Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Be the Least Worst: Hutch Shuts Out White Sox



That was a pretty trying few weeks of baseball. Swept by the Astros, split a series with the Angels (which featured decent starting pitching that could’ve won more games but alarmingly anemic offense) and losing two of three to the Mariners. First game after the maddening tour of the AL West was last night’s 6-0 gem by Drew Hutchison (more on that in a moment.)

This past weekend, something I’ve been thinking about all season, when all the pissbabies of media and fandom moan about firing Gibbons and how so unbelievable not early it currently is (it’s officially been not early to these people since April 30th), was illustrated perfectly. Pete Abraham (beat writer for the Boston Red Sox) tweeting about the Red Sox clubhouse being empty post game when the press goes looking for quotes (“And really,what is there left to say?”) and a beat writer calling for the firing of John Farrell (2013 was a long time ago.) The Yankees had their asses handed to them by the Texas Rangers over the weekend and had lost nine of ten. The Orioles are sort of around, as are the Rays (current division leader.) Top (Rays) to bottom (Jays), the division is separated by 3.5 games.

THREE AND A HALF. 

TERRIBLE, SOUL CRUSHING, BAD LUCK BASEBALL. 

THREE AND A HALF GAMES.

Be the least worst. The American League East is terrible. And wide open. Each team has considerable strengths and massive flaws. Be the least terrible and win the division. Don’t look at the second wild card- that way leads to certain death (and the AL Central.)

Win the hell out of this sucky division.

Drew Hutchison pitched like a man possessed last night. Complete game shut out. Hutch had strikeouts mixed with ground ball double plays, induced by throwing lots of a strikes low in the zone. Four hits, no walks, eight strikeouts and 96 pitches to complete nine innings.

“I did a good job of getting ahead and had a really good sinker tonight,” Hutchison  said. “Got a lot of early-swing ground balls and got double plays. That was the key to getting deep into the game and keeping the pitch count down.”

“He was sick tonight too,” manager John Gibbons said. “Sometimes you have your best games when you’re not feeling so good.”

Gibby means  “sick” as in barfing. But the alternative definition (as in, “Man, that was sick yo!” applies, too. I hope to one day hear Gibby say, “Man, that was sick yo!” It would really make everything better.)


The starter ERA over the last seven games has been 2.86. 

Be the least worst.

Monday, 18 May 2015

A Thing Like That: Jays' Bats have Big Day vs Angels



The sooner I am able to forget about the weekend vs the Astros, the better. The Dickey start was a write off, but three of those four games were winnable. They just had bad bullpen pitching and dismal luck in the RISP department, particularly yesterday. And the Astros are playing like dynamos. Clutch hits, convenient homers and a bullpen that doesn't relinquish a lead once it gets it.

The series prompted Buehrle, Sunday's starter, to give some pretty choice quotes:

“It’s not good,” Buehrle said. “I’m stating the obvious right now when I say that we stink. We are not playing very good on every aspect. When we’re pitching good, we’re not hitting. When we hit and score runs, which we have done most of the year, we are not doing a good job of pitching."

“I don’t feel like we are as bad as we are playing. I don’t think we are as bad as we are showing out there. We have to go out there and play better,” he said. “We have to turn it around before we have a fire sale and start trading guys or sending guys up and down.”

Yeah, can we not do that?  (It's a bit ironic that it's Buehrle who says this, as I'm pretty sure he'd be the first one shipped out. It being the last year of his contract and all. It's kind of nice he doesn't seem to want that to happen. It warms the cockles a bit. Thanks, Papa.)

Back home, under the sun, it was a different story. The pitching was still kind of scary-to be fair, it was a spot start for Todd Redmond, who is really better suited to long relief- but thankfully, Roberto Osuna is still the best and the bats came to play.

Josh Donaldson led the charge with a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5. But it was what happened in the sixth inning that got most of the press (it didn't hurt, of course, that it was the only game happening at the time.) According to the National Post, this is how it broke down:

Donaldson facing Morin.

Donaldson ducks back from a pitch, which is called a ball. Scioscia et al take exception to that call and chirp the ump.

Donaldson, maybe still a little raw from the weekend from hell and having just witnessed the pitching blow a four run lead, chirps back. No one is happy.

Donaldson eventually strikes out, but pitching coach Mike Butcher keeps up the chirping.

Donaldson then does something so vulgar, so tawdry and so awesome that it has been tweeted across baseball Twitter. Behold:


My word, Joshua. (He also totally has 90210 hair. And I'm fine with that.)

Notice the rest of the bench is totally nonplussed. Martin doesn't even blink.

For the record, this is what he said, Who is it? Butcher? F— you.” And in the interest of keeping this a family blog, the rest rhymes "duck" and "clock", with a pronoun in between.

This got the Angels bench a little frothy and the umpire, to his credit, tried to de-escalate the situation by telling them to knock it off. He also, hilariously, visited Morin on the mound, seemingly to warn him against throwing at Bautista, who was at the plate. I'm imagining it went something like, "Ask the Orioles how well throwing at Bautista worked out for them."

Morin, who seemed a bit rattled by something, walked Bautista and Encarnacion and was replaced by Vinny Pescano, who promptly gave up a two run single to Russell Martin.

“I’m not here to try to bad-mouth. I think people saw what happened," said Donaldson. "I played against these guys for a long time. They know the competitor that I am, and I think we just kind of got caught up in the heat of the moment.”

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness made us smile
Martin's hit crack the game open and the Jays went on to win it 10-6.

“Russell’s gotten big hit after big hit in those kind of situations – tight game, when you really need something, two outs,” Gibbons said. “He’s been that guy that always seems to come through for us. So give Russell an A.”

With a gold star. 

So the losing streak is over. Was it inspired by Donaldson outburst of filth? I'm going to go ahead and say yes. 

Finally, John Lott spent the long weekend in Buffalo and talked to Daniel Norris about being sent down and trying to find himself in AAA. 

“You feel naked and helpless,” he said. “That’s why I couldn’t disagree with them when they sent me down.”

Lott also talked to Randy Wolf, the 38 year old journey man who is pitching for the Bisons. He had a 10 minute try out for the Jays in the spring, after several teams who had promised to come see him failed to show up. 

The Jays offered him Blue Jays shorts after Wolf showed up in black sweat pants. 

“You don’t throw in shorts in a game,” he said. “Plus, I have zero tan, so it looks awful. I didn’t want that to be a distraction.”

Could you imagine? "Yeah, his stuff looks pretty good, I think, but I was blinded by pasty flesh."

Friday, 15 May 2015

Consistently Inconsistent: Jays Blow Lead vs Astros, but Might be Ok.



Reading the tweets, comments and columns and listening to the radio, part of me understands the desire to freak out about the state of this team. This is a team that can hit their faces off, but has alternately decent starting pitching and a spotty bullpen, or a terrible starting pitching (ugh, the walks) and a bullpen that holds the fort while offense punishes baseballs.

