It’s been raining on and off all day in Kansas City, and as of 37 minutes before first pitch, the tarp is going back on the field at Kauffman Stadium, which totally may be fucking with the Jays’ rotation plans! I say that because… well… because I’m listening to the radio pre-game show, and with Shi Davidi having been on the line from Buffalo, there was a whole lot of talk about tonight’s Bisons starter, Marcus Stroman.

Stroman, as you’ve surely heard, had his start moved to tonight, presumably in order to line up with the Jays’ fifth starter, Dustin McGowan, who is on the brink of losing his job after admitting to having fatigue set in around the 60th pitch of each of his starts so far. That has hardly been McGowan’s lone problem, but it’s certainly not helping his case to stay in the rotation, despite the fact that his arm reportedly feels great, and his stuff, while maybe not as good as ever (his velocity has certainly been down, for example), remains excellent.

Maybe helping him even less is the way that Stroman has pitched — especially tonight. Working on an 80 pitch limit, Stroman pitched six no-hit innings, striking out ten and walking only one. Holy shit!

I mean, yeah, it’s the Skip Schumaker- and Ruben Gotay-led Louisville Bats, but he can only face who the other team puts out there, and he sure did nail it. So that makes four of five starts with one or fewer walks, and four of five starts with more than a strikeout per inning, for Stroman so far in his triple-A career. His current totals are 26.2 innings, 36 strikeouts, 7 walks. Impressive.

His time could be soon, and as cautious as I’ve tried to be about it, the optimism sure is warranted.

Thing is, I’m still optimistic about Dustin McGowan, too. And Brandon Morrow. But both of them sure would do themselves well by actually, y’know, showing something in this next little stretch. They’re at least in the right parks and facing the right lineups to do it. If we can even get the games in!


Brendan Kennedy tweets that a press box announcement said that tonight’s first pitch will be delayed by 10-15 minutes, “but we will get it in.” A follow-up officially confirms that first pitch will be at 8:35 PM ET.

The Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly tweets that it was the Jays who claimed O’s lefty-mashing-ish outfielder Steve Pearce on release waivers, however the player elected free agency instead, and negotiated a return with the Orioles. “Love you, though, Moises,” I’m sure the Jays were heard to say.

Barry Davis tweets that Adam Lind’s back remains stiff, so he didn’t play in an extended spring game today, and the hope is for him to get back to action later in the week.

In better news (though, actually, with some NL games coming up, they might as well be cautious on Lind), Davis tweets that Casey Janssen is with the Jays in Kansas City, and he’ll throw a side session tomorrow before deciding what to do next. If his return coincides with McGowan moving to the ‘pen for Marcus Stroman, hard to see Chad Jenkins and Esmil Rogers remaining on the roster. Though Happ and Redmond might have some nervous days, too.

Scott MacArthur tweets that he overheard someone say, ”What a ‘coininkydink’ that Chris Getz returns to majors against KC.” Not sure if that’s notable because it’s a gift to Getz or because someone actually said “coinkydink”. (Unless they actually really said “coininkydink.”)

Another from Kennedy, who tweets that the Royals have flipped their game two and game three starters for this series, moving Yordano Ventura to Wednesday against Drew Hutchison, and Jeremy Guthrie to Thursday against Mark Buehrle. “That’s a bummer,” he adds, because “I was really looking forward to seeing the slowest fastball in the game (Buehrle, 83.5) vs. the fastest (Ventura, 95.9).”

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 8:10 PM ET, @ Kansas City

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

SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Chris Getz (L)

RHP Dustin McGowan

Kansas City Royals

RF Nori Aoki (L)
2B Omar Infante (R)
1B Eric Hosmer (L)
DH Billy Butler (R)
LF Alex Gordon (L)
C Salvador Perez (R)
3B Mike Moustakas (L)
SS Alcides Escobar (R)
CF Jarrod Dyson (L)

LHP Jason Vargas

Comments (411)

  1. “Disappointing loss for the Bluejays”

    You don’t say.

