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This nasty road trip continues, with a first place team up next on the schedule. That would be the... Pittsburgh Pirates?

How can this be? The Pirates have been lousy for almost all of the last thirty years. With the exception of the three seasons from 2013-2015 when Andrew McCutchen was at the peak of his powers, the Pirates have posted a losing record every year since 1993. They entered 2023 fresh off back-to-back 100 loss seasons.

It probably helps to play a lot of lousy teams. The Pirates have played seven games against the 13-18 Cincinnati Reds; they've played four games against the 10-22 Cardinals, three against the 10-22 White Sox, three against the 12-20 Rockies, and three against the 13-18 Nationals. You can only play the teams in front of you, an the Pirates have won 14 of 20 against these bottom-feeders. Against the better teams, their record isn't quite so impressive. They did take two of three from the Dodgers, but they lost two of three to Houston and they're coming home with wounds that need licking, having just been swept by those Devilish Rays.

So it's a little hard to know how much of the improvement is real. Sophomore outfielder Jack Suwinski has an OPS of .918 and appears to have moved Bryan Reynolds to left field. Connor Joe came over from Colorado and is hitting much, much better as a Pirate than he ever did in Coors Field. The two old pros that they brought in for this season are contributing as well. Andrew McCutchen is back in Pittsburgh, and I'm sure all Jays fans will be happy to see Evil Ways Santana one more time. It's the outfield, Suwinski, Joe, and Reynolds, that are leading the offense, which is averaging 5 runs per game, fifth best figure in the National League. Last year's team scored just 3.65 per game - only the Marlins were worse.

They're not giving up as many runs either. The 2022 Pirates allowed 5.04 runs per game - only the Nationals and the Rockies were worse. This year's squad is allowing just 3.84 per game, and only the Braves and the Cubs (the Cubs?) have been better. It's mostly a new rotation. Mitch Keller and Roansy Contreras, who were both just fine in 2022 although their W-L records don't reflect it, are the returnees. They've been joined by Johan Oviedo, who came over from the Cardinals in the Jose Quintana deal and a couple of free agents: the ancient Rich Hill (still pitching, still left-handed) and the perpetually mediocre Vince Velasquez. And it's working - Keller and Velasquez have been especially effective, and the other three have been solid or better. The front half of the bullpen has been very good - closer David Bednar has been especially impressive.

I very much doubt that this will prove to be a playoff team. But I think they've got a decent chance to fight the league to a draw, and give Pittsburgh just its fourth winning season in the last thirty years. I promise, they're not going to lose 100 games. Not this time.


Fri 5 May - Bassitt (3-2, 5.18) vs Hill (3-2, 4.18)
Sat 6 May - Berrios (2-3, 5.29) vs Oviedo (2-2, 4.78)
Sun 7 May - Kikuchi (4-1, 4.02) vs Contreras (3-2, 4.09)
Toronto at Pittsburgh, May 5-7 | 63 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
scottt - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#428482) #
I doubt any Jays are eager to see Carlos Santana. I know I am not.
Coincidentally, he's on fire, having been their best hitter this week.

Bryan Reynolds is also quite good.
Both are switch hitter, which can also be annoying and they have another of those in Rodolfo Castro.

Santana and Cutch are 2 cheap free agent signings who have looked really good early on.

They also signed Rich Hill who is now  44 and still pitching well.
I wasn't expected him to start today, but a lefty against 8 right bats plus Varsho would be OK to me.
Oviedo and Contreras have been the 2 worst starters over the last 2 weeks.

Gerry - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#428483) #
Reports say Jay Jackson is on his way to Pittsburgh.
Mike Green - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#428485) #
the ancient Rich Hill

I dreamed I saw Rich Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Rich, you're ten years gone"
"I never left," says he
"I never left," says he
Marc Hulet - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#428486) #
I'm glad to see Jay Jackson getting a shot but he's not a true bulk reliever, either... Which is something the pen sorely needs. Maybe Mitch White when he's healthy...
vw_fan17 - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#428487) #
Two (regular) batters are REALLY having a tough time.