It's frustrating.

Last nights game was a perfect example: Offense scores plenty (back to back homers by EE and Bautista in the first), a decent start by Drew Hutchison (step in the right direction: 1 walk and 9 strikeouts). He departs the game and the 'pen can't hold it.

What doesn't help, however, is the nonsense the certain members of Toronto sports media like to throw out there. I mean,



At the Pitch Talks event a week ago, Sid was on the panel with John Lott and Shi Davidi. He had some spiel about how the Jays don't have an identity or something ("Are they rookies? Are they veterans? ") which came out of my "Why the hell is Miguel Castro starting in AAA Buffalo?" question. (John Lott gave me a good answer.*) There was some discussion about what the Jays do if they are still struggling at the All Star Break. I still had the mic, which wasn't really working, and I ended up sort of yelling that the AL East is wide open because all the teams pretty much suck. So don't give up.

And the division really, really does suck.

I'm not sure how much Seixeiro bought it (or cared to buy it), but that's my point. Wringing hands and rending garments about the team not being fantastic is pointless. Just be the least shitty team in the AL East. Win the division. The only team in the division the Jays haven't handled are the Rays. Work on it.

I would also point out that 2014 Kansas City Royals had a worse record than the Blue Jays at the All Star Break, and that was the team that won the AL. The All Star Break.

That's July.

This is May.

So while May isn't the earliest point in time in the MLB season, one should settle down. Because it only encourages this:


Losing Marcus Stroman was a blow, but say what about Martin? Has that dude not come 100 percent as advertised?

He was advertised as awesome.

He is.

Just stop it.

Not full of nonsense? Drew Fairservice, Champion of the World:



His partner in podcasting, Stoeten, had a pretty good breakdown of Gregg Zaun's visit to Prime Time Sports. 

(The podcast is now available on iTunes. In my head, I've re-named it "Pentulant Manbaby Times.")

Stoeten deftly covers the nonsense of the "Goins vs Reyes" discussion that is circulating for whatever reason in talks about the team.

My very basic view? Ryan Goins would make a very nice backup infielder when Reyes comes back. It's complete and total nonsense that trading Reyes wouldn't hurt the team. While Goins might be developing into someone who is "swinging the bat pretty good" or whatever Zaun said, Reyes is still one of the best hitting shortstops around.

Zaun also talked about José Bautista, and, I think, implied Bautista was a wuss:

There actually has been a public diagnosis. It’s a strained shoulder — they’ve MRI’d it, and we’re told there’s no structural damage in it. OK? OK, I played for 22 years, I had twenty-plus cortisone shots. I played with tears in my labrum, I played with tears in my ulnar collateral, my flexor mass — there isn’t a scenario that doesn’t involve structural damage that could keep me from picking up a ball for three weeks and being ready. I mean, you could take a week off, use all that voodoo and all that witchcraft that they rub on you in the clubhouse, get rid of your inflammation, spend the next week stabilizing and strengthening the shoulder, and then go and throw — he’d already be throwing right now.
Right? It's the baseball version of "I walked through snow to get to school, uphill both ways. I wrassled grizzly bears." Why else bring up old injuries?

I'm not going to start questioning Bautista's work ethic or his desire to be playing because has he not earned enough of our respect? Also, much like Zaun, I'm not in the clubhouse. I don't know exactly what's going on with Bautista's shoulder.

All of it is just filler for talk radio and fuel for the frothing masses.

Moving on to something more positive. Remember the Jays broke camp with 6 rookies? Well 2 of them are totally awesome right now: Devon Travis and Roberto Osuna.

John Lott has a piece about Osuna. The kid is good.

0.98 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, five walks and 18 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.

Gibby credits Martin (remember, the guy whose acquisition ruined the season or something) in Osuna's blossoming by encouraging him to throw his changeup:

“The thinking a lot of times is, you don’t need a changeup for that kind of style of a reliever,” Gibbons said. “But Russ has made him throw it and it’s become a big weapon for him. That’s made him that much better. You really can’t narrow him down.”

Osuna has some things a lot of rookies lack: confidence in his stuff :

“At the beginning (of the season), my speed was like 94, 95, 96,” he said. “Last couple games, I feel much better. I hit 97. I’ve been feeling better with the fastball, and my slider is getting much better – 87, 88, 89. Changeup is getting better too.”

He also has nerves of steel. 

There is a lot of good about this team.


Just pay them.

*Lott's excellent answer to my "The hell? Castro starting?" question. The gist was relief pitching in the minors is different than in the big leagues. The Jays want Castro to get regular work in and a way to guarantee that was to have him start. It doesn't mean the Jays want Castro to start, but it's not ruled out.  Osuna quote re. Castro in Lott's piece: "He got a little bit frustrated after he got sent down,” Osuna said. “He was so sad. I hope he recovers pretty soon."

Que lástima. (It's what my high school Spanish teacher used to say to us when we didn't do our homework.) 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Paid All That Money: Jays Pound Orioles, Edwin goes Oppo and Pedro on the Radio



I realized last night why Buck Showalter might be a little raw about the Blue Jays. The Jays have absolutely pounded Orioles`pitching (minus Ubaldo.) It's May:


So, thank you Orioles.

Also,

This guy started a crowd funding campaign to get the employees compensated for the nights they didn't work. While I thought it was a noble gesture, I really thought that either the Orioles should cover it or MLB.  I mean, these teams have a lot of money and the beer vendor, for instance, is an important part of the experience of watching a baseball game at Camden Yards.

So, that's three things on the list of good things about the Orioles: a manager that has nuanced views of race in America and owns many basset hounds, a pitching staff that surrenders a metric shit tonne of runs to the Blue Jays and management that supports its park staff (eventually.)

In case you were sitting around wondering if Edwin Encarnación 1. was awesome 2. could hit opposite field homers, you should wonder no more.

According to John Lott, Encarnación, Donaldson and Manny Machado (clearly no longer upset at Donaldson tagging him so hard) were hanging around the batting cage pre-game and they were ribbing on Edwin for being so pull happy with his homers.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” Encarnacion said after the game. “I know me.”

“Tonight I got two homers oppo and they started laughing,” Encarnacion said, referring to the ribbing Donaldson and his teammates gave him in the dugout after the second one. 

Why is this amazing? Because pitchers have been trying to pitch him away to get him out. This proves that Encarnación has the ability to punish pitchers out there. 

“If they keep throwing away, you’ve got to let them know that you can hit that way,” Encarnación said.

And he can. This month he is 13-for-39 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 10 games. Beast. 

Mark Buehrle pitched like he had plans after the game. The pace of a Buehrle game is so refreshing. He just doesn't dicker at all. 

He threw only 78 pitches, 53 strikes before he was pulled by Gibbons. There are some questions about why Gibby yanked him, but I'm just going to go with a combo of Buehrle maintenance, a rested bullpen that might need a little work and a fairly close game that felt quite tense until it really wasn't thanks to the two EE homers and a Donaldson one added to the pile.

