Drew Fairservice

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As we all revel in the wave of hotness that is a reborn Colby Rasmus, it is important we take stock. As one might expect, those who spoke poorly of the Blue Jays centerfielder are currently looking for new and exciting ways to cover their tracks. The soft-spoken Southerner makes an easy target and many people took aim during the winter and early-season swoon.

As the backhanded compliments eek out, it is important we consider the source and quickly do our best discredit them further. Their passive aggressive attempts at retaining credibility will not stand without rigorous oversight.

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Joel Carreno Gets the Call

This is what the kids call an “emergency start.” Joel Carreno, he of middling success in the minor leagues but some experience at the big league level, gets the call for the Jays today in Milwaukee against the fightin’ Brew Crew. Carreno was scheduled to pitch for Double-A New Hampshire today but gets to face Ryan Braun instead. That’s some prize!

While I know the reasons against it, I wonder how much thought (if any) was given to calling on Ricky Romero to go on short rest today? With the off day tomorrow, everyone else could move up a day without too much trauma, one assumes (Cecil would pitch Friday on regular rest in this scenario.)

Trauma is the key word and the likely reason why they wouldn’t ask their nominal ace to go on three days rest. Imagine Ricky sustained an injury pitching after three days for the first time in his career? The fainting couches of the GTA would get quite the workout.

Pitchers simply don’t pitch that well on short rest as a rule but the Jays are quite clearly running out of options. The bullpen is getting quite the workout of late, predictably pitching more innings than any staff in baseball over the last two weeks. The results are better than expected but, as last night shows, no staff is perfect. Carreno went six innings in his only other big league start (during the opening series of the season) and he will be asked to perform at a similar level today (duh).

Luis Perez has only pitched once in the past four days, throwing 37 pitches over 3 innings of one-hit ball. Expect to see Perez and likely Aaron Laffey, who didn’t pitch yesterday and appeared just once over the same timeframe. A few decent innings from Carreno with Perez closing it out? Off day in Miami and boom, everyone is sorted. Sounds like a plan, no?

God Bless Jose Bautista. Hitter of opposite field home runs only when it matters most: when a baseball fan from a Midwestern state stands to have their heart broken. Over the last three seasons, Jose Bautista has five opposite field home runs. Hit Tracker Online has the “oppo taco” details: three homers at Minnesota’s Target Field, one at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and now another at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Must be the clean air and faint smell of methamphetamines.

If there is any rhyme or reason for this strange phenomenon, I’ll be damned if I care about it. All I know is Bautista comes alive in Middle America and there isn’t anything anyone can do about.

When the Jays announced it was Brett Cecil coming up to make Brandon Morrow’s start on Sunday, I wrote that a new perspective on sequencing, gleaned from the teachings of Sal Fasano, suggested Brett Cecil was well on his way to becoming a slop-tossing junkballer. Unable to count on his fastball due to declining velocity and command, he would flip breaking balls and changeups in at an uncommon rate out of desperation.

The Brett Cecil we saw Sunday afternoon was not quite that, I am somewhat relieved to report. Both Cecil and manager John Farrell mentioned his fastball command a key after the fact. The fastball was indeed the pitch Cecil relied on most en route to five innings of five strikeout, one walk, two run ball. A win and everything!

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With yesterday being Fathers Day, the Blue Jays as an organization did a very nice thing. They flew the fathers of nearly every active member of the squad (and coaches!) into town to take in the game from a luxury box. John Lott has some nice photos on his twitterfeed, if you are so interested.

This is not news to anyone who caught yesterday’s sweep clincher over the Phillies on TV. The broadcast converted all the time usually reserved for shots of Brett Lawrie into shots of the father’s luxury box. Fathers reacting, fathers cheering, fathers subtley pounding free drinks. It was…a time.

I should qualify that statement: some of the fathers reacted and cheered. Others stood by, upholding the stoic distance that drove their sons to fanatical lengths required to become a professional baseball player.

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Welp. This is a thing.

So Brett Cecil, after what can only be considered a successful run in the minor leagues, is back in bigs. Cecil made 10 starts between New Hampshire and Vegas, striking out 40 with only 14 walks in 49.1 innings. Only two home runs surrendered, which can only be a positive thing, right?

More than any other pitcher, fans and experts alike exhort Brett Cecil to ‘get the ball down’ in the zone. Usually it’s empty banter, something people say when they can’t think of something better. But for a pitcher like Cecil — he of the vanishing velocity — it seems a legitimate concern.

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star wrote about Cecil this week, travelling to Vegas to speak with the Jays lefty. While his velocity remains in the upper 80s, Cecil seems to have worked on his sequencing during his time in New Hamsphire, working closely with current Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano.

Fasano, a former catcher, worked with Cecil on his pitch selection strategy coming up with different ways to attack both left-handed and right-handed batters. Cecil said he had never thought about those kinds of strategies before and he’s seen a marked improvement in his pitching.

Kennedy also notes Cecil adjusted his delivery to create more deception, which tells us all we need to know about Brett Cecil at this stage of his career.

Cecil is now a full-blown junkballer, throwing soft trash up in any count. Pitching backwards and just doing what he must to keep hitters off-balance. Not a bad way to make a living except the margins for error are razor thin. A start against the Phillies on Sunday isn’t the worst re-introduction to the bigs. They are hardly an offensive juggernaut and might provide a soft landing spot for Cecil.

As for Drabek…I guess wait and see? It will be interesting to determine when he was actually hurt. Was Wednesday the first time or the worst time? Has he been battling this for weeks? While you never want to see anyone hurt, at least an injury might help explain away his awful run on the mound for the last six weeks or so.

It was early in the season when I posted a “what up with Brett Lawrie” thing which was promptly shit on. It was still early and he is still very young were two very common (and completely fair) counterpoints.

Nearly two months later, Lawrie’s numbers still lag behind the expectations/wishcasting of a desperate fanbase. Where is the power? Why so many groundballs? Can you go a little easier on the caught stealing, bruh? At no point should this concern be confused with disappointment but…his persistent struggles remain a little puzzling.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus turned the old Bob Elliott classic “turn some quotes from scouts into a column trick” this morning, with most attention given to minor leaguers (with an assist from DJF’s own Bradly Ankrom!)

There is one nugget on a big leaguer at the end…the starting third baseman for your Toronto Blue Jays, Brett Lawrie.

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