Andrew Stoeten

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The Final Countdown is maybe a bit… um… final for where the Jays’ 2014 season currently sits. It’s not currently smoldering wreckage, even! The teams that hold the AL’s Wild Card spots are both 4-6 over their last ten, and the Jays have four games remaining with the team that sits between them and those two. Things are still possible!

It’s just… yeah…

Scuttlebutt

No Dioner Navarro tonight, as John Lott tweets that John Gibbons says his catcher felt a little “fuzzy” after taking a foul tip off the mask last night. He passed his concussion tests, though.

I could probably just save this for tomorrow’s Daily Duce (which originally was going to be Monday’s Daily Duce!), but it’s worth a read and a listen now: Scott MacArthur has a lengthy interview with Colby Rasmus up at TSN.ca (with a transcript provided for those who’d rather read it). Over at Bluebird Banter, Minor Leaguer tries to make sense of the words of the eminently likable, but obviously frustrated outfielder. His ultimate advice: for his own good, maybe Colby should just go home.

Scuzzlebutt

And Patrick Duffy for a leg?

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET @ New York (AL)

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)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
LF John Mayberry Jr. (R)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
C Josh Thole (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Baltimore Orioles

3B Jimmy Paredes (S)
RF Steve Pearce (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Nelson Cruz (R)
LF Delmon Young (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
1B Christian Walker (R)
C Caleb Joseph (R) C
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)

RHP Bud Norris

stromanyells

See, I knew I shouldn’t have bothered to write about the Marcus Stroman-Caleb Joseph incident in yesterday’s Hunt For Blue October post, as evidently the matter wasn’t quite closed. To wit:

Makes sense.

Well, except for the part about Stroman appealing. Because… why?

Gregor Chisholm adds that MLB, in their release, says that “Stroman also received an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Caleb Joseph.”

Really says a lot about how the league values player safety and how serious they are about rooting out this garbage from the game, doesn’t it? And it’s even deeper insanity given the incident involving Giancarlo Stanton last week.

Deeper still when you consider that the NHL, which does literally everything wrong when it comes to striking a balance between player safety and dogshit macho stupidity, actually comes close to having an appropriate guiding principle on stuff like this — they just don’t apply it consistently. In hockey, when it comes to high sticking, the expectation is that you’re a professional, and you’re supposed to be in control of your stick at all times, so whether it is intentional or not, if you clip someone up high with your stick, it’s a penalty (and if you draw blood, the penalty is doubled).

Why they don’t do that when it comes to running the goalie, or head shots is beyond me, but I’m more than OK with that being the case with head hunting in baseball. Obviously there is a more subjective quality to such cases, but at least then “I didn’t mean to” — which is how Stroman will plead — wouldn’t be a route to appeal.

I’d also be all for bigger suspensions than the one handed down, and suspensions for pitches that appear to be intentionally thrown at players, regardless of whether it was at the person’s head or elsewhere.

On that level, I agree with the cavalcade of homers whining on Twitter about why Darren O’Day isn’t also being suspended for throwing at Jose Bautista last night, but that’s not because I think anybody’s being unfair to the Jays here. MLB is being entirely consistent in its belief that head hunting is wrong, but that intentionally throwing at other parts of the body isn’t — or, at the very least, it isn’t worth investigating intent on such incidents.

I call bullshit. For me, you don’t throw at people. Period. And, as I said in yesterday’s post, you don’t hide behind macho nonsense to condone it. “What bothers me more than him doing it — because I understand the dugout politics involved make it difficult for a rookie to make a stand against the culture he needs to exist in — is the people who condone it or, worse still, say ‘at least aim for the ribs,’ as though that’s fucking excusable,” I wrote. “All this bullshit gets presented under the rubric of the code, and ‘being a man,’ and not looking weak, but it’s bloody obvious what’s actually the ‘manly’ reaction here. To stand up and say, “This is fucking stupid you dumb meat head fucks.’ ”

Intention doesn’t matter. Your emotions don’t matter. Whatever slight prompted it doesn’t matter. That you can convincingly pretend you believe utter horseshit like the idea that if you don’t retaliate you’ll be subjecting yourself to more abuse doesn’t matter.

You let the league do its job and you don’t keep propping up a system that discourages anyone from asking hard questions about player safety in this regard until it’s too goddamn late. You don’t play fast and loose with the potential future of another man’s brain function.

You don’t throw a fucking baseball at people.

And if you’re Marcus Stroman, you be thankful the stewards of the league, and so many commentators on it, are so hopelessly unserious about this garbage, and so afraid appearing weak or incurring a backlash among the mouth-breathers, that they’ve decided to be as lenient as they have.

Is Gibbons’ Job In Jeopardy?

gibbersgun

“Anthopoulos not tipping hand on Gibbons’ status” reads the headline from a piece published Tuesday evening at BlueJays.com by Gregor Chisholm, and… wait, what? Gibbers is in trouble???