Springer is going to (rightly, IMHO) get a LOT of rope - under contract for 3 more years, and recent history of success.

Ideally, Belt should not - if only we had someone else who could actually project to hit a bit better. At this point, Raimel Tapia would have been a MUCH better signing - way better stats and can pinch-run - all for $2M. At this point, Belt, Biggio and Espinal all have an OPS+ <= 50. That simply "won't play" as a regular spot in the batting order on a winning team. I really wish we'd found a way to hang onto Gurriel Jr. - he's at an OPS+ of 103 so far.

Belt has been worth -0.5 bWAR - same as Springer - in HALF as many at bats. At this point, he needs a rehab assignment, or, maybe the Jays can arrange a guest stint on Robidas Island? He's lost out there. Totally lost. A few bloop hits notwithstanding.
Mike Green - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#428488) #
Hill throwing pitches at 90, in the 80s, in the 70s and 63.  That will screw up hitters' timing for days. 
Nigel - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#428489) #
Are we watching an instructional video of dumb baserunning decisions? Mostly by the Pirates thankfully but that decision by Chapman was not good.
greenfrog - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#428490) #
Varsho is up to 96 wrc+ after his double and walk. Heís getting his season back on track nicely.
Gerry - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#428491) #
Big win for the Jays, not just because it broke the losing streak but because the bullpen mostly got a rest. even Swanson and Romano didn't throw many pitches.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 05 2023 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#428492) #
Brandon Belt vs. power / finesse pitchers, career splits:

vs. power .220 / .330 / .390 / .719 OPS / 1126 AB
vs. finesse .288 / .370 / .481 / .851 OPS / 1627 AB

The word on the street is that Belt cannot catch up to the fastball, so he cheats or guesses.

From the numbers, I read that Belt is a mistake-hitter. The book on Belt would suggest throw the heat.

Belt has 26 career games at DH, which might be an adjustment, along with switching leagues.

70 plate appearances so far, I think we ride it out 'til the end of May.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 03:02 AM EDT (#428494) #
I haven't looked at the AL East standings for a while so it's a shock to see Jays behind Boston by half a game, the Yankees in last place, and Baltimore maintaining a solid record in second. It's no surprise to see Tampa way ahead of everybody but only 6 losses so far? C'mon!
scottt - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 05:51 AM EDT (#428495) #
Well, Rays are hosting the Yankees, so I would expect them to win.
The Yankees started Brito who gave up 4 earned in 4 innings but lost the game when Jake Bauers who plays LF misplayed a ball, so it was a close one

Of note, Arozarena homered on his first plate appearance but got hit on his next 2 and Cash got tossed.
Bauers is hitting  .167, Bader is hitting .182, Cabrera .188, Kiner-Falefa .193, Higashioka .200.
No Judge, no Stanton. 

Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#428499) #
" God save the King! We mean it, man. "

I propose Vladdy be named team captain, if he signs a long-term contract.

Judge, Jeter, Varitek, et al.

If I recall, Carlos Delgado was Toronto's captain for one season.

Mike Green - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#428500) #
Another good thing about last night's game was Springer's home run. He was in a slump that seemed to me to be simply a matter of timing. Hill may have cured that. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Springer gets hot and carries the team for awhile. He does like hitting in the RC, so the schedule is turning in his favour.
krose - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#428501) #
Leaside: Guerrero has all that talent you would want in a captain and he should become the team leader, but he hasnít shown the leadership skills of Jeter. Itís my perception that part of the off-season shakeup was to remove two other ďfun-lovingĒ players, and try to gain more maturity. Springer looks to me like the most likely candidate for captain-if the team is going to designate one.
vw_fan17 - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#428502) #
Springer right now. In a year or two, maybe Varsho, if he hits reliably? The broadcasters keep talking about how half the team already listens / defers to him in a lot of situations..

