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The Houston Astros-ish come for a visit to Dunedin today, with Mark Buehrle on the hill for the Jays, and a lineup not terribly similar to the one we expect the Buffalo Bisons to run out every day, which would probably provide a more gripping matchup with Altuve and company.

Uh… yeah. More spring!

Scuttlebutt

Brendan Kennedy was the first among my Twitter “Scuttlebutt” list to tweet that the Jays are working with Ricky Romero on a mechanical change, to help him throw across his body less. Um… that seems a little late in camp for a thing like that, though they insist it’s not major. But at least for those of you worried that Romero’s going to blow the season by being left in to lose fifteen games before July, this is a sign that they recognize something ain’t right with Ricky. That’s a good thing, in a way.

Arash Madani adds that, “in addition to mechanical changes, Romero will move closer to the middle of the rubber.”

Chris Toman also adds that, given the fact that Romero is being moved closer to the third base side of the rubber, it’s worth checking out Drew’s piece from Getting Blanked last week that suggested exactly that.

John Lott tells us that John Gibbons told reporters today that “Janssen still could be ready for opener, Lawrie too if he responds well to next treatment stage, which starts today.”

Kennedy adds to that that Janssen may get into a Grapefruit League game on the 22nd– aka Friday– but that he won’t come north with the club unless he’s a full 100% healthy.

Henry Blanco is catching R.A. Dickey’s minor league outing today, tweets Kennedy. But don’t take that as a signal that he’s going to be Dickey’s personal catcher, the club says.

He adds that Dickey threw eight pitches, six for strikes, inducing three grounders in his first inning of work. And he drew a crowd of minor leaguers during his bullpen.

Wilner tweets the pitching schedule for today, which is to include five innings from Mark Buehrle, two from Esmil Rogers, and one from Justin Germano.

Lastly, oh, hey… it’s Jack Morris on the radio.

TV: None, but, of course, you can listen to the game online for free via MLB.com.

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

E. Bonifacio DH
M. Cabrera LF
J. Bautista RF
A. Lind 1B
J. Arencibia C
C. Rasmus CF
M. DeRosa 3B
M. Izturis 2B
M. McCoy SS

M. Buehrle

Houston Astros

J. Altuve 2B
B. Barnes RF
C. Carter LF
J. Maxwell CF
B. Laird 1B
J. Castro C
N. Freeman DH
M. Dominguez 3B
M. Gonzalez SS

J. Lyles RHP

Comments (70)

  1. This is my first time hearing Jack Morris, and he just absolutely BUTCHERED the line ups.

    Is this what he always sounds like? My first impression is not good… at all.

  2. Wow, Jack Morris absolutely butchered Bonifacio during the lineup announcements… as well as a couple others.

    To me, its an absolute embarrassment if, as an announcer, you don’t do your homework on how to pronounce your OWN TEAM’S PLAYERS. So far, not impressed with this guy.

  3. Can we talk about Romero Vs. Happ? I feel like this storyline has completely been missed by the media and that the fans don’t seem to have an opinion one way or another.

    • I think we should talk about how terrible Jack Morris is instead

    • The Happ/Romero discussion will be a moot point once we sign Morneau, Halladay, and install real grass. Why isn’t anyone talking about these little-known topics?

      • i am hoping for a few more posts about the windowless windows restaurant. maybe a blurry picture as well.

  4. Twins fans warned us about Morris. They warned us.

    • I’m going to give him a chance to get comfortable with Jerry Howarth, but this is my first time hearing him, and I am not liking it… at all.

      Ashby truly was a gem, though, and I suppose we can’t hold anyone else up to his standard right away.

      I will say this – I am not a huge Wilner fan, but I think so far I would rather have Wilner sitting there than Morris. Even Morris’ voice is grating and not really radio-friendly.

      • It’s a cliche, but I think I’d rather have a former player in the colour spot. Someone who can tell a funny “I remember one time me and John Smoltz were at this Atlanta bar…” story to kill dead air in a 7-1 game. Wilner just doesn’t seem like he’d add much colour to the conversation, but at least he knows the team, which is a step up on Morris.

        • You don’t necessarily NEED a colour guy for the radio. Just look at how long Tom and Jerry worked together without a third guy in the booth. Jerry works best with a guy like Tom, who can split the play-by-play load while throwing the banter around, or with Ashby filling both roles. Hayhurst would have been perfect, though I guess he needs a bit more experience before throwing him into that chair.

          A thought did cross my mind though, with Wilner and Hayhurst doing a lot of the web-only broadcasts this spring…maybe they’re getting a bit of experience together to replace Jerry and Jack in a couple of years. Jerry’s 67, so maybe retirement’s crossed his mind. Total speculation of course.

