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The Jays are a game up on the Red Sox in the standings, and a million games up in our hearts. Advance Scout!
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Baltimore makes its second trip to the Dome this year to celebrate Memorial Day, an exclusively American holiday. Go MLB schedulers. Despite having handled the Orioles in years past, Toronto is a a dismal 1-5 against their feathered brethren. The Jays sit 5 games back of the O's in the division despite an identical run differential, but will try to make up ground against the Orioles, who are scuffling for the first time this season, having dropped 5 of 7 themselves. Who will win the battle of the birds? Find out, on today's Advance Scout.
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It's a battle between the top two teams in the AL in terms of run differential, though #1 Texas dwarfs Toronto (and every else, obviously). Both teams are coming off 1-2 series, and will be looking for a little payback, deep in the heart of Texas. It's supposed to be 34 Celsius in Arlington on Saturday and Sunday, with the games kicking off at 2 pm local time. Should be fun, just like The Advance Scout.

Also, some Jays news: Ben Francisco is on the 15-day DL, with the club calling up David Cooper to replace him. Evan Crawford is being demoted back to AAA, with Ryota Igarashi coming up to take his spot in the pen. This means Dustin McGowan is being moved to the 60-day DL to open up a roster spot.The Jays never really needed five outfielders, and in fact Francisco almost exclusively DHed, so I imagine that this doesn't affect the outfield defense at all. I imagine there will be some sort of L/R platoon with Gomes and Cooper, with Edwin DHing/playing first base. 

Sunday Update: Gomes down, Igarashi DFA'd, Jesse Chavez and Chad Beck coming up.

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My second-favorite squadron visits the Dome tonight to kick off interleague play, so I figured I'd elbow my way into the scout's chair for the long weekend. The Mets are 21-17, good for third place in the NL East. On the one hand, we're all accustomed to watching the Jays roll over against NL teams. On the other hand, the Jays will dodge the Mets' two best pitchers plus their starting catcher and shortstop. So, perhaps a miracle is imminent.
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The Jays return to Toronto after splitting a ten game road trip; despite the .500 record the club must be a little disappointed, after blowing a game against Oakland and dropping two winnable ones against Minnesota. Meanwhile Tampa comes to town for a weird 2 game set after losing 2 of 3 at New York and Baltimore, getting Toronto for two games and Boston for two games before interleague play this weekend (they get the Braves, Toronto gets the Mets). Both teams trail Baltimore in the division, Toronto by 3 and Tampa by 1. Will somebody get closer to the O's, or will they split the series and just tread water? Find out this, and who really shot JFK*, in the Advance Scout.

*Not, you know, actually.
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Okay, so, the site just deleted the entire Advance Scout that I wrote up, which, that's super annoying. Only the intro survived, and I don't have the time and inclination to write the whole thing again, so super abbreviated Advance Scout.

The Minnesota Twins are the worst team in baseball. They're last in the majors in both ERA and FIP by a healthy margin, and they're third from the bottom in the AL in wOBA, just ahead of noted offensive juggernauts Oakland and Seattle. They are 8 and 22, at least three games worse than anyone else, and they're -53 runs on the season, which is almost twice as bad as the next worst team. They are 3-13 in their last 16, and in a just concluded 9 game sequence against Anaheim (x2) and Seattle they were outscored 37-17. In the set against the Jays they're going to start two minor leaguers and two of the worst starters in baseball. So beware, for this sets up perfectly as a high expectations series that the Jays predictably blow. But never fear, the Advance Scout is here to talk you through it.
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A quick two game set in Oakland, and it should be a good one, featuring each organization's top two pitchers (except now Brandon McCarthy is injured and my clever thematic theme is undid). And it's in Associates/McAfee/ Coliseum, so we may not see many runs. Pitchin' and defense in the golden state, and I'll be rockin' my Advance Scout all the way to the golden gate.
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Circumstances! Only a chart today, so please talk quietly amongst yourselves.
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Well, despite some meta-discussion on the most recent episode of the Boxcast (listen here!), I couldn't beat Dave and get the Advance Scout posted before the Boxcast. I'll just have to make up for it by being much better than the 'cast. Who am I kidding, like that's even possible.

