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The road trip concludes, deep in the heart of Texas, where things seem to have been getting weird lately. Everything's bigger in Texas, even the crazy.


The Astros are five years removed from their championship* season. They've made it to the post-season in each of the four seasons since. They've made it to the World Series itself two more times, including last season when they went 95-67. Even so, doesn't it begin to feel as if their run is beginning to peter out? Shouldn't the same fate eventually overtake them as generally happens to all champions in the modern era - some key players simply get too old, other players get too expensive to keep and leave in free agency.

Something a little like that has been going on in Houston, certainly. This past off-season, shortstop Carlos Correa became the most recent star to move on. He's merely following in the footsteps of Gerrit Cole and George Springer, Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel. Just how much more of this sort of thing can a team endure? There won't be much of the 2017 champs* on display this weekend - corner infielders Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman are all we're going to see, since Jose Altuve will miss the games with Toronto with a strained hammy.

On the other hand, Justin Verlander looks to be back. And I mean back. I trust you remember Justin Verlander's last start against the Blue Jays. It was way back in September 2019. Verlander issued a one-out walk to Cavan Biggio in the first inning. He retired each of the other 27 Jays hitters who came up to the plate, striking out 14 of them. He was a pup of 36 back then. Now, of course, he's 39 years old and trying to come back from a year lost to Tommy John surgery. How's that going, anyway? Not bad. In his two starts he's allowed just 6 hits and 1 run in 13 innings, striking out 15 and walking 3.

I suppose Verlander and his old teammate Max Scherzer (they were teammates? And they didn't win a championship?) are still trying to settle the pressing question of Greatest RH pitcher of their generation (That's with all due respect to Zaxk Greinke and Adam Wainwright, who are probably bound for Cooperstown as well, and recognizing that that Kershaw fella is pretty clearly the greatest pitcher, period, bar none, argument over.) Scherzer is about 16 months younger than Verlander, whom he trails by 34 wins and about 450 IP - Scherzer's ahead in Ks (barely) and career ERA, although spending the majority of his career in the NL has helped him there. I just don't know. (But if we use the World Series record as a tie-breaker, Verlander is doomed.)

Matchups...

Fri 22 Apr - Stripling (0-0, 3.00) vs Verlander (1-1, 0.69)
Sat 23 Apr - Manoah (2-0, 1.50) vs Urquidy (1-1, 7.00)
Sun 24 Apr - Kikuchi (0-1, 3.24) vs Garcia (1-0, 2.79)

* Should their championship season get an asterisk? It just did.
Toronto at Houston, Apr. 22-24 | 94 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
hypobole - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#412754) #
Noticed a while back their closer Pressly went on the DL and would miss this series.

However, relievers Montero, Javier and Neris have a thrown 18.2 IP with a combined 0.00 ERA. Their FIP's -0.54 (yes negative FIP), 1.26, 1.37.
dalimon5 - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#412756) #
Bichette has been truly awful this season. Hope he turns it around soon.
lexomatic - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#412757) #
Yup. It's been pretty global. Not one aspect of his game has been keeping him afloat. Bad hitting, fielding, baserunning, and defense. All off. Hope he figures it out too.
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#412758) #
With Verlander on the mound I got curious about active WAR leaders. Who is a near lock for the HOF (60+ WAR)?
  • Albert Pujols 99.9
  • Mike Trout 76.7
  • Zack Greinke 74.8 (top pitcher - knew he was good, not that good)
  • Justin Verlander 72.4 (today's pitcher)
  • Clayton Kershaw 72.3
  • Robinson Canů 69.2 *
  • Miguel Cabrera 68.8
  • Max Scherzer 67.0
  • Joey Votto (CanCon)
Close (50+) are Evan Longoria, Paul Goldschmidt, Mookie Betts (OK, 49.9 but close enough).

