Archive for the ‘Post-Game Post’ Category

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Stroman

Stro-man

Strooooooooooooo man

He is a thief

You gotta belief

He stole my heart and my cat

Stole my own Twitter joke just there, speaking of thieves, but whatever. Fuck it. They won! Against the Yankees! And Stroman Stroman’d! Lind was pretty good, too. And Melky. And Edwin. And Dioner. And, shit, even Gose! And no one got hurt… that we yet know of. And as I write this the Orioles are losing too! [Update: They won, thank you very fucking much, Ronald Belisario.] (Chad Jenkins we don’t have to talk about).

I can live with that!

 

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Ugh. Well this should really keep the fucking freakouts to a minimum, eh? The Jays — while still holding a 1.5 game lead in the AL East, with plenty of time to play better, add pieces, get healthy, continue the fight, make the playoffs, etc. — lost again to Cincinnati today. The big stories, however, are their other losses. Brett Lawrie is headed to the DL after being hit on the hand – again — by a pitch in the top of the second inning and having to be replaced by Steve Tolleson for the bottom half of the frame. X-rays confirmed he’s fractured his finger, and Lawrie confirmed the obvious to reporters after the game, stating that he’ll be headed to the DL.

Not. Good.

Then we have the happy fact that Jose Bautista was also removed from this game, citing hamstring tightness. It’s an issue that has been bothering him for a couple of days, he later told reporters, per a tweet from Gregor Chisholm, though, according to a tweet from Barry Davis, the slugger doesn’t feel too bad, and hopes he won’t have to miss any time, but he wants to see the results of an MRI he’ll have once he returns to Toronto before determining what the next course of action is.

That could be worse, though I’m sure it wont stop the tinfoil hat brigade from being out in full force if it turns out something actually require time on the sidelines, but… well… they were going to find something to be fucking dumb about anyway, weren’t they? On the slightly more positive note, when Bautista came out of the game, Jose Reyes went in. This is positive because Reyes initially wasn’t in the lineup after having to leave yesterday’s game after fouling a ball off his knee.

Fingers crossed for both Jose. Lawrie, though. That’s a tough one.

Gregor Chisholm adds, via a tweet, that Brett’s comment on when he might return was simply, “I don’t even know. I’m trying to take it all in. It’s one of those things that’s going to get better when it gets better.”

Lawrie’s overall numbers don’t exactly look stupendous, but his ability to switch between third and second base has allowed the Jays to get the best out of the bats of Tolleson and Juan Francisco, shielding them from same sided pitching in a platoon setup that was mighty useful during the club’s hot month of May. And if you swallow hard and play the arbitrary endpoint game, you can take out a brutal first twelve games of season and find he has actually hit quite well for quite some time. Better than that, even! A .276/.326/.472 line since April 13th, which covers his last 233 plate appearances and is good for a 121 wRC+ and .350 wOBA.

Add in his excellent defence at two positions and… well… if you want to get a little nervous about anything right now, this is probably a reasonable place to start. No need to invent horseshit about the Jays somehow being oblivious to the obvious fact that they’ll need to acquire some kind of pitching help, or whatever other twaddle it is some would have us believe has already consigned this season to doom. Oh, does R.A. Dickey continue to be a disappointment? Thanks for fucking noticing.

Lawrie, though. He was, as quietly as a guy like him can be, a very, very important player for this club.

Time for Buffalo’s hottest hitter, Dan Johnson, to dig out his old third baseman’s glove? For Edwin? For Juanfran to keep his? Yeesh. I don’t even want to think about it all just yet.

Hey, but remember, nobody ever said this was going to be easy. All good teams face adversity. We’ll see how it goes. And for fuck sakes, don’t jump out of the roller coaster just because we’re going through a scary bit right now. Take a damn breath and try to enjoy the ride.

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This really shouldn’t be about the umpiring. I don’t really want to make it about the umpiring, and yet… here I am, about to write the word umpiring for the third time in this post, and I’m doing so underneath a giant image of umpire Jordan Baker’s strike zone against left-handed hitters. So I guess I’m pretty much full of shit.

Welp.

The thing is, Masahiro Tanaka is pretty fucking fantastic. He pitched a terrific game, and unlike Jays pitchers, he used the somewhat fucked up strike zone we see above — there are also a couple fairly egregious examples of balls being turned into strikes against right-handed hitters, as well (including one that, amazingly, went in the Jays’ favour!) — to his advantage. Maybe it was simply an issue of Brian McCann framing excellently. Or maybe Jays pitchers — who certainly had at least a couple of balls called on pitches that were fairly close to all those low strikes the Yankees got — didn’t feel they were getting those calls and tried other things. Maybe Marcus Stroman just couldn’t get the kind of plane needed on his pitches to work that part of the zone the way that Tanaka could.

