Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers

The Jays continue their four-game set against the White Sox from Rogers Centre tonight, and they’ll be without Jose Bautista once again, as the crucial slugger is still being bothered by back pain– and also, apparently, an ear infection. The lineup is buoyed, however, by the return of Brett Lawrie, who will be playing at third base and hitting sixth, behind J.P. Arencibia, Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Lind.

With Bautista not on the field, it means there will be all the more eyes to focus on Josh Johnson, who is coming off a start in which he flashed perhaps the lowest velocity of his once-dominating career, averaging just 90.73 on eleven four-seamers.

And that would be a hell of a depressing stat, too, if it weren’t for the fact that he was pitching in a driving rain at a temperature just above freezing. If he’s that low tonight, then you can actually probably feel free to go ahead and start thinking of panicking… if it happens again. But there’s really no reason to believe that he will be.

Which isn’t to say that he’ll be fine. He’s still not yet shown the form that had some folks thinking of him as a darkhorse AL Cy Young candidate– at least not since the club broke camp– but he was a three-and-a-half win pitcher last year while only just starting to come to grips with how best to utilize his repertoire in this new, slower era for him. I’m still of the mind that, as long as he’s healthy, he’s going to be fine. For whatever that’s worth…

Scuttlebutt

Gibbers says, “I wouldn’t look for that,” when asked about Lawrie playing second base, according to a tweet from Chris Toman.

Despite the back spasms and ear infection, according to a tweet Scott MacArthur, John Gibbons hopes that Jose Bautista will be available to pinch hit tonight, if needed.

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

RF Emilio Bonifacio (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
C J.P. Arencibia (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
CF Colby Rasmsus (L)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
SS Muenenori Kawasaki (R)

Josh Johnson RHP

Chicago White Sox

CF Alejandro de Aza (L)
2B Jeff Keppinger (R)
RF Alex Rios (R)
1B Adam Dunn (R)
DH Paul Konerko (R)
3B Conner Gilaspie (L)
LF Dayan Viciedo (R)
SS Alexei Ramirez (R)
C Hector Gimenez (S)

Dylan Axelrod RHP

Comments (456)

  1. On PTS, Zaun provided the helpful observation that Johnson is failing to impress with his velocity down so low. As if he’d been pitching at 90 the whole time and was at 94 when he was a National League pitcher…

  2. Personally the lawrie at 2nd experiment, seemed more about an option as a worse case scenario over he is moving to 2B. It is just a matter of flexibility bc having 3 for 2 in kawasaki, izturus, bonifacio it is nice to have an option if a body goes down without having to bring up McCoy long term.

    • Yeah I think this is exactly right. AA’s always talking about depth and having options, I think this is exactly what this is. Give him a few games at 2nd so if he has to go there, he can.

  3. Dang. It just ain’t the same without Joey in there. Mayhaps he’ll pinch hit for Lind/Cletus if a LOOGY is brought in late in the game.

    Here’s to JJ continuing the recent streak of our starters getting through six!

  4. why the hell would they put JPA in 3rd slot rather than Lawrie? Cause they love JPA’s .290 OBP? do you think they really believe that JPA is some kind of mythical RBI machine or something? does this seem like a good move here?

    • Its one flippin’ game..maybe two. Let Lawrie 3B, get settled in and if they’ve still got JPA in the three hole next series, THEN crap all over them. Meanwhile, chill, Will.

    • Arencibia batting 3rd really isn’t that bad. Those who study these things argue that your best hitters should be batting 2nd, 4th, and 1st, while your 3rd hitter should be a good power hitter, but not necessarily hit for high average (of course, if you can, that’s great). The third hitter often comes up with no one on base, so if he can crush a mistake, that’s great. But, with Cabrera and Encarnacion in 2nd and 4th, we probably have our two best hitters where we need them. Once Bautista is back, I’d be tempted to bat Cabrera lead off, and Bautista 2nd.

