need another good at-bat or two to keep that alive.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#408212) #
Ouch. Torres made a diving stop on Wendle, would have been a 2-out, 2-run single. Still scoreless.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#408213) #
And Soto strikes out for a second time today, this time with 1st/2nd none out. Come on, Nats!
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#408214) #
The colony of Zimmermen(n) are all out to help the Jays today. Bruce pitched like crap and Ryan just walked in a run for the Nationals.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#408215) #
Sale is out of the game.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#408216) #
Sale is a French word that means dirty, which is usually a positive adjective when used to describe a pitcher. But sale can also mean messy and foul, which is what Sale was today.
Gerry - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#408217) #
Interesting call by Montoyo to pinch hit for Grichuk in the third inning. I hope defense doesn't become an issue.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#408218) #
The Nats missed a huge chance to blow the game open. With the bases loaded and one out and Sale out of the game, Mercer grounded into an inning-ending DP.
ae_scott - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#408219) #
Ugh. It feels like the Nats have left about a million men on base in that series...
lexomatic - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#408220) #
Feels like maybe having springer around for more than  half thr season would've been enough to make this weekend inconsequential for the playoffs.Maybe even enough for a real battle over 1st.Hopefully Bo gets number 30 and apologies if the text size is all wonky I have no idea it just suddenly.
Changed.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#408221) #
Nats are getting greedy with Adon. Probably a mistake.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#408222) #
Massive moment in the Nats game now.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#408223) #
Nats, baby! 2-run double by Alex Avila with 2-outs. 5-1 Nats!!
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#408224) #
Excellent job, Nats! Keep up the good work!
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#408225) #
Avila is retiring, so this is the last game of his career. Nice way to finish.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#408226) #
Big moment in the Bronx, too. 2 on for Rays, Lowe up. Trying not to strand a lead off double.
grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#408227) #
Iím surprised they are not saving Pearson with a 10 run lead.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#408228) #
Leadoff single in the eighth for Arozarena. Bring him home, Rays.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#408229) #
Arozarena to 3rd with 1 out.
grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#408230) #
TB 16 LOB. Yikes
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#408231) #
Stranded, dang it. I think Iíd much prefer a 3-way tie than Yanks winning and going to Boston for 1.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#408232) #
8 LOB. The 16 is the cumulative LOB for each AB.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#408233) #
Iím surprised they are not saving Pearson with a 10 run lead.

For what?
Thomas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#408234) #
The play in game tomorrow, I assume. I mean, they have a 9 run lead and it's Baltimore.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#408235) #
Stripling probably isn't available, and the guys he doesn't want to to use with a 10 run lead are Romano, Mayza, Cimber, Richards. All that's left are Pearson, Merryweather, and Barnes. One of them has to go two innings.
grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#408236) #
16 is the way MLB reports it and itís still indicative
Thomas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#408237) #
I assumed Pearson was ahead of Merriweather on the depth chart and you'd use Barnes for two and Merryweather for two, if Stripling was unavailable.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#408238) #
Uh oh, Red Sox threatening.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#408239) #
Here come the Red Sox again. These games are too close for comfort.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#408240) #
They also report Team LOB in the section between the hitters and pitchers.

the 16 number triple-counts Arozerena in the 7th, for example. Maybe only double, depending how it treats a sac fly. The 8 number is what people say when "They left X runners on base". The 16 is a cumulative of each player when you say "He left Y runners on base".

Either way, you're right - lots of opportunities missed.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#408241) #
I think if there is a play-in game tomorrow, and Pearson pitches in it, something's gone terribly, terribly wrong.
grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#408242) #
Interesting discussion actually. When a lead off hitter doubles, and the next 3 guys strike out, that to me is worse than a guy doubling with two outs and only one batter stranding him. if LOB is measured cumulatively, scenario 1 has an lob of 3 and scenario 2 has an lob of 1. If not done cumulatively, they are both scored 1 which to me understates how badly the team did in scenario 1.

On the other hand I must be bored waiting for TB to scoreÖ
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#408243) #
God damn Nationals. Tie game
lexomatic - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#408244) #
Wendle 2 out walk for kier.aier. time to make jays rematch happen
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#408245) #
Interesting discussion actually.

What about this inning: BB BB BB K K HR K.

Team LOB is 0.

Player 2 has 1 LOB.
Player 3 has 2 LOB.
Player 4 has 3 LOB.
Player 5 has 3 LOB.
The sum of individual player LOBs is 9.

electric carrot - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#408246) #
Ok, for the record. Yanks and Sox both tied late. And I was hoping for a relaxing Sunday.
lexomatic - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#408247) #
I guess they pulled him for Margot and thr platoon despite 2 walks today. So much for that bottom of thr 9th. Go tb pen
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#408248) #
Yankees have bases loaded with 1 out bottom 9. Half the Jaysí opportunity for a play-in might evaporate.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#408249) #
Really have to question Cashís decision to pitch to Judge with 2nd/3rd. My prior post just assumed an IBB. Judge cashes the run, Yankees win. All down to 2 innings in DC.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#408250) #
Cash brought in his best reliever. I guess he preferred to have him try to get the two RH batters (Judge-Stanton) than (Stanton-Gallo.) Horrible choice either way when a fly ball wins it.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#408251) #
That's horrible choice to have to make it. There were no good options.
electric carrot - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#408252) #
Need a lot of luck now for both Nats pitching to hold the Sox and anybody on the Nats to produce a run or more.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#408253) #
It certainly was a tough choice and I was pleased to see Kittredge come in. I would have chosen IBB every day of the week. Judge is a tough out. Gallo doesnít scare anyone.

