Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

happcinci

You’d think the Jays record was a whole lot worse than those numbers in the heading on the post would show, given the corrosive state of the conversation surrounding the team right now — which, given the way they’ve played of late, I can’t say isn’t exactly warranted — but thankfully we don’t have that to talk about tonight as we head into another west coast game, with J.A. Happ taking on the Angels’ Jered Weaver in Anaheim.

Why don’t we have to talk about that? Because something fucking weird is going on, is why.

Gregor Chisholm tweeted earlier this evening that, according to John Gibbons, the Jays are planning on platooning Colby Rasmus and Darin Mastroianni in centre for a while, and Adam Lind and Cole Gillespie, “for a little while,” or “at least until someone gets hot.”

In this scenario, Erik Kratz, for some reason, remains in the minors, despite the fact that the club has the two aforementioned centre fielders, corner outfielders Gillespie, Jose Bautista (who starts tonight at first), Melky Cabrera, new addition Nolan Reimold, along with the versatile Steve Tolleson, who can play there in a pinch as well.

That’s not the only reason the move is strange, though. We’re now supposed to believe that Gillespie — the fifth right-handed outfielder on the depth chart (fourth if you count Bautista as an infielder for the time being) — is going to get regular at-bats against left-handed pitching?

Maybe the Jays are crazy enough to actually believe in some awfully small splits. Against lefties in the majors this season Gillespie has batted .275/.351/.314 in 57 plate appearances. If nothing else, that’s at least a decent on-base, but broaden the sample to include his 13 minor league plate appearances against lefties this year — in the damn PCL, no less — and the overall 2014 line slumps to .230/.329/.262. In 2013, at both the MLB and AAA level, Gillespie slashed .257/.322/.362 in 118 plate appearances against lefties. Over his 155 career plate appearances in the majors against left-handers he’s slashed .220/.284/.270.

He is barely anyone’s big-leaguer, let alone anyone’s lefty-mashing half of a platoon. I’m pretty sure he’s no Kevin Pillar, even.

So what the hell is going on?

Well, maybe Kratz is hurt and nobody is saying so. Maybe, as I said, the club actually believes Gillespie is the better option. Maybe they’re being ultra-polite and want to do right by him and not designate him for assignment so soon after picking him up, even though their claim of Nolan Reimold made Gillespie rather immediately redundant.

Or maybe… maybe? … hopefully? … fucking hopefully? … some right-handed hitting help is on the way?

Fuck, that’d be alright. Be it Chase Headley, who we heard rumours of the Jays closing in on earlier, or someone else, with Lawrie and Encarnacion now on the shelf, Francisco getting badly exposed (he has struck out in 48.5% of his plate appearances in the last 27 games, posting a wRC+ of 55 – .164/.227/.344 in 66 PA over the span), and a Baltimore cast-off looking like the closest thing to a saviour we’ve got.

It ain’t good.

Weirder still, John Gibbons was asked about the absence of Kratz and had this to say, according to another tweet from Gregor: ”I’ll tell you what, we’d like to get him back… He helped us when he was here. I think he would be a big addition.”

Hmmm. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Probably getting ahead of ourselves…

Scuttleb-HOLYSHITWAITWHAT???

The Jays really probably do have to do something, though, and fans are in a lather that they aren’t. But it’s never as simple as it seems. In a piece for Sportsnet following last night’s game, Shi Davidi reported the Cubs’ ask, that the Jays balked at, which may have landed them Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel: “Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison plus at least one if not all three of top prospects Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey.” Bold mine, and Billy Beane’s. So… turns out other teams don’t care if you don’t want to give up pieces off your big league roster. Turns out the three best minor leaguers the Jays have aren’t really so attractive to other teams, too. And that whatever trade they do make is gonna fuckin’ hurt, most likely.

Yikes.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 10:05 PM ET @ Anaheim

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

LHP J.A. Happ

Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

RF Kole Calhoun (L)
CF Mike Trout (R)
1B Albert Pujols (R)
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
2B Howie Kendrick (R)
SS Erick Aybar (S)
3B David Freese (R)
DH C.J. Cron (R)
C Chris Ianetta (R)

RHP Jered Weaver

stromangreythrowing

Welp. Let’s try this again.