      • the 3 hole is actually not that useful a batting slot because the 3 hitter is the one that hits with 2 out and no one on the most. so EB is right, if you’re using Tom Tango’s order optimization you want your best hitter to hit first or second not third as teams usually do.

        the reality though is that even an optimal batting order only buys you a fraction of a run a game – unless you do something ridiculous like put your best wOBA guy last.

  5. lineup looks like shit. like .260 OBP leadoff and < .300 OBP in the 3rd slot. ugh. HR or bust unless we face poor pitching…

  6. I miss Joses.

  7. Not a huge deal, but the start times for the games somewhere in the preview would be nice.

    Also I would take literally nothing away from Johnson from his last start. Clean slate.

    • Re: Johnson I agree 100%. There’s a reason why they don’t play baseball in the winter (at least not at our latitude)

  8. Add Kawasaki and Bonifacio doing the Gangnam Style dance to the GIF collection please!

  9. Don’t need many runs when a CG SO by JJ is portended. It is known.

  10. Alright Kawasaki!! I know he’s not likely to be very good or anything but for now it has been fun to watch him play and that’s about all I can ask of a glove-first-defensive-replacement-made-starter.

  11. So who is in on the Ramada ad drinking game? Take a shot every time the ad appears just in time to do a fist pump with the man with the painted face.

    • I hate the Ramada commercials. Painted face guy may be the worst, with the fish one a close second

    • That ad with the guy riding the mechanical bull is Ramada too isnt it? Fuck those are award winners those two.

  12. Stoeten…not that it matters much but Kawasaki is batting left handed today.

  13. This is back to back series that I’d rather listen to the Rogers broadcast than the other guys. I never thought I’d say that about Buck and Tabby.

    Rex ‘The Wonder Dog’ Hudler was fucking awful and I can’t stand the Hawk.

  14. 94 on the first pitch, according to Gameday

  15. lmao @ Jack Morris not knowing why JJ’s velocity was down in Detroit

  16. Rasmus is good.

  17. That half inning was good.

  18. ‘he seems to run right where the ball is going to land’, Jack Morris, 2013….priceless.

    Lets just hope they’re not grooming him for a tv booth job in the coming years.

  19. Axelrod is an ugly motherfucker

  20. Anyone else having severe trouble with rogersondemand?

    • nope. all good here. unplug and replug the modem. restart puter while you’re at it.

      good luck.

    • Sound issues? Yep… I installed that plug-in thing they suggest when you hit pause, and now when I pause it and play again the sound has come back…

  21. I FUCKING LOVE THAT SWING.

  22. Why does everytime a Blue Jays batter hit a ball that richochets off the pitcher, it goes right to a fielder?

  23. Axelrod is as ugly as Tabler is stupid…

  24. Man I wish Johnson would still pitch 94 like he used to…

  25. 95!

  26. “He could barely” hit 90 MPH …. uh, he was average a tick above 90 so… fuck off with the narrative already.

  27. Tabler is so creepy: “He likes the feel of that DIRT on that WOOD.”

  28. Here’s to hoping Johnson can keep his pitch count low.

  29. Johnson is a mean looking SOB.

  30. JJ reminds me a bit too much of AJ Burnett

  31. Any stats guys know the Jats BB and K rate so far this year.

    I know it’s early but curious to see if Mottola is having any kind of impact. He was touted as a guy that preaches patience.

  32. Any effort whatsoever to block that ball would’ve been nice, JP.

  33. Colby seems to be playing a great CF this year so far.

    If only he could make a little more contact at the plate. His BABIP has gotta be sky high. K, BB or base hit every time.

  34. Holy shit. Between yesterdays broadcast and today I think that I’ve visited the the Jays Shop 10 times already!

  35. Cletus!

  36. Yes! YES

  37. Looks like the Jays have themselves a long haired Adam Dunn

  38. Attaboy Cleatus!

  39. Rasmus’ swing adjustments reminds me a bit of 2011-ish Curtis Granderson.

    40+ HR inc.

  40. Colby!

  41. So that would have been off Windows if this was last year? right?

  42. Colby now leads the team in WAR

  43. give ‘er slingblade

  44. Honestly, I don’t know if I remember the last time Colby made poor contact with a ball. He either slams it, or whiffs.