Why pull Buehrle?

“Just my decision. Nothing more than that. That’s why they pay me all that money, to make those decisions, right or wrong.”

Near the end of Buehrle's outing, Gibbons had him intentionally walk Adam Jones. Delmon Young then was kind enough to bounce into an inning ending DP. Why walk Jones?

Clearly, Gibby reads my Twitter feed:
Maybe they should pay me all that money.

Finally, Pedro Martinez was interviewed by NPR. He's great.   Just the best.  "I will remember it."

Monday, 11 May 2015

Baltimore: What the Hell?



During the Baltimore riots last week, Buck Showalter said some pretty profound things. To the point that I had to forgive him for being ridiculous about the turf (no one is fond of the turf, Buck. Stop making me feel defensive.) and throwing behind Bautista. I had to respect him for more than having a whole army of basset hounds.


And for being on Seinfeld

When the Orioles had to play in an empty stadium because of the rioting, Showalter was asked what advice he would give young Black men living in Baltimore. 

And it was pretty amazing.

"You hear people try to weigh in on things that they really don't know anything about," he said. "I tell guys all the time when they talk about…I've never been black, OK? So I don't know. I can't put myself there. I've never been faced with the challenges that they face. So I understand the emotion, but I can't…It's a pet peeve of mine when somebody says, 'Well, I know what they're feeling. Why don't they do this? Why doesn't somebody do that?' You have never been black, OK, so just slow down a little bit."

Whatever the equivalent of mansplaining for race relations is, Showalter did the opposite. So my feelings about Showalter were complex, to say the least.


And then Baltimore does something completely tone deaf:


Just so we're all aware what's going on here. "Our Birds Matter" is a riff on  "Black Lives Matter" the main slogan for the current activism about deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement and general systematic racism. "No Baseball. No Peace." is a riff on a lesser known, but still used slogan "No Justice. No Peace." a slogan that may have roots back to the riots in LA after the Rodney King verdict.

So, yeah. These white people co-opted slogans from a movement that is looking for equal rights and justice for African Americans, and made it about them.

Just don't do that.

In other news, Marco Estrada had a rough first (a pitcher who has a habit of giving up homers facing a team that hits homers) but otherwise held the fort while Ubaldo Jimenez continued his weird Houdini act of throwing junk that looks hittable but isn't. As a result, the Jays lost. It sucked.

What doesn't suck? Alexis Brudnicki writes that the Rogers Centre opened it's door to the Canadian National Women's Baseball team for a selection camp for the Pan Am Games. Jays Alumni, including my new favourite broadcaster Duane Ward, were impressed:

"They know how to play the game. It's not that they don't have good arms to throw or that they don't have good bats -- they have that. Now it's just figuring out how to progress and get a lot better. Some of them have been around for a long time and they know the game, and I'm impressed. It's not that they're girls who are baseball players, they're baseball players who just happen to be girls."

Kind of Comfortable: Bautista, Donaldson and Pitch Talks.



News that's circulating around Twitter pre-game is that Jose Bautista is sitting tonight versus Baltimore. Because it's baseball related and because it's social media, there is a low level panic about what it all means.

This is what it means: Jose Bautista is 2 for 29 vs Ubaldo Jimenez. Also, Jose Bautista has a sore shoulder that requires rest. He isn't being hidden from Buck Showalter. He isn't scared.

Watching Bautista hold his right arm limply at his side while high fiving with his left on Saturday hurt my heart a little. Mejórate pronto, tipo.



Friday:
Some people are starting to grumble that maybe he just doesn’t want to play in the field and he’s just kind of comfortable DHing right now. Because, your shoulder doesn’t hurt when he takes that hack that he takes? I mean, that’s a max-effort swing that he has.

 And again Sunday afternoon:

ORSILLO: Bautista the DH again today, still unable to play defensively in right field — a sore shoulder keeping him from doing that, and kind of affecting all of the Blue Jays’ lineup.

LYONS: There’s a lot of whispering going on that he’s fine and should be playing right field, and has still decided he doesn’t want to.

Many people don't realize this, but it's actually hard to hit well as a DH. It's a skill that someone like David Ortiz has mastered, but it's not easy. It's why there are so few pure DHs even though every AL team has to put on in the lineup.

There is absolutely no way Bautista is pulling himself out of playing in the field, especially given that he isn't contributing the way he would probably like to not playing right and choosing to play right.

This is a guy who takes a lot of pride in his work. He's not slacking off. The stupidity of these statements is amazing. I'm guessing Lyons doesn't understand that hitting and throwing use different parts of a shoulder, and that it is completely possible that one action hurts Bautista and one doesn't. So yeah, Bautista is "kind of comfortable" DHing because it doesn't hurt.

Is this what happens when you call out Buck Showalter?   "A lot of whispering" happens about bullshit? Implications that you are lazy or spoiled?

Just for context, Steve Lyons was hated on pretty consistently over the weekend on SOSH. I didn't include that in my SOSH post, but the sentiment was pretty full on.

Just no, Steve Lyons. NO!

I didn't write about the Brook Jacoby incident earlier, but I find the whole thing to be completely overblown, that the suspension is way too long and I don't believe the official version of the story that the MLB is putting out there, just because it conflicts with most accounts. Jeff Blair talked to former umpire Jim McKean on Baseball Central.  (It happens at about 30 minutes in, but go ahead and listen to  all of the Snappy Turtle Show if you so desire.)

Read Brook Jacoby statement here. It's pretty amazing. 

“Brook Jacoby always had a very mild demeanor about him when he was a third baseman for the Cleveland Indians and I was umpiring. He was a guy who hardly said anything.”

Also, Jeff Blair has gone drinking with umpires. A lot.

The following is a bit of a boast, but I was kind of a puddle after it happened.

I went to the first anniversary of Pitch Talks last Thursday in Toronto. It was a  sold out event that featured my pal Alexis Brudnicki talking to the head of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as well as two members of the Canadian Women's baseball team that’s gearing up for the Pan Am Games. Yes, women play baseball. And yes, they are badass.

The lineup also including Shi Davidi (who I met for the first time), John Lott (who I've met before and is as awesome as you imagine he would be), Sid Seixeiro (he told me he isn't ready for tv), Stephen Brunt (who introduced himself as "Steve" to me), Dan Shulman of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and Buck Martinez, who crashed the event to surprise Shulman.

I saw a dude with some a healthy head of white hair and thought….maybe? But I have this weird disconnect when I see people I normally see in media or social media in real life and I don't think it's them. I think every bearded man at a baseball event is Stoeten. I think Drew Fairservice is Mark Buehrle.

After the show, I talked to Buck Martinez, who is shorter than me (I didn't realize), and I told him that I've written a blog for coming up on nine seasons. I wish I could've taken a picture of his face, because it was this genius mixture of being impressed and also kind of indulgent.

