Nobody talked about Maicer Izturis this winter as anything but dead weight on the Blue Jays’ roster, after his disastrous 2013 campaign. Even that awful campaign, a disaster-within-a-disaster, was somewhat overlooked thanks to the screaming deficiencies of guys like Emilio Bonifacio and J.P. Arencibia, but rest assured, he was awful.

At the plate, having arrived looking like a bounce-back candidate following an 82 wRC+ season for the Angels, Izturis nosedived further, down to wRC+ of 62 — the worst mark of his career, save for his 32 game cameo as a rookie on the 2004 Expos — behind a slash line of .236/.288/.310.

In the field he was just as bad, both by the eye test, and by the metrics. According to UZR, only ten third basemen cost their teams more runs than he and Pablo Sandoval (-4.7 UZR), yet Izturis played about 850 fewer innings than the Panda, 600-950 innings fewer than six of the ten behind him on the list, and fewer innings that all but one of them (Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar).

At shortstop, where Izturis logged his next-highest number of innings, the story isn’t much better. Only seventeen of 112 players to spend time at shortstop were worse than Maicer, per UZR, and Izturis’s -2.8 UZR in 174.1 innings was worse than the -2.7 that Jimmy Rollins accumulated over 1318.1.

He was awful, in other words. The worst position player in baseball, per FanGraphs’ WAR (-2.1), and tied for 24th-worst (-0.9) according to Baseball Reference, alongside such luminaries as Brent Lillibridge, Omar Quintanilla, and Darin “Pat” Mastroianni.

Tonight, Izturis hits second again, and will play at second base. And, amazingly, it actually makes sense.

No, it’s maybe not the ideal lineup for John Gibbons to trot out there, but Maicer so far has ten hits in 24 plate appearances, with a pair of walks. If he wants to ride the hot hand, especially with a left-hander on the mound, I can live with that.

That sort of hitting from Izturis obviously, obviously won’t continue — nor will the hot streak Bonifacio is on to start the season, which we will never speak of again — but just as important, Maicer has looked comfortable on the turf, as well. Or, at the very least, he appears to have more range than the Ted Rogers statue, which isn’t something I’d have been quite ready to concede last season.

Shit, per FanGraphs he’s already been worth +0.4 WAR this season — a 2.5 win swing over 2013 already! Which… obviously the numbers don’t work that way, but whatever, it’s just nice to see something resembling the guy that the Jays thought they were getting last year — a phrase that, at least for the time being, you could copy-and-paste into posts about Melky Cabrera, Brandon Morrow, their starting catcher, Brett Lawrie, R.A. Dic– shit, the Astros are a hell of an early-season tonic, aren’t they?


Part of me doesn’t want to pick on R.A. Dickey too much, because he’s a fascinating character and can be a tremendous pitcher when he’s on, but he just makes it so fucking easy sometimes. This week, not only is the I must pitch indoors thing a little bit odd, but according to a piece from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, we need not worry about why Dickey was bad on Opening Day way back in that shitty month of March, because Dickey had a dead arm! The fuck??? “Every pitcher goes through a little bit of a dead-arm period at some point. Hopefully it happens in spring when you’re getting ready,” he said. “Unfortunately for me it happened the week of opening day and the week before that when I pitched against the Yankees.” But… but… but he felt healthy all spring! He was just exercising his arm against the Yankees and the results didn’t matter! Just… stop… talking. Please.

Blue Jays Bat Boy nails the Josh Zeid/sunscreen issue in a tweet: “Astros bullpen pitchers spraying on sunscreen indoors because you can never be too careful from the bright blue seats.”

Great stuff from @bluejaysart, who are ready for a sweep — as is Adam Lind’s beard, apparently.

J.A. Happ starts tonight for Buffalo. Ben Wagner tweets that he says he wants to get up to 100 pitches, which totally sounds like great long-term news for the Bisons rotation. *COUGH*

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET, @ Baltimore

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
C Josh Thole (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Houston Astros

CF Dexter Fowler (S)
RF Alex Pressley (L)
C Jason Castro (L)
2B Jose Altuve (R)
DH Chris Carter (R)
1B Marc Krauss (L)
3B Matt Dominguez (R)
LF Robbie Grossman (S)
SS Jonathan Villar (S)

LHP Dallas Keuchel

Comments (209)

  1. Leaving work early today so I can catch most of the game. Hope it’s a gooder, I always end up watching highlights of good games, and live when they’re shitty.