  2. Where would they be without Melky. The man has been hot a the plate despite this loss. This one stings a bit because McGowan really battled and left them with a lead.

  3. On the bright side it was 25 and sunny here today so i went down to the lake and got super boozy and missed the shitty innings

  4. How much ass does Esmil have to suck to lose his job?

    • Rogers probably better in the pen right now. He can pitch long relief and in my best guess is likely a leading candidate for a right handed spot start if necessary. I give one to Happ to keep him quiet and get him some more proof work. He wants to show he can start and challenge the rotation? Pitch some shutout innings from the pen in consecutive appearances first. Glad he’s back after a wicked injury but he’s got to stay where he is and do what he is asked.

  5. This bullpen imploding stuff has to stop at some point. It is kind of freakish given that most of these guys have actually been really fucking good in the recent past…

    • yep. Delabar, Cecil, Santos will be fine, it just really sucks to lose multiple games in a short stretch while they try to find it.

    • I’m probably being way too negative but a lot of these guys don’t have a long track record to make a rebound seem imminent (although it would obviously be very hard for them to continue to be this bad). Delabar has a bit over two seasons of experience (the last half of 2012 and first half of 2013 being good, the bookends being meh). Cecil only has 1 year of experience in the Pen (which was good). Santos hasn’t looked too good so far and only pitched 25 innings last year and 5 the year before that (although the 2 Chicago years were good but who knows how 2 years of injuries have effected him). Loup has had only one and half seasons in the majors altogether (1 and a half good seasons however). Redmond only has 1 year of big league experience. I’m not going to count Rogers because he’s always been either bad or just OK. Now obviously this year is an incredibly small sample size but the overall sample size for the relievers isn’t huge either. Relievers are the largest group prone to year to year variation, maybe they rebound, maybe they’re not as good as we thought. Honestly it’s probably somewhere in the middle. The Orioles road their 2012 pen to the playoffs and look at how good most of them are just over a season later.

  6. Love how Melky is hitting the ball to all corners. Wish Rasmus would do the same. The guy is totally capable of slashing the ball to left field and driving it over the left field wall too. Stubborn stubborn, pull the ball stubborn. Why is he holding his bat out in front of the plate and clutching it back to his body before the pitch comes? It seems this is all of a sudden now? Did he do this last year? He needs to come around and soon at that. Need his bat. Nice to see Lawrie getting the average up.

    • the pull-happy approach worked tonight and it worked last year.

      with Colby you just have to take the good with the bad, cause there’s a lot more of the former than the latter

  7. Ugh, so this means we have to wait at least one more start for McGowan to implode (and he will given how he’s pitching) before we see Stroman.

    • I’m amazed that you’d take the biggest positive out of this game and somehow turn it into a negative.

      • Do you have any faith in McGowan as a starter for the rest of the year given the way he’s pitched? Not many grounders, not many strikeouts, lots of contact, lots of pitches up. IMO, it will be a miracle if he lasts another 3 starts.

        Shit, I’d rather the Jays have a reason to pull the plug now and watch someone with actual potential to be good for this season and beyond instead of someone like McGowan who you are praying merely keeps the team afloat in games. I still want this team to be good THIS year. Somehow.

        • No. You’re fucking stupid.

          1) You burn a year of that potential if you call Stroman up now.
          2) There isn’t much reason to think Stroman will pitch better than McGowan 5 days from now, greater potential or not.
          3) You don’t just piss away guys who throw 94 and have four different pitches because you want to see someone else. Even if it works out, it’s bad asset management, and bad asset management bites you in the ass as soon as someone gets hurt.

          • And exactly how many of those are effective pitches? What good is that velocity if everything is staying up and he’s not inducing weak contact?

            This isn’t 2008 anymore. McGowan is a stop-gap solution that belongs in the bullpen. I think you’re slowly pissing this season away by continuing to give him starts in what is already a weak rotation. I like to have something more to hope for this year than mediocrity.

