Andrew Stoeten

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radickeyminn

It sure feels like we’re still too comfortably in the early going to try to claim that a single game could be so massive, so pivotal, for what this club is trying to accomplish, but coming off an ugly loss as they are, this one is definitely a chance to show what they’re made of, and to show the people who maintained faith in them that it wasn’t misplaced, and that it isn’t all going to evaporate just as soon as the going gets tough. It should be a hell of a thing to watch tonight — or, at least, let’s hope so.

Hey, and the Jays are playing too!

Go Raptors!

Scuttlebutt

Shi Davidi tweets that Casey Janssen will throw a couple of bullpens this week, and is tentatively scheduled to head back out on a rehab assignment next week.

I mentioned this in the previous post, but the Jays claimed former org. guy Darin Mastroianni today. He’s been optioned to Buffalo, and Kenny Wilson has been D’d FA to make room on the 40-man. Meh.

Also mentioned earlier — and again by me in a tweet — is the fact that batters are hitting .440/.533/.680 against R.A. Dickey on his third time through the order so far in 2014. Good lord.

Schaudenfreude alert: Benny Fresh tweets out the news on Yankees starter Ivan Nova, and it’s not good. Tommy John surgery has been recommended to fix a tear in his UCL.

In the National Post, John Lott looks at how badly the Jays need innings out of their starters on this crucial-ish homestand.

In a pair of tweets, Brendan Kennedy passes along a couple of items from Mark Simon of ESPN, who shows us the dire-looking heat map on Brett Lawrie, and where he lands in terms of Well-hit Average (which is among the bottom 20 players in baseball).

Great stuff from Parkes over at theScore, as he looks at the Raptors, referees, and whether this city’s plucky upstarts can get a fair shake.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET, vs. Baltimore

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

SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Juan Francisco (L)
CF Colby Rasmus
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
C Josh Thole (L)
SS Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
CF Adam Jones (R)
C Steve Clevenger (L)
DH Delmon Young (R)
SS Ryan Flaherty (L)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)
3B Steve Lombardozzi (S)

RHP Miguel Gonzalez

sergioreacts

Well here’s something that probably should turn into a regular feature, and maybe is finally starting to: a collection of thoughts on what went on over the weekend that aren’t really about the weekend — especially when they’re delayed because… well… just because (and because Monday was an off-day, so as long as I can get these done before the first game of the new week, we’re golden, right?)…

Bullpen Blow-Ups

I ranted enough about the Jays’ unfortunate bullpen meltdown on Thursday — and newsflash: if you weren’t being the kind of hyperventilating child that I was addressing, um… I wasn’t addressing you — that there didn’t really seem to be any sort of need to do so again following Friday’s near-meltdown and Sunday’s disaster. Yes, it’s an awful, frustrating, and awful frustrating way to watch the team lose a game and to have the three hours you’ve invested in go up in a puff of smoke (or, at least on Thursday, in a puff of dirt from three feet in front of the plate, where Santos kept bouncing pitches), but it happens.

I know that’s never a satisfying answer for everybody, but this here isn’t a satisfying game. The best of the supremely best of the very fucking best only get a hit a little more than three times out of ten. If a pitcher is allowing fewer than a run every three innings, he’s doing extremely well. The tricky thing is, I suppose, is reconciling that with the fact that our team’s failure means their opponents’ success. It’s maybe not quite so simple as saying, “get used to failure, for fuck sakes!” But… actually it’s pretty close.

That isn’t to suggest we can’t take anything from what happened in those two games, but in the overly emotional afterglow it seems that a lot of people have a really, really hard time not blowing things way out of proportion. That’s only natural, but I certainly feel like it serves me well to remember such things. I mean, someone in the comments was having a fit on Thursday that John Gibbons had only Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, and J.A. Happ in the bullpen at the start of the eighth, and others, of course, felt he saved too many bullets by not removing Aaron “eleven unintentional walks over 100 innings prior to this season” Loup, even though a left-hander was coming up. Hard for him to win, eh?

Obviously, it’s not wrong to quibble with the decisions, but I can’t comprehend not giving a whole lot of rope to a manager on this stuff — just as I can’t comprehend being the kind of person who acts like he knows a move has to be made when there are obvious pros and cons all over the place, or who acts like strike-throwing is mostly a matter of effort, determination, force of will, and not the end product of a biomechanical action that is simultaneously both delicate — always on the brink of going awry — and violent as all fuck.

Baseball is hard.

Would have been nice if the club went 7-2 on the road trip, though, yes.

 

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vanGaal

(We don’t actually talk about soccer, save for 20 seconds at the very end.)

Now a little something to kill time on a Monday afternoon: it’s an actual, shit-you-not real edition of the DJF podcast!

And today we’ve got just Drew and I, with @John_Noon on the ones and twos, but no one filling in for the hopelessly disinterested Wally Pippp as our fourth Horseman of the Anthocalpyse while we discuss positivity, good times, Brandon Morrow, the Dutch, sacred cows, and more!

Or if you’re more inclined to download today’s podcast, hit up the mp3 link.

Soundcloud looks fancy and is awesome, but don’t forget that, if you prefer, the DJF iTunes page remains up and running too. Get on over there and subscribe– or update the subscription you already have to find the latest episode (once it’s up). You can also find it via our podcast RSS feed. Follow DJF on Facebook, too, while you’re at it. And the DJF Instagram!

Many (most? some?) mintmusical interludes courtesy Toronto’s own Optical Sounds, who recently released Psych Pop 2, their second free-to-download compilation of outstanding tunes from local psych- and garage-influenced artists, plus friends of their great collective. Be sure to check them out online and buy every single fucking thing you hear at their site!

dailyduce3

Yes, let’s go to my house. Take naps. Where’s my food?

Before we get to what’s interesting out there, let’s get to what you surely already know: the Jays made some roster moves over the weekend, optioning Munenori Kawasaki back to Buffalo to make room for the return of Jose Reyes, and bringing up Juan Francisco to add some thump (and strikeouts) to the lineup as Adam Lind and his wonky back move to the DL. Gregor Chisholm has the details on these moves, plus Casey Janssen’s latest setback, which will keep him out another two weeks, over at BlueJays.com.

Oh, and Jeremy Jeffress elected free agency rather than being assigned to Buffalo, and ended up coming to a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. MLB Daily Dish has the details (because MLBTR isn’t working for me right now, for some reason).

Outstanding stuff from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, as he talks to each of the Jays’ hitters about how they prepare for a plate appearance. Read it.

“Remember when Stroman struggled badly this spring and everyone worried about whether a short pitcher would be able to generate enough downward plane to miss bats?” asked Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus in a piece last week. “Well, he’s still short. When Stroman keeps the ball down, he’s lights out, thanks to a plus change-up. He can get hurt when he misses up, but who doesn’t?”

Interesting test for Stroman tonight, tweets Ben Wagner, as he faces Red Sox prospect Brandon Workman, and a pair of rehabbing big leaguers in Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino.

More prospect stuff, and Stroman stuff, in particular, from Charlie Caskey at Your Van C’s. And also there’s some great “public sector scouting” stuff on his latest at Blue Jays Plus. Plus, David Laurila of FanGraphs talks to Mitch Nay about his grandfather’s influence.

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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.