The A’s seem to have some kind of magic, but I’m sorry, I can’t help but think that three more games in Oakland, pitting Drew Hutchison, Mark Buehrle, and today’s starter, Marcus Stroman, against fucking Brad “9.82 ERA in four 2011 starts for the Jays” Mills, the reanimated corpse of Scott Kazmir, and Tommy Milone should be such a daunting task. It is but fuck me if I can figure out why or how. That’s the A’s for you, I guess. Good on them. But holy shit, let’s win some of these. Brutal lineup against lefties be damned!

Go Jays!

Scuttlebutt

Nice to know that there are other teams — the A’s, for example — who look just as dumb as the Jays do when they wear a red hat.

Apparently Colby Rasmus isn’t quite OK to play yet, as Darin Mastroianni is in the lineup today, as is Brad Glenn. Neither was demoted today, as we thought they may have been, with Erik Kratz due up.

Anthony Gose was demoted, though! He’s back in Buffalo — or at least headed there — with Brett Cecil now back in the bullpen. That works.

Schadenfreude alert: Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that Joe Girardi, when asked if he assumes CC Sabathia is out for the season, said, “I think that’s fair to say.”

Get ready for PITCH #5, which will feature Bob Elliott of the Sun, and our old friend GROF!

Not much scuttlebutt, really, so check out this clip of me talking before PITCH #4. Because… why not?

Meh. And one more tweet from me, as J.P. Ricciardi wishes us all a happy fourth of July.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 10:05 PM ET @ Oakland; Sunday, 4:05 PM ET @ Oakland

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 Melky Cabrera (S)
DH Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
RF Brad Glenn (R)
3B Steve Tolleson (R)
CF Darin Mastroianni (R)
2b Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Marcus Stroman

Oakland Athletics

CF Coco Crisp (S)
DH John Jaso (L)
LF Yoenis Cespedes (R)
RF Brandon Moss (L)
3B Josh Donaldson (R)
RF Stephen Vogt (L)
C Derek Norris (R)
SS Jed Lowrie (S)
2B Nick Punto (S)

LHP Tommy Milone

swingingas

West coast baseball! As a night person, I’m all for these outstanding start times — nine o’clock today, four tomorrow, ten on Saturday, and four again on Sunday. It’s perfect! Thing is, though, thanks to the Jays’ long history of futility over the last two decades, and the fact that these trips don’t usually happen until deep into the season, they’re not usually this bloody daunting.

Or, they are, but the potential consequences aren’t always so very real. The Jays lead the AL East by just one game over the Orioles, and while the Orioles head into the All-Star break with one tonight in Texas (in which the asshole Rangers scratched Yu Darvish over uncertainty with the weather), three in Boston, a four-game home-and-home with Washington, and three with the Yankees, the Jays get the potential horror show that is the Oakland Coliseum for four, three with the Angels, then three more at Tropicana Field, where they’ve done so abysmally poorly in recent years.

A little too much is probably being made of all this, though, to be honest. Sure, west coast trips are always tough, but neither club’s schedule is particularly easy, and heading out of the break? The Jays host Texas and Boston, then go to the Bronx and Fenway, before closing out the month with the first of a four-game set in Houston. The O’s head out of the break going to Oakland, Anaheim, Seattle, then finish the month hosting the Angels at Camden Yards. It’s not like this stuff doesn’t even out. And when the Jays make their next trip west, and play the Mariners, it’s practically going to be a home game for them. I can live with that!

For now, though, yes, it’s not going to be easy. If the Jays end up five and five in these ten games, I can live with that too. But hoo boy, if doing better than .500 is gravy, let’s get to the damn gravy as soon as we can, and start off a damn win tonight. Sonny Gray and the Jays’ continued lineup issues won’t make it easy, but R.A. Dickey in that ballpark surely has more than just a fighting chance.

Let’s do this!

Scuttlebutt

Yes, Edwin Encarnacion is back out in left field. Hey, he didn’t have the chance to field a ball yesterday, so… found money, right? I don’t know.

Good news, though, Barry Davis tweets that Jose Bautista tells him that he feels much better and could play in right today, but the club has elected to err on the side of caution for at least another day.

And no, that’s not a typo: Colby Rasmus isn’t in the lineup. He “tweaked” his wrist hitting the wall yesterday, says John Gibbons, via a Barry Davis tweet. It’s not serious.

Scott MacArthur tweets that Colby is “day to day,” while Gregor Chisholm adds that the wrist was being evaluated today.

Davis also tweets that Brett Cecil is headed to rejoin his teammates. He’s eligible to be activated from the DL tomorrow, and evidently that’s what’ll happen.

