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. Another funny thing with all of the injuries: the shitballers have outperformed Romero and Alvarez.

  2. I hope Alvarez wins this AB…

    Also, ball-girl fail…

  3. I don’t strike opponents out often… But when I do it takes 12 pitches.

    • Okay, overused joke, but I have to admit I lol’d +1

      You’d have gotten more points for using the username “The Most Henderson Man In The World”, however…

    • You’re right, asshole, strikeouts are the one true measure of a pitcher’s efficacy.

      Your boy Lester has twice as many strikeouts as you… so clearly he’s having the better season. Go back to Dorchester you clam-chowdered slurpfuck.

  4. Not too shabby, Hendo!

  5. Ultra small sample size… but 10 K’s in 11.1 IP so far this month for Alvarez.

  6. Fucking Fenway.

  7. I PVR the games I can’t watch in real time. Whenever we play Boston not only do I have to record the allocated 3 hours, but I have to record the next two shows as well. If I don’t then the recording stops in the sixth inning. Boston games are way too fucking long

  8. Wow. EE’s been way more patient lately. Almost Bautista-Level. Love the new approach.

    • He has to squeeze every ounce of power out of those chicken wings. Wasted swings are foolish.

  9. That was unfortunate…

  10. JP has some flat fuckin feet

    • But he’s learned to keep his shoulders ‘shoulder-width apart,’ after listening to Zahn.

  11. Who’s the pitchers in this game?

  12. Snider really played that ball well…

  13. Goddamit, Hendo.

  14. God, I hate Aviles stance. WTF is that waving the bat as high as you can shit?

  15. Alvarez walks him. He has a 6 run lead and goes to 3 balls on virtually every batter. Even if he survives this inning, he’ll hit his ptch count after 5. With a 6 fucking run lead.

    What a shit pitching performance.

  16. Can’t help but feel that Gose, Bautista or Snider would have prevented that run from scoring on the sac fly…

  17. Alvarez shakes off JP then throws it 2 feet outside.

  18. This f@cking game isnt even HALF over yet!!!

    • Welcome to Sunday at Fenway, white knuckles until every zombie has a bullet in the dome. The Yankees put up 16 runs in the last two innings earlier this year.

  19. Alvarez limited the damage there. Could have been much worse. He really threw a stinker up there on the 1-2 pitch vs Aviles, but fuck, its Aviles so it only resulted in a sac fly

  20. hahaha hazel won the arm wrestle with zaun.he is wearing the same colour pink as her

  21. The fucking Sawks have already played one more game than us and yet they’re playing tomorrow while we have another fucking off day…

  22. Davis with a home run AND a walk today? I didn’t survive that car crash, did I?


  24. T-SNIDE

  25. SNIDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Lunchbox!!!

  27. attaboy lunchbox!

  28. Fuckin’ A, Lunchbox.

  29. Nice !

  30. Lunchbox Hero!

  31. valentine is just giving it to lester hahaha.no mercy at all. trade wanted by all?

  32. Ok far as I’m concerned, if Travis hits CF HR’s, let the damn game go 6 hours!

  33. that’s a real home run too! not just a fenway gimme home run.

  34. with my mind on my meats and my meats on my mind

  35. Blue Jays are only 4 runs from overtaking the Sux as the top run scoring team in all baseball

    ahhh, fuck yeah TravS

  36. Home run for number 45

    Way to go Meatboi!

  37. Drink, Little Looper!

  38. The old dude keeps it moving…

  39. Start against the Jays was the nail in the coffin for Bard earlier this year… what happens to Lester after this.

    • much different contract situation and player history. they’ve got a lot more invested in lester and he’s had a history of being a dominant starter in this league. he has a lot more rope than an arb eligible converted reliever. let’s just hope it’s enough to hang the sux.

  40. Okay, no need to give Alvarez the vanity stats, let’s get the pen up and working…

    • i think farrel wants to give the pen a break seeing that frasors arm has fallen off with the rest of the injured. and tomorrows off day might give the arms a rest too. so your i wanna see a game tomorrow whaaaaaaaaa shows your selfisness. try going outside to play with the neighbourhood kids for once.