  45. Sooweeet!

  46. Cletus puts butter on his bacon.
    Gives him a liitle more torque on his follow through and gives his mane that nice shiny look.

  47. Johnson ringing cats up!

  48. Johnson’s slider is looking insane tonight.

  49. Fuck that stupid Honda virtual sign in CF. Fuck everything about that annoying shit.

  50. Destroying strikeouts

  51. Between the socks and the stance, Keppinger reminds me a of batting version of Casey Janssen.

  52. you sell that catch, Melky

  53. Which other former Jays does the crowd reliably boo?

  54. Ugh, Emilio just struck out twice on 7 total pitches.

  55. Why couldn’t we have gotten the shitty Ubaldo last week?

  56. Last two ABs couldn’t be more different

  57. “Boney” (boneface ha!) is a questionable choice for the top of the order. You simply can’t strike out 30% of the time in that spot. (or any).

  58. I suddenly want to go to home hardware.

  59. Is there anyone that looks more pitiful hitting than Bonifacio? Dear god, he looks completely helpless.

  60. Melky just imitated me from Wii Sports baseball @ skill points 1100 + , swing at every fucking thing that comes by and then ground out.

  61. Who threw the seeds?

  62. Lind was at 37 plate appearances before tonight’s game, featuring a delicious 0.552 OPS against right-handed pitching. (I put the zero and decimal in front of it to make it look extra-bad.)

    I’m figuring that when he hits 100 plate appearances with the same numbers, Anthopolous will consider him finished and DFA him. So we are one-third of the way to never having to see this guy steal money from the Jays again. After tonight’s game, we’ll have about 60 at-bats left to endure.

    • With Bonafacio destroying all means of anything resembling plate discipline…is Lind the really the worst?

      • Given the total and complete lack of value on the field and base paths… yes.

        • Agreed. I am going to assume that one of the things AA was calling other GMs about was guys who might be able to put up a decent slash line as the designated hitter against RHP, because that is a broader hole to fix than what Reyes brings to the table. Can you imagine this team with a DH that gives us an .800 OPS instead of the garbage-balling fecund fucking quagmire Lind delivers?

          • You do know that .800 OPS is well well above league average right?

            • Has anyone in the history of the English language ever managed to start off a sentence with “You do know” and not come off like a prick? :)

            • 60 qualified hitters did .800 last year, seems reasonable to want from someone who is the designated hitter.

              And Jonesy, I remember you from the olden days of this blog. Glass houses, man.

              • Dr. James Andrews operated on the part of my brain that caused me to be vitriolic at a moment’s notice, Rex Murphy’s Quote. The man works miracles. You will find I am much more mellow and use emoticons to express when I am joking around.

                • I’ve noticed! Maybe I should get in touch with Dr. Andrews myself so I can stop being such an ass on the Internet.

              • It seems reasonable on the surface, but soon you descend into the murk of how mediocre most DHs actually are.

                • Mediocre in what sense?
                  Alright, because I’m procrastinating..

                  2012: 4/6 qualified DHs OPS’d .787 or above
                  2011: 4/6 OPS’d .800+
                  2010: 3/5 OPS’d .800+
                  2009: 6/6 OPS’d .794+
                  2008: 4/4 OPS’d .837+
                  2007: 9/9 OPS’d .775+

                  Aaaand I’m bored

    • You are a moron. Go back to the Toronto Sun.

  63. Wow, that RANGE!

  64. It’s Tuesday, KFC TWONIE tuesdays are too expensive now, FREE CHICKEN WINGS FROM E5, NOW!

  65. Was wondering if Kawasaki could be a infield depth piece.. he played 40 innings at 2b and 1 at 3B last year. Fangraphs has his defensive value last year at a respectable 1.5 so..

    Maybe

  66. Runner on first and Lind is up…time to leave the seat and get a beer.

  67. At least they’re making their outs one at a time… lol

  68. nice play.

  69. At least Brett stung that ball….baby steps for the 3rd baseman

  70. RAMADA AD!!!

    SHOT!!

    FIST PUMP!!!

