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Pillar puns! Holy shit, the Pillar puns. Because that game was the Kevin Pillar show at the end there, and I wasn’t immune to getting wrapped up in it…

Of course, it could have been a “Pillar Assault” of a different kind for us to talk about. Entering the game as a defensive replacement in left in the ninth inning, Pillar ill-advisedly tried to be a hero on a Kurt Suzuki liner — with two outs, a runner on second, and a two run lead — refusing to concede a hit, missing the ball, and allowing the tying run into scoring position in the process. Suzuki was plated after a shitty fly out to no-man’s land off the bat of Eduardo Escobar, before Casey Janssen finished off a nervy at-bat with Daniel Santana with a strikeout. The game shouldn’t have even got that far, as Steve Tolleson couldn’t make the transfer on a double play ball earlier in the inning that would have ended it, with the Jays up 4-2, but Pillar managed to bail both himself and Tolleson out, cashing a diving, pinch-running Erik Kratz with a bloop hit in the bottom of the frame, after Dioner Navarro walked, Anthony Gose atrociously couldn’t get a bunt down and struke out, and the amazingly awesome Jose Reyes singled to setup the winning play.

Bloop or not, it was a hell of a walk-off, because despite getting the ball to Janssen with a 4-2 lead in the ninth, it’s not like this was ever a no-doubter. R.A. Dickey looked to be in the throes of another bed-shitting after back-to-back home runs to lead off the game, though he settled down and pitched well until getting to one out in the sixth inning. His late-game issues continued, though, as a Josh Willingham triple (on a ball misplayed by Jose Bautista in a vaguely similar fashion to the one we’d see butchered by Pillar later), a bizarre hit batsman, and then a walk to load the bases led to his exit. John Gibbons, somewhat awesomely, brought Dustin McGowan into the situation — a late game reliever taking the hill in a very high leverage situation, despite there being eleven outs still to get (a move that absolves Gibbers from whateverthefuck he later had Gose doing, bunting with two strikes in the bottom of the ninth) — and a nifty turn of a double play from Reyes and (especially) Lawrie later and Dickey’s line ends up looking pretty alright!

Hey, and while we’re praising folks, how about the guys we’ve come to routinely expect greatness from: Bautista one-for-three with a walk, Reyes three-for-five with a huge insurance home run and the hit to setup Pillar’s big moment, and Encarnacion going two-for-three with a walk and a three-run shot.

Mostly, though:

It was a dramatic one — a nail biter, an emotional rollercoaster, and a fuckin’ thriller. Or is that… I don’t know… a Pillar?


Image/chart via FanGraphs. Here’s how to read the chartThis and this explains the gray line.

Comments (148)

  1. Pillar of strength!

  2. the infamous anthony gose struke out

  3. In Pillar we trust!

  4. God, but wasn’t that Gose AB shitty?

    And I guess we can’t hate Pillar too much for the dive. It looked bad and ended badly, but he came damn close to catching that thing.

    • The replay showed it was a lot closer than it looked at first.

      • And that’s one of those dopey ass split second judgement things that you can’t just stop and weigh the pros and cons and call for a vote.

  5. Are these still growing pains for Gose or he is basically a finished product at this point?

  6. The Gose struke out was painful to watch. What the fuck was that?

  7. Cahill was just released.. 26 years old with a career 3.96 era.

    hes given up a lot of hits and walked a bunch this year, but his FIP is still respectable. would love to see AA start building some depth.

    as exciting as that sounds to actually play exciting games down the stretch.

    • Was DFA. Sounds like he’ll go to the minors, a la Romero.

      • Fuck you’re quick Stoeten.

        And still owed 20 mil.?
        Let you guys debate that one.

        • Cahill for Romero?