  41. If the price of sweeping the Massholes at Fenway is getting swept by the Yankees I’ll take it.

  42. Well, the strike zone certainly has opened up…

  43. Fuck, Rajai, ask for help why don’t you!

  44. Davis is such a brutal OFer. He looks good in comparison to Thames… but well below average out there.

  45. Where did this “Snider” kid come from? You’d think that if we had someone like this in our system, he’d have been up with the big club sooner…

    • The team is much better with Snider in LF. Is it me or does he look more solid this year. He looks like a football player.

      If Rajai doesn’t drop the pop up , the Jays could relax.

      It seems Rajai makes a mistake almost every game he plays.

    • Kid’s got a .364/.385/.727 slash line in 2012. MVP-type numbers if you ask me.

  46. Was that fat ass Pierre LeBrun?

  47. Finally a pitcher getting outs this game.
    Little Louper!

    • I think he could be a really serviceable reliever based on what I’ve seen so far. Obviously there’s a chance he gets “figured out”, but the whole “low-mid 90s from the left side with a somewhat sidearm delivery” reminds me a bit of a Thornton from the ChiSox. Definitely nothing to sneeze at there.

      • He really looks like Billy Wagner with his short stature and sideward motion. Now if he can add a little more oomph to that fastball, he’d really be Billy Wagner.

  48. The annoying thing about the Davis play is how it’s two more earned runs for Alvarez and now the pen is getting burnt.

    I know it’s sunny, but fuck noone else in the outfield has had a problem with fly balls.

    even the fucking infileders have made every play on pop ups and those balls are much easier to lose in the sun .

    I think Davis just wasn’t paying attention.

  49. Worst position player on the roster right now? My vote is Rajai. He can’t even make use of his primary skill, speed, because he can’t read a fly ball or use his brain on the basepaths.


    God I hate that piece of shit, piss-smelling, decrepit, illegal dimensions, masshole infested, should-be-condemned building…

  51. That’s a beauty indeed!

  52. a beautiful stuff it up yer asses massholes bunt from yunel.gotta love it.take that valentine and like it you smirky cock licker

  53. What a beauty

  54. Everybody’s having fun. I certainly am. What a great series.

  55. lawries grill can take a swipe anyday except after the pitfall

  56. These last three games have been the most enjoyable series I can remember in a while

  57. Sox traded Jed Lowrie for this sensation of a relief pitcher.

  58. What a painfully long game

  59. Um, that trade of Jed Lowie for me doesn’t seem to be a very good one right now. First, you lose Lowrie…second you have to get that piece of this Aviles, three…you actually get me

  60. Yunel slapping skin with the Jays fans at the bandbox.
    Hey, have you guys noticed that there are a couple of Jays fans at Fenway this weekend?

  61. oh this is good.valentine is going up against the yanks and texas trying to save his pen while fucking lester and its all gone to shit. i see they will have some pitchers arms falling off this week. boston will collapse and sell this week. middleton wipes out youk then goes for a shit as soon as he is out the door.hahaha dr evil couldnt plan it any better

  62. Hold on to win this one… pass the Red Sox and move within a 1/2 game of the Rays who’ve already lost.

  63. I think Zaun is intimidatd by Hazel. See has much more of a physical presence than Ginger Campbell

  64. Real Men Wear Pink

  65. Fuckkkk hazel Mae is one fat fuck. No wonder nesn gave her back. A few years in the states turned her into one fatty ‘merican yeehawww

  66. Cletus kills me.

  67. Hazel Mae is the fattest Pilipino I know (Filipinos can’t pronounce F)

  68. Buck with the call “Rajai… going to let Rasmus take this.”
    It was a fly ball hit directly to centre field!

  69. Looooouuuuppp – soon to be started chant/cheer if he pitches well.

  70. Loup looks like the kind of guy that Cito would just love to run into the ground

    • Loup can definitely be a starter for us, work 7 or 8 innings every time out and he only needs about 2 days rest…

  71. I wonder how high the numbers go that they have behind that disgrace of a fence…

  72. Hey, did you guys know Rasmus has the most RBI’s by a centrefieldervin the AL? Me neither…

    • And you can thank Dwayne Murphy for that, otherwise he’d have totally forgotten everything that made him an awesome baseball player, top prospect and a great hitter in his first few MLB seasons…