John Gibbons, as you may be aware, has a contract that automatically adds an extra year to his deal every January 1st. That, according to the GM, is apparently all you need to know about whether he’ll be back.

“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos said when asked if he was going to take care of the situation. “He’s always under contract, pretty much. I don’t think there’s anything to take care of and I think he has done a good job.”

Oh. Well that doesn’t sound so bad. Much ado about nothing, right?

Er… hold on a second. There’s more.

“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos reiterated. “I’ve said this before, I’m a big believer that no matter what position — grounds crew, administrative assistant, manager, coach — you support them until you don’t support them.

“Until they’re no longer in this position, you support them. That position is going to be that way — whether you’re 100 games over .500 or we’re struggling. We always support our staff.”

So Anthopoulos supports Gibbons?

“Every employee,” Anthopoulos said. “I wouldn’t make anything more of this.”

Yeah… so that’s definitely a bit odd. What’s more, as Gregor pointed out on Twitter, the comments are considerably different than what Anthopoulos said in response to similar questions last year.

From BlueJays.com on Agosto 27, 2013:

“There’s never been any thought in that respect at all,” Anthopoulos said when asked if Gibbons will be returning.

“John is our manager, and we expect him to be. But I understand what the response is. When you’re not playing well as a team, these are the things that happen. You talk about the GM, the manager, you talk about the players … people want a reason, and changes usually come when players aren’t playing well and teams aren’t performing. I think that comes with the territory.”

. . .

“I actually think [regarding] the in-game managing, he has done a great job,” Anthopoulos said of Gibbons. “I think it’s so easy to pin results on one person. I think it’s convenient. I could say that for myself. I could say that for certain players, for the manager. I just don’t think blame falls on one person.

“When we’re playing the way we have, I just don’t think it falls on one person; it’s collectively. There’s blame to share — that’s probably the best way to put it. I just don’t believe it’s one thing, and that’s the issue.”

I like what 2013 Anthopoulos had to say a whole lot better. He maybe wasn’t entirely full-throated in his vote of confidence, but it’s a long way from “you support them until you don’t support them.” In fact, what he said on Tuesday was uncomfortably reminiscent of the comments he made as John Farrell’s tenure was winding down, telling reporters that a manager’s contract simply sets his rate of compensation, the implication being that it was irrelevant whether or not Farrell was going into a “lame duck” year — so irrelevant, apparently, that they needed to structure Gibbons’ contract so as to entirely avoid the issue. *COUGH*

Read the rest of this entry »

chart

Welp.

This sure sorta feels like it, doesn’t it? I hate to be negative, and there’s still mathematically a chance, but losing four of five since they swept the lowly Cubs hasn’t lost the Jays a whole lot of ground, but they’ve lost a whole lot of precious time to make up the 5.5 games they currently sit behind the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are currently down to the shitty White Sox, but even so, with just twelve games left… y’know.

And so now we’re seeing the kids. Dan Norris pitched an inning tonight — not particularly well, but he was in there! And what do we expect from a kid who isn’t used to pitching out of the bullpen, and has been sitting around for as long as Norris has? Not a whole lot. Graveman pitched, as well, and Dalton Pompey even got an at-bat. So… that’s something. I guess.

The whole “let’s see what the kids have got” thing sure feels a lot better with just a couple weeks to go than it does with multiple months to go, at least. Less so, maybe, when it’s a glimpse of a potentially very real, and potentially very frustrating future, as in Kevin Pillar flailing away — not that his manager did him a lot of favours in his , though he actually had a walk to go with his two strikeouts tonight. Or Anthony Gose. Or Ryan Goins.

Heading into tonight Pillar had a .304 on-base since his recall, with a 1.8% walk rate and strikeout rate above 23%. Since the start of August, against big league pitching, Anthony Gose had slashed .193/.242/.263. Prior to tonight, in September, Ryan Goins had slashed .152/.176/.273.

Isn’t defence great?

Ugh. I don’t know. I don’t know…

Hey, and more beanballs and the O’s clinching the AL East in front of us. What a night, eh?

Though Ian nails it: at least Jose at least did it right:

The Oriole Bird

Everything. About. This.

Hey! It’s the Jays and O’s! Playing baseball! Or… something.

The Jays probably want to win this one, FYI.

Yeah, I got nothing.

Except this: Baltimore’s mascot is called The Oriole Bird. The fuck? Tautology much?

Also: Kawasaki? Really?

 

Image via.

87tickets

“To prove anything can, and will, happen… My unused 1987 #BlueJays playoff tix. 3.5 up with 7 to play. #162games” – @Section524

I’m in no mood to write a eulogy for the 2014 Blue Jays this afternoon, but that certainly feels like it’s probably in order. Maybe I say so a bit prematurely — all the “anything can happen” caveats still apply, it’s just pissing away three of their last four has made what was already a near impossible task even tougher.