          • I have zero objections to a Wilner/Hayhurst pairing once they get a little less green on the mic.

            Why doesn’t Hayhurst have a call-in show on Fan 590 if they want him to get experience? Rogers already has him on the payroll, and he’d be a natural

            • Wish I could get over my bitter hate for Wilner….maybe one day.

              • @ Tom

                Okay I’ll be the first.
                As a very vocal critic of Wilner.His improvement last year has been noted and welcomed.
                He is much much less condescending and pedant.
                I am ,ahem, starting to enjoy his work again.

                Stop throwing things at me.( ducks)

            • Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Hayhurst joined Wilner for the post-game once the season starts.

              I really hope they bring Baseball Central back, though I know they probably won’t until the hockey guys are on vacation.

            • Hayhurst has surprised me this year. I hated him on baseball central last season. I found his condescending tone with callers regarding their lack of understanding of how a club house works to be very pompous. Then proceeding to out newly acquired Steve Delabar for playing Guitar Hero in the dressing room in the nude during his time in the San Diego farm system was just classless. Yes, this was an excerpt from Hayhurst’s first book, but in the book he didn’t mention any names. It was the first damn thing he said to Steve when Baseball Central had him on when he was acquired from Seattle.

              This year he seems to have taken a softer approach to his delivery and isn’t throwing the old “when I was in the clubhouse” line down our throats. It’s still early but I think I’m going to like him a lot more this season.

  5. Did Morris just say Spring Taining?

  6. ROFL Joba’s stache

  7. Jack Morris makes me appreciate Buck and Pat more.

  8. Comments seen on my friends Facebook post about his excitement for the season to start soon:
    “You’re cheering for a team that’s already losing?”
    And then…
    “Spring losses show lack of chemistry and terrible coaching.”

    Excuse me while I go bash my head against a wall.

    • It’s so funny whenever I hear “chemistry” in baseball. The sport is 98% individual effort. The other 2% comes from double plays.

    • Get used to it.
      It’s great to see the casual fans come back but it can get a bit frustrating.
      Had a guy last year telling me he’s really liking the Jays,enjoys being a fan,blah blah blah.
      End of the 6th inning he says “well the games just about over”
      I said there’s still 3 more innings.
      He says ” I thought they only played seven”
      Meeting a ton of people like that but that’s okay. We all gotta start somewhere.

      • There’s a huge difference between a novice fan learning about the game for the first time and excited fans who follow the game and the team yet still don’t understand how stupid it is to put stock in spring training records.

      • I run into guys like this all the time. You start up a conversation and bring up baseball (or other sports; this isn’t contained to only baseball) and guy says “oh yeah, I’m a big fan”. Then you start talking more and it becomes painfully clear that they don’t know what they’re talking about AT ALL.

        I attribute this to people wanting to fit in so they exaggerate how much they follow something so they can feel included. I don’t call them out on their lack of knowledge unless they’re being a dick about something.

  9. Jack Morris just said ‘Chick dig the long ball’… on an MLB broadcast… for a professional baseball team.

    It’s one game, and I am not liking Jack Morris at all. I’m trying, folks, but I can’t get over his voice and the things he’s saying.

    Not good.

  10. Gibby was on PTS last night. He did say he expected/hoped Janssen and Lawrie would be both ready for opening day. He also very strongly implied that he’d like Happ to be in the bullpen and that Loup “had probably earned the right to be on the team.”

    If Janssen is ready, along with Oliver, Delabar and Santos, and Rogers, that would mean that Cecil and Jeffress would be exposed to waivers.

    Gibby was pretty steadfast in saying “we have to take the best team” and that “building inventory in the system” was not a primary concern. Hope AA is on the same page.

    I’d like to see them take both Romero and Happ north. Ricky struggles and Happ can pick him up. Yankees have done similar with Phelps and don’t seem to have much trouble getting him stretched out when they need him to start.

    • I got the sense Jays are losing Cecil and one other guy if they keep Happ in the pen like he suggested.
      I’m torn about Happ. i like him and he deserves to be in the show, but I’d kind of prefer he goes to Buffalo because
      a) He has options so Jays can take a chance on Jefferies. Hitting over 100 mph on the gun is one talented arm. Sucks we can’t just send him down to minors but he’s out of options.
      b) Not worst thing to have Happ stretched out as a starter and ready to fill in immediately.

      No point discussing Romero until the season starts and he’s had 5 starts to show us how he may perform.

    • That “inventory in the system” doesn’t seem important until a bunch of guys hit the DL.

      The guys who get optioned to Buffalo are all going to have their chance to play at the major league level at some point during the year–I don’t see why AA would want to sacrifice any of that depth just to have a marginally better roster for the first couple weeks of the season.

