Ricky Romero just hasn’t been himself so far this year– his strikeouts are down, walks are up, he’s giving up more line drives and inducing fewer swinging strikes– and he certainly hopes to start turning things around this afternoon against Tampa, as he heads straight into Joe Maddon’s head games. Noticing the reverse split thing he’s got going on, and trying to neutralize the changeup Romero uses to get right-handers out, Maddon will once again buck conventional wisdom and send a pile of lefties to the plate against the Jays’ left-handed ace.

Five of the Rays starters today hit left handed, and two more are switch hitters who will face Romero on his left side, hoping to take advantage of the splits. This tactic, as you may recall, does not sit very well with Romero, who told reporters back in April, “I really don’t care what he has to say or what his mindset is against me. If he has nine lefties against me, I’ll find a way to win. That’s just the bottom line.”

Romero gave up eight hits and three runs– all earned– in six innings, striking out four and walking three en route to a 7-3 Jays win on April 17th, against a similarly left-heavy lineup, though quite a different one in the overall (Desmond Jennings, Evan Longoria, Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac all played that day, and aren’t in the lineup today).

Drew Sutton, who was traded in a matter of days after having started the week at Atlanta’s Triple-A Gwinnett team, will bat cleanup for Tampa. Adam Lind, eat your heart out.

Live Blogging Richard Griffin’s Live Blog!

Screw the scuttlebutt– I’ll post a bunch of links later in the afternoon. Instead, let’s have some fun with this section of the Game Threat, as it’s come to my attention that Richard Griffin is live blogging this afternoon’s game over at the Toronto Star, so I’m thinking… why not live blog what’s going on in Griff’s little corner of teh interwebs myself? If it goes well, next time it might even get its own post! Watch below for updates!!!


- 5:09 PM: Aaaaaand, that’s it. The Jays lose. Should I wrap this up, or… nah, I’m done.

- 5:00 PM: Is Griff still Griffing? Is this game still on? I think I just fell asleep– and before you bitch, I’ll have you know I was just following the lead of the Jays hitters. Ugh. Let’s see if the traditional lead-off walk to Tampa continues…

- 4:52 PM: Darren Oliver is apparently not getting too old for this shit. Also, someone in the GriffChat is worried about Drew Hutchison needing more seasoning, and really wants Dustin McGowan back. You just can’t make this stuff up! “Dustin is not even advanced enough in his comeback for the organization to make a reasonable guess at a time frame,” Griff explains. Even still, I’m probably taking Hutchison.

- 4:41 PM: And a non-baseball fan fights back, suggesting that you’ll look like a lame-o if the wave comes through your section and you stay seated. Uh… you got it backwards my friend. You’ll look like someone who actually gives a shit about the thing they bought tickets for.

- 4:38 PM: The anti-wave view gains some traction! BAN IT! BAN IT!!!!!!!! Surely Rogers employs enough fucking Fun Police to crack down.

- 4:32 PM: OK, that was a fun inning of baseball that was inches away from being fucking devastating. Let’s check back in with Griff, who points out that Casey Janssen absolutely froze on the mound, forcing Omar Vizquel to come home with a throw to end the inning as JP Arencibia tagged out Carlos Pena. Happy that’s over. Fuck!

- 4:21 PM: Game’s getting a little tense here.

- 4:15 PM: About that Vlad thing: in the paper today, Griff bets June 25th as the day we might see him.

- 4:13 PM: Griff figures the Jays have high hopes Vlad– and honestly, I know he was terrible in Baltimore last year, but… I dunno, maybe the Jays don’t want to eliminate the possibility that such a situation would suck the goddamn life out of anyone. Also: Johnson takes himself out of the game after what appears to be a hamstring issue while running into second on his double. Vizquel at second now.

- 4:03 PM: Colby Rasmus is still amazing to watch in centre. Really shows you how far Vernon Wells coasted on his reputation as his skills deteriorated. He may have been Rasmus-like at one point, but we haven’t seen CF like this for years. This game is still going on. So is Griff’s live blog, I think.