Guerrero strikes me as a George Bell type - tons of talent, can carry a team, etc. But, not necessarily a leader type. Plus, until he is comfortable without an interpreter, I can't see it.. (not sure if he is yet - I rarely watch interviews, but IIRC, he was still using one recently?)
Marc Hulet - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#428504) #
Guerrero has Miguel Cabrera-like talent but seems to lack the drive to be dialed in every day/at-bat. He still gives a lot of ABs away. Fun loving, easy going nature. A fun player to watch most of the time but not really leadership material...
scottt - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#428505) #
Cabrera didn't dial it up until he reached 27.
For Guerrero, the only comparison that matters is his dad.
I don't know if one can be a clubhouse leader and do interviews with a translator.
It's not that Vladdy doesn't know enough English, it's more like he's talking directly to his folks at home.

scottt - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#428506) #
The role of a platoon DH is not necessarily to hunt down the fastballs.
A big part of the role is to hit the breaking balls that are giving trouble to the right handed hitters.
Bello was a though match up. He throws hard and he has a good change up.
Unsurprisingly, Bello has reverse splits.

The word on the street should be that Belt is chasing. 
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#428508) #
Interesting feedback. I considered the captaincy tied-in with a long-term deal, ultimately establishing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the cornerstone of the franchise.

Danny Jansen deserves a vote too. I believe in Vlad, who is young, but will grow with Mattingly's teachings.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#428510) #
" Say Hey!†" happy b-day Willie Mays!
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#428511) #
Pittsburgh is the home team in the original " Angels in the Outfield " (1951) starring Janet Leigh. The movie was filmed at the old minor league Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, May 06 2023 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#428512) #
Good game today for Belt. I couldnít help but notice in his 8th inning strike out only 1 of the pitches even came close to being a strike. Even on a good night he has to deal with crap like that.
Mike Green - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#428514) #
Interesting lineup today.  VGJ gets another day off to recover.  Bichette gets a 1/2 day as DH.  Espinal is at short, Merrifield at second and Belt at first.  Varsho moves up to third in the batting order after his improved results with the new/old swing mechanics.

Thumbs up from me.  Just a daily reminder that Kevin Kiermaier was an excellent addition.  He's been the club's third or fourth best player so far. 
Magpie - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#428515) #
Vida Blue is gone? Damn, I'm really getting old.

Blue's first full season, at age 21 in 1971, was so insanely, ridiculously great (24-8, 1.82, 301 Ks, 8 shutouts, Cy Young and MVP)) that it very nearly overshadows his entire career. But he stayed good enough and for long enough to win 209 games. He was an All Star six times, won 20 games three times, and collected three WS rings as well.
mathesond - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#428516) #
I remember reading a biography of Vida Blue in grade school - not a serious in-depth look at the man's life, the kind of athlete bio you find in junior/middle school libraries. Anyway, based on that I assumed he was one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game and for a long time I just assumed he was in the Hall of Fame. Eventually I discovered that he wasn't, and his year by year stats show why. But oh, that 1971 season looks amazing!
johnny was - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#428517) #
A couple of years I go I was coaching my daughter's team of 6- year-olds in a t if you need it league. I was down on one knee doing underhand soft toss to the kids when one a grizzled senior in the stands yelled that I "was no Catfish Hunter." I yelled back, "I liked Vida Blue better!"
Mike Green - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#428518) #
Blue was a great pitcher.  He had an ERA more than a run better at home than on the road over his career.  In his great season at age 21, he posted an awesome 1.19 at home and a still excellent 2.53 on the road.  He completed 11 of 19 starts on the road to boot.
Nigel - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#428519) #
Sail on Vida. One of my early baseball favourites. He symbolizes one of the features of baseball that I miss a bit - the unique pitching mechanics. In those days, there were far more unique pitcher deliveries. Without a name on the back of a uniform or seen from great distance, Blue, Tiant, Palmer, Seaver were all so unique, interesting and recognizable. Todayís deliveries (probably for very sound mechanical reasons) are all much more uniform (with obvious exceptions - Sale). A small part of the charm from earlier eras.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#428520) #
Varsho just looks better with the modest leg kick as part of his swing. More athletic. I can see him ending up with about 2.5-4 WAR this year. Which would be a very solid season from him. It certaintly beats Tapia's 0.3 WAR in 128 games last year and Grichuk's 0.2 WAR in 149 games in 2021.

