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It's been a while since we've seen these guys.

Eight years, in fact. The Cubs last visited Toronto In September 2014, and the Jays beat the living crap out of them. Jays rookie RH Marcus Stroman pitched a complete game three-hitter for his first (and so far, only) career shutout in the opener. Jose Bautista broke it open with a three run homer, his 32nd of the season, and the Jays cruised 8-0. Mark Buehrle and Jake Arrieta hooked up in a tight one the following evening. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the seventh but a one out single by Kevin Pillar chased Arrieta. Rasmus hit another single and Kawasaki walked to load the bases, which were promptly cleared by a Bautista double. The Jays piled on with five more in the eighth for a 9-2 win. Drew Hutchison and Kyle Hendricks hooked up in the finale which stayed tight until the sixth, when the Jays chased Hendricks with a three spot and then spent the rest of the night abusing the Chicago bullpen. It was 11-2 by the time it was over.

The 2014 Cubs weren't very good, but just one year later they won 97 games and went all the way to the NLCS. And one year after that, they - this really happened - won the World Series. The Cubs won the World Series. It had only been 108 years since that had been a true sentence. They followed up with a couple more 90 plus win years, but slipped to 84-78 in 2019 and Joe Maddon got out while the getting was good. They lost 91 games a year ago, and traded away franchise icons Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. They look to be a good bet to lose another 90 games this season.

Which means these are the kind of Cubs I am familiar with, the Cubs I have known all my life.

The Cubs baffled everyone at the deadline - they had a 30 year old all-star catcher who will be a free agent when the season is over, and they... held on to him. They also held onto Ian Happ, who's under contract for one more year. Happ's kind of a switch-hitting version of Whit Merrifield - he plays the same bunch of positions - except five years younger, and better.

Two Cubs starting pitchers can't cross the border. RH Adrian Sampson started on Sunday, but he didn't work four consecutive innings so the Cubs will be able to replace him on the roster. LH Justin Steele, who has been their best pitcher this season, would be on track to start the Wednesday game. But he'll be elsewhere and we don't know yet what the Cubs will do instead.

You may have heard some talk about Marcus Stroman, who will be starting on Tuesday night. This will be the first time the little fellow has faced his original team. So naturally it's the first time he's pitched at the RC since he was traded to the Mets at the 2019 deadline in exchange for Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson, who last year was half the price for Jose Berrios. He can't be enjoying life on a lousy team, and it's hard to expect them to be much better next year, but I suppose $25 million eases the pain somewhat. I trust he'll get a nice welcome - he certainly earned it - and then let's hope he gets his hat handed to him.


Mon 29 Aug - Assad (0-0, 0.00) vs Berrios (9-5, 5.28)
Tue 30 Aug - Stroman (3-6, 4.10) vs Gausman (9-9, 3.15)
Wed 31 Aug - Who Knows () vs White (1-4, 4.24)
Chicago Cubs at Toronto, August 29-31 | 256 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#420857) #
Bud Black just turned 65, but I really think that he should be Mr. Who Knows so that we can have a Black vs. White matchup. 
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#420858) #
Since we traded him away:

Stroman (31): 62gs, 86era-, 90fip-, 85xfip-, 3.0awar/32

Signed for 2 more years at an AAV of $23m.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#420859) #
Bud Black and Vida Blue had careers that overlapped. Was the ever a Black and Blue match-up?
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#420860) #
Vida Blue left Oakland for San Francisco in 1978 before Bud Black made it to the Show.   Blue came back to the American League in 1982, and was a teammate of Black's in 1982 and 1983.  He finished off his career back with the Giants.  So, a Black vs. Blue matchup did not happen.  But a Black and Blue doubleheader starts for the Royals in 82 and 83 could have happened.  Let's see if it did.  Well, what do you know?  On August 16, 1982, Vida Blue started the 1st game of a doubleheader for the Royals against the Yankees and threw a complete game 4-hitter but lost to Dave Righetti, as Lee Mazzilli hit a 2 run homer in the 6th for the only runs of the game. Bud Black started the nightcap and also came out on the losing end in a 4-3 game; Black was pretty good, allowing 2 runs in 5 and 2/3.  I guess technically it was a Blue and Black doubleheader; maybe it would have gone better if manager Dick Howser had switched up the starters!
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#420861) #
Well, for completeness, I checked 1983 and wouldn't you know, there was another doubleheader with Black and Blue. And this time, Howser put them in the right order.  On June 5, 1983, Black started the opener and threw 6 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs.  Quiz blew the save, but vultured the win.  In the nightcap, Blue was similarly excellent and allowed 1 run in 6 games, but Mike Armstrong blew the save and the game. 
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#420862) #
*In the nightcap, Blue was similarly excellent and allowed 1 run in 6 innings.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#420863) #
And who played second base behind Black on those Royals teams? Why, it was Frank White. But the Royals traded Black to Cleveland in 1988, and Black was the starter when KC came to town that August. And John Wathan decided it was a good day to play Brad Wellman at second base.

But the following June, we finally got our Black-White matchup when Cleveland came to KC. Good game, too. Black pitched a shutout, and won it when Tom Gordon issued a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth. White struck out, flied out, fouled out, and walked.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#420864) #
It turns out that "Black" is almost as uncommon a name as "Blue" in the game's history, so it is awfully cool that Bud and Vida were actually teammates.

Now "White" - got lots and lots of those. Deacon is in the Hall of Fame, Roy was probably the best player, and Bill, Devon, Jo-Jo, Rondell, Frank, Sammy, and Doc were all-stars and good players, every one.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#420865) #
OK, technically Doc White wasn't an all-star.

But if they'd just played an all-star game in 1906...
92-93 - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#420866) #
And once you're gone, you can never come back.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#420867) #
Oh, very well played!
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#420868) #
unless you're Bradley Zimmer, who did indeed just come back to the blue jays.
Glevin - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#420869) #
Would prefer Zimmer to Bradley at this point because Schneider plays Bradley too often and was never tempted by Zimmer.
Chuck - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#420870) #
unless you're Bradley Zimmer, who did indeed just come back to the blue jays

With Springer to presumably fight elbow problems for the rest of the year, what the team needs is four bad backup options for center field, and Zimmer now completes this requirement. Now if only the team could land a fourth second basemen, maximal flexibility would finally be achieved.

Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#420871) #
Bradley Zimmer, who did indeed just come back to the blue jays.

I immediately went to Twitter - could he be messing with us? An unworthy thought, I apologize! I don't know if it's even possible to link to a tweet, but someone called Phillies Muse has already posted a Bradley Zimmer Tribute Video. And the comments are gold, as you might imagine.
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#420872) #
I would never! well, I might. but not this time!

Ross Atkins says Bradley Zimmer will take the extra position player spot when rosters expand.

There will be a reliever added with roster expansion, too.

Pearson doing live throwing Wed, game action would be next. (So a bit away still.)

Merryweather keeps looking good.

— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) August 29, 2022
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#420873) #
Chuck I call it... Flexibliciousness.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#420874) #
Tapia, Zimmer and Bradley all bat left-handed so the much-sought-after "flexible redundancy" is achieved.  Perhaps the club will release Tapia and call up Horwitz now.  In which case, I'm happy.  /scorn-leader
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#420875) #
Last year was the trailer. This year is the movie. Next year will be *the real thing*. We promise.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#420876) #
Oh no.  They really are going to carry all of them.  It's like waving a banner saying we don't know what we are doing.  I guess I've got to aim my scorn higher- when a fish stinks...
Chuck - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#420877) #
Trailers used to be shown after the movie. So an old school type might argue that if last year were the trailer, this year is getting in your car and driving home.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#420878) #
Well, I am baffled. It's true that I am often baffled. Perhaps bafflement is simply my natural state...

Nah. It's just Blue Jays general managers who do this to me. They baffle me. Freud didn't understand women. I don't understand these guys. They've been baffling me for a long time, every last one of them.
Ducey - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#420879) #
The movie poster for this year has a picture of Zimmer in a goalie mask holding a bat with a huge hole in it.

I'm not sure if it one of those mock horrors or the actual thing.
lexomatic - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#420880) #
Would rather see Lopez Capra horwitz than jbj zimmer Tapia.
I know it would never happen, but really that is just awful.
The OF backups have cost us a win so far.
Glevin - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#420881) #
The Jays are going to carry Zimmer and Bradley? That is insane. How many 6th OFers do you need? How about getting someone who can hit a bit?
Kasi - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#420882) #
There really isn’t anyone in the high minors ready other than Moreno. Not surprised if they just leave him down to get reps and get his power stroke back though.
Chuck - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#420883) #
I wonder if opting for yet another outfielder over a third catcher suggests that we will be seeing a whole lot of Springer at DH in September.

And I wonder, too, about the severity of Hernandez's foot injury.

That Zimmer is the answer to any of these questions is another line of inquiry entirely.

Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#420884) #
Nah. It's just Blue Jays general managers who do this to me. They baffle me. Freud didn't understand women.

Really, it's just people.  I think I understood what Alex Anthopoulos and Pat Gillick were doing.  Didn't always agree of course, but I felt that I understood.  Hell, that was true of Ricciardi for me too.  And honestly, I think that I get what Ash and Atkins were/are up to, but you do shake your head at how far off they can be.  I guess GMs don't get a day off or a short IL stint during the season even if they really need it.  Which doesn't make sense when you think about it. 

In this case, the move itself is of marginal importance but significant in what it reveals. 
rpriske - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#420885) #
I think Zimmer must have compromising photos of Shapiro.
Nigel - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#420886) #
The season of acquiring redundant “assets” (I use that word loosely) continues. I wonder if putting Zimmer on waivers for, at best, an identical player (and probably inferior player), rubbed some noses the wrong way in the clubhouse? Not sure why management would care but it’s such an odd move.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#420887) #
Well it is good to have a solid or better defensive centerfielder.  But the rest... I mean, Raimel Tapia is hitting .262/.284/.371 good for a 85 wRC+.  That's better than his career number.  And you want him for your LH left-fielder.  Why?

I think I know what Atkins is thinking; our lineup lists right and we need to restore some balance and Tapia is the best we can do and some of our analytics guys still think that he can do better....
Nigel - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#420888) #
At least management and the players are on the same page! Unfortunately, that page is the "spinning their wheels" page since early in the year.

