Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category

Spring Threat: Jays vs. Rays

stromanfielding

So… I really did go walk for a burrito, and it took longer than I planned. So discuss this one amongst yourselves while I write up a real game threat — some interesting stuff to touch on, including M.I.J.A. and Stroman’s big day.

Or… maybe I got so bogged down in comments, Twitter, and burrito that it seems pointless now. Not that you cared anyway, right?

Here, though. Here’s a picture of Marcus Stroman that might almost make this look like a real post if you squint hard enough. Sound about right?

Rain Threat: Jays @ Pirates

bradenton2

The Jays and the Pirates spent much of the morning bizarrely going through all the motions like they actually were going to play baseball today, but… uh… everyone at the park seemed to have other ideas — especially Mother Nature (see what I did there?). Florida weather can change quickly, but based on the damn six hour rain delay I sat through at the Daytona 500 the other week, that’s not always exactly the case, and as of 12:15 PM the game has indeed been cancelled.

Suffice it to say, the players are about as happy about the whole pointless dog and pony show as the media:

Now starts have been moved back — Scott MacArthur tweets that Mark Buehrle goes tomorrow, Drew Hutchison is on Saturday, and R.A. Dickey will go Sunday — and other schedule juggling has commenced, with Mike Wilner tweeting that Marcus Stroman and Ricky Romero, both scheduled for today, will go tomorrow (and Stroman will have to be mighty fine if he wants to keep up with Aaron Sanchez in the competition between the two that exists only in my head, following the two stellar innings the club’s 1A prospect put in yesterday).

The inability to play baseball during a downpour mit tornado warning should have been obvious to anyone, yet there were lineups posted, and all the standard pre-game stuff was happening. I decided early on that writing them out, and figuring out which side of the plate the various Pirates scrubs I’m only barely aware of the existence of hit from — because all those lineups you see here are manually made, hand-crafted, artisanal lineups — just seems like a wasted effort, and fortunately I was right. Well, “fortunately” except for the part where we don’t have a baseball game to watch (or listen to– whatever the case was going to be).

Still, though, I thought, I can put this space to good use… with some shameless self promotion! I mean, you need something to watch now that the game’s off, right?

Well, maybe you caught it on Twitter the other day, but some extremely talented and creative people had a brief mental lapse and asked me to be a part of a web series they’re producing — I’m even slated to act in it, apparently (which will no doubt will be a quiet triumph). Lofty goals here, but think The League meets It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, meets Toronto sports — as you can see in the demo below, which Pat Smith and the guys at 83 Pictures put together as a part of a package to secure funding to get this passion project of theirs made. I’m not entirely convinced Pat isn’t just doing this in an attempt to meet Robbie Alomar (by getting him to guest star and writing him into an episode getting cock blocked at Opera Bob’s by the character Pat plays), which… actually seems reason enough to do anything, if you ask me.

Anyway, it’s going to be really Toronto sports-centric, and specifically the downtown-centred subculture many of the readers of this blog likely feel a part of (not to mention rather Jays-focussed, as well), so it just might find itself in a lot of your wheelhouses and we hope you like it as much as we do.

We also hope to make a whole bunch more — full episodes, even! — and you can help us with that by showing there’s an audience and following @SportsBarHeroes on Twitter, and from there we’ll keep you updated on how the project is going.

So… for your between raindrops [note: ugh] viewing pleasure, have at it:

 

Image via @ScottMacArthur.

cutch-snide

The Jays host the Pirates this afternoon in yet another game of baseball-ish, as the march towards Opening Day continues. Perhaps the player who holds the key to the 2014 Blue Jays season more than any other, Brandon Morrow, will be on this hill, and Mike Wilner tweets that he’s scheduled for three innings. Morrow, you’ll remember, was kinda terrible when he was able to get himself on the field last season, so we’ll all be watching — er… listening — closely to see how well he does, how comfortable he looks, and if there are the kinds of hints we want to see that he’s returning to the form that saw him post a 2.96 ERA in 2012 — good for 12th in all of baseball among pitchers with 120 innings or more, though… the peripherals weren’t quite as good, and… y’know… only 120 innings.

Aaron Sanchez will get into this one too! Plus Santos, Loup, Jeffress, and Jenkins, per yet another tweet from Wilner.

Hey and the Great White Hope is in the house!

And baseball-ish!

Scuttlebutt

Yes, unfortunately this game is an audio-only one. Can’t imagine what Sportsnet might otherwise be airing. Though, actually, don’t they have like a billion channels or something? I don’t work there, so I have no idea what the exact number is. Anywho, the Jays have provided a handy graphic to help guide you through the hoops required in order to listen to the club’s spring broadcasts for free. So don’t say they’ve never done anything for you.

Looking forward to hearing Joe Siddall on the airwaves for the first time. He’ll be calling today’s action with Mike Wilner. Here’s a great, touching piece from the Windsor Star on Siddall and his grieving family, who last month lost their 14-year-old son to cancer.

