Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Nobody is going to tell you that the Jays are playing well, or that the mounting losses of a poor April aren’t troubling, or that they haven’t made an already-difficult task all the more difficult. A dispiriting sweep at the hands of the Yankees, coming off a series in Baltimore in which they avoided a sweep by the skin of their teeth is not good. The club, I’d argue, started playing better against the Yankees this weekend, and still it wasn’t good enough to beat the Overbay- and Wells-powered juggernauts– indicative of just how poor their play had been for the bulk of the month– and pointing out that it’s still early, even though it undeniably is, has begun to ring hollow in the minds of fans keen enough to have conceded that point weeks ago, when .500 wasn’t quite so far off in the distance.

Concern is very legitimate– not concern that this team might be awful, mind you, or shit-dumb insane concern that they may have hired a manager who simply doesn’t know how to sufficiently inspire, but concern that the Jays are in the process of digging themselves a hole that may wind up too deep to climb out of; that in mid-September we’ll be wishing they could have a few of these insufferably pissed-away games back.

That seems entirely reasonable. But now that we’re actually, healthily concerned, we have an additional problem: keeping that concern in line with reality, and not letting it warp our perceptions. So far it has proven a difficult task.

Leading the perception-warping charge this weekend was a piece from Ben Nicholson-Smith over at Sportsnet.

Now, I think Ben does terrific work– I’ve linked him tonnes on this site, we’ve had him on podcasts and Google Hangouts, and I thought it was great to see him make the move from MLB Trade Rumors to the Rogers empire– but given the number of people on Twitter insufferably citing his piece to me every time I try to suggest that panicky lunacy remains a not great idea, I think it needs to be addressed.

In the piece he makes two major claims about the relationship, over the last ten years, between a team’s record in April and it’s likelihood of making the playoffs.

  • While some teams did make the postseason after sub-.500 Aprils, they account for just 22 per cent of all playoff teams.
  • No team in the last decade made the postseason after losing more than 15 games in April.

Those statements would seem to portend doom– or something close to it– for the 2013 Blue Jays, if there weren’t a number of things about them that are majorly problematic.

For starters, we have the arbitrary end points. Ten years is a nice, round number, as is the use of one month as the period being examined, but that doesn’t mean that they give us a sufficiently representative sample of data. If the “Sportsnet study” had gone back to eleven years, to 2002, there would have been three more playoff teams who had finished April with sub-.500 records, plus two more each in 2001 and 2000, which pushes the percentage up to 24.5.

That number is misleading, though, too, because the number of playoff berths changed in the final year of the ten year sample. Ten teams now make the playoffs, and if you look back through the standings over the period used in the study, and find the April records of clubs that would have made the playoffs under the current format, you find ten more that were under .500 in the season’s first month, pushing the percentage of such clubs making the playoffs to up over 28.

You notice something else interesting when you take a look at how those would-be Wild Card teams did:

2003: Houston (11-15)
2004: San Francisco (10-14), Oakland (11-12)
2005: Philadelphia (10-14), Cleveland (9-14)
2006: Philadelphia (10-14)
2009: Texas (10-11)
2010: Boston (11-12)
2011: Atlanta (13-15), Boston (11-15)

The Jays will finish April on Tuesday, playing in their 27th game of the month. Of the teams listed above, only the 2011 Braves played as many games in April as the Jays did. This year’s MLB schedule began in earnest (i.e. excluding the single game played the night before most teams’ opener) on April 1st. In the preceding ten seasons play began on: April 5th, March 31st, April 5th, April 6th, March 31st, April 2nd, April 3rd, April 4th, April 5th, and March 31st.

Most years, then, based on the schedule alone, even a team playing as poorly as the Jays would have had difficulty reaching the supposedly-dooming 15 loss threshold. That’s without factoring in rain outs, which the Jays have been “lucky” to avoid on the road so far this year, and will never run into at home. In fact, a quick Play Index search at Baseball-Reference shows that just under 60% of teams over the ten years studied played 24 games or fewer.

None of this is to suggest that everything is peachy, of course, but to point out that endpoint being used here doesn’t mean the same thing from one season to the next. So, using it in a way to convey certain doom– which Ben isn’t doing, but some of the folks who’ve read the piece seem to be– is misleading.

And doubly, perhaps triply, so when combined with the lack of accounting for the changed playoff format or the arbitrary endpoint in that round ol’ number ten. In fact, had Sportsnet’s piece gone back to 2001, they’d have encountered that year’s Oakland A’s, who ended April at 8-17, lost the next day– to the Jays, no less– to drop to 8-18, and then went on to win 102 games!

Pulling off a trick like that obviously won’t be easy for these Jays, and sure as fuck won’t happen if they don’t get their shit together soon, but the situation isn’t nearly as dire, in terms of historical precedent, as the piece– and especially the people rushing to hold it up– suggests. Nor is April believable as some kind of ultra-significant bellweather month.

In May of last year, playoff-bound teams in Oakland (11-16), Detroit (13-16), St. Louis (13-16), and Atlanta (14-15) had losing months. Granted, none were as far below .500 for the month as the Jays are now, but we can still see from them how silly the idea that being below .500 in one particular month has any more predictive value than being as bad in another. I mean, if a team lost every single game in April, then won every single game in May, are we really to believe that they’re somehow less likely to make the playoffs than if they had done the reverse?

Looked at another way, Oakland, for example, was 11-13 in April, in addition to being 11-16 in May. The Jays would, therefore, have to go just two games over .500 in May to get to the point where the A’s were at the end of the season’s second month last year, as they began their charge to 94 wins. The Tigers were 11-11 in April, meaning that the Jays would have to play five games over .500 in May to get to where the playoff-bound Tigers were last season.

You see how this works?

After a loss to the Cubs on July 4th, the Braves– on their way to 94 wins– sat at 41-38. To get to that point themselves, the Jays would have to go 32-21, or just a shade over .600– i.e. two months of picking up three wins for every two losses.

No, it’s still not goddamn peachy. No, that doesn’t ensure that any of teams around them won’t push themselves too far ahead for whatever the Jays do to matter– though, it should be noted, when the A’s were six games under .500 at the end of last May, the Rangers were eleven games over. And no, they don’t have a lot of margin for error left. But contrary to the belief of many, there really isn’t reason to think that things aren’t bound to change.

Dave Cameron looked into the club’s offensive woes in a piece at ESPN.com (Insider only) back on Friday, pointing mostly in the direction, for lack of a better term, of shit luck. Surely some insufferable fuckface is right now scoffing at the “excuse,” but there really is something to it. High strikeouts alone, for example, aren’t the indicator of offensive ineptitude that people want to believe they are, as Cameron demonstrates. The Jays have struck out fewer times than the Braves, and through their first 25 games had walked only seven times fewer as well, while putting up an ISO 13 just points below Atlanta’s league-leading rate– good for fifth in the Majors. The Jays, as a team, however, have a wRC+ of just 90 while the Braves’ are at 109.

There does appear to be a correlation between walks and wRC+, as only one of the eleven Major League teams above 100 wRC+ has a walk rate among the bottom 16 in BB%, but the Jays really aren’t as bad in that regard as fans might think– they sit tied with Seattle for the 19th-best walk rate in the league, with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion still each 2.5-3.5% below their rates of last year.

Cameron bypasses walks, in fact, and looks more closely at situational hitting, as he points us to a piece he wrote at FanGraphs last week, which found the Jays to be among the league’s worst clubs– along with the similarly disappointing Angels and Dodgers– at turning baserunners into runs. Indeed, the Jays’ already-weak .696 team OPS drops nearly 80 points, to .619, with runners in scoring position. That, obviously, will change.

Still, Cameron figures that the team’s struggles to get runners in is a thing that “many could attribute to its ‘hacktastic’ ways. However, the larger picture doesn’t support the notion that it’s the strikeouts causing the team to strand all of those runners. Again, using the top 10 teams in strikeout percentage, we find that the high-strikeout offenses are producing almost exactly as many runs as expected based on their raw batting lines. While the Blue Jays have dramatically underachieved.”

He turns then to BABIP.

“The simple answer — and I know it won’t be a very popular one for those looking to point the finger at someone or something — is that balls just aren’t falling their way. The Blue Jays’ team batting average on balls in play of .253 ranks last in the majors, 41 points below the league average for position players.”

He notes that certain Jays players, Jose Bautista in particular, generally produce low BABIPs, due to extreme fly ball rates, making the league average a poor baseline for them. But he also cites a few players– Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis, and Brett Lawrie– who still are well below expected rates. He could have gone farther: Melky Cabrera’s current .287 rate is well below the .332 and .379 BABIPs of his previous two years; Edwin Encarnacion is at .203 compared to a career rate of .278; even Bautista himself is at just .133, compared to .267 for his career.

Does that suggest that all of the struggles have been a matter of luck? Hardly. But Cameron offers a much better explanation than the fans who insist that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the Jays hitters’ approach at the plate, their effort level, or the manager’s ability to pull the correct levers. Yes, the defence has been sloppy, the pitching has been sub-par– two things that are magnified immensely, however, given the dearth of key hits– and it’s certainly possible that some of the club’s hitters simply aren’t as good now as their track records suggest. But they almost certainly will, with continued health, get better at the plate, and that’s going to make a huge difference.

And there’s still plenty of time left, difficult as it will be, to possibly, theoretically, dig themselves out of the hole that they’ve created.

No, it’s not a good situation. And all of how the season turns out will likely come down to whether they can begin to make their expected progression to the mean in terms of BABIP when it’s needed the very most– a notion that can’t possibly sit well with Jays fans who’ve seen the club consistently come up short in the clutch. But that doesn’t mean they’re incapable. Better still, it means that all the components are already in place for this team to start playing much, much better than it has. It may not feel right now like that’s the truth, but it is. And so there is no need to entertain the idea of some shake up for the sake of it, or insanity from the clueless about trading all the players or firing the manager.

