Really. And is it me, or is it 1987? A winged collar. Are you…doing this?
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet looks at the patience Jose Bautista has shown thus far this year — patience he’s had to show, as the player with the highest percentage of balls seen in all of baseball (though part of that is due to his approach, his tremendous eye, and the fact that so far he’s swung at fewer pitches than anyone).
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi recaps the game, with a focus on — what else? — Lawrie’s moustache. Gotta get them clicks, son.
In another one from Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling looks at the troubling trend of R.A. Dickey’s late game fades — and though the Jays’ nominal ace had one of his least disastrous games of the season yesterday, his numbers on the third time through the order somehow got worse. Hitters seeing him for a third time in a game in 2014 are now hitting an ungodly .433/.564/.733. Sure, numbers on every pitcher tend to worsen the longer they’re left in, and the more chances hitters get to time them, but that’s a hell of a jump from the wholly reasonable .237/.333/.368 batters have hit off Dickey the second time through the order, and the sparkling .150/.244/.250 the first time through.
Dickey, for his part, doesn’t sound terribly concerned, telling reporters like Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail that the issue in late innings is simply that he’s not as sharp. “Because the pitch does something different in all their at-bats leading up to that third-fourth time through the lineup it’s much more of a stuff thing for me rather than a lack of what the pitch is capable of doing multiple times through the lineup,” he explains.
Meanwhile, Josh Thole tells Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star that the way Dickey’s knuckler looks a whole lot like the way it did in 2012.
Chris Toman tweets a link to Brooks Baseball, and tells us that Dickey threw nine fastballs last night (after throwing 25 to the Orioles — likely because his knuckler was working better in the dome than in the cold), and that he induced a season-high 15 swinging strikes. So… that’s at least somewhat encouraging.
John Lott of the National Post, with a lede that will send you running to YouTube for some L.L. Cool J videos (preferably ones with scenes from The Hard Way cut in), tells us about Casey Janssen, who tells him he’s simply slowed down his rehab process, but hasn’t had a setback. “We realized it wasn’t going to heal doing what I was doing. And so instead of putting our foot on the gas we had to take it off a little bit and listen to my body a little bit more,” Janssen explains, also noting that he’s not in pain.
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun has similar details, and also includes a tidbit on Josh Thole and Dioner Navarro. John Gibbons explained his current catching situation, and the fact that Josh Thole was about to play in his second straight game last night thusly: “When Dino’s playing you can watch and see when he’s wearing down a little bit. You want him all season and you have to remember he’s been a backup for a few years. Thole’s swinging it, too. It helps Thole to get back-to-back games, too. And if this helps Dino stay fresh for the whole season, that’s good. He’s available off the bench if we need him and he’ll be used in the right spot.”
Elsewhere at the Sun, Steve Buffery doesn’t care for the bottom third of the Jays’ lineup — because… batting average, or something — while Bob Elliott reminisces about, and bids adieu to longtime Jays employee Howard Starkman, and also takes a look at Mark Buehrle, who is sort of killing it early on.
FanGraphs takes a look at the five most improved pitchers in baseball thus far, based on projected WAR, and one of them — not surprisingly, given how little data the projections had to work with on him — is Drew Hutchison. It’s early for this stuff and best to temper expectations for the bumps in the road that surely will be to come, but holy impressive: “Hutchison has recorded the 10th-best strikeout rate among 111 qualified starters and 88 xFIP- over his first 20.0 innings.”
Schadenfreude: According to the Dallas Morning News, J.P. Arencibia has full-on had his role on the Rangers taken by Robinson Chirinos, who will get the start this afternoon, in a day game following a night game — despite the fact that manager Ron Washington claims that he still doesn’t have a number one catcher (at least, not while incumbent Geo Soto is out). I’m not big on catcher ERA, but: “As of Tuesday, the duo had each started 10 games and the differences were startling. Rangers pitchers had a 2.89 ERA with Chirinos behind the plate; 5.86 with Arencibia. Chirinos had a .211 batting average and .663 OPS compared to .067 and .225 for Arencibia. And perhaps most significant is this: The Rangers were 8-2 when Chirinos started; 4-6 with Arencibia.”
A pair of gems from Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter, as well, as he looks at whether left-handed hitters are going to kill the Jays, and wonders whether Brett Cecil’s curveball may, unbelievable, be still improving.
At Grantland, Jonah Keri looks at the year of the pitcher we may currently be in — though he, quite rightly, notes that it’s more like the year of the defensive shift — and has a new podcast up, with guest Keith Law!
In a similar vein, Dave Cameron writes for Fox Sports, explaining that if baseball wants to see more offence, maybe they should get their umpires to call the damn strike zone correctly.
Schaudenfreude part two: also at Fox Sports, Jon Morosi looks at how the heart and grit and gamers and guys willing to huck a fucking baseball at opponents like spoiled goddamn children who comprise the current Arizona Diamondbacks are turning out to be rather bad at baseball. Still early, obviously, but it would look awful good on the nonsense brigade to see this end badly.
Lastly, it’s back to Getting Blanked where they’re saying goodbye (to the name and “skin,” at least), as theScore launches a new look on the web, and folds the tremendous work you’ve come to know and love from Drew, and contributors like Jack Moore, into their MLB subsection. Nothing changing but the layout. And in his “final” post Drew adds something about this little corner of theScore universe so that I don’t have to: “One more other thing: DJF. Your home for Jays news and snark and whatnot remains the same. Stoeten is on his island same as he ever was, though it might get a facelift in the near future.”