Top ex Jay is Josh Donaldson at 44.5. Current is George Springer at 30.3, Ryu is just at 19.2 (funny, expected him to be higher).
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#412759) #
Bo's walk was a good sign for him. But dang was that non-HR call damn close. One angle made it look fair, the other foul. Could be a hole in the screen that it went through but impossible to know for sure and that is probably why the call on the field stood.
Magpie - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#412760) #
Jack Morris was the other one, Tabby. (the pitcher he actually owned was Jimmy Key.)
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#412761) #
Funny Tabler didn't get more playing time over his career - only once over 600 PA and made the All-Star team that year (1987 at age 29). Just 2 other times over 500 PA (1984, 1986) in 1988 he was 1 PA shy of 500 but had just a 98 OPS+, but more damning for that era was playing DH/LF/1B and had just 2 HR all year. His only playoff time was with the Jays in his final 2 seasons (91/92). The main thing he was known for as a player was hitting with the bases loaded. For years he was over 500 for average in that situation, but ended 489/505/693 with the bases loaded. Wow.
soupman - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#412762) #
i'm also surprised but happy for grienke. i remember hoping he'd do well back in 2006 when he was relegated to the bullpen. i watched the halladay game in august (doc lost a complete game) from behind the 'pen but thought better of saying anything to grienke at the time.
Magpie - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#412763) #
Funny Tabler didn't get more playing time over his career

Well, he had no power and he played what were (and still are) regarded as power positions. But he could play about four positions, and he generally destroyed LH finesse pitchers (and there's always a few of them around.)
Magpie - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#412764) #
Well. Didn't see that coming.
hypobole - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#412765) #
Oh me of little faith. Down 3-0 and feeling drowsy, almost gave up in favour of a nap.

Glad for Zimmer and Espinal especially. Coming into the game Statcast had for Espinal
.205 BA,.324 xBA
.282 SL, .489 xSLG
.255 wOBA, .374 xwOBA

Glad luck is going his way a bit after a tough stretch.
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#412766) #
Dang that defense is fun to watch too isn't it?
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#412767) #
Mayza is just owning the bottom part of the zone with that 2 seamer
Magpie - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#412768) #
Why did Baker wait to pinch run? Because he wanted to keep the right side of the infield open for Tucker. They weren't going to run with him batting and why risk losing the pinch-runner if Tucker hits a grounder to an infielder. Once Tucker was out, then you pinch run.
92-93 - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#412769) #
That was one heckuva game on the road against a very good team with a top arm on the mound. Truly an all-around team win.
Mike Green - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#412770) #
That's entertainment.  Great game all the way around. 
lexomatic - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#412771) #
<br>yup it seemed obvious not running with Tucker up.
What a tense game. Hope Romano gets a break with some easy games the next few. But great start to the season.
BlueJayWay - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#412772) #
Entertaining game
John Northey - Friday, April 22 2022 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#412773) #
So down to 2 guys without a hit after Zimmer's home run. Katoh (one walk, 0-1 otherwise), and Heineman (0 for 2). I suspect Heineman won't get much of a shot at a hit before being sent down when Jansen recovers (whenever that may be). Katoh is tougher to call - will he be sent down when Hernandez is back? Probably, but do we really need 5+ outfielders? Either Zimmer or Tapia is excess if Hernandez/Gurriel/Springer are all healthy. Neither Tapia or Zimmer have options left though so I suspect they are safe for now. Meanwhile Katoh and Biggio both have options left - I doubt the Jays will send Biggio down but with how he has been 'hitting' it wouldn't shock me at this stage. Espinal has earned the full time job at this point I figure.
scottt - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:32 AM EDT (#412775) #
It's nice to win the 1-run games for a change.

Good all around effort. 
scottt - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#412776) #
Biggio always had a good eye. He switched to that uppercut swing in AA and it payed off big time.
You need good timing to make contact when you uppercut and Biggio doesn't have plus bat speed.
So I would start him against right handed finesse guys and junkballers.
Espinal is better in the late innings.

Tapia/Zimmer replace Springer. One has defense, the other hits and gets on base.
The third catcher is not going to see a lot of action.
Collins has caught two good games so far.

Ideally they would have brought up a right handed bat instead of Katoh and that might happens if Lopez puts up numbers.
Hernandez is throwing and swinging.

