Way to ruin it, “Neil Peart.”
Reporters are down at the ballpark this hour, and Shi Davidi tweets that John Gibbons confirms that Dustin McGowan will make his next start. I still think they should skip him. Crazier still, though, is that Gibbons, according to a Gregor Chisholm tweet, floated the idea of going with six starters in May, when the club has 20 games in a row. Brendan Kennedy adds that the plan may bleed into June, too. This, of course, is madness, but… let’s maybe not go ahead and believe they’ll do such a thing just yet. Maybe I’m trying too hard to be easy on them, but saying a thing like that makes McGowan feel good, makes Happ feel good, and avoids any sticky issues with the whole manipulation of Marcus Stroman’s service time, which may entirely be the ultimate plan, which they’re not quite ready to concede. Who knows? John Lott notes that it wouldn’t be a straight-up six man rotation, but that Happ would be used occasionally, to give guys an extra day of rest. That is, at least, slightly less egregious, I’d say.
In his game story on last night for the National Post, Lott notes that John Gibbons told reporters he would like to see Dustin McGowan use his curveball more — as he did back when he last was taking regular turns as a member of the Jays’ rotation. In 2008, “McGowan threw his curveball 10.3% of the time, according to Brooksbaseball.net. This year the curveball has accounted for 1.2% of his pitches. He has said that so far, he simply has been unable to resurrect it,” Lott explains. “He relies principally on his fastball and slider. That worked in relief, but not so well in his new role, where he must face batters multiple times.”
McGowan’s current repertoire, in other words, is a problem nearly as big as the fatigue issue I wrote about earlier today. You may remember, however, that Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged this one on a recent Jonah Keri podcast, essentially labelling McGowan-as-starter to be a work in progress still. ““He’s just starting to use his changeup again,” Anthopoulos explained, “which is an out pitch as well — he just fell in love with the fastball-slider combination out of the bullpen — and he’s slowly going to start incorporating his curveball, which can be pretty good pitch as well.”
In a piece that probably deserves its own post, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star goes over all the reasons why the Jays’ planned installation of grass is going to actually take as long as the club is saying it is. Sadly, the company line — like the fact that sod needed for 2018 needs to be planted by 2015, and that the club is still trying to work out the best strain of grass to hold up in the dome’s unique conditions — kind of makes sense.
Somewhat lost in the McGowan mess was another big night at the plate from Brett Lawrie, as he hit a giant blast for the second day in a row, and picked up two more hits in the process. From the start of Tuesday’s game to the end of Wednesday’s, Lawrie’s OPS went up by 140 points… to .575. Of course, the fact that it can move so much so fast is a very strong indicator that, y’know, it’s early. In another on over at the Toronto Star, Mark Zwolinski takes a somewhat Lawrie-focused look in his gamer.
At FanGraphs, Tony Blengino takes the other view, lumping Lawrie among hitters to be genuinely concerned about right now. Summation: “The good news – Lawrie is hitting the ball in the air more than in the past two seasons. The bad – his K and BB rates are still not good enough to accommodate a mediocre batted-ball profile that has too much going on at the extreme high (popups) and low (ground ball) ends of the spectrum.”
Interesting edition of Baseball Central today on the Fan 590, as Jeff Blair and Joe Siddall spoke to John Gibbons — who was bullish on Lawrie, and who said he hadn’t yet sat down to talk to Dustin McGowan about his comments to reporters last night — and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, whose exchanges with Siddall on the strike zone and pitch framing were terrific examples of how a lot of stat-talkin’ folks and old school folks are much more closely aligned than we realize.
Shi Davidi looks at the game over at Sportsnet, noting how Gibbons’ hands were essentially tied because of the short bench he’s been forced to work with so far this year. It sucks, but it is what it is, and would sure be a whole lot easier to whine about the club’s expansive bullpen roster if not for the fact that, y’know, they’ve got a collection of five-and-dive starters (if that) going right now. Or… two of them, at the very least. (Bonus points if you can get through reading the first comment on Shi’s piece without wanting to punch yourself in the face).
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi takes a look at the resurgent-ish Josh Thole, whose new approach at the plate is so far paying dividends.
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun looks at the warm relationship that still exists between R.A. Dickey and former Rangers manager Buck Showalter (now, of course, of Baltimore), and also gives us some good news via Alex Anthopoulos, who says he doesn’t think Adam Lind will need much time on the DL beyond the minimum 15 days. Nice!
At Bluebird Banter, jays182 wonders if Moises Sierra is a dead man (not) walking, and Gerse breaks down the run expectancy and tells us that it was the right decision last night to let Jonathan Diaz swing away.
Charlie Caskey of Your Van C’s has a nice prospect talk on the radio with the Team 1040 in Vancouver. Listen it!
The Twins claimed Kenny Wilson on waivers from the Jays today, making the Jays’ claim of their former OF Darin “Pat” Mastroianni (and D’ing FA of Wilson) essentially a trade. MLBTR has the details.
In a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm looks at the bench issues, as well as the fact that Juan Francisco is making a good first impression so far with the Jays, and the fact that Edwin Encarnacion seems to be heating up.
Speaking of Encarnacion, apparently that taking the parrot for a walk t-shirt was pulled from Teespring due to copyright violation the other week. And apparently now the folks behind it are trying it again, with a version that doesn’t say “Blue Jays” and therefore shouldn’t get pulled. Still looks hot.
My god, the smallest cosmetic change has made this site look so ridiculously much better, hasn’t it? Don’t forget: this blog isn’t going anywhere, the podcast isn’t going anywhere, and the content is staying the same, despite the big and exciting changes elsewhere at theScore.
Lastly, speaking of theScore, it’s over there where Drew continues his outstanding work on the MLB beat, and this morning absolutely killed it on the subject of Michael Pineda’s pine tar incident, which is neither cheating, nor legal, he says.