Chuck - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#420889) #
And you want him for your LH left-fielder. Why?

If it works out, maybe make him your latex salesman.

Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#420890) #
...jbj zimmer Tapia. I know it would never happen

Never say never.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#420891) #
So today we have Tapia in RF (where he has been a defensive disaster) and Biggio at second base, with Espinal getting his second consecutive day off.  It's perfectly reasonable to give Espinal a day off on Monday against a RHP with Biggio getting the start at second, but if you're going to do that, why on earth would you have started Merrifield at second base, with Espinal on the bench, against a LHP on Sunday.

Just to recap.  Espinal has a 100 wRC+ this year and 2.2 fWAR.  He has a 102 wRC+ and 4.4 fWAR over his 746 career MLB PA.  He's been a very good player.  And he hits significantly better against LHP- .332/.383/.444 for a 131 wRC+ in his career.  Whit Merrifield has been below 100 wRC+ against LHP over the last 4 years.  He's a good defender at second base, but not as good as Espinal. 
Four Seamer - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#420892) #
There have been so many inexplicable decisions this season that I think Shapiro needs to flush out Atkins and most, if not all, of this coaching staff the day the season ends.
Lylemcr - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#420893) #
The way Moreno is knocking the ball around, he has to be serviceable up here. I am not sure where another OF helps....

scottt - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#420894) #
Maybe they'd rather have Zimmer than Moreno as the extra position player in September?

uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#420895) #
Since being sent down:

Moreno: 93pa, .313avg, .387obp, .120iso, 124wrc+
John Northey - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#420896) #
For the extra in September I'd rather have Collins just as the emergency backup catcher and pinch hitter, but with an almost entirely LH bench maybe a RH hitter from AAA would be a good idea. But the best hitter in AAA is Yoshi Tsutsugo who is at 367/507/673 (mixed Toronto and Pittsburgh AAA over 67 PA) but his ML numbers are sad (76 OPS+ lifetime over 640 PA, 36 over 193 this year). Odd to hit so well in AAA and so poor up in the majors. He is a 1B/LF/RF who can cover 3B in an emergency (89 ML innings at 3B). Could easily be more useful than Zimmer or JBJ who are basically the same player at this stage. His job would be to hit for Tapia/Zimmer/JBJ. In the old days of 40 man September rosters it wouldn't be hard. You'd call him up, Collins, etc. to give the Jays a very deep bench for pinch running/defense/the odd pinch hit assignment. Moreno I don't see any point in calling up until next year unless Jansen or Kirk goes onto the IL - he needs playing time right now, not sitting on the bench time.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#420898) #
The Jays are shifting too much.  The two-strike extreme shifts are only helpful with batters who don't have the ability to put the ball on the ground the other way.  When other teams don't take off the extreme shift on Springer with two strikes, I have the same view.
Glevin - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#420899) #
Vlad hits a GB 56% of the time in August but it feels closer to 90%.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#420900) #
There are only five players on the Jays with more WAR this season than Ian Happ (3.0):


I imagine the asking price for him was very high (Tiedemann-plus?), but not landing Happ at the deadline was pretty brutal for Toronto. He would have been an extremely useful player down the stretch and in the postseason. Instead the team is left with the mishmash of Tapia, JBJ, Zimmer and Merrifield.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#420901) #
Looks like Assad is the latest in a long line of inexperienced, high-ERA SPs to stymie the Blue Jays hitters.
Kasi - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#420902) #
Problem is he still is not a CF so he doesn’t really solve much. With Springer not playing CF as much it wouldn’t be him being a full time CF (he might get some occasional starts but he’s only had one game at CF this year). Aka he’d be taking games from Gurriel and Hernandez most of the time. Yes it would be nice to never see Tapia or those others play the corners but it doesn’t solve CF.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#420903) #
That might have been Tapia's best throw of the year. 
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#420904) #
Tapia threw out a baserunner? How? (I was in the kitchen.) Did the guy fall down?
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#420905) #
Reyes rounded second and hesitated a bit, but Tapia threw a laser to third for the clear kill.  Shocked me. 
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#420906) #
Are you sure, Kasi? He did play 56 games in CF last year (3 games this year). I could see him playing all three OF positions, perhaps less in CF than in the corners, but that would still lead to a lot of playing time. And it would provide some needed rest to the other outfielders, probably resulting in a higher-performing roster as a whole.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#420907) #
Ah. The 270 pound guy hesitated.

I was thinking about why Contreras is still a Cub. I don't know how many contenders actually need a catcher - it's generally a position that the good teams have covered - but I'm sure they all figured "the Cubs have to trade him, let's offer our 87th best prospect." And Carter Hawkins thought why even bother. As well as feeling somewhat insulted.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#420908) #
Maybe there is some game theory benefit in future negotiations to not trading Contreras at a discount now.
Eephus - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#420909) #
Don’t see that too often either.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#420910) #
Very nice execution of that DP to get out of a jam.
Kasi - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#420911) #
Would be nice if this team could start hitting again.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#420912) #
Tough way for Berrios to leave the game. I thought he got the final out of T6, but Gurriel Jr. took a weird route to the fly ball and couldn’t quite get there.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#420913) #
They've been getting killed by their defensive positioning tonight. Just now Springer was over in right-centre when a LH threw a breaking ball to a RH batter.

Not that it matters if they can't hit, of course.
Eephus - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#420914) #
Regardless of how this season ends, at least the flaws (on and off the field) were/are glaringly obvious.
Gerry - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#420915) #
Expert opinion seems to be that Contreras is not a good defensive catcher. Add to that it is tricky to trade a catcher in the middle of the season and have them develop a relationship with the pitchers.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#420916) #
Springer just took a great circle route to that ball.  Good idea when you're flying but...

The club isn't playing badly tonight.  But not well enough to win.
99BlueJaysWay - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#420917) #
but not well enough to win Against a team with a .430 winning percentage and an inferior starter
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#420918) #
are we really going to give away the SIXTH playoff spot to the fricken orioles.
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#420919) #
Ramiel Tapia wad going to get less playing time they told me.
92-93 - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#420920) #
Jano! Rally caps! Some life!!!
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#420921) #
Ramiel Tapia wad going to get less playing time they told me.

And so he has, 51 being a smaller number than 75, 72, 73, and 58 (his plate appearances by month.)
Hodgie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#420922) #
Jansen with the rally killer.
electric carrot - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#420923) #
On the double play throw home from Vladdy he reminded me a bit of his old man. That was a laser throw.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#420924) #
First of all, nice rally by Jansen and co.

Second, there is no rule that the Jays have to swing at anything close to the strike zone. Up and in, in off the plate, down and away…it’s OK to take those pitches.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#420925) #
Tip of the chapeau to Chapman (and Biggio).
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#420926) #
Espinal for Tapia please.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#420927) #
Good move, poor result.  Sigh.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#420928) #
Espinal’s offensive numbers are down quite a bit in the second half this year. Hopefully he can regroup during the home stretch.
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#420929) #
gonna need to complete this comeback boys.

stay on target.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#420930) #
Bo got a great pitch to hit to start his PA. He fouled it off. Then hit into the DP.
92-93 - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#420931) #
That's on Schneider. There was little reason to take Biggio out of the game, he could have gone to RF and then you have an extra body to PR for Kirk.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#420932) #
JBJ did a nice job there.  Didn't get the result, but that was exactly what he should have been trying to do. 
Eephus - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#420933) #
Kirk's bad slide annoys me more. I love the bat, but once he's on the bases there's a late career Frank Thomas element to his presence out there. Also... never bring your lead leg up on a slide when you're trying to avoid a force, unless you're Ty Cobb and you know everybody hates your guts regardless.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#420934) #
Bo’s throws are sometimes hazardous to Vladdy’s health.
Mike Green - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#420935) #
Thank you, Franmil. 
92-93 - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#420936) #
Jano again!!!
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#420937) #
the great ben stiller flick Flirting With Disaster comes to mind.

but including the happy ending!
Eephus - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#420938) #
Considering the big 2-3-2 double play, this shall be The Danny Jansen Game (thus far at least). 
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#420939) #
It's the Danny Jansen Game, but a whole lot of people really contributed - Chapman and Bo, Tapia and Biggio, Springer and Bradley. Berrios battled, and the bullpen put up five zeroes.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#420940) #
Sweet victory.

Magpie, do you know what percentage of Jays sac bunt attempts this season have been executed successfully? It feels like the percentage must be pretty low (I could be wrong).
ISLAND BOY - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#420941) #
That was a big win!

Re Moreno. I read that in the new CBA, if a prospect is rated in the top 100 and has less than 45 days service time in the majors, and then plays the next full season in the majors, then the parent club gets an extra pick in the next year's amateur draft. I wonder, if I got this right, if this factored into the club's decision to not call up Moreno. It seems a third catcher would have been a heck of a lot more useful than a sixth outfielder.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#420942) #
According to bb-ref, they're 8 for 10 this season (make that for 8-11 now.) Zimmer, Heineman and (now) Espinal all 1-2 in sac attempts. Katoh and Biggio both 1-1, Tapia 3-3.

I don't know why Espinal didn't turn around and square up. Everybody already knew he was bunting.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#420943) #
That doesn't include failing to get a bunt down early in the count and then swinging away.
greenfrog - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#420944) #
Thanks! I guess there is also the situation where a player is asked to bunt, fails to get it down, and then is asked to swing away with two strikes. Do you know how often that has occurred this season?
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#420945) #
No idea!
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#420946) #
The broadcasters and the old ballplayers are always going on about how nobody knows how to bunt anymore, and it's tiresome - but they're right! They all bunt like they're trying to catch the defense by surprise and get a bunt hit, and they all bunt at the ball. Square around, catch the ball with the bat, and you actually have a chance to place the ball where you want it to go.
Eephus - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#420947) #
I don't know why Espinal didn't turn around and square up. Everybody already knew he was bunting.

Yeah... it must've been a "must sacrifice", but when the Cubs defense is so clearly anticipating it.. so much that the second baseman has plenty of time even playing next to the second base bag, to wheel over to first base, while both corner infielders are charging almost parallel to the mound (not to mention Espinal showed bunt on a pitch before the pitcher even delivered, like he was a NL pitcher in those beforetimes)... even the pigeons nestling under the Dome knew what was happening.