Good move to rest Vladdy today so that he gets three consecutive days off. His chronic wrist issue is one reason I would hesitate to give him a long-term contract at this point. Fabulously talented player, but I could see his body starting to break down in a few years.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#428521) #
pop quiz: which player is the most recent A.L. MVP winner who was a switch-hitter?
greenfrog - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#428522) #
I'm feeling good about my 17 March 2022 post (which was prescient on two fronts, although it took nine months to complete both transactions): "Someone like Kiermaier would be ideal (Grichuk could then be traded). That could translate into an extra win or two for the team."
Magpie - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#428523) #
which player is the most recent A.L. MVP winner who was a switch-hitter?

Fun fact - in his MVP season, he posted the exact same BAVG from both sides of the plate (his slugging percentage was better when hitting right-handed.)
Magpie - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#428525) #

This is useful, from - do they do this all the time?
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#428526) #
Randal Grichuk blasts a 426 ft. homer at Citi Field in Queens, but the score is 3-1 for the Mets!
hypobole - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#428528) #
On the ex-Jays HR subject, the red hot O's were up 4-3 in the 8th last night when pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar smacked a 405 ft 2 run shot that put Atlanta ahead to stay.

Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#428529) #
Pillar smacked a 405 ft 2 run shot that put Atlanta ahead to stay.

I was watching earlier and I was surprised to see MLB on NBC.

Pittsburgh will host the Colorado Rockies tomorrow night. The Pirates and Blue Jays both have a scheduled off-day on Thursday.

uglyone - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#428530) #
Pillar > Bradley Jr.

Always and forever.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#428531) #
Donít look now, but Beltís wrc+ is up to 89. The Jays seem to be in a good place at 1B/DH, with Guerrero Jr., Kirk and Belt in the majors and Horwitz raking in AAA (.297/.444/.429).

I would make a pun about Belt buckling down, tightening up his swing, taking his game up a notcb, etc., but that would be too easy (a cinch).
mathesond - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#428532) #
Ok, I have to admit I chuckled just now when Dan said "ground ball to Chapman and that means the inning is over."
hypobole - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#428533) #
"pop quiz: which player is the most recent A.L. MVP winner who was a switch-hitter?"

As a semi-frequent quiz-poster myself, I give this one 5 stars.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#428534) #
I borrowed it from ESPN's Chris Berman.
hypobole - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#428535) #
The beauty is everyone here knows the answer, they just don't know that they know.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#428536) #
Impressive comeback by the Rays against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees today. They are 28-7. And although the Oís lost, they played very competitive baseball against the Braves in Atlanta. Theyíre 22-12. Itís going to be an interesting season.
hypobole - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#428537) #
Thanks for the tack-on runs so Romano can call it a day after those 2 clutch outs in the 8th.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#428538) #
Colorado 13 - N.Y. Mets 6 - final score

Mets - 17 - 18 - 2nd N.L. east
Yankees 18 - 17 - 5th A.L. east

The Yankees visit Queens in June. The Mets visit the Bronx in July.

The Blue Jays play 3 games in Queens on June 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
June 2nd - Lou Gehrig Day
June 3rd - 2023 Mets hall of fame induction - Howard Johnson, Al Leiter, Gary Cohen, and Howie Rose.
lexomatic - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#428540) #
Sad to see Espinal be the only one without a hit. It's early still, but his bat had not progressed like I hoped.
Kasi - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#428541) #
Itís regressed and the bigger issue is that heís not played well defensively. Perhaps you can blame that on not being consistently in the lineup but his bat right now pretty much puts him as a backup. You canít give him more time at 2b with Whit playing like he is. So he needs to be better defensively.
John Northey - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#428542) #
Wow, low standards for the Mets HOF. Leiter made 1 all-star team as a Met, got a few Cy votes once, 95 wins total as a Met. I don't get his being put in. 0-2 postseason record over 2 seasons. Weird. No chance he'd be on the Jays level of Excellence with that record. 30 members of their HOF, many must be fan favorites or something.
John Northey - Sunday, May 07 2023 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#428543) #
What would a 30 man Blue Jays HOF look like?