The season may not turn into the thing that so many feel was promised back in November and December, but it’s still much to early to reach that conclusion, no matter how much the hopelessly negative want to cling to misleadingly constructed precedents or insist on doling out blame for the dice rolls of the universe. Shit happens, and it sure is happening right now, eh?

Comments (289)

  1. Among your best work. Great job Stoeten.

    • +1

      • What’s with all the fanboys? Every column he posts is labelled as one of his best.
        I just want to see a column from Stoeten that doesn’t have multiple F Bombs in it for once. How hard is it to keep your intellect above frat boy?
        I know this is a sports site and not the NY Times but cmon, it’s not like the profanity is lending anything at all to the piece except showing the extent of his bro credentials and the limits of his vocabulary.

        • Fuck you.

          • Thanks was a joke, by the way. But seriously…. fuck off.

            • The future is dim if this is the extent of our society’s discourse.

              • Since you acknowledge that this site isn’t the New York Times (what gave it away?), then I think it’s safe to assume you realize that profanity and straight to the point vocabulary is sort of DJF’s schtick, right?

                • This is my point, that the schtick you refer to -as if I didn’t realize- is completely unoriginal.
                  As I said in my other response as well, it isn’t even particularly effective or interesting. It lends nothing to his posts, not even shock value. If the purpose of profanity is to desecrate the sacred or push envelopes or shock that would be one thing, but his profanity is formulaic and banal.
                  I wouldn’t even have said anything if people didn’t fall all over themselves in praise every time he posted.
                  For example “and sure as fuck won’t happen if they don’t get their shit together soon” is not only a worn out cliche, but it sounds like something some 17 year-old kid would say in his parents basement. If that’s what you like, then fine, but lets not get carried away saying this is the best sports commentary out there.

                  • Well, obviously you’re going to see more people praise the work done here than the oppositie reaction. The assumption being that if you like this site, you’re likely going to visit and read more often. I’m not sure that you’re stating anything revolutionary here. I have to say though, if you’re unwilling to read past the obscenities to glean the points made on these articles, I think you’re better off not reading these columns, then exasperating and lamenting over the state of society. Nobody wants to read that, obscenity or no.

                  • i apologize if my reply lacks big words since i don’t have a thesaurus handy like you obviously do, but this is a sports article. who cares if Stoeten used the word fuck twice? If you don’t like the way he writes why in the hell are you here?

                  • profane ….. I’m with you 100%. For aspiring columnists, sports or otherwise, F-bombs and other profanity laced tirades give me a headache. I come here to be entertained, and read comments from some very knowledgable fans. I don’t complain much because I’m free to leave whenever I want. …… However, profane makes a valid point.

                  • They’ve been mixing profanity, humour and insight since day one…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if you don’t like it, why are you here?

                    • Please …………. Just stop. I said I came here to be entertained. Why are you here? Wait, don’t answer that, I really don’t care. I just stated my opinion. But thanks for your concern.

                  • Awwww. This “Profane” guy is fucking adorable!

                    • Stoeten: You’ve made a good, 1st step, career move. Your articles are well written. This is now the only baseball blog I read. I must confess that the off-season sessions are more entertaining. They build anticipation for all phases of the baseball year. ( G.M. meetings, winter meetings etc.) It’s just that I find it hard to encourage young fans to follow the blog with all the, mostly unnecessary, profanity. I’m not interested in trying to change anything. Just don’t get stuck in a rut. This blog will, and can improve.

    • This is a fantastic piece of writing. I teach grade 8 and we talk a lot about slant, especially in statistics when writing a persuasive text. Love the way you poked holes in the previous somewhat bogus article. Would love to us this is a sort of exemplary, that is, if there wasn’t all the f-bombs. Lol
      Regardless, wonderful job on this!

    • First time on this site whats with all the swearing in the article is this guy trying to be a tough guy or something lol it sounds ridiculous to read better ban The Score website from my kids computers lol

      • Announcement to the readership: I came to a site called Drunk Jays Fans and I was astonished — astonished I say — to find that the writers are irreverent.

        • Wait till they find out some people around here like to indulge in the devil’s drink. In fact I think I remember, the Smahser or SP?, having a particularly interesting evening with that new maple whisky a while back.
          The horror!

  2. You could reword Nicholson-Smith’s piece as “Almost a quarter of playoff teams have a sub .500 record in April”, and it suddenly sounds hopeful.

    I’ll take 1 in 4 odds the Jays can come back and make the playoffs. Or 1 in a lot less that they’re at least competitive the rest of the way.

    • A team that gives regular at bats to the likes of Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie, Munenori Kawasaki, Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark DeRosa and Adam Lind is expected to go 27 games above .500 for the rest of the season?

      It’s just as *theoretically possible* for the Astros to win 90 games.

      • this is ridiculous. look at the tendency for players to regress/progress to their career numbers.

        Now look at the difference between Houston and Toronto’s roster. Now read my comment, below.

        Now shut up.

        • You’d need a hell of a progression past the mean for a lineup that REGULARLY contains Bonifacio, Izturis, Rasmus, etc to go TWENTY SEVEN GAMES ABOVE .500. And I wasn’t rude, I was logical. Don’t be rude to me.

        • I’m also pointing out the HUGE flaw in the argument that “because some teams have had bad Aprils and made the playoffs, these Jays are somehow more likely to do so as well.”

          • And you could make the same conclusion on the opposite spectrum that a bad April automatically means the Blue Jays can conclusively forget about the playoffs. Seeing as Ben Nicholson-Smith made no assessment either way, his statistics can be useful (or meaningless) in any context.

      • Brett Lawrie? Really?

    • The other thing that people forget when they look at stats like that (x percent of teams that started with y record miss the playoffs) is that the majority of teams that have a shitty start are actually shitty teams that don’t have a hope.

      This is a simple idea but people tend to miss it: Bad teams have bad starts more often than good starts. Good teams have good starts more often than bad starts.

      But there are always exceptions. So saying that 70 or 80 percent of teams that start the season slow are bad teams is accurate, as is the idea that 20 or 30 percent of those teams are probably pretty good and end up turning it around. But 100% of teams that start slow are not bad teams.

      There isn’t a 20 or 30 percent chance the Jays turn it around, it’s probably much higher. Definitely not anything close to 90 or 100 percent, unfortunately.

  3. This will slow the bandwagon a bit so those who wish to exit can do so in an orderly fashion.

    • My hope is that the Leafs last in the playoffs long enough so that by the time the bandwagoners return, the Jays record looks a lot better.

    • I don’t think bandwagoners have the attention span or ability to read a lengthy and well-constructed article like this.

      • Excuse me while I go make some paper airplanes and start a fight in the 500′s.

        GO LEAFZ!!!!!!!!

  4. Playoffs?!?!

    This team was supposed to win the World Series. World Series winning teams do NOT have below .500 Aprils. Look it up.

  5. Good article. The biggest thing that concerns me is not just that the Jays are under .500, but how far under they are. I’m hoping that they (or the baseball gods or whoever controls their BABIP, as I guess they don’t) get their shit together, as I’d like my baseball to include some enjoyment and not just online rants of frustration…

    • The biggest thing that concerns me is how they’ll be able to pull off the comeback since they have to trade Bautista now. #Hayhursted

  6. well said.
    go jays go.

  7. All of this completely misses the great stinking turd in the centre of the room – that only one team in the major leagues has allowed more runs than the Blue Jays. Better than Houston, hooray! It’s nice to think that balls will start falling in and more runs will score, but bad pitching supported by bad defense isn’t going to cut it. I do think the pitching will come around, but I can’t be all that hopeful about the defense.

    • Sample size.

      • Their bad defense has nothing to do with sample size. They have one or two above average defensive players, depending what you think of Rasmus. The rest are below average at their position with little reason to think it can change.

      • Once a sample size reachs 33+ data points it can be analysized for statistical significance and be reliable. But at this point as a Hard Core Blue Jays Fan this team currently is very bad showing some signs of improvenment. But with that said with very poor defence in the in field (especially at 2nd and 3rd prior to BL coming back) has not helped this team at all. It is said when a GM makes a commitment to sign a free agent and keeps throwing him out there expecting to get his moneys worth, but all he keeps getting is crap and game contributing losses. They should of picked johnny mac back to fill in (at least you get solid D with no hitting instead of terrible D and crappy hitting). Zauny said it best by the time this ship is righted it will be too late, this team lacks GRIT and leadership. People want Gibby’s Head, but I think AAA is to blame for providing substandard players (besides Dicky and Reyes). The team fielded last year was better than this to watch, but not on paper.

        • Can someone define what the fuck “grit” is? How do we know we lack it in comparison to other teams? This seems like one of those words that people intuitively seem to think they know what it means, but never bother to define. What exactly is “gritty” play?

          • GRITTY playing to me is how the Yankees play. The hitters are patent at the plate and extend every at BAT. They seem to be a team that never seems out of the game when behind and could come back to win at any time (example the Jays scored first 3 out of the 4 games played and lost the lead either next inning or late in the game). Know I am not a big Yankees fan, but it seems no matter what team the Yankees field the players want to play and win and therefore they have GRITTY at bats (extend pitches) and make plays happen when they get men on base (GRITTY PLAYS).

            The Jays have had terrible at bats this seasons with guys on base and seem to make base running errors.

            • So we’re talking plate discipline (extended at-bats) and good hitting (being able to win any game), really.

              The word “grit” bugs me because it seems to be about will and effort. You even state this yourself with your statement that the Yankees ” want to play and win.” As if the Jays don’t “want to play and win.” Do you seriously think that what is holding the team back is that they don’t want it enough and that they’re just not trying hard enough? That they don’t want to “play and win?” Seriously?

              The Jays aren’t winning because they’re playing like shit. I think everyone agrees on that. The debate is about the cause of this poor play. But are we really going to argue that the cause of this is that they just don’t want it enough?

              I can just see the clubhouse conversation. “OH!! We need to try harder and want to win. Well shit! Why didn’t someone tell me that before? Alright boys, clench those ass cheeks, scrunch up your face and “will” yourself to victory!”

