Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

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

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.

wirefuck

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Not going to lie: I operated for much of this fine-ish Monday that today was an off-day for the Jays. Guess not! Though it is an off-day for both Anthony Gose and, evidently, common goddamn sense.

That’s the only conclusion I can come to from tonight’s alignment of Jays outfielders, which sees the best centre fielder of the trio, Kevin Pillar, in left; the best right fielder, Jose Bautista, in centre; and John Mayberry in right.

I’m a huge fan of John Gibbons, but I have no idea what the hell that is all about — though it speaks, I think, to the unfortunate political nature of how this sort of stuff is among the guys actually in the clubhouse. Shi Davidi tweeted this afternoon that the alignment looks as it does because John Mayberry Jr. prefers to play in right. In no rational universe should that matter an iota, but a baseball clubhouse is hardly a rational universe — Jose Bautista prefers to hit third out of some bizarre point of pride, for example, which is the same reason a guy like Troy Tulowitzki says he’d rather retire than move off shortstop. On one hand you want to say, “You’re employees! You do what your bosses tell you! So bosses, tell them!!!” But on the other, we know they’re really not, and evidently it simply can’t work that way.

That, of course, is why we’re seeing Jose Reyes at shortstop again tonight as well, despite the fact that Ryan Goins is also on the field. And why we see things like Jeff Blair’s post this morning (was that really this morning???) at Sportsnet about the Jays not yet having broached the idea of a position change with their shortstop — even as he plays through injury, with a superior defender next to him on the field — and supposedly not aiming to in the off-season, either.

Oh, but “you can expect general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons to tell Reyes in exit interviews that they will give him more off days next season – including some turns as a designated hitter, which Reyes has fought this season,” we’re told. And with new turf, and Brett Lawrie (hopefully) and Goins (not so much hopefully) providing cover, they think they’ll be able to hide him enough to be passable.

It’s fucking absurd. But it is what it is.

Still, though, say what you will for advanced defensive metrics, but how’s this for a puke-in-your-mouth comparison? This year by UZR Reyes has been 9.1 runs below average, and his DRS is -16. Guess who sits at a shitty-but-less-shitty -5.5 UZR and -10 DRS?

Yep. It’s Derek Jeter.

To be fair, Reyes has played more innings, over a bigger sample Jeter has been considerably worse, and Reyes is playing through an injury. But on the other hand… JESUS CHRIST!

Oh, hey, but at least the Jays also spent the weekend pissing away crucial games to the Rays, leading their more-improbable-than-ever playoff quest to Baltimore for three games starting tonight, then the Bronx for four.

Guh.

Scuttlebutt

Meh.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET @ 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 lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
CF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
RF John Mayberry Jr. (R)
3B Steve Tolleson (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Marcus Stroman

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
LF Alejandro De Aza (L)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
3B Kelly Johnson (L)
2B Ryan Flaherty (L)
C Caleb Joseph (R)

LHP Wei-Yin Chen

 

Image via. (NSFW)

Weekend Threat: Jays vs. Rays

Welp. The Jays sure could have done better last night than wasting a very good J.A. Happ start — not to mention squandering one of the precious few losses they can afford to give up if they are to maintain any shred of a pretense that they’re still in a playoff race — by failing to muster a single good goddamn thing against Nate fucking Karns. Ugh.

Better do better today, boys.

happsterbackground

It was a tremendous time, as usual, last night at the final Pitch Talks event of the season. And, also as usual, it’s been a less tremendous morning after. And afternoon after. And evening after.

Ugh.

But baseball!

The dumb Clevelands won both ends of their doubleheader against the Twins yesterday, pulling even with the Jays to sit 3.5 games behind the holders of the second Wild Card spot, the Detroit Tigers (and just 4.5 games behind the floundering holders of the first spot, the Oakland A’s — with the Mariners, of course, still to be surmounted). Noted Jays-killer Chris Davis of the Orioles was suspended today, so that’s a spot of good news given the fact that the Jays have six games still remaining with Baltimore. But tonight, and for the next two days, the focus is on the Rays — and with Nate Karns getting the start in place of Drew Smyly, the Jays have a pretty solid chance to get a leg up on the series. So… let’s do that?

I don’t know. I’ve got nothing.

Go Jays!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 1:07 PM ET vs. Tampa; Sunday, 1:07 PM ET vs. 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

SS Jose Reyes (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Tampa Bay Rays

CF Ben Zobrist (S)
LF Brandon Guyer (R)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
RF Wil Myers (R)
1B James Loney (L)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)
2B Logan Forsythe (R)
C Ryan Hanigan (R)
DH Sean Rodriguez (R)

RHP Nate Karns

buehrleRCmound

The Cubs sure have brought a whole lot of hitting talent with them across the border, but holy lord, they’re bad.