Nats have 6 outs to score a run to the Sox 3. Come on!
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#408254) #
Chance for Riley Adams to play the (Jays/Nats) hero. Can he deliver?
lexomatic - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#408255) #
Damn yanieea
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#408256) #
The nervous ninth. Heart of the order coming up for Boston.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#408257) #
No matter what happens in DC, what a season. It would certainly be disappointing to not get a play-in with a run differential of +183, but man, these guys are fun to watch.
blu-j - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#408258) #
I was shocked when they went after Judge.  I realize walking him isn't an ideal situation either, but it would have at least set up a potential double play.  All that said, can't win many games if you don't score.  Now to hope for the best, but prepare mentally for the probable worst in this Sox/Nats game....here's hoping!!!
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#408259) #
And there go the Jays. Devers 2-run HR in 9th. God damn Nationals bullpen.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#408260) #
Season likely just ended.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#408261) #
That's not good.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#408262) #
Where was Brad Hand to face Devers?
blu-j - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#408263) #
And there it is....7-5 Red Sox.  Sigh.
scottt - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#408264) #
Walking Judge also sets up the force out at the plate.

They took 2 of 3, can't really complain.
It's the Jays that came up short in a bunch of places.
Last Yankees series, Twin series, etc...
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#408265) #
It's a long shot, but the Nationals do have the top of the order, including Soto, coming up in the ninth.
Polite Nate - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#408266) #
The ultimate baseball gods to pray for, The Bloop and The Blast.
blu-j - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#408267) #
And scene.  Heck of a season, but came up just short of the post-season (and/or a play-in for the post-season).
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#408268) #
The new Ted Williams went 0-8 this weekend at Fenway.
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#408269) #
Still Washington, not Fenway.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#408270) #
I'm just a confused and bitter old man.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#408271) #
The Jays made a valiant effort in September and October, but in the end they weren't quite good enough. Let's hope that next year is a better year.
Michael - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#408272) #
Well it was a good season with a fun team but many points you can point to that could have made the difference. Baseball is such a close sport when there is very little separating teams in the win-loss even after 162 games.

On the one hand the Jays will be potentially losing a number of key contributors. On the other hand the Jays have a lot of salary space and were way under their run differential and underlying numbers, and they still have a fairly young core (including the most HR ever by anyone 22 or younger) and some folks coming up potentially. On the third hand, the Jays will still be in the AL East next year and that is one tough division. 4 teams with 91+ wins in the same division means someone with 91+ wins doesn't make it. 5th best run differential in baseball, 9th best record in baseball, not one of the 10 post-season teams.
lexomatic - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#408273) #
I'm so sick of autocorrect garbled long after I've checked it was correct. Also annoyed with non functioning phone keyboards
Damn yankees and Sox.Really annoyed about how many single games should have been won throughout the season- from bad managing to bad umpiring to bad luck and injuries. I guess it's tune out until winter meetings
85bluejay - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#408274) #
Very simple for me - the Jays choked at home against the Yankees.
uglyone - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#408275) #
I will forever keep my new respect for shapitkins for going all in this year, but will always think they should have gone in earlier.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#408276) #
the Jays choked at home against the Yankees.

They did win 22 of their last 31, and went 5-2 against the Yankees during that period. Not good enough? Okay. Tell exactly what you wanted. And why it would be reasonable to expect it.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#408277) #
I'm also noticing that they went 25-11 in Toronto, and it would have been interesting if they had been able to play more games at the Dome. They went 22-22 in Dunedin and Buffalo.
SK in NJ - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#408278) #
We can nitpick on many small things that lead to the 1 extra loss that shortened the Jays season, but the reality is they played their first real home game on July 30. Four months of playing nothing but road games. That's a very tough ask for any team. Something as simple as being allowed to play in Toronto 4-8 weeks earlier might have (and probably would have) changed the entire season, and that's with a manager who I feel is in way over his head.

This one stings, and will probably sting for a while.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#408279) #
There are things to look forward to next year. Rotation led by Manoah, Berrios, Ryu. Strong core of position players in Vladdy, Bichette, Springer, Teoscar, Jansen, Gurriel, Espinal, Kirk. A potential impact prospect in Moreno. Some good bullpen arms. A full season of home games in the Rogers Centre.

On the other hand, the Jays will need another infusion of impact talent to make a run. A couple of starting pitchers, a high-leverage reliever or two, position players at 2B/3B, a good LH bat (like Brantley) off the bench. Itís unclear whether Rogers will be willing to spend to maintain and upgrade this roster in the coming seasons.

I imagine Montoyo will keep his job, but that he will be on the hot seat if his team falls off the pace again in 2022.
grjas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#408280) #
Well they did set a record for the highest run differentialÖ. for a non- playoff team since the new format started.

Probably the biggest annoyance is Boston popping back from a dismal 2020 to win over 90 games. They have been gyrating back and forth for 10 years. Too bad the up bounce was this year.

Go TB. Tired of the Sox and Yanks.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#408281) #
I'll be pondering this season many times this winter.


This has to be one of the best teams in the wildcard era to not make the playoffs.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:04 PM EDT (#408282) #
It does sting, but not like 1987.  This ought to have been a playoff team and one with some kind of reasonable shot at winning it all.

They played hard and hopefully they learn and grow from the disappointing result.

I will be rooting for the Rays in the playoffs.  They deserve to win.





uglyone - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#408283) #
Yep to this:

Marcus Semien on the 2021 #BlueJays:

ďWe became, in my opinion, the best team in baseball. But it was just a tick too late.Ē

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 4, 2021
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#408284) #
I think the Rays are pretty clearly the best team in the AL (there's a subtle way of saying "this really wasn't our year") but I don't know that I can bring myself to actually root for them. An AL East rival? It goes against the grain.

