dailyduce1

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 oustanding pieces from Drew at Getting Blanked, as he looks at the three tiers of fastball command, as well as the understandable booing of Jacoby Ellsbury.

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.”

Comments (74)

  1. Little confused by Dickey’s comments…so it’s him that sucks, not the knuckleball in general?? Did anyone even think that?

    • Also, not saying he sucks, just that that’s the idea he’s trying to get across?

      • Yeah I think he means that he is sucking or tiring or messing up by the 3rd time through. Well whatever… if I have my pick I’d rather he go out poorly in the end than start poorly. If a guy starts poorly, you have a real mind fuck as to whether to pull him and try and salvage the game or hang on while he gets it together.

        With Dickey, so far, we know that we should be quick to pull him once he gets up near 80+ pitches (well pull at the first sign of trouble anyway).

        • I think it would be interesting to see dickey pitch every 4th day. Twice through lineup. Then have Redman come in for a once through lineup. The other 4 starters on a six day rotation and can be used in bullpen for a 15-20 pitch offday throwing session. Could then drop to a six man bullpen and have a six man bench.

  2. I wonder if not having JPA catch every day is at least partially responsible for the better performances we’ve seen from Jays pitchers so far.

    • But but…he’s great in the community, and the girls love him because he’s so adorable and and…what about his tremendous power…

    • Certainly seems that way for Buehrle who seems to really be clicking with Navarro

      • JPA has a horrible call game. been sayin that for years.. but the bombs tho! lol

        • I’ve always thought the pitching suffered with Chuckles The Clown calling the games. Sorry about the Rangers, but he’s their problem now Thank God. However AA will always have to answer for keeping him around and getting rid of much better catchers. Before the end of the 2012 season JPA was bragging about how he wasn’t gonna be traded no way no how. Someone had to have said something to him along those lines. I always wondered if AA had a man-crush on him or something. Because he was never all that. But they kept him anyway.

    • Buerhle is going to come back down to earth soon, he’s only striking out 3-4 people per game now outside of the Tampa start where he got 8 looking K’s. But I don’t think it’ll be the crashing down variety of coming down to earth. Like once things even out, it’s looking like he’s still going to be as effective as he’s ever been.

      The fact that he’s gotten 4 wins so far before this inevitable evening out occurs, he could very well come away with a 20 Win season, and a few 8-10th place CY votes.

      Also love how fast his games go, his starts are the most watchable so far.

  3. CHANGE SCARES ME!!

  4. Well maybe Dickey should throw fewer friggin FASTBALLS .. the Home Run to Nelson Cruz was a fastball and the double to lead off the next inning to Markakis was a 3-0 fat fastball .. On the Cruz HR, the great Tabby called it a “sinker” which I assume was to avoid having to call it out and question the pitch selection ..

    I don’t think RA throws a sinker and if he did there is a reason why he is a knuckle baller now!

    • The fact that he fell behind forced the fastball selection. Dickey is great as long as he’s throwing strikes and getting ahead with the knuckler. He just seems to have spells where his command totally abandons him for an inning, and that’s where the majority of the damage done against him comes from. These days it seems to happen in the 5th or 6th inning for whatever reason. Maybe he gets tired, maybe it’s random coincidence.

      • Over the last 2 years his F-strike% and zone% have ticked down and opponents have started swinging less and making more contact when they do swing.

        The good news is that so far he generating a lot more whiffs this year compared to last. So if he can just get himself into the strikezone more often he should be fine.

  5. It is pretty dumb to take away the tabs at the top – it used to be really easy to navigate between sites on the Score, now it is not

    that is a mistake

    how do I even get to back hand shelf?

  6. Thole has been a great surprise and if he keeps hitting the way he is and can catch 2 out of 5 will be huge – having Kratz as insurance is big too. Catching is looking solid somehting that has been a big problem for the Jays for what seems like forever.

