I don’t wanna jinx nothin’, but Carlos Villanueva has been kinda damn good this year. And he actually was a little terrific for a stretch of starts last season, too.

You may recall that over nine starts from May 23rd to July 7th, 2011, Villanueva pitched to a 3.76 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .648 OPS. The wheels started coming off at that point, and after a blow up in early August, he landed on the DL with a right forearm strain, which kept him out most of that month. “There were nights before he would start he was unsure if he would be healthy enough to pitch,” we wrote in a Game Threat at the time of his return.

This year he’s walking more guys, but his strikeout rate is way up too. His 2.68 ERA over 50 innings outperforms his peripherals, but they’re still very solid, as he sports a 3.75 xFIP and 3.60 SIERA heading into tonight’s start against Boston’s own thrown-to-the-wolves spot starter, Aaron Cook.

I got a good feeling about Los Del V. And not just for tonight. But I’ve probably lost my mind.


As you’ve surely heard by now, according to a team release of earlier today, apparently Jason Frasor has hit the DL for the Jays, with what they’re calling right forearm tighness. Ugh.

Here’s something awesome: at the Mockingbird, despite wanting him to cut down on his curveball use, Jon Hale really likes the Jays’ acquisition of JA Happ, who is “a pitcher that has been getting steadily deadlier,” he says. “Wojciechowski and Musgrove,” he adds, “are pitchers that many years and hopefully not too many surgeries down the road you hope develop into something like J.A. Happ someday. It’s like the Santos deal all over again! Errrr…forget I said that.”

John Farrell talks about Friday’s trade, and Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star provides a transcript.

TV: Sportsnet One

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

A. Gose RF
B. Lawrie 3B
C. Rasmus CF
E. Encarnacion 1B
A. Lind DH
J. Arencibia C
K. Johnson 2B
Y. Escobar SS
T. Snider LF

C. Villanueva RHP

Boston Red Sox

D. Nava RF
C. Crawford LF
D. Pedroia 2B
A. Gonzalez 1B
C. Ross DH
J. Saltalamacchia C
W. Middlebrooks 3B
R. Sweeney CF
P. Ciriaco SS

A. Cook RHP


Image via Ronald Martinez/Getty.

Comments (660)

  1. Padilla is still alive?

  2. That be JPA: home run-strikeout, feast-famine

  3. Hey, Escobar managed to do something!

  4. for all the JP haters JPA is opsing .959 this month

    • Following up a .531 in June and .513 in April, broken up by an .890 in May… Which may have been only because of a few monster games.

  5. Are you fucking kidding me? Happ pitches to two batters and you pull him? Goddammit Farrell pisses me off sometimes…

  6. http://twitpic.com/aaahp6

    Now that’s a man crush.

  7. Does anyone know what Stroman has been doing? I couldn’t find anything about him on the interwebs. All I could find is that he’s made 3 appearances and is on a 25 pitch limit because of the 98 innings he pitched for Duke, and so that he can still maaaaybe pitch for the Jays this year.

  8. Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I needed a closer or even a potential closer really badly for one of my fantasy teams so I picked up Fransisco Cordero.

  9. Why pinch hit up 3 with Davis?

    At this point, is defence not more important? Keep Gose in for defensive purposes.

  10. So if they win again tomorrow, can we start openly discussing the playoffs again?

  11. Now the Lawrie bunt I don’t get with Rasmus and EE coming up behind him. He’s not as bad as Escobar with his GB rate.

  12. The Red Sox bullpen is as bad as Toronto’s. Maybe worse even. And their starters are shaky. And their payroll is THREE TIMES the size of the Jays payroll. If I ware a Red Sox fan watching this I’d be one unhappy Masshole.

  13. What is the pitching matchup tomorrow?

  14. Is Adam Lind’s option next year a team option or player option? please say team, please say team…..

    • I didn’t think he had any options already. I know the team has like 3 or 4 years worth of options on the end of the deal though.

      But I know for certain he wont be a free agent next year, so if there is an option, it is a player option.

    • Lind is under contract for next year, he has team options for 2014-2016

      Also, he’s been pretty much on fire since his recall from the minors…

      • Thanks guys, I thought his contract was different.
        The 28-year-old signed a 4-year $18-million contract in 2010, and the Blue Jays are on the hook to pay him $5.15 million this season and next. The contract also includes club options in 2014, 2015 and 2016, which must be bought out if not selected.