Although maybe, just maybe - if they win the big prize, they'll be happy. And fulfilled. And they'll go away.
uglyone - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#408285) #
Lmao

Asked about potentially returning to #BlueJays in free agency, Robbie Ray said he hasn't spent much time thinking about his next deal but noted: ďItís definitely an option. Iím sure weíll be in touch.Ē

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 4, 2021
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#408286) #
The Jays and Mís have an identical W-L record with one game to play. Have there ever been two teams in the same league that finished the season with an identical W-L record and as large a gap between their respective run differentials

But they didn't finish that way! I'm off the hook!

I have, however, identified what I think were the 25 most painful Jays losses of 2021. I have blithely sorted them into four levels of Agony.

There are 9 regular tough losses and another 8 painful losses. Every team experiences that sort of thing just as often if not more. But they're not pleasant.

And beyond that, I have 5 Screaming-In-Agony defeats and finally 3 I-Don't Believe-This-Just-Happened losses. They were something else. (And everybody else has a few of them as well.) But don't expect to see this one posted for at least six weeks, though. We'll need to be in a different frame of mind...
Glevin - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#408287) #
It definitely feels unfair but it was also a great and fun season. Jays will be back next year. Maybe not with same players but Jays will be factor in free agency and are not afraid to make moves.
Thomas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#408288) #
I firmly believe that if the Jays had been able to play at the Rogers Centre for the whole season, they would have won at least a couple more games and made the playoffs. I don't think it would have made a huge difference (like turned the team into the Giants or Dodgers), but I think it's hard not to conclude that the trio of homes during one stadium cost them. Nobody could control for that.

However, I find it hard to look past the fact the Jays have the potential AL Cy Young winner (and 2nd at the worst) and the likely #2 and #3 in AL MVP balloting, and other key contributors who were healthy throughout the entire season and met or exceeded expectations in Bichette and Teo. The team received great production from Springer, when healthy; an outstanding rookie campaign from Manoah; had the equivalent of three starting pitchers with 29+ starts and ERA+s of over 115 (if you combine Manoah and Berrios' season to get 32 starts combined), another season from Ryu with 30 starts and an ERA+ of 100; and had a very solid back four to the bullpen and didn't make the playoffs.

Maybe it's because the most obvious of his mistakes are so memorable, but I keep coming back to Montoyo's bullpen management (the Chatwood game) and decisions like pinch-hitting Valera for Kirk and it's hard for me not to think a manager like Cash (or the new Kapler) couldn't have gotten a couple more wins on the margin. I think Montoyo will be back, but I'd be fine if he's not.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#408289) #
That definitely sounds like an Inferno of an article, Magpie.
Thomas - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#408290) #
And two of the team's best three players this year are free agents and the other had about as good of a season as you could have realistically hoped for.

It was a really fun September, but this stings of a real missed opportunity.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#408291) #
I will be surprised if either Ray or Semien are back - I think the Jays will try to sign Matz or a similar pitcher to a short term reasonable contract early in FA and then wait to see how the Ray market develops - The Jays may also try to find the next Semien, a guy they like looking for a pillow contract, maybe one of the strong shortstop crop who is left standing without the longterm contract (Javier Baez?) - Ray and Semian may not sign until the new year.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#408292) #
(the Chatwood game)

Which one? (I have several picked out!)
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#408293) #
an Inferno of an article, Magpie.

No rush. I know Eephus needs to do some venting. I have the Report Card to polish and another piece to update. I also have some things in mind for the post-season.

So we're going to take some time and let the pain subside before we plunge into Hell....
Chuck - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#408294) #
I will be rooting for the Rays in the playoffs. They deserve to win.

I'll be on that train as well.

greenfrog - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#408295) #
I think "the Chatwood game" is the one where he clearly had zero control, walked the bases loaded, and for some reason Montoyo left him in to walk in one or more runs.

Whichever game that was.
electric carrot - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#408296) #
This is my fave blue jays team of all time. I think not being at home and generic in game bad luck were the two worst win killers for this team. I don't think the in-game managing choices were always the best -- but that was likely offset by the culture the manager fostered in the clubhouse which I think helped them do as well as they did while homeless.
hypobole - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#408297) #
I've never rooted for the Giants, but I will this year. The job their management group did is nothing short of remarkable.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#408298) #
I'll have to root for the Rays just because I hate the Yankees and Red Sox even more. I don't know who the color guy is on the Boston telecast but he must be one of the most insufferable homers I have ever heard so I hope they go out first.

I share the pain of us all. It's hard to win big and lose big on the same day. I think the team will come back stronger than ever next year after this experience plus being able to play a full season at their real home. Such a long time until spring though.(sigh)
John Northey - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#408299) #
I'm sad it is over but damn does this feel like 1984 - a team on the edge of greatness, about to lose one of the team MVP's (Collins that year, Semien this) and some strong supporting guys (Cliff Johnson then, Dickerson now).  No real parallel to Ray though...Plus that year they outperformed their Pythag record (89 vs 87 expected wins) while this year they under performed a lot (91 vs 99 expected).  George Bell emerged as a potential star then, Lloyd Moseby solidified his star as did Stieb (who should've won the Cy that year but instead got 1 pity vote - lets hope Ray does better).  The pen in '84 had 2 guys with 10 saves (both blew 7 each - ugh). 

