Archive for the ‘JA Happ’ Category


Here’s something that’s sure to warm the battered cockles of Jays fans hearts: J.A. Happ will get himself a turn in the rotation on Monday in Philadelphia, bumping… nobody, but giving the rotation an extra day of rest, and the bullpen — chalk as it inexplicably is full of long men — another day of headache. Or so tweets Scott MacArthur, though not in nearly so many words.

The club had talked about toying with the idea of giving Happ some spot starts (which is all this really is — there is no six-man rotation to get apoplectic about) to help ease the load on the rotation during a run of twenty straight games with no off day, so it’s not entirely surprising, but… really? Is this, like, a thing that teams do now? A rotation of two veteran plough horses who won’t touch 85, a 23-year-old Drew Hutchison who looks fine, a Brandon Morrow who many would rather see not to being coddled, and a Dustin McGowan who needs to keep showing something to shake off the “seat-warmer” tag, seriously can’t go four turns through without an extra day off somewhere?

Well… OK, so maybe the fact that none of the three non-plough horses has thrown over 200 innings in a season — and the closest any has got was McGowan’s 191.2 way back in 2007 — is reason enough to not entirely try to run them into the ground. I get that, even if acting on such a thought at this point in the season is premised on the notion that they’ll all make it to September healthy and still in the rotation, which, for at least two of these guys, is not something most would bother even contemplating betting on.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe the club thinks there’s a better chance that Morrow and McGowan stay healthier for longer if they get just a little bit of extra rest. And maybe they’re concerned that the third one, Hutchison, has yet to break the 150 inning mark in his career, and is coming off a season in which he threw just 57 across multiple levels.

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Creating an excuse to give this post the most painfully obvious title ever, J.A. Happ was yet again a disaster today, failing to get a single out in the fourth inning, exiting the game having given up seven earned runs on twelve hits (no walks, though!). If he’s hurt and not telling anyone, mused the excellently Ashby-ish Joe Siddall on the radio broadcast, he’s not doing himself any favours.

It started off fairly well for Happ, too. Somewhat shaky and bailed out a bit by Erik Kratz erasing a Starling Marte single by throwing him out attempting to steal second (which, apparently, Blue Jays catchers are going to be allowed to do this year), but decently enough to create genuine worry that he may have been on his way to doing just enough to justify the Jays keeping him in the rotation. It all came undone in a four-run second inning, though, with singles and hard hit outs following throughout his final inning-plus of work. In all, Happ raised his spring ERA a mere fucking .32 of a run (per @Shifty169), up to a cock-mangling 20.57.

Good fucking lord of grief fucking.

And yet — get this! — according to a tweet from Barry Davis, Happ “says that he was told at the start of camp he was in the rotation, and no one has told him otherwise since.” Happ, he adds, “assumes he’s still in.”

He can’t possibly, though. Yet it’s not like he’s going to say too much negative otherwise, so even though I’m not sure what he has to gain by saying it, I have a hard time killing him for all that. But he does have a knack for not making it terribly difficult to figure out what he’s thinking by reading between the lines — something he showed to be adept at doing last year as he sat in limbo waiting for the club to realize that starting Ricky Romero wasn’t remotely tenable — telling Davis, according to a second tweet, “I’m not going to comment,” when asked if he finds it disturbing that no one has told him that he may not make the rotation.

He can’t possibly, though. Make the rotation, that is. And the thing about last year’s whole untenable proposition about Romero — who, at least when in big league games last spring, and not being shielded from those salivating to call him finished, put up a 6.23 ERA over 13 innings, giving up 17 hits and ten walks (compared to Happ’s 21 and nine over seven this year) — is that the Jays eventually decided that they had no choice but to throw Romero to the wolves anyway.

If you ask me, if they can stomach that desperate, doomed-to-fail experiment, I just don’t see how they can’t be willing to do the same with Dustin McGowan, who at least has a legitimate sparkle of upside in that fragile arm of his, and several reasons to see how the setup may actually work.

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The case of J.A. Happ and his tenure with the Blue Jays certainly is a curious one.

He was acquired in a maligned trade for what is still deemed too many “prospects” in some corners, even as the players the Astros received continue to prove the Jays right in their evaluation.