Another Wilner tweet tells us that the Jays have sent some players to minor league camp: Luis Perez (who’ll start the year on the DL, he says), Derrick Chung, and Parkdale’s Jack Murphy.

If there is failure in Ryan Goins’ future, writes Gregor Chisholm at BlueJays.com, it’s not going to be through lack of work ethic. And good on him, I say! I hope it works out for him, and for the Jays, I just… y’know… think it’s a rather terrible decision to not aim higher.

Behind the paywall at Baseball America is some great praise from Ben Badler for the Jays’ free agent acquisitions on the Latin American amateur market this year — continuing a trend that is a welcome change from the J.P. Ricciardi era.

After yesterday’s outing, Scott MacArthur tweets some comments from R.A. Dickey, who feels great compared to last year, in terms of health (he’s said that a twinge that began in the spring of 2013 became the back and neck issue that plagued his first half of the season), and in particular on some high, hard knucklers he reared back to throw. He hopes to throw more than 100 pitches twice before opening day, MacArthur adds.

MacArthur also had a one-on-one with Pete Walker at TSN.ca. Read it.

Great stuff from John Lott of the National Post about Colby Rasmus and the changes he made that made him an elite big leaguer in 2013 — and could lead him to a massive payday at the end of this year.

Lastly, in a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor tells us that the Jays are saying J.A. Happ’s spot in the Jays’ rotation isn’t in jeopardy because of two tough starts. I get that — he didn’t pitch as bad as his line looked during his spring debut a week ago in Clearwater — but I also get the wariness that Jays fans have about him and why the Jays seem so intent to believe in useless September data and mechanical changes that… might be real? I don’t know. Someone asked me on Twitter the other day who I’d like to see as the Jays fourth and fifth starters and I answered Drew Hutchison and Ervin Santana. I stand by that. But I also think Happ can be a lot better than the gloomiest of fans want to believe, so… there’s that.

TV: None

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

2B Chris Getz (L)
LF Steve Tolleson (R)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Josh Thole (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

RHP Brandon Morrow

Pittsburgh Pirates

LF Starling Marte (R)
CF Chris Dickerson (L)
DH Neil Walker (S)
1B Gaby Sanchez (R)
RF Travis Snider (L)
3B Brent Morel (R)
C Tony Sanchez (R)
2B Josh Harrison (R)
SS Clint Barmes (R)

RHP Jay Jackson

phanatic

What’s this? Night baseball? R.A. Dickey vs. Cliff Lee? That’ll do just fine, thank you, for a whatever-night-this-is in the dead of winter.

Sure. That’ll do just nicely. Even if I have no idea why they’d be starting a Grapefruit League game at this time of day.

Though, considering Bright House Field is pretty nicer than the Rogers Centre and doesn’t thrust advertising down your throat at every turn and in between every inning, this one will probably feel as much like a regular big league game as anything we’d see around here. Y’know… apart from all the scrubs who’ll be playing from the fifth inning on. (Starters look respectable-ish, though.)

What I guess I’m trying to say is, the fact that we don’t have a hot dog cannon is a disgrace — liability be damned!

Scuttlebutt

The talk of the baseball world earlier today was the ESPN.com interview with Ian Kinsler, in which the Tigers’ new second baseman classlessly skewers his former organization based on a bunch of nonsense reasons. Josh Hamilton pledged his support.

Noah Syndergaard is the talk of New York. I’d puke more about this if it wasn’t entirely expected for a prospect to be getting pumped up in that market.

Jon Heyman tweeted this morning that the Orioles have come to an incentive-based deal with Johan Santana. Want to gripe about an unnecessary policy that the Jays use to handcuff themselves ever worse than all the natural disadvantages that plague them? How about the fact that they refuse to put incentives in deals, and thus miss out on taking fliers on guys like this. Even though Santana surely won’t amount to anything for Baltimore (or he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t just jinxed it), it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Jays to be able to do stuff like that.

Speaking of Santana’s, Ervin is still out there, though the Mariners are sniffing around. Or, at least, they should be, according to Robinson Cano. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet takes a look at why that’s a genuine fit, because… y’know… apparently the Jays are still not doing anything about this.

Hard not to absolutely fucking love this tweet from Brett Lawrie: “Learning the little things from my boy @Encadwin #TalkinShop #YaHesQueso #EarsOpen #Grasshopper” Nailssssssss. Shittt sonnnnnnnnn.

Alexis Brudnicki files an excellent, lengthy profile of Aaron Sanchez for the Canadian Baseball Network.

JaysCare tweets about PITCH, a new series of baseball talks that will be taking place at Tallboys in Toronto, kicking off with words from John Lott, Shi Davidi, Jared MacDonald, and the fucking hilarious Dylan Gott.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star talks to tonight’s starter, R.A. Dickey, who talks about his off-season and where his thoughts on the club are at.