Gregor tweets that it’s not just Cecil who is coming, but that John Gibbons strongly hinted that Erik Kratz could be on the way. Kratz’s arrival could be tied to Colby’s status, Gregor adds, because the Jays would need to stick with five outfielders if Colby needs more than just a day or two. But if Rasmus can be back quickly, Gregor figures that sending down a couple outfielders would make sense (they’d likely be Glenn and Mastroianni).

Not related (directly, at least) to the Jays or this game, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that CC Sabathia has had a setback. Ruh-roh!

TV: Sportsnet

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 4:05 PM ET @ Oakland

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 Melky Cabrera (S)
DH Jose Bautista (R)
LF Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
C Josh Thole (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Oakland Athletics

DH John Jaso (L)
3B Alberto Callaspo (S)
LF Yoenis Cespedes (R)
RF Brandon Moss (L)
SS Jed Lowrie (S)
C Stephen Vogt (L)
1B Eric Freiman (R)
2B Eric Sogard (L)
CF Craig Gentry (R)

RHP Sonny Gray

 

Image via.

eeblue

No, that’s not a typo in the lineup I’ve posted below: Edwin Encarnacion is indeed your starting left fielder for this afternoon’s game. And that’s… fine.

Y’know, as long as he stays healthy.

I mean, obviously this is not an ideal defensive alignment, but if you’re going to trade defence for offence, you couldn’t do much better than doing so to get one of Edwin, Jose Bautista, or Adam Lind (against a RHP), which is what John Gibbons is doing. And while some may wonder about using Edwin at third base (which would mean replacing Juan Francisco with Brad Glenn), the club decided yesterday that’s not a road they want to go down. And no, the fact that Adam Lind played left field in 2006 doesn’t make it a better idea for him to take his wonky back out there, especially when he’s not getting to any balls faster than Edwin can, nor can he throw as hard as the former third baseman (um… most likely, right?).

It should be… interesting. And J.A Happ is a strikeout pitcher now, so it should be all good, right? Right???

I can live with that.

Scuttlebutt

Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media before today’s game, ostensibly to talk about the draft picks the club just signed. Here is some of what he was saying:

Drew tweets that AA says there is a scenario in which Aaron Sanchez helps the big league club this season, either as a starter or a reliever.

He adds that Anthopoulos claims a recent arm slot adjustment has really improved Sanchez’s command of late. *COUGH* horseshit *COUGH* Hey, but he only walked one in his last start, as opposed to four each in his first three starts at Triple-A.

Shi Davidi tweets that the GM says Max Pentecost is in Florida right now, but is getting his passport sorted out and will report to Vancouver once he does.

Davidi also tells us that AA says most teams seem to be waiting until the All-Star Break to figure out which direction they’re going to go with respect to trades.

Megan Robinson tweets that word from the GM is that Brett Lawrie is expected to be out the entire month of July.

Not related to AA’s comments, but still worth a mention: today marks the start of the international amateur signing period, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets that the Jays have signed the tenth best prospect on his board, 6’3″ 16-year-old Juan Meza, who is a right-handed pitcher that reportedly throws strikes and has touched the low-90s. They’ve also signed the 30th player on his board.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 9:05 PM ET @ Oakland

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

LHP J.A. Happ

Milwaukee Brewers

DH Rickie Weeks (R)
RF Ryan Braun (R)
1B Jonathan Lucroy (R)
CF Carlos Gomez (R)
3B Aramis Ramirez (R)
SS Jean Segura (R)
C Martin Maldanado (R)
LF Elian Herrera (S)
2B Jeff Bianchi (R)

RHP Wily Peralta

An actual afternoon game for the Jays on a Canadian national holiday? Good on the schedule-makers. Less good on me, though, because this is all you get. Go Jays!

Oh, and Jose Bautista is back! Which is awesome. No Encarnacion at third, though, as Adam Lind sits instead. John Gibbons’ reasoning? According to a Barry Davis tweet it’s that Brewers starter Polo Erik has been tough on lefties. OK!

dickeylook

The Orioles have already lost once today (they’re playing a doubleheader with the Rays), bringing the Jays’ lead in the AL East back up to 2.5 games, with a chance for it to grow even more, as they send R.A. Dickey to the hill to face the Chicago White Sox. Hopefully the knuckle is dancing, because guys like Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn could certainly do some damage with one swing of the bat.

On the other hand, a win ensures at least a tie in this four-game series, which is a good thing with Chris Sale going for the ChiSox tomorrow. And Sunday’s starter, Quintana? That creep can roll.