        • Not much to debate here – the guy is a bum. An expensive bum. We got one of those in Buffalo right now. I figure he’d be #5 on our 5th man rankings, well behind MarcStrom, Redmond, Hendricks… I wonder if they will call up some spot starters to give SP a break this month? Is Nolin ready for a cup of coffee, or would that fuck up his eligibility? I can never keep that shit straight. What about Drabek? He looks OK in Buffalo. Hendricks would work… Korecky deserves a shot too. See, we have pitching depth!

          • I like the idea of picking Cahill up on the cheap. His babip is 80 points higher than his last three years. His SO and BB are both up some but nothing else really sticks out as irregular for the guy other than the results. This seems like the move of a desperate club that is spiraling down the tubes. I think we all can appreciate when shit starts going bad it can get ugly in a real hurry

            • Cott’s shows Cahill’s got around 4MM left on 2014 (out of 7.7MM), and 12MM left on 2015. There’re club options for 2016 and 2017 but they’re not looking good for him. If I’m AA, I’m not interested.

  8. Isn’t there someone in the ‘pen who’s a better runner than Kratz? Maybe Cecil? Delabar? Even Redmond?

  9. “Pinch-running Erik Kratz”.

    Just like they drew it up at the start of the game…

  10. Kratz is huge.

  11. When I eat Mennonite sausage, recently purchased from the farmers market, I think of Eric Kratz. Yes, I am a cocksucking yuppie.

  12. Just realized I haven’t checked mlbtraderumors in a month. This is a new and awesome feeling. Go jays

  13. Need a 2b and SP

  14. When i look at all those pitchers with good-great numbers last year and have shittty arm disease this year..buckholtz…ubaldo..makes ya nervous picking up another pitcher. I read somewhere (sportsnet?) Where they gave their opinion on who the jays should go for…Brandon McCarthy..that would be a gread pickup

    • I’m with you on Brandon Mccarthy, he is a solid pitcher . Samardzija doesn’t get me hard would rather keep Stroman, Sanchez, Norris.

      • Brandon McCarthy the man? Awesome.
        Brandon McCarthy the pitcher? Pass. Pass hard.

        • Clay clearly knows fuck all about baseball, nor bothers to research a guy before dismissing him. Pro McCarthy here, he could be a real contributor down the stretch.

          • Apparently I know fuck all about baseball because you disagree with something I said. Didn’t mean to offend. Sorry I struck such a sensitive nerve.

  15. off topic, but there’s a short blurb on d’Arnaud and how he’s sucking a hind tit. been demoted to AAA and is hitting .189 after 145 PA’s…..

  16. Gose is showing his true worth now.

    He needs to be able to get a runner over in high leverage situations.

    • So if last night’s failure represents his true worth, what do we call the play less than two weeks ago where he got a great bunt down that resulted in the Jays last walk-off win?

      • Clearly you are living in the past. Wind from 2 weeks ago don’t count.

        Having said that, he is getting worse clearly.

        • Oh he definitely is, but I don’t think anyone expected him to maintain his previous level of play. Actually, I shouldn’t say that… all the people suggesting Rasmus should be traded seemed to think that Gose playing at his peak was the real Gose.

  17. But…but…but…we should be looking to trade Colby for pitching because Anthony Gose has it all figured out? Right? Right?

  18. I’m really hoping for a majestic Kratz-sliding-in-to-home-plate pic with today’s posting, pretty please Mr Stoeten!

  19. Get well soon Colby.

  20. Gose regressing? Might be starting to average out his effectiveness. Odd, same time Rasmus is coming back.

  21. I see the Anthony Gose Fan Club is now closed due to bankruptcy. Fuck two weeks ago the place was packed.

  22. yea – I’m thinking Reyes gets the game winning hit if Gose gets that bunt down. I get the foul tips and foul balls if you’re trying for a base hit on a bunt as it needs to be perfect.

    If you’re sacrificing though – gees – get the damn bunt down.

  23. Felt so badly for Pilar- he is obviously trying to make an impression to stay up here. Swing big or go Home!

    • So… why do you feel badly for him?
      He’s playing in the MAJOR LEAGUES and making a decent case to be a 4th outfielder on a first place team.

