What’s that? Brett Lawrie hitting fifth? Adam Lind way down in seventh? It… it must be… it…

Oh, lefty Bruce Chen is pitching for the Royals tonight. And Rajai Davis is hitting sixth.

Well… baby steps, I guess.

Scuttlebutt

The Royals have been good for what ails the Jays, and tonight’s starter Brandon Morrow must certainly be hoping to get in on the party, after maybe not looking himself so far this season. It would be easy to look at Morrow– as is often lazily done– as having a good self and a bad self, and to ascribe his first starts of 2012 to the presence of Bad Brandon, but the reality is not quite that simple.

In 2011 Morrow struck out four or fewer batters in just three of his 30 starts, and induced ten or more ground balls only once. Already in 2012 he’s induced 10 or more grounders twice, and he’s yet to have a start in which he’s struck out more than four. Has he magically turned into some non-strikeout groundball machine? Hardly: he’s given up five home runs over the course of his last two starts. He’s just… not been very good. Kind of.

Two starts ago against Baltimore, for example, he threw 71 strikes over 106 pitches, walked only one, struck out four, and yet gave up four runs on six hits. This year he’s held opponents to a .208 average, he’s got a .158 BABIP, his WHIP is 1.10, and yet he finds himself with an ERA of 4.50, a FIP of 6.99, and a bunch of fans and media wondering what’s wrong.

Basically, the numbers are a bit of a jumbled mess at this point– as they’re probably going to be after three starts. Anecdotally, though, it’s seemed a bit like Morrow has been playing with fire, making too many mistakes, and leaving too many balls up in the zone to be crushed. Has that really been the case? I don’t even fucking know anymore. Probably not.

I’m sure Morrow will end up pretty much exactly where we expect him to be, and Kansas City is as good a place as any to start heading there.

TV: Sportsnet

And now the lineups, by way of the live box score at theScore.com. And for those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with Score Mobile

Toronto Blue Jays

Y. Escobar SS
K. Johnson 2B
J. Bautista RF
E. Encarnacion DH
B. Lawrie 3B
R. Davis LF
A. Lind 1B
J. Arencibia C
C. Rasmus CF

B. Morrow RHP

Kansas City Royals

C. Getz 2B
A. Gordon LF
B. Butler DH
E. Hosmer 1B
J. Francoeur RF
M. Moustakas 3B
B. Pena C
M. Maier CF
A. Escobar SS

B. Chen LHP

Image via @BlueJays.

Comments (324)

  1. On the road so he should be fine if last year’s trend holds. Just would like to see him consistent for a month or two.

  2. Has anybody heard the latest epidode from the OrilOles?

    “Dontrelle Willis is on the restricted list following a difference of opinion on the left-hander’s role in the Orioles’ minor league system. Willis left Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate over the weekend, believing he had been released when he had actually been placed on the restricted list.

    “My understanding is that the Orioles people involved in telling Dontrelle he could have his release reiterated that commitment to Dan Duquette,” Agent Matt Sosnick told MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes. “Yet Duquette refused to honor that and instead put Dontrelle on the restricted list. We ended up reading about him being put on the restricted list in the news. It’s the craziest thing. Our expectation is that Dontrelle will be removed from the restricted list today.”

    Willis left the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate without permission, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported today. Duquette, Baltimore’s executive VP of baseball operations, confirmed to Heyman that the sides had a difference of opinion on whether Willis should start or pitch out of the bullpen. Duquette hopes Willis will return and believes he can be an effective reliever, Heyman reports.”

  3. Someone get the breakdown for this year Morrow pitching with runners on. As soon as he gets his first runner on, I change the channel because I expect a homer on the next pitch.

    • There’s not much data, but he’s been about the same as with the bases empty, there, superfan.

      • Although for his career, which is of course a much larger sample size, Morrow is hit much harder with runners on.

        • .663 OPS against in his career without runners on.
          .779 OPS against in his career with runners on.