The Jays counter with Marcus Stroman and Mark Buehrle in those games, though, so it’s not like they don’t have a chance. Should be a good weekend of #PITCHING… y’know, once we get through this one. Is Dickey seriously currently the Jays’ fifth best starter??!? Until Happ lays another egg, I think he is! So… not for long, most likely.

Scuttlebutt

I know Bautista and Lawrie being out makes it considerably worse, but this Jays lineup against the left-handed Jon Danks? Woof. Let’s see some Chase Headley! (And no, let’s not see some Adam Lind against a lefty, for fuck sakes. Quit that dumb noise.)

Hey, hold on, Happ threw a gem despite his magic personal catcher being sent down. Super weird!

Barry Davis tweets that Bret Cecil threw a bullpen session today, and Brandon Morrow played catch again as well. They’ll “see how he feels today,” says John Gibbons (via a Megan Robinson tweet). “Shouldn’t be long.” He won’t be eligible to come off the DL until next weekend, when the Jays visit Oakland.

Davis adds that Cecil said the session went well, and that he hopes to pitch for the Bisons in Syracuse on Tuesday.

Mike Wilner tweets that Colby Rasmus isn’t in today’s lineup because John Gibbons wanted to give him a day off, seeing as he just returned from a hamstring problem. He adds that ol’ Gibbers says he went with Munenori Kawasaki today over Juan Francisco because he preferred someone who is at least likely to make some contact.

Megan Robinson tweets that Jose Bautista “will workout tomorrow, get treatment, and be assessed. Could be put in on Sunday to DH or pinch-hit, if OK.”

Megan also tells us that Steve Tolleson won’t have to use those glasses anyway — a couple eye drops from the specialist completely cleared up his issue. OK then.

John Lott tweets that Dalton Pompey has been promoted to New Hampshire. Those footsteps you hear… only exist if you’re Anthony Gose or Kevin Pillar.

Lott also tweets a link to his piece on last night, regarding Dioner Navarro’s awesome, hilarious adventures in baserunning. “I might kill Luis if he sends me again,” the Jays’ catcher says.

Rather than save this for a Daily Duce that I’m sure I’ll finally get around to doing next week, Chris Toman tweets a link to his piece at Gamereax in which he looks at Marcus Stroman, who has been the Jays’ best pitcher since he made his first start, back on May 31st.

TV: Sportsnet

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

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)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
RF Brad Glenn (R)
3B Steve Tolleson (R)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
C Josh Thole (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Chicago White Sox

CF Leury Garcia (S)
2B Gordon Beckham (R)
3B Connor Gillaspie (L)
1B Jose Abreu (R)
DH Adam Dunn (L)
SS Alexei Ramirez (R)
RF Dayan Viciedo (R)
LF Alejandro de Aza (L)
Tyler Flowers (R)

LHP Jon Danks

happsterbackground

This is your semi-regular reminder that Hipster J.A. Happ is pretty much genius. To wit:

Follow him before Happ gets traded away and we forget he even existed (though… honestly… we were always more into his early stuff anyway).

Oh, and something something baseball. Let’s hope the fucking White Sox are prepared to give the Jays the same kind of gifts they gave the Orioles all week.

Scuttlebutt

John Gibbons tells reporters that Jose Bautista will work out on Saturday to see if he can pinch hit. He’s getting there, and still hopeful about avoiding the DL, but he’s still not ready.

Steve Tolleson had an eye issue that was being reported after last night’s game, and apparently it has turned out to be some kind of an allergic reaction to contact lenses he had been given. Seems like a thing he might have noticed right away — eye troubles immediately after he got new things he was putting in his eyes? — but… whatever, he’s alright now, and wearing glasses tonight. Fortunately for him, despite being on the DL, Brandon Morrow is with the team these days, so he’s not going to be alone in getting ragged on for looking like he’s into book learnin’.

Moises Sierra in the house!

Griff with the tweet of the week.

These ChiSox have won three times in ten games. DON’T FUCK THIS UP!

TV: Sportsnet

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

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)
DH Adam Lind (L)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
RF Anthony Gose (R)

LHP J.A. Happ

Chicago White Sox

CF Adam Eaton (L)
2B Gordon Beckham (R)
1B Jose Abreu (R)
LF Dayan Viciedo (R)
SS Alexei Ramirez (R)
3B Connor Gillaspie (L)
DH Paul Konerko (R)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
C Adrian Nieto (S)

RHP Scott Carroll