Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

We’ll figure out what to do with weekend threats sooner or later, but in the interim, since the comments from yesterday are overflowing, here’s a new place to wax hysteric about what’s going on right this minute at the Rogers Centre, as Drew Hutchison takes on C.C. Sabathia. So… here it is.

That was not exactly the best Home Opener I’ve ever been to last night, but it was still pretty fun, and refreshingly free of aggressive shit heads, at least where I was. So… I dunno, could be worse. And there’s some genuine promise to this Jays team, I think.  Would maybe like to see them win some damn games, though.

McGowanChops3

Dusty Lambchops? Roy Halladay? What fucking year is this? …

morrowMTL

Here we go, folks. Brandon Morrow, who was rusty at the start of camp but came out firing during his last tuneup, in front of a big Montreal crowd last Saturday, and looks to keep the momentum going as he makes his first big league appearance in over ten months. And he does so with about as much on the line as you could expect out of the first game of any given season.

I say that only half seriously, because I really don’t want to make too much of game four of 162 — plus, I’m sure there will be all kinds of narrative-based drivel availabel out there for anybody who wants to indulge in it — but would it ever feel fucking good for this club to start the season 3-1 with a series victory in Tampa and a fighting chance to do well over the weekend against the likes of an overanxious Masahiro Tanaka, Michael “New York version of Dustin McGowan” Pineda, and the old grey mare who ain’t what she used to be that they call Sabbathia. Then the Astros come in!

Things are setup well to get off to a good start of the season, in other words, but saying so means getting well, well ahead of ourselves. A lot of work will have to be done, and a lot of pitching questions will have to be answered in a positive way, if the Jays are going to find themselves in Baltimore on April 11th feeling pretty damn good about their record– and the first big one is asked of Morrow, and it will be answered tonight.

Though we all know enough to not make too much of how a team plays in the early season, wins is wins, and if the Jays start banking them now, that would be a very good thing. A tough Tampa team stands in the way, which is OK, since a loss would hardly be anything remotely catastrophic, but holy shit, let’s get this monkey off our fucking backs and start to fucking roll already. Why not us?

Scuttlebutt

According to a team release issued this afternoon, the Blue Jays will be opening the gates early tomorrow — at 5 PM ET — in order to better accommodate the sold out crowd that will fill the Rogers Centre to watch McGowan take on Tanaka. So if you don’t drink, get out of our way, because we’re loading up on booze and sure as shit aren’t going to sit in the stadium for two hours before the game paying $13 a pint (or whatever it costs these days).

Worse news for those of you headed to the games on Saturday and Sunday, as the TTC tweets that stations will be closed those two days from Bloor Station to St. Andrew. From Bloor to St. Andrew! No Union. No Yonge line. They’re telling you to transfer at St. George, then take it to St. Andrew and walk. I’m telling you to get there early, because it sounds like a real clusterfuck in the making.

According to a tweet from Barry Davis, on the radio this morning, John Gibbons explained that Sergio Santos wouldn’t be available to pitch tonight, having taken us for a wild ride in back-to-back wins on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Though originally in the lineup, Wil Myers was removed due to flu-like symptoms, according to a tweet from Shi Davidi. The lineup below has been updated to reflect the change.

Don’t forget to follow DJF on Instagram, especially tomorrow, as I’ll be posting a bunch of pictures from the Home Opener — for real this time, not like from Opera Bob’s on Monday, where I pretty quickly made the call that I didn’t feel like documenting a wake. Will be good!

Says here we’ll do a podcast tomorrow.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET, vs. New York (AL). The Home Opener!

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)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
SS Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Brandon Morrow

Tampa Bay Rays

DH David DeJesus (L)
CF Desmond Jennings (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
1B James Loney (L)
LF Logan Forsythe (R)
RF Matt Joyce (L)
C Ryan Hanigan (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

RHP Chris Archer

buehrle-mtl

Buehrle’s gonna buehrl tonight, and yet… how long might this game actually take, when Matt Moore can’t hit the damn plate, and John Gibbons and Joe Maddon play the insufferable game of delaying the game long enough to be made aware from the bench whether or not a play should be challenged under MLB’s new shitty, poorly thought-out replay system.

I mean, seriously, people. What the fuck is this interminable nonsense? Scrap the garbage already. Or, at the very goddamn least, make it so that a manager who leaves the dugout without having made a challenge relinquishes his right to issue a challenge – something to keep what has been happening in the first few days of this season from happening again, because… as much as I suppose I can accept more correct calls in exchange for fewer awesome arguments between managers and umpires, um… arguments are awesome and this is bullshit.

Oh, and apparently there’s a baseball game on now or something. Also apparently: a Sportsfeld tradition is to go to the bar after. FYI.

Scuttlebutt

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider Only) is ready to blow up the Jays — exactly the kind of advice that got him shitcanned every time he’s been made the GM of a team. Or… actually that’s not true. Pretty sure it was skimming money from Latin American kids that did him in the one time.

A tweet from Chris Zelkovich (formerly of the Star, now of Yahoo!), says that the Jays averaged 591,000 viewers on Tuesday, even though they were up against the Leafs. Pretty good.

