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TANAK!

Fuck Masahiro Tanaka has been good so far for the New York Yankees. And frankly, for their sake, he’s had to have been. The names in the lineup that you see below are certainly intimidating, but offensively the Yankees have struggled this year. So far. They’ve produced the third worst wRC+ of any American League team, and the Jays have four hitters with higher numbers in that stat than the Yankees’ best hitter, Mark Teixeira. There are six Blue Jays — Bautista, Lind, Encarnacion, Francisco, Cabrera, and Steve effing Tolleson! — who’ve produced more wRC+ than the Yanks’ second-best hitter.

Hey, but at least they’ve got terrible infield defence and the regression-due Chase Whitely going tomorrow night against Mark Buehrle, and a less-than-favourable matchup in Thursday’s series finale with David Phelps taking on Drew Hutchison, right?

Well, yeah. And yeah, they’re pretty old, so it’s not a given that some of those bats will heat up, but will all of Beltran, McCann, and Jeter continue to hover around 80 wRC+? Will they find some way to mortgage whatever prospects they can scrape together — prospects they don’t really need that in the same way the Jays do, since the Yankees fill their big league roster with free agents anyway — and find a piece that can help them keep clawing back the Jays’ division lead?

It’s not out of the question.

It’s still early. So many folks, in a dipshit rush to declare the Jays fucked and to satiate their need to be shitty, negative shits in peoples’ cuts, didn’t want to hear that last year, but it was as true at this point then as it is now. Fortunately for the 2014 Jays, as anyone remotely realistic fully acknowledged — another thing suckholes didn’t want to hear — having a long season ahead doesn’t mean that it’s not terrifically difficult to claw back a bunch of games.

Just don’t get swept. More than anything about “a big series” or a “statement” or anything like that… just don’t get swept.

That’s not to say that losing series’ is acceptable — obviously the Jays will have to keep doing better than that — but if the Jays lose all three the Yankees go from 4.5 back to within a game and a half, and but if the Jays win just one, the best the Yankees can do head into the weekend 3.5 games behind.

Yeah, it’s just simple math, but it’s also perspective.

And shit, with Marcus Stroman going into his home town, under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, facing an almost hopeless task against one of the best pitchers in the world right now — though, it should be noted (as it was on Twitter several times early today by the Jays’ beat reporters), Tanka’s lone loss so far this year came in the only other game in which he was facing a team for a second time — why the hell couldn’t he pitch his ass off tonight? I’d believe it.

But even if they only win one of these three, even if it’s obviously not ideal, I can live with that.

Scuttlebutt

This Stroman-Tanaka matchup is baseball’s most watchable this evening — or so says Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs and his NERD Game Scores.

Not mentioned (at least not by me in the earlier Delabar item) was the fact that John Gibbons mentioned today that R.A. Dickey is fine. He, of course, left his last start early due to a leg or groin thing or something. I don’t know. Everything’s been a blur since Holland 5 – Spain 1, honestly.

Another thing not mentioned here: Sergio Santos has been activated, and Darin “Pat” Mastroianni has been optioned back to Buffalo. No, really! It happened! (Unless it was a DFA, but I don’t think so.)

did mention, though, that Cecil could go “in a pinch” today, while Lind will hopefully only need a couple of days. And Colby Rasmus is getting real close, too. “It could be any day,” Anthopoulos says, according to a tweet from Brendan Kennedy. So that’s not bad.

“Why not DL Lind and call up Dan Johnson? Why Kawasaki over Goins? ‘None of your business,’ Gibby said, cheerily,” tweets Brendan. OK then.

Barry Davis tweets that Alex Anthopoulos says that trade talk is — finally — starting to heat up, “but right now it’s just preliminary. Lots of team inquiring about prospects.”

More from AA: Scott MacArthur tweets that the GM says Brandon Morrow will begin throwing on Friday. Fingers crossed! Er…. well… not the one with the fucked up tendon sheath, but the others!

Scott adds that Anthopoulos says that he’s encouraged by the progress in negotiations with first round pick Jeff Hoffman.

Anthopoulos says that he’s not focussed solely on pitching in the trade talks that he’s having — he’d be happy to improve the club however he can. John Lott tweets this quote from the GM: “We’re basically canvassing the clubs to see who’s available. In some of the conversations, players we didn’t think were available are.” I know he always says that, but… hmmm…

Barry Davis tweets that John Gibbons was noticeably without chewing tobacco today, and that the Jays’ manager says that Tony Gywnn’s premature death this week prompted him to try to give it up.

Jose Bautista’s first inning at bat on Sunday was slightly terrific, if you ask me. He made a very demonstrative groan after thinking he’d walked on a 3-1 pitch that was a rather generously called a ball, then got back into the box, refocussed, and hit the next pitch — a second straight fastball, in almost in the same location — the opposite way into the right-centre alley for an RBI double. “A nice piece of hitting,” we were probably told by the TV broadcast. Or something like that. It was, though! (Here’s the strikezone plot via Brooks.)

So so so so so fucking weird that the Jays would be pitching so much better than last year now that they’re using defensive shifts again, innit? I mean, I know there are other reasons that are part of it, but seriously! Their starters are currently tied with the Angels’ group for the second-lowest ERA in the American League. Shit is fucked.

While we’re here, a reminder that our old friend Bergkamp makes awesome Dutch comfort food at The Ossington on Sundays, and he’s be kicking that enterprise into high gear for all of the Netherlands’ matches during the World Cup. There might even be more than three! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. What we can do, though, is throw on some orange and head over there tomorrow for the 12 noon display of frustration against a stingy Australian side. In the meantime, check out Borrel at the Ossington for a taste (see what I just did there?) of what you can expect. Hup Holland hup!

