Scheduled Conflicts

The Jays truly are the masters of their own fate right now, as the schedule-makers have made things very intriguing down the stretch for the club — not that they had too much choice, given the huge number of intra-divisional games each team needs to play. Here, in order of most total games remaining against (with the home/road breakdown in brackets), is what the Jays schedule looks like until the end of the season:

Baltimore (6H/3A), Boston (3H/6A), New York (3H/4A), Seattle (4H/3A), Tampa Bay (3H/3A), Houston (0H/4A), Detroit (3H/0A), Chicago (AL) (0H/3A), Chicago (NL) (3H/0A), Milwaukee (0H/2A).

So a tonne of games against the Yankees, Orioles, and Mariners — the three teams they’re in the biggest fight with — thirteen of which are at home, with ten on the road. Add in four against the Astros, three against the White Sox, and three against the Cubs — not to mention none against the A’s, or Angels — and you start to not feel so bad about the road ahead. That is, as long as they Jays can take care of business against the AL East.

How about their competition? The Yankees’ have their most remaining games against Baltimore (4H/6A), followed by Boston and Tampa (3H/6A each), then the Jays and Tigers (4H/3A each). They have three game sets with Texas (away), as well as Houston, Cleveland, and the White Sox (all home), with four games against the Royals (3H/1A) thanks to a make-up date from a June washout.

As we’ve established, Baltimore has ten against the Yankees (6H/4A) and nine against us (3H/6A). Beyond that it’s seven against Tampa (4H/3A), six with Boston (split evenly), one make-up game at Nationals Park, then a bunch of three-game sets: Anaheim, Cincinnati, Seattle, St. Louis, and Minnesota at home, Cleveland and both Chicago teams on the road.

They control their own fate too, I suppose.

A Win In The Bronx

Not just a single victory, but a series victory! It feels fucking great for fans, and undoubtedly in the room, too. I mean, as much as it ought to be easy to slough those sorts of utterly irrelevant anomalies of futility — for fuck sakes, the Jays’ first three losses in the streak at Yankee Stadium came at the end of 2012, when John Farrell-led club’s most-used starters were Romero, Morrow, Villanueva, Alvarez, Laffey, and Happ, so it’s not like what they were doing means anything about what you’d think the current rotation might do — it surely isn’t, and it surely doesn’t stop the “here we go again” feelings that we’re all too familiar with (there are, after all, still ghosts in Tampa that the Jays would do well to extinguish before this season is through).

Arden Zwelling has an excellent piece up at Sportsnet on yesterday’s roller coaster ride, looking at it — and its win expectancy graph from FanGraphs — as a microcosm for an up-and-down season that once again feels like its moving in the right direction.

Just like Sunday’s game, a baseball season is a back and forth thing, with its intoxicating ups and depressing downs. Take the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that was widely written off in late June when it was staggering on its feet with a 33-49 record. They went on a run (the Rays have lost just five times in July) and are now quietly lurking in the AL East weeds, just 4.5 games out of the playoffs.

So, yes, what the Blue Jays have done since the all-star break — winning seven of ten — is very, very good. And what they did leading up to it — losing eight of ten — was very, very bad. But as tempting as it may be to forecast and predict, neither of those two runs are going to make or break the season.

It’s baseball. You try to win more than you lose because that’s really all you can do (And seven games against the lowly Red Sox and Astros to close the current road trip sure seems like a good opportunity to do that).

But as the Blue Jays celebrated under the sun at Yankee Stadium, it really felt like Sunday’s triumph was meaningful. It felt significant. Even though it was just another mid-summer ballgame.

That’s the rub.


Aaron Sanchez got his first big league win, but also gave up his first run and looked at least somewhat human-ish in his second inning of work. The velocity was still there, and according to his Brooks Baseball page he ditched whatever that 93 mph offering he was using in his first start, though they’ve identified a sinker at 98 in addition to a four-seamer at that speed that he was throwing, along with a curveball he only managed to get one batter to offer at in six tries (though he did also get two strikes from it).

As far as bumps in the road go, it wasn’t the biggest.

Despite the impressive appearances in the big leagues, Sanchez has generally seen his stock continue to sink on the various prospect lists — including the one that was updated over the weekend at MLB.com. He checks in at number 40 on Jim Callis’s latest list, behind Dan Norris (29) in a group of Jays that also includes Dalton Pompey (95) and the just-drafted (and just-surgery’d) Jeff Hoffman (97).