  15. My name is Lyon! HEAR ME ROAR!

  16. SNIDER!!!

    • The Snider haters should apologize after the 2nd good game he had in a row.

      Snider’s defense is a big upgrade over thames & Davis.

  17. Nice grab LunchBox !!!

  18. Oh how I love you, Travis Snider…

  19. Defense? In LF? I must be dreaming.

  20. The Maple Boner lays out big time!


  22. TV dive bro

  23. Excellent Defence!

  24. Eric Thames makes that catch, and he can hit 2nd. Why is Snider even here?

  25. Nice win and at least a series win in addition to that.

  26. how the fuck do the orioles keep winning?

    • That one beats me. You have to think they’ll gradually fall back toward .500. And the Red Sox are clearly having a bad year. And Tampa hasn’t really set the world on fire either.

    • Good timing will cover a lot of problem areas. Only reason I can see when you look at their starters and runs scored.

      Guess the old saying “better lucky thank good” applies nicely in their situation.

    • they have a horrible run diff but dominate 1 run games. it just shows how valuable a bullpen can be. this new bullpen should help us win those close game we used to lose handily.

  27. this wildcard stretch is going to be wild. does anyone know what the tiebreaking rules are?

    • I hope there is a massive four-way tie and there has to be a ton of games to determine the play-in. Because that kind of chaos is the absolute best.

    • If there is a tie, there is a one game playoff to determine who gets to play in the coin flip game.

  28. That was a sweet win.

  29. Hah, even they’re noticing the BJ invasion on SOSH:

    “Where did all these Blue Jay fans in Fenway come from?”


  30. @night

    you make me laugh, who would you have pitched 789? and then what happens tomorrow when you’ve burned oliver and jansenn?

    • Well he could have left Carlos in for all of the 7th. Beck could have pitched the 8th and Janssen the 9th. Since I can’t see the future here because I am the night manimal and it’s dark out I would have to wait and see if Janssen was even needed tomorrow. Your day powers of prognostication are clearly greater than mine however and I guess you know for certain those guys would mess things up and we’d need Janssen tomorrow.

      • but you forget that now you have a fresh beck and jansenn for tomorrow. sort of like when we tied the yanks 2-2 and farrell couldn’t use oliver cuz he already used him the game before. the more weapons you have the more games you can keep close and win. also cv was not stretched out as a starter.

        • Well we’ll never know if Beck, Loup or Carpenter would have choked away another one.

          I admit I was overly harsh on my initial reactions to the trade because I was looking at things from a longer-term view and not the current needs of the this year’s team. I still think I would have held onto those guys so I could package them for something with a higher ceiling for next year’s team. Obviously the trade market is not what AA envisioned it would be at this point and he also has to balance the future with current needs (which I had written off for the most part). If you toss out the current needs then it’s not a great deal imo but it’s easy for me not to have to worry about the current team.

          • you do realize that beck and loup have no experience and carp has been horrible? and the jays have no frasor. and we’ve already tried the igarashi, chavez, etc experiments. you’ve now added 2 proven arms in the pen to lock down wins. Just look at the jays 1 run record and ask yourself where we’d be if it was .500. I think the jays have a legit shot at the wildcard now with this trade.

            don’t you think that if alex could have gotten a better arm he would have? these are low end prospects. and you have to trade them while they’re still young. if you wait till they’re 24-25 then nobody will want them. ash was 23, time was ripe to get rid of him. haap was a stud 2 years ago. happ is what you hope ash might become.

  31. A’s on the verge of third 1 run win over Stanks – top of 9th – go Oakland (until Tuesday)

    • now we just need them to lose about 6 more in a row.

    • The division is a lost cause. At this point, the Yankees, Seattle, Minnesota and Kansas City are the only teams you hope to see win really (in games not against the Jays or each other, of course).

    • I’m on Oakland (Berkeley actually) right now. Must say, they love beating the yankees as much as we do.

  32. I’ve watched the jays from the 77 getgo. The 94 strike, followed by Godfrey and his poodle, left me cynical enough to last forever.
    But there is something building here. I think these guys believe in themselves, they believe in each other. They believe they will win.
    I think they hang tough. I think they will roll when their best hitter and best pitcher are back.
    This could be very special, a season for the ages.
    I never thought I would care again.

  33. Yankees lose, Rays lose.

  34. Simple message for the Red Sox

    Our shitballers are better than your shit ballers.

