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Archive for the ‘Post-Game Post’ Category

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Welp. Of all the games of baseball I’ve ever watched, that was definitely one of them.

Now let’s all go take cheap shots at silly Derek Jeter myth nonsense on Twitter!

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Buehrle’s gonna Buehrle. And if that was his last start as a Blue Jay — and it damn well might have been — he sure did so in a blaze of glory.

The chart above doesn’t really do it justice. This sure as hell does, though!

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Missed you, Jays not sucking!

Dalton Pompey hit a second deck home run off of Felix damn Hernandez — he was all over that ball like a pyroclastic flow, I said, stealing a tweet of my own that nobody liked in the first place — and the Jays put up a ten-spot on a team clawing desperately to get back in the playoff race (not that you would have noticed tonight), despite having Munenori Kawasaki hit fifth, followed by Pompey, Anthony Gose, Josh Thole, and Ryan Goins.

Isn’t baseball crazy sometimes?

Isn’t baseball great?

And then you have a thing like this: With the Royals win tonight, by the way, the Jays are now officially, mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Funnily enough, tonight’s Royals win puts them three games up on the Mariners, and that much closer to ending their MLB-longest playoff drought. If they make the playoffs it will be for the first time since 1985 — the first year the Blue Jays made the playoffs, and the first year that the ALCS moved to a best-of-seven rather than a best-of-five, meaning, of course, that the Jays would have moved on to the World Series under the previous year’s format when they went up 3-1. But the Royals roared back — Jim Sundberg and all that — and with some help (though not as much as is mythologized) from Don Denkinger, won the World Series. And if Kansas City makes this year’s playoffs they’ll pass the playoff futility baton to none other than your Toronto Blue Jays. A sad achievement for a once-great franchise. Especially one in one of the biggest markets in the game, with a stadium built by public money and bought for essentially nothing, and an ownership group as rich as any in the game.

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Yeah, I guess 14-4 is impressive… hahahaha — for 1992! Try a 28.8!

Nothing to be upset about here — not even home runs from Gose and Pillar! And a walk from the latter! Keep building your value, boys! Pompey made a great diving catch in centre and went two-for-five with a couple of infield singles where he showed off the kind of speed that allowed him to steal more bases in 2014 than both of his fellow young outfielders.

Not that the game was remotely entirely about Pompey, of course. I’m just hoping to see enough from him to make me less concerned about the idea of the Jays actually going into 2015 with a Gose/Pillar platoon in centre. Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman got into this one, too, and… meh. Same goes for another pretty good outing from J.A. Happ — a guy who might have actually built so much trade value that the Jays shouldn’t deal him!

In other words, a win! I kinda remember those! And against a team fighting desperately to make the playoffs, no less.

I can live with that.

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Yeah, yeah, Jays lose. Six in a row.

You’d rather not see this, but… whatever. We’ve reached the point in the season where it’s about more than overall results, and to that end the Jays are at least doing something right, it seems.

Here’s a crazy thought that came up on Twitter over the course of the game, which gets less crazy the more I think of it: why even go through the motions of having Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar start, and likely fail, as platoon in centre in 2015? Why not just go with Dalton Pompey?

It seems like a rush, I know, but could he really be that much worse, offensively? Defensively maybe he isn’t Gose, but as a switch hitter he only takes up one roster spot, which is a huge bonus for a club that likely wants to carry someone like John Mayberry to platoon at DH with Adam Lind. Of course, according to the Jays’ outright and option status page at Bluebird Banter, both Gose and Pillar still have options left, so you could always have the three players battle for the job in spring training, assuming you don’t find a fix from outside the organization. But if a trade came about in the off-season involving Gose or Pillar that could address one of the club’s other needs, what this book presupposes is, why the hell not just do it?