Buck Martinez was griping mildly about the bunt being a lost art, but I agree in preferring the idea of the 'fake bunt and slash' more if we're talking a lost art. I hardly see it in lower level ball, nevermind the pros. I imagine it's a risky ploy but Espinal strikes me as one (a good contact hitter with opposite field ability) that could surprise an unsuspecting team.   

Fun game. They really had to battle to get it, which is also something. Nice to witness an enjoyable (and not horribly frustrating) one again.

99BlueJaysWay - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#420948) #
I am very happy to have spoken too soon and be made a fool by Jano!
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#420949) #
The bunt did make sense in the situation. A runner on third with one out, a fly ball wins the game, Jansen doesn't strike out much, and he hits everything in the air. The execution, not so much.
Magpie - Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#420950) #
...but when the Cubs defense is so clearly anticipating it..

Sorry, son. Not buying it! Pitchers can do it. Clayton Kershaw has 110 sac bunts, and I'm sure the defense was expecting him to bunt 110 times. If you execute it properly they can't do much about it.
Eephus - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#420951) #
They all bunt like they're trying to catch the defense by surprise and get a bunt hit, and they all bunt at the ball. Square around, catch the ball with the bat, and you actually have a chance to place the ball where you want it to go.

This is quite accurate. I often see players, when they attempt to bunt, try jabbing at the pitch... as though they're still trying to swing at it but only in the most minimal way. Thus, why you see these choppers hit often directly to a charging infielder or (even worse) the pitcher. The most important thing is keeping the bat level both horizontally and vertically to the plate, like you're trying for the ball to meet the bat for lunch and all that's needed is a friendly tap on the barrel... the speed of the pitch will do the distance work.

I was a terrible bunter in my youth (for the reasons above) but I eventually was taught by an experienced but crazy old coach (that's another story) how the best way to bunt is: instead of adjusting and moving your arms to the pitch, use your lower body to greet it at that level. Kind of like timing your front knee towards it, while of course bringing the bat down still and in position. You really have to commit to it... I can't imagine many players good at sacrifice bunting who also do it without complete conviction or technique.

Bunting stories! Hey, people have been reminiscing about Dave Winfield lately and he had a pretty darn big one in the 1992 Series.

Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#420952) #
The most important thing is keeping the bat level both horizontally

Exactly! And you lay it across the top of the strike zone, so it only ever moves downwards.
Eephus - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#420953) #
Sorry, son. Not buying it! Pitchers can do it. Clayton Kershaw has 110 sac bunts, and I'm sure the defense was expecting him to bunt 110 times. If you execute it properly they can't do much about it.

Hey, Kershaw has a career .166 batting average! Which is... well.. ugh geez... um, notably better than 2022 Bradley Zimmer at least?

I do agree the bunt in that situation is the right call, although some flexibility with a good contact hitter like Espinal could perhaps catch a defense off-guard. My tiny issue (which I think we agree upon) is he simply didn't look very comfortable or able to do it successfully. An NL pitcher like Kershaw probably has practiced it countless times over his long career... although it seems extremely unlikely he's ever had to do so in extra innings of any game.   
John Northey - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#420954) #
Watching Espinal try to bunt was sad - the left side of the diamond was almost empty, a slap hit towards that area would've been an easy single to win the game. Ah for the days of Tony Fernandez...
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:41 AM EDT (#420955) #
Dave Winfield...had a pretty darn big one in the 1992 Series.

I just went back and watched that ninth inning! As soon as Alomar steals second, McCarver is talking about the bunt all through the Carter AB and when Winfield comes up. (He didn't know Cito too well, did he?) Winfield was bunting on his own and his technique was pretty good (better than Espinal, anyway!) McCarver thought he bunted it too hard which I suppose is true enough, but it was a 100 mph heater at the top of the zone, and there's nothing harder to bunt.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 07:43 AM EDT (#420956) #
If it makes anyone feel better, Ohtani hit a two-run home run and the Angels beat the Yankees and Montas 4-3 yesterday. Montas has a 7.01 ERA for New York and his K rate is down (7/9IP versus 9.37/9IP with Oakland this year).
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#420957) #
Yankees losing always makes me feel better.
scottt - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#420959) #
Truth be told, most teams are not playing well right now.

Rays are 7-3.
Blue Jays and Orioles 6-4.
Yankees, 5-5 and Red Sox, 3-7.

Astros, Mariners and Rangers are 6-4.
Athletics are 5-5 and Angels are 4-6.

In the central, it's always worse.
Tigers are 6-4.
Guardians are 5-5.
Twins and Royals are 4-6.
White Sox are 2-8. (Fire Tony, already.)

bpoz - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#420960) #
Thanks ISLAND BOY about the info about Moreno's ML usage that may lead to an extra draft pick. I read something like that too but I needed more confirmation.
scottt - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#420961) #
Was there a Stroman vs Gausman game when the Stro-Show ruled the Six?

Let's see.

In 2017, we have
April 3. Estrada vs Gausman
April 13. Gausman vs Liriano
May 20. Bolsinger vs Gausman
Jun 27. Gausman vs Biagini
Sept 1. Biagino vs Gausman

And there it is, September 17, 2017, Gausman vs Stroman
Stroman lost 2-1 on 2 unearned runs.

scottt - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#420962) #
Ironically, this may be the opposite of what the PA intended.
scottt - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#420963) #
A shake of the hat to you, Mr Jansen, indeed.

The Barrio Jacket was back with a vengeance last night.
Maybe it was just in dry cleaning?

Lotta discussion about bunting which from what I saw didn't make the Blue Jays in 30 highlights.

Maybe it's time to update the pictures on the site again?
Biggio's star has faded a lot.
I'd go with Manoah and someone--anyone--messing up a bunt.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#420964) #
The Jays are seven games behind in the loss column.  The Yankees have been relying heavily on Judge; the offensive base is unusually thin and they are more vulnerable than you would think.  Obviously the Jays would have to play a lot more consistently than they have been to make it interesting. 

After games of August 29, 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals were 8 games back.  After games of August 29, 1978, the Yankees were 7.5 games back (I had forgotten the Yankees were 1 game up going into the last day of the season, but they lost 9-2 to Cleveland that day to force Bucky Dent Day).

I looked back at the 1964 season, and the best club in the NL was probably the Cincinnati Reds who ended up 1 game out despite doing better on RS/RA than any other club.  In hindsight, what really killed them was Pete Rose's off-year at age 23.  Rose had been the Rookie of the Year the previous year at age 22, and would go on to be an All-Star almost every year from 1965, but in 1964, he was a poor fielding second baseman who hit .269/.319/.326 and was 4 out of 14 stealing bases.  If he had just turned a year consistent with the rest of his career, they probably would have won.  You should win if you have prime Frank Robinson and the best pitching in the league....
bpoz - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#420965) #
There are multiple top 100 lists. I would not know which ones get consideration.

Julio Rodriguez in Seattle would qualify for the extra draft pick in 2023. He moved very fast AA to the majors. Also in 2021 he spent some time on the temporarily inactive list, then was added to the 40 man roster for rule 5 protection.

Baseball is complicated!!
Gerry - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#420966) #
I think you only get the new draft pick for Moreno if he is rookie of the year.
bpoz - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#420967) #
Thanks Gerry.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#420968) #
David Laurilia at Fangraphs has his usual informative interview  today, this time with Mitch White about his slider and about blisters. 
scottt - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#420969) #
Not quite.

Clubs promoting top prospects to Opening Days rosters will be eligible to receive Draft picks if the player finishes in the top 3 for Rookie of the year or top 5 for MVP/Cy Young voting.

That would be an interesting gamble for Moreno.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#420970) #
Incidentally, I would have thought that the knuckler was harder to get down than the high 100 mph heater.  I checked the career records of Phil Niekro and Nolan Ryan.  It does look like both were awfully stingy with the sacs, but Niekro perhaps a little stingier (you have to adjust for the fact that Ryan spent more of his career in the AL during the DH years).  I would also guess that a slider from a submariner, with the ball rising and falling, would be hard to bunt.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#420971) #
You probably have to reckon with Niekro's genuine ability at fielding his position, a chore Ryan almost seemed to consider beneath him. But yeah, bunting the knuckler puts me in mind of trying to whack an insect with your hand and it's always somewhere else...
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#420972) #
Fair point, Magpie. I wondered how much better Niekro and Ryan were than average.  In 1970 in the NL, the average team had 68 sacrifices in 6259 PAs (one every 92 PAs).  Niekro allowed 6 sacs in 980 PAs (one every 163 PAs).  Ryan allowed 8 sacs in 570 PAs (one every 71 PAs).  Ryan, of course, allowed significantly more baserunners than Niekro (OBP of .333 to .304) and there would have been more sac opportunities. 
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#420973) #
Active Jays with most sac hits are Bradley with 7, Tapia 6 - guys from other organizations, you'll notice. About half the Jays regulars - Kirk, Guerrero, Bichette, Chapman, Hernandez - have 0 sac bunts in the majors. That used to be unusual - I think Harmon Killebrew was the first good player with zero but I think it's pretty common now. Whereas Stan Musial had 35 of them, Reggie Jackson had 13, and Ted Williams had 5. Sure would have been fun telling Ted to bunt. I'd pay to see that. I wouldn't pay to see Ted bunt.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#420974) #
Even if the Jays are trying to game the system with Moreno for a chance at an extra draft pick they can still call him up around September 9th for the road trip to Texas. He spent around 32 days on the active roster so far this year, and you are eligible if the prospect has under 60 days.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#420975) #
Of course Musial would be willing to bunt and be competent at it.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#420977) #
Trivia question for today, and it might take a while.  Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are tied for the highest post-season OPS in 50 PAs or more with 1.214.  Who is third? 
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#420978) #
And a supplemental.  If you set the bar at 30 PA, there's a different leader than Ruth and Gehrig and he's an old friend.  Who is that? 
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#420979) #
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#420980) #
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#420981) #
Good guess, but no.  Molitor's .359/.427/.598 line in 132 post-season PAs would rank him 6th among those with 100 PAs plus. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#420982) #
Also a good guess, but no.  Delgado's .351/.442/.757 line in 43 PAs would rank him behind two other ex-Jays with 30 PAs or more. 
92-93 - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#420983) #
The second question is an easy one. His walk-up song was Blake Shelton's "Boys Round Here".
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#420984) #
I remember it being a country tune here. At another time he used Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#420985) #
So yeah, it's Colby Rasmus.  Who was absolutely deadly in 35 post-season PAs with a 1.620 OPS.
pooks137 - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#420986) #
A little surprised that Espinal only has 13 successful sac bunts in 1695 minor PAs.