I interact with Shulman on Twitter a bit. He once read my blog and said it was a perfect mix of "knowledge and attitude". He read it without me sending him the link, he just got it from my profile and checked it out.

I introduced myself at the event (it's insanely awkward to introduce yourself to someone you know from social media but not in real life. I feel like Troy McClure.) And Shulman knew who I was immediately, proceeded to tell the small group around him that he gets his Jays news from me and that I'm very sarcastic on Twitter. Said the name of my blog with the Sunday Night Baseball voice.

Puddle.

Go to the Pitch Talks events. They are fun as heck.

The weekend series was good, save for Sunday. I was pretty happy to see Sanchez progress as he did. He does seem to be getting better.

Jeff Blair writes that Josh Donaldson pretty much loves hitting in the Dome. Which is good, because I love him hitting in the Dome, too.

“Where I came from, park-wise, you had to hit the balls really hard and at the right trajectory for balls to leave the yard,” Donaldson said Sunday. “Here, I can really just focus on being a good hitter versus trying to create different angles to create power. I mean, I’ve been fooled a couple of times here trying to create those angles. Now, it’s just a matter of focusing on making good contact ."

“Although,” he added with a grin, “I do pick my spots every now and then to try to make things happen.”

Finally, an update:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

So Does the Sox: Toronto Pounds Boston 7-0



I had a few requests for a visit to our old friends at SOSH via Twitter. I don't usually visit when the Sox beat the Jays, mostly because I don't enjoy it when terrible people are happy. (Weird, I know.)

But when the Jays put pushed it to 7-0 late I knew it'd likely be pretty safe.

I just want to warn you, it's pretty boring. The site is at its richest when the Sox are playing well but the Jays put a wrench in the works. The Sox aren't playing well, so SOSH is boring.

Not boring was Aaron Sanchez who, despite control issues, pitched the best game of his young career. His pitches were a little wild, but he somehow managed to keep it in the strikezone. Also, he induced twelve ground balls, including some when he really needed them, were another promising sign. If Sanchez is going to walk the world, he needs to find an efficient way to eliminate those base runners while he figures out how to not walk the world.

Sanchez told John Lott of the National Post,“It came down to me making pitches when I had to make pitches,” Sanchez said. “I felt like there was a couple pitches in that inning that could’ve gone either way and I think I let it affect me too much. Russell came out and told me to calm down, just play catch. I found a way to get out of it.”

He did and it was really great to see. Sanchez was confident and didn't appear to freak out. He was pitching.

On to SOSH.

Why not tonight? 

A struggling Red Sox pitcher at the Rogers Centre should make for a long night. 

It was actually a pretty efficient game, finishing under three hours.

Or struggling bats come alive at the cement box.

Ok, this is annoying. I'm not in love with the Rogers Centre, but aren't most stadiums cement boxes? Also, nice visitors' tunnel at Fenway, jerk faces.

Toronto's the only AL East team the Sox don't have a losing record against....so, yeah.  Bring 'em on.

Sox will score double digits tonight.  Book it.

And the game started.

At least they don't make us wait to be losing. 


This was a thing of beauty. A homer off Windows Restaurant is a Blue Jays rite of passage, and I'm thrilled to see Donaldson do it.

Jose Batista looks like a very poorly cast villain on a low budget CSI: Miami knock-off.

No, he doesn't. But even if he did, he could still get your sister, your girlfriend and your mom.

I think I may hate Wade more than Lackey even with Lackey's douche sneer.

Congratulations, Wade Miley. Red Sox fans hate you and put that hate in context with the hate of a previous member of the Boston Red Sox. You are officially a member of the Boston Red Sox.

This game is out of reach.

It was 2-0 at this point. The Sox have played like garbage for a week or so and everyone is sad because Tom Brady has soft balls.

Sanchez is quite the nibbler 

By nibbler, you mean good, solid bites out of the zone and not getting calls. Although, to be fair, that is normally a pretty apt description of Sanchez. Although, I wouldn't really use nibbler to describe him. He's really just wild and lacking in the control/command part of his game.

The fact that Sanchez had to deal with that zone and still pitched the best game of his young career is just that much more satisfying. Control is an issue, but he is working on it.
And this is just fun.

Tight zone. 

This one knows.

God this team is trash

This one knows, too!

This kid has to be the palest guy named Sanchez I have ever seen.

Ok.

Sanchez walks two guys and then hits Allen Craig to load the bases.

PRAISE THE LORD!

It was a little scary. Bases loaded, nobody out.

They're going to fuck this up, aren't they.

Yeah.

Oh, now that's a strike? Fuck you. 

It was probably always a strike. This zone was "festive".

Lolololol



HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS ARE WE EXPECTED TO TAKE!1? 

Ok, seriously. Your stupid ugly baseball team has three WS in this very young century. Go cry about it to your grandpa, who died between 1918 and 2004, you entitled jerk.

WEEI just reported Alex Cobb is getting TJ, he hopes to pitch again by Sept. 2016.  So at least we can all get some schadenfreude type pleasure tonight. 

It's the "celebrate the injuries and painful surgeries of others" portion of the evening.

The ump is kinda fucking over the Jays. And still, the Sox refuse to capitalise. 

It`s so scary when they get observant.

Schadenfreude from an injury is pretty low on the pathetic fandom scale.

I agree.

No kidding. It's not like it happened to Chris Archer or David Price.

Charming.

If toronto had just scored 6 runs in the first two, I could have turned my attention away from the game. Instead they lead me on for almost two hours.

Can we hire Bobby Valentine again, just so that Farrell looks like an effective leader of men once more?

Maybe it was never Farrell that made the team successful. The sooner the "Farrell as saviour" mythos can die, the better.

Didn't they already challenge on the X play?  

There was a lot of talk about the replay. Gibby didn't actually challenge on that late play. The umps challenged themselves to be competent at their jobs and reviewed the call themselves.

Gibbons is an ass.



Fire everyone.

Starting with the fans.

So this team is kind of terrible, isn't it?

Certainly looks like.

Baseball sucks and so does the sox

Grammar, schmammar.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Hot Takes on Ancient and Newer News: Rookies and Buehrle


Anthopoulos made some MLB news early last month when the Jays broke camp with six rookies. It was fun!  It's now a month in, and 50% of those rookies are in AAA Buffalo.

Dalton Pompey, who grew up half an hour from the ball park, had flashes of brilliance as well as some scary routes to balls and got outplayed by Kevin Pillar. He also openly talked about playing scared without being probed to, which discomfited the beat writers. Pompey is a very talented athlete and is also really young. He should just put his head down, get his work in and work on not playing scared. He'll be fine.

