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On the one hand, winning one of four at the Trop really isn't all that terrible.

Consider. The Rays, after all, are playing .828 ball at home. The mighty Jays held them to .750. Surely cause for muted celebration.

Very muted - they Jays have been playing like crap for about two weeks. This needs to stop.

What this team could need is a trip to Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. As I observed just the other day, this is the Blue Jays favourite ball park in all the world - they've gone 27-16 there, which is a very swell .628 winning percentage.

Alas - one of the biggest reasons for that lovely record at Target Field is no longer applicable. Jose Bautista was in the lineup for 25 of those 43 games, and he went all kinds of berserk there - .324/.410/.794 with 14 HR. That's almost a 90 HR pace over a full season.

The Jays will be sending their three best starters against the Twinkies, while avoiding Minnesota's two best - the dependable veteran Sonny Gray and staff ace Joe Ryan. As you may recall, the Twins stole Ryan away from Tampa Bay in exchange for two months worth of a 40 year old DH. I mention this because it's very comforting, in times like these, to remember that Tampa Bay can be just as mind-numbingly stupid as everybody else.

As  it happens, the Twins have been getting quality work from all of their starting pitchers, which includes the three that the Jays will see this weekend. They need it - their bullpen beyond Jhoan Duran and Jorge Lopez is extremely shallow.


Fri 26 May - Gausman (2-3, 3.14) vs Varland (2-0, 4.18)
Sat 27 May - Bassitt (5-3, 3.03) vs Lopez (2-3, 3.90)
Sun 28 May - Berrios (4-4, 4.22) vs Ober (3-1, 2.55)

Toronto at Minnesota, May 26-28 | 58 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#429300) #
Wow Magpie, I wasn't expecting those first two paragraphs...well played sir.
Eephus - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#429307) #
Normally it would be far too early in the season to call this a “must win” series, but I’m doing so if only for the sake of our collective sanity. Just playing okay-ish baseball would be a start.
Gerry - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#429308) #
Danny Jansen has gone on the IL, Tyler Heinemann activated.
John Northey - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#429309) #
Sigh. Poor Jansen. Only once in his career has he played 100+ games (107 in 2019), his 43 in 2020 was equal to 116 in a full season, otherwise 72 is his max over his 6 seasons. 36 of 51 so far in 2023 (pace of 114) but with this IL stint I suspect he won't get close to 100 this year in the end.
scottt - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#429310) #
Speaking of injuries, Polanco is on the IL with a sore hamstring as does Max Kepler.  Nick Gordon has a fractured shin. Trevor Lanarch has pneumonia. Tyler Mahle had TJ surgery recently. Chris Paddack had it a year ago.

Carlos Correa has muscle strain in his left foot and plantar fasciitis. He's day to day.
Joey Gallo has a sore hamstring and has missed the last game.

That leaves Byron Buxton who has played 45 games and hit 10 HR but he's the DH and CF is manned by Michael A Taylor who carries a light bat. Gallo, incidentally, plays mostly 1B and occasionally LF.

grjas - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#429311) #
The team’s lost 7 of the last 8 that Manoah started. Had they won even half of those, they’d be tied with the Yankees for third.

It will be interesting to see if Walker and crowd can get him fixed, as they certainly had little success with Kikuchi and Berrios during the 2022 season. And hopefully Manoah actually listens to his coaches as he sure flips out when he hears anything negative about himself on social media or in the field.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#429312) #
I offer a special prayer for Jobu:

" And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. "

Petey Baseball - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#429313) #
Is this the lowest morale the fan base has had since 2013? Perhaps the 2014 trade deadline?

I wouldn't say we're in last stand territory yet. If the team really flamed out and were completely out of contention in July, you might see some pieces moved. But short of that, I'd say the Atkins-Schneider pairing gets one more crack at it next season.

scottt - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#429314) #
I don't think coaches can help with refining a slider.
If they could, bullpens would be loaded.

We saw hints of what Manoah could do. Throw more fastballs. Mix in a few change ups.
Change locations. Etc.
He's not a power pitcher, but he's not really a finesse guy either.

Maybe a change of catcher will help.

scottt - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#429315) #
My morale is quite good. This is a good team that is not playing well.
I just find the choices of pitches frustrating sometimes.

Chuck - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#429316) #
Effective meeting.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#429317) #
Oh Vladdy.
Atrocious at bat.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#429318) #
I don't like mini sodas.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#429319) #
It's just garbage, sloppy baseball on a too consistent level.

Guerrero sees three pitches miss by a mile then hacks 3-0 on a borderline strike, then swings at ball four. Springer breaks on the routine ground ball directly at the shortstop (why is the contact play on in the first inning with the cleanup hitter coming up??!!) and gets thrown out without getting into a run-down. And Guerrero somehow gets thrown out from across the infield.

That arguably four mistakes in about half a minute of baseball.

