Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

iwakuma

Yeah… I don’t know either.

Anibal Sanchez. Max Scherzer. David Price. Felix Hernandez. Chris Young. Hisashi Iwakuma.

The Jays could run through this sextet of pitchers — with three Cy Young awards (plus surely another one coming this season for King Felix) and three more top-three finishes in the balloting between them — and end up 3-3 for their troubles. Completing the task won’t be easy against Iwakuma tonight, but for a club that was coming off a tough home series loss to the division-leading Orioles, which followed three straight duds against the lowly Astros, that’s pretty not too fucking bad, when you think about it. Especially with a series against the White Sox upcoming, in which the Jays manage to avoid facing Chris Sale.

Then again, the Astros seemed like they shouldn’t offer much trouble either.

Regardless, the Jays just have to keep hanging on — getting Lind back helps, and getting Edwin back on Friday should help — with the understanding that all they have to do is be close and the last two weeks will determine everything. They can make our collective breathing over those last two weeks a little easier by doing more than just “hanging on,” but when they end the season going to Baltimore for three, New York for four, hosting these Mariners for four, then finishing with the Orioles at home for three, anything can happen. They just have to stay in position to let it.

Picking it up in through the rest of this month, with the White Sox, Brewers, Rays, and Red Sox upcoming — and no Sale, no Price, no Lester, with three off-days surrounding the series’ and one more before they finish the month at home against the Yankees — sure will help keep it all possible. And doing so is definitely not impossible.

Starting this next stretch out coming off a win tonight isn’t impossible either.

Go Jays.

Scuttlebutt

Through five innings in Buffalo, Edwin Encarnacion is 0-for-3, but he stung one, apparently! That’s all according to a Mike Harrington tweet. (Update: He singled in the eighth, we’re told, and has looked fine all night moving and making scoops at first).

Gregor Chisholm tweets that, instead of skipping Drew Hutchison in the rotation with the upcoming off-day, the Jays have decided to give all their starters a day off and keep the rotation intact. Stroman, Buehrle, Hutchison will go against the White Sox.

Barry Davis gives us reason to say “Fuck the Mariners grounds crew,” I’m pretty sure. If you’re at the game in Seattle tonight and you toss a bunch of garbage on the field, you definitely didn’t hear me suggest it. Because I didn’t suggest it. Tossing garbage on the field, that is. Wouldn’t hear of it.

Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets a link to a report saying that in the voting on who will be the next MLB commissioner, the Jays are supporting Red Sox part-owner Tom Werner. Hmmm…

Mike Harrington also tells us that Colt Hynes, claimed today by the Jays and immediately assigned to Buffalo, will be the franchise record 70th player for the Bisons this year. Seventy!

More Bisons stuff, apparently, as the team’s official account tweets that Kevin Pillar got a hit for the 20th straight game tonight. That’s pretty exciting. Less exciting: over the previous nineteen games he’s walked twice in 81 plate appearances, making his walk rate 2.5%.

Shit, one more, why not? From Harrington, Sean Nolin has thrown six shutout innings tonight. Depthly! (Marc Hulet of FanGraphs adds that he thinks the Jays should give him two or three starts while taking the chance to give Drew Hutchison some rest. I don’t know about that… but I’ve heard crazier things).

I know, I know, he’s the O’s manager, but Buck Showalter still might kinda be awesome.

Awesomeness from VICE Sports that I’ll totally forget about if I wait until the next Daily Duce to link to. It’s on John Olerud and his boringness. (Just go with it).

Read this: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes about clutch teams, and how they, y’know, don’t exist.

Speaking of: FanGROFs alert, as Drew joins Carson Cistuli on the FanGraphs podcast.

I’m involved in the next edition of Pitch Talks, which will be taking place a week from Thursday, along with a host of great panelists: Stacey May Fowles, Jenn Smith, Erin Valois, Shi Davidi, Sid Seixeiro and Jeremy Taggart. Get your tickets here. And I forgot this last time, but use the promo code DJF for $5 off! Cool-ass poster here.

I also do believe that a week from tonight, Tuesday, with the Jays in Milwaukee, seems like a good time to have a little DJF shindig over at Opera Bob’s. Watch for more info! Though… that’s pretty much the info. Just come drink and eat hot dogs and watch baseball.

Lastly, once again, since Facebook changed its algorithms 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, so that you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins. Do it.

