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So the Jays are no longer in first place. They’re tied, technically, but by percentage points the Orioles are ahead after Baltimore won and the Jays lost tonight.

It was bound to happen.

Look at last year, for example. Thinking back, it sure feels like the Red Sox ran away and hid from the rest of the division early, but the reality is that the Yankees led for all but three days until May 29th, the Rays led variously for six days between July 22nd and the 31st, and for a few more days after that, as late as August 21st — even though on July 4th a year ago they were 6.5 games back.

Things change. Shit, the Tigers led the AL Central wire to wire last season, but only barely, as Cleveland charged at the end, coming from 8.5 games back on August 31st to finish just a game behind Detroit.

That doesn’t mean that we can just slough off every loss like they don’t also add up like the wins in May that built the cushion that has now eroded away did, or that we can’t be upset about and point out genuine problems with the roster or bad patterns that appear they may be emerging, but is anybody actually doing that? Sure maybe it happens in the minds of those myopic shitheads rushing to be the first to forecast doom for this team that, because they’re too lazy to bother trying to grasp any of the big picture stuff about how this sport works, they constantly indulge in taking some laughable victim posture over, but in reality? Nah.

It was always going to be a fight. And yeah, things have gone a little bit sideways of late. The Jays are 9-16 in their last 25 games. Brett Lawrie is out, Juan Francisco is slashing .182/.250/.382 since the start of the St. Louis series, and Steve Tolleson has been even worse. But… whatever. No, really. They need an infielder, yes. They need to get Edwin Encarnacion out of the damn outfield. They could use throwing away a few less winnable games. But it’s a long grind still left — yes, it’s early. The front office is going to be active on the trade front, and they’re certainly not a team that’s going to be six games below .500 for every 25 they play — and the Orioles, who are 20-12 since May 21st, aren’t a 101-win pace team either.

The pitching has been surprisingly good, and that was the case again on Thursday. And they’re still in first place. They’ve been baseball’d out of a few runs of late, with some good pitching performances against, some ill-timed double plays and balls finding gloves — their BABIP over the last 30 days is a fourth-worst-in-MLB .281 — but the Jays are certainly far more capable of producing offence than they’ve shown over this unfortunate stretch. Some might not believe it until they see it, but you’d have to try pretty hard to be pretty blind to the talent on the roster to get there.

It’s not good that they’ve let the lead that they built slip away, even if there never should have been the expectation that it wouldn’t, but they still control their own destiny, and that’s beyond fine. They’re a good team, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe they won’t continue to be right in the thick of it. They might not end up making the playoffs, but that was always the case — and if it turns out that way, it won’t for a reason that any asshole should take as an affront to their hopes and desires, it will be because it was a thing that didn’t happen. That’s sort of how it works. The margins are thin in the day-to-day, and it can be frustrating, but it’s all about the big picture, and for the Jays that one still looks bright. Shit, if what looked like a surefire Reyes double in the eighth off Otero gets down — or maybe even if Josh Thole doesn’t butcher his way into making it a double play — it’s very possibly that none of this discussion would even be necessary. Think about that.

Comments (83)

  1. I can’t figure out why the Rangers didn’t start Darvish vs Baltimore. Have they given up on the season? If so, why do they care if a rain day (potentially) spoils a full outing from their ace? You’d think if they had any hope of turning it around, the O’s might be a team they’d be chasing for a wild card spot.

    • It was something about a possible storm, and they didn’t want to waste him if there’s a delay a few innings in. What a bunch of assholes.

      They’re up against Lester tonight though!

  2. We’re right there, and hung in on the road against a very good team and very good pitcher.

    The Orioles fucking blow. The best is yet to come this year.

  3. whats the difference between this year and last. Last year they won 11 in a row and then played .400 ball the rest of the way. This year 9 in a row and now .360 ball so far with a supposedly better team. They tease us every year. The offense has been mia for a month. Its all home runs or nothing. I just dont see anything changing

    • They’re still 7 games over .500?

    • Agree. A team of individually talented players who appear to be repeating a pattern of failure. While Stoeten will scoff, teams do have a certain character or atmosphere surrounding them, something that is impossible to define but goes beyond the sum of their individual stats. This team feels like a scrappy sub .500 team. Much like their manager.

      • See: Maple Leafs, Toronto.

        A culture of collapsing seems to stick to teams in this town.

        • Lol, while I’m not one of the Jays collapsing guys, the “Leafs fan culture” thing is so fucking dumb. It has nothing to with “being a Leafs fan”, it has to do with 20 years of sports misery in general. It sounds so fucking stupid when your rebuttal to a guy who is venting about his team losing is a made up type of fan who enjoys another sport.

          The Jays will be competitive, but right now they are shit and people like to vent on the internet. The Leafs have nothing to do with any comments or attitudes here, it’s a generation without playoffs.

        • If you insist shitting on the team in a tie for first place, could you at least actually talk about the team? The fact that there’s also a team down the street that’s been shitty for a long time has nothing to do with the Jays. It’s as stupid as saying that the Blue Jays will win the division because root beer floats are delicious.