              Ugh.

              • I think it relates to certain players willingness to do particular things in particular situations that translate into winning ie. choking up on 0-2 or swallowing the ball on a swinging bunt when the barehanded hero play can cost the game. Lets not kid ourselves. Not all players are winners despite the fact that they “produce”. Unfortunately, the possibility exists that we may have stacked our roster with them. I still believe in this team but error filled, swinging from the heels games are becoming tiresome.

            • To me for the onlyJays player to exhibit true GRIT is Casey Jansen out of the PEN. When he is on the MOUND IT IS ALL BUSINESS. He does not try to be FINE or pitch around players he ATTACKS and is AGRESSIVE. Another may have been REYES but he got hurt. AS for Brett Lawrie he is just HIGH ENGERY and EXPLOSIVE (he has not matured enough to show true GRIT to me).

              • Honestly, this might be the first time anyone described the Yankees, longtime owners of the highest payroll in baseball, as gritty with the will to win as the main reasons for their multiple championships.

                • Thats not what I am saying at all, of course the Yankees have bought their championships in some cases. The Yankees are winning this year with a bunch of retreads (with some ex-Jays B Team from a few years ago (NIX, Wells, Overbay..etc)). All I am saying is that the Yankees seem to GRIND BATS, make plays and WIN GAMES. The pitchers seem to not have their best, but keep their team in the GAME (e.g. CC Sabatha last time out). Ex-jays like Dave Stieb, Halladay, Henken and D. Ward to me had true GRIT, they Battled out their. It is not about the WILL TO WIN its about being a BATTLER and giving your team an opportunity to WIN.

                  The Jays this year have the highest strike outs, poor OBP, Terrible hitting with men in scoring position, errors and the pitching has been hit and miss (MB and JJ have yet to pitch to potential). They do not seem to truly BATTLING to get those wins, when they fall behind as a fan I do not get the feeling they are going to battle back to win the game. The TEAM is floundering in murky waters with no direction right know.

                  If the TEAM BATTLES and losses so be it, but I can hardly watch them when they give the opposing team a WIN. They have been playing better but we need a winning streak.

    • sample size indeed. They’ve definitely been playing in a fog but everything that can go wrong won’t go wrong forever.

  8. I’d feel a lot better about this if the defence comes around. We need to win a few one- and two-run games, and it feels like we give away runs way too often with sub-standard D.

  9. One more game in April. If they win they can match the 77′ expansion Jays for wins in April!

  10. Well done.

    One of the things that drives me nuts with the “idiots” is that the key thing seems to be making sure they’re among the first to declare what will happen. They hop on everything trying to be the first to declare doom and wave it around in everyone’s faces when they’re right. Of course, they have the privilege of not having their predictions tracked. Sure, you were first and correct THIS time, of course you were wrong the other 98% of the time.

    You don’t get rewards for being first and correct once because you throw so much mud at a wall, eventually something stuck. Rewards come from being consistently correct in your predictions and that requires one to be a bit more cautious and to wait for more data to come in.

    With regard to the strikeout issue, while other teams have more strikeouts, I wonder if there’s differences in where in the batting order those strikeouts are coming from. For instance, if your strikeouts are coming from guys at the absolute bottom of the order, who theoretically, should usually be in lower leverage situations, those strikeouts will be less damaging than when they’re coming from middle or top of the order guys.

  11. By utilizing the stats to convey some logical conclusions creates a false sense of hope for the playoffs.
    Before even considering the playoff run consider that the team will need to be playing superior at that point.
    Right now they are playing bad.
    They first need to rise to mediocre.
    Then to playing good.
    Then to great
    Then to superior.
    Then talk playoffs.
    As constructed now, the Jays starters, collectively have reached the 7th inning 3 times. OBP is abysmal.
    Pitching and hitting.The as currently constructed doesn’t seem likely to go on an 8 game winning streak.
    Let’s see them get to winning 2 of 5, then 3 of 5, then 4 of 5.
    The brass ring isn’t getting closer , it’s getting farther away.

    • Huh?

      • Jeff,the Jays are playing poorly.
        It’s unrealistic to expect them to go on a winning streak to right the ship.Over a full season the Jays COULD make a run,but that starts with incremental success.
        The cry of “it’s early” needs to be met with winning a few games.
        The expression of “small sample size” will soon turn into “moderate sample size”.

        • Fortunately that’s not how the world works.

        • I agree with the sentiment Andrew, but there are some issues that I think might need some real addressing. As we exchanged on Twitter, I think their defensive positioning sucks right now. We need to stop letting single runs get in by letting people on base who should not be there. Butterfield had this team doing amazing things with infield positioning. He is missed.

          We do not have a high OBP lineup. Our core our players are power hitters, not average hitters. That would be fine if we kept the opponents off base a bit more. I think the pitching has gotten better. This weekend would have been a lot worse if it weren’t for the starters.

          I am not panicking, but it is quite a hole that has been dug.

          I also hate that Farrell has the Sox playing .700 ball somehow. I want that to crash back to earth almost as much as I want the Jays to pick it the fuck up.

          • This was not supposed to be a reply to anyone.

          • Saying that johnny dream job has the sox “playing 700 ball” assumes he has much of anything to do with it. It’s the exact same logical fallacy as is found in the fire gibby crowd.

    • I dunno, was the argument here that the Jays are likely to make the playoffs? I took the argument to be that by the end of the year this team will be far better than it is right now.

      As for the playoffs, they’re not out of the question, but the odds are not in our favor.

    • Careful, Radar. You almost made sense with this one.

    • @radar.

      Very true. What is the catalyst that gets the jays on a 5 game winning streak. ?

      If Reyes came back tomorrow that would be a catalyst. It’s not happening.

      If Johnson or dickey go on the disabled list that’s a problem.

      Stoeten’s article is also very good. It’s good tha t some rationality is returning to the analysts. No more sugar coating of the teams problems.

      • No one was ever sugarcoating anything.

        RADAR’s assumption that success can only happen incrementally, and yours that some kind of catalyst is needed, makes for great narrative. The world is not bound by your silly restrictions, though, fortunately.

        • No Stoeten.
          It’s bounded by realism.
          I’m concerned that things may get worse before they get better.
          Starting pitching was supposed to be a strength, so far they have had problems getting to the 7th inning.
          That’s not a made up narrative, that’s reality.
          Again, not an attack on your points, just a counterpoint from a fan.

          • Good point. I like the idea of realism coming into play in these discussions, and it seems as though it’s hard to point it out without having your knowledge of the game questioned. It’s early, but not that early. The Jays have played bad. They need to be way better. How is that going to happen?

          • Ok Radar. By your reasoning about incremental success, than all team should start poorly and then slowly get better. This is baseball with randomness in abundance. A hot week from Buatista and EE and a couple gems from JJ and Morrow could be a 6-1 week, and then there goes that theory. I mean how do you explain a team like the brewers that starts 2-8, looks awful, that goes 10-3? Is that incremental improvement? Nope. That’s BASEBALL.

            • Yeah, cause that happens a majority of the time.
              I can hardly wait for the Astros or the Marlins to go 10 and 3.
              And pitchers that have struggled, are all of a sudden gonna pitch a couple of gems?.
              How did JJ do in his last start? Oh yeah he missed it.They’ll probably let him pitch back to back CG’s.
              And Morrow’s been lights out , just a victim of bad luck.
              It’s gonna take some time for them to hit their stride.
              IMHO

          • If one wants to construct a narrative of continued faith in the face of real world odds, realism is portrayed as panicking, and infrequent exceptions (i.e., miracles) as providing hope.

            Bow at the altar o’ the Jays. Worship them. AA, Wilner and Stoeten comprise the Holy Holey Trinity.

        • I respectfully disagree about sugar coating.

          The offence has been weaker since Reyes got hurt.

          Various players have been missing like lawrie’s, Bautista, etc.

          Even Adam Lind would have been useful this weekend.

          The team will score more runs as years return to normal career numbers.

          Even u acknowledged in A prior post that the return of Jose Reyes in july will be great.

          The reply ” it’s April” without mentioning the concerns that u acknowledged was sugar coating.

        • @ Stoeten

          What’s your prediction?

          It seems to me that a switch won’t be magically turned on May first. Jays could sweep the Mariners next weekend.

      • @ Oakville
        Sorry, if it semed as an attack on Stoeten.Wasn’t meant to be.
        It’s more of voicing a concern that certain stats point in one direction and others point in another.
        How confident is the fanbase in taking games from Boston?
        The team as a whole are under performing.It won’t continue forever. But the turnaround needs to start at some point.

        • Dude – a turnaround does not require some “incremental” step. That is just a silly narrative that you are building. The Jays could easily show up tomorrow and rattle off 8 straight wins. Or lose 8 straight games. Or win 4 and lose 4. If you build in some narrative to make things easier to understand fine, but don’t. The same way you shouldn’t build the narrative that a coin flipped to “heads” 8 straight times is suddenly feeling some “momentum”…. silly, silly, silly.

          • Silly narrative?
            No more silly than comparing a baseball teams wins and losses to flipping a coin.
            A team playing poorly is likely to go on an eight game winning streak?That everything just magically falls into place, all at once?
            Possible? Yes.Likely? Not really.
            Keep your head in the clouds and out of your ass.
            Siliy,silly, silly.

            • I’m going to start flipping a coin to predict the jays record this season. Heads they win, tails they lose. I’ll be back in a few minutes with April

            • You’re right RADAR. Must be momentum. They need momentum to get going. Momentum will be had once everyone has a chance to gell and these guys can get on a roll and turn it around. One game at a time they’ll turn it around.By doing the little things.

            • It’s not just any coin. It’s a weighted coin. No one’s saying that the outcome of a game is just a straight up 50/50 chance. The skill of the players on a team puts the odds in your favor.

              What’s up for debate here is how skilled the team really is. Are they a skilled team having bad luck or were we mistaken about the amount of skill this team actually has and thus overestimating our odds of winning.