I guess the Red Sox system doesn't emphasize bunting skills for utility players/non-prospects/light hitting middle infielders either.

In his age 23 season when he split time between A+ and AA before being traded for Steve Pearce, Espinal had 0 successful sac bunts in 445 PAs.

You would think the lower minors would put a little more emphasis on having bubble guys with Espinal's profile to practice old timey skills.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#420987) #
The other ex-Jay who was really good in 30+ post-season PAs was Willie Aikens. 

There are 21 players with 300+ post-season PAs and, of course, they are all modern era.  The leader by a mile is Derek Jeter with 734 PAs, and Yankees are littered throughout the list.  The highest OPS does not belong to David Ortiz (he's second), but rather to Albert Pujols.  As great a player as he has been in the regular season, he was as good in the playoffs.  His regular season OPS during his time in St. Louis was 1.037; during the playoffs, it was 1.007. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#420988) #
Time for a hint for the first question.  The player with the third-highest post-season OPS behind Ruth and Gehrig also has more than 100 PA and is an active player. 
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#420989) #
ok I cheated.

and i'm glad I did because nobody is gonna get it.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#420990) #
come on now somebody get it!
Kasi - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#420991) #
Yeah same. It’s crazy how much that one Jay is so far in front of anyone else. Although those at bats weren’t necessarily with the Jays.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#420992) #
The Statcast data tells a changing story about Blue Jay pitchers and hitters.  Among Blue Jay pitchers, ten have average or better xwOBAs (Gausman, Manoah, Stripling, White, Garcia, Bass, Pop, Cimber, Romano and Phelps) with Berrios edging his way closer to respectability.   Among Blue Jay batters, eight have average or better xwOBAs led by Jansen with .370 (also VGJ, Kirk, Chapman, Hernandez, Springer, Gurriel Jr. and Bichette).  Biggio, Espinal and Merrifield are OKish..

For fun, if you look at players with 100 balls in play or more, Jansen is second in the major leagues in barrel % between Judge and Alvarez.  It's hard to be a good offensive player with a .190 BABIP but Jansen has done it. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#420993) #
Springer DHs today with JBJ in centerfield.  Jansen earns a second day behind the plate with last night's heroics and Teoscar is back in right-field. 
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#420994) #
It's that hefty number of Balls Out of Play that does the trick.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#420995) #
i'm glad I did because nobody is gonna get it.

Me neither. There's still plenty of time for him to reduce those career numbers.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#420996) #
It's fantastic news that Guerrero is in the lineup and playing 1B after that scary collision last night. Hopefully he's no worse for the wear.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#420997) #
wRC+ in increasing increments...

Last 30 days

* 1. Springer 55pa, 203wrc+
* 2. Guerrero 119pa, 123wrc+
* 3. Bichette 105pa, 116wrc+
* 4. Chapman 105pa, 107wrc+
* 5. Hernandez 94pa, 103wrc+
* 6. Espinal 58pa, 91wrc+
* 7. Jansen 56pa, 91wrc+
* 8. Biggio 46pa, 86wrc+
* 9. Kirk 99pa, 82wrc+

* 10. Bradley 30pa, 76wrc+
* 11. Gurriel 105pa, 71wrc+
* 12. Merrifield 65pa, 69wrc+
* 13. Zimmer 17pa, 55wrc+
* 14. Tapia 57pa, -3wrc+

2nd Half

* 1. Springer 83pa, 170wrc+
* 2. Chapman 139pa, 160wrc+
* 3. Guerrero 154pa, 147wrc+
* 4. Teoscar 126pa, 121wrc+
* 5. Bichette 136pa, 113wrc+
* 6. Kirk 127pa, 94wrc+
* 7. Jansen 78pa, 92wrc+
* 8. Gurriel 137pa, 89wrc+
* 9. Bradley 55pa, 89wrc+

* 10. Biggio 67pa, 83wrc+
* 11. Espinal 83pa, 81wrc+
* 12. Merrifield 103pa, 78wrc+
* 13. Tapia 78pa, 58wrc+
* 14. Zimmer 19pa, 29wrc+

Full Season

* 1. Guerrero 550pa, 139wrc+
* 2. Kirk 433pa, 137wrc+
* 3. Springer 436pa, 136wrc+
* 4. Teoscar 409pa, 123wrc+
* 5. Chapman 479pa, 122wrc+
* 6. Jansen 153pa, 118wrc+
* 7. Gurriel 468pa, 116wrc+
* 8. Bichette 547pa, 107wrc+
* 9. Biggio 225pa, 104wrc+

* 10. Espinal 436pa, 99wrc+
* 11. Tapia 332pa, 85wrc+
* 12. Merrifield 476pa, 78wrc+
* 13. Bradley 316pa, 56wrc+
* 14. Zimmer 103pa, 34wrc+

Last Calendar Year

* 1. Guerrero 699pa, 146wrc+
* 2. Jansen 218pa, 142wrc+
* 3. Springer 567pa, 132wrc+
* 4. Kirk 507pa, 131wrc+
* 5. Teoscar 553pa, 130wrc+
* 6. Gurriel 579pa, 123wrc+
* 7. Bichette 691pa, 120wrc+
* 8. Chapman 587pa, 116wrc+
* 9. Biggio 229pa, 108wrc+

* 10. Espinal 469pa, 106wrc+
* 11. Tapia 433pa, 76wrc+
* 12. Merrifield 626pa, 75wrc+
* 13. Bradley 374pa, 44wrc+
* 14. Zimmer 203pa, 40wrc+

Average Ranks:

* 1. Guerrero 1.75
* 2. Springer 2.00

* 3. Teoscar 4.50
* 4. Chapman 4.75
* 5. Kirk 5.25
* 6. Jansen 5.50
* 7. Bichette 5.75

* 8. Gurriel 8.00
* 9. Biggio 9.00
* 10. Espinal 9.25

* 11. Bradley 11.25
* 12. Merrifield 12.00
* 13. Tapia 12.25
* 14. Zimmer 13.75

Ugly's conclusions:

* 1. Whatever the question is, Gurriel near the top of the order is not the answer.

* 2. For the love of sweet baby jesus please stop playing Tapia.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#421000) #
For the love of sweet baby jesus please stop playing Tapia.

We all realize by now (we've been told so often) that Tapia is the worst player in the history of baseball and probably the only reason the Jays aren't challenging the Dodgers for the best record in the game. He's not in the lineup tonight. Relax!
Chuck - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#421001) #
Two RH starters. Two lineups with 8 RHB. Not something you see everyday.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#421002) #
Stroman's still the same guy. Strikes out fewer than the average pitcher, but walks fewer as well. Average number of HRs allowed. Hasn't had any platoon split at all over his career, although he's been tougher on RH this year.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#421003) #
The Jays might be letting Stroman off the hook. He’s getting his pitch count back in order and is maintaining the shutout. We’ll see whether the Jays regret not scoring with the bases loaded in the first inning.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#421004) #
JBJ looks much better at the plate than I expected. He's been hitting in bad luck. 
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#421005) #
Guerrero probably misses Dunedin and Buffalo, where he went utterly berserk a year ago. Last year, in 21 games in Dunedin, he hit .410/.521/.897 with 11 HRs; in 23 games in Buffalo, he hit .321/.418/.762 with 10 Hrs. He hit great in Toronto as well, but those two parks really goosed his season numbers.

Not so much for the other guys. Bichette hit just as well in Toronto as in the other parks, and Hernandez actually hit better on the road.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#421006) #
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#421007) #
I'd be pretty upset as a Cubs fan to see them pull Stroman on 88 pitches there.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#421008) #
Vladdy has a quick bat.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#421009) #
Not much sense in pushing him, though. His season high is 97, he already missed a month with a sore shoulder and you're about to lose 90 games.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#421010) #
What a difference in effort today.  Everyone running out ground balls. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#421011) #
Trevor Richards? Really?
uglyone - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#421012) #
maybe Richards needsdawurk
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#421013) #
Obviously Cimber and Garcia aren't available. But I don't know why Bass couldn't come back out. Unless he said he couldn't.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#421014) #
To be fair, he looked pretty good against Happ and Suzuki. Changeup was working nicely.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#421015) #
I think normally a couple of LH batters would be Mayza time, but he hasn't quite shaken off the rust since coming back. Eight batters, four hits.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#421016) #
The Dodgers are just amusing themselves at this point. They went into Queens for their big showdown with the Mets. They had three players in their starting lineup hitting below .200, including their cleanup hitter. Plus Cody Bellinger, the great mystery. They took a one-run lead into the ninth and commenced their Closer Auditions because Kimbrel has been such a disappointment. Tonight's closer was Jake Reed, who was DFAd by the Mets last month. And now he's got his first major league save.
greenfrog - Tuesday, August 30 2022 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#421017) #
I wonder if the Jays might miss McClanahan in mid-Sept. due to his shoulder impingement. That would be fortunate for them.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#421021) #
The Rays are certainly going to miss him!

I saw this on Tim and Friends : August 29, 2001 Serena Williams wins a match at the U.S.Open; Albert Pujols hits a home run; Vladimir Guerrero Sr., Craig Biggio, and Dante Bichette all record hits in their games

August 29, 2022 Serena Williams wins a match at the U.S.Open: Albert Pujols hits a home run; Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette all record hits in their games
John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#421027) #
That was an odd stat they had eh? I saw it on Twitter first. Serena Williams has lasted forever - her first pro event was in Quebec in October 1995, but lost in the first round. Her first round win was November 1997. In 1999 she won her first title. So here it is 2022 and she is still playing over 1000 matches later. Her last win was in 2020. So wins in 4 decades.

Vlad Sr started in 1996 (went pro in 1994), retired in 2011 - so Serena was at the top level before Vlad Sr, and is still active while Vlad Jr is playing.

