Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

Spring Threat: Jays @ Rays

sanchezST14

The Jays take on the Rays in Port Charlotte this afternoon and… SEE. SEE, WE CAN DEVELOP PLAYERS!

By which I mean Aaron Sanchez takes the hill for the Jays, soaking in the big league experience like every 21-year-old prospect deemed the future of the organization and not shuttled to the grim backfields of Dunedin. One set of rules for the somebodys, another for the nobodys — seems about right, eh?

And there remains chatter about the possibility of Sanchez — who, one feels the need to remind, surrendered more than four walks per nine innings against high-A hitters last season, and over five the year before at Lansing — actually breaking camp as a member of the club’s rotation. To the team’s credit, they’re certainly not the ones saying it, but the lack of thrilling rotation options, and Sanchez’s huge arm and fantastic spring, has naturally got folks talking… about this utter insanity.

Ben Nicholson-Smith takes an even-handed look at the situation in a piece at Sportsnet.

Also: baseball-ish!

The Jays take on the Philles today in Grapefruit League action, with Esmil Rogers and Dustin McGowan both taking the hill, the latter being an intriguing possible late entrant into the race to grab the Jays’ fourth starter spot, seeing as the job is there for the taking, on account of how everybody sucks. So… that could be interesting?

This is your Game Threat. Deal with it.

happ-clearwater

An actual spring training game on TV in the age of umpteen dedicated sports-only channels owned by the parent company of the Toronto Blue Jays? What a novel fucking idea. And it’s actually going to be an interesting one to see, as J.A. Happ takes the hill, hoping to shake off the back troubles — or is it “back troubles” — that have set him back so far in camp. Uh… or have made him look exactly like most people figure he ought to look, at least when on the hill.

Despite some less-than-kind words about him over the last little while, I’m not even entirely down on the idea of J.A. Happ. He could… he could maybe be alright. Couldn’t he? Maybe?

I don’t know, but at least his turn on the mound is a real story and doesn’t require the hyping up of something that was never there in the first place. Plus, we get to see what’s probably going to be the Jays’ Opening Day lineup in action, taking on Roberto “don’t call me Fausto” Hernandez and a collection of Phillies oldtim– holy shit, that’s their real team!!!

Scuttlebutt

Gregor Chisholm was the first in my timeline to tweet the official word that Marcus Stroman and Ricky Romero had been sent down to minor league camp, following yesterday’s double debacle in Lakeland against Detroit. Makes sense.

“Gibbons suggested that he and senior management held different views of Romero’s chances,” writes John Lott in his piece on the demotions for the National Post. The manager tells him that he was always thinking Romero should start in triple-A, despite the fact that Lott tells us that “for a few days, management types seemed to suggest that based on his previous spring outings, Romero might wedge himself into the rotation competition.” So basically these management types may be idiots or they may be just full of shit. Not sure which is better, but either way, it wasn’t terribly difficult to have recognized that the Romero thing had no business being made into a story. (Lott, quite rightly, refers to management’s view as an “implausible scenario.”)

Brendan Kennedy tweeted yesterday that Gibbons suggested that Adam Lind — who has a fucking wRC+ of 37 against left-handers since 2010 — won’t necessarily be used in a strict platoon. Dumb as fuck, if true, but maybe just his way to lay the excuse for Lind actually playing on Opening Day against the Rays and lefty David Price. However, you’d like to think the club learned their lesson with the Arencibia-Dickey thing last year and will actually just play it like a damn regular game and let the boys suck it the fuck up if it doesn’t happen to be their turn. And if it’s a thought about Lind facing more left-handers than just that, either it’s a fireable offence, or a delightful “fuck you” to management for not getting a proper platoon partner for Lind this winter. In both cases: ugh.

Scott MacArthur tweets that, though he remains in big league camp, John Gibbons says Aaron Sanchez has no chance of making the Jays’ Opening Day roster. So, sorry to Buck Martinez and the tin foil hat brigade on that one.

Jonah Keri tweets that he’s having the Toronto launch party for his Expos book tonight at Opera Bob’s!

TV: Sportsnet One, MLB.tv

And now… the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

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

LHP J.A. Happ

Philadelphia Phillies

CF Ben Revere (L)
SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
2B Chase Utley (L)
RF Marlon Byrd (R)
1B Ryan Howard (L)
C Carlos Ruiz (R)
DH Bobby Abreu (L)
LF John Mayberry (R)
3B Cody Asche (L)

RHP Roberto Hernandez

Spring Threat: Jays @ Tigers

morrowFAES

The Jays have finally admitted that Brandon Morrow will be the club’s fifth starter coming out of spring training. Not that the number actually means anything, but that’s sure to make waves — especially now that, according to a tweet from John Lott, John Gibbons has acknowledged that “part of the reason” Morrow is being pushed back is to give him more time to be ready for the season.