          Also, the Blue Jays are fine. For all of their flaws, look at what Baltimore is running out there at second base, how terrible Machado and Hardy have been, and how incredibly underwhelming every one of their starters is. Neither team is perfect, and yet both teams are currently fine.

    • Yet they’re still 4th in the entire sport in runs scored. Seems like a good offense in a slump with half a season to play, but hey why use logic!

    • You’re free to become a fan of another team. We’ve got enough nattering nabobs of negativism around here.

  4. So this was the game you probably expected to lose anyways. They should be able to hit the next three guys, maybe less so Kazmir, and you’ve got you’re three best pitchers on deck.

    Milone and Brad Mills, despite being lefties, have been tougher on righties for their career. It’ll be interesting to see the line-ups for those games. Mills is still a pretty small sample size, so it probably doesn’t matter. But Milone has given up a .338 wOBA to lefties for his career, and .314 for righties.

  5. Their defensive lineup was brutal last night

  6. Yeah I agree that not making the playoffs wouldn’t be a surprise but man Rogers would be pissed, no ?

    • Rogers must be shocked that the team is playing well. They refused to open up the bank to get Santana. The fact that other players volunteerd to defer payments to help get Santana is sad. AA had to make do with his current budget. I hope Rogers has a change of heart by the trade deadline & they let AA get anyone. It doesn’t help when Ricky Romero & Morrow can’t help the team.

      That’s 10 million plus in payroll per year down the drain.

      • Seems like the jays might have pissed away their best chances in 20 years

      • Ervin Santana’s numbers are only slightly better than JA Happ’s, and he isn’t pitching in the AL East. We were pissed at the time, but in hindsight I’d rather have the available payroll space now, especially if the potential to get a Price or one of the Chases (Utley or Headley) presents itself.

        • Headly has been bad

          • Very bad. But GM’s love reclamation projects, and I believe his contract is up after this season so maybe it’s the best, cheapest, low-risk option AA needs.

            • If they had signed Santana, Stroman never gets called up and probably gets traded at the deadline for a 37 yr old infielder.

  7. I like this team (there’s room for improvement) but I’ve enjoyed almost all of the baseball I’ve watched this year (except for that Yankee sweep – that kept me up at night).

    When they get hurt though – they look really thin. Francisco has at-bats that are tough to watch – reminds me a bit of Rob Deer.

    If they add 2 or 3 players this month it’ll be a fun 2nd half!

  8. It is pretty significant that if you look at the Postseason Probabilities the Blue Jays still have a 54.5% chance of winning the division vs 24% for the Orioles even though they are now tied with approximately half a season left. Based on the Jays superior run differential and the schedule the rest of the way, there is still reason for optimism!

    • Well, consider the Jays are starting 0-7 because they still have that many games to play at Yankee Stadium…

      • Do you derive pleasure in the negative suckhole attitude? Is that what you call being a fan?

        What is with that attitude, I mean why even watch sports if things dont pan out exactly how you hoped they always will. Just go back and play video games where you can turn the game off and restart if you aren’t winning.

        • This is really more a general statement to the negatives and not directed at anyone in particular

        • Who shit in your Fruit Loops? The team have lost 15 straight in the Bronx and all you can do is laugh at that because it’s such an absurd occurrence.

          The team is also tied at the top of the division, something that also makes me smile.

          So, kindly, fuck off.

  9. The Jays are tied for 1st place in July! The sky is falling! FYRE GOBBLINS!!1!11

  10. Holy negative suckholes batman! So these are the guys Stoeten is ranting about. Little wonder! Look, the team is flawed, ownership is flawed – whatever. The Jays don’t need a perfect team or perfect ownership – they just need a better team than the O’s, Yankees and Rays. Whether they have that or not is undecided. Which is great because it makes watching the games all the more exciting and interesting. I’m with Mr. Hankey (and not just because he’s good at cleaning vomit stains). I like the team, the’re fun to watch and there’s room for improvement. I’m just delighted we’ve got a hell of a lot of baseball that matters to play for the rest of the season.

    • Agreed! It feels like for so many recent years, by this point in the season this team was all but out of the picture already. At least we will have some exciting baseball in the dog days of summer, and perhaps even September.

    • Why are people wasting so much of their time addressing / acknowledging and debating the negative suck holes ? Just ignore then and participate in constructive discussions about the state of the team. .. The good .. The bad …. Don’t be afraid to prognosticate a bit

      • Pretty much this. I don’t mind if people are negative suckholes as long as they provide a somewhat coherent and logical analysis/reasoning to at least allow it to be debatable. The issue is much of the fanbase is a bipolar, glass is half empty shitshow where every exhale is accompanied by knee-jerking horseshit, with my favorite being “FYRE GOBBLOBS.”

        While Andrew’s fight for sanity is kind of extreme, it isn’t hard to see why it is that way.

        • I said it before and I will say it again: in all probability, the negative suckholes seem to think that baseball is just like hockey.