      • Rasmus and his huge feet are almost standing ON the plate. Reminds me of my namesake and personal savior that used to almost put his head in the strike zone

  73. Cleavage shot!

  74. Damn that was good series. They hate it in Bahhhston, you can be sure. BTW, yesterday I posted that the RS payroll was three times Toronto’s. The actual figures are $173.2 milion and $75.5 million, which is a ratio of 2.3:1. So mea culpa, I messed up there. But that still makes for a lot of unhappy Massholes.

  75. Makes it easier to forget that debacle of a series at NY. The refurbished pen looks good and starting rotations appear stabilized. And the offense keeps on rolling. Hopefully this is a start of a good run.

  76. Anyone check out the squealers at SOSH today?

  77. Damn, Colon is pitching today for the A’s, that means we don’t get to pound Colon while the A’s are in town…

  78. Since I hate the Red Sox more than any other team in all pro sports, this made me really happy.

    Rot in hell Boston.

  79. Aaron Loup has been mighty impressive. Throws strikes, misses some bats, gets groundballs. Might have something here….

  80. Wow… Wilner just showed some serious restraint there…

    The caller just said “Anthony Anthopolis” and he didn’t say ANYTHING… I cringed….

  81. a^*(#^*^$)&$_(#*)*$^)^)_(# BOSTON to HELL!!!!!

  82. now if only oakland can come back today for the four game sweep of the bankees.

  83. So, now that we have gone through the gauntlet and still have a pulse, do we think about adding garza or liriano?

    • I hope not. The Cubs asking price for Garza has been rumoured to be kinda ridiculous. Liriano maybe if it’s total “buy low” scenario but he’s nothing too good anymore.

  84. I guess the question is now if the team can put some pressure on GM AA to make another deadline deal? Every year the team has pretty much faltered around this time of year taking the decision out of the GM’s hands.

    The added benefit of the Houston trade is that the club can’t be held hostage anymore for pitching arms because everyone knew how desperate they were.

    • I have a feeling nothing else gets done because the price for even the marginal talent is going to be very high. The price for the good talent is going to be through the roof. I am starting to believe that after this year’s trade deadline comes and goes a lot of clubs will be forced to rethink their ways and I think it will lead to more robust free agent spending in the winter. Teams will want a certainty when it comes to access for the talent. Free agents imo are going to start looking a lot more cost effective than they have in the past.

    • It’s all going to come down to how the prospects turn out but you’re not going to know that for a couple of years. I still think it was a lot to give up and I will be really interested to see if other teams end up paying such a price in terms of prospects for “help now” type of players. Maybe this is just the going rate for bullpen depth this year.

      At worst if the Woj and Musgrove end up as busts as starters they both have plus pitches that will still profile well in the pen. If that’s the case you’ve basically just traded pen arms for today for pen arms later and the true price for that is the potential that one of those guys ends up as much more. The neat thing from Houston’s perspective is that they’re not just taking the chance on one guy. They’re going to get to take a chance on 4 guys. That improves the odds significantly. I see prospects as being similar to penny stocks with the idea you invest in a bunch of them hoping that just one or two end up being big winners. Considering access to the good prospects is going to become somewhat limited under the new CBA getting 4 of them certainly doesn’t hurt.

      Of course to be fair to AA he’s got to worry about the present a lot more than he did compared to anytime previously in his tenure.

      • Terrible trade. Good prospects for fucking Brett Cecil 2.0.

        • Prospect gurus like Callis, Law and Goldstein would disagree with you. Wojo and Musgrove project to become bullpen arms, at best. Carlos Perez is expendable thanks to the catching depth in the lower and upper minors. The rest of the players are window dressing.

          Happ was coveted by AA in the Halladay trade. While he’s not a top of the order starter, he profiles as a 4th or 5th starter. That kind of depth is incredibly valuable for a MLB roster.