I’ve said a couple times before that we probably need to give the guy a bit of leeway, considering that he was on the DL by the end of last May, and only threw two innings in a real game following that, while on a rehab stint in Dunedin, but it’s not untrue that the reports on Morrow so far this spring are that he hasn’t been sharp, and the health concerns will always linger over him, and that doesn’t exactly make this feel good, either. Plus, this isn’t last year’s interminably long spring training. Time is running out for players to get their shit together, with the Jays scheduled to be in Montreal in just ten days.

Lott wrote a piece in the National Post that touched on what an important day today is for Morrow — who starts against the Yankees’ triple-A club in a minor league split squad game in Tampa — and for Ricky Romero, who gets the ball against a Tigers lineup full of big leaguers in Lakeland. ”A good start for Morrow would help to bolster fans’ confidence that he is truly healthy and reasonably effective after patchy spring results on the mound and the woolly reasons offered Sunday for his new designation as the Number 5 starter,” he explained.

“I hadn’t pitched for so long, it’s almost hard to remember how to pitch aggressively, not just thinking about my mechanics out there, and arm angle, but competing,” [Morrow told him] Sunday. “My bullpens and everything have been great. I think it’s just a little more aggressiveness that I need to take out there. I think that’ll help with fastball command because then you’re really trying to stick it to ‘em.”

So… watch for his arm to go flying off into swampy ol’ Tampa Bay sometime around the third inning, he said hoping to fuck that’s not remotely close to what happens, and that things actually start to go smoothly for a starter who so much of the Jays’ hopes hinge on. Let’s not forget, though, that Morrow started slow, and had injury issues in camp in both 2010 and 2011, and ended up being more or less fine. Right? Right???

As for Romero and the supposed glimmer of hope he provides, I’m pulling for him, but I think I’ve already explained where I stand.

Scuttlebutt

Morrow is already though his first inning against the Yankees triple-A team, and Ben Wagner of the Buffalo Bisons’ broadcast crew is tweeting about it. He says that Morrow got out of the inning having induced a double play after giving up a soft single. That works.

According to Newsday, it’s lining up that Morrow will face Masahiro Tanaka in the Jays’ home opener on April 4th.

Another gem from Lott at the National Post, as he talks to Casey Janssen, who was finally back on the mound today after dealing with a sore shoulder — one that’s bothered him at least since the surgery he had at the start of last off-season, though you wouldn’t have known it from how outstandingly he pitched in 2013.

TV: None.

And now the lineups… will just be ignored for today. Gone twittering.

02-DarthFarrell

The Jays take on the Red Sox in yet another untelevised bout of weekday afternoon baseball-ish, and apparently Jerry Howarth said on the radio earlier today that Ryan Goins and Moises Sierra “are the building blocks of the future” and that “Goins is going to be a plus no matter what he hits.”

Ugh.

Also: Mike McCoy!

And I Thought Wednesday Was Rock Bottom…

Though it was only Ervin Santana that the Jays missed out on this week, it really wasn’t only about Ervin Santana. Wednesday’s acquisition by the Atlanta Braves of the mid-rotation innings eater that the Jays’ own staff is fucking screaming for (figuratively, I mean, although maybe even literally too) was about as low as it was going to get for a while, I thought. Then yesterday, I saw this. It’s a year old, and apparently I was shown it at the time and was all FFF, dickholes! World Series here we come! WHOOOOOOOO!, but actually taking it seriously was new to me, and… holy fuck, talk about a gut punch.

According to the New York Daily news, well… this:

Here’s a snapshot of how high the Mets are on d’Arnaud: Alderson said that he tried to get two specific players from an unnamed team for Dickey, but the team balked. But when Alderson acquired d’Arnaud, the team called back and offered the same two players for d’Arnaud alone. Alderson said no, even though the Mets would’ve kept the other players acquired from Toronto.

If you’re unclear, what they’re basically saying is that they value Travis d’Arnaud alone more than they did R.A. Dickey, which leads us to the question, then, why the fuck is Noah Syndergaard a Met???

Reading it so rigidly is slightly misleading, of course, because you need to account for positional scarcity, needs of the roster, goals for the upcoming season, the timing of when these offers were made, things of that nature. And who knows if it’s even accurate — Alderson could just be pumping his own tires or d’Arnaud’s here. But seriously! They asked for two players for Dickey that they wouldn’t give up for d’Arnaud. Meaning, they could have had those two players they’d have taken for Dickey, plus Syndergaard, but they valued d’Arnaud so astonishingly highly that they wouldn’t do it. As in: higher alone than the two players they felt were enough to give up Dickey for. Yet the Jays gave them him plus another prospect of equal or higher value.