“Pissed away” is a little unfair, of course. This is baseball, and even the best teams lose all the time. The Jays are 10-5 in their last fifteen, which is a great run by any measure, but they have left themselves with so little margin for error that any time they’ve crossed over to the bad side of that line it’s been as screamingly obvious as it’s been utterly deflating.

But I don’t want to give up hope yet! Even as trying to muster it feels increasingly more futile. (I also don’t particularly want to write about last night’s next most deflating moment: Marcus Stroman throwing at the head of Caleb Joseph. That was pure stupidity on Stroman’s part, but what bothers me more than him doing it — because I understand the dugout politics involved make it difficult for a rookie to make a stand against the culture he needs to exist in — is the people who condone it or, worse still, say “at least aim for the ribs,” as though that’s fucking excusable. All this bullshit gets presented under the rubric of the code, and “being a man,” and not looking weak, but it’s bloody obvious what’s actually the “manly” reaction here. To stand up and say, “This is fucking stupid you dumb meat head fucks.” All of it. You don’t throw at people. And you certainly don’t cower behind this horseshit tradition because you’re afraid people will call you weak or will pull the “never played the game” card. Let’s be better than that.)

So… uh… yeah. Here are the improbable things we’re hoping to see happen this week!

Jays @ Orioles
Obviously!

Mariners @ Angels
Well this is a pretty easy one too. The Mariners have four against the best team in baseball, and already lost the first game of the set last night. Nothing really to contemplate here — the Angels have clinched a playoff spot, and Seattle is the only team between the Jays and the holders of the second Wild Card spot, the Royals. Go halos.

White Sox @ Royals
The Royals host the shitty White Sox. COME ON, SHITTY WHITE SOX! They at least have to face Chris Sale on Wednesday. But all is not lost even if Kansas City takes the next two or three with Chicago — provided the Jays get back to winning, that is — as the Royals host Detroit on the weekend, then play three games in four days in Cleveland, plus they have to finish off their suspended August 31st match with the Clevelands, which was called with the Royals down 4-2 in the middle of the tenth. In other words, they almost certainly have one more loss on their record than it currently shows, Cleveland just has to do its part for a half inning next Monday to make it official. And we’ll probably want to see a whole lot more losses than that between now and then, as the Royals will leave Cleveland in the middle of next week to finish the season on the road for four with the shitty White Sox.

Rangers @ A’s
The Rangers’ downfall this season has been, truth be told, pretty hilarious. If they want to salvage some pride by beating up on the A’s both now and on the weekend after this, when they host them to close out the season, I can live with that.

Tigers @ Twins
We’re almost certainly going to be cheering for the Tigers to crush the Royals on the weekend — Detroit is currently 1.5 games up and looking more likely to be the AL Central winner — but… I dunno… at least one of those two could stand to collapse. For our sake. So let’s cheer for the Twins now anyway, if only to make things more interesting. It’s probably not going to mean much, though: the Tigers’ final four series of the year are at Minnesota, at Kansas City, hosting the shitty White Sox, and then hosting the Twins. They ought to feel pretty good about their chances.

Cleveland @ Astros, Yankees @ Rays
The Clevelands and Yankees are behind the Jays. Let’s keep it that way, eh ya shitbags?

melkyshirt

And that’s not the only hot breaking scoop to pass along!

- Heyman: Sky Blue
- Heyman: Water Wet
- Heyman: Women’s Breasts Strangely Alluring

I know, I know, I was stunned too about the water thing.

Of course, what’s Heyman to do here? Not engage in clickbait? Shit, I clicked on it, and I knew there was going to be precisely zero of value to me in his piece. Then again, fans in other markets may be interested to know that the Jays are hypothetically willing to add a $15-million contract to their payroll, or that there is a baseball team in Canada named the Blue Jays — and that they actually play in the major leagues? Naomi Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatts?

Heyman also pulls the trusty old high school trick of pumping up his fluff with a few filler paragraphs like this one:

Word from someone familiar with the Blue Jays’ thinking is that they are so pleased with Cabrera both on and off the field that it is an “easy decision” for them to make him a qualifying offer. Toronto actually hopes it leads to another multi-year arrangement with Cabrera, who should be one of the better hitters on a thin market.

No word on whether he adjusted the margins to make the piece look bigger.

Heyman also says he thinks Melky owes the Jays for believing in him when he was at his lowest point, coming off his P.E.D. suspension. Because that’s totally how this stuff usually works!

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m all for it if Melky’s hellbent on re-signing here.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll get an equally valuable piece when Cabrera inevitably declines. Frankly, I’m already breathless in anticipation.