          The guy can’t pitch out of the stretch. Still, I’d take that pitcher over the one we’ve seen for the first 3 starts this year.

  4. Yeah, Chen is a lefty, but not a terribly difficult one to hit. Well, maybe for Thames.

  5. Chen had 9 K’s over 7.2 IP in his only start against Toronto last season.

    TSN just showed Lawrie on ESPN Sports Science, showing his failed attempt to steal home. Also, I’ve never seen this until right now, but they also felt the need to break down his collision with Jason Varitek last season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIqDdkFBUdY

  6. Nice to see Lind getting bumped down. I know it’s vs a lefty, but hopefully we see it more often because I fucking hate seeing him in the 4 hole.

  7. “This year he’s held opponents to a .208 average, he’s got a .158 BABIP, his WHIP is 1.10, and yet he finds himself with an ERA of 4.50″

    That’s just Morrow being Morrow.

    • 2.7 HR / 9 IP is pretty much all you need to know at the moment.

      That is obviously not a sustainable rate for Morrow, who averages more in the range of 1 HR / 9 IP in 3 years as a starter with the Jays.

      That .158 BABIP is going to go up however.

  8. Actually, despite the small sample size, he’s pitched really well thus far this season and was actually decent last year. Having said that, if we did nothing to regress his unsustainable BABIP and HR/FB, it would be so typical Blue Jays.

  9. It’s good that the team is slowly beginning to acknowledge Lind’s failings against lefties. The next step is outright platooning him, I would hope.

    • Just need another viable 1B/LF/DH type to hit when Lind sits. Be nice if they could find one and dump Fransisco.

    • Agred. Farrell is managing to win games this year. remember Cito in 2009 refusing to move Wells & Rios out of the cleanup spot even though they were hitting poorly. Lind didn’t want the cleanup spot a few years ago, so its good that they move him out of there against lefties.

  10. Shulman says that the Monday game of the Rangers series (featuring Darvish) will be on ESPN. Not that this matters to us.

  11. I am so excited to get the chance to watch Adam Lind suck yet once again against a left handed pitcher. He has no career hits vs Chen so it must be his stellar career record against lefties that convinced the Learning Disorder to stick him in instead of Francisco.

  12. So yesterday i posted that from my observation a 4 game sweep is rare but didnt have the numbers to back it up. The best on could find online was a sweep tracker but its only tracking this years sweeps…no 4 game sweeps so far
    http://mikespickz.com/mlb-sweep-tracker/
    . but i wanted to see how many 4 game sweeps there were in the majors last year. anyone??

  13. Hey Stoeten, honestly are there only 10 of us on this site and 30 other alts?

  14. Does anyone think Hazel Mae is hot?

  15. Zaun?? really
    only way Snider will get called up is if Thames gets injured?
    only thing he is good for is trade bait?
    bullshit he will be up before Canada day

    • Did he actually say that? He doesn’t know Thames has been awful since about July of last year, I guess.

      Zaun also intimated that Rasmus isn’t any good, so….

      • yes zaun said that about 10 minutes ago and when he said it he was talking as if he was actually pissed off….i guess snider did somethign to him.
        Zaun was responding to a twitter question asking since snider is doing so good in AAA what else does he need to do to get called up

      • It was more than just intimate. Zaun threw the Razz under the bus before spring training on PTS with McCown.

        All of a sudden, Zaun is saying that Rasmus is doing fine.

        Zaun isn’t that plugged in the current roster. He is best to stick to providing analysis on matchups and the nuances of the game and avoid discussing roster moves.

  16. Disqus was better in that you could register a name and lock it in…….

  17. YEAH!

  18. one of zaun’s 3 keys to winning: bring out the brooms. in order to win this game, the jays need to sweep the series by winning this game.

  19. Let’s jump on this mush thrower early.

  20. KJ! Take that, Panamanian Chinaman.

  21. Attaboy KJ!

  22. Thoughts on the new scouting report that Pat Tabler does for sportsnet? He seems lost without the cliched three points.