    • Saying they’ll take the best team is just a thing that you say. Managing assets is really important, and just giving ones away because someone with options was slightly better heading into April 2nd is pretty foolish.

  11. Anyone notice that in the Angels/Brewers game the home plate umpire got hit by a pitch and left the game, so for a while they had the 2nd base umpire call balls and strikes from behind the pitcher (with no home plate umpire)? Ah, spring training.

  12. totally off topic, but I read Moneyball and everything, but I don’t totally buy into the FIP stat. I could see it being useful for the minors because there is such a massive difference in team defenses, parks, etc but once you get to the majors the differences between defenses isn’t that significant. I think ERA, OPS, wOBA and WHIP are more relevant.I get it that for small samples you have to take these numbers with a grain of salt, but over big samples things often even out and you get a good measure of a pitcher.

    Thoughts?

    • It’s not that there’s a difference in team difference (even though there is), it’s that it’s been shown statistically that a pitcher doesn’t have much control over whether or not a ball hit in play gets hit to a fielder or not. For example, one year in the late 90′s Pedro and Maddux were near the worst in the league when in came to BABIP and the following year, they were near the league leaders.

      So, the theory goes, if you can’t control that, you should ONLY measure the things that are completely controlled by pitcher and base his talent off that stat. Hence, FIP.

      There’s probably better ways of measuring the worth of pitchers and new stats have been coming out, like xFIP, SIERRA, etc. I haven’t looked at the details but they have more nuanced ways of measuring the little things. I think FIP is a pretty good rough measure of how good someone is, though.

      • is there a stat that measures the quality of contact? like how hard it leaves the bat?
        seems like if you’re constantly giving up hard hit line drives you’re more likely to give up a hit.

        • that is what I’m thinking David. If you have poor velocity/command/movement there is a lot higher of a chance of giving up hard contact and thus hits than if you have great velocity/command/movement.

      • Wouldn’t the quantity and quality of contact versus a good pitcher generally be less/worse than that for a poor pitcher?

        • it seems like it’s already easy to measure quantity, but quality seems like it’s missing something. Have you ever faced a ground ball pitcher? everyone gets a piece of the ball but no one hits it hard…. I feel like forcing shitty contact was part of the gameplan

          • yeah. it can be advantageous to try to induce crappy contact. Halladay often let the league in CGs and had tons of innings pitched because he would go right after batters rather than go for the strikeout.

            • so how can all contact, with the exception of a homerun, be considered equal?
              it seems like a mistake

            • You would think that Halladay would be very good at limiting his BABIP against for this reason but take a look at his stats and he’s about league average. Pitcher BAPIB doesn’t vary very much when you take a real large sample size.

              To address other questions, you could look at Line Drive % to see if a pitcher has hard contact against. i don’t know how much this varies.

              Batter F/X data isn’t available to the public but it measures exactly the stuff you’re wondering about. So the teams know this sort of thing but we don’t.

              I must also emphasize that I’m just spewing this stuff off the top of my head. I am by no means an expert. I suggest going to Fangraphs.com to get an education on this stuff.

    • I take issue with:

      “once you get to the majors the differences between defenses isn’t that significant”

      Sorry, but that is a total load.

      Tigers Infield: Miguel Cabrera (3B), John Peralta (SS), Omar Infante (2B), Prince Fielder (1B)

      Vs.

      Rangers Infield: Adrian Beltre (3B), Elvis Andrus (SS), Ian Kinsler (2B), Mitch Moreland (1B)

      There is a huge discrepancy there. Someone else can probably think of an even larger difference in defensive talent, but this is the first that comes to mind.

      • compared with the difference between the defense and parks on two random ball clubs from all in A,AA and AAA teams, yeah, I’d say there is a lot bigger difference than there is from any two teams in the majors. If you are in the majors and playing a position there is usually a minimum acceptable standard of defense with some obvious exceptions (i.e. Manny Ramirez, etc).

        Verlander seems to do ok with his crappy defense behind him. I wonder how his FIP and wOBA/ERA compare to each other vs league average….

  13. so if a pitcher gives up 10 triples, 30 doubles and 50 singles and 0 HR he is a better pitcher than a guy who gives up 0,0,0 and 1 HR (all else being equal)?

    • The odds of that happening and the first pitcher having a lower FIP are slim to none. You are inventing arguments that don’t have any basis in reality.

      • Sorry, let me correct my wording, yes that would lead to a higher FIP for the second pitcher. But the odds of this scenario happening are still slim to none. And your argument is still not based in reality.

        • it is called hyperbole. an exaggeration to prove a point. that exact ficitous example has likely never happened before but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find some pretty ridiculous examples (although not quite as ridiculous) where FIP doesn’t make any sense.

  14. YALL MOTHA FUCKAS NEED JESUS

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