Accountability? Urgency?
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#429320) #
"Weird Al" Yankovic puts a hot dog wiener inside a Twinkie.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#429321) #
Kevin Kiermaier leads the team in hits.
That pretty much says it all
BlueJayWay - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#429322) #
Bichette leads the team in hits by a long way.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#429323) #
this week, we mourn Tina Turner: "the Queen of Rock n' Roll."

meanwhile, the King of Rock n' Roll watched the Blue Jays and shot the television with a gun.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#429324) #
Incorrect, sorry.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#429325) #
Thank you, Mr Umpire!
Chuck - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#429326) #
Man, I hate dumb baseball and I hate bad umpiring, no matter the team that benefits. That call was an embarrassment.
Nigel - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#429327) #
They were lucky in more ways than one. Gausman’s tank was obviously empty 2-3 batters before he was pulled. Not sure what Schneider and Walker were seeing there.
Chuck - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#429328) #
Not sure what Schneider and Walker were seeing there.

A bullpen they don't entirely trust.

Nigel - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#429329) #
Nor should they but Gausman was gassed.
Polite Nate - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#429330) #
Normally we're complaining about pulling a starter who is cruising too early at the first sign of trouble.
I'm much more head scratching about leaving Swanson in.
Chuck - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#429331) #
The Twins have MLB's all-time TTO champion in Joey Gallo (now at .563 this season) and now young Monsieur Julien would appear to be throwing his hat into the TTO ring, sitting at .510 as I write this.
uglyone - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#429332) #
i don't get the flak our bullpen takes tbh. they've been decent even with quality guys like Bass and Cimber having terrible/injured starts.
Gerry - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#429333) #
Through 8 innings, the Twins have issued zero walks. The Jays have walked nine.
uglyone - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#429334) #
ask and ye shall receive.
Kasi - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#429335) #
I’m with uo on this one. This has just been an unlucky team with poor sequencing. Should have more runs and should have less given up. Starters have been 3 very good ones with 2 questionable ones. But none of the parts are super strong just above average (maybe others the defence).
uglyone - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#429336) #
I dunno that it's luck. But whatever the reason this team is much less than the sum of its parts right now.
John Northey - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#429337) #
Wonder if Pearson is becoming the 8th inning guy now. Swanson and Garcia are useful but if they can be used in the 5/6/7 innings instead of 8 that would be nice.

Hitter today were 2 hits (Springer/Bo/Merrifield/Kiermaier) or 0 hits (everyone else). This team is streaky. Hopefully this is a winning streak starting.

Random note - very empty looking park. I've been there and it is a beautiful one to watch a game at, local train goes right to the park, used it from where my daughter was doing a competition (gymnastics) to the park. Lots of fun, easy to get good seats, Jays won the game too iirc (2017 with Teoscar very early in his career).
greenfrog - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#429338) #
The Jays really need their bad-performing players (Manoah, Varsho, Kirk, Espinal) to be respectable. Not terrific. Just decent. That would lead to a lot more team wins.

It would also be great if Vladdy regained some plate discipline, but it appears that ship has sailed (to remix a Hillenbrand metaphor).
uglyone - Friday, May 26 2023 @ 11:28 PM EDT (#429339) #
if you mean Swanson/Mayza in the high leverage like tonight, with Pearson getting the clean 8th, i'm with you John.
scottt - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 06:49 AM EDT (#429340) #
Contact play isn't an automatic run scored. It's a bit like a hit and run but that often leaves the runner dead at the plate.
I wouldn't run the contact play with Springer. I'd rather have Bo come to the plate with 2 outs and a runner on third. I'd run it with Kirk at the plate who keeps hitting slow rollers.

Springer baiting the ball instead of running home is usually an attempt to get the other runner to second base.
So seeing that, Vlad heads to second but Springer doesn't get into a rundown and Vlad doesn't get a chance to make it. If Springer keeps coming home, the play is at home and Vlad stays at first safely.

Same happened with KK but that one didn't cost anything. It's just frustrating to hit a triple and make an out because the manage decides to send you.

Gausman threw too many balls. That's life. He still had a good fastball. I certainly wouldn't pull him out after 5.
Swanson didn't have great command. That's the thing with splitters, they don't throw them outside of game situation because of the blisters. Swanson had not pitched since Saturday because the Jays have had no lead to protect. Pearson threw way too many breaking balls. That was far from a clean inning. His curve is not a competitive pitch. He needs to be 80% fastball.

