Opening Lame!


See what I did there with the title?

Seriously, though, what a wet fart of a dull thud of a *whack-off motion* of a way to start the season. Not that I have to tell anybody that.

Yet, it was a great time at Opera Bob’s, and a great day — thanks in part to the fact that @SporstBarHeroes (who you should still totally follow) learning that they’ve cleared the first hurdle in terms of getting funded! — even if what we watched on the field took a near-immediate nosedive into the shitter, as Jose Reyes pulled up lame in his first plate appearance, and R.A. Dickey struggled badly.

Some other things happened, too, of course — for example, Ryan Goins didn’t exactly look like the defensive dynamo he’s been billed as (or needs to be in order to justify having his bat in the lineup), the club’s pitiful bench and up-the-middle depth was exposed (not just in-game, with Goins and Izturis getting the reps, but with the Goins-esque Jonathan Diaz being the one called-up in Reyes’s place), Jeremy Jeffress looked like a guy who is only on the team because of some nonsense fear of losing him on waivers — but, with apologies to Erik Kratz, obviously what happened with the two front line players is by far the most important.

Reports have now come in saying that an MRI conducted today shows that Reyes has the same inflammation in his left hamstring that showed up the first time he had one done, early last week. Gregor Chisholm tweets that Reyes seemed encouraged by the results.

“It is a relief, that’s good news,” Reyes told Gregor, according to a second tweet. “Just showed some inflammation, no damage at all. Just need some rest, should be fine, back to play”

There is no timetable for his return, however, which certainly doesn’t smooth the sickly feeling in the pits of our stomachs. Nor does the fact that this isn’t a new issue, and that they flew him to Montreal and back and let him roam around on the turf over the weekend. However, as John Lott tweets, Reyes says he passed all the tests and felt it was safe to play (though not necessarily 100%).

Obviously its easy to question the wisdom of that decision now, and to wonder about the motivations behind not simply shutting him down for two weeks when he first pulled up lame — which they at least did this time, placing him on the DL before even waiting for the results of today’s MRI — but it’s especially easy if you’re an assface, frothing negative shit out your ass-mouth as though one bad game is representative of all that is doomed to fail about this now-underway season.

Some people need to get a grip, is all I’m saying.

Especially because I think there’s a chance that what happened to Jose Reyes — over which some level of non-asinine negativity is certainly justifiable — might even be less worrying that whateverthefuck is going on with R.A. Dickey.

I’m entirely just spitballin’ here, but the whole “today was not about results” thing from his last outing of the Spring, where he claimed that “what was paramount for me was to exercise my arm in a way where I felt good,” smells even fouler that it did when he first uttered it as an excuse.

Especially because of this:


Now… with this thing — which, FYI, you can click to embiggen — there’s good news and bad news. It is, of course, Dickey’s knuckleball velocity chart from FanGraphs, and what you can see about last night’s outing is that it tops out in exactly the same spot that it did during the period of last year when he was at his worst — when he was hurt. The bad news to take from that is, maybe Dickey is hurt. The good news, however, is… maybe Dickey’s hurt.

It’s hilariously impossible to diagnose an injury based solely on a thing like that, obviously, but the resemblance of last night’s velocity range to that period of last season is pretty striking. I wrote about the connection between injury and velocity and the quality of Dickey’s starts in September of last season, as Dickey was back up over the crucial 76 mph mark with his per-game average knuckleball velocity, and cruising through a 3.56 ERA/3.86 xFIP second half (which so many adorable comment mouth-breathers from last night had evidently forgotten, or willingly ignored just to pissily vent like little children).

His knuckleball velocity last night? 74.9.

That has to be better. He has to be better. Fortunately, so far it’s just one game — and it comes at a time in the season where it’s OK to think that he’s still got some building up to do. You just hate to be left wondering if, based on how badly he’s gone south in these last two games, maybe he tweaked a little something and isn’t telling anybody and is going to try to battle through it, no matter how much he sucks.

Obviously that’s huge speculation, but if there’s anything remotely close to true with it, hey! Playing with fire on injuries with an aging and fragile roster of players? What could possibly go wrong???

Comments (85)

  1. First Comment. Nice. So do you think AA is now destined to go after Drew? I mean, don’t we have to now. We can be buried in 2 weeks without Reyes. With Drew we send Diaz back down and when Reyes is back we send Goins outta here. Maybe it makes too much sense for AA to grasp.

    • Unfortunately if the Jays wanted Drew they would already have him. Two weeks without Reyes probably won’t change that…

    • Didn’t mention him, because I don’t see how giving Boras a shit-tonne more leverage is going to make the Jays more inclined to deal.