Wrapped your mind around it yet?

We’re always hearing about the Jays and their due diligence, but that can only go so far, especially when they’re competing with other clubs to make the best offer in a trade. It’s certainly plausible that Anthopoulos didn’t know that the Mets had asked the team about these two players. It’s also plausible that he got schooled by the old man. Ugh.

Scuttlebutt

Jeff Blair spoke about Brandon Morrow on the radio today — audio here — because he noticed Morrow’s name missing from clubhouse charts listing where pitchers are scheduled to be over the coming days. His first instinct was to believe he was hurt, he says, but that isn’t the case. He explains that “it appears now as if there has been an alteration in the Blue Jays rotation heading into the season, and effectively it looks as though Brandon Morrow is the fifth starter. It looks as if Drew Hutchison has a shot at getting the second game in Tampa Bay.”

“This much is pretty apparent after talking to people around the Blue Jays for the last three days: Brandon Morrow is on a pretty short leash here. I think he knows that. I think he realizes that there are a lot of eyes on him this spring.”

It’s true that Morrow’s spring hasn’t been great, and that last year was a total write off, and that tough love is very probably the way to go with him for a somewhat exasperated organization who desperately need him at this point? Sure. But he last pitched in the big leagues in May, so I think it’s somewhat forgivable that he hasn’t been entirely sharp as yet. But yeah, he’s kinda got to get his shit together.

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

DH Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
SS Ryan Goins (L)
2B Chris Getz (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Boston Red Sox

CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
3B Jonathan Herrera (S)
DH Mike Carp (L)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
RF Corey Brown (L)
C Ryan Lavarnway (R)
SS Brock Holt (L)
2B Mike McCoy (R)

RHP Clay Buccholz

The Jays are playing the Astros. It’s already kind of happening, so… do we really need this Game Threat to be a thing, or shall I just move on?

I think we both know the answer to that…

Spring Threat: Jays @ Tigers

melkycatches

The Jays visit Rajai Davis and the Detroit Tigers today in Lakeland, and what’s this? Anthony Gose in right field, and Melky Cabrera in centre??? The fact that this is a thought that could even be entertained, let alone acted upon, speaks to the impressiveness of Melky’s recovery after having a tumour removed from his lower back. By mid-2013 it seemed a foregone conclusion that Melky’s days patrolling centre — something he did 144 times for Kansas City in 2011 — were officially through, but the Jays are smartly taking a look, knowing that it’s very possible that their Opening Day roster will have a very limited cast of characters capable of spelling Colby Rasmus.

Really it’s looking very possible that Melky, Moises Sierra (who played 17 games there for Buffalo last season), and maybe even Jose Bautista (three innings in centre in 2009!) are really going to be the only options, and the Anthony Gose has an option remaining and needs more seasoning still before we’re asked to swallow that rancid meat.

Sigh.

Rajai, we hardly knew ye. And, of course, it’s not just the loss of his versatility or the fact that he’s a weapon as a late game pinch runner that hurts, but the fact that he could platoon with Adam Lind, too.

Scuttlebutt

Justin Verlander is on the hill for the Tigers today, making his spring debut.

Meanwhile, the Jays are also playing the Canadian under-18 squad in St. Petersburg, with Brandon Morrow on the hill, and a stacked lineup going up against the kids: Rasmus, Lawrie, Bautista, Lind, Navarro, and Sierra. And, of course, back in Lakeland, we have Ryan Goins for some reason getting used to the ninth spot in the order, rather than getting the chance to squeeze a bunch of extra at-bats by hitting up top at this stage. Dumb.

You can listen to that game on RadioStPete.com! The game against the Tigers in Lakeland is on MLB.com, which you can also do for free. (If you’re having trouble accessing the MLB.com stream, the Jays have a handy graphic explaining how to do it).

I’d add more, but a there’s a full Daily Duce and (I think) a Layin’ Down The Law still to come!

TV: None

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Maicer Izturis (S)
CF Melky Cabrera (S)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
C Josh Thole (L)
LF Steve Tolleson (R)
RF Anthony Gose (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Todd Redmond

Detroit Tigers

2B Ian Kinsler (R)
LF Rajai Davis (R)
1B Miguel Cabrera (R)
DH Victor Martinez (S)
LF Torii Hunter (R)
CF Austin Jackson (R)
3B Don Kelly (L)
C Bryan Holaday (R)
SS Eugenio Suarez (R)

RHP Justin Verlander