  24. Just an observation, but I’ve found Gose is way better at bunting when its a drag bunt as opposed to a set sacrifice. He just looks really uncomfortable holding the bat there waiting. He seems a lot more fluid dropping the bat at the last second.

    • well said

    • Definitely. I’ve seen players like before, who can drop one down when they’re going for a bunt hit but they’re way out of their element trying to sacrifice.

      That sac bunt attempt last night was the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. Probably would have had more success just trying to beat one out.

      • Agree Kyle. He may have been thinking he had to bunt to the pitcher’s right because he fell off the mound to the left. (it should be noted too that all the pitches were high and away). But I think the drag bunt is his “forte” and there’s every chance it would get past the pitcher, even when he falls to his left on the delivery. Gose can also outrun just about any bunt.

        • no he can’t outrun any bunt, specifically when he’s walking back to the dugout.

          To ‘look’ more comfortable on drag bunts isn’t a good thing.

  25. Gose is making Gibbons’ decision easy when Rasmus returns, yet we need to see Gose succeed in the majors, but his OBP of .306 in the last 74 PA is less than desired. Defensively, he’s ++, have to admit, but offensively, he just needs to get on base and learn to run the bases.

    Still, if Gose is the only weak spot in the lineup, I think we can live with that.

    Pillar’s heroics would have been avoided if he had just stopped short on that fly ball. Then you’re looking at a runner on 1st with 2 out and that bloop fly would have meant nothing. And that call at the plate was much closer than it looked. If the Catcher would have been in the right position, there’s a good chance that that play would have been very close, leaving it up to Bautista to fail in a 2 out RISP situation, the ONE situation Bautista has sucked at this season (2 for 19 RISP and two outs),

    • What do you mean “if the catcher was in the right position”?

      It really wasn’t that close. Watch when TurkeyBacon actually touches the plate and how Suzuki didn’t even attempt a tag.

      • Part of the reason the catcher was out of position (Suzuki), was because the throw was a good one but 4 feet wide of the plate. Don’t forget also that the fielder was playing deep to avoid doubles so he had to run a long way to get to Pillar’s bloop hit.

  26. Great article by Shi Davidi on PIllar. About the messed up play, the walkoff hit and how Joey Bats influenced it all.

    • Jose….Leader….Team….clubhouse presents….rinse repeat

    • Nice.

      Does Pillar have bad splits against RHP?

      I honestly like his upside more than Tony at this point.

    • The conversation Jose had with Pillar sounds very similar to the one Jose said he had with Wells when he (JB) was still trying to figure things out.

  27. I hate when people talk about how one win means more than another, but sweeping these Twins before hitting the road against Baltimore and NYY sure would be nice… And anytime we can get a win out of Happ always feels like a big bonus to me. Go Jays Go!

  28. What really gives me confidence in this team is that in the past 20 + years these were the games that we would lose time in and time out. Now were finding a way to overcome adversity and get w’s. You add up these adversity w’s and its going to be the fucking difference between winning the division and not!

    Go Jays!

  29. I have always hated the defensive indifference in games in the ninth where they’re up by two and let the guy take second. Only this run at the plate matters. That’s just not true at all, you sacrificed the force at second, and you gave up a shot to throw him out stealing second, i don’t see how it doesn’t matter.

    • But if you play to prevent the steal then Edwin has to hug the bag, the infielders have to play up the middle, huge holes open up especially if the runner actually goes. It makes perfect sense to forget about him, his run doesn’t matter.

      There’s also a more likely chance that the catcher calls hard stuff more often trying to prevent an offspeed pitch bouncing etc.

      • I understand the point, I just don’t agree,
        why wouldn’t they play that way with two outs every inning of every game?
        It’s not like Dee Gordon was standing over there,

        • Because if u play that way every inning then they’ll take the bag every inning and the hitter will get a hit 25 percent of the time and drive him in. They’d score more runs over the length of a game.