    • I swear, 75% of the time one of the three points for any Jays pitcher was “Trust his stuff”.

  23. Kellllyyyyyyyyy

  24. lawrie does the elaborate handshake routine with everyone except drew hutchison and omar vizquel. they get fist bumps.

  25. Looking forward to the warm weather so i can sit on the front porch listening to the game on the radio so i dont have to listen to these re re’s on tv.

  26. Getz’ walkout music?!

  27. Adam Lind, pickin’ machine!

  28. How many times can Buck and Tabler say the same thing? Like, fuck, I can take their commentary of last night and use it for tonight’s complete game.

  29. pat tabler tells us that ‘computer imaging’ has lead to more teams employing the shift.

  30. Your lack of strike outs disturbs me.

  31. Sweet

  32. Whaaa! Lind got a hit of a lefty??

  33. Adam Lind, infield singlin’ machine!

  34. Anyone think Lawrie steals home?

    *cough*

  35. THAT’S it, Adam!

  36. OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS!!1!!!!!!111!! did you see what lawrie just did? he got back to the bag just in time!!! that play impressed Buck more than Joe Carter’s World Series winning homerun.

  37. “Ther aren’t many big leaguers that. An get back to that bag ahead of Moustakas.” Please shut the fuck up Buck.

  38. Morrow gives up a dinger, hay, that’s somthin new uh?

  39. There’s three constants on this planet:

    Death, taxes, and Morrow giving up home runs.

  40. ….how many dingers is that for Morrow now?…72?

  41. Morrow’s strikeouts and Morrow’s homeruns: which number will be higher?

  42. how long does farrel keep this guy in…..come on Morrow we need 3 innings out of you tonight…….fack….

  43. Back to the nerd stats!

    Right?

  44. I’d also be a big fan of Arencibia “catching” more baseballs.

  45. Oh look. Arencibia can’t catch a baseball, when he’s playing catcher. I was starting to worry; I haven’t seen that happen for 22 hours.

  46. Oh dear. Brandon.

  47. …. what is Morrows wHip when H is dingers only???

  48. Well that was a nice play.

    Backhanded glove flip.

  49. ….the Johnsonator

  50. KJ with swag tonight.

  51. If not for the passed ball, that might have been a much less nerve wracking inning. How many passed balls does JP have this year?

  52. Kelly Johnson: the new Human Highlight-Reel

  53. it’s raining men, hallelujah!

  54. Man I hope we keep KJ. I love him.

  55. ….comon Bautesticle get a frappin hit

  56. …so much for that proposal.

  57. So when is it that we start worrying about Jose? Not yet still or if this ‘slump’ continues into mid-May?

    • I’m worried now. He’s looked kinda bad for a few stretches over the last 2 seasons, but never this bad. He’s resembling a pumpkin so far.

      • Agreed, I was thinking the same thing myself. It’s not about the slow start and the numbers, its about how he’s looked in his mechanics and disposition while putting up those bad numbers.

        • Now is this a his timing is completely off thing or more so the pitchers have just adjusted to him?

          • Probably some sort of combination involving both. He’s had pitches I know he can crush, yet he keeps popping it up, or whiffing completely. That happened once in a whie last year, but it seems to happen twice a game now.

            It’s not encouraging.

    • “Dont worry folks he is close to getting that timing back..JUST barely missing pitches”- Buck Martinez, August 2011

  58. No way Jose! As he hit into more DPs than KC in this series?

  59. I keep waiting for Bautista to get on track.
    and for Morrow to not keep shitting the bed……

  60. Something weird is going on with Morrow. He doesn’t trust his fastball anymore. He isn’t striking people out. He has given up almost as many homers this year as he did all of 2010.

    as for bruce chen, you cant expect the jays to put up runs on sandy koufax

  61. Jose is bored with HR records. This year he has decided to set the record for hitting into DP’s. A new excitement! Go Jose Go!!