Locks (on Level of Excellence): (7) Josť Bautista, Tony Fernandez, Carlos Delgado, Dave Stieb, Roy Halladay, George Bell, Joe Carter

Over 20 WAR as a Jay: (11) Jimmy Key, Pat Hentgen, Jim Clancy, Juan Guzman, Jesse Barfield, Vernon Wells, Lloyd Moseby, Edwin Encarnaciůn, John Olerud, Devon White, Alex Rios

Over 20 WAR but never getting honours: (2) Roger Clemens (2 Cy's but PEDs), Roberto Alomar (playoff hero, real life bum)

Under 20 WAR but could be honoured: (7) Josh Donaldson (MVP), Fred McGriff (HOF), Ernie Whitt (long time fan favorite), Tom Henke (first great closer), Doyle Alexander (was massive in 1985 but his Tiger time might push him way down), Paul Molitor (MVP 1993 WS), Pat Border (MVP 1992 WS)

Non-Player Honours: (4) Pat Gillick (HOF GM), Cito Gaston (Manager 2 time WS winner), Paul Beeston (president during the great years and many bad ones), Tom Cheek (HOF broadcaster)

So I have 29 to honour, 2 who would be locks but screwed up off the field. I'm sure many more could be added. And that is for a team that is over a decade younger than the Mets, but has the same number of WS wins (2 fewer appearances). I'd say David Wells as a Jay is comparable to Al Leiter as a Met - 84 wins as a Jay, 1 all-star, a few MVP votes and Cy votes once (3rd in Cy voting) but has a WS ring here (1992 in the pen, 4 1/3 shutout innings in the WS). 15 bWAR as a Jay (Leiter had 28 as a Met - huh, a LOT better than I expected to see, maybe he wasn't such a terrible choice).

What is interesting is how fast Bo & Vlad are climbing the Jays WAR list - for hitters they are tied for #20 at 14.4 bWAR coming into today. Just ahead of Kevin Pillar and just behind Rnace Mulliniks, Gruber is less than 2 WAR away and Hill less than 3. Just shy of 8 WAR away from the Jays all-time top 10 hitters now so both should reach the top 10 before free agency. For pitchers Manoah is highest at 8.8, tied with Scott Downs for #23 and just ahead of Al Leiter. Alexander is #10 with 13.5 - yeah the Jays have not held good pitchers here for long it seems. Stroman didn't get to 13 for example. Stieb's 175 Jay wins and 56.9 bWAR will be very hard for Manoah to reach, but it is possible. Halladay fell just shy of 50 when traded to the Phillies where he added 17 WAR to get up over the magic 60 mark (I generally see 60 as a near lock for the HOF).
soupman - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#428544) #
Henke seems criminally underrated. I see people making the HoF case for Stieb all the time, but Henke is another case...he's overshadowed by Smith's counting stat (saves), and Eckersley's peak dominance. Whatever the case, unless he's also a horrible human (and/or hates the organization), I don't see how they haven't hung the five oh up yet.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 03:23 AM EDT (#428545) #
Brandon Belt has arose from the dead. ( deadwood?)
hypobole - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#428548) #
Both Belt and Varsho in the "what a difference a week makes" category.

The morning of May 1, Belt was at 49 wRC+, Varsho at 69.
This morning, Belt is at 91 wRC+, Varsho at 104.
greenfrog - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#428549) #
Yep, and Varsho is on pace for around 3.5-4 WAR. He has the fifth-highest position player fWAR on the team (0.8), behind Chapman (1.9), Bo (1.6), Vladdy (0.9), and Kiermaier (0.9).
uglyone - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#428550) #
yeah no matter how old we get we still look far too much into april stats.

i mentioned before - springer's struggles in what is approaching 150pa now is more concerning than the other guys with half the pa.
99BlueJaysWay - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#428551) #
Except that his xwOBA over his last 100 and 250 PA shows him producing at his career levels. There is a big dip in a portion of his last 50, but before and after it has normalized. The down period overlaps with when the team said he was sick.