Pujols - made the majors in 2001 (drafted 1999), as rookie he did damn well (ASG, ROY, SS, 4th in MVP). This year he is again hitting - a 149 OPS+, his best since 2010 (his last top 10 MVP year). I hope he keeps it up and can finish strong and get to 700+ HR (just 6 away now), 2200 RBI (10 away). Nice to see he is back over 100 bWAR (1.2 this year to get to 100.8 career) although FanGraphs has him much lower (88.2 lifetime, 1.2 this year).

As an FYI: Biggio's dad started much earlier, 1988 and retired 2007. Bichette Sr also started in 1988 but ended in 2001 - only 5.7 WAR for Dante Bichette vs Bo having 10.5 already. Last year Bo had 5.7 so in one year he had his dad's career total (his dad was a 4 time All-Star and came in 2nd for MVP once but only once had more than 1.2 WAR in a season).
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#421030) #
The O's are going to give it a run.  They've called up Gunnar Henderson and will be calling up left-hander D.L. Hall.  They've optioned Tyler Nevin, so odds are Henderson will be starting every day at third base.  Steamer projects Henderson to hit .243/.332/.425, which is good for a 118 wRC+.  Nevin hit .196/.296/.261 this year, so that should make a difference for them (not that they have needed that much help since Rutschman came up). 
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#421031) #
Or they might platoon Henderson with Ramon Urias.  Also, Grayson Rodriguez is getting a rehab start tonight and also might get a call to the Show before too long. 

I'm useless but not for long
the future is coming on.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#421035) #
Dante and the Colorado Rockies are a splendid example of the problems with taking WAR seriously as a measure of single season performance. You will see Dante had 1.2 WAR in his MVP runner-up year. It was a short season - 144 games. What's Replacement Level? Is it .400 ball? That would be 57 wins. As the Rockies won 77 games, you'd think there would be 20 WAR to divide amongst the roster. More than 11.9, anyway. Apparently Replacement Level for the 1995 Rockies was .500 ball. I hope it was the same for everybody else.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#421036) #
My feeling is that the Jays are still likely to make the postseason. They will need to bring their “A” game to the upcoming series (plural) with the O’s. Their three-game lead over Baltimore is hardly insurmountable.

In my opinion, the Jays do not seem likely to go deep into the playoffs (because of some flaws in the roster including the lack of a quality LH bat to lengthen the lineup). But you never know.
John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#421037) #
Just looking at the Jays overall stats this year vs last...

Hitters: 20 used, 113 OPS+
Pitchers: 31 used (including Whit Merrifield) 101 ERA+

Hitters: 24 used 114 OPS+ (leaving out pitchers)
Pitchers: 38 used 115 ERA+

So a tiny difference there on offense - 1 point of OPS+ (113 last year if you count pitchers hitting), but a big one in pitching - 14 ERA+ points. A bit surprising.

Lets do a pitcher by pitcher comparison
  • Ray 157 vs Gausman 125
  • Manoah 139 vs himself 151
  • Berrios 125 vs himself 74
  • Matz 117 vs Kikuchi 73
  • Ryu 102 vs himself 70
  • Stripling 93 vs himself 134 (!!!)
  • 5 or fewer starts: Kay 80, Thornton 94, Zeuch 69, Hatch 68, plus single starts from Pearson, Milone, Merryweather, Bergen, Phelps, Roark. vs White 68, Castillo 131, and singles from Banda & Hatch
Seems the killers are Kikuchi, Ryu, and Berrios. With Gausman not quite filling in for Ray (tall order) but Manoah's ERA+ is almost as high as Ray's Cy year. Stripling has been far better than I though (134? Wow!) Castillo did well in his 1 KC start (5 IP 1 R but a 9.75 ERA in KC AAA) - I fear the Jays will regret dumping him for Merryfield in the end (oddly Samad Taylor hasn't even played in AAA since the deal it seems). Do a Ray-Manoah, Berrios 21-Gausman flip and they fit almost perfectly, but then you go Stripling for Manaoh '21 (solid), and Matz/Ryu/Stripling 21 >>> Kikuchi-Ryu 22-Berrios 22. The junk starters (5 or fewer starts) are far fewer than last year but unless White picks it up (and I expect him to) won't be any better than last years.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#421038) #
Seems the killers are Kikuchi, Ryu, and Berrios.

But here's the thing. The Jays are 19-7 when Berrios starts, which suggests that while he may have killed the team ERA, the stuff that matters is alive and well.

Now Kikuchi... everything he touched has withered and died.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#421039) #
Ignore the 1995 Rockies, I was careless and read the numbers wrong. My bad.

But riddle me this. The batters on the 2021 Washington Nationals contributed more WAR than the batters on the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers. One of those teams scored 106 runs more than the other while playing half their games in one of the best pitcher's parks in all of baseball, and it wasn't the Nationals. I am puzzled, as I often am.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#421040) #
I think one reason why I remember the 2021 Jays as having a superior offense is that they hit so well in Sept/Oct (.282/.349/.534). If they had been able to carry that scorching performance into the postseason, they would have been a force to be reckoned with.

This month the Jays have hit .241/.307/.380. That level of offense isn't going to get it done the rest of the way in 2022. This is an area where an impact LHB would be helpful in boosting the team's performance.
Kasi - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#421042) #
But there really wasn’t any LHB available. The only one I think of who got traded was Josh Bell who went with Soto. Happ was the big hope but he wasn’t traded and neither was anyone else really from the Cubs which leads me to wonder what their trade deadline asks were. Wasn’t anything available in the offseason either. It’s not like you can just conjure a good LHB out of thin air.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#421043) #
I think one reason why I remember the 2021 Jays as having a superior offense

They also played a great big chunk of their home schedule in hitter friendly minor league parks.

In 21 Dunedin games, they scored 124 (5.9 per game) and allowed 110 (5.2).

In 23 Buffalo games, they scored 132 (5.7) and allowed 106 (4.6)

In 36 Toronto games, they scored 188 (5.2) and allowed 132 (3.7) - and as you said, they were hitting really well down the stretch.

I can't help but think that the 44 games in Dunedin and Buffalo may have confused everyone - possibly even management - as to just what to expect from this offense. WHich has arguably been better this year, although (like everyone in the game) they've been scoring fewer runs because that's 2022 baseball.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#421045) #
The Dunedin/Buffalo narrative may be accurate as far as it goes, but the team also hit really, really well in the last month of the season, when Dunedin/Buffalo was a distant memory.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#421046) #
Kasi, hasn’t Atkins been talking about constructing a more “balanced” lineup for a couple of years now? That seems like a long time to acquire one LHB better than Tapia, Zimmer and JBJ.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#421047) #
In answer to your question about the 2021 Nationals and Dodgers, Magpie, here's what I've got. 

Three points:
1. BBRef lists Dodger Stadium as a 102 ballpark (both one year and mult-year) and Nationals Park as a 94 park (both one year and multi-year).  So the Dodgers slashed .244/.330/.429 for a 101 OPS+ and the Nationals slashed .258/.337/.417 for a 108 OPS+ (the slash lines are essentially equivalent).  Of course, the Dodgers were a better stealing and baserunning team, so they should be a little ahead by oWAR.  
2. The Dodger team was clutchier than the Nationals; the biggest deal was hitting with the bases loaded.  The Dodgers went .321/.362/.595 in this situation in 207 PAs and scored 178 runs.  The Nationals went .198/.260/.293 in this situation in 192 PAs and scored 105 runs.  No WAR system, nor older systems like Runs Created take account of clutchiness.
3 The Dodgers and Nationals were even in Offensive WAR, but apparently the Dodgers' position players were worse defensively.  I really have no idea about that.

Kasi - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#421048) #
There just isn’t that many good LHB out there that are actually available. I don’t want them to downgrade just to get more “balanced”. Like the names I’ve heard are Happ and ofc previously Brantley. Wel the first wasn’t available and the second is injured. I guess Freeman counts too but I don’t know if the Jays were in on him seriously. And while the hitting has been inconsistent at times overall the numbers are just fine.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#421049) #
In a related point, the Yankees have posted a .240/.324/.427 line good for a 115 wRC+.  The Blue Jays have posted a .260/.324/.426 line good for a 115 wRC+.  How does the 1 point difference in slugging percentage equate to 55 extra runs scored for the Yankees?  Well, first they are 78-27 stealing bases, while the Jays are 50-25.  They are also not as bad as the Blue Jays at baserunning.  And they have grounded into 10 fewer double plays.  And the Yankees have been a little clutchier. 

The Blue Jays should have a considerably better offence than the Yankees.  But, there are these little things and there's also Aaron Judge's year. 
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#421050) #
BBRef lists Dodger Stadium as a 102 ballpark (both one year and mult-year) and Nationals Park as a 94 park (both one year and multi-year).

It's moments like these when I think bb-ref needs to take their formulae back into the shop and tinker a little. I also have Nationals Park as a .94 for 2021, but that was their 14th season there and just the fifth time that they scored and allowed more runs on the road. I have the park at 1.02 since 2008 - 9551 runs there, and 9401 on the road.

And Dodger Stadium is eternally Dodger Stadium. There's virtually always more scoring in their road games - the last times Dodgers games saw more runs scored and allowed at home was 2007. I have it as .95 for 2021, which is really good for that park, and .90 for the current millennium.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#421051) #
The Jays have been in on a lot of good LH (or switch-hitting) bats: Brantley, Lindor, Ramirez, Seager, Freeman, Bell, Benintendi. They just haven’t been able to land any of them. I think the problem is less a lack of desire to add a good LHB and more a dearth of resources (prospects, payroll space) to obtain the player.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#421052) #
there's also Aaron Judge's year.

Could it also be a factor that Judge's general absurdity has given the Yankees an extremely compressed kind of offense? All the damage, which is considerable, comes from one specific part of it. The Jays attack is far more balanced - they don't have anyone who can approach Judge, but they haven't been in the habit of playing people who've been as bad as Gallo, Gonzalez, Higashioka were. (No, not even Tapia!)
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#421053) #
Also on that list: Kyle Schwarber (36 HR, 119 wRC+ this season).
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#421055) #
I don’t want them to downgrade just to get more “balanced”.