    • The Mets just lost Bobby Parnell. When the best thing about your bullpen is Kyle Farnsworth it’s time to get out there and deal for some relief. Hello, Sandy? It’s Alex in Toronto.

    • I just can’t for the life of me conceive of a reason we would want to sign Drew at anywhere near what he wants. He’s average offensively and below average on the field…and he wants HOW MUCH??!! Why do so many people think he is an option? PLEASE give me a reason or a justification so I can understand it. There is a reason no team is even seriously linked to him at the price he’s asking. What do some of you see that I don’t?

      • I was never too crazy about him either.

      • What you are missing is that ryan goins is the starter and after him and injury risk reyes it is diaz kawasaki and chris getz. Drew is a much better option than any of them. The other thing is what one would think would be the jays massive incentive to improve the roster at this time

  2. Yeah. Didn’t bother me that we lost. Price is awesome, and the Rays are great.

    It was how bad Dickey looked that worried me. I was hoping his first half was just a blip due to injury, and we’d see the solid Dickey from the 2nd half. I mean he was dreadful.

    And Reyes of course. I guess it’s good the injury doesn’t seem serious.

  3. When I think of people who don’t constantly spew bullshit, I immediately think of born-again Christians.

  4. They need better trainers. Seriously. They should hire the Trigger Point dude and get all these fools warming up and strength training properly.

  5. Great drunken afternoon out there. Hardcore fans. The game was the only thing that sucked about yesterday.

  6. I know the season has just LITERALLY started…and yesterday’s game outcome really didn’t surprise me. After the paucity of activity on the player acquisition front, there was nothing really to get worked up about – other than the Opening Day optimism.
    AA is putting a lot of faith in what he HOPES the starting pitchers and players can achieve…given some health. But when I look down the bench, I’m left underwhelmed. No boppers. No veteran presents. Nothing but AAAA guys, who collectively might hit as well…well, never mind.
    Yeah, I get that the backup guys are backups for a reason…but I think the talent level drop-off between the starters and the bench players is a pretty steep one on this club.
    I have a feeling that Reyes is going to be up and down all season – and I’d have felt a lot better with a guy like Drew being able to slide between SS and 2nd base.

  7. “Seriously, though, what a wet fart of a dull thud of a *whack-off motion* of a way to start the season”

    Probably the best opening line of a post I’ve ever read.

  8. Dickey still worries me way less than Reyes. The velocity thing is interesting, but as you say, it’s highly speculative after one start. What I do knoll without being speculative is that every now and again Dickey shits the bed, which he certainly did last night.
    Reyes scares me. II’m much more worried that this chronic leg issue is about to get very chronic. He leaves a massive hole in the infield and in the rotation. Of course that blow could at least be softened by paying Stephen Drew to get off his couch, but apparently our management is far too retarded to see that.
    I fear for Reyes. But until iI see more turd from Dickey I’m not getting too worried about him.
    And as an aside, Price was something to watch last night…..
    And Melky is gonna rake this year.

    • Left hamstring has been hurt in 2014, 2011, 2008. Tonight’s game will be the 32nd one he’s missed due to a left hamstring injury in what is now the 12th year of his big league career.

      • Can’t wait for moderation so here it is without one of the links:
        • This is the third time in the last four seasons Reyes has had his season interrupted by hamstring issues. And he had two seasons like that early in his career, too.
        • This is the seventh time in his career he’s wound up on the disabled list — five of them because of hamstring problems.
        • And just since Opening Day 2009, Reyes is up to 197 days missed with assorted hamstring, knee, Achilles, calf, oblique and thyroid issues.
        Now the last point is moot since a grab bag of injuries doesn’t mean anything with respect to the hammy, but the frequency of this injury is increasing since the first one in 2008, and that is concerning to me. Of course it could be that he rests for 2 weeks and then is fine. But it could also be that this becomes a bigger problem than we think.
        For me, this is a stronger case for concern than noting that Dickey’s velocity in one outing is the same as it was last year in the half season that he was bad.
        Global warming is also associated with a decreased number of pirates.

        • Humans have more than one hamstring.

          • I’d be willing to donate one of mine to the Jays. I don’t need two.

          • True story. I agree.
            I’m saying I’m more worried about the injured player that has an injury than the player that maybe has an injury based on his pitch speed in one start. Hardly controversial.
            As I said, your point is interesting, and could well be true.
            But Reyes has a blown hamstring, has had one before, is now a year older, and is now playing on concrete. Scares me.
            Truth is I hope we are both wrong and both are ok.