  62. So is Darvish pitching next Mon or Tues?
    I Got tix for Tues!

  63. HE’S BBBBAAAAACCCCKKKKKK!!! (cringe)

  64. 2010 Morrow: 146 IP 10 HR allowed

    2011: 179 IP 21 HR

    2012: 22 IP 7 HR.

    that trend is not encouraging

  65. francoeur looks like a serial killer when he’s waiting on a pitch

  66. Double play for Morrow?!

  67. Home run rates like that are bad, but it also matters at what point in the game it’s happening and if he’s giving up just solo shots or whatever.

    I’m still waiting for someone to GIF the shit out of that Yunel play where he was faking out the running but didn’t see the ball dropping in shallow centerfield.

  68. Double plays are just so nice. Morrow gets through 4 innings with 59 pitches. The Gameday FX shows some of his fastballs at 97 mph. Is that for real?

  69. What a bullshit 3rd strike call.

  70. Colby has such a sweet swing!

  71. Big strike zone tonight. It’s like they’re in a hurry to fly to the next series.

  72. Bruce Chen is getting the Hall of Famer treatment by the ump with his high and wide zone…

  73. At the risk of using fluffy sounding language I usually hate, I’ve noticed that Colby has really been staying on pitches recently as opposed to just swinging at stuff he thinks will be where his bat is going. It all comes to down to pitch recognition I guess. Also, something I’ve noticed Lawrie is doing less of this year

  74. Yunel is on one of his ground zilla streaks

  75. …so duz Brandon ‘Dinger’ Morrow give up another dinger??

  76. C’mon Morrow…we need an easy 3 up 3 down

  77. Fack!!!

  78. That was a lazy route to the ball, followed by the worst throw to second base of all time.

    • The sad thing is that Thames probably would have butchered that play even worse, if possible.

  79. I honestly cant believe how shitty Rajai’s arm is….I mean my fucking goodness

  80. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a left fielder?

  81. Nice job on taking out the lead runner by morrow. Horrible bunt too.

  82. wow! Thank god KC is soo shitty!

  83. ….out at 3rd……oh oh…Morrow just said to him self no more, oh.

  84. Rajai davis is nothing more than a bench player/pinch runner. it’s not even like he is some lety masher. he occassionally needs to start to give guys a rest…but as a corner OF, he is taking away at bats from people much less useless

  85. ….should get ol Tems River out der? eh?….do some of that kickazz fieldin & stuff.

    • not really saying thames is better than davis..emprically declaring the inherent shittiness of Davis starting at an OF corner spot.

  86. That mistake cost the Royals a run.

  87. Why do they keep pitching this fucker away? Escobar cant catch up to the heat..so what have we been doing all series? Pitching him away with junk

  88. Morrow needs one of his patented let a guy reach 3rd with 1 out strikeouts

  89. How bad is it that I’m checking Chen’s pitch count, hoping he’ll be out soon.

  90. “You can see why he’s one of the most difficult hitters in all of baseball to strike out, especially with two strikes.”

    -Pat Tabler

  91. Josh Hamilton with another jack tonight. Beest.

  92. Nice job working out of trouble.

  93. Chen had a career 2.87 ERA and 44 hits in 62+ inning pitched in his career vs the jays.

    here is how he’s done vs the yanks and sox.

    yanks: 69 ip 6.52 ERA 95 hits

    sox: 52 IP 60 hits 5.98 ERA.

    so basiclly we are looking at a shitballer who cant pitch against teams that can hit

  94. In other news Boston used to be ahead of Minnesote 3 to 0. But then someone hit a double. Aviles misplayed it. And someone else homered. Must suck to be a Masshole right about noW.

    • Na, give them something to bitch about and they’re in their element. And Lordy, do they have things to bitch about.

  95. Jose!!!!!!! Barely went out, but it still counts!

  96. there u go joeybats….third time is the charm

  97. Fuckin eh!! Joey Bats!!!

  98. Jose!

  99. Woooooo

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