So what to expect?  That '84 team followed up with 99 wins and a division title.  Can this team do the same?  I think so.  It largely depends on the free agents (Ray, Semien, Dickerson, Matz, Yates, Soria, Phelps, Dyson is the full list) and who the Jays get to replace them.  Also will any kids emerge in 2022?  Gabriel Moreno is an obvious name but with limited playing time in 2021 (159 PA) I doubt we'll see him before mid-season at the earliest unless he hits 400 in AAA or something, especially with Kirk trying to take over CA.  3B/2B will be a battle assuming Semien doesn't resign.  Espinal/Biggio will probably platoon at one of them, with Otto Lopez, Kevin Smith, Jordan Groshans, Vinny Capra, Samad Taylor, and others fighting for a chance.  Who gets a shot and when is the big question there.  Or do the Jays sign a free agent again?  Or make a trade?  Anything is possible.

Pitching is more of a crapshoot after the ML'ers - rotation if Ray leaves is Berrios/Ryu/Manoah then 2 big question marks with Pearson, Stripling, Hatch being the favorites for those slots.  I suspect the Jays trade or sign someone to fill one of those 2 slots, maybe filling both that way as I wouldn't trust Pearson, Stripling, or Hatch right now.  Kay and Thornton will probably both be around trying to get a shot along with others who didn't make the mark this year like Allgeyer.  I think Zach Logue will get a long look in spring but won't make the team unless he pulls a Manoah in the minors (total dominance).  Pitching is a crapshoot often and the Jays will want as much depth as possible since you never know - a kid can start in A+ and reach the majors in the same season.  Heck, a kid in A+ this season could be in the majors next year easily (remember Roberto Osuna in 2015).

My current bet is the Jays get some big free agent, be it Ray, Semien, or someone else.  And might blow a wad on a 2-3 year deal for some big name pitcher (lots on the market) should Ray leave since their contract would disappear by the time Vlad/Bo/etc. become very expensive.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#408300) #
I think "the Chatwood game" is the one where he clearly had zero control

Chatwood has a prominent role in four of what I've decided were the eight worst losses of the year. But I believe you're thinking of the May 30 game against Cleveland, the second game of the DH. Chatwood finished the sixth inning and the Jays went ahead 5-4 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom half, Chatwood got the first out and then walked the next four guys (on just 15 pitches) to tie the game. Dolis and Romano probably weren't available (they pitched in the first game.) Castro came in and gave up the game-ending sac fly. I have this one as one my LEVEL THREE (worst possible!) losses.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#408301) #
What's really remarkable is Brad Hand figures prominently in three of the eight worst losses of the year. The guy was only here for five minutes.
Spifficus - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#408302) #
The first Chatwood Game that crossed my mind was the "Even I could have done that" Bergen game on May 23rd, but you always remember your first Chatwooding the most.
dalimon5 - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#408303) #
Hand, Dolis and ChatwoodÖ three biggest reasons we didnít make the playoffs, after the obvious reason of missing our best overall player in George Springer for half a season.
James W - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#408304) #
The 4 walks were on 19 pitches, but your point stands. (Sorry, 15 raised my mathematical hackles.)
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#408305) #
The 4 walks were on 19 pitches, but your point stands. (Sorry, 15 raised my mathematical hackles.)

As it should. I've seen better days, clearly.
Magpie - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#408306) #
the "Even I could have done that" Bergen game on May 23rd

Also one of the three worst experiences of the year. We won't soon forget Tyler Chatwood, will we.
James W - Sunday, October 03 2021 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#408307) #
I'm assuming the third "worst experience" is the Semien error?
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#408308) #
Hand, Dolis and ChatwoodÖ three biggest reasons we didnít make the playoffs

Remarkably - considering what an awful season he just had - Dolis doesn't figure nearly as prominently in the year's most awful losses as I expected. His biggest heel turn was certainly the May 20 game against Boston. (Man, those last ten days in May...) His game against the Red Sox on June 14 was also sad.
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:13 AM EDT (#408309) #
I'm assuming the third "worst experience" is the Semien error?

Affirmative. Let us not speak of it.
The_Game - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:59 AM EDT (#408310) #
I've been thinking of putting a list of Montoyo-impacted games like this together all season in the event the Jays missed the playoffs. A few might quibble with some of these, but they include the most obvious managing errors throughout the season that led directly to losses (or situations where I felt Montoyo could have done something different to change the outcome). The Jays obviously wouldn't have won all of these games (or likely even half of them) with a competent in-game manager. But if even a quarter of these games go a different way (or as it turned out...one game), we're talking about something completely different right now.

April 18 (2-0 loss to the Royals): TJ Zeuch was brought into a 7th inning scoreless game and predictably fell apart to lose. The Jays bullpen was kind of in tatters at this point (Merryweather had gone on his 5 month IL stint and Romano/Phelps had minor injuries), but they still had various better healthy options to be used including Chatwood (who was very good at this time), Dolis, and Payamps.

May 14 (5-1 loss to the Phillies): Trent Thornton was used in the 7th inning of a 1 run lead. This was the first time Thornton was used in high leverage for a loss but wouldn't be the last. After Thornton struggled, Montoyo then promptly brought Tim Mayza in who completely fell apart with multiple walks and hits. The bullpen had some serious injury issues by this point, but still, both Chatwood (who, again, was one of the best RPs in baseball from April to late May having only allowed 1 run on the season) and Romano were available to pitch in this game and neither did.

May 21 (9-7 loss to the Rays): The Jays were tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th when Espinal came to the plate with nobody out. Montoyo had him bunt. He failed. He then had him bunt with two strikes (which is insane). He failed again and stuck out. The Jays failed to score a run and lost the game in the 12th on a grand slam off some guy named Jeremy Beasley. I have no words for how dumb this Espinal sequence was, but the May version of me hadn't seen the Valera/Kirk pinch hit sequence yet.