            • McGowan’s pitches? I dunno, his fastball, slider, curve, and change have all looked good to me. He looked pretty good in the first couple innings of his previous starts. Sure, he fell apart after that, but he made and announced a change (insulin pump) to remedy that. Based on today, I’m willing to believe for now that it’s a thing.

              The only real concern to me has been the fuck show coming out of the bullpen.

            • no one is coming to help. Shut up already

        • Part of me is certainly waiting with bated breath for the saviour’s arrival, but a bigger part, the ‘second, sober thought’ part, wants to buy Stroman time, for all kinds of reasons, and Dusty just bought some of that time (in my opinion.)

          And yes, I’d dearly love to keep this boat afloat.

          • Getting past the whole super-2 status is the only bright spot of delaying Stroman. And I get it’s a big one but I don’t trust this current rotation to keep this team afloat before they get to that point.

            • You lose a year of control of Stroman and the rights to some other guy, who may or may not be useless, by promoting Stroman now.

  8. positives? offense was great, starter was ok (great compared to what we’ve been getting)

    negatives? very suspect defense on a number of plays, with all of them in the effort or mental error categories. also bullpen sadness from our 3 best arms, and rogers, which is pretty much par for the course for him.

    • Starter was pretty damn good today. If 6 innings of 2-hit ball still counts as “ok” to you, you need to fix your expectations—Halladay ain’t here no more.

      • results were good, not sure the process was all there.

        continued to struggle with command. KC is a weak-hitting, hack-happy team so pretty forgiving for command-challenged pitchers. he still walked more than he struck out and there were a fair number of hard-hit outs, which has been the pattern this year.

        I’ll take it, and i’d let him keep the job for another week, but it was hardly dominant

  9. Bullpen implosions are one of the worst ways to lose a game.

  10. We have some statistically unlikely events occurring at an alarming rate with regards to holding leads. If Archi Zuber were still posting his post game graphs, one would realize how unlikely it is that we would have already lost so many games in which we held good sized leads in the middle or late innings. Sure pens blow leads all the time, however it is really not that common for them to blow them with leads of 3 runs or larger. We’ve basically lost three games the last week in which we’ve had a 90 percent or greater win expectancy during the game. The odds of that are in the 0.1 percent range.

    • Yeah, there might be something afoot with the pen. And it sucks. But bear in mind first that win probability is an approximation to reality based on history (takes no account of who’s pitching or hitting, for instance), and second that there are a hell of a lot of one-week periods to counterbalance that 0.1% you got by assuming independence.

  11. How can aa be blamed for two all stars shitting the bed? Gibby has to bring in santos whether we like him or not. If we don’t have confidence in the “closer” then we should never bring him in. Also remember santos was traded until the Oakland pitcher failed the medical. Blame Cecil and delabar for walking guys. Gibby brought Cecil in to face a left hander. How is that his fault? Overworked? Bullshit they have the same velocity.

    • Real easy to blame AA for that if you’re the sort of drooling dumbfuck who reflexively calls for the GM’s and the manager’s heads whenever something goes wrong. You know, because that’s how the Leafs are run and the Leafs are a winning tea…oh wait.

