Andrew Stoeten

Recent Posts

Game Threat: Jays @ Cleveland

So… yesterday sucked. Obviously. But you want to know what sucks more? Listening to fucking hopeless idiots trying to make a mountain out of two losses on a 162 game schedule for a team currently at .500 who everybody figured would end up somewhere about ten games above or below .500 by the time all is said and don’t. Yeah, Gibbons left Dickey in a batter or two too long and it bit him. It happens. If it helps inform the manager in making a hard decision the next time he contemplates having Dickey on a shorter leash than he believes the pitcher would like, then there’s some positive there. Way more negative than positive, but still. Also, as much as the little pisspantses rushing to Twitter to vent about Noah Syndergaard don’t want to hear this: it’s early. There is no reason to think that Dickey won’t get better than what we’ve seen. Look at what he did when healthy in the second half of last season, and in 2012. These four games haven’t looked good, but they don’t undo that (you whining fucking morons).

And last night’s game? Yeah, it was a bullpen meltdown of epic proportions. Yeah, you could nitpick Gibbons for taking Delabar out too early, or pretend like Santos wasn’t trying, or something, in order to justify all the little negativity you want to hurl through your TV and computer screens, but… I dunno… maybe try being a goddamn human being for once and recognize that the Jays tried to hold a lead with their two best relievers and it just didn’t work, which is a thing that happens sometimes. Look around you: most people can actually do this just fine, and just because your insufferably fucking whiny voice is loud enough doesn’t mean you’re not kinda dumb as shit and blind to what a little child you’re actually being. OK?

Now let’s never speak of it again.

targetfield

Minneapolis is still shaking off the snow from yesterday’s storm, so… let’s play two games of outdoor baseball!

Though actually, that sort of is one hell of a way to tell winter to go fuck right off already, eh, ya fuckin’ buncha snow, and as you can see from this tweet by Barry Davis of Sportsnet, the Twins’ grounds crew has made Target Field look downright playable. Which… that’s a good thing, because we’ve got two games of baseball to get to. So settle in, settle up to the bar, try not to get too dismayed by some of the scuttlebutt that will follow, and keep it together long enough to so something relatively productive during the window between the 1 PM ET game and the 7 PM ET game. We’ve got a day-night doubleheader on our hands!

Scuttlebutt

Sure, the bullpen is humming along without Casey Janssen, but this is still not great news: Brendan Kennedy tweets that he’s taking a step back from his rehab assignment, and will be shut down for a few days. I know he’s not a big velocity guy anyway, but the reports of him being 86-89 in his last outing weren’t exactly encouraging, and don’t necessarily make this surprising.

Gregor Chisholm first tweeted that it was a “sore lower back” that was behind Janssen’s shut-down, however Scott MacArthur later tweeted that it is an abdominal strain, which was later repeated by other sources as well. (Gregor has clarified that it’s sort of both: “it’s technically strained lower back/ left abdominal muscle. It’s on the lower left side of his body.”)

Kennedy adds a quote from John Gibbons that backs up the tie in with the velocity issues: “It’s not like it’s a lot worse, but he doesn’t feel comfortable enough yet to start cutting it loose.”

Gregor also tweets that Jose Reyes is now expected to rejoin the Jays on Saturday in Cleveland, not Friday. Fortunately it’s not because of a setback, it’s because of “crap” weather (according to a tweet from MacArthur) and the fact that they would have liked him to avoid the day game after a night game anyway.

Colby Rasmus is back in the lineup, as you can see below. Though, because of the cold weather and the ailing hamstring, he’ll be at DH for game one. And he won’t be in centre for game two, either, as Anthony Gose is with the club — though, as Barry Davis reminds us in a tweet, as per MLB’s rule about using a 26th roster spot for doubleheaders, he’s only available for the 7 PM tilt. Rasmus would have played in the outfield today if conditions were better, says Gibbons, according to a Brendan Kennedy tweet.

Davis also tweets that Adam Lind says his back feels better — “I’m functionable,” he told Brendan Kennedy — though he won’t be available today. He’s still hopeful he can avoid a DL stint, though, so that’s alright.

Kennedy tweets that Gibbons says if someone gets up in the bullpen for game one, he’s probably not going to be available for game two. MacArthur notes that Gibbons’ game one bench consists of Dioner Navarro and Jonathan Diaz.