I don't disagree, but I think this team's best lineup has nine RH batters. And in theory, if your nine best hitters are RH, that's who you play (unless there are compelling defensive reasons not to.) On the other hand:

Apr - 4.05
May - 3.92
Jun - 6.07
Jul - 5.15
Aug - 3.92

June and July, of course, are when Biggio and Tapia were a) playing semi-regularly, and b) hitting quite well. Obviously, those two players didn't add that much to the offense. But it's a plain fact that the offense did work better. Neither of those things were true in April and May (Tapia was playing, but he wasn't hitting) and neither is true right now.
bpoz - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#421056) #
I am unable to match the math ability of da Box members. But here is my half cent. The pen really stunk last year which caused Atkins to deal with that. The deadline acquisition of Berrios last year was a big boost. I accept that last years Vlad, Semien and other hitters was a mirage due to Dunedin/Buffalo and maybe the 2022 baseball. 2022 Vlad is likely the real deal not the 2021 Vlad. So Kirk is genuine it seems because he needed the ML reps.

I think John N is spot on about the Matz/Kikuchi comparison. Maybe someone can explain how we got good representation at the AS game. Voting??
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#421057) #
I think it's obvious that the point is to upgrade the team. If the best lineup includes nine RH hitters, that's because the LH hitters are so weak (and/or mediocre defensively).
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#421058) #
If the best lineup includes nine RH hitters,

I think you have to suck it up and play them. But I confess I would like to see Schneider find a way to get Biggio in the lineup more often. I suspect he'll hit better if used more regularly - but even more, he always play the game right. On this team, it's good to have someone like that, just to show the others how it's done. He runs everything out. He's always in proper position to back up a play. He makes very few mistakes (well, sometimes in the outfield -but he's not really an outfielder.)

I certainly don't think Espinal should sit. Nevertheless... you're the manager, dude! Find a way!
John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#421059) #
Balance would be nice, but I'd rather have Judge this winter than any LH bat that might be on the market.

Now that said, the best opportunity for the Jays is doing a deal with Arizona and their surplus of LH OFers who can all play CF - 21 yr old Corbin Carroll the super stud, 22 yr old Alek Thomas has only an 85 OPS+ but has crazy potential in CF, 24 yr old RF Jake McCarthy with his 123 OPS+, and 25 yr old Daulton Varsho who has a 108 OPS+. All have 3 to 6 years of control. Arizona has pathetic catching and few prospects behind the plate so this is a very good match.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#421060) #
I don't know how BBRef calculates park factors, but here is the raw data that I have for the Dodgers in 2021:

Home- 2980 PA, 411 R, .244/.333/.461
Road-  3259 PA, 419 R .244/.321/.400

Home- 2980 PA, 268 R, .208/.273/.354
Road- 2968 PA, 293 R, .207/.287/.334

It looks like batters overall did hit for a better slash line in Dodger Stadium than on the road, but more runs were scored on the road (although there were significantly more PAs on the road- the Dodgers won many more games than they lost so in Dodger Stadium, there were many more 8 and 1/2 inning games than on the road). 
uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#421063) #
it's always hard to know what interval is best to use but i always like past calendar year because it's a constant interval no matter when you use it and gives us a solid sample size.

so let's see what it says about our optimal lineup(s):

wRC+ v RHP

* 1. Guerrero 144
* 2. Kirk 135
* 3. Springer 134
* 4. Jansen 133
* 5. Gurriel 124
* 6. Teoscar 119
* 7. Bichette 117
* 8. Chapman 112
* 9. Biggo 110

* 10. Espinal 86
* 11. Merrifield 83
* 12. Tapia 82
* 13. Bradley 51
* 14. Zimmer 43

wRC+ v LHP

* 1. Teoscar 194
* 2. Espinal 162
* 3. Jansen 157
* 4. Guerrero 153
* 5. Chapman 137
* 6. Bichette 125
* 7. Kirk 120
* 8. Springer 117
* 9. Gurriel 113

* 10. Biggio 92
* 11. Merrifield 57
* 12. Tapia 42
* 13. Zimmer 30
* 14. Bradley 10

Nothing too surprising really - our 8 best hitters are our 8 best hitters no matter who the pitcher is, while we have a perfect platoon tandem to play 2B - and those 2 platoon guys also happen to be the next best guy against the same handed pitchers, too. meanwhile anyone else is a steep dropoff from those 10 against pitchers of either hand.

So if we want to win games, stick with those 10 guys, period.

If we need to rest guys, then at least try to rotate the rest so we never need more than 1 of the Dreaded Others in the game at the same time.
Kasi - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#421064) #
Kirk making a rookie mistake there. Defence hasn’t been helping White much the last two games.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#421065) #
Speaking of rookies, Henderson has homered and the O’s are up 2-0
on Cleveland after 5 innings.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#421066) #
I have seen the future and it looks like... Kikuchi.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#421067) #
Bad day for the outfield positioning.  White hasn't been great, but again the club shouldn't be down 5-0 now. 
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#421068) #
Bad day for the outfield positioning.

I was having the same thought. The defense has been pretty crisp tonight, the one rookie mistake excepted. But it's as if they're playing in a shift that makes sense when your guy throws a fastball. But the Cubs have been hitting White's breaking balls all night, and the outfielders are way out of position for them.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#421069) #
adding for the sake of adding at the deadline ain't a great strategy.
92-93 - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#421070) #
It's pretty obvious that the best lineup vs. RHP does not include 9 RHB. Perhaps the Jays will realize it eventually.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#421073) #
once again, it seems like the only times our SP get to throw 90+ pitches is when they're getting lit up.
92-93 - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#421074) #
Indeed. It was a strange decision to let him face the top of the order for a 3rd time with an off day tomorrow and rosters expanding.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#421075) #
The O's will be 22-15 in the second half if they win tonight (they're up 4-0 entering B9). They're now getting a boost from Henderson (2/4 tonight with a HR; he also turned a DP).

As I mentioned the other day, the season for both the Jays and O's could depend on who wins the majority of the upcoming 10 games between the two teams.

Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#421076) #
Earl Weaver would approve.  One three-run homer each game of the series. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#421077) #
Didn’t Weaver advocate pitching, defense, *and* a three-run home run as his preferred formula for winning?
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#421078) #
Fair.  They got 1 and 1/2 in this series, instead of 0 in the previous.  Baby steps. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#421079) #
They’re battling and that is good.

Let’s do this, Biggio.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#421080) #
David Phelps has had a very nice season, but he'll be 36 in a couple of months and the last time he pitched this much in a season was 2017. He may be hitting a bit of a wall right about now.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#421081) #
Tapia as a pinch-hitter?  /scorn
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#421082) #
The Jays are getting destroyed with bad calls tonight. Brutal.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#421083) #
Some terrible calls by this ump the last couple of innings. Maybe he didn’t like being “showed up” by Vladdy assuming ball four would be called ball four.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#421084) #
There were bad calls against the Cubs too. I am guessing that the umpire scorecard will show more balls called strikes than usual, but the Jays have suffered less than 1/2 a run. 
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#421085) #
He blew calls to four consecutive hitters. Four! And in a couple cases blew multiple calls in the same at bat.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#421086) #
I saw.  But I've seen a lot worse games this year.  One in particular is burned on my brain.
Glevin - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#421087) #
Really bad Babip luck this game. Tons of hard hit outs. Yes, umpire has been atrocious too.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#421088) #
Two outs, bottom of the ninth and up comes Tapia.  Sigh. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#421089) #

TB: win
Seattle: win
Baltimore: win
Toronto: loss
uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#421090) #
Moar Tapia plz
lexomatic - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#421091) #
<br>I don't know that Arizona is as good a match as people think
Kelly isn't great, but is solid on defense and has at least been above average with the bat occasionally. He's still under control a few years.

Vasho has been a part time catcher and may just do more of that with all the great OF prospects taking time but he's under control until 2027 and makes for a great depth piece of replaced.

Jose Herrera is 25 and first year mlb and seems solid defensively with great plate discipline in the minors.

Jansen might be conparable to Kelly, only younger.Moreno would be a potential upgrade, but I don't think enough of an obvious one on his own for a top LH CF prospect.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#421092) #
Two outs, bottom of the ninth and up comes Tapia.

Hey, he did his job. He got on base, got the tying run to the plate. There were other things to moan about tonight.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#421093) #
The front office (or at least the GM) must be getting a bit nervous around now. If the team misses the postseason again, it will be a huge disappointment. Especially since Baltimore subtracted at the deadline while the Jays added. And while AA continues to pile success on success in Atlanta.
John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#421094) #
#1 for Rogers is making money - as long as the team is contending late in September they will make a lot of money. TV ratings I'm sure are excellent (in April they got 1.45 million viewers, making the Top 10 for all programs back then too. In 2016 (2nd playoffs in a row) the Jays averaged over 1 million per game. For comparison, the Yankees/Mets subway series (always a big deal) averaged 2.2 million per game being shown on ESPN (thus across the USA). The Jays TV market is grossly larger than any other MLB team. Rogers has to be rolling in cash thanks to the Jays being in contention, if they aren't then they need better TV salespeople.

As long as those ratings are up there is zero reason for Rogers to push for any changes at the top. Yes, it'd be nice to be winning like the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers are. Yes, the Jays should have a budget that allows them to do so (Houston a few years ago literally had a rating of 0 for some games before they became winners) - on CBT the Astros have cracked $200 million a few times now (last 3 years and just shy of it this year) - the Jays easily could afford that. I get why they haven't - adding 1 big free agent each winter (Ryu, Springer, Gausman), slowly locking up key guys long term (Berrios last winter, tried to get Bo to sign up iirc), using their full budget each year in the draft and IFA. These are all good things. Each winter they have been close to signing the biggest names (Cole - quickly flipped to Ryu once he signed with NYY, last winter were in on Verlander to the last minute according to Verlander himself). This winter the big name is obviously Judge - will the Jays go after him? I'd bet on them asking but 10 years for a guy going into his age 31 season is not gonna happen, and Judge wants the money and years but dang would that be a nice upgrade from Hernandez eh?