Daniel Norris, who drives a van that he parked in a WalMart in Florida, had flashes of brilliance (his start on his birthday) as well as some scary starts and some dead arm. Lots of talent and I think he'll be fine. His start in Buffalo the other day wasn't great

It was a bit of a record scratch moment when I heard Kevin Barker  and Jeff Blair talk about Miguel Castro's poor start in Buffalo on Baseball Central earlier this morning. Not just because his start was poor, but that they have him starting at all. I'm sure they have their reasons, but if I were making the decisions, I'd have Castro work on controlling his fastball down in the zone, which would compliment that hard changeup he's got. And I'd work on getting him to a point that he can be a solid back end of the bullpen guy.  I understand that the opportunities for relief pitching in the minors aren't as good as in the bigs and that the Jays want Castro to have regular work, but I might even just have him throw his fastball/change for strikes when he starts. I doubt that's something that actually happens, but that's what I'd do.


Mark Buehrle actually beat the Yankees. It's been 11 years. I suspect Buehrle might've had an edge on Wednesday night, because dude was a little fired up about the media post game.

There have been reports that Buehrle is hurting and even whispers about  an actual DL stint as reported by TSN's Scott MacArthur. A DL stint is the thing that has never happened to Buehrle. (He's like the anti-Jose Reyes that way. Buehrle also doesn't record his own reggaeton records, so that's another difference. There may be others.)

Buehrle is having none of it. When asked if there is a possibility of a DL stint, Buehrle said,"Yeah, if I get hit by a car on the street tonight." (Money quote of the early season? Yes, I think so.)

“I’ve heard I’m going on the DL, back’s hurting, doing everything I can do (to make starts),” he said. “One thing is right: I had been pitching in pain and everything for 10 years now, so that reporting’s a little bit late, and I do everything I can in between my starts to go out there and get ready for my next one.”

He also doesn't like all the retirement talk, mostly because he finds it a distraction and needs to discuss it with the Mrs in the off season.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous that somebody’s got to go to somebody else instead of coming and asking me, to report the same thing about retiring next year,” Buehrle said. “I haven’t made a decision yet and people, I don’t know whoever these close sources are to me, they’re not paying them enough or not going to the right people.”





Friday, 24 April 2015

Through the Baseball: Sanchez, Hutchison and Orange Bird Whinging



The Blue Jays swept the Orioles in wonderful (and slightly tense) fashion after they threw behind Jose Bautista on Tuesday.

And it turns out, the team makes this sound when they don't get their own way.  Next time Buck Showalter says anything, I'm just going to say, "Tiny tantrum" in a Southern accent like that mom in the video.

After the sweep was completed last night, it became very convenient for the Orioles to release the information that they considered forfeiting the game on Tuesday because the turf was so "bad". There were rumours going around that MLB is monitoring the situation surrounding the turf, which most say isn't bad, just different. But my question is, didn't MLB monitor and approve the changes to the turf in the Rogers Centre when they were completed? If they didn't, why the hell not?

The situation with the turf is annoying because it makes me feel defensive of something I don't even like. I don't want the team to play on turf. I want real grass.

I also suspect the Orioles would've had no issues with the turf had they swept the Jays in the Rogers Centre. I also suspect they threw behind Bautista on Tuesday because they had made a lot of errors and it was a lopsided score and they just felt petulant.

And maybe all of it is just more posturing from Buck Showalter:


In other hilarious whinging, remember the totally bizarre/hilarious incident where Alejandro De Aza tried to steal third base with Chris Davis up on Wednesday, in a game that was really close? Remember when De Aza was hilariously thrown out? Apparently, it's Josh Donaldson who was wrong. 

“He blocked it. I’m not saying it was bad, but he shouldn’t block like that, because he can hurt somebody,” De Aza said. “Somebody can get hurt like that. Thank God I didn’t jam anything, but something bad could happen there.”

“I wish I had it back,” De Aza said. “I thought I had the bag. If he didn’t block me the way he blocked me, I would have gotten there, but unfortunately, I didn’t. From my standpoint, I think it hurts because we had one of the big guys hitting, so anything could happen there.”

So you're saying that if Donaldson hadn't prevented you from stealing the bag, you would've stolen the bag. How about not stealing the bag when Davis is up? How about not running on Russell Martin?

Apparently, this is the kind of team where no one accepts responsibility and everything is the fault of the other teams' players and the other team's stadium. And maybe the position of the moon.

Aaron Sanchez got his first big league win on Wednesday. He only gave up two hits, but he also walked seven. It was very vintage AJ Burnett, with the un-hitable stuff combined with the on/off relationship with the strike zone. Of course there are worse thing to become than AJ Burnett (the current version) but I hope Sanchez becomes something that reflects his potential much sooner.

The issue, I think, might be the lack of repeatable mechanics. That helps a pitcher stay in the strike zone consistently with the added benefit of helping to prevent injuries. Sanchez is a bit all over the place and his inconsistency stems from it. He's got a lot of  "stuff". He could still be good.

Drew Hutchison pitched like a demon last night. He was aggressive, pounded the strike zone and pitched the way I want the rest of them to pitch more often. He was just confident.

Hutchison made subtle adjustments to his hips between starts and the results were evident immediately.

“It has to do with his hips, his direction,” Pete Walker said Thursday afternoon. “With him, it’s always been a little bit of an issue. He has to lead with his hip to the direction of the plate, and it makes a big difference. I thought we had a real good bullpen session and he felt really good about it.”

“It was just a real slight adjustment,” Hutchison said. “It got me over the ball, and when I get through the baseball, good things happen.”

Good things also happen when this guy plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.




Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How to Not Be Trash: Jays Pound Orioles.


Don'ts


1. Don't throw behind a player. Some people think it's because it's "disrespectful" (as if a plunking could be respectful) but no, it's actually dangerous. Throwing behind the shoulders and back is bad because it's the batter's natural instinct to duck backwards if they aren't sure where it's going and they lean right into it.

A pitch behind the back is very close to a pitch at the head (a genuine beaning) and there is no way anyone should condone that ever.

2. Don't throw behind a player that you threw behind earlier in the month. Especially when that player went large on your pitcher in that same AB.

3. Don't complain and bitch at a player for admiring a homer after you have thrown behind his back for the second time. One, because what he did is hard to do. Two, he's been thrown behind, twice. He got you. Wear it. Three, he's in his own damn ballpark. He can do what he wants.

4. Don't ever say "You pimp the pitcher, you’re pimping me too." to the media post game after you've acted like an idiot mid-game and tried to police people.

5. Don't ask a rookie to throw behind a star player. Just don't. It's a pretty bad idea to have anyone throw at anyone, but this just feels extra cheap. And then don't hide behind the fact that the kid is a rookie, particularly when you said,

"Let’s face it, he’s 23 years old, emotional, you see him coming off the mound doing his little whatever, [...] I’m sure the league office will do what needs to be done. If you don’t have the command to throw the ball where you’re supposed to to deliver a message, then you shouldn’t be throwing at all there. It really pushed the hot button with all of us because it certainly wasn’t called for. That was obvious. It was borderline professionally embarrassing."
after Marcus Stroman threw at Caleb Joseph last season.