May 23 (6-4 loss to the Rays): The Jays were up 6-4 entering the 9th. Our best RP at the time Chatwood struggled, allowing a few hits and walks, but still had the lead when he was pulled. Who was he pulled for? It wasn't Jordan Romano who pitched a scoreless game against the Rays 2 days before that. No, no, it was some minor leaguer named Travis Bergen. Bergen walked three runs in a row and that was the game. I have absolutely no idea what the thinking was here.

May 30 (6-5 loss to the Indians):The Jays were up 4-2 when Chatwood was brought into the game in the 6th inning of a DH game. Chatwood, who had begun a full-on collapse as a major league reliever by this point, looked horrific in the bottom of the 6th allowing multiple hard hit balls and a walk to blow the game (4-4). Anybody that watched that inning knew he had no business pitching any longer in the game and yet he came back out in the following inning (after the Jays had re-taken the lead 5-4). Chatwood promptly walked 4 batters in a row with Montoyo watching him do this without anyone warming. Castro was FINALLY brought in to replace Chatwood after the 4th walk, but the damage was done and Ramirez hit a sac fly to win the game.

June 8 (6-1 loss to the White Sox): The Jays were up 1-0 when Trent Thornton was brought in again to hold a lead in the 7th. It ended in complete disaster with him allowing 3 runs. The Jays didn't have a lot of relief depth at this point, but Castro (who had a sub 2 ERA at that point of the year), Mayza and Romano were available in this spot.

June 11 (6-5 loss to the Red Sox): The Jays were up 5-2 when Ross Stripling was pulled for Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood completely fell apart with two hit by pitches and a walk to make it 5-4. By this point in the season, Chatwood had been terrible for weeks and had no business pitching in a game with a lead (and especially coming in with multiple runners on when you needed a strike thrower). Now, unlike the game on May 30, he was then taken out after this display but it was too late. Carl Edwards Jr. (???) later blew the lead in the 8th inning and the Jays lost 6-5 in the 9th after Dolis allowed a walkoff single. Our best reliever by this point, Jordan Romano, was not used in this game despite being available. Absurd stuff.

June 14 (2-1 loss to the Red Sox): The Jays were tied in the bottom of the 9th when Montoyo went to Dolis instead of the team's best reliever Jordan Romano (who, having only pitched an inning on June 12 in a 5 run game, was available). Dolis allowed 3 hits including a walkoff hit to Devers for the loss.

June 16 (3-2 loss to the Yankees): This wasn't anything specifically Montoyo did wrong tactically, but the Jays were down 3-2 in the 9th when the Yankees threw a wild pitch/passed ball that got by Gary Sanchez with Teoscar Hernandez on 3rd. Hernandez would have scored the tying run except the umpire obliviously called it a foul ball on Gurriel. Gurriel barely disputed it and Montoyo didn't even argue the play whatsoever despite the game context. Gurriel hit into a line drive for an out after that and the Jays lost 3-2.

June 25 (6-5 loss to the Orioles):The Jays were up 5-1 heading into the 8th inning against the Orioles. Montoyo uses Chatwood who walks two and allows another hit to make it 5-2. He's seen bad Chatwood enough now to know that he needed to have a short leash so that was it for him. You'd think he would go to Romano here, right? You'd be wrong. Montoyo brings in Taylor Saucedo to pitch to LHB DJ Stewart. The problem with this move, however, is that the Orioles decide to pinch hit switch hitter Anthony Santander for Stewart. This would have been something most managers would be able to predict given the personnel the Orioles had on the bench (and who DJ Stewart is), but Montoyo did not. Santander singled home a run, which was followed by a Hays double to tie the game. Romano later enters the game in that same inning, but by then it was obviously too late. The Jays go on to lose in the 10th inning on 3 Trent Thornton walks (who, again, was pitching in a high leverage spot for reasons that were probably unclear to anyone else in the organization but Montoyo). Thornton is optioned back to AAA a little over a week later.

June 30 (9-7 loss to the Mariners): The Jays allow 3 runs in the 10th inning to lose. Patrick Murphy is the primary culprit in that inning, which is quite odd considering newly acquired Cimber was not used in this game and was available. I suppose it's not that odd if you know how Montoyo used Cimber this year, though. Mayza was also available as well.

July 25 (5-4 loss to the Mets):The Jays are up 3-1 in this game going into the 6th inning. Instead of allowing Stripling to pitch more than 5 innings and 79 pitches, he goes to Ryan Borucki. Borucki has only pitched in two blowout games since returning from injury, but is thrown into high leverage for the first time in months instead of Mayza, Cimber, Richards, or Romano. Due to the three batter rule, this means that Borucki must face lefty masher Pete Alonso. Borucki walks Conforto and then gives up a game tying HR to Alonso. At this point, Montoyo realizes that Borucki can't be trusted. Instead of bringing in any of his good relievers Mayza, Cimber, Richards, or Romano (or even Dolis who was on a good scoreless streak during this stretch), he chooses Jacob Barnes to enter in the tie game. Barnes gives up 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk. The Jays go on to lose 5-4 but not before using Mayza and Dolis in a deficit. Jacob Barnes is DFA'd the next day.

July 26 (5-4 loss to the Red Sox): The Jays were up 5-4 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. With Jordan Romano warming in the bullpen, Trevor Richards allows a go-ahead 2 run shot to Alex Verdugo. This is at least defensible given Richards' season to this point. What is less defensible is allowing Reese McGuire to hit in the top of the 9th down a run with Alejandro Kirk on the bench. McGuire grounds out. The Jays lose.