So, I donít see much area for concern. If a few of those hard hit liners, like the the one against Houston with the bases loaded, had dropped I think many here would feel differently.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#428552) #
Let's see here. Cleveland has a Bibee and a Bieber?
John Northey - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#428553) #
Agreed Uglyone - I get caught too much with wanting the stats to mean something. In his first big year Bautista had a 741 OPS in April, followed by an 1100+ OPS in 3 of the next 4 months. In 2021 Marcus Semien had a 658 OPS for the Jays in April and seemed like a possible bust before he took off with an 1130 OPS in May, then 800+ in every month after that. I'm sure I could come up with more extreme examples, but those 2 were front of mind and easily confirmed. If Belt does hit like he did in 2020/21 (165 OPS+) the Jays will be laughing and I'll be very happy to look dumb over my April comments.

The slumpers now are Jansen (68 OPS+) and Springer (62). Espainal (39) and Biggio (30) aren't as vital but have 120 PA between them so far of nightmarish production. Varsho has cracked 100, now at 104 for OPS+. Vlad & Bo still looking like the dynamic duo (155 and 147 OPS+) with Chapman slowing a bit but still in 'wow' territory at 187 (we all knew he wouldn't have a 200+ OPS+ this year). 3 starters are at 100+ ERA+ now with Manoah at 91 and Berrios at 87. Can't complain. The makeup of the ERA+'s is odd, but 2 sub 100, 3 at or above is very good from any rotation. Kikuchi #1 at 128 is just bizarre though - not complaining, but it is unexpected. The pen hasn't been rock solid, but Romano is 9-1-1 for Sv-BS-Hld so far. Pearson looks like what we hoped he'd be. Bass, Pop both have had issues as has Garcia, but by FIP it is Pop and Cimber who are the nightmares (Bass & Richards close behind). So a few issues in the pen to resolve, but Pearson solves one of those, and hopefully Mitch White will fill another slot, with Jay Jackson an option for a 3rd slot. Plus, of course, Chad Green is coming in about a month or two (hopefully set for a big contract run down the stretch).

Nice to just have the pen as an issue but one that should be solvable internally, plus the end of the bench with Espinal/Biggio/whoever is in the 26th slot (Lukes right now). Espinal on defense only is useful, as is Lukes which leaves just Biggio as an issue.
hypobole - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#428554) #
So Leaside, you going to give the "Who was the last switch-hitting AL MVP?" quiz answer? Magpie and I have it, but maybe someone else might be curious.
John Northey - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#428555) #
Oh that was an easy one - Vida Blue. A pitcher who won the MVP but also was a switch hitter. Way back in 1971 as a 21 year old. Funny given the era he came up in that he won 'only' 209 games. Also surprised he was only 1-5 in the playoffs, all by the age of 25. In his MVP year he hit for a 294 OPS. Yes, there is a reason the DH exists.
John Northey - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#428556) #
An interesting trivia bit to add - who was the last pitcher in the AL to win MVP? It has been over a decade. The last reliever to win it was in 1992 and any old fan here will know that was the Eck. Back then closers were very overrated as Willie Hernandez won the MVP in 1984 and Rollie Fingers in 1981 to cover all reliever MVP awards other than Jim Konstanty in the NL in 1950 (22 saves, 16-7 record, it was a different time).
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, May 08 2023 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#428557) #
A pipe dream, but I think the major awards should be unified. Raise the prestige. (From 1956 to 1966, there was just one Cy Young award winner.)
bpoz - Tuesday, May 09 2023 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#428558) #
Our window opened in 2020. Young players brought in in 2019 matured a bit and an expensive FA (Ryu) was added.

Sometimes major help was needed at the trade deadlines.

2020: SPs Ray, Walker and Stripling.

2021: Berrios, Cimber, Soria, Richards and Hand.

2022: Bass, Pop, White, Merrifield and Jackie Bradley.

The trade deadline pitching was more significant IMO than the position player additions.

For 2023 it is hard to say what the needs will be at the trade deadline because the farm may cover some of those needs. Maybe trade for another lefty reliever.

Toronto at Pittsburgh, May 5-7 | 63 comments | Create New Account
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