Next game(s): Friday, 8:10 PM ET @ Chicago (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)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
C Josh Thole (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Seattle Mariners

CF Austin Jackson (R)
LF Dustin Ackley (L)
2B Robinson Cano (L)
DH Kendrys Morales (S)
3B Kyle Seager (L)
RF Chris Denorfia (R)
1B Logan Morrison (L)
C Mike Zunino (R)
SS Brad Miller (L)

RHP Hisashi Iwakuma

lindseattle

Not counting last night, since the All-Star break the Jays have lost the first game of a series five times, and have ended up winning four of those series’, with only a painful 2-1 loss to Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles at Rogers Centre, as they failed to capitalize on a tremendous eight-inning, 12-strikeout performance from tonight’s starter, J.A. Happ, preventing them from being five-for-five.

Does that mean they’re in a great position tonight, despite’s last night’s drubbing? Well… no. It just doesn’t mean they aren’t, either.

And their position is strengthened quite tremendously by the fact that Adam Lind will return to the lineup tonight, hitting behind Jose Bautista in the cleanup spot that’s been far, far too long vacant of his or Edwin Encarnacion’s bat. The reinforcements are coming. The Jays held on as best they could, and from this point things should get real interesting.

Now don’t fuck it up!

Scuttlebutt

Jose Reyes back in the lineup tonight. Sigh of relief.

Gregor Chisholm tweets that the Jays don’t have Aaron Sanchez, Chad Jenkins, or Todd Redmond available in the bullpen tonight. Otherwise, they’re good to go.

Brendan Kennedy writes in the Toronto Star about J.A. Happ, who has a 1.71 ERA since the All-Star break. Holy!

Meanwhile, in the National Post, John Lott writes about Colby Rasmus, who is not having the kind of contract year he’d hoped for. He also talks to R.A. Dickey about the constant adjustments the Jays’ nominal ace has to make, navigating the deep lineups of the American League with his trick pitch.

The Jays announced today that Neil Wagner will have Tommy John surgery. Ouch.

They also announced, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned on here anywhere (because it’s so screamingly obvious after last night), that Brad Mills was D’d FA in order to make room for the club to activate Adam Lind.

At FanGROFs, Drew wrote about the Orioles’ offence, which, somewhat infuriatingly, continues steaming along. Ugh.

Mike Harrington tweets that Bisons manager Gary Allenson says that Edwin Encarnacion will play first base tomorrow night, and his position for Thursday’s game is TBA. (The Jays have an off-day on Thursday, by the way).

“I don’t run hard, but just try to control my running style, so it will be alright,” says Edwin, according to a tweet from Harrington. (Commas mine). Hmmm.

“I know I ruffled some feathers. I made my apologies and it’s no longer a story,” says Adam Lind of the stuff about his mom telling him to get an MRI, according to a tweet from Barry Davis.

Harring also tweets that Kevin Pillar has been killing it lately, or something. Still doesn’t walk, though.

I’m involved in the next edition of Pitch Talks, which will be taking place a week from Thursday, along with a host of great panelists: Stacey May Fowles, Jenn Smith, Erin Valois, Shi Davidi, Sid Seixeiro and Jeremy Taggart. Get your tickets here.

I also do believe that a week from tonight, Tuesday, with the Jays in Milwaukee, seems like a good time to have a little DJF shindig over at Opera Bob’s. Watch for more info! Though… that’s pretty much the info. Just come drink and eat hot dogs and watch baseball.

Lastly, since Facebook changed its algorithms 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, so that you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins. Do it.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 10:10 PM ET @ Seattle

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)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Seattle Mariners

CF Austin Jackson (R)
LF Dustin Ackley (L)
2B Robinson Cano (L)
DH Kendrys Morales (S)
3B Kyle Seager (L)
RF Chris Denorfia (R)
C Mike Zunino (R)
1B Logan Morrison (L)
SS Chris Taylor (R)

RHP Chris Young

safecoTSNSM

Late night baseball with home field advantage in a playoff race! Does it get much better than this?

Well… maybe if this generation’s Roy Halladay wasn’t on the mound for the Jays’ opponents, in the midst of the best season of his career. Or if the Jays’ two big bats, hopeful of making a return in this series, were quite ready.

They’re close, though. Edwin Encarnacion will play tomorrow for Buffalo in a rehab game, due to some bad weather in Florida that’s caused havoc with his assignment, while Adam Lind is currently travelling to Seattle, with the expectation that he’ll be activated tomorrow.

By the looks of the image above from @TSNScottyMac the Jays fans on the west coast are sure doing their part — this was 90 minutes before the first pitch! — which should make for a hell of an atmosphere tonight.

Let’s do it!