        • @radar

          I agree with you that it is more likely that the teams performAnce will improve gradually.

          It’s unlikely that all players will improve at the same time.

          To expect the team to win 10 in a row is foolish

          • How is it more likely? Besides the constructed narrative in your own mind, what facts do you have that suggest the turnaround has to come gradually? Whose to say the team’s luck might not turn suddenly? The analogy of a coin was simply used as an example of something so clearly driven by random luck that it would be silly to build a narrative around it.

            • How about you take your “constructive narrative” and shove it up your ass?
              How about from my perspective and experience of watching baseball for more than a few years. In my experience, even a team that is playing well can go on a losing streak then reel off a winning streak. A team playing badly is unlikely to go on an 8 game winning streak without a few bumps first.I hope I’m proven wrong.
              That’s not a narrative but an observation from watching a lot of baseball.
              That’s what baseball is like.Ya should try watching a game or two, you might learn something.

  12. it seems like we have been really unlucky, but, damn a .253 BABIP, .41 points below league average!!! what have we done to deserve this?

    Stoeten, I think it is time for you to sacrifice a small animal at the altar of the BABIP goods to restore their good favour! :)

  13. great article Stoeten!

  14. Here’s what I’ve been thinking to keep myself sane and not let the negativity effect my enjoyment of the games. Embrace if you like, scorn if you don’t:

    If you look at the season as basically four 40 game quarters, then we need to win 22.5 out of 40 games every quarter to win 90 games.

    If the Jays go 7-6 the next 13 games (admittedly the weakest part of my mindset), then they’ll win 16 games in the first quarter, and will have to make up roughly 2 games for the next 3 quarters, or win 24 out of 40 games each quarter.

    There are many reasons to think they can do that. Lets get Reyes back at .500 and take it from there?

  15. I went and looked at the probable pitchers page on Bluejays.com. Damn, that does not lighten the mood at all. Dempster is sitting at an ERA of 3.30, and that’s the highest of the next four opposing pitchers. I don’t dare look deeper into the stats.

    Good post Stoeten.

  16. Stoeten, on Friday you copied a comment from Drew about how there is hope for Bautista and none for Izturis and Bonifacio. Now you are citing Cameron citing their way-below normal BABIPs. I hope this is the view you espouse and in quoting Drew, you weren’t agreeing with what he said.

    It is as fair to say there is no hope for improvement from Izturis and Bonifacio as it is to say the whole team’s season is over.

  17. What shall be the sacrifice to the baseball gods now?

  18. Thanks for the reality check. I can’t even read most comments anymore. I think the best quote for this situation is from Hum and Chuck (who you provide a link to):

    “A few years ago I was watching some playoff game or another with my father, and I began making wailing noises at some point due to the unbearable suspense that comes into play during playoff baseball. And my father turned to me and said, “If you are going to watch this game, you better toughen up.”

    As disappointing as the losses in NY have been they have been good close games. Exciting and entertaining.

  19. Bautista has been extremely disappointing. The need to get a big hit to cash in runs starts with him and he hasn’t come up with many big hits.

    But he is almost exactly where he was at the same arbitrary end mark (April) last year. But it is a bit concerning to me that he is walking less and k’ing more. Anyway, let’s check back in on all this stuff 30 games from now.

    • Joey bats has been disappointing I agree. He’s prolly going up to swing thinking about which celebs to add later on Twitter………

  20. Damn it Stoeten, I’m sitting here writing something of similar vein for my blog — not exactly the same, but similar — and you have to go and pen this excellent piece. Now I have to do some re-writes so it doesn’t sound like I’m stealing your idea and that’s more work for me so fuck you.

    Seriously though, great read and great work as always. Thanks for being a rational and reasonable voice in all of this.

  21. Nice work Stoeten.

    I find it helpful for my perspective and sanity to compare the Jays’ record, and baseball team records in general, to NFL records. The multiplier is easy (10) and the winning percentages necessary to have a shot at the playoffs are similar.

    The Jays’ NFL-equivalent record right now (rounding up) is 1-2. If a NFL team that was highly touted in preseason has a 1-2 record, there is of course concern and “What’s wrong with the Patriots?” stories, but no one completely counts them out at that point. Nor should anyone count out the Blue Jays. Not yet.

    • good idea. I think they are a tiny bit better than 1-2 and have played slightly less games as well. sweet.

    • Exactly why people need not get bent out of shape yet. As Stoeten points out, all of the stats will normalize, or at least most. That means players will be performing above their career norms.

      It would be nice if it started now though.

      • Agreed. Lots of baseball to be played. But if this isn’t the season’s low point (or fucking close to it), then this team is in trouble.

  22. Melkey’s babip is more likely to be closer to its true level now than it was in the preceeding years (seriously a high 300′s babip? THAT is the outlier)

  23. As poorly as the Blue Jays are playing right now this past four game sweep at the hands of the Yankees is a prima facie case for a team not catching ANY breaks right now. To get swept in four games is not easy. To get swept when the team had a lead in every single game is damn near impossible. The fact it was done with a lot of ex-Blue Jay castoffs only serves to rub salt in the wounds. This team will play better but they’ve also left themselves very little wiggle room. These guys have to start winning games especially against division rivals. A series win against the incoming Red Sox would be a nice start.

  24. Wasn’t Oakland 8 games under .500 at the end of May last year? They lost 8 in a row at one point to fall to 22-30, maybe that was a little bit before the end.

    Seriously though, I really hope they turn it around this week 4 or 5 wins would be nice. Tough task against Boston with Lester, Bucky and Dumpster on the mound. Hopefully some big games from Morrow and Johnson.

    • Boston sucks.

      • Actually, I hate to say it, but right now, unfortunately, Boston does not suck.

        I think the hysterical need to take a step back off the parapet, and the overly-optimistic might need to take a step forward. The team has not played real well and the results reflect this. Apparently they’ve had some bad luck but I’m of the opinion that you make your own luck. At some point sooner or later, the wealth of talent we have acquired will begin to straighten up and fly right. Don’t forget we have a bunch of Marlins who failed once and are failing again. That’s the kind of stuff that messes with their heads. Gibbons has been no worse than Farrell, and Farrell is fielding a winning team right now. Is that down to him being a better manager? Probably not. It’s the end of April now and the month is over. It’s entirely possible that the team will finally click into place. And if not, there’s always next year with probably the same bunch and way fewer expectations.

        • @ Isabella.

          +5. It’s hilarious that Stoeten is bashing the red sox current performance which is remarkable given the pre season expectations.

          Will they regress ? Probably. But a 80-85 win season from the red sox isn’t too shabby.

          Unless Stoeten was just saying he hates the Red Sox. That’s OK & deserves a +1 because they are annoying.

      • You’d trade our whole team for theirs, wouldn’t you? I would in a second.

    • we’re going against Boston’s 3 top pitchers starting tomorrow? fuck our luck sucks trucks

  25. #lovethisteam

  26. Honestly, you’re right as far as giving up on the season goes, and as far as how fucking stupid the precedent prospecting is becoming. But the Wilnerisms about how the team is playing better than we think are becoming extremely tiresome, not that you’ve been a culprit for the past few weeks. There is something seriously wrong with the team, namely that all the players are fucking sucking.

    Does it mean that they will continue to suck tomorrow? Hopefully not, but based on the absolute fucknuttery we’ve had to endure this April, I don’t think there’s any reason to defend the team or the manager from being shat on. In fact, I suspect you’d be doing so a little more if it wouldn’t come across as an endorsement of abject panic.

    • No, I’ve watched a whole baseball season before, so I understand that poor stretches happen to the best of teams and are magnified intensely when they come at the start of the year, with no prior record to rest back on. But thanks for trying to put words in my mouth.

    • A day off is what they need. Pitching well to Ortiz this week will be another.

  27. As of this morning the Jays have a team BABIP of 0.252, the MLB average is 0.285. Given that the team has 870 ABs, that’s about 28 hits “lost” due to luck, or more than one per game. Turn 4 losses into wins and this team is at 0.500. The hitting is unsustainably bad right now. Will the law of averages turn around fast enough? That is the 120 million dollar question.

  28. Dear Stoeten,
    Can we panic NOW?
    Love,
    Sherwood

  29. Very enjoyable post.

    It’s good to read about optimism that isn’t centered around sample size. It’s tough to read “it’s early” every day when the team seems to remain flatlined.

    I’m hoping for 2 straight winning series’ at some point in the next couple of weeks.

  30. Hey, Stoeten. I think the article does a good job of countering some of the individual claims that people are erroneously tryign to cite as “proof” that it’s all over, but to me, in terms of this mythical “panic” button, there is a more pertinent point which you only allude to.

    As you correctly demonstrate, all of these historical comparisons are like comparing apples to oranges, with arbitrary data ranges, etc. Besides, as the 2004 Red Sox showed the Yankees, not even a *never* lasts forever.

    The thing is, though, that it is soon coming to the time when the Jays will *need* to go on one of these red-hot streaks. Simply starting to play to the back of their baseball cards will no longer do it. That’s when we have to go beyond citing examples of other teams that have done it, but look at how increasingly rare it is to come back fromwhatever depths the Jays are digging themselves into.

  31. Fuck – watching Gibby manage has been the most encouraging thing so far this year – a manager managing by evidence rather than by hunch.

    If they fire him (which they won’t) I’m officially jumping ship (to the Pirates).

  32. I’m not giving up yet, but can someone please find me more straws to clutch on to? It’s early and bad luck need to start being joined by our hitters are in a groove and our defense looks great.

  33. Take away the strikeouts by pitchers batting and the Jays have more K’s than the Braves’ position players. In 100 more PA granted.

  34. If you’re going to argue Ben’s sample size isn’t big enough then you should expand the sample to include all seasons from 1994-2012. And while your at it look at the standings as if there were 2 wildcard spots. This would give the most complete picture to analyze.