  12. I’ve been trying to stay somewhat on the positive side of late absorbing these ridiculous outings by the bullpen. I think we set a record for most 6 run+nningsgiven up in a week in MLB history. This is NOT the way a team hellbent on contending plays Baseball, coughing up leads like a stuck loogy.
    I’m happy Dusty did well but Iam skeptical of his future but he earned another start after tonite. Good to see some slumbering bats coming alive like Lawrie and EE and continued great performances by Jb and Melky. Better start a discussion with Melky soon.
    On the downside I still don’t care much for Rasmus as most of youknow. I’m pretty sure he won’t be back for a variety of reasons so all the more reason to get the Melkman done or we will have gaping holes in the OF next year.
    I can see why AA tried to trade Santos twice over the winter as I think he may be having second thoughts about a guy with great stuff but poor command-Fuk where have I heard this before? His ERA is a gaudy 8.31 with an atrociuos BB/K ratio for a reliever never mind quasi closer. Janssen while not as talented stuff wise has impeccable control when healthy something that is desperately needed in the gong showof a bullpen thus far. While I was an advocate of trading Janssen ( and now it is too late) in the offseason, he still remains their most reliable “closer”.
    I mentioned delabar’s declining effectiveness a couple of weeks ago but most seemed to disagree but now I see another commenter has raised the issue also. Since the AS break last year he has been poor-sorry folks. ERA well over 4, decining velocity and an increasing walk and pitch rate-all very negative signs going forward. To be fair he got hurt and went on the DL late last year and maybe he is still hurt, but whatever the reason this is not AS steve Delabar at all.
    Regretfully, while I keep hoping for a 6 or 7 game winning street, I think it’ll be like most years, a lot of 1 or 2 game wins then back to earth but we have to avoid the 5 to7 game losing streaks as we have already ahd a 4 gamer on the downside.
    Contend? Yeah, its still possible but I do not like the way they are playing ball, overall. Great performances by a few , but too many mediocre ones by too many dragging them all down.
    I’ll be back watching tomorrow but I fear a lousy May which will set some fire alarm bells off I’m afraid and I do not want to sift thru rumours of my favorite players being moved like Bautista to Philly or wherever for 4 scrubs and a butt plug.
    I’m hoping they can get going starting tomorrow but man, they are losing ugly and must stop this or another long year will be jsut around the corner. Anyway, time for another beer

    • i feel like this team has borderline contending talent, the kind of team that needs more than a few things to go right for them to make the playoffs, and for that reason all these gut-wrenching losses are hard to take.

      it’s going to take much more than their current level of play to make the playoffs, and i’m not sure this team has that kind of improvement in it. they’ve gotten some poor performances out of several guys that you expect better from, but there are also performances that are screaming for regression (Buehrle, Melky, Navarro, probably Bautista to a degree), and there’s the ever-present possibility of injury to the key members of this team that is sorely lacking in depth. they’re as healthy as anyone right now, so there’s no excuse there.

      my gut says they’re really talented and they can win, but my brain says too many things have to go right, and already too many things have gone wrong.

      • I’m with you. The top half of the order is great and it slides to a sinkhole in the last spot. The damn pitching just needs to be decent overall. I know it’s a long season with lots of ups and downs but we really need an long winning streak to make me feel a lot better about this team. 80 – 85 win team? Seems about right.

  13. “I do not want to sift thru rumours of my favorite players being moved like Bautista to Philly or wherever for 4 scrubs and a butt plug.”

    Hey, we’ve actually traded for some players that were much less valuable than a solid butt plug. Frank Francisco and Rogers come to mind.

    • Yeah, I hear ya-we have. But JB is busting his ASS trying very hard to help them win every day even if he does the odd dumb thing. He has reached base at least once in every fucking game this year-every one! Playing for the NYY the hype w/b unreal. He alone could bring a WS to a good club like STl.
      The Jays are totally fucking this up. The 1-2-3 punch they have with Melky, JB and EE is Unreal. They have agreat tablesetter in Reyes yet all this is clusterfucked by the 2B fiasco fuckup and average to just plain shitty pitching that they do nothing about.
      Sadly, it doesn’t look great to me going forward this year as their are too many headwinds. I just don’t want any more fuckin rebuilds-I want competitve baseball this year and that does not mean 75 fuckin wins.
      I’m going on again, sorry, but I think tonite was their 6th BS already, and we haven’t reached May 1 yet-unreal

    • AA didn’t trade Napoli for one year of Frank Francisco, though. Pretty sure the point of that was the extra draft pick.

      • that’s true, plus playing time for “catcher of the future” JPA, amiright?

        it’s still an awful trade. they couldn’t have used a DH/1B/part-time catcher who has slashed .260/.358/.503 over his career? you could easily argue that trading him at the deadline to a contender would have yielded a better return than a comp pick.

  14. Jesus fuck. I just saw that Delabar and Cecil each accumulated a Hold Statistic. Who keeps coming up with these stupid stats?