Scuttlebutt

It’s not an injury, relax — or so he said, according to a Barry Davis tweet — but Jose Reyes has been given the day off. Commence freaking out about it anyway, or raging that John Gibbons would dare sit one of the club’s best bats on a night when offence is going to be at such a premium. Try remembering that nobody plays 162, though, and that it’s really not a big deal. “He needs it,” says John Gibbons, according to a Scott MacArthur tweet.

The bullpen doesn’t have a lot of bullets tonight, tweets Gregor Chisholm, as only Casey Janssen, Aaron Loup, and Brad Mills are said to be available.

From around the American League: the Orioles have lost Manny Machado to a knee sprain, though there’s no word how long he’ll be out. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander of the Tigers exited a game today with a sore shoulder, while the Royals made a nice pickup in Josh Willingham, formerly of the Twins.

The Jays have averaged over 35,000 in attendance over their last 30 home games according to a tweet from Ben Nicholson-Smith. That’ll play.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 10:10 PM ET @ Seattle

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 Munenori Kawasaki (L)
DH Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
2B Steve Tolleson (R)
LF Anthony Gose (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Seattle Mariners

CF Austin Jackson (R)
LF Dustin Ackley (L)
2B Robinson Cano (L)
DH Kendrys Morales (S)
3B Kyle Seager (L)
C Mike Zunino (R)
1B Logan Morrison (L)
RF Endy Chavez (L)
SS Brad Miller (L)

RHP Felix Hernandez

anibalsDET

Anibal Sanchez. Max Scherzer. David Price. Felix Hernandez. Chris Young. Hisashi Iwakuma.

Holy. Thank fuck Melky’s OK. Um… can everyone else be OK already too, though? One thinks this could be a tough stretch — and right at a time, with the Jays now even with the Yankees, and behind the Royals in the Wild Card race, when they don’t need one.

Of course, it’s baseball, and all of those guys are absolutely beatable. The Tigers have lost nine of the twenty games Sanchez has started this year. For Scherzer it’s seven of 23. Price’s teams have lost nine of the 24 games he’s started. For King Felix it’s eight of 24. Nine of 24 for Chris Young, and eight of eighteen for Iwakuma.

Obviously that doesn’t say anything about how well they pitched. In a lot of those games surely they were great — they’re great pitchers (um… and Chris Young) — I just mean to point out that these aren’t unwinnable games, either. So it might be as fun a stretch as it will be tough.

Go Jays!

Scuttlebutt

Melky “told the trainers he was ready to go,” according to John Gibbons, via a John Lott tweet. “That was all I needed to hear.”

Barry Davis tweets that Cabrera will wear a pad on his elbow, but that he’s ready to play through the pain.

Valencia and not Francisco in the lineup tonight against a right-hander? Yep. According to a tweet from Mike Wilner, John Gibbons wants to see what he’s got — and thinks there’s some “whip in his bat,” saying that the player thinks being told to hit home runs (as apparently the Royals had done) messed him up.

A tweet from Chris Toman tells us that John Gibbons would be “very surprised” if Adam Lind’s back issue was anything.

In the Toronto Star, Brendan Kennedy asks a bunch of agents about what it will take to sign Melky Cabrera, and… actually it’s not really that bad.

The Washington Post looks at the quality of beer at the various Major League parks, and the Jays? Well… it’s shameful.

Fairservice co-hosting on TSN Radio from 2 PM to 6 PM tomorrow? Listen up!

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

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)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
C Josh Thole (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Detroit Tigers

CF Rajai Davis (R)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
1B Miguel Cabrera (R)
DH Victor Martinez (S)
RF Torii Hunter (R)
LF J.D. Martinez (R)
C Alex Avila (L)
3B Nick Castellanos (R)
SS Eugenio Suarez (R)

RHP Anibal Sanchez

happhomewhite

What a game last night, and what a performance from Drew Hutchison. Let’s do something like that again, shall we?

Um… minus the hangover, perhaps.

Scuttlebutt

John Lott tweets that Alex Anthopoulos says Edwin Encarnacion was running hard today, and is much better.

Shi Davidi adds that AA left open the door for Edwin to return in time for next week’s series in Seattle. That’ll play.

And… yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. Detroit

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)
DH Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
LF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
3B Manny Machado (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Delmon Young (R)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
C Caleb Joseph (R)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)

RHP Miguel Gonzalez

gibberssour

Gibbons, come on, man, you can’t leave the desk like that!

Welp. Let’s try this again.

Games like this are what we’re all emotionally involved in this for, so let’s enjoy the piss out of it. And let’s maybe enjoy a win, goddamn it!

Scuttlebutt

Brett Lawrie, as you see, is not in tonight’s lineup for the Jays. Mike Wilner tweets that the MRI results are not in yet, and that John Gibbons says he’s hoping it’s not something that will land Lawrie on the DL, but that he’s been wrong before.