There are people who think Garcia didn't have intent. Garcia is the perfect person to ask. He'll do whatever you ask because he wants to impress and you can hide behind him being a kid with poor command.  Perfect person to ask if you are trash, that is.

Do's

1. Do be focused enough to actually hit a homer when you are angry, especially if you are awesome. Your awesomeness is now undeniable.

2.  After you cross home plate, do stare intently into the dugout at the opposing manager, from which all this nonsense originates.

3. Do remind opposing star player that you were thrown behind, with elaborate gestures.



4. Do star in amazing GIFs that feature your stupendous mad face, your towering homer and your potty mouth as you round the bases.



5. Do  do things that encourage Danny Valencia to yell, "God damn, I love this!" in the dugout.

6. Do offer choice post-game quotes:
"I'm an emotional player, I play with a lot of passion. You throw at me and I'm not going to forget and if I get you right after I'm going to enjoy it and I did. I have no regrets about it."

"I don't understand why they keep throwing behind us and hitting us. Ryan Goins got hit today, all of a sudden. The guy is painting and hitting his spots, and then all of a sudden one fastball gets away and hits him square in the thigh, nowhere near the strike zone. For a team that complains and whines so much about when their guys get pitched inside, they should manage their pitching a little bit better." -- Bautista 

That's damn right, Joey Bats.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Straight Baseballed: Pompey, Dead Arm and a Walk Off


That was a pretty rough weekend of baseball, yesterday feeling particularly ugly. Things aren't quite gelling at the moment and guys are pressing a little. It just felt like baseball coming to bite them.

"First and foremost, I just want to apologize to my teammates and my fans, coaching staff. We lose that game because I don’t make that play and I take full responsibility for that,” said centrefielder Dalton Pompey.

“I’ve found, ever since the season started, I’ve been playing somewhat scared just because I don’t want to make a mistake,” said Pompey. “It took a situation like that where I couldn’t bail out my pitcher, Daniel Norris, I’ve made plays for him many times in the past and this time, I didn’t step up to the plate. It’s a learning experience for me and it just shows me I need to be more aggressive and, if I make mistakes being aggressive, then it won’t be as bad.”

“When I used to watch them on TV, I used to think they were pretty much perfect people and they made all the plays and they never made mistakes, really,” said Pompey. “Last thing I wanted to do in a situation is make sure I catch the ball, make the routine plays and sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve played back on the ball when it’s a groundball, so I make sure I field it instead of being aggressive.”

“Every game matters; we’re trying to win here and the mistakes I made today potentially cost us,” said Pompey. “It’s a long season, but you look back in September and this game might have mattered.”

Pompey made a couple of bad plays. He could definitively have made that play in the first, but it wasn't routine. So while it's nice he apologized and took responsibility, but who loaded the bases in that inning? Who barely hit the rest of the game? Who didn't score enough runs when relief pitching kept them in it. It's a team game and a team loss. I really hope one of the grown ups heard this and talked to Pompey about it.

Also, Pompey really needs to let go of the "I used to come here as a kid" thing for the Rogers Centre. Yeah, it's embarrassing, but jeez. Take off the hair shirt, put down the switch and forgive yourself, kid. Baseball is going to kill you if you let it.

They aren't operating on all cylinders. Donaldson's bat has woken up, but Bautista and Encarnacion aren't quite there yet and are just missing pitches they normally crush. Bautista's reaction to his homer on Saturday (screaming into the ground) and Encarnacion trying to hit a baseball twice out of frustration yesterday was pretty telling. Both were hilarious, though.


Dead arm? What the heck? That sounds scary! 

You know some mornings (maybe even this morning) you wake up and feel like you haven't really slept. Or maybe you haven't slept well the last couple of nights and it's finally catching up to you.

You can function at your job, but you can't really get it going. You have no pep or spark. No follow through. No matter how much coffee (even French Press coffee) you drink.

Well, that's what dead arm is. It doesn't hurt, really. You just don't have the extra little bit of zing that makes you an effective pitcher.

“I’m going through a little bit of a dead-arm phase, so it’s really tough for me to just feel the late life on everything that I was used to in spring training,” said Norris, in the same TSN.ca article linked above. He was definitely missing up with pitches, which often happens when a pitcher starts getting tired.

In an interview done six years ago, C.C. Sabbathia talked about dead arm. "I think you get it as a pitcher growing up as a kid," Sabathia said. "You go through that period when you first start throwing where you have nothing. The first couple times, you get a little nervous. But as you get older, you figure it out. It's just dead arm, and you have to deal with it."


Jeff Francis, nice Canadian boy, did his team a solid in long relief yesterday and kept the Jays in it.

In other Canadian content news, Canadian Press writer (and general awesome person) Melissa Couto  wrote about Braves' beast Freddie Freeman his late mother who was Canadian. He wants to one day represent Team Canada in the WBC, which would be awesome, as he is a beast.

"I know she's watching every single game up in heaven," Freeman said. "I have a necklace that unscrews and there's a piece of her hair inside of it, so she's always with me everywhere I go."

I guess I'll stop making fun of his alliterative name now.

Undeniably awesome?



Best. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

"That" is not This: Archer and Buehrle





This is what the Mark Buehrle-Chris Archer thing is about.

Chris Archer is jumping up on the top step, getting all fired up about Evan Longoria getting plunked in the glut. Buehrle, noticing Archer, chirps at him a little.

Buehrle, who once said, “I don’t know that part of the game” when he talked about how he and Marcus Stroman had miscommunication about throwing at a guy, was called a hypocrite by some on Twitter. And I honestly think people are reading this the wrong way.

"That part of the game...." means ordering a rookie to bean a player. Mark Buehrle has been around a long time. He knows about the politics of plunking, even if he himself doesn't partake or condone it.

There is no way he doesn't know about the "throwing at a batter" part of the game. What he meant was "I don't do that." And "that" is telling a kid to throw at someone.

That is not this.

Per Stoeten:
Jason Collette tweets that the “broadcast showed Archer taking issue with the plunking and Buehrle saying ‘that’s on you’ if I read lips correctly,” which seems about right. Except, y’know, Mark “I don’t know that part of the game” Buehrle — if that’s what he really said, and what really was going on.
Don’t be dumb and unlikable, Jays. We’ve already got a closer being used in the seventh, if it’s called for, and a great hitter in the two spot. The mouth-breather garbage is on its way out! Just beat them on the field.

This isn't mouth breather garbage, or at least not just on one side. I don't even think  Buehrle was condoning Estrada plunking Longoria. He was saying to Archer, "You can't get all huffy after you plunked two guys tonight."

And really, he can't. If Archer plunked Martin and Encarnacion on purpose, he should just accept that his big hitter is going to get one back. And if Archer didn't do it on purpose, he should give Estrada the benefit of the doubt and accept that one got away. Or just in general sit down. DeJesus hard slid on Travis to break up a double play, which might not have been "dirty" but was certainly dickish. And when Geltz threw up and in to Donaldson. A lot of questionable behaviour to go around.