- 3:55 PM: We’re also wondering what the fuck was up with the Jays bullpen not moving a muscle when Eric Thames wound up lying in front of them hurt after a dive. Seriously, amiright? Griff is probably going to comment about Luke Scott beating the shift by hitting a ball that hit off Kelly Johnson’s glove, and took Brett Lawrie out of the play. Tie game, by the way. Cordero in– and not doing horribly, but holy fuck that’s going to be second-guessed if this goes south.

- 3:53 PM: An E5 dinger turns the discussion to what the hell his next contract is going to look like, at least around here– Willingham-like, perhaps? Who the fuck is comparable? Meanwhile, Griff is… following the game? I don’t know.

- 3:40 PM: It kinda defeats the purpose of the exercise to straight-up quote Griff, but he provides a nifty explanation what’s going on with the Lind/waiver business: “The belief is he has cleared waivers and there is no reason for the Jays to change their policy about keeping waiver moves confidential. I would say that AA is actively trying to find out what fellow executives in MLB are leaking waiver information to the media. But if clear, Lind can be brought back to the majors any time without having to go through any waiver or other exercise.”

- 3:38 PM: Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve just been lost in thought as to why Darren Oliver wasn’t brought into the game instead of Luis Perez. Though, a little mound visit– presumably to tell Perez to throw some damn strikes– seemed to work, and the Jays get out unscathed… somehow. Meanwhile, Griff keeps talkin’ about whatever his readers are askin’. Nothing major, for good or ill, in a while now– unless you want to count how Griff figures Escobar will keep hold of short even when Hechavarria is ready. Seniority and whatnot.

- 3:20 PM: Griff assures a reader AA was just doing his due diligence by asking about Hamels and Victorino. In the office, we all agree that the Jays might go hard after Zach Greinke, should he become available– either in-season or next winter. Other Griff stuff: cracking wise’ on Jeter’s gift bags, and– hang on– the Rays only have two hits today?!!!???!? MOTHERFUCK!

- 3:16 PM: Oh man, that’s amazing, Colby Rassssssmus

- 3:01 PM: Finally, the city’s odd Thames-bubble appears to be bursting, as Griffin tells a guy who mostly listens to games that he’s “ hitting a soft .254 and playing a soft left field.” Indeed. (Looks like Thames just knocked the wind out of himself on a dive, to boot– though, maybe it’s his hand…). Also, nugget time! “At the moment Farrell listed Bautista as his third 1B on his depth chart.”

- 2:58 PM: Reader Darren suggests that Brett Lawrie has a similar skill-set as Rickey Henderson. Brett Lawrie. Has a similar skill-set. As Rickey Henderson. Rickey Henderson. Who, from 1980 to 1998, averaged 7 wins a season!!?!?! Brett Lawrie’s a nice player, people, but Jesus Christ on a horse cock, some perspective, please.

- 2:48 PM: Non-Griff-related: Gregg Zaun, everybody! (Also: Dustin Parkes, everybody!)

- 2:41 PM: Griff returns! Via Twitter! So his DJF-approved avatar is now showing up in the chat!!!! This is, just perhaps, the proudest moment of my life.

- 2:38 PM: Hey! The Jays got a run back, and Colby Rasmus and his swagger sleeve stole a base, then snapped his imaginary tin of chaw, or something. Still not a whole lot going on here. Some ALDS speculation that… it… um… let’s just damn well get there and be happy about it, rather than worrying about what might happen if the Jays won the Wild Card, won the Play-In, and then wound up having to face the Rays, eh?

- 2:27 PM: Not a whole fuck of a lot going on here, as Griff’s still AWOL, and the fans are getting restless, hating on the Rays, bitching about Romero and Thames. I guess that’s what one loss and a fifth-inning deficit will do to you, coming off five wins in six games… y’know, if you’re an emotional wreck of a goddamn moron.

- 2:13 PM: Or don’t stop, I don’t even fucking care anymore. Getting close to a Frappucino break here. Griff is nowhere to be found. Apparently internet is internet-mittent (see what I just did there?) in Tampa. Surprising. Beautiful facility.