August 2 (5-2 loss to the Indians): The Jays are tied in the top of the 10th inning. Cimber, Soria, and Romano have been used in the 7th through 9th inning for three scoreless innings. Instead of allowing Romano to go a 2nd inning or using Mayza or Richards, Montoyo goes to Brad Hand. The same Brad Hand who had been completely terrible for the Nationals in the month leading up to his acquisition. Brad Hand allows a HR to Jose Ramirez and the Jays lose. This will not be the last time Hand is trusted for reasons that are unclear to anyone but Montoyo nor the last time that Hand blows a game.

August 13 (3-2 loss to the Mariners): The Jays are tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 9th with Cimber entering the game. Cimber walks a couple and allows an infield single off the tip of his glove to load the bases. Montoyo has decided he's seen enough. Despite needing a strike thrower or a strikeout pitcher, he brings in neither, deciding that this is the time that Brad Hand must be used again in high leverage after coming off multiple appearances in blowout games (following his blowup against Cleveland). Brad Hand walks Kelenic on 4 pitches. The Jays lose. Jordan Romano is not used.

August 18 (8-5 loss to the Nationals): The Jays lead 5-4 heading into the bottom of the 7th inning. Cimber starts the inning, allowing a single to Alcides Escobar. Instead of letting one of the best RPs on the team try to pitch out of it (or going to Richards who was also available), Montoyo gives the ball to Brad Hand. Hand walks Soto, allows a 3 run HR to Bell, and then gives up another HR to Carter Kieboom for good measure. The Jays lose 8-5, but not before using Richards in the following inning. Hand is DFA'd about a week later.

August 20 (4-1 loss to the Tigers): The Jays are tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the 9th. Left handed reliever Gregory Soto walks Hernandez on six pitches to lead off the 9th. Soto then walks Gurriel on six pitches to leave two on and no out with noted lefty masher Alejandro Kirk coming to the plate (.988 OPS vs. LHP in 2021). Sounds good for the Jays and Kirk, right? It wasn't. Montoyo decides this is the time he wants to make quite possibly the most inexplicable managing decision in team history. Instead of letting Kirk hit, he chooses to pinch hit Breyvic Valera (the worst hitter on the team) for Kirk. Valera isn't up there to hit, though, oh no. He's up there to bunt. He's up there to bunt against a LHP throwing 98 who just walked two batters in a row and had showed no sign of being able to hit the plate. I'll say that again. Montoyo has just pinch hit Breyvic Valera for Alejandro Kirk to bunt after two walks against a lefty in the 9th inning of a tie game. Valera, who is not a good bunter, fails to get the bunt down on the first two pitches. Montoyo, seeing this and being who he is, asks him to bunt for a third time with two strikes despite the Tigers 1B playing no more than 20 feet from the plate. By some chance, Valera makes contact but bunts it directly to the 1B who throws it to 3rd for the force out. Randal Grichuk (and yes, this is who we pinch hit Kirk with Valera to set up) immediately grounds into a double play to end the inning. The Jays lose in the 10th.

August 27 (2-1 loss to the Tigers): Minor league corner outfielder Josh Palacios questionably starts the game in CF with Randal Grichuk (the only player on the roster at the time capable of playing CF) on the bench. The Jays go to the bottom of the 8th inning tied 1-1 before slap hitter Victor Reyes hits a line drive to CF. Palacios, who is still in the game, badly mistimes a dive for the ball that he has no chance on. The ball goes behind him all the way to the wall and Reyes scores on an inside-the-park HR. The Tigers win 2-1 on this mistake, but not before Grichuk pinch hits in the 9th inning.

September 10 (6-3 loss to the Orioles): The Jays are on a 8 game winning streak coming into this game and are tied 3-3 going into the 7th inning. Instead of going with Richards, Mayza or even Soria, Montoyo decides that high leverage is the place where Merryweather is going to make his major league return after being on the IL for 5 months (despite struggling for a number of outings in his rehab outings in the minors in the weeks preceding this). Merryweather allows a hit, a walk, and a 3 run HR as the Jays lose 6-3 to end the streak.

September 22 (7-1 loss to the Rays): The Jays start Lamb, McGuire and Dyson with 11 games left in the season and in the most tight and hotly contested playoff race imaginable. They probably lose this game anyway as Stripling pitched poorly, but seriously? Where is the urgency?
grjas - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#408311) #
Nice summary but man now Iím depressed and itís not even 8am. And Iím starting to see the ghost of Joey McLaughlin.
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#408313) #
Minor league corner outfielder Josh Palacios

You mean minor league centre fielder, surely.
Glevin - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#408320) #
"August 27 (2-1 loss to the Tigers): Minor league corner outfielder Josh Palacios questionably starts the game in CF with Randal Grichuk (the only player on the roster at the time capable of playing CF) on the bench. The Jays go to the bottom of the 8th inning tied 1-1 before slap hitter Victor Reyes hits a line drive to CF. Palacios, who is still in the game, badly mistimes a dive for the ball that he has no chance on. The ball goes behind him all the way to the wall and Reyes scores on an inside-the-park HR. The Tigers win 2-1 on this mistake, but not before Grichuk pinch hits in the 9th inning."

So many of the complaints are like this which are very meh. At that time, everyone was complaining constantly about Grichuk because he couldn't hit at all and wasn't great in CF. He can't play everyday and Palacios played 35 games in CF in AA so he could play the position. It was perfectly fine to put him in there. The Jays lost that game because they scored 1 run off a pitcher with a 5.50 ERA) So much of this complaining is hindsight. They should have used Chatwood here, they shouldn't have used him here, they should have used Romano in every situation that was remotely close, etc...There were definitely decisions I didn't like (usually, the bunting, playing McGuire too much, and pitching Trent Thornton at all) but most of these are way too nitpicky and could be done with every single manager in baseball. You're going to play backups sometimes, you can't always go with your top guys in the bullpen even in close games, etc...
bpoz - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#408324) #
Thanks The_Game. Very nice.