What isn't shown in that GIF by Ian the Blue Jay Hunter is that about ten seconds after Buehrle chirped, he laughed with Hutchison, who was sitting on the top step indicating that this wasn't a "play the game the right way" type policing but more of a "you're ridiculous" type thing.  The dugout and what goes on between the two is part of the game. And to think it isn't all involved is a bit ridiculous.

“I don’t have any hard feelings toward him,” Longoria said, noting that he and Estrada are friends from their college days at Long Bach State. “It escalated and it looked a lot worse than it probably would have been had it hit me in a different spot and not ended up the way it did. Ultimately you got to protect your guys.”

Monday, 13 April 2015

Blue Jays take Series in Baltimore: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Skipping



There is history to this:




Behold:




I didn't realize that O'Day had skipped off the mound in their first encounter and Bautista's completely awesome skipping homer trot, after O'Day had thrown behind him earlier in the at bat, was a reference to that. So let's just think about that.

Jose Bautista revenge skipped.

In your face, sucker- skipped.

Who is the man now?- skipped.

Lo que va, viene-skipped.

The celebration which began with the skipping and ended in the dugout, where Devon Travis almost got trampled, only to be saved by DeMarlo Hale.



“I know he’s not going to blow 87 miles an hour by me, so I figured he was probably going to try to throw more offspeed pitches after moving my feet a little bit with that fastball,” Bautista said. “I basically said to myself I’m looking for offspeed. If he throws me a fastball I’m going to go back to the dugout if it’s a strike. I sat on a slider, and he threw it, and luckily for me he threw it right down the middle.”
If the continuation of this beef or whatever means Bautista goes large every time he faces O'Day, I'm ok with that. Skip on, my friend.

My hate for the Orioles is strong. I don't quite know where it began, exactly, but I know I grit my teeth every time someone calls Buck Showalter a genius- the other day, Curt Schilling said Showalter wins five extra games no other team can get, he's that good a manager. These words were words that were actually said.

I remember being annoyed that Brett Lawrie was always being compared to Manny Machado, not because Machado is a better player but because he was supposedly so much more mature, even though he's about three years younger. Well, not so much.

He made "You tagged me too hard" a thing.


You can say a lot of things about Brett Lawrie, but he never threw at bat at someone. Yes, I realize he bounced a helmet. My point is Machado is a more than a bit of a dink.


Finally, here is the documentary about Dalton Pompey Sportsnet aired over the weekend. He's pretty great.



Sunday, 12 April 2015

Struggle of Sanchez



Well, that one stung.

I'm trying not to make a habit of responding to silly things written in Stoeten's comment section, but tonight it was fruitful:

I thought Sanchez was fuckin awful tonite (sic). Disappointment based on the way he thru(sic) last year. His fastballs were mostly 91-93 with little movement compared to last year and his command was horrid-missing targets by a huge amount. I mean,how many times did Martin call for the ball outside and he would sling one about 2 feet over the INSIDE part of the plate. I think him throwing 92 or so affected the movement of his pitches to his detriment. So, if he needs to throw 97-99 to be successful, it would appear to me that it is going to have to be in the bullpen because 91-93 is no big deal as a starter especially with poor command and a poor curveball. 
He may get one more start but similar results and it is back to the pen you go, where I think he belongs and the Jays could have a three headed bullpen monster to rival KC's.
They will likely have to move Estrada into his SP spot unless Santana develops a new arm. The Jays could not have been very pleased with that effort tonite and they cannot afford to piss away 5 or 6 games while he figures it out ( sort of like Mcgowan as a starter last year all over again)

Ok. I do agree that Sanchez was pretty bad last night, and that his fastballs were low 90s with little movement (other than maybe drifting lovingly to the middle of the plate.) But that's the end of our agreement.

This was Sanchez's first big league start.

We've been spoiled so far with 20 year olds who pitch like they are 10 year veterans, but that's not the norm.

I have no idea what you are on about "throwing 92" affects the movement of his pitches. According to Baseball America, Sanchez is"armed with a high-octane fastball, a plus curveball and a solid changeup, he has the arsenal, at least, to be a weapon at the front of a rotation." That sounds like plenty of stuff to be in the rotation but he needs to work on his control. A slower fastball might've been an effort to do that. Of course, if your fastball is 92 and your change is high 80s, it's pretty useless. Again, I'm not arguing that he was good last night.

It is not comparable at all with the McGowan situation last year because McGowan was an oft-injured pitcher who was trying to make a comeback after some success in the bullpen. Sanchez is fresh off the lot. McGowan was a top prospect for the Jays 10 years ago. Sanchez is a top prospect as of last year.

There is no evidence that Sanchez will need 5 or 6 starts to figure it out. The Jays likely aren't very pleased with the result of last night's game, but they probably aren't going to start wailing  at the kid about how he needs to just pitch better, damn it. If you think Estrada and the 29 homers he gave up last year are somehow going to be better,  you are delusional. Be serious, as Stoeten would say.

But yeah, let's shove the top prospect in the pen after one big league start. That won't have any effect on his development or his confidence at all. And that's an issue because what I witnessed tonight was a dude who wasn't trusting his stuff. Or as my buddy Wade (@Every5thDay) put it perfectly:

Or as the kid himself put it:

“I think I felt too good,” he said. “I think it worked against me. I tried to slow everything down because I didn’t want to be all over the place, and that turned into guiding and aiming instead of just attacking.”

Sanchez needs to work on another pitch he can throw for strikes, whether it's the slider he calls a "work in progress" or the curve he hasn't been able to command consistently.

How Sanchez bounces back and moves forward from this is the next step will be vital in how he progresses this year.

"I guess just be out there and experience it. Obviously, tonight was something that I experienced – it was my first start in the big leagues. I’ll take the good from this and I’ll move on. The bad, I’ll learn from it.”

We march on.


Friday, 10 April 2015

The Kids are Maybe Alright: 6-3 win leads to Series win in New York


Your moment of zen:

Buck Martinez: "Have you ever been to Yankee Stadium?"
Daniel Norris: "Umm...yeah, I pitched there last year."

Norris got his first career win last night. He looked a little shaky at times, but it was his first start of the season, it was cold and he is a wee child.  By the end of the fifth, he had given up four hits,  had five strikeouts, two walks, and had allowed just one run. The sixth was a little fraught with peril (pitches left up and launched into the night), but overall I thought Norris did just fine.

This might be a little Mr. Rogers of me, but I think a good policy with the kids is to not expect perfection but look at what they are doing well and watching how they adapt and grow into their next start/appearance. (Speaking of Mr. Rogers, have you watched him recently? It's pretty amazing. Stay tuned for the remix.)