    But in any case, I think you’re arguing semantics. After all you number manipulation, you get 28% of teams with losing records in April made the playoffs as opposed to 22%.

    I think in either case you should be able to see that those are terrible fucking odds. Am I supposed to feel better about the team over that 6% bump?

    The main point of Ben’s article remains in tact. It is very difficult to make the playoffs with a losing April (I’m not even going to dig into the fact that they are well below .500).

    Whether its 22% or 28% or something in-between, these numbers show that it’s not unreasonable to be upset with the team’s craptacular start to the season.

    For every 2001 Oakland A’s team there are many more that got nowhere near the playoffs.

    I don’t think it’s impossible for them to make the playoffs. But I think it’s time to stop shitting on every doomsday proclaimer, because the odds are already stacked against the team.

    • Assuming that a 28% chance is terrible odds is not taking into account that only 10 of 30 teams make the playoffs, or 33%.

      So from the 0-0 start, we haven’t really gotten any further behind.

      • Thank you JP – exactly what I was going to get into.

        Methinks half the people here have still missed the whole point.

        • Point taken

        • Its not 28% of teams with losing records in April make the playoffs. Its 28% of playoff teams had losing records in April. BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

          • What % of teams with losing records in April make the playoffs, though? It is either a good team needing time to get its act together, or just not a good team.

            I think the Jays are a good team, but I’m starting to wonder if it is too much to ask the overall lineup to compensate for Arencibia’s shortcomings on both sides of the plate and Rasmus’s at the plate. These may be two opportunities for addition by subtraction, even if you don’t get anything back for these two.

            I don’t know anything about Thole other than he was good on paper 2 years ago. I know enough about Gose that I’d take him over Rasmus right now.

            • You think of all 26 guys including guys like Santos and Reyes that are not even playing right now, that JPA is “the problem”??

              JPA leads the team in OPS (if you don’t include Reyes’s small sample)!

              Do you guys even think before typing?

            • That’s why no ML team as called you to offer the GM job.

    • Cameron just put up an article on fangraphs explaining just how fucked the Jays are. If a mostly unbiased statistical mind thinks the Jays are fucked I might have to reconsider my little straw of hope I’m clinging to.

  35. I feel like panicking and bitching and moaning because, well, it’s stunk to see them lose. However, Ben’s article was a pretty atrocious use of stats and his, otherwise, well spent time. There’s no reason why a 27 game streak in April means anything more than a 27 game streak elsewhere. I’m sure you can find some comparable 27 game streaks from other teams that finished with decent records.

    Still, just fucking win. This stinks.

  36. I blame astrology. The Blue Jays have been oppressed by Aries, The Ram, as the Sun enters its second celestial phase. Though normally ending on April 20, I believe the latitudinal positioning of Toronto has extended Aries reign. What’s interesting here is that it’s taken the form of an infatuation: our most susceptible players find themselves affected by the vigorous temperament Aries brings. Both those of Capricorn (Encarnacion, Lawrie, Arencibia, Johnson) and Libra (Bautista, Dickey, Happ, Davis, Oliver) will not see their fortunes change until the zodiac moves into that of Taurus, the Bull; and the team as a whole, until the Sun shifts its orbit away from Mars, and into a more harmonious alignment with Venus.

    • I think you’re on to something. No, I think this you’ve got it. When will the sun’s orbit shift?

      • Well, see, that’s what scares me: the month of Aries was supposed to end on April 20th, but if you look at it we were mediocre before that period at 7-9 and then 2-8 directly after, coinciding nicely with the beginning of the Taurus phase. All this seems to mean that we could either be at the end of an extended slump, or at the beginning of a new, more dismal period than before. The Taurus period ends May 20th.

        • Fuck, I was joking the first time but I have seen the signs and they point down. The stars do not lie.

    • hahaha

  37. Here is a funny comment from the following article: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/29/r-a-dickey-says-the-yankees-were-stalling-yesterday/

    Not sure which is worst: Dickey making an issue of Nunez’s alleged stalling tactics, or the fact that the Jays players think Edwin Encarnacion’s lame home run trot with right-arm-elevated is really cool.

    Jays should note that no team in baseball history has ever won a division title with a player who has a right-arm-elevated home run trot.

    For those who haven’t seen it, here it is: http://www.fangraphs.com/not/edwin-encarnacion-status-update-still-a-t-rex/

  38. Our problem is that both the hitters and pitchers have been underperforming (and not executing defensively) at the same time.

    Low BABIP for, high-ish against, not enough walks for (despite league worst zone rate), way too many against.

    It should average out over the season…

    • The problem with BABIP is that when a team is struggling at the plate, they won’t be hitting as many balls hard (as compared to a good hitting team). The lack of hard hit balls then leads to worse BABIP numbers because soft hit balls are easier to field. While BABIP can be used as an indicator of good/bad luck, it is not 100% independent of player skill.

      • Jays line drive rate is league average.

        GB/FB rate is league average.

        Luck more than scuffling.

  39. I can see all of this bad luck turning……right about the point we are eliminated from playoff contention – then we can enjoy the 10 game winning streak in September to reach .500

  40. shame its not hockey.
    Then at 9-17 the Jays would only be 1 or 2 games out of the final playoff spot

  41. My spirits have picked up considerably since uninstalling Twitter from my phone.

    Of course I still get texts from buddies like “hey I just tweeted Wilmer, Jays suck!!1 need 2 fire Gibby, send Laurie to AAA Syracuse and get a proven closer”

  42. Maybe this isn’t relevant, but all those other teams that were below .500 didn’t live in the AL East. “Small sample size” sure, but the Red Sox and Yankees are better than advertised, and the O’s and Rays can’t be discounted. Have any AL East division winners in past 10-13 years had a losing record at the end of April?

    • The fact that this article was written tells you everything you need to know. The start to the season has been an unmitigated disaster and while the season isn’t lost, they’ve pushed this bad start about as far as they can. If winning the division was a challenge at the start of the year, they now have a mountain to climb. Personally, this is what concerns me about their ability to climb back from this:

      - Dickey and Johnson battling injuries
      - Reyes not back till All Star break
      - Defense is a weakness, not a strength like we hoped

    • The Yankees were .500 near the end of May last year

  43. Here is another morsel of positivity to throw on the pile:

    The Jays are 3rd in the league in home runs, but 23 of 33 of their HRs have been with nobody on base. If you add just 1 runner on base in just a few spots, (including against the Yankees this past weekend), they easily have a few more wins and are at least close to .500.

  44. It’s funny. I was getting really upset as losses mounted, and this most recent 1-6 road trip has calmed me down. They were all close games, which allowed me to just relax and enjoy the game. And that’s what the entertainment is really about. Not the wins and losses, but is it entertaining. And the Jays have been more entertaining recently. Next step is winning, hopefully, as a whole season of close but not quite good enough just gives you the Toronto Raptors, but there are definitely some good signs coming out of the team.

    A note on Gibbons bullpen management. I get why people like it, but I feel that he’ll go to the pen too early sometimes. There was really no need to go to Delabar in the 8th yesterdsay. Dickey wasn’t pitching poorly, his pitch count was still under 100 and the bullpen has been really overworked. How about saving the unnecessary work on the bullpen.

    • I agree, but I’m thinking that they didn’t want to strain Dickey since he’s been feeling discomfort over the last couple of weeks. My bet is that the reason lies there. Otherwise I’m sure he gets a chance at a complete game loss like Halladay used to.

  45. Stoeten – a very good attempt at explaining life to people. Sadly many are still missing the point.

    We have a rotation capable of winning 2 games in a row each. That would be 10 wins in a row and would put us smack into the “race”.

    Our potential for doing this is not really any different than it was at the beginning of the season. Reyes is out and Lawrie is in. That’s the biggest difference.

    Past performance does not equal future results.

  46. any day now . . . double-digit wins! In May for sure!

    • It’s going to happen. Boston and New York are not good teams. They both suck. It’s going to be a good time soon.

      • Boston is a very good team. They have OBP guys stacked through their lineup. The question was with their pitching and their pitching has been great and likely will regress a little but not enough to slow them down. New York? I can’t explain New York.

  47. Very little, if anything, should be made of that statistic by Ben Nicholson-Smith. It amounts to the same logic behind “the team that scores first usually wins” — which is flawed causally. Usually, the better team scores first. When the worse team scores first, they have given themselves an advantage, but this does not set them up for an equal likelihood of winning as it would have been if the better team had scored first.

    To extend that to BNS’s point: Assuming that most things average out, the majority of teams that have losing records in April will be bad teams. But due to a number of factors and a lot of randomness, often teams that are actually rather good will still lose a majority of games in a given month. When this happens, that team is much better positioned to still do well in the long run than those other teams. I assume that if you look at April stats for all teams, usually the teams that end up below .500 are teams that were expected to do exactly that. Increase the sample size, and that will absolutely be the case.

    Add in the problem of your best players being injured or on the bench. Chances are, over time, when those things happen, the records of good teams take a dip. We all know of specific cases where that did not happen, but none of us would take that information and call for the injured player to not re-join the team. (The Jays have a better record without Bautista than with him? — bench the bum!)

    All that to say, please shout at your TV the next time an announcer says “The team that scores first wins X% of the time”.

  48. Until John Gibbons is relieved of his duties everyone is wasting their breath talking about this team….he is proving all over again that he is mentally incapable of managing all of the details that come with a big league team.

    And if your response is “Gibbons doesn’t coach the hitters” like a few of you wrote to me last week then just save your typing because you’re beyond useless in this discussion.

    Gibbons is responsible for the performance of anyone (like the Jays hitting coach and the players) who reports to him….that is what being the boss entails. Managers empower coaches and hitters to employ strategies that are in agreement with HIS overall gameplan so the only conclusion right now is that Gibbons strategy is to have guys swing early and swing big….great plan Gibby

    Wake me up when A.A. heads south to beg Cito to come back and save this thing again…

    • Amen

    • Oh do fuck right off.

