A Relentless Killing Machine
The Red Sox are just ridiculous. I guess there can be some comfort taken in that Stroman dominated that lineup in game one and they scratched out a win for Sam Borucki in game three. The Jays were sort of competitive. They touched on competitiveness. But really, that's the real difference between playoff teams and not playoff teams, the former have things go their way because of talent and the luck and confidence that springs out of talent. That extra little something. The Jays had it in 2015 and the Red Sox have it in 2018.
The best illustration of the Red Sox 2018 season is losing the third game but having Mookie Betts do something magical.
There is a lot of talk around baseball about whether the Sox can beat the 2001 Mariners regular season record. And yeah, they probably can but I would like to dump some cold water on this narrative and remind everyone that they are playing a pretty shitty Jays team, a young, untested Rays team and a stupendously shitty Orioles team.
Yes, they are good. Very, very good. But they are playing some mediocre to shitty teams a heck of a lot which might be inflating this a bit.
The Fate of John Gibbons
Here in the doldrums of another disappointing season of Toronto Blue Jays baseball, it's come time to have another visit to the "Is it time to fire John Gibbons?" news cycle.
He also addressed the topic to a scrum of Jays media.
I know, in general, baseball is steering towards more analytics-minded managers. I'm in the minority on this, I'm sure, but I can't argue that understanding analytics should take precedence over the manager's ability to "man-manage". I respect the importance of analytics, but I also think sometimes they are viewed as this magic key to unlock the mysteries of baseball. (I also have the niggling feeling that they are being used as excuses to not pay talent, but that's another story entirely.)
Baseball is still played by humans. And all the flaws and foibles and egos that come with that.
It's hard to see a manager take the fall for something that isn't any of his doing, but it really is the nature of the gig.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is violently punishing baseballs in AAA and single-handedly reviving the economy of Western New York.
It's become a question of when the call up happens. I think this kid is going to shame the Blue Jays into a call up. He's going to be so ridiculous, they will be a laughing stock if they don't make that call.
I went to a couple games this week and it was pretty rough. A sad state of affairs.
Justin Smoak is quietly following up his break out 2017 season with a quality 2018 season.
His kid is also pretty funny.
The Ball Moves in the Corners
John Lott did John Lott things this week. He wrote about Teoscar Hernández putting in work to become less "adventurous" in the outfield.
Per Tim Leiper, the Jays' OF coach:
Observations, backed up with stats and key quotes from key people is pretty much how you should write baseball stories for those wondering just how to put one together.
It's a good reminder that this baseball stuff is ridiculously hard to do well. I also think it's nice counterbalance to this narrative that is floating around:
There are a lot of benefits to being a pro-athlete, but your work ethic and your "will" being questioned by some mediocre jabroni is not one of them.
Juan Soto's Age
Braves' broadcaster Joe Simpson, who recently called the Dodgers unprofessional for wearing t-shirts (cancer charity t-shirts, no less) at batting practice, added more to his collection of dumb stuff he's said by questioning Juan Soto's age on the air.
The comment itself is innocuous when one is unaware of the context of Latino baseball. Baseball players coming out of the Dominican Republic get signed at 16, after being scouted by local buscones at 11 or 12 and more or less adopted. (Adopted a pretty soft word to use. A lot of this stuff brushes up next to child trafficking.) It's big business in the DR and it's not unheard of for the birth certificate of a younger cousin or sibling to be used if the kid isn't, for whatever reason, ready at 16. Or having the physicality of a 18 or 19 year old has benefits over being 16- a big, strong 18 year old might look better to a team if they think he's that big, that developed and he's 16.
Getting caught lying about their age means they are out of baseball. Simpson just casually questioning this is pretty cringeworthy.
I also know the Nationals would be all over this because anyone questioning anything about how they obtained or signed this kid would get some attention.
I like that it looks like Tulo's bat was his prom date. And LOLs at Vlad.