  15. I don’t blame the bullpen for any of this. Those guys are fucking tired from all this bullshit starting pitching. You are up 5-2 and after one hit from you starter you are giving him the hook? See what he can do to get out of it. Gibby’s great bullpen management had to be questioned here

    • And the way this bullpen is constructed is just fucking stupid in my mind. You have an 8 man pen with 4 long men that only get in the game when it is a blowout in either direction. The 4 high leverage guys get used over and over and we see the result of overworking them. This is compounded of course by the starters not giving us innings.

      • this is the critical thing. The fact that you could have tired pitchers in an 8 man pen is astounding.

        You’re killing your bench AND your bull pen. If they had legitimate relievers out there instead of AAAA starters you could mitigate the fact that ALL of Cecil, Delabar and Santos need to pitch well for the team to win in almost every victory.

  16. So uh when does Rogers get DFA’d? He’s not a major league pitcher.

  17. Why the hell was Delabar throwing so many freak’n FB to Sal Perez?? Only matter of time before he timed one. That turd is on Navarro and Delabar. Cecil’s curve sucks right now.

  18. These blown games by the bullpen are becoming tiresome. Jays should be around 2nd place in the division right now. :’(

  19. Alright I know this is going to sound dumb but at this point McGowan might be more valuable to us in the bullpen than as a starter. #FreeStroman

  20. Is it possible to wake up clean/sober and then get a hangover?

    Went to bed feeling good with the lead at 5-2.

    I wake up to… what?

    Sad to see 6 innings of 2run ball from the 5th starter wasted.

    I remember the days when scoring 6 or 7 runs would all but ensure you a win.

    Can we write a different ending to this season’s story? Please.

  21. When will Gibbons stop drying to drag an extra 1-2 outs from the starter when he’s tired. Much easier for relievers to come in with a clean inning than come in after the starter has walked the first guy in the inning because he’s tired.

    Seems to have happened in most of the bullpen collapses.

    Dusty had done a great six innings, well beyond what he had done before, the bullpen was well rested, why the hell not just send Delabar for the 7th, Cecil for the 8th, and Santos for the 9th.

    Gibbons has a name for good bullpen management, but this is textbook stuff.

    • No, it isn’t textbook stuff.

    • So your complaint is that Cecil, Delabar and Santos all had poor outings because… McGowan face one batter in the 7th inning?

      McGowan was at 86 pitches and had retired 11 of the last 12 batters. Given all the complaints in here about the bullpen being overworked, you can’t possibly believe that it didn’t make sense to allow McGowan to come back out to see what he had left.

  22. They had an off day Monday. They pitch one inning. Closer for Milwaukee pitched four days in a row. Being tired doesn’t cut it. Baltimore has the exact same argument of starting pitchers out after five.

  23. Delabar made a fool of himself trying to continually blow fastballs past Perez, then doesn’t learn from it and tries to outrun Dyson? What in the fuck is going on in his head? Also, I know I will get shit on for this, but you have to believe that the offensive stars of the team are getting pretty fucking fed up with the pitching situation. How long until Bautista loses his shit in the clubhouse? How long until Lawrie writes something dumb on the whiteboard? I can’t imagine how fucking angry it makes them watching the pen blow every game.

    Why not run the team like every other fucking club? Build a normal bench, and shuffle the fucking bullpen after they shit the bed continuously. Wagner, Korecky, Hendricks, Tepera, Nolin. Bring any one or two of them up and either tell Esmil to fuck off, send Delabar down for a breather, anything to get them back on track.

  24. Frustrating for sure. Too many guys without options clogging up the picture. It seems almost stubborn on behalf of the Jays to not just cut rope on Rogers, Happ and Sierra. Who knows maybe the rest of baseball doesn’t overvalue these guys. They do need to shake things up.
    I have always wondered what makes Pete Walker a major league pitching coach, he was mediocre as a MLB starter. Perhaps this is a place we could look for improvement, or is he out of options too ? The Bisons are putting up some heady numbers with their SP, who is coaching there ?? I just think this team will be left to succeed or fail as constructed. Too bad this group is pretty close I think.

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