  85. Speaking of “zaftig” Sportsnet gals, whatever happened to Martine “epic mommybags” Gaillard?

  86. Baltimore almost blows the lead and hangs on to win ANOTHER one run game.

  87. anyone that has any sense will be cheering for the Yankees to win, at best the Jays are going for the wild cards, who cares how far back they are for the division, its all about the wildcard. Oakland is ahead of the Jays in the Wild card, so u want Oakland to lose. As far as I am concerned the Yankees can win the division by 20 games.

    • I was just talking about this with my son. I understand the rationale but its so damn hard to not want the yankees to lose.

    • wildcard implications or no it’s nice to see the yankees lose four in a row. we just need to take care of business when the a’s come to town.

    • Considering the Orioles, Angels and Athletics are all 3-games ahead of the Jays for the second wild card, I don’t see how the 2WC is even remotely possible because of all the injuries.

      The Jays are a .500 team, and have been all season. Maybe I’m wrong and the returns of Morrow and Bautista – and to a lesser extent Frasor – will make a huge difference, but I’m just not seeing it, simply because it wasn’t there when they were in the line-up.

  88. There is something inherently enjoyable about a baseball weekend in which the yanks and sox combine to go 0-7, regardless of how those losses play out in terms of the Jays playoff chances. I for one will gladly take the joy of a yankee loss sweep today over the “chance” that an A’s loss pays dividends for us later.

    • There is everything inherently enjoyable about such an epic weekend—it’s the epitome of enjoyability when we also sweep one of them. The Ms also beat the Rays twice. The second wild card has changed things, but we need to set our sights once again on winning our division to avoid the play-in coin toss, so our natural rivalries still matter most and render the greatest satisfactions.

      • +1
        if it was the old format the WC would be something more to shoot for, now the WC’s are a crapshoot and your better off going for the division to avoid the play in game.

        • This team has to learn to play meaningful games in August & September before it takes a shot at the division.

      • Seriously with the Jays offence there is no reason not to think they can make a run for it.

  89. Your right that at this point it doesnt make much difference. I mean realisitically you shouldnt be talking about playoffs for a 500 team anyways.
    Mabey its better to think that the A’s burnt themselves out with the sweep of the Yanks and will come in to town tired and vulnerable…

    • and that was seriously enjoyable to watch. playoff implications aside. let’s just hope the jays offense keeps their foot on the gas when oakland comes to town.

  90. Especially on Thursday, taking in my first mid week afternoon game. Getting drunk too, i dont do that very often

  91. The Orioles, Angels and Athletics are all teams that the Jays can go head-to-head with and Boston is regressing. Tampa Bay is the team to worry about because the Jays haven’t had an answer for them.

  92. orioles win another 1 run game?!#$!$!$! stop the insanity!!!

  93. There is still plenty of time for an Oriole collapse if it isn’t already in motion now.

  94. If the blue jays remain in wild card contention throughout the season, wouldn’t you have to include Edwin for MVP consideration?

    • why not, he has had quite a few clutch hits this year, not to mention hitting homers at a bautistian rate.

      • i think trout will have something to say about it if he doesn’t fall off a cliff in the next couple of days. but he should at least be in the converstation.

  95. JPA has a higher OPS than Pedroia, Denard Span (prime trade target), Starlin Castro, Alex Avila, Jesus Montero and Brennan Boesch. He is tied with Dan Uggla for 120th in MLB (min 250 ABs).

  96. So, on most teams, JPA is the 4th or 5th best hitter – not too shabby. His SF today was a nice piece of situational hitting.

  97. Jays hitting has laid beatings on Bard and Lester this year, Lackey, Bard and Miller last year. Jays lead this year’s season series 7-5. They lost last year’s series 8-10, though the with a mind-blowing minus 60 run differential (MINUS 60!!!!). Thus far in 2012, the Jays actually have a plus 10 run differential vs. the Sux with 6 games left to play. Progress??

  98. fuck i go away for a weekend and the Jays go ape shit on the red sox… I wonder where I am going next weekend.

  99. A lot of the Oriole pitchers haven’t spent that much time in the AL East, so the book isn’t out on a lot of them yet. Also, they are generally outpitching their peripherals, so it really isn’t that unlikely that things could turn around in a hurry.

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