Don’t forget: PITCH #4 is fast approaching — it takes place this Thursday, June 19th — and for those of you who missed the announcement, I’ll be one of the panelists, along with a much more talented group, featuring Jonah Keri, Michael Grange, and Morgan Campbell. Tickets are still available, so grab yourself some here, and be sure to follow @PitchTalks for all the info you need.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET @ Yankees

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)
2B Brett Lawrie (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Juan Francisco (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

RHP Marcus Stroman

New York Yankees

LF Brett Gardner (L)
SS Derek Jeter (R)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
1B Mark Teixeira (S)
C Brian McCann (L)
DH Carlos Beltran (S)
RF Ichiro! (L)
2B Brian Roberts (S)
3B Kelly Johnson (L)

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Comments (293)

  1. wow, a high strike!!! Nice framing, Dinner!

  2. OK lets fawk these guys up

  3. Hooray, no more Tanaka! *Looks at Betances’s numbers* Oh fiddlesticks.

  4. Yup that didn’t work out for us

  5. I’m back. + I’m sorry.

    • Don’t worry weasel. The Jays are about to fuck the Yankees up.

    • You have much to be repentant for bean.

      • To be crystal clear the only thing I’m vaguely repentant about is being a Yankees fan. All my other bad decisions I’m pretty okay with.

        • I’d love to see the master list.

          • Being a Yankees fan has actually led me to making some of these bad decisions…think about how different I would be if I’d been on the straight + narrow + been a lifelong Twins fan!

    • Just glad you’re home and I don’t have to worry.
      But we will talk about this in the morning young lady.

      • Rest assured I’ve been on the sofa for the duration of the game. Just having dinner + tea + talking video games with my dude. He was exceptionally indulgent in watching baseball tonight.

  6. With luck we won’t have to face Betances again this series. Or at least not tomorrow.

  7. Jays will be in 2nd or 3rd place by the end of next week, guaranteed. You can’t have a line up with Gose, Tolleson, Kawasaki as well as your big hitters slumping.

    • Stifle yourself, Edith.

    • Nice analysis, Buck.

      • Fuck… the offense is a asleep and losing Lind for even a couple weeks sucks a lot of ass. Maybe they brought Kawasucki up for comic relief thinking his presence would lighten up Mr.Doom and Gloom Bautista who seems to be pouting this season because fans and people everywhere are mentioning EE more often and he’s not the center of everyone’s universe for 5 fucking minutes.

        Whatever is going on needs to stahhhhp. I am glad Gose has improved this season, I am pretty comfy with the idea of him in CF next year since there’s likely zero chance that Rasmus signs a deal with the Jays due to the 5 year limit. That’s money that can be put into FUCKING PITCHING… like actually signing pitching, not just AA saying he will sign pitchers and then ending up with a rotation that can’t survive without 5-6+ runs of run support.

        Lawrie has shown he should be at 2B, leave him there but I hope the coaching staff can somehow fix his busted swing mechanics because dude is still playing way below his offensive potential….

        But… still in first… for how long? Not long at all at this rate. The offensive slumber needs to end asap if the Jays are gonna stand a chance going forward. Here’s hoping for the best.

  8. Redmond was only at 2 innings pitched. They pulled him too soon.

  9. A clean inning from Santos in a tight game is such a gift.

  10. Kawasaki goes yard…calling it

  11. Like I said earlier…How can you not LOVE this guy? We’re probably still gonna lose, but not because of Muni.

  12. This fucking ump.

  13. This ump is one of the worst I’ve seen

  14. Come on! 2 pitches of the plate, 2 strikes

  15. Wow, Robertson is allergic to non-full count at bats

  16. Hey look! We struck out on 3 pitches that didn’t even go in the zone!

  17. Surprise Surprise! It was because of the Ump!

  18. The ump gave this one to the Yankees

  19. Just your average 6 ball strikeout…

  20. So, runners 1st and third two out, right ump?

  21. That last one was too close to take.

    • Bullshit . The rules are the rules . If a ball hit just outside of the foul line should it be called fair ?

      If it’s a ball..it’s a ball . Nothing he could do with that pitch anyway

  22. That was a pretty Bullshit zone, all night.

  23. What a fucking joke. Great job ump

  24. Gose works it to a five ball count, and strikes out on a borderline pitch for strike one.

  25. God damn. There all night and then some. That final pitch plot is gonna look good on his wall

  26. Fuck, why isn’t Zaun Cherry delivering a good ump rant on Connected, along with the obligatory (and warranted) Tanaka ball washing?

    • Pretty sure Zaun knows this is 1 percent umpire fuckery/MLB-ordered fix and 99 percent the Jays getting beat by a better team.

      • The Yankees are a better team than the jays because they win a game 3-1 with their best pitcher facing our rookie starter making his first road start AND we’re missing our starting CF and DH ?

  27. Go get run over by a car, ump.

  28. Colby back tomorrow.

  29. As we’ve seen so often lately, the strikezone plot looks exactly as you would expect. The Yankees deserve some credit. They exploited the ump’s low strikezone while the Jays kept working the outside edge even though they weren’t getting the calls. Still, you can’t just make up whatever goddamn zone you want on any given day.

    • The fucked up thing is the ump was calling strikes when tanaka would throw outside corner the jay’s lefties but not the other way around

  30. Jays lost to a top flight pitcher. Tomorrow’s another day.

  31. The Yankees couldn’t have gotten better results with Joe Torre behind home plate.

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