          You do it with a lead of more then one run in the 9th because the first run doesn’t matter, you just need 3 outs. You have a better chance to get those 3 outs playing back forgetting about the runner.

          It’s really quite simple.

          • like i said, i disagree, if they hold him and its a chopper up the middle, they flip to two and close the game out, if he’s already on two, now its runners on the corners.
            I dont think the trade off is a good one.

            • And if it’s a groundball to the right side then it’s a single because EE is holding the runner and now you are one swing away from being down one.

              • only because they moved brett back to 3 because we dont have a real second baseman

                • Someone more link savvy could probably find you some actual stats on it. I understand what you are saying though, but I think it’s pretty much a consensus in baseball that this is the best strategy when up a couple in the 9th.

                  Agree to disagree.

                  • This is all an interesting argument, and one I was having with a friend this morning. I’m not sure the “consensus in baseball” should be determinative, since baseball likes to hang on to silly things like saves, rather than high leverage situations…

                    I would be interested to see if there are any actual stats showing that run prevention is increased by not holding the runner, The psychological efffect of having a runner in scoring position on second also seems to have an effect. Keep in mind that while you’re defending against that last run, you can never account for the end of the bat flares or dribblers, which in turn make that first run you let in important.

                    Just by way of example as well, in the Kansas City game where the Royals tied it up in the 9th off Reyes’ throwing error, had they not conceded second base Reyes could have stepped on the bag. Granted Reyes makes that throwing 99/100, but no way he scores from first on the error either.

                    • yea i dont think its as cut and dry as they make it at the mlb level.
                      its easier to get an out with the force intact.
                      it’s harder to steal if you’re being held on.
                      seems like a good tradeoff for the first 8 innings, but in the ninth it’s not necessary?

                    • think how long it took baseball to start shifting. now EVERYONE does it!

                    • Strategically,Smashers correct.
                      In the real world,up by a couple, it’s gonna take a couple of hits or a dinger to tie it up.
                      If that happens he’s coming in anyways,1st or 2nd.
                      You defend against the batter, to prevent the tie.

  30. The Lawrie-Francisco-Tolleson solution can’t last forever.

    I have to imagine AA’s working on an outside-the-organization solution.

    • Though I’m all for getting some outside help, the current setup seems to be working ok.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Francisco and Tolleson are both regressing, but it’s not like there was even the slightest chance they were going to keep doing what they’ve done so far. For example, look up all major league second basemen with at least 50 PA this year and order them by wRC+. That one at the top is Steve Tolleson, about 10 points ahead of Chase Utley. Now do the same for third basemen and you’ll see Francisco is fifth. It’s been working amazingly well so far, mostly because of the way Gibbons has been putting them all in positions where they’re most likely to succeed.

        Another way of looking at it: the three players have combined for exactly 3 fWAR in 453 PA, which works out to around 4 fWAR over a full season of 600 PA. I don’t expect them to keep it up to the extent they have, but it will take a lot of regression before they fall to the point where the platoon doesn’t work anymore.

        • Excellent analysis as always Phil…

        • I agree it’s currently working. But looking forward another 1-2 months I imagine these numbers will be different based on Tolleson and Francisco’s histories.

          Of the two, I think Francisco is likely more of a wild card to maybe improve upon his career numbers. Right now he appears to be heading toward those numbers.

          Tolleson seems like more of AAAA player at 30+ yo.

          It would be nice if there’s a Plan B.

    • Correct……… but let’s hope it can last for 4 and 1/2 months.

    • Why can’t it last?

      Rays have used these kinds of platoons regularly over the years, usually with zobrist as the swing man. The one that really sticks out is the 2B/RF platoon they rode for a couple years with zobrist, joyce, and rodriguez. But they’ve had others too, back when zobrist could field SS a bit.

    • What this book presupposes is: maybe it can?

