Now it’s time for all the stuff I don’t figure on making full posts out of, with the spiffy ALTERNATE graphic by Matt English (aka @mattomic) that I just couldn’t keep letting stay dormant. It’s your Afternoon Snack… er… Afternoon Hangover… er… links!!!

Programming Note: We’ll be recording this week’s DJF Podcast at 3 PM today. It will be up before the day is through, just… later on.

“According to a major league source, there has been some questioning of manager John Farrell’s pitching moves at times,” writes Nick Cafardo in a giant piece for the Boston Globe, “just as some around baseball are questioning whether Joe Maddon is “overshifting’’ on every semi-relevant lefthanded hitter.” Cafardo adds, however, that “the Blue Jays are the team nobody wants to face,” and that they “like the Rays, have become a model organization, with their emphasis on scouting (they have more pro scouts than anyone in baseball) and All-Star-caliber talent coming up.”

At Mop Up Duty, Callum reviews what he saw from Drew Hutchison in his Major League debut over the weekend.

Get ready, booing idiots who have no idea that he had absolutely no control over where he landed: the Toronto Star reminds us that Yu Darvish will be taking the hill at the Rogers Centre on May 1st.

Also at the Star: Brett meets Brett. Lawrie and Arencibia lunched with Royals Hall of Famer George Brett while in Kansas City. No word on whether perfect double-tapered shits came up.

The Toronto Sun looks briefly at Francisco Cordero, closer. Frankly, I’m happy to have him out of the high-leverage line of fire. He’ll get three outs in a lot of ninth innings without cocking things up too much.

House of the Bluebird reviews the weekend’s activities.

In the Globe and Mail, Bruce Dowbiggin sharts something out about the Jays and fans and payroll and TV broadcasts.

Lastly, Andrew Cohen of the Atlantic declares Saturday’s clusterfuck at Fenway the End of the Red Sox Decade. Um… I dunno, they’re still pretty OK, but I guess you can’t make a good Lazarus narrative later in the season if you first don’t declare that you’ve got a corpse on your hands.

Comments (34)

  1. That graphic is incredible. It’s going to take me a while to pick my favorite. Vod Karew and Paul Cointreau are among the early favorites. Now I’m gonna read this post….

  2. I don’t think the shift to the 9th will do much at all to remove Cordero from high leverage situations. He was already being used as a fresh inning guy this year anyway. He has yet to come in with runners on base, and it was reported (before the season by Wilner) that the plan was always for him to avoid those situations as much as possible. He was signed to be “the 8th inning closer.”

  3. Is there a reason why the idea of the closer is still used by every single team in baseball? Even the progressive coaches like Joe Maddon still believe in this archaic decision making process. At least with Jonah Keri http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/23416/blowing-up-baseballs-most-dangerous-stat and even Sports Illustrated having an article this week called Abolishing Savery, the ridiculous notion of the closer is getting some high exposure in mainstream media.

    Is it because if managers started using their best bullpen arm in the highest leverage situation, i.e. bringing in Mario Rivera to protect a 1 run lead with runners on in the 7th inning with the 2,3,4 hitters coming up, would ruin the egos of the other guys in the pen who realize they’re inferior to the Rivera’s and Axford’s. And if that was true, wouldn’t guys feel like that now?

    It just doesn’t make sense when you hear about how statistically advanced teams are now and how many statistical software programs they utilize. Even when you see so many teams playing the shift this year, and when you hear that the Jays post spray charts for all of the hitters on the other team in the dugout. Why do so many teams waste their best bullpen pitcher against the bottom of the lineup with a 3 run lead when 2 innings ago your third best bullpen arm had to face the meat of the order with a one run lead? Does anyone think the “closer” will be a forgotten term in a few years?

    • “Does anyone think the “closer” will be a forgotten term in a few years?”

      No.

