The strikeouts are low, the walks are high, the BABIP is crazy, the ground ball rate is off the charts, the ERA, FIP, and xFIP aren’t exactly stellar, and it’s all underpinned by a luck-flaunting HR/FB rate, but Dustin McGowan hasn’t been close to terrible since his late insertion into the Jays’ rotation — certainly not by the long-rope standards of R.A. Dickey, for example — and his stuff still provides more than enough for Jays fans to dream on.
That isn’t to say I think he’s about to get himself on a roll, but you could certainly convince the optimist in me that he might — just as, if we’re being honest, you could convince that same optimist that even if he doesn’t, Marcus Stroman is looking awful good down there in Buffalo, eh? Eh???
And that’s sort of where we’re at with McGowan at the moment. The peripherals haven’t looked so hot — certainly not like the 3.5 win guy he was over 27 starts back in 2007 — but the results have been passable, and nobody should have expected him to jump back in the rotation and re-assume the mantle of the Next Great Jays Starter, either. It’s a process, and you can understand giving him some extra rope, given that McGowan didn’t come out of spring nearly ready enough to be the kind of guy who so far exists solely in our hope of hopes. Obviously it’s not difficult to see why people think such things about him, but his lack of seniority and tangible success make him the man with the most tenuous grip on his rotation spot — the loss of which wouldn’t exactly be a shock, given the way that he got here in the first place (i.e. essentially by default). I mean… you’d like to believe that the Jays will give him a long, long look, but you can fully understand that they need to start getting more innings out of their starters, and that the McGowan experiment may eventually produce enough bad to outweigh the good. Can’t you?
With that as the backdrop, each start for McGowan feels somewhat pivotal — at least as far as his role on this club goes — and while a clunker tonight most likely won’t spell the end for his days in the rotation, hot damn, would the kind of terrific performance we know he’s capable of really put some wind in this club’s sails, or what? Let’s fucking do this!
The Blue Jays “clearly made the right call,” tweets Shi Davidi, as the Padres announce that “Josh Johnson will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow.” Sucks for him. What a talent — and we barely saw a fraction of it. Good on the Jays, though.
Mr. Fancy Access himself, Drew Fairservice, was down at the Rogers Centre for batting practice today, and he reiterates, via tweet, something that Fan 590 Baseball Central co-host Kevin “Mr. Hazel Mae” Barker has been saying since Juan Francisco’s promotion to the Jays: that man “is a 5 o’clock all star. Damn.” I believe it. Now lets see some of that shit in games!
Drew also tells us that Buck Showalter went off on some kind of epic rant (about rosin?), and — apropos of nothing — notes that Adeiny Hechavarria is pretty much the worst base stealer. So… there’s that.
“It’s early, of course,” tweets Chris Toman, “but ESPN has Bautista projected to walk 203 times. Bonds is the only player to draw more than 170 BBs in a season.”
Brendan Kennedy tweets a picture of the Jays’ pitchers taking batting practice in preparation of next month’s interleague games. Get your shit together and get a DH already, National League. Enough of this garbage where you just hand every team a virtually-automatic out once every nine batters.
What’s this? Dirk Hayhurst writing for theScore??? About the Pirates-Brewers brawl? Yep. Sure is. Read it, and welcome, Dirk!
Things aren’t changing in this particular corner of theScore universe (read: at DJF), save for some cosmetic stuff, I promise, but if you’re wondering about just how awesome the turn we’ve taken is, how about reading Drew on how Manchester United became just another club? Yes, it’s at theScore.
Elsewhere over at some place called theScore, Chris Creamer of Sportslogos.net takes us through ten MLB teams that wore uniforms for a city other than their own — and the Jays are among them. When and why? You’ll have to click the link and find out.
Seriously, though: surely you can tell from the fresh coat of paint that you’re on the new-look theScore.com, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a tonne still to check out. Very soon we’ll have links to all the other sections in the navbar here, but in the meantime, hit the link in the previous sentence and go to town, then download the app, then go to town some more. Nobody asked me to say this, but seriously, if you’re a sports fan (and, FYI, you are) it’s the best — I have people say to me all the time how much they love it, before they even know that this is the company in which DJF Island resides. We’re excited, OK??
Lastly, it’s the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field’s opening, and only Andy Gray of @si_vault celebrated appropriately.
Next game: Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET, vs. 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 game one lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
SS Ryan Goins (L)
RHP Dustin McGowan
RF Nick Markakis (L)
DH Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
CF Adam Jones (R)
C Matt Wieters (S)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
3B Ryan Flaherty (L)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)
LF David Lough (L)
RHP Chris Tillman