The somewhat low rankings doesn’t mean that Callis doesn’t like what the Jays are doing, though, as he wrote a piece ranking teams based on the talent they acquired in June’s Rule Four draft, and thanks to the Astros’ fuckup with Brady Aiken, it’s the Jays who end up at number one.

Now, the ranking is a little bit warped because it includes the make-up pick the Jays got for not signing Phil Bickford last year, so naturally they’re going to get more of an infusion of talent than most, just like last year they got less. Still, though!

Beyond the big two — Hoffman and number 11 pick Max Pentecost — Callis likes that the Jays “also grabbed a pair of projectable high school pitchers in righty Sean Reid-Foley from Florida ($1,128,800) and lefty Nick Wells from Virginia ($661,800) in the second and third rounds, and they moved enough money around to land athletic Tennessee prep outfielder Lane Thomas for $750,000 in the fifth.”

He didn’t like Wells or Thomas that much, though, as neither shows up on Callis’s updated Jays top 20 list. Reid-Foley does, however, ranking tenth for Callis, behind D.J. Davis and ahead of Sean Nolin, Dawel Lugo, Matt Dean, and others. Hoffman jumps immediately to number four, just ahead of Roberto Osuna and Pentecost, who are themselves just ahead of Mitch Nay and Franklin Barreto.

“Hoffman hasn’t fully grown into his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, yet at times he works in the mid 90s and hits 98 mph with his fastball,” we’re told. “His big-breaking curveball can be equally devastating and his changeup can be a plus pitch at times. He throws a decent amount of strikes but will need to refine his command to become a frontline starter in the big leagues.”

That’ll play. That’ll make it hurt a whole lot fucking less if the Mets manage to get Tulo for a package centred on Noah Syndergaard, too (not that that necessarily has legs, but still… yeesh!).

Comments (94)

  1. The Jays do play the Tigers, 3 at home.

  2. I predict Jose Bautista makes a late charge for AL mvp

  3. Random observation: Phat Juan’s last couple of homers were off of off-speed pitches.

  4. Is “A Win In The Brox” intentional?

  5. Is Dalton Pompey the future Jay CF? Another good game in NH last night.

    I guess it’s too much to hope that we’ll see him this year.

  6. With Hamels possibly now available, do the Jays make a play? With the purse strings seemingly clamped tightly shut, my spidey senses tell me ANthopoulos looks elsewhere. Which is too bad. Hamels would look great in the white and blue.

  7. It’s been far too long since 9 games against the Red Sox and 7 against the Yankees has been seen as a positive thing. All teams we can, and have, beat. Very glad we’re done with the A’s and Angels as well.

    When do we start getting excited about meaningful late-season baseball? Now?!

  8. Might the Jays be open to moving Rasmus here? And can they get anything useful if they do?

    I’ve said no all along, but his bat really hasn’t come around this year. Rest if the lineup looks OK when people are healthy and Gose has been in CF a bit lately. He will never hit like Rasmus can, but Rasmus isn’t hitting like Rasmus can either.

    Looks like a QO might not be in the cards with his tough year. Maybe they can get a bit for him and like their team without him?

    • I really dont see who would need him.
      Boston maybe, if they really really turn it around.

    • If he wasn’t a pending free agent I could see him being traded for a good reliever or part of something bigger. As it stands now you would think a trade would be with a team out of it this year; what use would Rasmus be for them if he is on the market in two months anyway.

      Maybe if the Jays were to pay his salary for the rest of the year as well as the player coming our way something may happen. Given this payroll shit that seems unlikely.

      as long as Gibby plays him given performance and match ups rather than as a veteran like Gaston than I think we should keep him.

    • No.

    • I’d really hate to trade Rasmus. He would sell low because of this year and I think the Jays could sign him cheaper because if it. Most years he’s going to be an above average CF and I don’t think Gose ever will be. I’d like to see the Jays try to resign him.

  9. I don’t see a lot of trade bait that’s all that attractive to us. Most of the players being actively shopped by selling teams are marginal upgrades for us, at best. Seems like what we have is better than what’s on the market in most spots, even if you don’t consider existing contracts. And of course, the players being most actively marketed are not the cheap, controllable ones. I would have gone for the reported Headley move, notwithstanding Fransisco’s production. His defense worries me, and I don’t see Juan maintaining his current HR rate, especially. I hope I’m wrong, of course.

    • When Lawrie gets back Francisco will not see third. Francisco has more value than headley if defense is not a big factor.