The decisions are rather on the pen side when they go back to 26 and Ryu and Pearson are activated.

hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:49 AM EDT (#412777) #
However, relievers Montero, Javier and Neris have a thrown 18.2 IP with a combined 0.00 ERA.

From the 1st post in this thread. Thankfully Vlad and Chapman knocked Neris out of the 0 ERA group.

grjas - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#412778) #
Our 6th pitcher and a depleted lineup against an HOF pitcher. I didnít have high hopes. This team is finding a way to win, with defence and the BP the consistent stars.
hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#412781) #
I know there is a Cincy fan here, though maybe not much anymore. Noticed yesterday's boxscore had Brandon Drury hitting second. Sadly, he actually deserved to hit 2nd. He's been the 3rd best hitter on the team so far, the only 3 better than league average.
hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#412782) #
More ex-Jays. The Nats have called up Aaron Sanchez, and DFA'd Patrick Murphy. My big memory about Murphy wasn't his injuries or his toe-tap, he's the reason I finally found out what a firm change meant.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#412783) #
Biggio had a miserable year in 2021. He hurt his hand in spring training and suffered other injuries, then had to play an unfamiliar position. In addition, he seemed to decide that he should abandon his patient approach at the plate by swinging most times at the first pitch of the at-bat, thinking ( I think) that pitchers would be trying to throw a strike.

Instead he fell behind on most counts or got an out. I wonder if he should go to AAA like Teoscar Hernandez did a few years ago and just play every day. I feel there's a lot better player than he's shown so far.
scottt - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#412784) #
Being aggressive seems to be the philosophy of the Jays hitting coach.
However, I don't think they try to change guys.

The thing with Biggio was that he never swung with 0 strike.
Knowing that the opposite pitcher was getting a free strike.
Correct approach in my humble opinion is to sit on something and only swing if you get your pitch.

I think the lack of opportunity is what is affecting him the most.
He'll get his shots eventually.

Magpie - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#412785) #
I know there is a Cincy fan here, though maybe not much anymore.

There are a couple, although at this point Eephus is as much a Joey Votto devotee as anything else. Some sympathy may be in order - he's been enduring the agonies of the damned as his beloved Raptors get bullied by that very large and very talented man from Cameroon.

And ŗ propos of nothing at all, is it not strange that if Alek Manoah were not with the big club, the youngest pitcher on the staff would be Jose Berrios? Seems strange to me, anyway.
Magpie - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#412788) #
[Biggio] seemed to decide that he should abandon his patient approach at the plate by swinging most times at the first pitch of the at-bat

Two things happened - he was indeed swinging at more first pitch strikes, and the first pitch was also a strike more frequently than it had been in his previous seasons. (For my purposes here, I will just assume that if Biggio actually offered at the pitch it was definitely a strike!)

He had 294 Plate Appearances last year, and he swing at the first pitch 77 times (putting 35 of them in play). He took the first pitch for a strike 92 times. Which means that 57.4% (169) of the first pitches were strikes, and Biggio swung at 45.6% of those strikes.

To me, the really interesting contrast is with 2019. Biggio didn't get many first pitch strikes in 2020 (just 50.5% of the pitches), but in 2019 the first pitch was a strike 56% of the time and he only swung at 34.4% of those strikes. He was swinging at very near the same percentage (35.3%) of first pitch strikes in 2020.

So yes, I agree that he was clearly trying to be more aggressive last year. It didn't work very well. And whereas in 2019 and 2020, he was ahead of the pitcher twice as often as he was behind in the count (this is taking the whole AB into consideration) last year was basically a wash. He was behind as often as he was ahead. He actually hit much better when behind in the count in 2021 than in 2019, but no one actually hits well in that situation.
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#412790) #
Iím one of the Cincy guys here, though Iím not much of a Reds fan, I just live here. I love baseball, so I go to about 10 games per year, and one of them was last night. I, too, was surprised Drury was batting second. Against Steven Matz, too. And Dickerson hit 5th for St. Louis, so former Jays everywhere. Down 2 in the 9th, Drury flew out to the wall. So close.
greenfrog - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#412791) #
Speaking of Matz, he has been pretty good so far. Career-best K:BB ratio of 11.20:1.98, FIP 2.16, xFIP 1.88. Half a win better than Ryu. Obviously itís still early in the season.
Polite Nate - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#412793) #
Fly ball to the warning track certainly fits my memory of Drury.
Magpie - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#412795) #
Cubs now up by three touchddowns.
Dr B - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#412797) #
And this is why Iím in favour of human umpires. Who does not enjoy the theatre of the umpire raising his arms aloft and signalling ďTouchdown!Ē?
hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#412798) #
Robo umps don't replace the home plate ump. Still need to call checked swings, hit batters, plays at the plate etc. And the call balls and strikes, they just don't get to decide what a strike zone is.