  35. This board is so much more pleasant when there is a win….No win=infinite amount of shit fighting and leaves fans turned Jays fans for 4 months coming out of the closet/Roger’s customers.

    FamousAmazingGuy says:
    07.17.12 @ 9:53 PM EDT
    not sure why they’re burning coco in a low leverage situation?

  36. Darren Oliver’s been a bit good this year.

  37. What with all the injuries to Jay’s pitches this season, I’d say there wouldn’t be any injury in the next 3…just the law of averages.

    And Travis Snider seems to know the confines of Fenway Park like the back of his hand, knows perfectly how to position himself to play off of the angles in caroms. It is a pleasure to watch him field balls with aplomb.

  38. Mets DFA’d Miguel Batista… You know what to do AA!

    (Stay the fuck away, assuming you actually DIDN’T know what to do…)

  39. Fuck I can’t find a stream that works, any help?


  41. Premature ejaculation from first pitch Maple Bones!

  42. That was beautiful.

  43. brett lawrie says ‘game on douche sox’

  44. Tight zone so far today for Lester…

  45. How about a 7 spot in the first and then cruise to a sweep? Huh, huh?

  46. Brett “hands off my leadoff spot” Lawrie

  47. I hate bunting for the most part, but that was pretty…

  48. let’s get another order of chicken wing here!

  49. John Lester is falling to shit, I love it.

  50. Who the fuck is the Red Sox right fielder? That was a revolting display of fielding…

  51. Doing all the little things right. Even Rajai!

  52. Can someone PLEASE burn Fenway down so these ridiculous dimensions can become a thing of the past?

  53. Lunchbox seems to be seeing the ball fairly well since his recall… This bodes well!

  54. Don’t knock the dimensions!

  55. WOW! Just wow! Fun game in Masshole town.

  56. Hustle is a good thing…

  57. How is Rajai’s reaction time so, so bad whenever the pitcher checks him on base. Like, a second behind.

  58. 2 bunts in the first inning and I’m actually not raging… I don’t think that’s ever happened before…

  59. come alvarez. let’s keep the good times rolling.

  60. Looks like the tight zone is being applied evenly…

  61. Alvarez in Fenway..I think that five run first gives us about an even chance to win this game.

  62. You are up FIVE TO NOTHING…stop worrying about the fucking guy at second and just make good pitches you fucking pea brain


  64. I am going to reach thru my TV and slap Alvarez upside the fucking head if keeps shaking off Mathis.


    FamousAmazingGuy says:
    07.17.12 @ 9:53 PM EDT
    not sure why they’re burning coco in a low leverage situation?

  65. Thanks, Hendo.

  66. Alvarez pretty much went out and did the worst thing he could have done.

  67. His HR/FB has to regress to the mean eventually, doesn’t it?

  68. Almost accomplished the first inning seven spot, but the cruise the rest of the has failed miserably.

  69. paging Happ to the rotation.

  70. can our starters go a couple innings before giving up a three run dinger?

  71. For a few minutes I forgot that Henderson Alvarez is a shit pitcher and thought we might win today. My bad.

    • in his defense the base runners reached on pretty weak hits. definitely served up a meatball in a pitchers count to gonzalez though.

  72. Assuming he can’t keep them under 5 runs in 6 innings this has to be Alvarez last stand. He needs to go down and retool, no point acquiring servicable arms if you’re not going to use them.

  73. Good lord… AA is crafty…

    “No club exceeded their bonus pool by more than 5 percent, which would have resulted in the loss of a 2013 first-round pick. The Blue Jays came within $341 of doing so and are one of 10 teams that must pay a 75 percent tax on their pool overage.”

    $341 away from losing a draft pick… Milk that pool!


  74. Vs yankees:

    Cecil: 3 run homer in first

    next game

    Romero: 2 run homer in first for a total of 4 first run innings

    one game later

    Villanueva: 3 run homer first

    next game

    Alvarez 3 run homer in first.

    so in 4/5 games, the jays pitchers have given up at least three runs in the first two innings. this shit is not good

  75. I hope that wasn’t a bunt called from the bench…

    • Carlos gave that 3 run shot in the 2nd, but yeah… point stands…

    • I dont understand it either. Lester can hardly find the plate and you go and give them an out in the second inning..in a game that looks like you might need ten runs to win

  76. Its amazing that Stoeten gets paid to sit around and sniff his own asshole instead of providing a game threat.

    • It’s alot harder and more effortful to smell your own asshole than it is to put up a game threat

    • you know what i’m not doing right now? working. it’s the weekend. settle the fuck down.