ARod hit his first homer since 2013. I want Alex Rodriguez to be the only good Yankee this year. I want him to be a one man show. He's also the last pre-strike MLB player left.  The Yankees looked tight and a little tired last night, and made fundamental baseball errors in the series that were not characteristic. The Jays were one bad inning away from sweeping a series in the Bronx. That's just not heard of for them.

We have a catcher that can do this. He occasionally forgets how many outs there are, but I'll forgive him.

Bautista has looked a little rough, but it's been three games. As long as Encarnacion looks like this:




I think we can ride it out. 


The Jays roll in to Baltimore for the Orioles home opener. Buehrle takes the mound and the game is the free game of the day on MLB.tv.

I could listen to Pedro Martinez talk about pitching all day long.   Listening to him talk about Tanaka's mechanics is interesting, but I also liked hearing about the psychological toll it takes on a pitcher to pitch hurt. It's not mystical voodoo for Martinez, he did it so he knows of what he speaks. Both the toll of going to pitches you can no longer execute and also just the every day toll of being in pain are significant. It really makes me wonder what the Yankees are doing.

Speaking of pitching, MLB has teamed up with USA Baseball to develop PitchSmart, an initiative to help reduce injuries to young pitchers.  I hope the program spreads to Baseball Canada and also into Latin America.

Wendy Thurm, of the Oakland beat, wrote a piece in the New Yorker about national baseball celebrities in a post-Jeter world. All we need is Mike Trout to date a Kardashian, and it'll happen. Do it for baseball, kid.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Feeling Yes


So the 8th inning on last night sucked for the bullpen and then began to suck for many of us on Twitter.

I got tweets about AA standing pat in the off season and that this is the punishment, the fruition of things knowing fans have been demanding for months.

My dad, back in the day, once told me that if I was going to watch this game, I was going to have to toughen up. So toughen up, people. It's game 2. I can only get so worked up about wind whipped flyballs and frozen fingers.

So what was good?

Dickey was pretty great last night and certainly pitched well enough to win. There was a lot of talk pre-game how Dickey doesn't pitch well when he's cold, but it didn't seem to bother him as much as it did say, Loup and Cecil.

Dickey wasn't perfect. He threw too many balls, but he was able to dance in and out of trouble. And he did this. 

Beautiful.

“I had to make three really good pitches, and thankfully I did, but that was a microcosm of most of the night,” Dickey said, after striking out Brian McCann with sinkers (?) and a knuckle to end his outing.

Martin was fine, for the most part, catching Dickey but seemed to hit a snafu catching Cecil's curveballs. But again, game 2.

Devon Travis continues to hit the baseball and look like he belongs.

As news that Roberto Osuna debuted as a human after Alex Rodriguez debuted as an MLB player spread around, there was this:

This all day. And twice on Sunday.

Castro was also awesome. I just want to caution people about demanding that Gibby go to these guys all the time. Use them up now and they aren't there later. Win the battle, lose the war.

DeRosa and Bautista.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Refined Spring: Season Opener, Dickey and Other Miscellania



I was going to write about the season opener. which was awesome (6-1!!!!) and a little bit of everything good, but then I read what Stoeten wrote while possibly drunk and figured it was about right:

Two walks and a home run for Devon Travis, though. I mean… come on! So nails.
And Russell Martin plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. And thank fuck Jose Reyes is OK.
(Miguel Castro).
I'll throw in a comment about Encarnacion's homer (and the fan who beaned a fellow fan while she threw the ball back on the field. Don't reject the gifts of Edwin, lady. Only bad things come of it.) And a little comment about how fantastic Drew Hutchison was. Because he was.

Someone in New York was a jerk.
It's a ball that means nothing to this person and something to Travis. Trade it for a different ball, you horror of a human being. How can you be so mean to a kid who has Maestro Fresh Wes as his walk up music? 


John Lott's piece in the National Post reports that tonight's starter, R.A. Dickey, has traded a little bit of velocity for hopefully a few more strikes. Dickey as a Blue Jay has had some sluggish Aprils, giving up more walks than he should.

“That’s something that I’ve really tried to do this spring: how can I consistently throw strikes like I did from 2010 to 2012? That’s one of the things that really helped me (then), was keeping my walks down. If I can do that, then I think that across the board the metrics are going to be better.”

His knuckleball is known to be on the hard side at 80 mph. Tim Wakefield's, by contrast, was 68 mph.

“A lot of times the last couple years I would get in trouble by trying to make a knuckleball go 78 or 80 miles an hour when a 75-mile-an-hour knuckleball is just fine and it’s in the strike zone a much longer amount of time. So being comfortable with that, being comfortable with throwing knuckleballs at lower velocities and keeping them in the strike zone a little bit longer is one of the things I can intentionally do to throw strikes with it.”

A slightly slower knuckle might also be easier to catch for Martin, who is having his first shot at catching Dickey in a game that counts.

As an aside, Dickey must be fun to transcribe on a deadline. The man is verbose.

Here is Cabbie (formerly on the Street) talking and also shampooing Dickey.



I'm not going to rub the Golden Sombrero salt into any Brett Lawrie wounds like some other bloggers did. 

I will mention our current totally awesome third baseman being on MLB Central and saying things like "defensive metrics" and talking about baseball cards.

  I totally forgot about his Machado run in last year until they said something.


The best part of the GIF is Donaldson smiling at the idiotic dick swinging Machado is doing. "You tagged me too hard, bro."  Also, excellent side burns.

I will ignore the kind of idiotic questions. "How important is defensive part of your game?" What did they think is the answer? Not at all important?

Also, has Russell Martin explained about "eh?" What is to explain?

Jose Bautista on WFAN  in New York. He thinks Tanaka will be fine, the Jays lineup is pretty great (though he thinks winning is pitching/defense), the division in general, competitive balance in the league in general and his emergence as a premier hitter. The guy is smart. And he talks a bit more about his Player's Tribune article.  WFAN also got a nice dig in on the Leafs. "Shaves with an AXE?"

Hazlitt Magazine had a MLB preview. Highlights? 


This perfectly crystalizes my feelings. I don't even think I really hate the Sox players (David Ortiz is pretty amazing, actually) but I hate that they are the agents of happiness for the collection of horrors that is their fandom.

Also right on is the description of the Blue Jays.





Speaking of the Montreal Rays, Baseball Empire out of Montreal made a video for Russell Martin chronicling the weekend for him. 


Hearing Denis Coderre, in that video I translated, talk about baseball being part of Quebec heritage made me think. I found this article about Jackie Robinson and his year in Montreal.  

Guy cross legged on the far left in this picture of the 1954 Montreal Royals?



Roberto Clemente. Also, for you Mad Men fans out there, the guy in second row, last on the right is named Dick Whitman. The Dodgers sort of hid Clemente in Montreal. 

Also vital information, Vin Scully talked about "beards these days." This should've gone on for hours.  

My picks for "Franchise Four" are Alomar, Stieb, Delgado and Halladay. Also acceptable is Fernandez.