And Espinal is really good.
hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#412799) #
Nice job again by Manoah, despite the Crawford Box HR. 0 walks, 0 HBP.
Mike Green - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#412800) #
Borucki throwing 97 with good movement?  That's good, and would be effective against RHBs too. 
Magpie - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#412801) #
Predictions! I say... it'll be Merryweather.
hypobole - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#412802) #
Don't think I've ever praised Tabby, but glad he pointed out the late innings best pitcher vs best hitters usage.
greenfrog - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#412803) #
Yimi unable to go two innings? He threw 11 pitches in the eighth.
Magpie - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#412804) #
it'll be Merryweather.

They never listen to mw. Just as well, I suppose.
Nigel - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#412805) #
This is some cosmic payback for a few recent years of bad luck in one run games. Long may it last. Very entertaining.
AWeb - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#412806) #
Jays winning 1 run games? Is this the year pythagoras smiles upon us? Exciting wins so far, that's for sure.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#412807) #
All the bad "one run loss" juju that has been hanging around this franchise for years is...gone?
greenfrog - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#412808) #
The bullpen is shaping up nicely, isnít it?
Mike Green - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#412809) #
Nice illustration of the luck inherent in winning one-run games.  But also they have been playing very well defensively and on the basepaths.  This club is a lot of fun to watch, and I think they have another gear. 

Espinal's a fine player.  Now that he's established that he can hit home runs, I'd like to see him hit a few line drives to right and centre. 
Nigel - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#412810) #
They have been lucky so far this year but, as you say, the defence has generally been fantastic. The infield defence, in particular, is the best I can remember in many years.
Eephus - Saturday, April 23 2022 @ 11:56 PM EDT (#412811) #
although at this point Eephus is as much a Joey Votto devotee as anything else

Hey! The way this Reds season is going... Joey's sudden and delightful foray into the world of social media might be the only fun thing to talk about in Redleg Land. Well, that and Hunter Greene's fastball.

I'm not suggesting he's suddenly going to be a star or anything, but Raimel Tapia has notably changed something at the plate recently. Upon first coming over, as many others mentioned he was comically deep to the left side in the batters box (dude has long arms but come on, he'd need a fungo to over the outside corner doing that). His hands and arms were also well above his chin. Now he's scooched closer to the plate (more the middle of the box instead of the outskirts) and has dropped his arms down to chest level, with his hands out away from his body instead of directly behind his head. Who knows if the results will come, but he does seem to be driving the ball more when he puts it in play.

hypobole - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 12:23 AM EDT (#412812) #
From MLBTR:

Michael Conforto underwent surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, the New York Postís Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Conforto will be sidelined for the entire 2022 season but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Magpie - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#412813) #
Raimel Tapia has notably changed something at the plate recently.

I've been reading up on him a bit, and apparently he's one of those guys who changes his stance and approach with some frequency. He does the same thing with his hair. This year's do is, li9terally, this year's do.

Is it just me, or does he look a little like Jimmy Butler? With unusual hair?
Glevin - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#412814) #
Jays getting some luck early but they're also finding ways to win against good teams. A real pleasure to watch the team even if they haven't hit their stride yet. Glad the Conforto talk can stop now too.
scottt - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#412815) #
Conforto declining the QO make zero sense to me.
He's a Boras client and Boras loves those multi-year contacts with multiple opt outs.
I get that.