Matt Moore and his I-don’t-know-where-this-pitch-is-going thing can kinda fuck off.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET, at Tampa

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)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Moises Sierra (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

LHP Mark Buehrle

Tampa Bay Rays

CF Desmond Jennings (R)
RF Wil Myers (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
DH Logan Forsythe (R)
1B James Loney (L)
LF Sean Rodriguez (R)
C Jose Molina (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

LHP Matt Moore

hutchisonFAES

It’s times like these where I’m reminded of the immortal words of Killface:

All right, all right. Let’s bring it in. Bring it in. On me. On me. Now look, I’m counting on all of you. There’s no yesterday. There’s no tomorrow. Forget ant farm keyboard. That’s… forget that. I want you to go out there, and take this moment, and make it yours.

Sure, the start to the season has gone about as poorly as imaginable, but that was March. That shit’s in the past, man. This is April now. Let’s turn the page. There’s still time for the Jays to shake off their dismal first month of the season and get this brand new month started right.

Drew Hutchison is on the hill with large expectations in tow, and a lot of talent, but little experience against the kind of hitters the Rays will be running at him — or with a pitchers on the opposite hill who was as good last year as Alex Cobb was. Should be a treat tonight, but like last night, and like the Jays season as a whole, it has as much potential to go really well as it does to go shatteringly poorly, even considering the fact that we’ve finally turned the page on the dismal regular season schedule in the month of March.

Forget ant farm keyboard. That’s… forget that.

Scuttlebutt

Got an email blast this morning from Bodog, telling me John Gibbons is 2/1 to be the first manager in baseball to lose his job — the odds on favourite. Hate to say it, but… yeah, probably.

Brett Lawrie is an ass man. We knew this, today — apparently thanks to someone from Buzz Feed — the world learned it. But at least, by way of @_scottjohnson, we got this outstanding Sir Mix-A-Lot GIF.

At Gamereax, Chris Toman writes about the Jays’ shrinking window to win. Ugh.

Five Thirty Eight looks at the popularity of MLB teams relative to their market size, and naturally, the Jays are firmly in the bottom third.

Meanwhile, some interesting stuff from concession prices, league-wide, from our friend Jonah Birenbaum at theScore.

Jack Moore wrote about Montreal for Getting Blanked, and nailed it.

Book launch for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is tomorrow at Tallboys. Read about it at Blue Jays From Away.

TV: Sportsnet: Pacific/East/360, MLB Network

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET, at Tampa

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)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Tampa Bay Rays

LF Matt Joyce (L)
RF Wil Myers (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
1B James Loney (L)
CF Desmond Jennings (R)
DH Logan Forsythe (R)
C Ryan Hanigan (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

RHP Alex Cobb

longoriaopeningday

Not pictured: the team that’s gonna fuckin’ win today!!

I think I’ve come down with a case of trench foot after traversing the slushy streets of Montreal from Parc-X to the train station yesterday, and the weather back here at home has hardly been less abysmal. And yet… baseball. Holy fucking shitting fucking baseball! It’s here! Today!

At 4:10 PM ET, to be precise!

Arriving with the exact opposite of the sort of fanfare that we were swept up in last year — the “coronation” that so irked Cleveland broadcasters — the Jays begin under the radar, under the ugly catwalks of Tropicana Field, and under nothing like the same weight of expectations. None of this, in other words. In fact, most pundits figure the club will finish last in the division, and with the question marks in the rotation and elsewhere, it’s hard to blame them.

But why focus on that on a day like this? Because we learned very quickly last year that what all of the predictions and projections amount to is something approximating jack fuckin’ shit. So, while it may be flawed to simply think that this is basically the same roster that was expected to contend this year, therefore they must be contenders again — sorry, it’s not at all the same roster, in terms of reasonable expectations, and it’s not as though the teams around them have remained static — that doesn’t mean that things can’t go really, really well.

There is a lot of talent here, and a lot to actually be excited about. Drew Hutchison is untested, but looking very good, and certainly not the sort of injury-waiting-to-happen that those who want to slag him for having had Tommy John surgery — sort of like everyone does — want to believe. Morrow and McGowan will almost assuredly pitch well for as long as they can stay healthy, and when they do break down, the club could do worse than giving a few turns to Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers or Marcus Stroman, before shifting their gaze to where Aaron Sanchez is at in double-A, having looked far more the potential front line big leaguer during the spring than his minor league record, and its 134 walks in 256 minor innings, has shown.

The bullpen, even without Casey Janssen out of the gate, looks to be as strong as ever, and the lineup, even with its glaring holes — its lack of a true platoon partner for Lind, its lack of a true centre field backup, its lack of a late inning pinch runner, its Ryan Goins — will find all kinds of ways to hit, even with less-twitchy 2014 Brett Lawrie still topping everything in sight. And defensively, Goins at least won’t bring the kind of butchery we saw at second last year. Reyes — despite it being eminently true that, as a defensive shortstop, he’s a really good hitter — is certainly a better sight there than Munenori Kawasaki or Maicer Izturis (who, combined, played in 85 games at short, in whole or in part, in 2013). And the successful removal of a tumour on Melky Cabrera’s spinal column has made him look an eternity removed from the arthritic sloth we saw in left field last season.

So lets get excited! Like these guys two years ago at Opera Bob’s:

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