I don’t fucking know! But however a zone map that looks like that comes about, when the calls in the low part of the zone are at least somewhat consistent, uh… what’s there to complain about? Well, I suppose the fact that those appear to be bad calls (though as far as I know, Brooks uses a fixed height for its strike zone, not one that’s relative to each batter, meaning they could be more borderline than they appear — though if you head to Brooks and flip through a few other strike zone plots, the boundaries appear generally correct… sort of).

Anyway, sure, Jays pitchers theoretically should have been able to use that part of the zone too, but what kills me is that, all things considered — especially given the way that the Yankees managed to grind Marcus Stroman to dust — the Jays pitched very well. They didn’t need that part of the zone! Three runs should be plenty for this offence to win a game with, even given the trough they’ve been in of late, and yet we kept seeing the Jays’ pitchers somehow skate their way out of trouble, only to see the offence thwarted by those fucking calls. Those fucking Yankee Stadium calls. And not just that, but the way that Jays’, feeling the need to expand their zone low, ended up flailing away too easily at pitches they may otherwise have taken.

The Yankees’ pitchers certainly didn’t need a helping hand, but… OK, this surely reads like a petty little frustrated fan rant. I know. And I shouldn’t let the pissing and moaning about the calls overshadow the whole story, of course. Especially since, truth be told, there really are a lot of pitches in those same spots that will get called strikes on a regular basis (C.B. Bucknor umpired Padres-Mariners tonight, if you want to see some even worse low strike calls, frankly). The zone was consistent enough, and ultimately, Tanaka was great, and Betances was great, and the Jays’ hitters didn’t do enough with what they were given. But damn. After not feeling overly optimistic heading in, that one felt winnable. To see the club’s hitters baffled by both Tanaka (and Betances and Robertson) and the umpire? Not a whole lot of fun. Kiiiiiinda bullshit, really.

But I digress…

The main thing is, I think, let’s try to remember where we were at before the game began: just don’t get swept. A win tomorrow and the Jays’ lead over the Yankees is right back to 4.5 games, with a chance to make it even bigger when Drew Hutchison (on extra rest!) takes on David Phelps on Thursday night.

I can live with that.

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So it remains not the best idea to spot your opponents two runs in the first inning — as the Jays did again today — even if it’s the Twins. I like the cocky swagger of doing so, but it’s probably time to start winning some fucking games, eh? Y’know, big road trip coming up and all… in the full throes of a death spiral… all that sort of stupid noise from people who’ve never actually paid attention to baseball before.

That’s not to say that losing is good, but I sure can feel the fuckfaces slowly starting to press themselves back out through the woodwork and into the conversation around this team, like so many turds … um… through woodwork? Shitheads are poised to resume being shitheads, in other words, and to forget completely why they felt the strange, unfamiliar need to stop inundating people with their dumb opinions for a few weeks there.

Ahh well. It’s baseball, it happens — it all happens: the shitheads, and the shit starts, and the shit hitting, and the shit luck, and the shit feeling Marcus Stroman had today that he pitched through, and the shit need to go to Korecky, and his shitting the bed, though some of those hits were kind of shit, and… shit. That was shit. Four of the last five games have been shit. And yet…

Right?

And the Jays actually did something proactive following the game (per… everyone), sending Bobby Korecky down, as expected, and recalling Darin “Pat” Mastroianni. Not only is Mastroianni a good outfielder with speed on the bases and a right-handed bat to complement Anthony Gose (and, eventually — i.e. when Gose gets sent down — Colby Rasmus), but he has a surprisingly decent line at the plate in Triple-A this year (.291/.376/.419) with a 10.5% walk rate down there, and an even better .371/.426/.597 against left-handed pitching — not to mention a .307/.398/.352 against lefties in his last healthy season, 2012, in which he played 70% of his games in the majors.

Also, this:

patmastroianni

This forever and ever and ever. And into Baltimore (the first game of which we’ll be watching at Opera Bob’s, FYI — tomorrow night!). And on to New York. Games not to be dreaded, but to be excited for. Baseball!

I can live with that.

 

Awesome image awesomely from @james_in_to.

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The Jays got baseball’d pretty good tonight. Hard to see it as anything other than that. J.A. Happ, by the skin of his teeth, wasn’t quite able to keep the Twins to just the two runs he gave up to the first pair of batters he faced — a second straight night in which the Twins plated the first two men they sent up — and it didn’t really even matter anyway. Somehow the Jays just couldn’t quite get anything going off of Kevin Correia — Kevin fucking Correia! — finding themselves shutout for the third time in four games. But you know the old saying: the distribution of hits over a given period of time isn’t even, so to take too much from this four game sample, as opposed to the much larger one that shows they’re leading the majors in league- and park-adjusted wRC+, would be more than a little hilariously dumb.