      Baseball is still played by real people.
      Even Farrell has been quoted as saying that the big difference between this years team and last years is defined roles in the bullpen.
      This has been echoed by the players themselves.
      Not all decisions can be broken down by stats.
      Sometimes you have to listen to the people actually playing the game.

      • Exactly. There are humans behind those numbers and most people thrive when there is structure. This is especially true of pitchers. As Joey Bats will tell you, “pitchers are creatures of habit.” It may not make sense to the Dustin Parkes of this world, but it’s simple human nature.

      • It’s about agents and money and nothing more. Nothing to do with real people and defined roles– that’s all just noise.

        • So agents and money are what keeps the closer role alive? Try again.

          • Closers are often the best pitcher in the bullpen, not in all cases but in most, so when good closers rack up a lot of saves it makes sense. And they get rewarded for it in their contracts. As long as that’s the measure of success for relief pitchers, they will keep striving for those saves.

            Over the course of a year, teams lose games because inferior arms blow leads in the earlier innings. Everyone goes nuts over a blown save, but a bullpen meltdown in the 7th doesn’t garner nearly as much outrage. Yes, you can still come back from that meltdown later on, but it still may lose you the game you otherwise would have won had a better pitcher came in in that situation.

          • I actually agree with Stoeten here. If a few managers on contending teams bucked tradition and won with better bullpen results, others would follow.

        • There also might be something to the notion of making it easier for relievers to prepare if they know which inning they are likely to come up in depending on the score as opposed to the leverage of the situation.

          • That’s another thing that’s a myth, and I agree with Stoeten on: leveraged situations. It doesn’t matter if the team is winning by 1 run or 10. The pitcher isn’t going to ease back and start throwing 80mph meatballs because now they don’t have to.

            Pitchers want their money, which they can’t get without putting up superb numbers over the course of a season. Leverage is linear over the course of a game, and season, for all pitchers.

            It just seems more chaotic to us as fans because we want to see the team win.

        • @ Stoeten
          Yeah okay.
          I’m supposed to believe that the reason the manager names a closer is because the closer’s agent is trying to get him more money.That the manager is more concerned about that than trying to win ballgames.
          The FACT that both Farrell and the players agree that defined roles make it better,is wrong.
          But Stoeten and fangraphs know better,it’s just noise and winning baseball games means nothing?
          You been drankin again?
          Whatever your having,bring me a double shot.
          I want go to that happy place.

    • Let’s hope the powers that be just move to either holds, or shut downs/melt downs.

    • As long as Saves are used as a means of arguing arbitration hearings (and as a result free agency negotiations) the pressure from the players to keep the status quo will be extremely high.

    • With the advent of the Hold statistic, egos should be less ruffled when managers utilize their better arms in the 5th to the 8th inning in high-leverage situations. In my view, a successful Hold should be just as important as a successful Save.

      Don’t disagree with you that closers are often overrated. And that they are often poorly managed. Which is why a good first division team should have at least two pitchers with closer material, along with a couple of set-up relievers, the obligatory LOOGY and ROOGY, and the long guys who can throw multiple innings.

      Establishing a closer does allow the bullpen to establish a pecking order which makes each member of the bullpen more in tune with their roles. That can help with their preparation for each game.

    • No. Because anyone who steps into the batters box can hurt any pitcher that stands on the mound. Plus if your best pitcher in the bull pen coughs up the lead in the 7th inning or 8inning you still have a couple of chances to get that back, but if you cough up the lead in the ninth..unless you are the home team.. then its game over…and how many times have we seen that the past few years. The problem of statistics is that they do not predict the future, they only help understand the past, so that informed decisions can be made, and then you have to weigh the stats against each other…ie.. do I use pitcher A because he matches well against hitter X or do I use pitcher B who has better over all stats than pitcher A. Then consideration has to be given to pitcher C who has the most experience and has actually pitched the ninth inning before and has shown the ability to get it done. Not an easy decision to make, and going by stats, there is no wrong or right decision, but having a designated Closer makes the decision less weighty during a game.