He then was the saviour that all Jays fans were pining for this time a year ago, as he put in a great Spring Training while seemingly being destined for Buffalo, as Ricky Romero — the incumbent, the club insisted, until the bitter end — imploded.

Now he’s the man everybody wants out. Alex Anthopoulos has talked up the organization’s youngsters, partly out of self-preservation after doing fuck all to improve the rotation in the off-season, and that’s who fans want to see. Not J.A. Happ and his too many pitches, too few strikeouts, and supposed general mediocrity, especially now that he has begun this spring with two miserable outings (hurt though he may have been).

Even the team itself is wavering. Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet notes a tone change from Alex Anthopoulos, who now says two rotation spots may be up for grabs, admitting Happ’s early performance and sore back have caused concerns. Happ’s next start has been pushed back, according to a tweet from Mike Wilner, and the Jays aren’t saying when he’ll be on the mound next– perhaps he’s this year’s Brett Cecil or Ricky Romero, whisked away from prying eyes and getting his work in at unannounced times to keep the media from making his possible failure to make the team a bigger story than they want it to be (as if that ever works).

I don’t know, though. If he ends up returning to health and to the rotation competition in short order, frankly, I’m not sure the kids are necessarily as much better than a lot of fans think they’re going to be. But the bigger question is: better than what? Just who is J.A. Happ, and how do we get a handle on what we think he might bring to the Jays, given the ebbs and flows of his career since he was brought here in the most boring ten-player deal in history?

It’s an interesting question…

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I’m in the middle of a post, which is already far too much to ask of me on the Sunday of long weekend, so I’ll make this brief:

Per a tweet from the Jays, Steve Delabar has been placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflamation.

Welp. Sometimes you eat the Delabar…

Barry Davis follows it up with this detail:

So… there’s that.

Phantom injury to clear a roster spot? I don’t tend to think that’s the case nearly as often as fans want to believe, but on the other hand, with the way the Jays’ bullpen has been worked this year, I’m sure that everybody’s barking pretty good, and most of them could find cause to be given some downtime, baby, to put it together.

So… yeah. I guess that’s it. Now feel free to go back to making insane comments about how awful this team is, how they need to trade Bautista or completely start over using the Rays model, or whatever completely not-constructive or realistic nonsense you feel you need to get off your chest.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

An update from the Blue Jays on the condition of J.A. Happ provides some good news, after some utterly frightening and stomach-churning moments last night. From a release issued by the club this morning:

Toronto Blue Jays LHP JA HAPP left last night’s game in Tampa Bay after being hit on the left side of his head by a batted ball. He was taken to hospital for medical testing. He was responsive and doing well after suffering a head contusion and a laceration to his left ear.

The Blue Jays anticipate that he will be discharged later today after further testing. The club will provide and update later today should any further information become available.

So… that’s about as good a bit of news as you could possibly expect to hear.

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A horrible moment took place in Tampa just after 8 PM, as Jays starter J.A. Happ was hit in the left side of the head by a hard line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings, and needed to be stretchered off the field. It looked and sounded about as ugly as you could imagine, and was frightening enough that the Blue Jays telecast didn’t show a replay until about ten minutes after the incident, and then did so only once.

Tropicana Field, as one could tell from the telecast, and as mentioned in the tweets of several reporters there, was eerily quiet during the scene, as paramedics rushed to Happ’s aid and helped him onto a stretcher and, after a long delay, off the field of play. The left-hander was conscious as he was taken out, but we only need to think back to Brandon McCarthy’s injury last summer to realize that the seriousness of the situation may not be so immediately evident, as the then-A’s pitcher underwent two hours of surgery to reliever cranial pressure following a similar incident– one that he was able to walk off the field under his own power from.

Hopefully the response today in Tampa was extra cautious precisely for that reason, but for the time being we don’t know. If you’re God-fearing person, this would seem to be an excellent time to employ the power of prayer. Our thoughts are with J.A. and his family, and we will continue to keep you updated on his condition as information becomes available.

8:28 PM Update

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Jays Extend J.A. Happ

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

Well this is slightly newsworthy:

So, if you’re keeping track, that’s two straight evening of breaking Jays news, and this one might actually be more surprising than yesterday’s, in a weird way.

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