Archive for the ‘Post-Game Post’ Category

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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.

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OK, now this is just getting stupid. J.A. Happ versus Justin Verlander, and the pitcher who ends up surrendering fewer hits, fewer walks, fewer runs, and comes away getting the 7-3 win is Happ. The guy that fans were mind-blowingly eager to run out of town a few weeks ago, because he’s “not a major league pitcher” or whatever hopelessly clouded things I saw certain people saying about him. Not that he’s even great! Not that he was even great today — his WPA for the afternoon was negative! And  not that he didn’t benefit from a couple well timed double-plays and a typically improbable slice of amazingness from Chad Jenkins, who pitched and inexplicably clean 2.1 innings, allowing just one single before things started to come unraveled with two outs in the ninth. But after Jenkins allowed a single then a walk, John Gibbons just called in Casey Janssen, who took all of one pitch to lock it down. What. The. Fuck?

And double what the fuck?: The Jays have won five straight and are now 37-24, five games up on the second-place Orioles in the AL East — a club who, themselves, has a four game win streak going, during which they’ve gained precisely zero ground. Heading home to face the not-exactly-torrid Cardinals, the Jays are winners of 14 of their last 16, and 17 of their last 20. In the last month they’ve swept the other two current AL division leaders (A’s, Tigers), all four of last year’s AL playoff teams (A’s, Tigers, Rays, Red Sox) and took two of three from 2013′s play-in losers (Cleveland), and the always strong (except when injured as shit) Rangers, to boot!

And it’s not just the team! As Shi Davidi points out, “The list of starting pitchers the Toronto Blue Jays have beaten over the past month already included Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, C.J. Wilson, Justin Masterson, Yu Darvish, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Alex Cobb before Justin Verlander became their latest victim Thursday afternoon.”

It’s insane. And there’s even more that’s insane: Navarro with a two-out RBI single and Kratz with a two-run single after that (also later a runner thrown out at second) in an inning begun with Bautista reaching on a Torii Hunter error. Brett Lawrie with a home run — off Verlander! — and his typical defensive excellence. Juan Francisco, regressing to the mean though his numbers may be, still doing Juan Francisco-ish things.

It’s just… it’s absurd. Like I said, they were playing with house money, having already won the series as they sent Happ to face Verlander, and I guess sometimes when you’re winning things just keep on going your way. I’d say it’s all too much, but holy shit it so fucking isn’t. More of this! More of this! More!!

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The Loup Garou! Loup Ferrigno! Loup Aaron, Canada’s Mettle King! Louperstown! Captain Loup Albano! Loup, There It Is! Louperman! The Tigers Got A Bad Case Of Loupus! Uh… Loup Franceschetti?

Holy shit, Aaron Loup. That game got just a little bit fuckin’ hairy in the bottom of the sixth inning. In it R.A. Dickey’s lack of sharpness finally caught up to him, as Alex Avila singled in between two walks to load the bases with none out, immediately after the Jays had taken back the lead at 3-2 after a two-out double from Adam Lind cashed a pair. Dickey wasn’t quite as bad as you probably remember — he gave up solo shots in the first and third to Cabrera and Kinsler, but had otherwise only surrendered two walks and three singles when he took the hill for the sixth — but he wasn’t as good as his final line makes it look, either. Two earned runs and four strikeouts in five innings? Not great, but not awful, and maybe some karmic justice for a few games where you could probably argue he’s pitched better than it looked. That isn’t to say that he hasn’t been wholly disappointing this season — especially if you’re expecting him to be some kind of an ace, and not just the solid inning-eater it seems he really probably is — but, more importantly, why the fuck am I rambling on about R.A. Dickey?? AARON FUCKING LOUP MOTHERFUCKERS! After entering to clean up Dickey’s mess, Loup put on a Janssen-esque performance, dispatching J.D. Martinez, lefty-killer Rajai Davis, and Ian Kinsler with nine pitches. Then coming back out for the seventh, with just a 3-2 lead, he neutralized Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Torii Hunter 1-2-3. Astonishing. Just astonishing. And this, of course, setup the Jays, starting with Jose Reyes up and one out, to go single-single-single-double-intentional walk-fielder’s choice in the bottom of the frame, blowing the game most of the way open with only two innings to go — and two more runs still to come, for a final score of 8-2.