But you need an owner who isn't very good in math to make it work.

bpoz - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#412818) #
Quite possibly every 40 man roster spot has value. TB's GM Eric N made trades to create 40 man space for additions for rule5 protection.

The Jays may be getting to that stage. We used 6 spots for our rotation (#6 Stripling). 4 for C (4th McGuire). Then position players and pen arms with value. For example Vlad is valuable but J Palacios easily replaced either with a minor trade (Zimmer), Biggio getting ABs as an OF or someone else somehow.
The potential pen arms are the most plentiful. Romano plus Cimber, Y Garcia and Richards seemed like locks with Mayza needing to prove very little by just being as healthy and useful as last year. Health for Phelps. This is a bare minimum for the pen which has lost Stripling to the rotation. There are 10 arms that I have not mentioned. New additions like Danner will be given time to show that they are ready for the majors. Vasquez, Hatch, Kay, Merryweather, Borucki and others need to prove that they are worthy of their 40 man spot. I expect many of the pen arms to not be there for 2023 ST.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#412819) #
The backup catcher hits cleanup today. Guerrero Jr. DHs with Biggio at first. We will see if the home-cooking helps.
Cracka - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#412820) #
Zack Collins is catching and hitting clean-up today. It's impressive to me how quickly he's grabbed the backup catcher role from Heineman, who had a really good spring and spent a lot of time in big league camp. I'm also very impressed that Charlie has essentially gone to a two-man bench and resisted the urge to give Katoh/Heineman much playing time. It wasn't long ago - maybe even last year - that every position player on the roster would get at least one start each series. This biggest beneficiary seems to be Espinal, and that's clearly been the right decision. Fun Fact: Until yesterday, Santi had never hit home runs in back-to-back games at any point in his career.
John Northey - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#412822) #
Yeah, if it wasn't for the 28 man roster and 13 pitcher limit comes May 1st we'd probably be seeing a 2 man bench but instead the Jays will keep 13 hitters around. Just 15 hitters used so far, with Hernandez and Jansen on the IL so 1 will need to go soon (Katoh almost certainly for Hernandez) and another when Jansen returns (Heineman). Leaving us with Hernandez/Springer/Gurriel in the OF with Tapia/Zimmer backups, infield of Vlad/Espinal/Bo/Chapman with Biggio as backup, catching Kirk with Collins and Heineman as backups. Safe to say the Jays would like to get rid of one of Tapia or Zimmer to make room for another infielder (Katoh) but FanGraphs shows that neither Tapia or Zimmer have options while Katoh does (as does Biggio for that matter and Heineman and Collins). A 14 man batter setup would be better but that ain't gonna happen due to the pitching crowding.

Bullpen...
This is getting crowded with quality too. Obvious guys are Romano-Garcia-Mayza-Cimber-Richards-Phelps. Stripling is in the rotation for now (lord knows how long Ryu will be on the IL). That leaves 2 spots come May with Merryweather-Borucki-Saucedo-Thornton all fighting for it. Merryweather-Saucedo-Thornton all have options left, while Borucki doesn't. So lets give one slot to Borucki, leaving the other 3 plus when healthy Pearson fighting for it. I thought Merryweather had a lock on it, but Thornton has been far better than I expected. In 4 games, 8 IP, 30 batters faced, just 3 hits, 1 run/earned, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts. Given the need for a long man with Stripling in the rotation I suspect Thornton has a real shot at holding that slot if he keeps this up. Merryweather hasn't been bad - 5 2/3 IP 6 K 0 BB but 4 R/ER allowed pushes him to AAA I suspect once the Jays have to make up their minds. For what it is worth Cimber, Romano, and Mayza have options but I can't imagine any going down. Richards is out of options, while Garcia and Phelps are past the experience level to have options left.

So we are seeing good problems coming for May - too many guys who deserve a shot, rather than too few. Lets hope we still feel this way come May 1st, and October 1st :)
hypobole - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#412823) #
Be fantastic to get the sweep and our 11th win today. FWIW the 2013 team that some were comparing to this years had already lost 21 games before picking up their 11th win.
bpoz - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#412825) #
Losing Palacios did not really upset any Bauxites which is good IMO. Something has changed.