hypobole - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#429341) #
Just want to expand on 999's rebuttal that Bo leads the Jays in hits. Bo actually leads all MLB. His 73 hits are 5 more than 2nd place Freddie Freeman.
hypobole - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#429343) #
Whoops. Actually was BlueJayWay that pointed out Bo leads the Jays by a long way.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#429346) #
Yes and I corrected myself. Siddall said Kiermaier led the team in X and I thought he said hits.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#429347) #
I think just consistently playing cleaner, heads up baseball this team can play with the Rays (maybe not anymore, because we have ten or so games to make up on them).
They've been a lot better at not missing cutoffs and throwing to the right base from the outfield this year. But the baserunning and the mental mistakes and the pimping home runs that aren't home runs stuff needs to stop.
hypobole - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#429348) #
I remember Siddall saying KK is the AL (or MLB, not sure) leader in hits out of the # 9 spot. I believe that's what you were thinking of.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#429351) #
Another example of clean baseball: Hitting a lot of home runs.
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#429352) #
Chapman is slashing 190/257/295 in May.
hypobole - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#429353) #
The BRef Jays WAR leaders has Aaron Hill as the last guy with 17.1. Always thought it would be Vlad taking his place 1st, but is there anyone who doesn't think it will be Bo?
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#429354) #
Amy Klobuchar, current U.S. Senator for the State of Minnesota, wrote a book titled "Uncovering the Dome" (1986) about the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
uglyone - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#429355) #
not Varsho's fault, but it's funny cuz KK woulda had both of those.
James W - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#429356) #
The contact play wasn't on for either play. Both runners just screwed up.
James W - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#429357) #
When is it time to bench the players that won't run out of the box? We know Guerrero gets a free pass, let's see if Belt does as well.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#429358) #
The people watching who say "playing clean" is a media creation or a false narrative aren't looking great right now.

This is beyond pathetic.
Nigel - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#429359) #
Zero chance they punish Belt. Veteraness is infallible.
scottt - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#429360) #
The Varshow is making the bloopers this week.
The first ball could have hit the top of the fence for an easy double or a triple.
The second one was a homerun anyway.
I've seen KK fail to bring one back as well.

On the Belt out, the ball went to the wall but was never going to be out of the park.
Maybe he's not going to run much harder regardless of what happens.
It was close. He's just not a good baserunner at this point.

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#429361) #
Belt may not be a fast runner but if he had run hard out of the box instead of going half-speed part way up the line while watching the ball, he would have made it safely to second. This wasn't egregious to me as his last at-bat.
With two outs in the ninth, tying run on first, how the heck do you stand with the bat on your shoulder and watch two fastballs sail into the strike zone? I'd rather see someone swing and miss than have such a non-competitive at-bat.

On a different note, this time last year if I had to choose between signing Vlad or Bo to a long term contract, I would have picked Vlad. Right now I would pick Bo and it's not even close. Anybody agree?
greenfrog - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#429362) #
I suspect Bo is headed to free agency.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#429363) #
I tend to agree. Bo might be harder to replace than Vlad.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#429364) #
I prefer Bo because he's not only a talented hitter, but also a very good student of hitting. While he's a different type of hitter than Jeter (more aggressive, more power, fewer walks), he could end up having a similar type of career as a good-hitting, mediocre-fielding SS (although he would be lucky to have the same career longevity and health as Jeter).

Vladdy is very talented but I wouldn't be surprised if his age-22 season ends up being the best of his career. I'm guessing that injuries are going to affect his career at a relatively young age.

Some of this may be recency bias, of course.
Nigel - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#429365) #
Vladdy’s age 22 season will almost certainly appear to be the best of his career. He spent a good chunk of it hitting in Dunedin which significantly juiced his numbers. The thing about Bo is that he may well have a Robin Yount career. If his defense at SS goes away he’s athletic enough to move down the defensive spectrum and still be valuable in the field.
uglyone - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#429367) #
Their career hitting lines are near identical at this point.

Bo 130wrc+
Vlad 133wrc+
John Northey - Saturday, May 27 2023 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#429368) #
Having a peak season very young isn't too odd.. A-Rod's best WAR was at age 24 (10.4, no other season higher than 9.4 which he did 3 times ages 20/29/31 - damn he was good).  Lou Gehrig's peak was at age 24 as well (11.8), next best 31 (10.1).

The problem is Vlad isn't anywhere near those guys for peak.  His peak (so far) of 6.7 at 22 is very good, but Gehrig had 12 years better than that for example.  Vlad Sr's best was age  23 7.4 WAR, then age 28 7.1, all others 6 or less.

Could Vlad be a HOF'er without another year like 2021?  Yes.  But he needs to pick things up a bit.  Playing 1B/DH means he needs to hit to make it and that means 140+ OPS+ seasons.  134's won't cut it (last year and this year so far).

Bo on the other hand, is getting better it seems.  Had a 5.8 in 2021, and this year is over an 8 WAR pace.  He should lead the league in hits again (if healthy).  It'd be nice if he'd take more walks, play better defense.  But the fact is he hits more than well enough to be a HOF'er with his meh at best defense. 

Perfect world the Jays sign both to long term deals before they hit free agency, but odds are both want deals that look like free agent deals ($30-40+ a year for 10+ years) thus no incentive for the Jays to sign them before the final year before free agency thus minimizing risk of sudden drop off in skills or injuries.
bpoz - Sunday, May 28 2023 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#429370) #
All teams have hot and cold streaks. Currently 5th place NYY on pace for 93 wins and 6th place Boston on pace for 87 wins. I expect the last WC team to have over 90 wins. The Jays so far in May are 9 wins 16 losses which is a non playoff winning pace. I fully expect us to recover.

There are a few reasons why we are not winning more. The 1st and worst is the bad start for Manoah.
Toronto at Minnesota, May 26-28 | 58 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.