      • How many guys do they have running this blog? At least three.
        And not one of them can wake up from their hangover to update a thread?
        Time to go taunt the Boston fans on their updated site.

    • it’s da weekend homie

  77. Why would you bunt and give away an out when you have Lester on the ropes? If that’s Farrell’s doing, he just had his mulligan for the day.

  78. If the Jays want to contend next year, Alvarez needs to be in the minors developing his pitches. He has no long-term future as a starter in the Majors with just a fastball.

    • If they want to contend, Romero has to fix his shit. Drabek needs to find the strike-zone. Hutch and Henderson probably both need more time in the minors.

      This rotation really has Morrow, and that’s probably it. Maybe Happ? We’ll see.

      • I’m not even thinking about Drabek at this point. He’s been awful with the Jays and now has had 2 TJ surgeries. If he comes back as a starter and produces, that’s a nice bonus. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s nothing more than a reliever going forward. It’s basically the same mind-set I have with McGowan (does he still exist?).

        Morrow and Romero will for sure be in the rotation. I assume Happ will be there too. That’s 3. I personally have more faith in Hutchison than Alvarez but who knows if he’ll be healthy. I hope that the Jays throw a lot of money at Greinke but I highly doubt it. At the very least try to sign someone like McCarthy if he’s healthy.

        • Gotta say after Laffey’s performance lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him there. Plus Alvarez has been working on a slider, if he get’s it up and running, like someone else said, he’ll be deadly.
          My prob with Hutch and Drabek is they wont get their innings in next year either so they’ll be limited to probably less than 70.

  79. JP is hot like fayah…

  80. buck says ‘stay hot jp!’

    for once i agree with him.

  81. KA -BOOM

  82. “Stay hot J.P.!”

  83. Guess we were all wrong. Farrell had it all figured out. He KNEW yunel was going to hit into a double play so he gave up the out to avoid the twin killing. GENIUS I say GENIUS

  84. Over/under on the bottom half of the inning giveback?


  85. i like this lester.

  86. Safe to assume that Lester doesn’t have his A game?

  87. Davis just hit it out of tha park, lol FUCK YEAH !

  88. WTF ?? AWSOMENESS from Rajai

  89. Lester is a broken man lol

  90. FUCK. Rajai is getting ready to send Snider back to fucking Vegas.

  91. Snider still lost vs. lefties.

    • Yeah… guess you could platoon him and Rajai worst case scenario~

      • that actually wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. obviously you’d like snider to be the world beater he was supposed to be but if you had that platoon you’d have decent-good defense every night. with power and good speed on the bench when snider’s sitting and great speed on the bench when rajai’s sitting just so long as farell learns to use rajai as a pinch runner rather than pinch hitting it would be a pretty decent platoon.

      • dont mind that at all…wonder if AA was aiming for that?

  92. Heh, if Lunchbox had swung at that he’d have had his second “reached on a strikeout” of the game…

  93. Quick..my value is up for a little spell..trade me now!!!!

  94. There is no better ornament for this most magnificent series than the squalor of Boston and Fenway. God bless your stubborn idiosyncrasy, Massholes.

  95. Feeling good about my Lester for Scherzer fantasy trade I did last night.

  96. Man, when you see Alvarez throwing 97 mph with sink, you just scratch your head as to how even an average secondary pitch would lead to a huge strikeout spike

    • I think some of you people are a bit harsh. Alvarez has been pretty decent this year. He’s 22, and pitching to an era under 4.50. I’ll take that on my team.

      • still am out pitch would not be a bad thing. it would be a pretty great thing actually. his walk/gb rates are pretty good combine that with even a decent k/9 and you’ve got yourself a very good pitcher on your team not just a young guy that’s doing alright.

        • Sure. But he can work on developing his pitches up here as well. It’s not like he can’t continue to improve while in the big leagues. As long as he’s helping the team win, it seems stupid for people to say send him down for more seasoning.

          • i’m not actually on that boat. if he had continued to suck like he did for a stretch there maybe but for the most part he’s been pretty solid. even today two of the three runs reached on pretty weak contact. he just made one bad pitch in a bad situation. not the end of the world. at least when the bats are on fire.

  97. Seriously though, this has been a pretty great weekend so far.

  98. It’s almost a little disappointing not to score that inning… I think the first 2 innings may have given me unrealistic expectations…

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