Moves for May 1 are probably of no impact. Everyone will be stretched out by then. Thornton has gone 2 innings in each of his 4 appearances. He has been used when we were behind or ahead by many runs. He followed Ryu/Berrios. Each time the Jays were far behind. His use in the Stripling/Verlander game was maybe strategic because we were down 3-1 when he came into the game. Verlander was probably on a pitch count and was taken out after 6 innings with the game tied 3-3. Every pitcher for both teams did quite well except Verlander who pitched below his standards.
Thomas - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#412826) #
Safe to say the Jays would like to get rid of one of Tapia or Zimmer to make room for another infielder (Katoh) but FanGraphs shows that neither Tapia or Zimmer have options while Katoh does (as does Biggio for that matter and Heineman and Collins).

I'm not convinced that is true. I think the Jays would be "fine" (I'm sure they'd like better options at places) with a bench of Tapia, Zimmer, Biggio and Collins.

Montoyo doesn't seem to rate Katoh much and he hardly uses him as is. However, putting aside the fact Tapia is getting so much playing time now due to the injury, he and Zimmer offer slightly different skillsets that the Jays seem to value more. Zimmer gives the Jays a legitimate center-fielder to spell Springer at times, which is something I think they'll want to do. Tapia gives them slightly better hitting abilities, as well as late-inning speed.

It's not the perfect bench mix, but I think they prefer Zimmer and Tapia to one of them and Katoh.

jerjapan - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#412827) #
Agreed with your BP depth chart John Northey, I assume Borucki gets some run to see if he can regain his form, and Thornton is likely 9th on the BP depth chart, 8th if you count Stripling as a starter. 

Frankly, I'd rather Thornton as rotation depth than Hatch, who looked so promising coming out of the pen, but until we get a more clear picture of the depth chart come May, Thornton has earned his spot. 

I know it is dangerous to play arm-chair psychologist, but I do assume that rewarding guys like him with a spot even though he's a relatively interchangeable depth pitcher at this point is good for team and org culture / morale. 
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#412828) #
<br>I think I'll take Brantley on the sac bunt. But yikes the fastball on that double was grooooooved.
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#412829) #
<br>the called strike was close but looked good. Would've been understandable called either way, but I think it was right The first pitch ball to Gurriel on thr other hand...looked pretty bad. Good job recovering for Kikuchi, and getting out of it with no runs allowed.
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#412830) #
<br>not sure why Garcia is allowed to rock back and forth so much on the mound before delivering. He does not look to ever come to a stop. Isn't that an illegal delivery? Kikuchi's stall also looks really funky too, but not in the same way.
scottt - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#412831) #
You don't have to come to a stop in the wind up.
You just have to stay in contact with the rubber.

lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#412832) #
<br> ah. Well the video after I posted suggested he was disengaging anyway. So someone should probably complain and have the league review.
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#412834) #
<br>Kikuchi is too wild to get the benefit of the doubt on a pitch on the line today, but that pitch to go 3-1 to Bregman looked like a strike. And the theory with robo umps is those calls get called properly. That'll be better for thr game.Didn't hurt this time - again Kikuchi getting out of it without too much harm- but he's got to do better.
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#412835) #
<br>every time they've shown a close up of Garcia 's feet during his wind-up he's disengaged multiple times with his toe taps. Like there seems to be clear daylight between his foot and the rubber, so that probably needs to be looked at more closely.
Polite Nate - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#412836) #
I was thinking Collins looked better so far defensively than his reputation led me to believe, but I think last inning did show a bit of where that reputation comes from. I think he lost a few strikes there. Between that and the Bichette error, pretty hard luck inning for Kikuchi.
Nigel - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#412837) #
Walker has his work cut out for him with Kikutchi. While the stuff is pretty interesting, the overall MLB results havenít really been that great and heís been bad since the middle of last year.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#412838) #
The backup catcher maybe should be hitting cleanup.
hypobole - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#412839) #
Doing pretty well for a guy whose best quality when acquired was "optionable".
Mike Green - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#412840) #
It's obvious that I was wrong about the McGuire trade. The organization must have seen that his bat was better than the stat line suggested.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#412842) #
If Collins is even half this good, the FO (in a circuitous way) essentially turned Hutchison into both Teoscar and Collins (plus some big-league contributions from McGuire and Liriano). Pretty impressive "one red paperclip" series of moves by Atkins and Shapiro.