Who is the bench coach for Montoyo? Also P Walker needs to be held partly accountable for the bad pitching choices in high leverage situations.

Maybe it took Montoyo a long time to realize that his pen was unreliable. Fortunately it got stronger via trade.

Atkins was at fault for getting B Hand. Bad scouting or advice.
tercet - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#408325) #
Ross Atkins deserves some heat too, not just Montoyo.
Atkins has had some done had some good transactions and bad transactions, but one thing that is consistent is him being a snake oil salesman who lies alot. Given that the year ending press conference will happen some time this week, expect lots of BS from him soon!
ISLAND BOY - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#408332) #
Well, if you concentrate on the negatives then you're just going to end up with a bunch of negativity. Sure Montoyo made some poor moves but I bet every manager in baseball did this past season. I have been critical of Montoyo myself but on the other hand he did guide the team to 91 wins while playing in three different home parks, two of which probably didn't feel like home a lot of the time. As well, I never saw or heard a whiff of trouble between players or between players and coaches during what must have been a stressful and chaotic season.

As for heat on Atkins, I can't believe there is still vitriol directed at the front office. They signed one of the top free agents available in George Springer, plus had the two best signings in Ray and Semien. They made a shrewd trade to get Steven Matz, a gutsy trade to get Jose Berrios, plus picked up Richards, Cimber and Dickerson. Sure the Hand trade was bad, and bullpen pieces got hurt or didn't perform which sometimes happens. Atkins and Shapiro aren't perfect but overall I think they're doing a good job.
85bluejay - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#408338) #
The problem with such silly analysis is there is no context - We don't know which players/pitchers couldn't go that day because of a nagging ailment, what input the FO had in guiding those decisions and how does it compare with other teams managerial decisions - I'm sure every fanbase can nitpick and find decisions the manager made that didn't work out (of course, it's all MMQB). If the Jays were to extend Montoyo, I'd have no complaints.
bpoz - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#408340) #
Chatwood's problem was that he walked a lot of players when he started to be bad. I remember Cito had a very low tolerance for walks and also a 5-7 man pen.

What I really would like to see analyzed (now that the Jay's off season has started) is to go over the 2010 team winning 85 games. That was a young team that played well IMO. This would help me enjoy what I hope/believe is the start of a very competitive window like the 1980s.
bpoz - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#408345) #
2010 Had a lot of 20 Hr guys. The pen was good K Gregg, S Camp, J Fraser, S Downs, C Janssen. We got 26-32 starts from Romero, Cecil, Marcum and Morrow.

Now I know why the 2010 team was so good and promising.
soupman - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#408353) #
it's been 6 years under shapiro and atkins. aa had 6 years. the jays just finished FOURTH IN THE DIVISION after running their highest payroll ever. they are entering an offseason where 2/3 of their best players are almost certainly gone. meanwhile aa has 4 division titles in 4 years. that's 5 divisional titles in a row for him as a GM, and even more if you want to include his time in LA. where the good will towards this front office comes from puzzles me.
The_Game - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#408354) #
Unless all of the ostensibly available superior RPs had minor injuries we weren't aware of (and in almost all cases, it was multiple RPs, which is why I took the time to list them), Montoyo can't get a pass for those decisions on that basis. The vast majority of these situations weren't even close to hindsight either. You'll find somebody had complained about a lot of these moves on this very website at the time they happened (mostly because they didn't make a hell of a lot of sense at the time they happened).

And yes, a few are nitpicky (like June 16, August 27 or September 22) but most of those are pretty glaring strategic or usage mistakes. He's a very bad in-game manager and there's no getting around that after three years of games now.
John Northey - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#408358) #
6 years, twice in the playoffs and nearly a 3rd time this year. If Semien makes that short throw from 2B to 1B that he has done 1000 times without mistake that one time the Jays would be in game 163 right now. That is how close it came.

After 6 years Pat Gillick had the team tied for last place after being dead last 5 straight years. It would be another 2 1/2 years of nightmare pens before the team finally got lucky with Tom Henke and would become division champs (barely, clinched on the 2nd last day of the season) and then wouldn't get there again until 4 years later. That was a HOF GM in a division where the Yankees were disfunctional to put it mildly, and the Red Sox were a mess as often as not (often referred to as a team where 25 cars were needed for the 25 players because they couldn't work together). The Orioles were coming down from the great Earl Weaver days, the Brewers had one great year, the Tigers had one super-amazing year and another very good one (grrr). Cleveland was 'automatic win night' most of the time. Yet our HOF GM only won 2 division titles over 14 seasons before the big 91/92/93 stretch.

Basically what I'm saying is to take a breath and look at history. From 1994-2014 we saw no division titles, no wild card games, rarely even remotely close to it despite a HOF starting pitcher and a near HOF 1B.

Today we have 2 kids who are established now as 5+ WAR guys (Vlad & Bo) after only 1 full season, 1 nutty short year, and a partial season. We have a super-exciting stud in the rotation in Manoah. At age 23 (the age Manoah was this season) Roy Halladay had a 10.64 ERA and was demoted to A ball, many of us felt we might never see him in the majors again. At 22 (Vlad's age this year) Delgado had a great April but was a disaster in the field and was sent to AAA for most of that year, and for the next season, and only played 138 the year after that. At 23 (Bo's age) Tony Fernandez had his first full ML season (97 OPS+, 30 errors, yes at one time he was error prone). So right now our big 3 kids compare favorably to our best at their positions ever - all on the circle of excellence, all either HOF or near HOF quality. And Bo/Vlad/Manoah compare favorably at the same age to them. Think about that.