  11. As I was telling my friend the other day, the pitching has been keeping them “afloat”, as it were, the past little while, while the offence has been missing. But the thing is, the decent pitching seems, at least to me, sustainable, and I really believe the offence will leap into high gear again. Then I think they can really make a run. Not quite the run of earlier this season, but some damn fine baseball. This really could be the year!

  12. I want to play every game under protest. Big P’s in the sky!!!

  13. So I know everyone hates small ball or whatever you may call this, but with thole up to bat with 2 out and runners at 3rd and 1st, I would’ve called for the double steal, and then have gose stop and delay so run scores before he is tagged out. Isn’t that a good trade, An out for a run with that scenario of players?

  14. FYR GOBBO

  15. Important question that no one has asked regarding the disputed play in the 2nd inning…:

    …. WHY DIDN’T HE JUST TAG HIM???

  16. wow – look at the orioles schedule this month.

    • Wow. Haha, suckers.

      If the Orioles are still in 1st at the end of the month, they’ll have earned it.

      Unfortunately, they play the Red Sox and the Yankees before the All-Star break, so they might open up a slight lead at first.

  17. In other news, I noticed the knuckleballer Viola got promoted to Dunedin and starts today…

    And with AAA, it’s kind of confusing to look at those numbers, you have guys like Pillar, Kratz, Jimenez (who hit poorly in AA), even Goins at first, hitting really well down there. Yet, you have Hendricks, Rogers, and Korecky (A 0.60 ERA!) pitching unnaturally down there too. It just really shows you have to look at the players and not so much the numbers that much more to see if they are major-league caliber. It’s just a little annoying as a fan, and maybe as a player too wondering what they have to do to be successful at the highest level

  18. So ya
    Uhhh
    Basically
    Fuck Rogers

  19. The alarming trend lately has been their inability to win games when they’re not mashing 3 HR’s a night. They’ve been too reliant on the long ball and it shows up when you face good pitching. I might even bump up the priority to get a competent 2B higher than getting pitching help – Kawasaki/Tollesson/Goins/Francisco is just not cutting it if they want to stay in this thing

    • False.
      Selective memory.

      • I get the impression some people would rather see Reyes single and steal second, have Melky sacrifice bunt him over to third and Bautista bring him in with a sac fly than see Reyes lead off the game with a homerun. At least that way they’re not so reliant on the homerun, right?

        • I think it’s more the hitting with RISP, which the Jays are actually middle of the pack, but I see it more as bottom of the top of the pack (worst of the best). It could definitely improve but it’s not as bad as it seems, only in the losses, really.

          • Plus, hitting with runners in scoring position is more a function of luck than anything else.

            • Nope. It’s a function of skill. The opportunity to have RISP is somewhat luck based from an individual batters reference but even that is more a function of a good lineup of quality batsmen.

      • I don’t think there’s any denying it’s a boom or bust offense. When they’re not mashing it can be frustrating to watch

        • The Jays are 7th in AVG and 6th in BB% in the majors in 2014, which gives them the 6th highest OBP. The don’t strike out much and hit for a ton of power.

          That’s not a boom or bust offense. It’s only boom or bust in the context of their recent problems at the plate, and even then it’s simply that your perception has changed to try to explain their offensive struggles.

          • You are correct Philbert. I guess it’s just the eye test since Colby has been getting AB’s, feels like with him and Francisco in the lineup it’s nothing but K’s at the bottom of the order.

            • I agree that it seems that way at times with Rasmus and Francisco driving up the totals. But then you consider that Bautista, Encarnacion, Melky, Reyes, Lind and Navarro all have very good K% and it more than balances out.

          • No, he’s wrong. With top 10 metrics in OBP and AVG, one would expect better scoring. Unfortunately, the Jays have too many holes in the lineup to produce consistently.

            • So they are 6th in OBP and 4th in runs scored but they need more scoring given their ability to get on base? Seems like they do a better job than other top 10 hitting clubs.

            • So you’re saying that given their rankings of 7th in AVG and 6th in OBP, they should be higher than 4th in runs scored?

              • It’s not runs scored but when those runs are scored. I’m not complaining, the HR is the best weapon to have but I’d really like to see them add a pro bat or two.
                Winning 8-2 is great but I think the Jays are still prone to stretches of impotency that could be mitigated by a slightly more balanced offense

  20. guess two of mastro/gose/glenn go down today for cecil/kratz right, provided colby doesn’t need a dl stint?

  21. If this game were played at the Dome, you can also argue that both EE and Reyes would have gone yard during the late innings of the game on what turned into fly-outs.

    Dickey was fantastic though. A little better defense behind him and he may have had a more fair result. 8 innings and rested the ‘pen. Can’t argue with that.

  22. I wonder how the second base situation would be if Izturis was healthy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had completely forgotten Maicer exists, poor guy

  23. they must have hit into five double plays last night,
    fire the manager

  24. For those of you wondering…… here’s another log on the fire of confusion of last night.

    Official Baseball Rule 4.19 shall have no applicability to these Replay Regulations. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the Replay Official. Moreover, a violation of any rule or procedure set forth herein shall not constitute a basis for protesting a game.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/replay_review.jsp

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