And yes, mea culpa about the Collins/McGuire trade.
John Northey - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#412843) #
I love that series of trades...
  1. August 1, 2016: Francisco Liriano (0.4 WAR as a Jay) traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Reese McGuire (1.2 WAR as a Jay) and Harold Ramirez (left as free agent after 2018) to the Toronto Blue Jays for Drew Hutchison (15th round pick in 2009 - 0.2 WAR for Jays).
  2. July 31, 2017: Francisco Liriano traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Houston Astros for Nori Aoki (0.2 WAR, released a month after being acquired) and Teoscar Hernandez (8.5 WAR so far).
  3. April 3, 2022: Reese McGuire traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Chicago White Sox for Zack Collins (0.3 before today's home run).
So a 15th round pick in 2009 has so far resulted in 10.8 WAR via 3 trades that never added any extras in from the Jays POV. Dang I'd say that has worked out very well with 2 wild card playoffs thanks in large part to the guys acquired and Hutchison was useful the year the Jays won the division (2015 - negative 1.5 WAR that year but ate 150 innings and Jays were 18-12 in his starts). Liriano was an important part of the 2016 team, and Teoscar of course was an important part of the 2020 team. If only all 15th round picks could work out so well :)
92-93 - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#412844) #
Why not keep Kirk in the game at C? Can Collins not play 1B?
John Northey - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#412845) #
I suspect Kirk needs some rest. Available for an AB but that was it.
Gerry - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#412846) #
In the field Matt Chapman is Scott Rolen redux, prove me wrong.
Magpie - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#412847) #
I suspect Kirk needs some rest.

He caught Saturday afternoon after catching Friday night, which is somewhat unusual, and his knees are probably letting him know about it.
jerjapan - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#412848) #
ouch.
still, fun game.  Love seeing the Jays play good D, hope it rubs off on BB.
did Candy Maldonado have an arm?  I'm getting a Maldonado vibe from Lourdes these days. 
Mike Green - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#412849) #
Sometimes luck is on your side, sometimes not.  With a runner on second and one out and the Jays up 6-5, Collins mostly blocks a "wild" pitch from Phelps, it rolls away slightly but he can't find it and the runner moves up.  The Jays bring the infield in and Diaz hits a short looper over short which could very well have been caught if the infield was at regular depth. 

Excellent series win, nonetheless.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#412850) #
Not cashing any further runners in the top of the 10th is asking for trouble. Tough way for Romano's streak to end.
jerjapan - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#412851) #
Collins has been a pleasant surprise for sure.  All small moves at the time John Northey, but man, Collins might have Teoscar potential as a former 1st rounder. 

And Hutch is back pitching well out of the pen for the Tigers.  I was pulling for that guy, always liked him as Jay. 
Magpie - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#412852) #
Tough way for Romano's streak to end.

A bloop single to cash the Zombie Runner and tie the game would have been a tough way for the streak to end. But a 425 foot walkoff homer? Fair enough.
lexomatic - Sunday, April 24 2022 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#412853) #
<br>i remember Maldomado having a strong but inaccurate arm. And worse in every way by thr time he got to thr Jays.
bpoz - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#412855) #
The trade to get Z Collins in a round about way is fun to look at.

Who knows what we have gained or lost in our C situation. Gone are McGuire and Riley Adams and gained is Z Collins. All 3 are backup Cs who will get opportunities to show how they can help this year.
scottt - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#412856) #
Collins has an excellent eye and a lot of power.
Encarnation was a below average bat until 27  years old and a plus bats from age 29 to 36.
Collins is 27. 3 homers this year, only 4 in 78 games last year, but a .330 OBP fuelled by 34 walks.
I would try to keep him up all year and preserve his option.


scottt - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#412857) #
So, at this point, the Jays are 5th in batting average, 18th in OBP, 8 in OPS, 14th in run scored, 1st in homeruns, 18th in stolen base.