            • Still pretty sure the pitcher with a drop in velocity is scarier than the guy who has a little hamstring ache and will be out a couple weeks.

      • Andrew you’d better check your injury source.

        Reyes in 2009 missed 122 games alone ( per B. Pro. ) and 66 games in 2004 with hamstring issues. It’s been a real issue for him and in fact I count 9 trips to the D. L. With this particular injury.

        • Sorry didn’t see Gil’s comments.

          It certainly matters little which hamstring is currently hurt, this has been an ongoing issue for him. Hopefully they’ve nipped it in the bud this time.

          • It absolutely matters which hamstring is hurt. They are two separate things.

            Not saying there’s no concern, mind you, just asking for some perspective.

            • I agree with you if Dickey is in fact hurt. Which as you say is highly speculative at this point. Until then I worry more about the injury that we know exists.
              And injuries in opposite sided muscles or joints are not medically independent, but I really don’t think much that’s a big part of this discussion.

  9. Not sure what AA’s so worried about Jeffress being exposed to waivers. Rather see Wagner or Stilson.

  10. I made a comment on the Twitter yesterday that despite all Pat and Buck’s masturbation over the “angry knuckler” being back, I hadn’t seen a single pitch above 77 mph. Think that was during the 3rd or 4th inning.

    I read somewhere (I think it was the Mockingbird) that Dickey’s true angry knuckler is the 78-82 mph beast that you can see he threw a ton of in 2012 and significantly fewer of in 2013. That’s what made him the “ace” and put him a notch above knucklers in recent memory. Without it, he’s basically Tim Wakefield.

  11. pitchers lose velocity as they get older, and dickey is old.

    is it unreasonable to believe that his 80 mph knuckler is a thing of the past?

    • I think that’s unreasonable, because it’s not the top end of his velocity range anyway. Not impossible, though.

    • He threw a bunch in September so I wouldn’t say that yet. Can’t imagine he aged THAT much since then. But his turd of a soft tossing opener is definitely noteworthy.

  12. Eduardo Nunez is available as New York has dropped him.

    • i looked at his baseball-ref page today, and that made me very very fucking sad

      • Yanks didn’t like him because of his glove…I love his bat though.

        • I was wondering what was up with him too until I looked at his dWAR. Yeesh.

          Also, first time I referenced dWAR when looking up a player. Fucking win!

  13. WHy do I have a comment in moderation? Never seen that before…

  14. I know this hardly makes up for 9 runs given up, but according to Brooks Pitch FX, the Jays’ pitchers had 10 pitches in the zone called for balls (half of those weren’t even close). The Rays had none. Three times, Dickey threw the first pitch well inside the strikezone and was called a ball. That’s a lot of 1-0 counts that should’ve been 0-1 counts.
    Just worth noting.

    • Poor receiving, perhaps? JPA always got high marks, Dioner does not. Not sure where Thole lies in most rankings, to be honest. And Molina is Molina, obviously. Knuckleball can’t help.

      In other words, not sure it’s necessarily bad umpiring or bad luck.

    • Problem is, it squeezed RAD into throwing beach balls which get hammered, and/or the alternative, walks. Anf he had plenty of both.

    • I’ve read studies that have shown Dickey loses more strike calls than normal, probably because not only does he fool the batter, but it can fool the ump as well.

      On the other hand, as expected Janssen and Buerhle get more calls than deserved as I recall.

      • Its got to be hard to ump the knuckler and how many non strike calls there were is only half the story, how many balls are called strikes?

        Just let machines call ball and strikes already, technology has got be more reliable now than human umpires, just have a guy therr to call plays at thr plate

        • Agree with you. I would go even further and have the home plate umpire carry a buzzer or a computer generated electronic device strapped to his belt. It would have a green light for balls and a red light for strikes to assist with the calls when they are too close for the umpire to determine. A robotic umpire at home plate might be the way of the future but I’m guessing it’s years away from being a reality. They still have to figure out this replay stuff that’s causing the games to go way longer than they should.

  15. Re: Jeffress

    Not sure who heard the 11 O’Clock hour of Blairs show, but Wilner’s defense of the importance of keeping Jeffress on the team bordered on absurd. I usually dont like to rag on Wilner bit…. yeesh.

  16. I’m really looking forward to seeing Hutchinson pitch tonight. Should be a good night.

  17. Can’t we just get some cadaver hammys and surgically graft those on over his?
    We can use Adam Linds if using them from a dead body freaks Jose out.