    • if you have a digital box you can record the game

      and obviously work harder

      and not watch the same 3 ads over and over


      • …but I like leaving work early. And I do what I want.

        And to be honest I usually hear the final score before I get a chance to watch anything recorded anyway.

  2. Boy, does Maicer ever look unathletic (is that a word?) in the that picture. Wasn’t sure he was even running in the photo until I saw the pained expression and figured he wasn’t just dancing badly. But he sure is getting it done this year. Go MySure!

  3. so to pitch for the jays now you either have to be able to hit 97 and paint or you have to be 40 years old and top out at 82, no room for anyone in between.

  4. He does babble on doesn’t he? (What is a dead arm anyway? is it anything or did he just make it up to fill up a sentence with words?) Did anyone read the piece by Griffin yesterday about Dickey? It was downright nasty – in a bad way. It was all about Dickey wanting to pitch the Astros in the dome to get a win rather than face the Yankees or the Orioles. And Gibbons just made up a story about wanting to stretch out McGowan. How Dickey is not a true ace because it’s all about him and he’s not really a leader. Man, Griffin has a mean streak. That’s pretty cruel stuff especially since it’s just pure speculation. I mean, he just made it up! No evidence no nothing.

    • Griffin is a shithead. I am finding it increasingly hard to read his articles. I prefer Brenda Kennedy’s coverage of the Jays.

    • @Mike…

      I’m shocked…shocked to find that gambling is going on in here…

    • I read that shit. Yeah Griff, nothing to do with the bullpen being worked to death recently and McGowan not getting out of the fuckin 3rd inning last time out. It’s because Cy Young winner RA Dickey wants the easy start. Seriously…

  5. Can I borrow a cup of Red Sox hate? It blends nicely with the desire for a Blue Jays sweep. Thanks much.

  6. Watching the Houston feed on They’re saying that batters may stand further up in the batter’s box to hit the ball sooner and disrupt Dickey’s rhythm. Let’s see if it happens.

  7. Ah… the sweet voice of Ashby.

  8. So far nobody’s messing up the front chalk line of the batter’s box.

  9. Melky starts with a double.

  10. What the fuck is with Gibbons and the sac bunts early in games.

  11. Not a huge fan of the bunt there, especially cause Maicer’s been hot recently.

  12. re: dickey. been around lots of elite athletes who deal with failure a lot of ways. if blaming it on the rain helps him move on and succeed who the fuck cares. i dont give a shit what these guys say as long as they perform. get over it.

  13. Gross

  14. Sac bunting in the first inning should be a fire able offense for any manager.

  15. well Stoets, what do you think of Izzy bunting in the first with 0 out and a runner on 2nd? time to fire Gibby yet?

  16. meaty, beaty, big and bouncy….

  17. Astros broadcast showing some shots of the Ripley’s Aquarium, kinda cool.

  18. Colby looks good with trimmed pubes.

  19. Rasmus, shorn of his flowing locks, has lost his ability to pulverize the baseball.

  20. Will the excuse for my blank screen be solar flares this time, or something even more dastardly?
    Or did I forget to pay my bill (again?)

  21. Ok offense time to get the finger out. RA needs some run support.

  22. Sweet.

  23. If Dickey causes the pitcher that follows him to enjoy boosted stats from batters having their timings thrown off (a proven effect, if I recall), then why would you bump Dickey up from the Orioles game to the Astros series-ending game? That’s like giving the next team to face the Astros a gift (the Rangers), not that they need a gift to beat the Astros. I mean if Dickey’s natural day is the end of the series, then so be it, but they bumped Dickey up so that he could end a series. Not to mention, if McGowan can’t beat the Astros, then he shouldn’t be one of our starters. This is short-sighted, in my opinion.

    • Keep Dickey in the dome. Get your better starter an extra turn at the expense of your #5 guy.

      I’m cool with it.

      • Until the offense gets shit balled into submission and shits over that strategy lol. Not saying it’s a bad idea but the Jays in typical Jays fashion blowing it tonight.

  24. JB walked 132 times in 2011. Most in MLB by about 20 (?). This is a good sign.

  25. What?

    No shout out to the “AL East Leading” Toronto Blue Jays in the Game Threat?

    We need every small victory we can get this year Stoeten!

  26. Well when you’re facing an ace like Dallas Keuchel I guess you have to expect a lot of zeroes up on the board.

  27. My dog just farted as that ball went over the wall…

    I can’t tell which one is making my eyes water.