    • “you’re beyond useless in this discussion”

      And you are useful based on what exactly? I’m sure you are totally one of the top 5 players on your beer league softball team right? And once gave a guy some advice and then he got a hit.

      • I haven’t played baseball in 10+ years and I’ve never given anyone hitting advice, but I have been successful in my career and I’ve been around even more successful people….and I can tell you without a doubt that John Gibbons is in way over his head….we’ve seen him manage this team to a losing record in the past with no success and he’s already doing it again here….every re-tread manager/coach in sports has been a guy who initially had success, then began to fail, was fired and the brought back to try to re-kindle the past. Gibbons never succeeded here and no other club in baseball wanted him as anything but assistant coach….so you can tell me that the problem is a bunch of variables outside of the manager’s control, but we will all suffer with this team until A.A. realizes the mistake he made bringing this clown back….

        • Oh you are successful! At some job!

          Well I’m sure whatever your career is, it includes astral projection into a locker room where you then can glean omissions by someone in their field that you have no experience in, and deduce the causal relevance of those omissions.

          “I can tell you without a doubt that John Gibbons is in way over his head”

          I’m sure that you never doubt yourself. This might be a bad thing though.

    • Great post above from anon followed by a dumpster fire from Brett. Sweet fuck. Thats pretty much your range of fans for this team.

    • You are completely right – if they only had a manager as good as the Red Sox have, they would be the best fucking team in baseball.

  49. Horrible team. Even I can’t be optimistic about it and I am as optimistic as they come.

  50. well written Stoeten
    I believe this day off is gonna do well and regroup the boys in blue

  51. A plea from a frequent reader/occasional commenter:

    Jesus fuck.

    Reading DJF comments lately hurts my fucking brain.
    How can so many panicky idiots crowd in one place? Especially a place where most of the articles written, of late, are about how panicking is idiotic.

    I read a lot and don’t comment often, but this is getting ridiculous.

    If the Jays don’t make the playoffs, all these clowns will be back saying “See!? I told you all in April that this was going to happen!”, not realizing that regardless of what happens in September, they’re still fucking morons for panicking in APRIL.

    Please stop the insanity.

    Hugs and kisses.

    • This comment isn’t just for Clay…it’s for everyone complaining about fans who are “panicking”….you’re correct when you say it’s only April and under other circumstances I would agree with you…..except for the fact that our sample size of the John Gibbons experience is actually quite larger…it has been proven that this guy is a LOSER and this team will follow his lead until they get an organized manager who know how to run a successful baseball club….so my “I told you so” is indefinite Clay until they fire this clown…

      • Haha you couldn’t have come up with a better response than that. Just a perfectly crafted idiot troll response exactly like the one he claimed was driving him nuts. Unbelievable.

        • I think my brain just essploded.

        • Don’t worry pal….I’ll watch for you and all your idiot buddies at the opener next year when you buy a new Jays jersey to renew your optimism because the team played .600 baseball in September again to finish fourth in the East….keep living the dream…

          • You are the epitome of everything that’s wrong with humanity.

            • That’s your response? Both of your reponses have had nothing to do with a logical explanation for why people shouldn’t worry about John Gibbons….if you can’t defend Gibbons then stop commenting…if you can then I welcome an explanation as to why people shouldn’t worry about a guy who failed miserably in his first managerial cameo with the Jays and is actually doing a worse job now…I’m waiting Clay…

              • I’m not going to get trolled into a debate. If you think John Gibbons is somehow responsible for the team’s record to this point, it would be like arguing with a mentally challenged six-year old.

                There’s nothing I can say that will change your mind, so you go ahead and believe that a manager has that much influence on a games outcome.

                It’s not like Gibbons managed the 2006 Jays to their best finish since 1993 or anything.

                *head pat*

                Everything will be okay. I promise. :)

                • At some point in your life Clay, you’re going to have to get off the sidelines and actually say something….so far all you’ve said is that worrying is idiotic….without adding why….so when do you hit the panic button Clay? Late summer 2014 after John Gibbons has compiled a .425 record? I’m not looking for a debate….just give me something to understand your side of it…

              • Gibbons did not “fail miserably”. He actually managed some decent teams that were grossly overspent by their division rivals, generally poorly constructed to the point that they relied on one (admittedly awesome) pitcher and Vernon Fucking Wells as their best position player.

              • Fuck get a clue you moron…Gibby went 305-305 when he was here the first go around, Cito was 211-201 when he took over after him…big FUCKING deal. The manager of a baseball team has a FAR lower impact on the team than the 25 guys that actually play on the field do. I dont care if you like Gibbons or not, but firing him wouldnt change a fucking thing…Cito isnt saving shit and neither is anyone else.

      • You, sir, are in fact an idiot.
        TSN.ca comments section is that way—->

        You cannot seriously believe that a manager has that kind of impact on a tea… Wait, why am I feeding the troll?

        Fuck off troll.

    • When is it okay to officially start panicking? 10 games .500? 20 games??

      Frankly, I’m starting to panic right now and I don’t feel I should be ashamed for admitting so. Does it mean I’m jumping off the band wagon? Hell no. But I’m not going to be a delusional apologist either.

      If AA, Gibbons and the team aren’t starting to enter panic mode right at this moment then this team is absolutely doomed. It’s gut check time and these guys better start taking things very seriously from here on out.

      • “under .500″

      • Why are you panicking over baseball? Are you a member of the Jays?

        • Concern vs. Panic

          I think some people need to look at the definitions of both those words. If you’re panicking, yes, I’m afraid you should be ashamed.

          • I looked it up.

            “Concern” = what you do when your team is hovering around .500 early in the season, and has some underachievers and some injury concerns, with some potential options down on the farm.

            “Panic” = when your team has just suffered a 4 game sweep at the hands of a bad AAA club, has its better players with limbs and appendages dangling from their body, has absolutely no reinforcements except a never-ending waiver wire dance o’ the 25th man and whose utter suckitude is only eclipsed by a team with a lesser payroll than ARod makes in a year and who has fewer wins than games that are in back of the division leaders just as April comes to a close.

            I’d say the panickers have a pretty good handle on it all.

    • History shows that panicking in April, under the circumstances, is far more correct than not panicking.

      Or, we can sit around reading you and whoever that ugly bearded effer is screeching “Oh, gosh darn it to heck and skittlefarts, it’s just a flesh wound.”

      • Obviously you didn’t look it up, you fucking moron. So let me lay it out for you:

        Panic: a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of people.

        Really? The hysterical, irrational people have a good handle on it?

        Jesus fucking Christ.

        This shit is goddamned insane.

        • Obviously there’s reason for concern. I’m concerned. But justifying panic?
          That’s fucking retarded.
          Give your head a shake.

        • I think your lack of intelligence is causing you to, not only swear uncontrollably in lieu of anything meaningful, but also to think far too literally. It’s the irrational optimists that are coining the term “panic” as the characterization of the opposition, so that they can futilely attempt to promote their irrational thoughts as true. That opposition has simply embraced the term, even though they don’t literally think in that manner.

          Now, if you can cure your Tourette’s long enough to stop the bad swears and the big boy curses for a post, you can apologize to the board for subjecting it to your stupidity.

        • Easy tiger. They are just words. Don’t let your first foray into a dictionary get you so wound up.

          • My second foray into the dictionary just happened to see me flip directly to the tail-end of the “F” section. So … Fuck off, fudgefucker. See? Me learn. Me learn good.

            I have no problem with the occasional usage of expletives, for the sake of emphasis or even just for shock value. What I do have an issue with is using expletives to attempt to cover up that you have no clue what’s going on.

            But then, a leader is personified by his followers, so, I probably shouldn’t expect much.

  52. Boston has 18 wins. Whoopty-Fuck.

  53. The defense is H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. Without defense the Jays will not contend. The pitchers will be worse because of their lack of faith in the men behind them.

    The Jays better step up on their defensive drills because nobody is going to wave a magic wand and make them better defensively.

    John Gibbons has pretty much admitted he has no control over the hitters (???), what can he control then? Can he tell his players to not swing in certain situations? Other managers can and do!

    If Gibbons only managing skill set is working the bullpen and only way of sending a message is getting into confrontations with players who’s ear he has lost, than this is going to be a very long season.

    Personally I think John Gibbons is a good person and a nice guy (maybe too nice), but he seems to be weak leader.

    People don’t buy failing products Rogers.

  54. What frustrates me most about this cold start is that there were obvious red flags regarding this team before the season began (many seemed to expect Encarnacion, Dickey, and the like to match or approach their career years, for example, and to expect Lawrie to improve considerably from his performance last year), but anyone who so much as remotely criticized the team’s makeup was shouted down as a buzzkill. Now that the team is actually underperforming even those tempered expectations, the very same people are complaining that anyone pointing out how young the season still is, and how very real the Jays’ chances of making the postseason still are, is an irrationally optimistic apologist.

    Maybe, just maybe, a little perspective is in order. Stoeten’s written an excellent piece here–god hope it helps people realize this. We’re embarrassing ourselves as a fanbase.

  55. It’s pretty hilarious how wilner and stoets keep using the dumb luck argument every year. and BAbip doesn’t measure anything. Hitting ground balls doens’t equal bad luck

    The real reason this team sucks is obvious: defence and low obp

    I would suggest the defence has cost them 3-4 wins alone. izturis, bono, davis, and JPA are simply horrible. This isn’t suddenly going to change with more games.

    just look at the dwar’s

    izturis -.4 last year
    bono -.7 last 2 years
    davis -1.8 last 3 years
    melky -2.1 last 4 years

    and guess who brought those players in?

    compare that to jayson nix who had a +1 dwar with toronto in only 46 games. And mike mccoy career dwar of 1.2. Yet alex doesn’t want those guys. AA places no value on defense then pretends like it doesn’t matter when plays aren’t made.

    half the team doesn’t walk. that means low obp. You are never going to score runs consistently if you don’t walk. These guys aren’t suddenly going to walk. Notice how other teams score runs with only 1 hit, yet we need 3 hits?