    Dickey looking like an elite middle reliever and could invent a role to get the most benefit from him especially going forward if this regression is for real? Throw him out there for 2 innings mid game often. Double the Dickey effect and wonder how much of a horse he could be in that role given the knuckler is less stressful on the arm? 80 X 2 inning appearances of knucklers mid game could provide termendous value not only for those innings but the ones before and after if you believe in the Dickey effect.

    • Obviously he won’t keep up anything remotely close to a .563 BABIP, but Thole’s making really solid contact so far. I don’t think there was a single stretch of games last year where he looked even half this good.

    • I’ve always liked the idea of every ‘starter’ only going twice thru the order and having 10 ‘starters’ instead of 5. Look how good Redmond has been in his 2-3 inning role, could he be that effective if he became a guy that tried to go 6-7 innings, likely not.

      If anything at least its a different idea.

      • Who are the 10 starters you ask?

        buerhle, dickey, morrow, hutch, McGowan, Redmond, rogers, cecil, stroman, Jenkins,

  7. After EE’s HR last night he look different in the box. He was waging the bat like 2013 Eddie.

    I am very excited about EE posibly turning it on, and thus what the benefits will be for Bautista.

    If the Jays get to a point where nobody wasn’t to pitch to EE or JB then all of a sudden Melky, Lind and or Fransico or Colby are going to get better pitches.

    This offence just could be on the verge of going on a tear.

    Mix that in with league average Staring pitching, and a pen that’s very good on most nights and by Canada day……..????

  8. As for Dickey as concerning as the 3rd time thru the order is, what we are forgetting was how good he was thru the 1st 18 batters.

    He absolutely has to make an adjustment, but the slow knuckler is still something he can mix in now that batters know he’s over the plate again.

    The fact that he was throwing strikes last night is a strong foundation for moving forward.

    #I_believe_in_Dickey

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. You can’t just discount his struggles in the 6th and 7th innings, but he was amazing through five, and that’s a really good sign.

      He faced 20 batters in the first 5 innings: 1 single, 1 double, 8 groundouts, 1 fly out, 1 infield fly and 5 Ks. Batters had trouble making contact, and when they did make contact they were hitting the ball on the ground. That’s about as good as it gets, and I find it very encouraging in spite of what happened the next inning.

      • Also, y’know, the O’s are a very talented offensive club, but tell that to those living in a vacuum.

        • They are pretty solid, but they’re also very aggressive.

          26th in BB%
          2nd in Swing%

          I’m thinking that’s the ideal matchup for Dickey.

  9. A few things about Dickey last night.

    He was dealing for five innings, very sharp. He also was in a 0-0 game so no comfort zone at all.

    The double that started the sixth should have been caught, full stop. Reyes and Melky shit the bed there. The home run was hit off the fastball.

    On the whole that was a very encouraging start.

  10. I think you meant dickey threw 25 fastballs to minnesota, not baltimore.

  11. Re; “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,”

    I interpret that as fatigue and that his arsenal (as far as types of knuckleballs) is limited due to it.

  12. lets start a campaign for RAD to lose the fastball completely. It used to be a 2 strike surprise pitch, and it’s become this desperation, all or nothing, gopher ball pitch. Ditch the heater. If you had a heater, you wouldn’t be a knuckleballer.

    • Maybe we should also consider that he’s used the fastball less this year than he has at any other point in his career. If anything, it’s more of a surprise than it ever was.

      • Yet it could also be called the ball meet bat pitch.

        • Or it could be called “Dickey’s most effective pitch in each of the last five years, including 2014, according to Fangraphs’ Pitchf/x Pitch Values.”

          But that doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

  13. Hopefully by facelift you mean more ranting and swearing. If so I’m all for it!

  14. As I look at the new site design more I see that the idea is to integrate more with social media…Yes Stoeten?

    • second question on site design.. am I missing the link for the blogs somewhere.. i see news items and links for all of the different leagues but no space for DJF. Doesn’t matter because I use the URL – but if I didn’t already know it I wouldn’t find it on the main page. Apologies if I’m missing something obvious..