- 2:05 PM: “I’m not too crazy about it,” comes the official answer. Meh.

- 2:02 PM: Griff is asked, in absentia, how he feels about people live blogging his live blog. I’m gonna suggest he probably doesn’t mind whatever extra pageviews my little exercise sends his way.

- 2:00 PM: Technical difficulties at the Griff Chat! He’s offline and the moderator is taking over, or something. Address your question to me and if it gets through over there I’ll answer it! Hahahahahaha.

- 1:58 PM: Non-chat-related: FUCK ME, ESCOBAR. SERIOUSLY???

- 1:57 PM: Readers are getting restless, as Griff apparently hasn’t said enough about Ricky Romero’s lack of command. “And Romero comments are not being aired? Is it not relevant to the game to talk starting pitching?” says Brent. Thing is, what’s to say, really? Romero is struggling with command, and if someone sees an obvious fix, send your resume to the Jays. He’ll get through it, but part of it is also that he really outpitched his peripherals last year, so he was always likely to not quite look as good as 2011. Seems to me like he’s had to regroup on the mound and get back into his proper delivery more often this year than I recall in years past. Seems like he usually does it, though, and gets relatively on track. But that’s all anecdotal gut-feeling bullshit, so, what the fuck do I know?

- 1:50 PM: Griff channels me– y’know, the more polite, real life me– saying “That is just plain dumb. Sorry,” to a fan who suggests the Jays go after Robinson Cano. WHY DON’T THEY REPLACE THE GROUNDS CREW WITH UNICORNS, WHILE THEY’RE AT IT!!!??!??!??!?!?!!?

- 1:46 PM: A fan is concerned about that umpires are getting a bad reputation, and insists MLB needs to deal with this consumer confidence issue. I wonder what possible fucking nonsense this stems from. Which isn’t to say that umpires shouldn’t get scrutiny when they make bad calls, or that there shouldn’t be more accountability, it’s just… y’know… welcome to EVERY SINGLE OTHER FUCKING YEAR EVER. Jays fans are just noticing now because the Golden Boy is involved– you know, the guy who Sportsnet gets on camera every possible second of the broadcast that they can? Like, after Bautista hits a home run? We get a shot of Lawrie waving a towel on the bench? Seriously, Sportsnet?

- 1:42 PM: Rich tells readers that this week’s Griff Bag should drop tomorrow, and the moderator chimes in “Good to hear.” Some ribbing going on there, or what? My mind is racing with the possibilities.

- 1:36 PM: Griffin just crushing softballs now: Jose is now better than Edwin, the O’s might not sustain their pitching success, Rasmus not likely a 25-90 guy. Jesus… how about, why are your readers still using RBIs????

- 1:33 PM: Nugget time: John Farrell was asked who’d start a one-off Wild Card game for his club if everyone was rested. He noted that Brandon Morrow has pitched really well in the first five weeks, but he also noted that it’s still way early. Translation: Morrow. Unless Ricky Romero gets his shit together– which, um…. it ain’t happening at the moment, no thanks to Eric Thames. Ugh. How’s Snider’s wrist doing???

- 1:28 PM: “Grego” asks where he can listen to the game on the internet– is this a veiled question for me? Because I’m not telling, even if I did know. There is this thing called “Google,” though. Also, as an MLB.com employee, I might disguise my name a bit better when asking such questions to Griff. *COUGH*

- 1:25 PM: Griff suggests it’s not confirmed that the Rays switch hitters today will definitely hit left against Romero, so my confidence in that notion may yet have to stand corrected. Also, non-Griff-related: Jose Bautista, motherfuck yes!!!

- 1:19 PM: Sorry, doing some tweetin’s and some eatin’s. Griff acknowledges he sometimes dabbles in DJF! (Well, I mean, obviously. Have you seen his Twitter avatar?) He also suggests that the damage to Brett Lawrie’s reputation among umps is a “day-to-day thing.” This too shall pass…

- 1:05 PM: Griff’s here! And he’s pointing out the Jays astonishingly fucking abysmal record in their last 20 series against the Rays (1-1-18). Holy shit! I mean, if there are reasons to want the Jays to take this game, that’s probably one of them.