    Add in the fact that we have poor baserunners. How many times have you seen a hit expecting a run to come in and then there’s lind or rasmus standing on third?

    So the sum of it all is that there is no way this team can win consistently with those glaring factors. That means tihs team is bad and those shitty players who can’t play defense and don’t walk need to gone. But I don’t think AA has the balls to release players with guaranteed money so it’ll be next year.

    • +1

    • You are completely ignoring the fact that OBP rates in under 100 PA’s are virtually meaningless. Way too much noise. Yes, the team has sucked because they have failed to get on base. No, the team will not continue to suck because they will not continue to be this bad in regard to OBP. Separate the explanation from the predictor.

  56. Why isn’t Moises up yet?

  57. Yeah I watched 2 of those Yankeee games in my pajamas this weekend (west coast, also I prefer to wake up at the crack of noon). Shit didn’t look good at all. The worst of the series was probably Friday’s game, where they got to the pen in like the third inning and then did nothing.

    This was a nice piece to read. I think it’s worth withholding judgment until the end of May. If they’re like 7-10 games below .500 at that point, then I’ll be ready to write this year off as the 21st consecutive non-playoff campaign.

    I’ve even got tickets to go to Seattle this August for a couple of games, this whole month has had me going ‘well that’s time/money well spent!’

    • Good question.

      How many teams playing sub-.500 ball by the end of May have made the playoffs?

  58. The worst was watching gardner go straight back and make a leaping catch at the wall and then seeing rajai zig zagging all over, fear in his eyes, flail wildly at the ball, go off his glove and then fall down, then 5 minutes later after the ball came to a complete stop, bautista decided to show up and pick up the ball.

  59. Well, I’ve got to chime in finally.

    I have always appreciated Wilner’s ability to run off facts, and call people out for setting fire to their own pants and jumping into a pool of gasoline. That said, he works for Rogers. I fucking guarantee the M.O. for Wilner right now by the media giant that owns the team – and every media outlet permitted to broadcast them on radio or television – is to placate people and soothe the beast that is anxious assumption. I even understand this to a certain extent. However, I am a level headed guy, and I consider myself to be a fair judge of talent in baseball after playing for many years, and watching MLB doggedly for 25.

    This team is embarrassing right now. They have holes literally everywhere, and they are springing more with their starting pitching in Johnson and Dickey. Reyes is gone for another good chunk of the first half of the season, and there will almost assuredly be other injuries to key guys. All this is faced by most teams, and they get over it. My major problem here is that we sacrificed a ton of depth in our system to get these guys, and they are not performing. Should they be? Most of them came from the NL, where Beuhrle wanted to finish his career, justifiably, and Reyes has played his whole career, as has Johnson. This is the AL east , the most competitive division in baseball by a LONG shot, and I’m afraid we simply do not have the talent. There are times when I wince knowing that we have a string of Izturis, Davis, Bonifacio, Rasmus, and even Arencibia coming up to the plate because their at bats are horrendous, and mostly end in strike outs or a DP ball to end a potential rally. Then we get to the obviously horrid defensive side of the Jays, which is leading the league in errors, and man have they been untimely.

    I guess the point of my diatribe is that we have a reason to be upset, and negative. We are emotionally — and let’s face it, financially in many cases — invested in this team, and the Toronto media is partially responsible for the hype. These are the same fucking people telling us to calm down and treating us like asinine children for responding with a little panic and disappointment. Fuck off. Seriously. Are we supposed to cheer with medicated smiles cause our team is almost on par with the HOUSTON FUCKING ASTROS? I guess these media people take a kick to the plums and love it? Fuck you Wilner, and fuck all you shitbag commenters that suck their balls and stroke their shafts to make yourself feel in league with these guys, pumping up your own smug sense of self worth. The point of these call in shows, and web sites, is so we can express ourselves, not so we can masochistically be sodomized by some ego maniacal, arrogant prick’s paid for by Rogers abuse. We have a right to be pissed off, especially when the team beating us is full of Overbays, Wells, and Travis Fucking Hafners! He’s pretty much a potato with appendages!
    Then there’s the mediocre Red Sox, with our cunt of an ex- manager tipping his hat to us and laughing in our faces. You enjoy this shit?

    Fuck it. Just keep a straight face and preach the same bullshit then, predicating all of it on past numbers and blah blah fucking statistics, drink the goddamn Kool-Aid, grab your ankles and hold on for the ride — I hope you brought lube.

    I’ll just keep being honest and going to the liquor cabinet every time I watch them play.

    • +1

    • You’re spot on man.

      Instead of having good players and hoping for the playoffs we should have prospects and hope that they turn into good players so we can hope for the playoffs later.

      How stupidly meta.

      • Make general statements about needing good players is win.

        Did it work for Miami? Stanton being equal with Encarnacion or Bautista, what exactly is the major difference between the two clubs? Other than the Miami Marlins being in a much easier division in the NL?

        • Dickey and Morrow?

          How about that John Buck batted .192 and had 12HR all year, while JPA has 8 already this year?

          They had Bonifacio in CF?

          Is this really a question?

    • Don’t worry, there are lots of other people that are bad at math, too.

      Listen, no one is pretending things are thumbs up right now. I’m just as pissed off and upset as you are – to the point of trying to mentally separate myself from the Jays and pay attention to my actual real life (shudders). But these are the same people saying the same things a week ago when they were 2 games under .500. And, yes, it’s just that much more of shitstorm to crawl out of now. But no one – not you, or I, or The Wilners of the world have any idea of what the next few months will hold. Will the historically poor batting numbers hold up? Unlikely. Is this team as bad now as it would be good on a 10 game winning streak? No. Hell, the 2006 WS Champion Cardinals had 3 months where they were under .500, including a 9-16 June. Sure, it’s an outlier, but the playoffs are such a small sample size that luck is a major factor. Luck – in sports, as it does in life – exists. Luck explains evolution – random variances that change history.

      If Rogers wanted Wilner to be a corporate shill, do you not think they’d tell him to stop alienating the post game callers by pointing out their ignorance and irrationality all these many years?

      So we get back on the horse, and hope for the best. Challenging? Yes? Statistically unprecedented? Not at all.

      • I’m not POOR at math, I just don’t think you can use it as a basis for conjecture in any and every situation, like people tend to do with baseball now.

        You cannot remove the human element from everything, and this team simply does not look to have the skill to compete in this division. Simple as that. There are above average players that I like on this team: Cabrera, Reyes, Dickey, Bautista, Encarnacion. Sure, they’re great players, but last time I checked they can’t bat 8 times each a game, and field every position, or pitch every other start. There are too many holes, and they will not be filled this year.

        We have a base for a good team, but not a great team. I’m genuinely hoping Josh Johnson can at least have a good stretch so we can deal him, because he isn’t under any circumstances coming back, especially the way things are going right now. If a contender wants Beuhrle then I say we deal him too.

    • +1 for the red bull fuel led rage. It’s hilarious to listen to Wilner trying to do mental gymnastics.

      He kept arguing that the las angels bad April didn’t matter in 2012 because they were ahead of Oakland on june1. By 3.5 games…

      If the angels had plsyed500 ball in April, they would be in the playoffs.

      It gets tiresome bring lectured to by members of the media as to when it is ok to cheer, boo, panic, don’t panic, etc.

      The jays record is what it is, so it is harder today for them to get to 90 wins than it was on April 2nd.

      Just enjoy the games. Hopefully the roof wil be open on saturday.

  60. i wont lose hope until they are 100% out……until that point, there is always hope.

  61. I’d just like to comment/question the criticism of Ben Nicholson-Smith’s sample size of 10 years. I read this blog regularly and I’ve seen the sample size argument to rationalize the often irrational reaction to a slump. I don’t want to point out something that’s not intended by the writer, but I guess I’ll do it anyway: I think Stoeten’s trying to insinuate that Nicholson-Smith chose the sample in order to augment an argument that the Jays are crashing and burning and not to gain a representative look at the population of data.

    Certainly I won’t tell Stoeten what to write, but I think the critique is a bit opaque in addressing the above concern. It’s quite easy to poke holes in this sample, Stoeten’s clearly done that. However, I don’t think it’s fair to simply poke holes, say Nicholson-Smith’s wrong, and then move on. If you’re going to argue that the sample isn’t large enough, that opens three questions that need to be answered:

    1) What should the sample size be?
    2) Why did you choose the sample size you did?
    3) What conclusions does the new sample size give?

    I’ll grant that this is more art than science and that it would probably be more difficult than simply adding a couple of years more worth of data as a counterargument to Nicholson-Smith’s. However, I just think think that considering the “sample size” excuse has been a refrain for this season, it would be nice to get one, a sample I mean, that more accurately depicted what history has said about such starts.

    • You people who complain every time someone says the words “small sample size” need to just stop it. It’s a valid argument. As for this article, Stoeten pointed out why the sample size used was flawed – it does not take into account today’s environment (more wild card teams), the fact that most April’s are short months in MLB, and that adding one more year to the arbitrary end point has a significant impact on the results (which is enough to show that the sample size is too small).

      So really, it’s not just a matter of small sample size – it’s a matter of incorrect samples to begin with. The sample size is basically 0 (there is no overlap of a season with a full month of baseball in April and the extra Wild Card).

      The solution is to fix the massive holes – instead of looking at wins / losses, look at winning percentage. Instead of only looking at April, look at every single month (what’s so damn special about April?) and extend the analysis to all teams that would make the playoffs in the current environment.

      • I’m not complaining that this sample can’t be disproven, Stoeten has clearly given examples of years that contradict the evidence pointed out in the aformentioned article. Those years may be more representative of the actual, or they may be outliers to the overall trends in the population. However, rather than constantly hearing a refrain of “too small a sample” I’d like to actually see a sample that could be an adequate representation of the entire populaiton of data.