  71. Well, pitching continues to look good since the Jays went on the road.

  72. With this new and more talented ‘Jays team, will the Oakland A’s screw us over again when things are starting to ride high in the mid part of the season?

  73. Cleatus w/ the wheels!

  74. Sportsnet screwing up one of the digital ads:
    http://i.imgur.com/AUx4wRN.jpg

    • This bugs me. If you can’t do this type of shit right, just… stop.

    • I swear Rogers hired a bunch of chimps for their TV production crew. They have been making some horrible mistakes.

  75. Bad luck for the Jays, but I’ll take that Izturis swing and the Lawrie AB every day…

  76. How can the Jays hit with a Honda Ad in the batters eye?

    • You’re joking right?

      • It looks so real.

        • It does look pretty real, the give-away is that it isn’t there all the time. That, and it’s in the frieking batting eye!!

        • OMG! The man in white is relaying pitches via ads on the center tarp!

          • +1000

            Amazing!

          • I will pay you $50 cash to call Jays talk tonight and tell that to Wilner in ernest.

            • LMAO

            • But I gotta ask him how’s he’s doing a couple of times first. Then tell him it’s my first time calling Jays Talk, long time listener. Then he’ll cut me off ’cause I took too long.

              • To get past the guy screening calls, you gotta say you want to talk about the Zaun theory with Windows. Cite the Cleatus hr tonight, they’ll cut you off if you get off track. This way you can get it all in.

            • Scratch that, $50 cash to anyone who calls JaysTalk and asks that.

              I live downtown near the dome. I will pay.

              • Hi Mike, nice game tonight. The Jays probably got the best home field advantage in the league with all the home runs at the dome early this season.

                The stadium crew’s doing a great job. When Colby was at bat, as soon as they pan from the back stop, the Honda ad comes up and Colby hits that monster homer run.

                You don’t see that ad in CF from the other shots, so I know that they’re flashing that ad when the pitcher’s throwin’ the heater.

                • Beautiful. Don’t forget El Hombre en Blanco.

                • Perfect… Remember to start by saying you’re a big fan if the show and like that he uses evidence to back up his observations. It’ll temporarily lull him into a false sense of security that you’re about to do the same.

  77. He looks a lot faster than he is it would seem…

  78. Now I thought with Gibbons as the bench coach, we stop this John Farrel’s running into outs bullshit.

  79. The Butterfield shift!

  80. Haven’t got caught all year?? Didn’t watch all the games, but that’s surprising thanks for the FYI

  81. Wow thats 8 K’s through 5 for JJ, to only 1 walk.

  82. I was once booed off a baseball field by the entire Charlotte Knights AAA team. Players included Axelrod, De Aza, and Viciedo. That is my story for today.

  83. The Jays have to get JJ some runs. He has been awesome.

  84. How can they be shut down by Dylan Axelrod.

  85. This JPA HR rate is sustainable, right?

  86. Holy shit JPA!! is this the beginning of a power hitter?

  87. Was Kawasaki just yelling at the front of the dugout?!

  88. love the super slo-mo

  89. J.P. Arencibia

  90. You think their retard of a catcher will stop calling for the high fastball now?

  91. Aaron Cibia!

  92. The Man in White ad placement pitch tip, strikes again!

  93. I knew Axelrod was too ugly to pitch well for too long

  94. What the hell happened to Brett Lawrie? Did he lose 100 lbs in the offseason?

  95. All quiet from the hipster contrarian JPA hating crowd…

  96. 100 pitches is a mythical amount, according to Jack.

  97. Bomb from JPA.

    I’ll take .240/.320 with 30 bombs from Colby and JPA.

    • You’re asking Arencibia to get hit by pitches an awful lot to get that OBP, cause he sure ain’t taking the walks to get there.

    • I would be THRILLED with a .320 OBP from Arron Cibia, but I don’t see that happening.

      • At this rate, 30+ HR seems attainable despite less playing time. And for league minimum pay. If Dickey and JPA both play well over the next couple years, AA looks awfully smart.

  98. Hechavarria has a 3run HR tonight.

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