- 12:56 PM: Not a whole hell of a lot going on. Still waiting for the Griffmeister.


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

K. Johnson 2B
Y. Escobar SS
J. Bautista RF
E. Encarnacion DH
J. Arencibia C
E. Thames LF
B. Lawrie 3B
C. Rasmus CF
Y. Gomes 1B

R. Romero LHP

Tampa Bay Rays

C. Pena 1B
B. Upton CF
M. Joyce RF
D. Sutton 3B
L. Scott DH
E. Johnson SS
W. Rhymes 2B
C. Gimenez C
R. Thompson LF

J. Shields RHP


Image via Abelimages/Getty.

Comments (257)

  1. 30 pitches for Janssen that will be it for him.

  2. the old man rocks.teach the kids smarts

  3. another homer and i squirt

  4. I’m getting to hate the Rays just as much as the red sox and yankees. Tie game and they ues their closer for 2 innings. It’s like all they care about is beating us. I get the fact that they have a game off tomorrow but they’re playing the red sox starting on Friday.

  5. Fuckin’ Rodney. This year he is unhitable. 98 mph with movement.

  6. This is the problem with Tampa, they get some shit-bag like Rodney and he becomes a star.

  7. This one is going to hurt more than other loses if we cough this one up.

  8. Fucking lefties walking lefties

  9. Is giving up lead off walks considered “cool” now or something? Lol

  10. Congratulations!!! The Toronto Walk-A-Thon has just reached it’s goal of 10 walks in a single game. It was an impressive effort from everyone involved.

  11. Rasmus used to defer to Jose in those situations. So glad he didn’t.

  12. we got out of it, somehow!

  13. Prediction: Eric Thames is not going to hit the game winning home run.

    Prove me wrong ‘Pipes’, prove me wrong.

  14. I hate the fucking Rays. Bunch of no-name fuckers. The Jays need to find a way to beat them in extras. Go Jays.

  15. Jays series MVP Sean Rodriguez into the game. Just bunt it down the third base line a bunch of times and watch the runs flow in.

  16. Damn it, Thames, you suck!

  17. Lawrie grounder coming up?

    • Good thing Lawrie is Brett Lawrie or peeps might be calling for him to be sent down so Gomes can play full time lol

  18. I am so glad the hate is on thames and cletus gets left alone.at least cletus can catch. i like cletus

  19. Jesus, why don’t we get one of those?

  20. Well Vladdy will fit right in with this lineup of free swingers when the time comes.

  21. ah man its been so long for the jays to win a seriess against these clowns, i really dont want to see a wildcard game against these guys. is boston on a tear.like last year, streaky as hell

    • Listening to the game at work. I had a feeling they would lose. Biggest concern is Ricky Romero.
      Is he trying acupuncture to heal something that is wrong with his arm? The number of walks he is giving up is astronomical.

      Jays should do better in Texas. Can’t wait for Vladdy to come up. I am losing faith in Thames.

  22. Great D from Thames there.

  23. fuckin Thames missed the cut-off man.

    • that sucks but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. How do I always get sucked back into these games? no more!

  24. Who would have thought LF defense could cost the Jays a game….

  25. Ah fuck.

  26. Awesome go Jays

  27. “And the relay throw is over the head of the cutoff man.” What a surprise.

  28. That should add to the old swagger pile.

  29. Bottom line. This team struck out way too much today.

  30. Wow, Thames, way to hustle in the corner there. Looked like a deer caught in the headlights out there. Game’s on the line there hulk, maybe run after the ball!!! Fuck!

  31. apparently all the yoga i do doesn’t help me hit the cut off man.

  32. Over/under on when we finally win a series against the Rays: 2016.5

  33. Good work Thames great fielding. How long was Farrell planning to keep Oliver in the game there? He was already over 30 pitches

  34. Ugh, Lawrie looks so shitty at the plate man. Fucking groundball MACHINE! Not sure how he can go on with the swagger when he is getting owned night in and night out. P.S. Thames sucks.