      • Logic dictates that you leave your most trusted arm for the most crittical situation which is the 1 run lead in the bottom of the ninth, and not the meat of the order in the 7th.

        • That’s not the example I used, but I see your point with your previous post. I said a 3 run lead in the 9th against the bottom of the order is less important than a 1 run lead in the 7th against the meat of the order.

          At the end of the day, you should have confidence in every guy in your pen to be able to get any batter out in any situation, unless theyre a LOOGY or ROOGY, otherwise they shouldn’t be on your pen. And I do see the validity in taking the weight out of a tough decision during the stresses of a live game by having defined roles.

          As Ballsdeep said, the hold or even the shutdown should be more notarized than the save. It just makes more sense.

  4. Regarding Farrell and the pitching staff, one could argue that he has left a starter in a game perhaps a little too long. But there hasn’t been a meltdown. Perhaps Cafardo should be looking more closely at Bobby V.’s use of Daniel Bard.

    I do hope that Farrell learns that Jason Frasor’s role should be more of a ROOGY and not be used in multi-inning situations. Frasor is great getting tough righties but seemingly runs out of gas after 3-4 outs. Other than that, Farrell’s bullpen management has been okay.

    Two things that I have noticed about the 2012 Jays. One, they like to make the starter work, taking alot of pitches and getting their fair share of walks. And two, they run the bases aggressively. These added elements have contributed to a few wins already this season.

    • They run the bases aggressively,yes, but are doing so in the right situations.Last year Farrell was running for the sake of running and bunting way to much.Often killing opportunites,rather than creating them.Farrell seems to have learned the right time and place to run, produces results.

      • How they ran the bases in yesterday’s game was crucial in winning a tight ball game. The Jays could not slug it out in some tough playing conditions. Francisco got caught but otherwise, they ran the bases extremely well.

        Do you prefer the station to station baseball that was prevelant here for so long? I would prefer seeing some aggressive running with the occasional blunder than seeing a bunch of guys standing on the bag waiting to be cashed in with a 3-run home run.

        The Jays lineup has yet to begin hitting and yet they are 5th or 6th in runs scored in the AL. That is thanks in large part to how they are getting on base and being aggressive.

        • Completely agree. That game last year where Rajai walked, stole second, stole third, and then scored the game winning run via a sac fly illustrates your point perfectly.

          The small ball and running this year has been a lot more intelligent. Case in point, Farrel letting JP know he missed a sign when he tried to bun and then hit the homer. Farrel probably would have wanted him to bunt last year.

        • @ Ballsdeep

          You missed the part where I was agreeing with you.
          I love small ball,aggressive base running etc.
          But you can overdo it ( see last year).It’s all part of a balanced attack.
          Farrell should stay aggressive.
          Just don’t let it slide to stupid aggresive.

  5. “there has been some questioning of manager John Farrell’s pitching moves at times”. This says almost nothing. There’s ALWAYS questioning of a manager’s pitching moves. Quite frankly, there seems to be even less questioning this year than other years in recent memory. Anybody else’s thoughts?

  6. Worth listening to Farrel talk on the Blair show today.

    Said some interesting info on the Santos injury.

  7. The graphic with the booze related baseball names is absolute genius lol good work boys

  8. The graphic is pure awesomeness. My favorite is Ron Hoegaardenhire lollll

  9. It should be expected that Farrell has learned from his first year. He acknowledged that he can do better than he did last year (giving himself a B or C grade, can’t remember). He’s only a year and 15 games into his managerial career and he’s bound to still make mistakes, but I take solace in knowing that he’s capable and willing to learn from them rather than being bullheaded and stuck in his ways.

  10. Love this site but the recurring obsession with who gets booed at the dome is dumb.

    Scutaro getting razzed was funny, I think itvwas because he wore his pants so high.

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