        If that sample is 0, like you say, because baseball is being played under playoff conditions that haven’t existed prior to last year, then that’s fine, and probably reasonable. Like Stoeten did in the post, you could reevaluate teams in the past that would have made the playoffs under the current format that wouldn’t qualify under truly historical data. I just think that the accusation of cherry picking statistics, which isn’t directly done in the post but which we’d all agree is the underlying accusation, is pretty damning.

        People who have pointed out that April is just another month in a long season are absolutely right with the gift of hindsight. They Jays have a ton of time to turn the season around and are by no means out of it. However, the slow start raises the stakes and limits the ability, somewhat, of being able to cushion future slumps. At the end of the day I’d rather be experiencing a slump now rather than a fast start in April bookended by a slump in August/September.

    • The argument that Stoeten used above to question the Benny-Fresh piece wasn’t so much a claim that the sample was too small, but rather a pointing out of the arbitrariness of the endpoints.
      The difference is that overly small samples are considered unrepresentative and too vulnerable to outlier data and random noise to be of predictive value, while the “sportsnet study” seems to have cherry picked data by selectively creating a time-frame during which the results of the study support the thesis of the article, where a longer time sample would have generated different results.

  62. as long as Farrel sucks it im happy
    go jays go

  63. you’d think Gibbons had pissed in everyone’s cornflakes or something. he has pretty much made the kinds of decisions that we all called for in the offseason. Platoon splits and generally very effective bullpen management – even flashes of using Janssen when the situation calls for it rather than purely in save situations. we can quibble about his batting orders a bit (micro splits) and complain that certain guys have seen the field way too often, but the culprit in both cases has generally been injury. bautista missing a few games led to davis being used in the OF and against righties way more than we would like. obviously reyes getting hurt has put kawasaki in the batting order, and lawrie being out put derosa and co. into action.

    secondly, i’m not sure how we can blame gibbons for the team’s defense. outside of brett lawrie, there is not a player on this team who was projected to be above average defensively this year. rasmus has played great in CF so far, but is no better than average on his career. cabrera? average. bautista, reyes, EE, lind, JP? all below average. bonifacio? has never been rated above average anywhere but the corner OF. izturis? average at best given his age. you get the idea. my point is that their poor defense is not a product of current coaching. these guys have been playing ball since they were old enough to walk and have thousands of innings of pro baseball under their belts – you are not going to get them to change their spots now. this is the team they have, and we knew that the defense would probably be bad before they ever stepped on the diamond, so why the surprise and outrage?

    this team was not built around defense, but instead excellent starting pitching and a powerful but well rounded offense. unfortunately neither of those things have really manifested themselves yet.

    gibbons and mattola are also seeing a ridiculous amount of blame for the team’s approach at the plate, probably from the same people who lauded mattola while at the same time calling for murphy’s head the last couple years. the moral of the story is that the hitting coach and manager make little difference when you give them a team of mostly hackers, take away their best contact hitter two weeks into the season, and start the season with their two most disciplined hitters in a slump. the good news is it will get better and the offense will be a strength of the team going forward, and it will have little to do with who the manager is.

    then there is the seemingly endless negativity about the leadership and chemistry of this team, with plenty of armchair psychologists chiming in. the basic fact is that this is a veteran team of highly motivated, character players. how can you say a team that employs RA Dickey, Jose Bautista, Darren Oliver, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, etc.etc.etc, and even his veteran-ness himself Mark DeRosa lacks leadership? it is mindboggling to suggest, without inside knowledge of the clubhouse, that this team lacks any kind of leadership or chemistry whatsoever.

    lastly, the basic thing most of the drivelling masses and their national sports media have forgotten, is that this team plays baseball, and in baseball sometimes shit just happens, and it doesnt have anything to do with coaching, leadership, desire, grittiness, chemistry, or any of the other popular narratives employed in pro sports. sometimes bautista has a slump, sometimes clay buchholz pitches well for a couple games, sometimes chris davis hits out of his mind. these are all things that can happen during a baseball season, but the timing of them should not send us screaming and jumping out windows. this is not a 90 loss team any more than jose bautista is a .190 hitter. they were projected to win 85 games this year, mostly due to expected playing time from many of their best players, and given what has happened thus far that seems bang on.

    • +2 well said. I thought 85 wins was a bit low on April 1st but with the injuries to Reyes etc.. 85 wins seems logical. That’s a decent season.

  64. ROFL @ all the hopefuls. Which one of you fucktards want to make a bet that the jays won’t make the playoffs?

  65. Somebody was asking for examples of AL East teams that have sucked out of the gate and gone on to make the playoffs. I limited the sample to 2003-2012 because I damned well felt like it, arbitrary endpoints be damned. I actually found two and both were New York Yankees teams.

    The 2005 Yankees were only at 11-19 on May 6th, 2005 and were still only at .500 on July 1st (39-39). They finished at 95-67 tied for 1st with the Red Sox, but held the tiebreaker so they were the division champs while Boston took home the wild card.

    The 2007 Yankees were even slower and were just 21-29 on May 29th and 40-42 on July 4th. They finished at 94-68 and took the wild card.

    This suggests that PLAYOFFS! are still possible, but not bloody likely. Even less likely when you consider the night and day difference in approach at the plate between the two teams. The Yanks were supreme grinders, whereas our guys seem to not have a plan when they go up there and they for the most part swing from the heels. What’s especially maddening is that the approach does not change with two strikes when it’s time to ease up and go gap to gap or just put the damn ball in play.

    Add in all the fielding mistakes and fundamental gaffes plus some shaky starting pitching and a bullpen that’s got to be tiring itself out, and you have a putrid picture that shows no signs of turning around soon. But that’s the funny thing about baseball. Sometimes it just does turn around for no particular rhyme or reason.

    It could happen. Not holding my breath. Rooting them on nonetheless knowing that the team you start with is never the team you finish with.

    • @ Tom.

      Good analysis. I don’t understand why fans can’t just enjoy the games or be upset with results & be realistic about playoff chances without the “thought police” bloggers/media demanding that we pretend what we see on the field not mattering.

      If someone posts on a jays fan blog throughout the year, chances are they will watch the games no matter what happens..

      It’s as if some people expect a completely brand new team to show up on May 1st. They will win more games as the season progresses just to get back to regular career norms.

  66. This whole “debate” between the crowd that wanted to be given a pennant in April and those who believe it ain’t over until it’s well, over, is pretty fucking funny. Keep it up.

    Just to throw a little more gasoline on the fire, anyone know who the division leaders in all 6 divisions, plus the projected wild card teams were on may 26th of last year at 8 pm, and whether they made the playoffs or not?

    INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!!!!!

    • So I looked it up, and ran some numbers.
      Using May 26th as my arbitrary date, here are some fun facts:
      .of the ten teams to make the playoffs last year 4 of them, including both world series teams, would not have made the playoffs on may 26th
      .the average differential between mid and end of season winning %s was 6.28%. The biggest gainers were the A’s, with a 12% improvement by the end of they year, while the Dodgers and Clevelands each shaved 14% off their winning percentage
      .the Pirates changed by just over 1 percentage point, despite at one point in the year challenging for the NL Central lead
      .the Nationals winning percentage change was less than 1%, and they were the only team to finish with an above .600 winning percentage. As an aside, the Nats were fucking awesome last year.
      .None of this data is in any way shape or form predictive of anything. All it represents is a snapshot of two moments in time, one of which happens to be the end of the season.

      • @Paul.

        What was the weakest record of a tam on May 26th of a team that made the playoffs?

        • glad you asked, oakville.
          it was the Oakland A’s, at 3 games under .500

          That being said, the point was more that records can be taken to mean anything at any given point. I’m not saying that the Jays slow start (or disasterfuck of a start if you prefer) is not something to be concerned about. More that it is a long season, you can’t predict baseball, and that the team can’t be counted out yet.

          • Nice research. Disasterfuck is such an excellent, descriptive word for this shitticane.

            • Thanks. My favourite discovery was that, as of may 26th, the Mets and Marlins held the two NL Wild Card spots. The Mets and Marlins. I’m going to have to repeat that. The Mets and Marlins. Neither of the World series teams were in the playoffs, but the Mets and Marlins were.

  67. What worries me somewhat and is hardly discussed is the potential loss in attendance, shirt sales, etc. that come with a slow start and a fickle fan base, and the long term consequences of lost revenue. Maybe its insignificant, but 4 million fans instead of what we’ve had lately surely would impact flexibility going forward.

    • @Marco.

      Merchandise sales are split equally among 30 teams as per MLB, so that’s not a big deal.

      Ticket sales, Sportsnet advertising revenue will be affected if the Jays have another 9-17 month.

      I think Rogers locks up the advertisers for the entire season & has to give back free spots if ratings fall below a certain level.

      I haven’t seen any recent ratings numbers other than the first week which were very good.

  68. Ok I’m a believer again. But is it ok to dislike Bonifacio still?
    Great work Stoets!

  69. Sigh.

  70. I think the last paragraph sums things up well. It’s definitely too early to right this team off completely, but at the same time the team probably isn’t as good as originally expected. From a fans point of view though, after 20 years of missing the playoffs and some pretty disappointing seasons, I understand the skepticism when hearing “It’s a long season, they will come around”, when for the past two decades the team has toiled in relative mediocrity. And even though it’s a small sample size, it’s tough to see the light after such a disappointing start to what was suppose to be “The Year”.

  71. [...] aren’t looking very good, are they? Even the always sensible Andrew Stoeten is starting to believe what April’s record means. Over at ESPN ($), FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron tells us about the difficult (but not [...]

  72. [...] are overrated. Like I was saying, I think I just got momentarily overwhelmed. I just read this great article over at Drunk Jays Fans and it really calmed me down. It was better than listening to your [...]

  73. 12-11 Giants
    16-12 Cards
    14-9 Giants
    13-10 Yankees
    16-13 Phillies
    16-9 Sox
    17-9 Cards
    18-7 Sox
    15-8 Sox
    15-15 Marlins

    Streak ends this year, right???

  74. of what?

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