      • Judging by this year’s numbers, Juan’s worth more offensively, no doubt. I just have a feeling that it was a Buy Low, Sell High opportunity that we passed up.

        I agree he’ll get as little time at 3rd as possible, but Juan can’t DH every game, so defense is a factor. And Juan’s production seems likely to regress. Headley’s an everyday guy with a good glove, who’s on the rebound physically, it seems.

        Time will tell, but I also hate seeing the Yankees trade for a guy who was on our radar. Maybe that’s the root of it for me, heh.

      • Defense is a pretty big factor though…

  10. In the economic climate that we’re seeing these days,
    it would be oh so huge were the Jays able to field
    a solid rotation of home grown starters.

    A $140m budget will go a long way,
    if your five starters are in their arb or pre-arb years
    and you’re not shelling out big $ for mediocre arms.

    And it looks like the Jays might have the guys
    to be able to do that not too far down the road.

  11. Aaron Hill?

  12. Kratz pulled from Buffalo lineup, I am going out on a limb and guessing Dioner is going, part of a big trade package. Selling high on Dioner.

  13. Cue the morons saying this is AA’s big move

    • @Ken_Rosenthal: Source: #Royals, #BlueJays have made trade. Liam Hendriks headed to KC.

      • I was actually a Hendrick’s fan. Dang.

        • The 25-year-old Hendriks was once considered one of the Top 10 prospects in the Twins organization, but he made his rounds on waivers over the past season after failing to translate his excellent Triple-A numbers to the Major Leagues. Hendriks allowed nine runs in 13 1/3 innings for the Jays this season and has a 6.06 ERA in 169 1/3 innings throughout his big league career. The Aussie right-hander has a strong 3.23 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 362 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level. Baseball America tweets that he was impressive at the Triple-A All Star Game this season — a team that he was named to after posting a brilliant 2.33 ERA in 18 minor league appearances this year.

      • Also Kratz to KC, but for who…. Hmmm, a AAAA pitcher and a AAAA catcher = ????

  14. That proposed trade of Tulo for Thor also had like 4 other guys rumoured in it from the Mets including Montero.

    I wouldn’t get too bent out of shape about what we got for Thor compared to what the Mets may get as it seems the Mets are sending a ton of Prospects if it happens.

    Which should be the case.

    Only mentioning it because I saw a bunch of guys complaing about what we got for Thor and saying it’s him for Tulo now.

  15. Hendricks and Kratz to Royals for who?

    Speculate kids.

  16. Jason Frasor!!! Blue Jay for life

  17. Who’d we get, who’d we get, who’d we get

  18. haha holy fuck Zaun. That’s the most unwrittenst of all the unwritten rules.

    He says it’s his take that, if you hit 30 HR for 3 years in a row, then you have the right to flip your bat and watch your HR’s.

    These unwritten rules are so ridiculous and vague.

  19. It won’t be anyone exciting. KC is in the race as well, they’re not trading anybody valuable. At the ML level at least.

  20. Let’s not forget the Royals are 53-51 right now, and a whole two games behind us for the Wild Card.

    The Royals traded for Hendriks and Kratz because they thought those two players could help them now. The Royals aren’t giving up other players who would help them more.

    Probably a minor trade; we might get a platoon bat or a reliever.

  21. Wilner doesn’t know, although he guessed a “short reliever”, but that was wrong.

    This is a minor trade and will not be a player who “KNOCKS YOUR SOCKS OFF”.

    Temper your expectations gentlemen.

  22. So, is it time to bring back

    AA is a ninja!

  23. When the Jays signed Francisco I doubt defense was a deciding factor. If Lawrie was done for the year then sure bring him here. Given what was rumored I am glad we didn’t trade for him. We have control of francisco for years if we want it and when Lawrie comes back I would rather Francisco over headley anyways.

  24. Danny Valencia

  25. The Blue Jays announced that they have acquired Danny Valencia from the Royals in exchange for Hendricks and Kratz.

  26. That was a good move Melky.

  27. Okay, so Valencia could platoon with Francisco at 3rd… which would imply Lawrie’s moving to 2B permanently.

  28. More like platooning with muni for the next 10 days. Anything after that is up in the air but I know Gibbons has said he wants Lawrie back at 3rd full time. Francisco’s days at 3b are limited i think. But I really hope the Jays dont give up on him. A little more patience and Fat Juan could be the next EE. I don’t think it helped him when Gibby said that he needed to “keep hitting home runs” to stay in the lineup 6 weeks ago or so. Since then its been a tough slog.

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