  35. If this wasnt a shit show for Thames (and Romero but he ain’t going anywhere) Diving for a ball other fielders would catch, then letting it go by as you dive for a ball you cant get to, giving himself rug burn diving at another ball. Fuck dude if youre not close dont dive. it worked for MacDonald, people though he was outstanding because he made easy plays look hard..Thames makes regular plays look hard and botches them fuck off. And at the end? Run into the corner after the ball. Learn to play outfield and hustle for fuck sake..seriously fuck off Thames.

  36. fuck off tampa. can we get left field addressed soon? as the season slides on. with this team we have known its needs for weeks. it hasnt taken the 40 game mark to know and im not a fuckin baseball genius. farrell is cramping again.he uses a defensive replacement in left other games and has a chance to get a monster monkey off the jays backs with tampa series losses and look what happens when he doesnt replace thames in a tie. thames and farrell cost this game.there is 5 games fucked for farrell this year easy.probably 8.son of a bitch dont lose the season.do something now fuckheads

  37. Thames has no semblance of a clue of what a ball will do off the wall or in the corner, so he has to sit back and take his sweet time to wait for it while the runners round the bases. This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened. He has absolutely no instincts. The man is a poor outfielder.

  38. The bottom line is that swagger and bullshits like that wont go well with the game of baseball. This is not hockey or football. You can’t just huddle before the game and hit 4 dingers. You have to put your head down, work hard and avoid any mental mistake.

    • Exactly, in basketball if you have good natural talent and play hard you will win most of the time like the Miami Heat. In baseball, natural talent doesnt always translate into success. Take rasmus for example. Atleast offensively. Baseball adds another mental dimension that other sports dont have. The best players in baseball can go through long slumps for no reason and you have to be mentally strong.

  39. Thames’ rope has to be nearing the end. If he could at least hit, we could hide him at the DH spot. We’ve seen enough of his shit show in LF.

    Send Thames to AAA. Call up Snider or even Sierra for fuck sakes. And when Vlad is ready, DFA Ben Francisco or trade him for a new fungo bat for Butterfield.

    • Snider wrist be hurt

    • Just someone that can play LF, even if he can’t hit. Let Gose take some cuts (correct me if this is FA issue). He cant be much worse at the plate and as least he can hold up his end on the field.

  40. Tough loss. Fucking thames is a piece of shit. Not only cant he field, hes a brutal hitter. Why does farrell insist on having arencibia and thames bat 5th and 6th? Doesnt he see that these 2 have more 3-4 pitch strikeouts than all the mlb hitters combined? You need quality AB’s in those spots and those 2 cant give them. Arencibia hits OK. for a catcher but hes still not a very good hitter. I would flip flop lawrie and rasmus with arencibia and thames. I think lawrie and rasmus can give beter qaulity AB’s. Also, Escobar and Lawrie need to get their shit together and stop hitting so many fucking ground balls and johnson, arencibia, and thames need to stop striking out so much. Thats the offensive woes in a nutshell. Thats what lost them this game.

  41. Today was one of those days that you could feel there is no W in the air. Fuck Tampa. Stop trading and drafting these 7 feet skinny cocksuckers. this is baseball not basketball.

  42. The only 2 players i see performing at a level expected of them currently is EE and Bautista. Fuck Gomes. Hes eric thames v 2.0. Cant take a pitch to save his life.

  43. I knew that once Lind was gone the scorn would fall upon Thames, not Rasmus like many predicted.

    Rasmus: Great fielder, slow start to season offensively, but successful in the past

    Thames: God-awful fielder, mediocre to lousy hitter

  44. A good exhibition of good ol’ Blue Jays baseball.
    1.strike out or hit a home run.
    2.Allow more runs than hits.
    3.And finally find a way to lose the freakin’ game.

  45. Haha my Drunk Jays Fan Fan question was put up…sweet.

  46. Was a pretty big Thames defender but no longer. I figured we could live with his average bat in left but it`s not even average anymore. He looks very lost right now. Unfortunately, the only options for the Jays in the short-term are guys like Gose and Sierra and from their averages in AAA neither look ready for major league pitching after you factor in the PCL boost. At least with Gose you could count on his speed and plus defense to generate some wins that way. What effect it would have on Rasmus is another story.