The walks should start to go up.

20th in starter ERA, (Berrios' is still quite inflated).
21th is starter WHIP, 12 in BB/9, 16th in K/9, 23 in H/9 and 21 in starter HR/9.

In the pen,
9th in ERA, 2nd in WHIP, 2nd in BB/9, 24th in K/9, 6th in H/9 and 23rd in HR/9.

Starters have room to improve. The defense has been really good which balance the high number of homeruns (not abnormal for the ALE) and the low strikeout rate.

ISLAND BOY - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#412858) #
It's early but Bo Bichette seems to be out of kilter at the plate.( .217 avg., 239 OBP) So many of his bats seem to start with a strike, either swinging or called, then goes downhill after that with Bo flailing at a pitcher's pitch way outside the strike zone for strike three. I appreciate Bo's contact ability but he just sometimes seems to be determined to swing no matter where the pitch is heading.
Mike Green - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#412859) #
Santiago Espinal's career numbers per BB Reference: .289/.350/.395 good for a 105 OPS+ and 3.4 bWAR in 368 PAs.  The bWAR consists of 2.2 Wins Above Average (plus the difference between Average and Replacement) and he's above-average in all phases of the game- 2 runs with the bat, 3 runs running the bases, 1 run avoiding double plays, 12 runs on defence and 2 runs for position played.  It all adds up to a 6 WAR player on a full-time basis (650 PAs) if he's able to sustain it over a full-season.

The fangraphs career numbers are not quite as awesome- a 105 wRC+ and 2.6 bWAR consisting of 3.7 runs baserunning, 5.9 runs on offence and 8.0 runs on defence.  That amounts to a 4.6 WAR player on a full-time basis. 

His expected batting statistics are still not as good as his actual, but getting close to league average (.314 xwOBA for Espinal career vs. .316 league average).  And, of course, he's been improving. He's an exceptionally valuable player at this point- he's arb eligible in 2024 and a free agent in 2027 at the age of 32. 
earlweaverfan - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#412860) #
There was an interesting Shi Davidi story a few weeks back about an enterprise-wide program by the Jays hitting coaches in which every player in the Jays system was being ranked on every at-bat and every game for how well they swung at pitches they had a good chance to hit and how well they avoided swinging at pitches they had a poor chance to hit. If you were a junior player in the minors you could end up out-performing some of the players in the bigs on a given day. And even if your results were not yet showing progress, say because of BABIP, you could get much better results eventually if you trusted the system.

How do I believe that Bichetteís attitudes are getting in the way of his improving? Because there is zero evidence that he is even trying. I really hope he has not caught Pillar-Grichuk syndrome - ďI am above all that OBP nonsense!Ē If he wants to learn, he just needs to watch Espy - about 15th best in MLB for total pitches per at bat.

Itís probably hard to subject Bo to the Teoscar treatment, but how about swapping his place in the order with Espinal? A great signal to both parties and everyone else, for that matter. On current form, the team would be better off.

I also wonder what Dante has to say right nowÖ
scottt - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#412862) #
Kutter Crawford placed on restricted list along with Tanner Houck.
John Schreiber and Tyler Danish recalled.

Magpie - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#412863) #
how about swapping his place in the order with Espinal?

Swap the .217 hitter with the .220 hitter?
Gerry - Monday, April 25 2022 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#412864) #
Biggio likely has covid. If so pitcher Bowden Francis will replace him.

This year there is a restriction on how many times a player can be sent down to the minors so expect to see most players on the 40 man get a shot in the big leagues.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 26 2022 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#412898) #
Just as a closing thing - umpire scorecards for this series...





Much cleaner than most series although the umpire impact in the final game was the difference in the score. But only 3 screwed up strikes and 8 balls that were strikes. Really can't complain much about this series.
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