  31. I cringe every time I hear Gose’s awful walk up music… This is how we doooo it…. and then he shows exactly how he does it…. same dude, different year folks. The term “development” is used far too loosely these days.

    • Concluding that 24 year olds are finished products is often done far too often these days.

      I’m not guaranteeing Gose will ever become something useful, but let’s not completely write him off just yet.

      That said, lets DEFINITELY send him back down to AAA as soon as possible.

      • The DJF boys will be quick to point out he has 7 years of service already, but ya, looking like a 5th outfielder these days, and with the big pen and bevy of catchers, 5th outfielders end up playing in Buffalo.

      • Well, good point that you shouldn’t conclude either way. I’m just going off of past experience with players – far too many fans are fooled into thinking that a young player just needs time and practice and will automatically “develop” into something. Far too often that is not the case, and I can see Gose being a prime example. For every Halladay or Bautista there are thousands of Travis Sniders and Gabe Grosses that simply don’t pan out. The most likely scenario, like in so many other cases, is that he doesn’t change much at all, continues to strike out and in a year where we are contending, there’s no room for error. Get Colby in there, and ship Gose and his strikeouts back to Buffalo.

      • Does anyone remember last night the graphic that showed the Blue Jays alltime OPS leaders?

        I thought it had Carter above Bautista, which struck me as odd. After checking Carter is way down the list just below Rios, well below Shannon Stewert, and light years away from delgado Bautista and mcgriff.

        maybe i read the graphic wrong

        • you did read it wrong,
          it was carter, jose, mcgriff, and i think edwin was in fifth

          • ahhh…maybe i found it weird cause carter is 18th on the list but they jammed him in there anyway

            Also i wish i knew how to post properly

          • lol delgado was first,
            fuck sorry

            • Yeah I don’t think Carter was on the list at all… what surprised me the most was how high Edwin is given that he was just a mediocre hitter his first couple years in Toronto.

        • Delgado falls down the list when you adjust for league offense with OPS+.

          1. McGriff 153
          2. Bautista 148
          3. Delgado 142
          4. Encarnacion 132
          5. Olerud 130

          Winfield in his one season posted a 138.

          Fat Juan in his one season so far is at 137.

  32. The ball Lawrie whipped at Tolleson was powered by Red Bull and was thrown so hard it was buried in poor Tolleson’s glove.

    • Just to expand on this…why cant mark.b have a cy young season? Why cant happ have a 3.50 era from now till the end? I dont give two craps if they havnt done it before..doesnt mean it cant happen. Alot of things have to come together to win a title and its WILL happen this year! You can throw all the advanced stats you want, this team has what it takes to win and adding another top arm will help..who knows maybe we might have another pitcher go down..some insurance would help…Go jays!!

      • because hope is not a strategy

      • It’s not an advanced stats thing. It’s just a probability thing. Guys who consistently have high ERAs don’t typically suddenly have low ones, & guys who consistently do not hit home runs rarely suddenly start hitting lots of them.

        But I’m board with you. Often when a team wins, it’s because a bunch of guys have better than average years at the same time. This team could definitely do that and that’s about all it would take. And given the offensive talent (not to mention a pretty solid defence), it should be able to score lots of runs to get through some bumps with the pitchers. Much of it is the same team that looked like a winner on paper at the start of last year too. It’s not a weak team unless you take last year’s injury-ridden line-up as your expected talent level, which would make no sense.

        So yeah. Go Jays!

      • Actually Happ HAS done that before.

        2009: 131ip, 2.93era
        2010: 87ip, 3.40era

        And those innings were limited by injury, not performance.

        • Sure, but then there is 2011-14, and I would still say probability-wise he’s very unlikely to put up those numbers. And to actually use advanced stats (the original statement I was responding to wanted to avoid them), he was pitching over his head in those years if you look at his FIP. He’s pretty clearly a guy who has always pitched to a 4+ ERA level, and this year he’s looking a little lucky to only be slightly over 4.