  18. A few comments. First, a loss is a loss. The Jays likelihood of coming back from a four run deficit in one inning (down 6-2) was remote, and this is precisely the situation where you throw your worst reliever up there (or someone who needs work). Dickey lost the game in the 5th inning with SIX freaking walks and three balls hit off the wall that might have gone over with an low 80s FB or worst yet (and more likely), in the friendly confines of Rogers Centre. And you’re pitching against Jays nemesis David Price, who is 13-2 against the Jays in 17 starts.

    No, Jeffress shouldn’t have fielded that ball in the 8th, but it’s opening day, and probably felt (in the moment) that he could have made a play. So what? Down 6-0, who cares? If the Jays are close, guess what, he isn’t pitching.

    Fact is, that when the Jays are close or leading, you go with the studs in Loup / Delabar / Santos / Cecil.

    Dickey sucked last night, plain and simple. The balls that got dinged off the wall were all straight down the pipe with very little movement.

    As for Reyes playing in Montreal, the opposing view is that if he had the injury and didn’t play, the question on his preparedness would have come up. It’s a clusterf**k to be sure, but there’s no win to this situation. It sucks.

    And we’re one game in. The problem is that last night felt so much like last year, and the fans that wanted to criticize the management for doing nothing in the post season got exactly the vilification they were looking for, even it was one game. Add to that ALL of the completed frustrated Leafs fans to rain in.

    • Ok sure but what do you do about Reyes hammies? They’re terrible and they just cant keep throwing him on the DL every 2 weeks. I vote for what the Red Sox did: Have him examined and treated by a soft tissue specialist like the one that got David Ortiz back.

      • You really are for this despite the fact that you have no idea what you’re talking about?

        • Why not Jeffress?

        • Stoets it’s not like I’m suggesting a witch doctor…and besides it worked for the Sox.

          Here’s a quote from the Grantland article: “In fact, if the Red Sox weren’t this confident in their health regimen, they probably wouldn’t have gone after a beleaguered player like Sizemore at all.”

  19. Obviously the loss doesn’t matter but the game was a little taste of why this season is going to be so hard to watch. Dickey might be hurt? Oh fuck. Reyes might be hurt? Oh fuck. When you have no depth it’s easy to blow every little thing out of proportion because there’s no margin for error/injury.

  20. Dickey should not be the opening day starter. That honour should go to ….well anyway he shouldn’t be the opening day starter

    • Dumb as fuck.

    • Being the opening day starter is a ceremonial position meaning that it’s just another start. But why not go with your best pitcher, which Dickey is? Still 161 games to go they will all get the chance. If anything Dickey likes the dome closed and Tampa has a dome so why not? What happened to Dickey was not the norm from him.

    • To me it’s not a matter of honour or ceremony but more about team strategy. The home opening start is the conventional or ceremonial start which is usually reserved for the ace of the staff. Starting the season out on a road series has no significance to who gets the start. IMO. I would have started McGowan considering how much faith and time they put into him.

  21. It astounds me how reactionary Jays fans can be. Don’t people remember that the difference between the Jays and Rays last year was from June onward?

  22. I understand that last night was the first game of a 162 game season, that all teams get blown out at some point, that almost all pitchers (Cliff Lee last night, anyone?) get blown out at some point, and that the injury to Reyes – while unfortunate – should not mean the end of the season.

    That being said, there was something uniquely terrible about the fact that so much, went so wrong in the first inning, of the first game of the season. The baseball gods are petty, and vicious.

    • So much happens in 162 games. I gotta say that NFL fans aren’t this myopic after game one and they one play 16 games!

      Fuck symbolism! Play ball!

  23. We’re gonna light this Cobb up tonight, boys. I guarantee it!

    • See that fucking leg delay?? Who does this asshole think he is? Dice K? Get the fuck out of here! Melky commencing the lighting up of this dunce!

  24. I think I want more Hutches…about 4 please.

  25. Nice play by both Navarro and Goins.

  26. Diaz’s height confounded Cobb; hence the walk.

    • nevermind that,

      aaron cibia worked a walk off cliff lee.

      I’m no mathematician, but I probably have a better chance of winning lotto 649 then those 2 things happening simultaneously.

  27. Is Dickey the Ace of the staff? Do the Birds really have a #1 starter? He’s slotted #1 on the depth chart but if you ask me I wouldn’t throw the knuckler against the opposition from the first start. Why not go with one of the conventional starters and put Dickey right in the middle of the rotation to throw off the hitters timing?

    I’m also wondering if Reyes is totally healthy? That indecisive slide to second from last year is what really hurt him and it might be hindering his running. Apparently there’s no structural damage but the trickle down effect from last year’s injury might have some weight to his current situation. Players lie about their health so they can play.

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