It’s not a great idea, to be sure, but let’s be honest, neither is going with Gose or Pillar. And neither is taking valuable resources away from the club’s bigger areas of need — a true second baseman and additional help for the bullpen, for starters — to try to find a placeholder they hope will be supplanted by Pompey sooner than later anyway.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting swept up in Pompey mania (if there was such a thing), but seriously, if there’s one silver lining we can take from another dismal September, it’s that there’s no way the Jays can use the month’s experimenting to justify things like Danny Valencia facing right-handed pitching, or Ryan Goins facing anybody as an everyday player. Gose and Pillar haven’t looked great for a long while against big league pitching either. And maybe that’s alright. Maybe that’s for the best, even. Maybe their struggles have been emphatic enough — obvious enough — that the club won’t let itself pretend it can get away with insanity like the Goins experiment again.

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Welp.

This sure sorta feels like it, doesn’t it? I hate to be negative, and there’s still mathematically a chance, but losing four of five since they swept the lowly Cubs hasn’t lost the Jays a whole lot of ground, but they’ve lost a whole lot of precious time to make up the 5.5 games they currently sit behind the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are currently down to the shitty White Sox, but even so, with just twelve games left… y’know.

And so now we’re seeing the kids. Dan Norris pitched an inning tonight — not particularly well, but he was in there! And what do we expect from a kid who isn’t used to pitching out of the bullpen, and has been sitting around for as long as Norris has? Not a whole lot. Graveman pitched, as well, and Dalton Pompey even got an at-bat. So… that’s something. I guess.

The whole “let’s see what the kids have got” thing sure feels a lot better with just a couple weeks to go than it does with multiple months to go, at least. Less so, maybe, when it’s a glimpse of a potentially very real, and potentially very frustrating future, as in Kevin Pillar flailing away — not that his manager did him a lot of favours in his , though he actually had a walk to go with his two strikeouts tonight. Or Anthony Gose. Or Ryan Goins.

Heading into tonight Pillar had a .304 on-base since his recall, with a 1.8% walk rate and strikeout rate above 23%. Since the start of August, against big league pitching, Anthony Gose had slashed .193/.242/.263. Prior to tonight, in September, Ryan Goins had slashed .152/.176/.273.

Isn’t defence great?

Ugh. I don’t know. I don’t know…

Hey, and more beanballs and the O’s clinching the AL East in front of us. What a night, eh?

Though Ian nails it: at least Jose at least did it right:

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The final score might suggest that this one was a laugher, but in reality it was anything but. Starters Mark Buehrle and Jake Arrieta both went deep into the game, allowing only two earned runs each, but things began to unravel for the Cubs in the bottom of the seventh. A one-out Kevin Pillar single was followed by a pinch hit single from Colby Rasmus, a Munenori Kawasaki walk, and then — after a Jose Reyes strikeout, and with the crowd rising to its feet (in the seventh inning!) — Jose Bautista laced a full count three-run double into the left field corner, and the Jays would never look back.

Or… well… they looked back a few times after that, but only to see just where in the hell the Cubs fielders had managed to launch the ball to in their subsequent, horrifically executed attempts at defence. A game fraught with tension when Bautista made it 4-2 came to a perfectly relaxed ended as the Jays scored five more runs in the bottom of the eighth. We had a Dalton Pompey sighting. We watched Daniel Norris close it out, after Aaron Sanchez wasn’t needed to come out to complete a two-inning save in the ninth. We had… this:

Good times! Especially with both the Clevelands and the Yankees losing tonight, too. The Jays have, at least for now, leapfrogged both of those teams, meaning only the Mariners (who the Jays host for four games later this month), and whichever of Kansas City or Detroit isn’t holding the AL Central lead, stand between the fucking Toronto Blue Jays and the second Wild Card spot. That doesn’t exactly make their task easy — the Jays are still 4.5 games back, and six back of the sinking A’s — but it makes it a whole lot easier than it would have been they hadn’t gotten back on the winning track in these first two games against the Cubs. And it didn’t always look like that was going to be the case tonight, as the graph above shows.

Maybe it’s not “meaningful” baseball in the traditional sense, maybe it’s “too little too late,” but try telling that to the 17,000 people who rose from their seats to cheer with two outs in the seventh inning of this one, or those of us who watched from home with the same rapt attention.

This is fun.