MacArthur: Security guy checks my bag: “Today isn’t the day to bring in anything malicious. Nobody’s going to be here anyway.”

Ben Wagner tweets that it’s also a doubleheader day in snowy Buffalo. He adds another Bisons tidbit: Marcus Stroman’s 21 strikeouts are tied for the most in all of triple-A baseball.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET, @ Cleveland

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 game one lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Colby Rasmus
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
C Josh Thole (L)
SS Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Minnesota Twins

2B Brian Dozier (R)
1B Joe Mauer (L)
3B Trevor Plouffe (R)
RF Chris Colabello (R)
LF Jason Kubel (L)
DH Josmil Pinto (R)
C Kurt Suzuki (R)
CF Aaron Hicks (S)
SS Pedro Florimon (S)

RHP Kyle Gibson

 

Image via @BlueJays.

davisview

A good, old fashioned doubleheader! Uh… y’know… in snowy Minnesota in April.

The Jays and Twins have been snowed out today, meaning that R.A. Dickey and Dustin McGowan will both be pitching tomorrow, with Dickey presumably taking the regularly scheduled 1:10 PM ET start, and McGowan going at 7:10 PM ET in the game we’re all going to be far too drunk to remember the end of.

What, you’re not getting drunk all day and watching baseball? I thought I knew you.

The current forecast for Minneapolis, according to the Weather Network, has a high tomorrow of 5°C with a low of -2°C. Fun!

 

Image of Barry Davis’s “view” of Target Field via Barry Davis.

dailyduce2

If I wanted to be smothered to death, I’d go back to the Xcalibur and fess up. … If I go back to the Xcalibur and fess up, I’ll be smothered to death. That’s in our Charter.

I didn’t make a big deal of it at the time, despite a lot of people insisting it must be viewed as more evidence of Rogers’ nasty cheapness (hint: it isn’t), but it’s worth mentioning that in his Monday morning piece at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal included a tidbit about Jays reliever Neil Wagner. Rosenthal explains that last year, the major league portion of Wagner’s deal “was worth $525,000, and Wagner spent nearly four months last season with the Jays, getting paid at that rate,” and performing reasonably well. However, because “the Jays, like many clubs, use a pay scale for 0-to-3 players” that is based on service time, “Wagner merited an offer of $506,250″ for 2014, and had no leverage to do anything about it. Yep, that’s how the CBA works, and it sure as shit wasn’t a dictum from Rogers that insisted the Jays cut Wagner’s pay — Rosenthal tells us exactly why that happened. So why is he mentioning it at all? Is he assigning some kind of major importance to the story by putting it under his byline? Hardly. Minor Leaguer has it, tweeting that it simply “was a cool look into pre-arb players who were once minor league free agents, not often does their pay get written about.” That’s it. And if Wagner or his agent is upset… um… shouldn’t it be at themselves for not knowing when they signed in the first place that the Jays use a service time-based scale for pre-arb players?

Also from Monday was the Monday Morning Ten Pack at Baseball Prospectus, which featured a pair of Jays prospects: Aaron Sanchez and Dan Norris. Sanchez, as you may have heard, didn’t have his best stuff. “His delivery escaped him most of the day and he struggled to throw strikes consistently,” we were told, with the addition that “seeing the raw potential in Sanchez was easy, but it was also very apparent that he still needs considerable work to reach his ceiling.” Norris isn’t the same calibre of prospect, and also struggled with command, but Chris King, who saw him pitch over the weekend for Dunedin, was impressed with his curve, and added that “on a night where his velocity was down a tick or two and he lacked fastball command, it was very impressive to see a kid battle like he did and shut out a pretty talented Brevard County lineup over six innings.” I’ll take it.

The Jays are looking at having to make a roster move to accommodate Jose Reyes’s return on Friday, which almost certainly means demoting one of their other middle infielders, and I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that — while I didn’t even consider Jonathan Diaz — I sort of figured that Munenori Kawasaki was probably the best fit all along. If Goins keeps hitting like he did last night, though, I could live with that.

Great stuff from Blue Jays Plus, where Gideon Turk talks to Sal Fasano, and looks at some of the drills that the Jays’ roving catching instructor was having his charges do during the spring, to help their receiving and their defensive skills in general.

And more great stuff, as always, from Grant Brisbee of SB Nation, who writes a premature post-mortem for the 2014 Jays, as part of an ongoing series, and decides that things really could be a whole lot worse for the club. Well… yeah.

Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking: Adam Lind

lindMIN

Adam Lind has a bad feeling about his back after crossing the plate in Tuesday’s win at Minnesota

Brutal.

Adam Lind left tonight’s win over the Twins in the seventh inning, after moving quite gingerly after crossing the plate on Moises Sierra’s ground out, on which Joe Mauer inexplicably chose to take the out at first base rather than coming to the plate, allowing a run to cross. On the TV broadcast Drs. Buck and Pat were hopeful, based on the fact that Lind remained in the dugout for a while, and didn’t look like he was laboring too terribly, that it was mostly a precaution or something that wouldn’t require much time off.

Not so, according to the reports coming from the clubhouse following the game.

In case those tweets don’t make it quite clear enough, this doesn’t sound good. Mind you, not multiple-months not good, but certainly like something that could require a DL stint, as was required in 2011, when he missed 24 games with back trouble, and 2012 when he missed 29.

If you recall — and I only barely did, though Scott MacArthur was kind enough to confirm via tweet — Lind and Encarnacion were flipped, positionally, at the last minute before Sunday’s game (Scott’s original tweet here), which was due to the back injury at that point.

Brendan Kennedy quotes Lind as saying that he hasn’t felt pain like this in his back “for years.” Ugh.

Hey, but at least Jose Reyes is coming back soon, right? Right???

We’ll keep you posted on any roster moves, should they happen — and with the Jays’ already stretched bench, it wouldn’t be surprising if they felt they had to do something quickly, just to avoid playing shorthanded, however, it also wouldn’t necessarily be surprising if they waited, given that the forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look great, and they may get an extra day to figure out what to do here — and… um… we’ll also remind you that Dan Johnson is hitting .242/.366/.545 so far at Buffalo this year… so… that’s something, right? Right???

jackiestatue

The Jays are in Minnesota to take on the Twins here on Jackie Robinson Day– the 67th anniversary of Robinson’s first game in the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers, following an astonishing (.349/.468/.462!) single season in this country with the Montreal Royals.

Sadly, I don’t have the time to write out all the thoughts I have on why this is such an important day, and something that baseball actually, somehow, manages to do right by continuing to celebrate. Sure, the league is sort of patting itself on the back for being the incubator for a powerful story of perseverance and humanity overcoming hate in the midst of an era where basic civil rights of the kind that it’s so easy for so many of us to simply take for granted needed to be fought for — the kind of story that both transcends sports and underscores the power that sport can have to effect change and impart powerful ideas to broader society — when the reality is that it was baseball’s own racist policies that were being broken down. But I suppose that they don’t hide from that is itself a signal of progress — not that they really ever had a choice.

But… well… this isn’t about the league itself anyway, nor is it about the long way that the world still has to go, despite 67 years of that progress. It’s about the triumph of what’s decent and right, and a celebration of a man who, to make the world a better place, faced more pressure and vitriol than any man should, as one of the faces of a struggle for a people that faced imposed disadvantages and hatred more than any people should, and simultaneously for the basic right to freedom for all people.

There’s no more important figure in the game, and like I say, MLB surprisingly actually gets this one right.

Scuttlebutt

It is cold in Minnesota in April. Think you might hear about this a couple more times before the game is over.

The Jays announced today that Jeremy Jeffress has cleared waivers and been assigned to Buffalo — meaning that the eight-man bullpen thing worked… the first time. Guess we’re doing it again, though. Marcus Walden was D’d FA in order to make room on the 40-man for Munenori Kawasaki, who we’d known since Sunday was on his way up — and he is indeed with the team tonight, bizarrely starting in the two-spot (though at least he’ll take some pitches and maybe get on base, right? Right???). (Note: Drew nailed it.)

Another lineup note: Colby Rasmus sits tonight with a tight hamstring — which he was removed from Sunday’s game for. Makes sense given the cold, and the fact that if he were to do something to make it worse, they couldn’t retroactively DL him. Best to just wait until it’s right. Especially since, even though they’re 6-6, judging by their lineup, I have no idea how these Twins have managed to win a game.

Scott MacArthur adds that he spoke to Colby, who says his hamstring is feeling much better, and that he hopes to play tomorrow. Brendan Kennedy tweets that John Gibbons also notes that Moises Sierra has hit Phil Hughes better in a small sample, as well, so… y’know… microsplits. (FYRE GOBBONS!!!!!!)