Lastly, I wrote a small season preview for Toronto Life. It’s geared more to casual fans, but give it a whirl anyway.

TV: MLB.tv

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Maicer Izturis (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Erik Kratz (R)
DH A.J. Jimenez (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Philadelphia Phillies

CF Ben Revere (S)
SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
2B Chase Utley (L)
1B Ryan Howard (L)
RF Marlon Byrd (R)
DH Bobby Abreu (L)
LF Domonic Brown (L)
C Carlos Ruiz (R)
3B Maikel Franco (R)

LHP Cliff Lee

Spring Threat: Jays @ Twins

replayheadset

Welcome to the 20th Century! MLB’s (pre-season) instant replay era begins today, and the Twins and Jays, along with the Cubs and Brewers, will be the first to attempt to use the system — which includes challenges from the bench (and a bunch of other stuff).

Yay?

I think so. Should be interesting, at least. But at this point… I don’t know anything. Still gathering myself after a couple weeks on the road, to be honest. There will be thoughts on all that an on the beginning of camp to come this week, as we’re back in full swing, but first more actual weekday baseball-ish!

Scuttlebutt

Meh.

TV: MLB.tv

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

CF Anthony Gose (L)
2B Chris Getz (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
SS Maicer Izturis (S)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)

LHP J.A. Happ

Minnesota Twins

CF Aaron Hicks (S)
2B Brian Dozier (R)
1B Joe Mauer (L)
DH Josh Willingham (R)
RF Oswaldo Arcia (L)
C Kurt Suzuki (L)
3B Nicholas Romero (S)
LF Jermain Mitchell (L)
SS Eduardo Escobar (S)

RHP Kevin Correia

 

Image of the umpire headsets to be used for replay today via @BlueJays.

instadome

As easy as it would be to resist getting a bit wistful about the season’s conclusion, given what a crushing disappointment it has been, and how long it’s been since the Jays have been even remotely in the playoff conversation. Shit, even the dispiriting and injury-riddled 2012 version of the club was five games back of the second Wild Card spot on August 1st– this year’s vaunted group of supposed World Series contenders was ten back at that point.

But it’s the end of the season, and the dawn of a long, cold, crucially important winter for the fate of the franchise. It’s hard to not think of what might have been, how it all went so terribly wrong, how the hell Alex Anthopoulos is going to pick up the pieces, and whether he has any better ideas than anybody damn else.

There’s still baseball to be played though. Meaningful baseball, even– including for us! The Rays are currently tied with the Texas Rangers for possession of the second Wild Card spot, and need to win to keep their destiny in their own hands, and give the world its best chance to not let the garbage unbalanced schedule (the Rangers are 17-2 against Houston) have way too much of an impact on the playoffs.

The Jays, on the other hand, are playing for a draft pick… kind of. At 74-87, they are even with the Milwaukee brewers, and one game behind the Mets, Rockies and Philles. In this setup the Jays could currently end up with the 10th overall pick, with the Brewers on the outside looking in, because, as MLBTR explains, the “if two teams have the same record, the higher draft pick goes to the team that finished with a lower winning percentage in the previous season”– and the Jays’ .451 winning percentage in 2012 was worse than the Brewers’. In fact, the Jays’ 2012 winning percentage was lower than all of the teams in questions, except for the Rockies, meaning that if the Mets (who are playing the Brewers), and the Rockies and the Phillies all win, and the Jays lose, they’ll end up with the eighth pick.

However, if the Jays win and the Brewers lose, the Jays’ pick would end up being 12th overall (they also have the 11th overall pick as compensation for not signing Phil Bickford), and would not be protected in the event that they sign a Type-A free agent (or whatever the hell they call them these days). At least, if my math is right. Not that I think they will sign one of those guys, frankly, but still… uh… go Brewers?

Scuttlebutt

Darren Oliver finishes out a terrific career today, and while it’s not the way any of us hoped we’d see the man who calls himself Black Magic going out when he agreed to come back and give it one more lucrative go this year, he still deserves recognition and a warm reception from the crowd when he comes in to pitch an inning today, as planned.

Notice, by the by, that there’s no such celebration planned for Mark DeRosa. Still thinking he’ll be back next year.

TV: Sportsnet

And now the lineups, by way of the live box score at theScore.comAnd for those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
DH Mark DeRosa (R)
1B Ryan Langerhans (L)
C J.P. Arencibia (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)

RHP Todd Redmond

Tampa Bay Rays

CF David DeJesus (L)
RF Wil Myers (R)
1B James Loney (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
DH Delmon Young (R)
LF Matt Joyce (L)
C Jose Lobaton (S)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

LHP Matt Moore

Game Threat: Jays vs. Rays

What do you want from me? I’ll have something tomorrow.