  28. I don’t hate Buck & Tabby as much as many, but if I hear Buck say “BOUNCING BALL!” one more time, I think my head will explode.

    • See everyone’s got their own pet hate. Mine’s the “natural athlete” moniker they hang on every pitcher who catches a ball going by no matter how slow it is.


  30. that’ll make your bull run

  31. My boy Colby shits on your shit ball!

  32. Colby!

  33. Sending that ball back to Alabama.

  34. Ugh Reyes can’t come back fast enough.

  35. Looked like he was safe there.

  36. Thank god for Home Hardware. It was as mess out there.

  37. Maybe getting rocked on the forearm and knuckle/hand close in time has sapped some of his grip strength….

  38. Jesus Christ, if this offence doesn’t wake the fuck up it could get ugly this weekend

  39. dickey dome :(

  40. Cue the trolls in 3-2-1-…….

  41. Don’t worry everyone it’s just a dead-arm period.

  42. It is hard to sweep a team, even if it is the Astros.

  43. Whelp not over yet but fuck what a wasted game. Excellent chance to beat up on the dregs of the league. Just hope the offense is saving all their shit for baltimore.

    • Don’t forget they are playing the Twins soon enough. + I say this as a supporter of the Twins – but they are fucking terrible. Truly an unmitigated disaster.

      • Yeah, I figured if they could take 5 of 6 from the Astros and Twins and at least win one against Baltimore, it’d be an alright stretch.

    • but they are playing a Cy YOUNG candidate! (according to Buck)

  44. Colby looking a little better of late.

  45. lol Jays hitting is horrible :(

    Also Jays always fail against 8 and 9 hitters or hitters who are hitting well below average

  46. Fuck these bench options are horrible.

  47. Just me or did Dickey’s velocity start to drop a good amount around the 4th or 5th inning?

  48. This Kookel cat would be a Hall of Famer with 30 annual starts versus these Jays.

  49. Sierra needs to go down and get some ABs in but he’s out of options.

    • He’s a right handed Eric Thames. If there are no Delabars out there to trade him for, just let him go. Except then you realize the Jays have no competent position prospects close to the Majors.

  50. Yeesh.

  51. I’m glad the Jays picked up RA Dickey. The guy is a stud.

    And this offense? Amazing.

  52. Good news everybody it’s Chad Qualls,

  53. I’m glad Maicer bunted in the first. Smart move.

    • I hope that was just Maicer being a moron, not Gibbons. I don’t want to see this Joe Girardi style idiot small ball in early innings.

  54. All right, a double double for Melky.

  55. Atta boy Melky.

  56. Good hit, bad running lucky it was a bad throw

  57. Melky playing his way right off this team. I’m not certain Rogers can even afford the risk of him accepting a qualifying offer so I doubt we get anything in return for him leaving.

  58. I like to stick my fingers against my asshole and smell them to see if it’s time for a shower.

  59. You chumps ready to play the O’s this weekend? It will not go well for you!!

  60. Is it too early to start wondering if we can expect Dickey is a 14-14 ~4.00 pitcher this year?

    Talk about ebb and flow…

  61. On the plus side, we won the series. Yeah, you hope to do better than that, especially against the Astros, but who ever goes 18-0 against a team? We can live with a series win.

  62. ugh… going into this game Blue Jays pitchers had only given up 2 HR’s.

    apparently it’s regression night

  63. Also, this might be the time to point out that we’re still in first place in the AL East, even with a loss tonight.

  64. Maybe we’ll let the Blue Jokes score a run- just for the hell of it.

  65. What position would Lind play in the 10th? I’m guessing they’d have to put Jose at 3rd, Lawrie to 2nd, Encarnacion at 3rd, and Lind at 1st.
    Alas, it shall be moot.

  66. Adam Lind!

  67. Thanks for holding the game Esmil.

  68. Bass has a 7.36 ERA this season. Strangely comforting, all the caveats about small sample size notwithstanding.

  69. Oooooh my.

  70. at least it was a fun 9th

  71. I realize the Jays aren’t the ’98 Yankees, but losing even a single game to this Astros team is a little shameful. Our terrible bench is like every position player on their team.

    • I’ll take 2 out of 3 but a sweep would have been nice

      • so you wouldnt rather have 3 out 3 , idiot.

        • O wait…my bad…a sweep is 3 out of 3….I guess I’m the idiot

          And moreover, I’m a fucking idiot for being such a loud mouth shit to you…

    • The best teams in baseball will lose games against the Astros this year. That’s just how it goes.