  15. Anyone else notice the Hayhurst on the score?

    http://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/487367

    Stoeten, is he on staff? Or is this a one off?

    • I think he’s kind of freelancing. He’s wrote for the Score a couple times, and he also wrote for Deadspin after the pine tar controversy a few weeks ago.

  16. I know it’s still early…. But let’s look into the future:

    It’s late June. The amateur draft is passed and the Jays pitching has held up particularly well to this point. The Jays are 6 games over .500 and are a game up in the east. They are here despite the fact that their 2b men have continued to contribute an Arencibia like OBP without the power.

    Does Drew become a more realistic possibility for them then?

    • Absolutely. Just gotta get to that point first.

      Considering Drew didn’t sign after April 1st he must be targeting a non comp money pillow deal.

      The Rogers Centre is a great place to pad some numbers in 3 months. He has 5BB in 20 AB’s here. Perhaps he sees the ball well here?

    • A kawasaki and Diaz platoon makes so much sense. I am starting to think the Jays brass made such a big deal out of Goins that they will keep in there to save face despite the detriment to the team. The casual fan might buy the fact that the broadcast team plays him out as a young Alomar, but the guy cannot hit and will never be able to play D good enough to make up for it. Give the platoon over Drew and go after someone else if we are going for it.

  17. 20 plate appearances .. Meaningless

    • I think you’re missing the point, I’m not predicting his success, rather I’m trying to measure how much he would like to come here on July.

      If you are offered 3 contracts and in one of the places you feel you see the ball well, it could absolutely effect your decision, especially considering Drew’d goals.

      If memory serves that is one of the reasons Frank Thomas choose both Oakland and Toronto.

  18. Corey Brock ‏@FollowThePadres ·6 mins
    #Padres pitcher Josh Johnson will have TJ surgery tomorrow. Technically a revision of the UCL

  19. Dinner and Thole have been great. I hope someone finds a better metric for the game calling aspect then catchers ERA but it does give you some idea about who has a feel for game calling and who doesn’t. I remember many instances where JPA would call something offspeed when a hitter was clearly overmatched with gas. Wanting to pull my hair out when an 0-2 hook got parked.

    I don’t want to beat up on the guy and he’s gone, but you simply can’t undervalue the difference a catcher with a good plan has behind the plate. The pitcher has to execute, he still get’s the accolades and deserves them but the catcher is the guy trying to play chess with the hitter, get him off balance, out think him.

    AT the ML level just about every hitter can turnaround a 90 mph fastball, and just about every hitter can sit back and club a bender if they know it’s coming. Good catchers get a feel for what pitches the Pitcher has command of, what the batter is trying to do and does his best to keep the hitter off balance and guessing.

    Dinner is pretty good behind a dish.

  20. A facelift? They’re not touching the beard though, right?

  21. I need a revision

  22. yes

  23. josh johnson to have tommy john surgery. where are all the geniuses who said to sign him now?

    and remember that idiot blogger who called it a no brainer that the jays would give him the qo???

    • Congratulations. I bet you were waiting for so long for this but in actuality, nobody cares if you were right!

      Now please, get over yourself.

    • What? Did your fucking brain just kick in? Old news stud!

  24. Stoeten you want to add this articlehttp://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/mark-buehrle-continues-to-baffle-foes-but-how-good-is-he-really-042014

    I asked the other day. Good read interesting to note for his career buerhle has been a worse pitcher in April and September than any other month. Thus If he drops down a peg or two how far will he really drop?

  25. Heyo! Vancouver Island Jays fans and others including Karen and Radar the time is now to start booking tickets for August Seattle/Jays. Stoeten would be a nice addition as long as he was nice…but anyway…it’s a trip man!

  26. Breaking: Josh johnson

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