About that, though. Gregor Chisholm tweets that Gibbons says that with more cold forecast for tomorrow, don’t be surprised if Colby gets another day off.

Better news: Kennedy also tweets that Jose Reyes is now scheduled to play for Dunedin tonight and tomorrow, and the Blue Jays on Friday in Cleveland, barring setback. That’ll play.

One more from Kennedy, who adds that Casey Janssen doesn’t have as structured a rehab program as yet — he’ll throw 25 pitches today and they’ll take it from there.

Janssen is throwing, and @stivbators tells us that various guns have his fastball at 86-88. Yeesh.

J.A. Happ still thinks he’s a starter, and isn’t particularly thrilled with being in the bullpen. Fair enough, it’s just, y’know, pitch your way out of it, then.

“Fans of an outdoor stadium in Toronto should heed this week’s attendance in Minnesota,” tweets @mattomic. “From 5° to -1 with chance of flurries each game.” (See, I told you that you might hear about this.)

Shirtless Melky Cabrera? Shirtless Melky Cabrera. (Shirtless Melky).

Padres reporter Corey Brock tweets that Josh Johnson has an upcoming visit with Dr. James Andrews, while Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported last night that Rays pitcher Matt Moore will have Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 8:10 PM ET, @ Minnesota

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

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
SS Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Brandon Morrow

Minnesota Twins

2B Brian Dozier (R)
1B Joe Mauer (L)
3B Trevor Plouffe (R)
RF Chris Colabello (R)
LF Jason Kubel (L)
DH Josmil Pinto (R)
C Kurt Suzuki (R)
CF Aaron Hicks (S)
SS Pedro Florimon (S)

RHP Phil Hughes

keripodcast

Yesterday over at Grantland, Jonah Keri has relaunched his podcast for 2014, and — lo and behold! — Alex Anthopoulos was the lead guest, offering much of the same kind of stuff that we’ve heard from him over the past year, but with enough twists to keep it fresh and interesting — and, at times, somewhat maddening.

Actually it probably doesn’t even reach quite the level of “maddening” — what he offers us is quite a bit more good than bad, I’d say — but in there we still manage to find a little bit of revisionist history, a little bit of dancing around Jonah asking the crucial question when it comes to the idea that pitchers are afraid to sign here, a little bit of goalpost pushing, and a little bit of hollowly saying exactly what you’d expect him to about Colby Rasmus.

Some highlights!

On the off-season…

Asked to give an overview of how the Jays got to where they are, and failed to make a splash this winter, Anthopoulos an excellent of walking the tightrope between pure honesty and putting as positive a spin on things as he could. To wit:

When the season was over we didn’t know the status of Brandon Morrow. He was going to throw, basically, a simulated game early- to mid-November, and we were going to have to wait to find out how he was going to do, and if he was going to be ready for Spring Training. That was going to dictate some of the factors in the off-season. A guy like Drew Hutchison, that we were really high on in 2012 before he got hurt — as a 21-year-old and really started to turn the corner — he was going to go out and pitch in the fall league and we wanted to go out and see him and evaluate him. I got a chance to see him in November as well, and he really turned the corner. So, once Morrow had come out of his simulated games and had a clean bill of health, and we had full expectations for him in Spring Training, and seeing Drew’s progress in the fall league, we felt that was two starters that we didn’t have that we were going to add to the rotation.

We still wanted to be able to add one more starter if we could, via free agency or trade, but we didn’t want to force anything. There were some trade talks that we had that ultimately didn’t materialize — we would have had to force a move, and we obviously didn’t believe in doing that.

That’s not an incorrect chronology of events, and the stuff about how good they ended up feeling about Morrow and Hutchison isn’t new either, it’s just… really? I mean, where was this “if Morrow’s OK and Hutchison looks great, we really only want to add one starter — but only at the right price” stuff back in September, when pitching was the number one priority and they were bound and determined to find a way to improve? Because I didn’t hear it, and I certainly don’t think that it was by design that the Blue Jays’ rotation looks the way it does today.

Maybe I’m overdue for a tinfoil hat, but that spin on things sure seems exactly to me like the cheap veneer the Jays prefer to use when covering over whatever strangeness went on behind the scenes this winter.

Read the rest of this entry »