          Again, none of that’s to say it can’t happen. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to expect it though.

          • No doubt, but him having a good year morebin line with his earlier years wouldn’t be the strangest story in baseball.

            As it is, his career as a jays starter so far is fine for a #5SP: 4.46era, 4.08fip, 4.48xfip, 4.31siera.

            No reason to think he’s some gaping hole in the rote, or that he couldn’t improve on that line a bit and maintain something closer to his current 4.12era.

  33. ‘Cause this is Pillar, Pillar night
    And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike

    • wasn’t it really more of a Jose Reyes night? Fuck that guy is good.

      • Well yeah, but the last line of the post made me think of Thriller and Reyes doesn’t really fit, and… don’t you ruin this for me!

  34. You guys are pillarious.

  35. I dunno Stoeten, I’d say you put your whole ass into this one…

  36. It must have been a bitter Pillar for the Twins to swallow.

  37. In other news Santos could be back within a week.

    Bad Santos is no fun (insert Billy Bob Thornton/Santos photoshop here)…

    but Good Santos (last half of last year) is awesome!

  38. Who else is nervous about morrow coming back?

  39. Jays are leading majors with a team wRC+ of 114.


  40. I admit that my hatred for Boston is so irrational, so PSYCHOTIC, that if, at the end of the season, a RedSox win would launch the Blue Jays into the post season, I’D STILL WANT THEM TO LOSE.

  41. So, am I right that the Jays can go over their draft pool ($9,458,500) by 5% without penalty so they have an extra $472,925 along with whatever they save from the actual pool money to spend on some of those high school post-Round-10 guys (Houck, Weisenberg, Latz).

    Cmon Rogers, the best return on investment you can make is three years of MLB minimum salary on a 4 to 6 WAR per year player (not even talking Trout-level). The only way you get that is investing in the draft. You hit on a one of those players and you are what, $73 million ahead of the game ($5M per free agent WAR which is conservative = 75 M in value for $1.5M salary). Get two of those in every 6 or 7 year draft cycle and you can value the return on each draft at about $22.5 M, let alone all the other cumulative benefits of other lesser valued players. So, I sure hope that spending $10M per draft is in the cards (now I am not counting scouting costs but that still has to be no more that $3 or $4 M in salary and travel expenses, etc.) DON’T SKIMP GUY LAURENCE!

    • ok, so the Luxury tax for going over is an additional 75% tax so if they use the whole $472K, then the tax is another $355K (but again that has to be peanuts in the grand scheme of the amount spent on scouting and potential return on young MLB minimum salary talent).

      How much is Loup benefiting the Jays? By WAR, it is already $13.5M for just over $1M in salary since 2012.

  42. Looks like Machado is suspended 5 games. If he doesn’t appeal, the Jays won’t face him until game 4 of the series.

    I can live with that…

  43. Reid-Foley is officially signed at slot.
    They went over Lane Thomas (5th round) for $750K where the slot is $343K
    That’s $407K over slot – and what dm says – within the $472K they’re allowed to go overslot.
    I just like the idea of signing more of the guys as possible – get those maybes that are 10th round and after, that they’ve drafted with signability issues, and get them inked.

    • They should be able to get Hoffman well under slot from what I’ve read as he has the TJ and no leverage.

      • Yep – at this point that has to be what they’re eyeing. They know draft is a crapshoot – so sign as much as possible. Quantity turns into Quality.

        One thing I haven’t heard is if they punted any low 5-10 picks to get even more draft $ avail?

  44. I know this is wayyyy OT, but holy fuck, just watched the Machado vs the A’s highlights, and good god y’all that kid was being such a dick. Unreal. And people bleat about it being the first time he’s ever done something like this, blah blah blah. Lawrie had a single incident, and we all know what that is, and the kind of attitude change that’s happened since then. I’m curious to see if Machado’s made of the same stuff.

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