This has been quite the week in the land of Blue Jays.
There was a lot of talk about the number of times the Jays struck out in Minute Maid Park (1.5 billion was the final number.)
However, given that they took 3 of 4 from the Astros, I’m struggling to care.
Danny Barnes, who is a very clever fellow, made his big league debut protecting a fragile 2-1 lead on Tuesday.
He was also a very lucky fellow because he got a fantastic R.A. Dickey quote to commemorate this event:
This happened for Edwin Encarnacion.
And this, too:
But the big story was, of course, the epic journey to a six man rotation. Let's break it down.
The Sanchez to the bullpen story has been on a low simmer since the spring. It was a known factor. John Gibbons was talking about it in June.
With the acquisition of Francisco Liriano at the trade deadline on Monday, Ross Atkins announced that Sanchez would make “1-2” more starts and then be transitioned into the pen. The transition of vague plan to actual firm plan was alarming to fans and media alike.
Some were for and some were against.
There was sports talk radio yelling and there were endless think pieces.
Marriages broke up and families were divided. A nation wept.
How can the Blue Jays take not just their best pitcher, but one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, out of the rotation when they are right in the thick of very tight race for the playoffs?
And then suddenly, John Gibbons said the move was up in the air. This left the beat writers furrowing their brows in a vain attempt to understand the situation.
Look at poor Gregor Chisholm:
The result of that meeting was that Aaron Sanchez was going to remain in the rotation. With some off days and with using a six man rotation (Happ, Estrada, Dickey, Stroman, Liriano and Sanchez), the Jays were going to try minimize Sanchez’s innings, and also give a tender Estrada a bit more time. All the starting pitchers were on board.
This change is quite stunning. Firmly one way followed by wavering followed by a new plan.
As Shi Davidi reported:
All of this is helped along by the fact that the Jays are in a good place, winning wise.
There are a few things about this that are promising. I was very worried that this was going to end poorly. And frankly, it still might. But again, the team is winning and winning makes everything great.
I knew all along that management was going to have to walk into that clubhouse and own this decision. And also that they might find some angry players on their hands.
The fact that management, after they had announced their decision, was willing to take new factors into consideration and adapt their plan is a good sign.
It really seems like all hands are on deck. Everyone is hungry. Everyone wants to win and they are willing to be flexible and work as a team to do that.
As for whether this is the best plan, Atkins provided the money quote:
It’s almost impossible for us to be right unless we win the World Series and he’s healthy. So let’s shoot for that.”