Megan Robinson adds that Lawrie says he feels a bit better today than he did last night.

In better news, John Lott tweets that Adam Lind will begin his rehab assignment tomorrow with the GCL Jays. John Gibbons says he hopes the number of rehab games Lind will need is “not many.”

Wilner notes, however, that David Price goes on Sunday against the Jays (note: yeesh), so there might be more sense bringing him back in Seattle next week if he’s not going to be ready for Friday. Could help off the bench, though…

Lastly, if you’re not on the Twitter machine, you may have missed some outstanding news today, which is that our dear friend Drew has joined FanGraphs. Congrats to him and to FanGraphs. Outstandingness all around.

As for some of the changes that have taken place at theScore, and other places like Sports On Earth, I obviously can’t really say anything, but if you’re interested, Parkes gave some food for thought on this week’s Canadaland podcast. I should note, though, I completely disagree with some of what Parkes says at the end about the value of sportswriting. I think that when it’s done well it’s a terrific way to introduce big and interesting and important ideas, and to have a conversation about them with a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily encounter or be receptive to them otherwise. That probably sounds a bit snobbish, and there’s all sorts more to it than that, obviously, but as one example, the way that so many have been exposed to new ways of thinking about gender issues, LGBT equality issues, etc. through the prism of sports? That’s pretty powerful stuff, to me. Even in terms of articulating arguments for critical thinking, raising sociological questions or critiques of unquestioned power structures or ones about the nature of human behaviour — maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I think that has value. Even if the outcomes of the games are trivial, I don’t think the conversation is entirely trivial. That said, while, as you might expect, I’m not particularly thrilled that that kind of writing appears to be losing ground as a commodity to the Upworthy- and Buzzfeed-ification of content, I entirely agree with Parkes when he says he completely understands what’s happening from a business perspective too. Art and commerce, have they ever been at odds before?

Hey, and while we’re all here and addressing people who may have missed stuff on Twitter, I might as well mention that earlier this week the CBC made a dumb list of the “best” Canadian songs, so I wrote mean things about music you like.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. 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)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Nolan Reimold (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
3B Manny Machado (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
LF David Lough (L)
2B Ryan Flaherty (L)
C Nick Hundley (R)

LHP Bruce Chen (Actually it’s more likely country troubadour Wei-Yin Chennings)

rccrowd2014

The Jays are expecting over 30,000 fans for each game of this huge three-game set that begins tonight against Baltimore. Not Opening Day numbers, but for a mid-week early-August series against the O’s? That’s something. And yes, I said huge. It doesn’t have to be season-making-or-breaking — which, rationally, this one is not — for a series to be very, very important. As much as the Jays will have plenty of time — not to mention six more games with the Orioles after these three — to bounce back should the worst happen with respect to their playoff chances, this sure is a powerful opportunity for them to tighten up an already-tight divisional race, while continuing to push their lead in the hunt for the second Wild Card.

Obviously winning the AL East, and avoiding a play-in game in Anaheim or Oakland, is way preferable, and with all the games left against the Orioles, the Jays hold control their own destiny — and now there’s a word you’d like to have in your head at the end of this series, exiting the Rogers Centre Thursday night in the swell of a massive midweek crowd. The Jays just have to do their part. The fans too.

Why not?

Scuttlebutt

John Lott tweets that John Gibbons says Brett Lawrie will play third base for now, but was non-committal about whether he’d stay there or continue shifting between his preferred spot and second base as he was before the injury.

Chris Toman adds that Gibbons says Jose Bautista will spend a little time at first base still, until Edwin Encarnacion is able to return.

Steve Delbar and Sergio Santos both pitched today for Buffalo, and @StivBators gives us the lines: no hits, no Ks, no walks, and two groundouts for Santos, two Ks, but two walks, and two groundouts in a couple of innings from Delabar. Could they be starting to find it? Because that would be sorta nails.

Megan Robinson tweets that Lawrie says there’s still some swelling in his finger, but that he’s good enough to play. He’ll use padding in his batting glove in the meantime, Mike Wilner adds.

More Biogenesis suspensions potentially coming? That’s fun. MLBTR has the details.

Jeff Sullivan tweets that the Orioles’ Nelson Cruz has been worth -0.5 WAR since the start of June. Chris Davis, Chris Toman reminds us, is hitting .195/.306/.380. So… yeah, that works.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. 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)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
DH Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP Mark Buehrle

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
3B Manny Machado (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Delmon Young (R)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
C Caleb Joseph (R)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)

RHP Bud Norris