This winter the Jays might do a 1990/91 - big changes to change the teams atmosphere - but I doubt it. This management team seems to be an incremental one. I expect 1 big free agent, 1 or 2 trades of note (the 3 catcher situation needs to be resolved), ideally getting another #1 pitcher for the rotation and making the pen stronger at the top (Romano-Garcia a solid top 2, but add another thus pushing Mayza-Cimber-Gross all down a notch, I expect Phelps to retire, Richards is secondary, Pop will have a role, White to take over Stripling's role so basically to replace Phelps). Justin Verlander has a player option for 2023 which he'll dump if healthy I'd think ($25 mil) as I suspect he'll get more on a 1 or 2 year deal easily if healthy. Jacob deGrom has an opt out too which he has already said he'll do, as does Carlos Rodon ($22.5 if he doesn't). I could see the Jays chasing those 3 pitchers - Verlander having the advantage of probably only wanting a 1-2 year deal but big bucks for those years, getting him off the payroll as Vlad/Bo/etc get very expensive. I fully expect the Jays to do a push on Vlad & Bo this winter for a 10 or so year deal. Vlad is the face of the franchise for better or worse right now, and unless he suddenly gains a ton of weight and falls apart I can't see that changing. An option is to wait as the Jays can afford a $300-$400 million deal but I'd want Vlad signed before Soto becomes a free agent. If Martinez had hit better and forced his way up in 2023 then Bo would be easier to play hardball with but there is a reason good hitting shortstops are expensive.

Right now though I should stop thinking about what the Jays will do in the winter and instead focus on the present. Zimmer is being added tomorrow, as is a pitcher (Gage, Merryweather, Saucedo, Pop, who knows? I lean towards Pop or Merryweather).
dalimon5 - Wednesday, August 31 2022 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#421096) #
Why would AA’s success make the GM here nervous? They went out of their way to offer him a position after Ed Rogers fired him.
Jonny German - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#421098) #
Arizona is in pretty good shape with Kelly and Varsho at catcher, but if I'm Atkins I'd be working hard to make something happen there - they've got an absolute glut of young lefty outfielders, many of whom have spent significant time playing CF.

There is a great option in free agency also - Brandon Nimmo. Would love to see the Jays go into 2023 with this alignment:

LF Joey Gallo
CF Brandon Nimmo
RF George Springer
DH Teoscar Hernandez

Springer and Kirk (if not traded) would also see plenty of time at DH. Lourdes would be gone, traded for a dominant lefty reliever.
Jonny German - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 07:33 AM EDT (#421099) #
As for right now, I expect it'll be Merryweather getting first crack at the extra bullpen spot. He's been great in Buffalo, and if I understand the rules correctly he'll still have an option remaining for next year if they add him to the 25-man when he's still officially on rehab assignment (which would run out September 4th).
uglyone - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#421100) #
scottt - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#421101) #
I'd rather sign a big left bat at DH than move Hernandez there.

As for Gallo, here's a guy who couldn't cut it in the AL East.

scottt - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#421102) #
The road to the offseason goes straight through  Baltimore and Tampa Bay now.
That's 18 games and they probably need to win more than 9 of those.
Two of those games are doubleheaders and I still remember the Hatch game vividly.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#421105) #
I don't know about Merryweather.  In his last 4 appearances totalling 4 innings, he's walked 4 and struck out 3.  He's always been streaky and if he's battling his control, he likely won't be good in the Show.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#421110) #
Gallo's numbers have been off since the pandemic started.  He did have "old player skills" coming up, and there is, I believe, evidence that these do not on average age well.
Cracka - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#421113) #
Dan & Buck mentioned last night that Tayler Saucedo might be the guy joining the team tomorrow, as he's pitched very well in his last two outings. They also can add another pitcher for the doubleheader on Labour Day. Both Saucedo and Merryweather will need a 40-man roster spot sp someone will need to be DFA'ed (Foster Griffin?). Zach Pop cannot rejoin until Sept. 7th, unless someone goes on the IL.
Cracka - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#421116) #
And... it's Casey Lawrence joining the team along with Bradley Zimmer as September callups. Another mop-up to hang out with Kikuchi.
Glevin - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#421120) #
I wish someone in the media would ask Atkins why the team needs 4 OFers who can't hit on the roster.

Zimmer-WRC+ 34
Bradley- 56
Tapia- 85

What's the point? My feeling is that Schneider really likes pinch running and defensive replacements so it suits his managing style but it's baffling. Zach Collins can at least run into one now and again and gives insurance if you are DHing Kirk. Tsutsugo is killing it at AAA and has some potential to hit. Etc...
John Northey - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#421122) #
Weird choice in Lawrence - he has endurance, I'll give him that. 3 IP per game with the Jays (all in relief), but 14 runs allowed in 15 2/3 IP. Ugh. In his 8 games since being sent down he has had a 3.79 ERA over 38 IP so not bad, but really is only here to eat innings when the starter is knocked out early I figure (I hope).

Gage (1.85 ERA over 34 IP), Merryweather (0 ER over 12 IP), Saucedo (0.54 ERA over 16 2/3 IP), all look like better choices, 2 being LHP which the Jays could really use. All 3 have 10+ K/9 which the Jays keep saying they want - a strikeout guy. Lawrence has 7.5 K/9 but just 1.4 BB/9 so at least he doesn't walk himself into trouble. Good for Casey, as this locks in him cracking 1 full year of service time which I suspect means a lot in pension/benefits once retired (10 years service gets you the max).

As to the redundancy of Zimmer...well...I guess the question was what would be used most to help win? A 3rd catcher who might pinch hit for JBJ/Tapia or another defensive OF for late in the game who could run for Jansen/Kirk/whoever. Collins is a marginally better hitter than Tapia if you squint but not by enough to be worth thinking about (dumb luck is bigger than that spread). If a catcher goes down you can be sure either Collins or Moreno will be up 10 minutes after the game and I'm sure the Jays have 2 or 3 guys set as the emergency catcher if needed (I suspect Biggio, Espinal, and maybe Merryfield - all seem willing to play anywhere).

Another backup infielder wouldn't be of much use, a 28th man won't start any games until/unless the Jays clinch. 100+ OPS+ for all but Espinal (97), Tapia (86), Merryfield (56...ugh), and JBJ (32 as expected). Collins was at 92 when sent down the last time and has a 79 OPS+ lifetime, 210/374/429 in AAA this year with 35 K's in 105 AB's. There really aren't a lot of good choices down in AAA for bats or speed. No one has a 900 OPS, Spencer Horwitz did in AA but in AAA he is at 768. In AA you also have Cam Eden who has gone 28-4 in SB-CS so a future 28th man I figure (651 OPS in AA suggests that is all he will be, he has played CF/LF/RF/3B this year and 2B/SS in the past so a super-utility guy with speed). Yeah, the pickings are very slim right now.
uglyone - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#421123) #
Yeah Collins is clearly a better choice than most of those OF I agree.

As is Moreno.

PH/1B/C Collins
OF Merrifield
IF Espinal
C Moreno

is actually a good bench. Otto lopez would even be an interesting extra utilityy guy.

but we have Tapia, Bradley, and Zimmer all up here for some reason.
Four Seamer - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#421124) #
I continue to be absolutely mystified by what this team is doing with its roster. If this team doesn't make the playoffs, or bows out limply, it won't be because of the 26th and 27th men, but spots 22-25 look pretty shaky, too.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#421125) #
None of the options are great.  Personally, I'd call up Horwitz, DFA Tapia, and call up a catcher.  You've then got Horwitz to back up Gurriel in left, Biggio to back up Hernandez in right and JBJ/Zimmer for centerfield- admittedly an embarrassment of...flexibile redudancy. 

It's a shame that Biggio is no longer able to go the other way on the ground to beat the shift.  He's hitting the ball hard plenty, but regularly into the shift whether on a line or on the ground. 
Nigel - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#421126) #
I think it’s hard to come to any conclusion that at the back of the roster this management group values roster flexibility and veteraness over actual player ability and roster need. I don’t think that choice is easily defensible (if at all), hence the reason why the captive Rogers media doesn’t ask management about those choices.
uglyone - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#421127) #
the issue I have is that the roster doesn't actually seem very flexible.
SK in NJ - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#421128) #
A mop up guy at best and a 5th outfielder who can't hit to join up with the two other 5th OF's on the roster who also can't hit. Baffling roster decisions. Moreno should have gotten the call up, and literally anyone other than Lawrence should have been on the pitching side.
92-93 - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#421129) #
Calling up Moreno a week early and giving up a chance at a draft pick just so he can be the 3rd C would be a poor decision. If you want Moreno on the club, you wait until he can no longer complete 60 days on the active roster this season, that's a no-brainer.
92-93 - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#421130) #
And with respect to Lawrence, he's likely only here as a backup to Kikuchi so the Jays can reshuffle their rotation for the Orioles series. If Kikuchi starts Saturday or Sunday @ Pittsburgh then they have Berrios/Gausman for the DH vs. the Orioles followed by White and Manoah. Lawrence will not be long for the roster.
John Northey - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#421131) #
I think the issue with the bench is what are you going to use them for? No one in the lineup needs to be hit for (120+ OPS+ guys are Kirk, Vlad, Chapman, Springer Hernandez; 100+ are Bo, Gurriel, Biggio, Jansen; then you have Espinal at 97 - none are guys you'd pinch hit for except with each other). One of those guys is on the bench each game no matter what so that guy can be the PH if needed as all hit far better than Collins, Moreno, or any other minor league option the Jays have right now. So what does the rest of the bench (4 guys) need to do? They need to run for Kirk or Jansen late, come in for defense for Hernandez/Gurriel late, and cover if a guy gets hurt during a game or the team runs out of other options. That's it. To cover infield you have Merryfield, to cover the OF you have JBJ/Zimmer/Tapia (your starting OF the day after the Jays clinch the top wild card - if that happens). I personally would prefer Collins up to be a 3rd catcher but totally get why not (odds are he'd only get into 2 or 3 games the rest of the way, and then only to give 1 or 2 innings off for Jansen or Kirk in a blowout).