Yes, yes, those sound precisely like the words of a fan whose team is about to be stymied by the far-from-bad former Oriole, Jake Arrieta, but with Anthony Rizzo still out of their lineup (Starlin Castro, too), and a bunch of big prospects — Kris Bryant, Addison Russell — still not yet big leaguers, their lineup… is… well… tonight’s cleanup hitter, Luis Valbuena, was very briefly a Blue Jay in the off-season between 2011 and 2012, before being lost on waviers at the end of Spring Training.

He’s not without value, either — though not nearly as famous as some of the other recent ones that got away. This year FanGraphs’ version of WAR has calculated Valbuena to have produced 2.5 wins, while Baseball Reference has him at 1.1. Certainly nothing to turn our noses up at — especially for a guy on a cheap deal, with an above-average walk rate, and showing surprising power here in his age-28 season (.197 ISO).

Still, though, he’s at 247/.328/.444, which doesn’t exactly scream “cleanup hitter,” especially against Mark Buehrle, when his wRC+ against lefties is just 86 on the year.

I’m just sayin’ is all… the Cubs will be scary one day very soon. Maybe not today, though.

Scuttlebutt

The Jays’ original lineup had Edwin Encarnacion at first base, and Adam Lind at DH. Shi Davidi appears to have been the first to tweet about the change.

MLBTR’s Zach Links tweeted earlier in the afternoon that the Jays are will soon put Matt Hague on waivers. To open a spot on the 40-man for what, one wonders?

Megan Robinson tweets that, with a home run tonight, Jose Bautista would become the first player since Willie Mays in 1965 to hit a home run in seven straight home games.

Lastly… lately Facebook changed its algorithm with respect to sharing, it’s really become a much more powerful social media tool, and so it’s probably in your best interest to just go right ahead and like DJF on Facebook. That way you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins.

And while we’re at it, you might as well follow me on Twitter, follow @DrunkJaysFans, and follow the dusty ol’ DJF Instagram too!

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gibbersgun

John Gibbons was certainly guilty of over-managing on Friday night. Taking out Ryan Goins for a pinch runner was an especially odd choice that left the team stuck with Steve Tolleson at second base. Kendall Graveman and Daniel Norris were each thrown into the fire for one batter, despite sitting on the bench with a much more sizeable in Tampa two nights prior, watching Aaron Sanchez pitch enough to make himself unavailable until tonight — and the baserunner Graveman allowed, before he was given a quick hook and Aaron Loup was oddly brought in to face a bunch of right-handers was rather crucial. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, despite whatever the fuck that all was, the Jays had a three run cushion heading into the bottom of the eighth and a two run lead going into the bottom of the tenth and blew them both. He maybe didn’t help as much as he could have, but last night too many people seemed to want to believe that those six runs are on the manager, which is absolute insanity. Even the decision to go to Casey Janssen — a once ultra-dependable closer who Gibbons has lost faith in enough to have removed him from the role (except when Aaron Sanchez is unavailable, as he was Friday night) — was eminently defensible, despite the groans from the peanut gallery. And it’s not exactly like he’s getting hit all over the yard, either — he seems to have lost just enough since his illness over the All-Star break to have moved him, hopefully temporarily, from being a guy always just barely on the right side of the margins to one falling the wrong way over the edge just often enough for it to matter. Tough to nitpick the decision in my estimation — tougher still to blame the manager when big leaguers, demonstrably worse choices to be in the game than others or not, simply have to get six outs while keeping six runs off the board and can’t fucking do it.

But yes, that fucking sucked. And so did Melky Cabrera’s season-ending injury. But… silver lining?

“I stay in Toronto,” Melky says, speaking about next year, according to a number of reports, including this one from John Lott of the National Post.

A reporter asked: You want to stay?

“Yeah,” he replied with a small smile.

So that’s awesome. However, in a series of tweets, Gregor Chisholm suggests that we maybe shouldn’t be over the moon just yet:

I have no doubt that Cabrera enjoys playing in Toronto. But let’s not get carried away with his comments about wanting to stay.

Qualifying offer will loom large. It’ll impact not only what other teams offer but could impact #BlueJays offer as they leverage situation.

In other words, a lot of things have to play out before there’s any kind of certainty about Cabrera’s future in Toronto or with another team.

Sadly, this is almost certainly true. But holy shit, let’s just figure it out.

Bob Elliott said on Prime Time Sports this week that he thought Cabrera might be in for a Choo-like seven-year deal, but that, of course, is insane. It’ll be shorter than that — a Toronto Star piece earlier in the summer, in which Brendan Kennedy consulted caripus executives and agents on their thoughts, suggested Curtis Granderson’s 4/60 deal with the Mets as a ceiling. That’ll play. Backload it the right way to fit the Jays’ payroll structure and that will definitely play.

Just fucking do it!

Now consider this your Game/Rain Threat. Might be a long one tonight, so buckle up! Or, given the forecast at the time of this writing, there might not be a game at all. Fingers crossed — and for a win, too. Despite yesterday’s disappointment, the Jays ended the night hardly worse off in the playoff race than when they started. Let’s get back to winning, eh?