      • Like the Yankees? They lost two out of three to start the season v. the Astros. I’m not convinced the Yankees are one of the best teams…but…there it is.

  72. I dont always agree with zaun but hes right about the jays coming up short in big moments the last few years

    • to me it just sounds like more sensationalist, appeal-to-the-lowest-common-denominator talk from Zaun.

      say something negative after a bad game and your audience is in the mood to drink it up.

  73. Getting really tired of the Dickey act.
    Really don’t wan’t to beat this dead horse again, but he’s a #3 that cost a #1 in prospects.


  74. This is why the jays scouts and AA have no fuckin idea how to scout pitching.

    1) Kazmir – signs with the A’s
    2) tim hudson – signs with the giants
    3) e.santana – signs with the braves
    4) Daren Haren signs with dodgers
    5) S. Feldman – signs with the astros

    Any one of these of these pitchers can easily be the toronto blue jays number 1 starter this year, instead they signed with the competition for next to zero..

    but hey Dusty is a first round pick he will turn into a number 1 pitcher this year.
    and romero is coming around too!
    and drabek is looking good too!

    rotation looks solid next year with RR, Drabek, and Dusty , what a fuckin jole.

  75. *what a joke

  76. I like to wear frilly underthings when I stroll down Bloor at night.

  77. Lets review what we now know through the astros series.

    Dickey has now had 2 bad starts, 1 good start. its early . but its not that early when you count last year. I dont think this is what AA signed up for when he traded away TD and NS for him. Im pretty sure he figured he was getting a guy that would be able to keep his team in the game most nights …perhaps dominate for stretches….around a 3.5 ERA …FIP under four….lots of k’s..not many bbs…..haven’t had that from him unless selective endpoints are generously invoked.

    Lawrie’s swing is beyond fucked up. Whatever they have been doing to him the last year plus..they need to stop. he needs to go back and watch tape from when he first came up. he swung with aggression and with a it looks like he’s up there trying to think the bat to the ball. i almost would rather have old coach murphy back trying to get him to hit everything over the left field foul pole. cant get any worse than this.

    colby is coming around. funny that when he strikes out 30 percent of the time..he’s quite useful….but when hes 45 to 50 percent. umm..nobody can overcome that.

    Edwin is still off…but he’s close. very close.

    Rogers is shit..has always been shit..always going to be shit.. i speak of Esmil..not the owner. although perhaps it applies for them as well.

  78. Im done with the jays, id rather blow a dead dogs dick then cheer for the jays,
    actually i will blow a dead dogs dick ohhhhhhhhhh yeah!!!!!!

  79. dude this is babeball blog man , but it is interesting.

  80. Funny thing is from reading the comments someone posted this :

    “This is why the jays scouts and AA have no fuckin idea how to scout pitching.

    1) Kazmir – signs with the A’s
    2) tim hudson – signs with the giants
    3) e.santana – signs with the braves
    4) Daren Haren signs with dodgers”.
    5) S. Feldman – signs with the astros
    …. all these guys were signed for next to zero……

    and he got blasted for being a troll….
    how is this wrong?

  81. I was told I could find some women here. Which one of you wants to frolic with a real man?

  82. Ill break in this masterful anomoly. We are winning the biggest world series since 93.

    So eat your crackers sit back and watch this phenomenon.

    And dont tell them where you got the goods.

    Jays. Jays. Bautista. Dwight smith jr.


  83. Holy shit. If you had a sniff at a PED any time in the last 20 years, they will hunt you down and kill you, regardless of our relative lack of knowledge of how much it may or may not have benefitted your play. But, Pineda can have so much grease in his hand it looked like he wiped his ass with his palm, and Houston can put sunscreen on their pitchers for a game INDOORS and it’s “hey, everybody does it!”
    Fucking MLB.

  84. Does the new ” quiet” stance from Lawrie look like JP’s stance from last year to anyone else?

  85. thatta boy Macier!
    Stephen Whew?

  86. So, about that podcast….

  87. I’m starting to get pretty tired of RA Dickhead. I was never a fan of the trade but now it makes me sick to think about it. Two thirds of our major holes this off season were C and SP and there’s D’Arnaud already in the majors and Syndergaard not too far off.

    Makes me rumbly in my tumbly.

  88. Wow this comment section is a pile of shit today.

  89. That Ted Roger’s statue comparison is pure gold. Well done!

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