At least I think that’s how the old saying goes.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean that the team has to be the best forever, of course — they may not be by Wednesday morning! — but they sure are better than this. And I think the number of hard-hit balls they produced tonight probably indicates that as well, just as the flukiness of the result is indicated by the fact that, before tonight, Kevin Correia had left a game having given up zero runs just three times in his previous 71 starts.

So… oh well. The Jays are now 39-27 with 96 games to go, meaning they could lose every other day for the 16 weeks remaining in the season and still finish with 87 wins. There is a lot of losing to come, in other words. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to be mindful of the trouble spots on their roster — yes, they need to acquire another starter (and certainly they will, so shut up about it), and yes they could use help in the bullpen, at second base, and they need to stay healthy and keep monitoring just what they have in Juan Francisco — but as far as them losing a couple in not-gorgeous fashion? With this cushion they have and the second-place O’s losing to keep the Jays’ AL East lead at 5.5 games? I can live with that.

Just… y’know… get out there tomorrow and beat these fuckers.

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Pillar puns! Holy shit, the Pillar puns. Because that game was the Kevin Pillar show at the end there, and I wasn’t immune to getting wrapped up in it…

Of course, it could have been a “Pillar Assault” of a different kind for us to talk about. Entering the game as a defensive replacement in left in the ninth inning, Pillar ill-advisedly tried to be a hero on a Kurt Suzuki liner — with two outs, a runner on second, and a two run lead — refusing to concede a hit, missing the ball, and allowing the tying run into scoring position in the process. Suzuki was plated after a shitty fly out to no-man’s land off the bat of Eduardo Escobar, before Casey Janssen finished off a nervy at-bat with Daniel Santana with a strikeout. The game shouldn’t have even got that far, as Steve Tolleson couldn’t make the transfer on a double play ball earlier in the inning that would have ended it, with the Jays up 4-2, but Pillar managed to bail both himself and Tolleson out, cashing a diving, pinch-running Erik Kratz with a bloop hit in the bottom of the frame, after Dioner Navarro walked, Anthony Gose atrociously couldn’t get a bunt down and struke out, and the amazingly awesome Jose Reyes singled to setup the winning play.

Bloop or not, it was a hell of a walk-off, because despite getting the ball to Janssen with a 4-2 lead in the ninth, it’s not like this was ever a no-doubter. R.A. Dickey looked to be in the throes of another bed-shitting after back-to-back home runs to lead off the game, though he settled down and pitched well until getting to one out in the sixth inning. His late-game issues continued, though, as a Josh Willingham triple (on a ball misplayed by Jose Bautista in a vaguely similar fashion to the one we’d see butchered by Pillar later), a bizarre hit batsman, and then a walk to load the bases led to his exit. John Gibbons, somewhat awesomely, brought Dustin McGowan into the situation — a late game reliever taking the hill in a very high leverage situation, despite there being eleven outs still to get (a move that absolves Gibbers from whateverthefuck he later had Gose doing, bunting with two strikes in the bottom of the ninth) — and a nifty turn of a double play from Reyes and (especially) Lawrie later and Dickey’s line ends up looking pretty alright!

Hey, and while we’re praising folks, how about the guys we’ve come to routinely expect greatness from: Bautista one-for-three with a walk, Reyes three-for-five with a huge insurance home run and the hit to setup Pillar’s big moment, and Encarnacion going two-for-three with a walk and a three-run shot.

Mostly, though:

It was a dramatic one — a nail biter, an emotional rollercoaster, and a fuckin’ thriller. Or is that… I don’t know… a Pillar?

 

Image/chart via FanGraphs. Here’s how to read the chartThis and this explains the gray line.

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Incredible stuff last night, as this guy, Quaid, had a strange obsession with Mars, despite his wife, Sharon Stone, trying to push him away from thinking about it — mostly out of jealousy of his recurring dream about another woman — and his coworker warning him not to follow-through on a whim to go to a memory implanting clinic called Recall. But he totally did it anyway and, of-fucking-course, had a schizoid embolism in the process! Or did he??? Quaid lost his shit during the procedure, but before the memory of his secret agent voyage to Mars was actually implanted — at least according to the sassy Recall doctor lady — and started yelling about his cover being blown, and “the agency,” and people chasing him, before escaping, nearly being killed, having to deal with reality, having a heart-to-heart with his phony wife, running from Michael Ironside, learning that he’s actually Hauser, fucking up a Johnny Cab, removing some huge-ass glowing homing-beacon implant from his nose, and then heading to Mars — for reals! — for “two weeks.” And then shit really got crazy!

WHAT A GAME!

Gibbers… start the reactor! (Feel free to get anyone who didn’t stop that damn kid from interfering with a ball Jose Bautista needed to catch in the top of the ninth thrown the fuck out of the stadium, too, while you’re at it.)

 

Image/chart via FanGraphs. Here’s how to read the chartThis and this explains the gray line.