Meanwhile we have a catcher who can really hit in Kirk who is just 22, a perhaps better hitting/fielding catcher coming up fast in Gabriel Moreno. All stars in RF and CF. Biggio at 2B was very solid a year ago and hopefully if healthy will be again. Pearson is still viewed highly by prospect buffs for some reason, Romano was a very good closer (23-1 in saves-blown) and is here for many more years. A LOT of key pieces are set for the next 3-5 years with a reasonable payroll. This is a good situation. I'm hoping the TV ratings were solid in September to encourage Rogers to shell out whatever is needed this winter. Lets enjoy this time. This is the mid-80's all over again. But hopefully with a quicker reaching of the promised land.
Michael - Tuesday, October 05 2021 @ 02:12 AM EDT (#408364) #
I think you have to give the front office at least a B, if not higher grade, for the season. They were relatively "lucky" in terms of health and performance and relatively "unlucky" in terms of turning runs and expected wins into wins. The constant knock on the front office going into the year was the bullpen, and that ended up being one of the costlier parts of the team overall, but if you look at the way the free agents signed went, you'd have to be pretty happy with that year. I know if I was told they'd have as good an offseason this coming year as they had this last year, I'd happily take it.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 05 2021 @ 08:17 AM EDT (#408365) #
it's been 6 years under shapiro and atkins. aa had 6 years. the jays just finished FOURTH IN THE DIVISION after running their highest payroll ever. they are entering an offseason where 2/3 of their best players are almost certainly gone. meanwhile aa has 4 division titles in 4 years. that's 5 divisional titles in a row for him as a GM, and even more if you want to include his time in LA. where the good will towards this front office comes from puzzles me.Ē

You must be confused. Getting fired and then selling your farm to go for it is not a repeatable strategy for any GM. In Atlanta AA hasnít built anything, heís been given an excellent team from his predecessor. He canít draft, wonít commit big $$$ to long term contracts. Atkins smokes him easily and itís not even close.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 05 2021 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#408407) #
Anthopoulos has indeed done well in Atlanta, but it may not be the toughest division in the world. In the entire time he's been there, the other teams in that division have combined for one - that's one - 90 win season. Twice the Braves have finished ahead of a second place team that went 82-80.

The AL East seems a slightly tougher neighborhood. Just a little.
soupman - Wednesday, October 06 2021 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#408426) #
AA won a division here - something the current front office has yet to come close to unless you count retreading most of the 2015 roster in 2016. Which they vocally complained about upon arrival, while allowing all the assets they had diminish in value until they couldn't even get a bag of balls for the MVP. Now they've run a record payroll this year with a fourth place team and have yet to lock up vlad, bo, biggio, or any of young pitchers.

the cleveland boys claimed they could hang in the division without spending like aa, but that's quite obviously not the case. it's demonstrably true that aa could win here for less, and i'm still not clear on who they gave up in 2015 everyone is losing sleep over today

Thomas - Wednesday, October 06 2021 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#408427) #
Basically what I'm saying is to take a breath and look at history. From 1994-2014 we saw no division titles, no wild card games, rarely even remotely close to it despite a HOF starting pitcher and a near HOF 1B.

I don't really agree with that point of view. I don't think you can simply be grateful for this season or analyze this season on the basis of the fact the team finished fourth for a bunch of years while running relatively low payrolls with a below-average GM for a bunch of seasons twenty years ago.

This season was a missed opportunity and, while there are a lot of promising signs for the future, and the team was disadvantaged by circumstances beyond it's control that appear highly highly unlikely to be repeated (please), the Jays got 13.8 WAR from two players who are free agents; had Vlad and Bo on cheap contracts and got 161 and 159 games out of them respectively (not to mention 162 from Semien); had full health for basically the entire year from their top pitchers (Ray, Ryu, Matz, Manoah after he came up, Berrios after the trade) and got 140+ games from Teo and Gurriel.

Are we likely to get 320 games from Bo and Vlad? Will Atkins sign the best two free agents on the market in terms of production this year? Will we get full health from the most important members of the rotation? I wouldn't count on all of those happening.

I do think the home stadium issue did make a difference of at least a couple of games and nobody was to blame for that. However, I agree Montoyo isn't a good in-game manager and I think this is exactly the sort of season where a good manager like Cash or Kapler or whomever who can make a difference on the margins of a couple of games over a 162 game season might have been the difference between a playoff berth and not.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 06 2021 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#408430) #
I suppose this is the thread to talk about trades.

Getting J Donaldson is an example of a big trade.

The word for the J Guzman trade is "minor deal"? I suppose because he still had development to go through. Same for D Ward (development) but D Alexander was a reliable pitcher. M Young.

J Bautista was not young when acquired. The C we sent over still needed minor league development. I suppose that is called a "minor deal" as well. I did not like this deal because I liked the C we gave up.

S Pearce to Boston for Espinal.

My mind is wandering/wondering.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 06 2021 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#408433) #
That's all true, Thomas.  But the single most important factor was just Blue Jay inefficiency this year and Tampa, Boston and New York efficiency.  Tampa and Toronto finished exactly tied in the Base Run standings with a run differential of +159 and a record of 97-65, 9 games ahead of the Yankees and 11 ahead of the Red Sox.  Yes, a better in-game manager might have made a difference of a game or two but most of it is just dumb luck.  The Blue Jays had no business making the playoffs in 2020 and they ought to have made the playoffs and given Tampa a very good run in 2021.  That luck is likely to be neutral in 2022.  And as for the injuries, the Blue Jays did do a little better than expected- with Semien, VGJ, Bichette and the starters all healthy- but they did have significant injuries to Springer, Jansen and key members of the bullpen.
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