I any case, the Jays world tour of the American League West continues as they stick around in the T-Dot to face the Arlington Rangers, before moving on to face the Anaheim Angels and the Freemont Athletics. Toronto was probably unlucky to only take two of three from Seattle, but hey, that's why they play the games. In any case, against their next opponent they'll probably be lucky to take one of three, as they are outgunned and outarmed against what is probably the best team in baseball. The home nine might have caught a break when Josh Hamilton left Sunday night's game against the Rays, but the latest word is that he expects to start tonight. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to beat them the old fashioned way.

Up, Up and Advance Scout
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The Jays return to the Dome after a 4-3 road trip that can't help but feel unsuccessful because of how it ended: badly. The club scored a combined 3 runs in 3 games in Baltimore, and two of those runs were the result of a pretty awful error committed by Nick Johnson. Meanwhile the Mariners roll into town after rolling the Tigers, winning their three game set by the very un-Marinerlike margin of 21-9. Who will win? Who will lose? Will there be cake? Find out, this, and more, in the Advance Scout.

Also special programming note for those in the Vancouver area: the Vancouver Canadians are hosting a Viewing Party/Tweetup for those interested in watching the Jays take on the Mariners, live with audio, at Mahony & Sons at Canada Place, April 28th (Saturday) at 1 PM local time. More details online at!
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The Jays head to Baltimore off a four game sweep of the Royals. Baltimore meanwhile is only a game behind Toronto for the division lead, despite dropping two of three to the Angels over the weekend. I spent the last Advance Scout going on about how the Jays always kill the Orioles, and the Jays were subsequently lucky to escape with one W, so perhaps some hubris is in order this time.

In any case, I'll do some brief housekeeping before going out strong on some word play. You may have noticed that we aren't doing This Day in Baseball or Game Recaps - the Advance Scout has sort of taken the place of each of these things, so please do feel free to discuss all the games in a series, or other random baseball related events, in these Advance Scout threads, even if they are up to four days old. We basically decided to put more effort into one thread once every three days rather than less effort into three daily threads. Everyone seems to have picked up on this, so, great! And now to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before: The Advance Scout!

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The Jays predictably lost the two tough games against the Rays to lose their series. The Royals have lost seven straight, and six at home, to sit at 3-9. So, hey Jays fans, it could be worse.

It's the weekend, so let's get down to business with a quick advance scout.

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After starting out gangbusters in sweeping the Yankees, the Rays have subsequently managed to lose two of three to the Tigers, then get it handed to them by the Red Sox. They lost the first three games of a four game set by a combined margin of 31-11, though they did salvage yesterday's finale 1-0 behind a fine effort from James Shields and sit at .500. However Tampa has the worst run differential in baseball and have scored the fewest runs of any team in the division. Of more concern perhaps is that their fine staff has been pretty poor so far, Shields aside. They're tied for the most runs allowed in baseball, and Tampa's non-Shields pitchers have now walked 39 batters in 62.2 innings, against 42 strikeouts. It's early, but that is, as the kids say, not good.

At least for Tampa's sake they get to face a familiar punching bag in the Blue Jays. Over the last four seasons the Rays are 47-25 against the home nine, which works out to about a 106 win pace over the course of a full season. All of this is a long winded way of setting up unstoppable force vs. immovable object - the Rays slow start vs. their traditional dominance of the Jays. Which will prevail?

Well, really, the Rays continued success against the Jays and their slow start are probably and definitely not statistically significant, respectively. Sometimes statistics are no fun though, which is why we have THE ADVANCE SCOUT.

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The Baltimore Orioles roll into town to face the division leading* Toronto Blue Jays. And given that they are the Baltimore Orioles, this three game set presents a good opportunity to extend their leading margin. That's not just me being glib. The Jays haven't had a losing season to the Orioles since 2004, going 11-7, 11-8, 10-8, 12-6, 9-9, 15-3 and most recently 12-6 against them. Can they keep it up in 2012? All signs point to... Advance Scout.

*well, co-leading.

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It's baseball time - for realsies. We kick off the 2012 baseball season with our first Advance Scout. What lies ahead? Mystery? Danger? Suspense? Romance? Baseball?

Mostly baseball.

On, to the Advance Scout!
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