    Maybe Davis has to be the guy to start everyday but he`s also been spotty with the bat but on the flip side his glove has been decent and when he`s on base he`s been exceptional.

    I`d almost be desperate enough to suggest throwing EE out in left and calling up a better bat like Cooper or McDade but with his back and penchant for letting his anxiety affect his defense that`s probably just going to make things worse.

    Funny how when the Jays need Snider the most he`s not available.

    • Looking at the 40 man roster I guess it would Sierra before anyone else since he`s already on it.

  47. Agreed. What about sending escobar down as well to send him a message? I think his play with all the whining to umps and mental miscues has been unacceptable. Most of his AB’s are very poor. Hes not walking and most of the time he makes poor contact and hits weak grounders. I think they should bring up Hech. I think he could atleast provide you with the offensive production escobar currently is. Either that or move escobar down to 9th and bring lawrie up to 2nd. I know lawrie is a groundball hitting machine as well but he has better speed atleast so he can break up double plays. Not to mention. Lawrie has more power and offensive potential than escobar.

    • I am fine with Escobar and you just have to look at his May stats to show he`s turned a corner for the most part. He`s got a .812 ops for May and nearly a .400 obp.

      Lawrie might benefit hitting 2nd but he needs to show he`s not some Nancy single hitting ground baller that he`s been for the most of the year first. His swing is not getting anywhere close to the slugging results from last year. If he had been a butcher at third base like most thought he would have been sent down already.

      As for Hechavarria we might see him sooner than later if Johnson`s hammy continues to bother him. I guess the sore leg might be a reason for a his shitty d of late.

      Top 4 hitters in this lineup are fine overall. It`s the rest that need work right now.

  48. I hope Travis Snider gets healthy soon. We need you now more than ever kiddo!

  49. I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s noticed this or feels this way, but I’ve always felt, even last year when he first came up, that the way Lawrie waggles the bat around with his hands low like he does cannot be good for his timing or ability to get the bat in the right position through the zone to get the ball in the air. It just looks so unorthodox. I’d like to see him at least raise his hands a little bit and not waggle the bat forward so much. I have no idea what the fuck I’m really talking about, but some sort of change in approach is obviously needed.

    • I feel like he’s falling into the plate a whole lot on missed swings. I don’t remember him doing that last year. I’m not saying he didn’t, I just don’t recall it.

      • He seemed to have a nice uppercut to his swing last year. I`m not seeing much of it this year. Maybe because he`s getting pitched inside a lot and is getting jammed or the power was more of an aberration when he first got called up. After that brilliant first month where he had an OPS of 1.056 he`s had months of .802, .704 and now .658.

        He was right around the .800 ops mark in his A and AA seasons regress that for major league pitching and this might be his true bat right for now.

  50. Here’s the thing about Thames’ numbers right now:

    He’s putting up a .252/.299/.378 slash line, coupled with a .323 BABIP where more than half of his hits are ground balls. So… he’s been lucky to have been this horrible so far.

    • Davis should be playing more regularly. At least he has the possibility of reaching on ground balls and can cover more ground than Thames in left. Although he still looks shaky in LF, there was a game a few days ago where he caught a bunch of balls on the warning track and Eric would have shamed himself had he been out there.

  51. Blue Jays have a day off, Carlos should have been in, regardless I Oliver pitched great other then Upton.
    Rays would have won anyway, thompson didnt even move an inch.
    What,s the over and undr on Thames getting sent down, I say after his 7 strikeouts in the Teaxa series and only cathcing one fly ball in left field he’s gone.
    Moises Seirra gets caleld up, not expecting much from him, but he’s playing well in Triple A and is on the 40 man roster, only problem is he’s right handed, you know how Farrel loves his lefties that cant hit right handed pitching, LInd, Thames.

  52. We are Blue Jays fans and watch the games with our dad!

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