Ah for the old days when they'd call up 5 or 6 guys - then we'd see Gage, Merryweather, Saucedo all up also, plus probably Lopez as a backup infielder and Collins as the 3rd catcher. Lopez and Collins getting maybe 2-3 games each, the 3 pitchers used a lot (just due to the nature of relief pitching and to ensure the big guns are rested).
greenfrog - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#421132) #
And yet Tapia has 334 PA (-0.4 fWAR). If your bench guys are going to get that much playing time, you might as well have decent bench players.
John Northey - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#421133) #
Not arguing that point - Tapia should've been dumped months ago. Right now he has little to no use as JBJ and Zimmer are both better on the bases and far better on defense, so basically Tapia is only here for his bat (ugh). Next winter finding a solid #4 OF should be a priority, ideally a solid #1 OF too, and trade one of Hernandez or Gurriel to make space for the new top quality OF, while the backup gets tons of time (ala Tapia this year).
greenfrog - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#421134) #
I do find it a bit disingenuous when Shapiro acts baffled about why the team isn’t winning more. He and Atkins and Schneider keep underscoring how talented the team is, but it’s clear that there are some significant issues dragging the team down: Kikuchi, Ryu (who was always a significant age/decline risk), Tapia/Zimmer/JBJ, Springer’s injury issues, sometimes poor execution (the so-called “little things”), the lack of farm talent to use in trades.

Now the FO has been reduced to hoping the team gets “hot” over the next month so that it makes the postseason.

Incidentally, Seattle won 7-0 today and the O’s are up 3-0 in the eighth. I imagine those teams aren’t having endless conversations about “urgency.” They’re just playing good baseball.
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#421135) #
All of the bench discussion is so marginal that I don’t think it’s worth worrying about.

This team will only go so far as it’s big boys carry them. So, what the hell happened to everyone’s home run power? Every single Blue Jay is way behind expectations in this department(at least in my view). I know Buck and Pat want them to go the other way all the time, but this isn’t a team that’s built to put 4-5 straight hits together in an inning. It’s just not. It’s supposed to be a big scary team with hitters who are going up to do damage. I’m super concerned about the lack of power, and I think it’s way more concerning than worrying about them carrying Zimmer for less than 10 PA
BlueJayWay - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#421136) #

BlueJayWay - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#421137) #

BlueJayWay - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#421138) #
So, what the hell happened to everyone’s home run power?

Probably the same thing that happened to most players throughout the league: the significantly deadened balls MLB introduced this year. This has been known since April. Offence is hugely down.

As far as home runs, the Jays are 4th in the AL in hr and first in slg%
John Northey - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#421139) #
Seattle was damn lucky to get 90 wins last year, their everyday lineup has 1 player under 25 (Julio Rodriguez) who is signed for the next 7-17 years depending on options picked up. Ray is their #1 (just a 103 ERA+ but has been improving all year) and signed long term too. Their pen has been a lock all year with 7 guys currently over 100 for ERA+. That said, they are lucky to be where they are with an OPS+ of 104 and ERA+ of 104. Baltimore is super-lucky this year - they called up their #1 prospect on May 21st and were 16-24 going into that game, but are 68-61 now (52-37 since Rutschman was called up - a 95 win pace). No one saw that coming and they have the #1 farm system by many measures so their future is bright. Winning this year would just be a bonus.

I guarantee Tampa is tense as the Jays are. Their ace just went down, their 2B and CF are both on the IL as well as is Franco. Plus with Tampa's farm dropping out of the top 10 they could be in trouble going forward as they cannot afford to sign free agents. The Yankees are tense as they are a one man show right now (Rizzo & Stanton are solid too) while they are a lock for the playoffs their odds of going all the way are dropping. I expect Judge to get the Bonds treatment anytime now (IE: walked everytime).
electric carrot - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#421140) #
I was always skeptical of the Yankees -- especially their pitching. I think this regression was nearly inevitable. Let's hope it continues through Sept/Oct.
uglyone - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#421141) #
I actually think it IS the fringe on the roster thats killing us.

Most all of the regulars - hitters, starters, relievers - have had good seasons so far.

Vlad and Bo have been a little underwhelming but still good.

Berrios has been the one real flop, but stripling has been so good he's pretty much made up for it.

Chuck - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#421142) #
what the hell happened to everyone's home run power?

Bear in mind, AL-wide, offense is down from 4.6 R/G to 4.2 R/G. HR are down from 1.3/G to 1.0/G.

The team hit 262 HR last year. Prorating their 158 this year to 162 games at last year's HR rate gives you 244. A drop yes, but of just 7% once properly contextualized.


The team's offense was 13% better than average last year and is a comparable 10% better than average this year. Not a huge drop, but recency bias of the team struggling makes it seem much worse.

It's the pitching that is killing the team. They were 11% better than average last year and are 2% below average this year. Any available scorn should be sent in their direction (though holding some back for Tapia is probably not a bad idea).

pooks137 - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#421143) #
Lawrence will not be long for the roster.

Lawrence's best quality in winning the final September roster spot is that he can be DFAed without thinking twice about it.

John Northey - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#421144) #
Part of why I like OPS+ and wRC+ (both are fairly close) - they adjust for league and stadium thus not letting freakish stuff screw up perceptions. So here is wRC+ for a few key guys...
Vlad: 2021: 166, 2022: 142
Bo: 2021: 122, 2022: 106

So both are down - Vlad more than Bo, 24 points vs 16 points. But neither down as much as I think many perceive them to be thanks to the league wide drop in offense. As to the rest of the regular or semi-regulars...

Up: Gurriel (107-113), Kirk (106-138), Chapman (103-122), Jansen (105-115), Biggio (106-111), Tapia (76-85)
Down: Springer (140-132), Hernandez (132-126), Espinal (115-98 - more than Bo)

So 6 up, 5 down, and one could argue Chapman is down vs the guy he replaced (Semien 131 last year so Champan is 9 points lower...not as much as I thought). Not as bad as it seems. But the bench this year beyond those guys sucks royally. In 2021 bench was mainly guys (50-299 PA) like Reese McGuire (78), Corey Dickerson (107), Joe Panik (73), Rowdy Tellez (62), Kirk (106), Jansen (105), Espinal (115), Biggio (84), Valera (81), Davis (42). That covers 17 guys (including starters). Davis was very much like Zimmer (31) and JBJ (33), Biggio/Valera like Tapia (85). Good hitters on the bench like Kirk/Jansen/Espinal/Dickerson last year are Biggio/Jansen this year. I suspect the Jays hoped Merryfield (58) would be this years Dickerson but instead he is worse than Valera (ugh). We all know they tried for better but failed. Clearly for 2023 the Jays need to do a better job pre-season setting up a strong bench (a 4th OF who can actually hit would be nice).
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, September 01 2022 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#421145) #
Chuck, they’re on pace to hit 198hr as a team. They’ve gone from first to ninth in MLB, and are about 50 behind last year’s pace.

They are hitting 25% fewer homers. Which is significantly less than the 9% reduction in offence overall, but close to the league average using the rate stat you provided. I guess the Dunedin and Buffalo time goosed the numbers and my expectations.

I take others points about the pitching being worse, and that’s true. I just thought this team was going to be able to hit its way out of most of its problems and that hasn’t been close to the case. Imagine if they had those 50 “missing” homers, and the runs they came with. I think we’d all be feeling a lot better about where the team was heading.
bpoz - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#421147) #
The Jays are in an ok position to make the playoffs. They are on pace to win 88 games, so a good finish could get them as high as 92 wins. They have a lot of games against Baltimore and TB which will decide playoff success. My attitude is that this is what I want.

I don't understand the composition of our team. JBJ & Zimmer are bad hitters so they are there for another reason. I am fine with Moreno in AAA if he is not going to get ML playing time. The addition of White, Bass and Pop makes sense because making the pen better is always good.
bpoz - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#421148) #
Adding to my post: Looking at SF 107 wins in 2021 and quite likely under .500 this year. They are not going to generate playoff contention revenue this year, even with 6 playoff teams.

This can easily happen to the Jays during their window. This is happening to Boston.
bpoz - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#421149) #
Adding to my post: Looking at SF 107 wins in 2021 and quite likely under .500 this year. They are not going to generate playoff contention revenue this year, even with 6 playoff teams.

This can easily happen to the Jays during their window. This is happening to Boston.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#421151) #
Bpoz, I don’t see those situations as comparable at all.

San Fran wasn’t in a window. They had every single gamble work out and they fluked into a great season. They hadn’t had a winning record since 2016.

Boston has made several trades that haven’t worked out for them at all, and Chris Sale has been essentially unavailable since the pandemic.

To me, missing the playoffs for the Jays this season would be a disaster. Things are only going to get harder for them on a go-forward basis.
bpoz - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#421153) #
Thanks 99BlueJaysWay. I don't really know what you mean by a disaster? Shapiro generated revenue with the successful 2016 team. The 2017 team failed but probably got revenue on the success of the 2015/16 teams. 2018 was still considered a potential contender by some people. If enough people accepted that, then interest would have been high and some revenue generated. I expect that by the end of the 2018 season most fans accepted that a rebuild/losing was in full swing especially with the trade deadline promotions of Jansen and other prospects.

2019 was full of negatives led by the expectation of a 100 loss season. If attendance and TV watching was very low then revenues would also be very low. IMO that can be considered a disaster.

The weirdness of 2020 and 2021 due to covid was also a disaster financially IMO.

2022 is not a disaster IMO because we can and probably will be contending until very close to seasons end. This should generate big attendance and viewership. So healthy revenues. 2023 payroll should be ok but possibly a bit lower.
Mike Green - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#421154) #
Old person comment.  I sleep better after an off-day or on the night of an afternoon game when the club runs up the score early.  I wonder whether the health benefit of doing something one enjoys exceeds the risks associated with lost sleep; I suspect the answer is no and that religiously watching games is a form of addiction. 
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#421168) #
Bpoz, I’m referring only to the team’s on field success.

To me, last year’s record was the floor for an acceptable season. So, I’ve found this year to be a huge disappointment. There’s still time for them to turn it around, but they haven’t really shown that’s something they can do. If they collapse and miss the playoffs, it will be a massive failure for a team this talented.
bpoz - Friday, September 02 2022 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#421172) #
I understand now 99BlueJaysWay and agree with you. The emotional letdown will be immense if we miss the playoffs to all Jays fans.

If we miss this year it would be because of failure against 2 division rivals. TB and Baltimore.
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