Who knew having a horseshoe up your ass could feel so good? I mean, no the Encarnacion back thing is obviously not great news, given how fantastically he’s been going — and, y’know, is – but this little run sure is something else. Four straight. Thirteen of fifteen. Sixteen of nineteen. The Orioles are charging and they still can’t gain any ground. This. Is. Fun.

I can live with that.

 

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

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Well holy fucking shit, that was a wild one. Drew Hutchison (on seventeen days rest — though don’t mention that to him — and aided by a mid-game pep talk from Jose Bautista — but not really) went pitch-for-pitch with Anibal Sanchez, basically, in a beautiful, nauseatingly tense pitching duel that ended up 0-0 in the ninth before things went nuts. Anthony Gose took his second walk in eleven games (atoning for another otherwise ugly night at the plate, and surely making numerous mooks dumbly overrate him in the process), he stole second Jose Reyes singled him to third, Jose Bautista singled him home after an Andrew Romine olé behind second base, Reyes was nearly picked off at third, Bautista moved up to second while Don Kelly complained to the umpire that he tagged Reyes, the Jays won the challenge, Edwin walked, Kevin Pillar (awesomely pinch hitting for Adam Lind after the Tigers brought in lefty and Patti Smith guitarist Ian Krol to face him) hit a sac fly to drive in Reyes, the Brett Lawrie went oppo taco, bro, to clear the bases. Then Steve DelaBALL ate the bar after (10,000% rightly, GOBBONS HATTERS) being given a garbage time gift to help right himself after a few days without work and several shaky outings of late thanks to lagging command and velocity, as he managed to give up a three-run home run to the last batter of the game that he was going to face regardless, having backed his way into a couple of outs but created enough of a jam to get the bullpen stirring again. So Casey Janssen comes in and, before you can fucking blink, tidily takes care of things like it was absolutely nothing. Cold bloooded!

So… Jays win! McGowan has Delabar’s job! But the bullpen’s still kind of OK because Janssen is stupidly awesome! Also it’s a lot easier to hit Detroit pitching when it’s not their starter! And non-original RoboCop sucked. Then Sportsnet slowed the camera to show what Lawrie’s bat wobble really looks like. And… holy shit, Jays win! Another one! And a Yankees loss drops them to third place, five games out, now behind the victorious Orioles who the Jays are 4.5 games ahead of. I can live with that! It’s just… it all feels so… weird.

 

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

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I’m thinking this one deserves a picture at the top, rather than just a graph (which you can still see alongside a filthy slider curveball GIF via @dshemie8, after the jump), because Marcus Stroman.

Marcus Stroman.

Sure, the Jays’ offence took advantage of some poor Royals pitcher’s self-immolation, but Marcus Stroman. Theeeeeeere’s what we were looking for and kept telling every cretin it was stupid to stop dreaming on after 6.1 not-so-hot innings spread over a few stints out of the big league bullpen. Six innings, five hits, no walks, one run, six strikeouts. Ninety-four pitches, sixty three for strikes. Most importantly of all, perhaps, is that he kept the ball on the ground, producing a ground ball rate as high as any qualified starter in baseball (64.7% on the day; only Dallas Keuchel’s 66.5% is better among qualified starters). It’s just one game, I know, and it’s just the Royals, but that’s what he had to do, and he fuckin’ did it!

Read the rest of this entry »

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See, now this is probably going to be a lot more representative of how half-assed these are going to be than the last one. The Jays lost tonight to Jason Vargas and the fucking Royals. Some stuff happened. J.A. Happ was probably left in too long, but he at least saved the bullpen enough so that Marcus Stroman can join the rotation tomorrow, ostensibly for just one spot start, but… come on! Drew Hutchison has been pushed to Tuesday (though don’t necessarily quote me on that), which I suppose lends credence to the whole idea that it wasn’t just for Dustin McGowan’s benefit that John Gibbons openly toyed with the idea of going to a six-man rotation back at the start of this month. Can’t hurt to keep Hutchison as fresh as possible, and to limit his innings for a potentially deep run in October (we didn’t stop believing that because of a second straight loss, did we?), and to give Stroman a springboard from which to dive headlong into the rotation conversation. So… this game hurt (y’know… I assume — I barely fucking watched it after the Bautista home run, though I do know that reading some of the many dumb comments on the post below was pretty painful — HEYO!), but it’s all still good (provided nothing more ominous is happening with Hutch that what I’m suggesting). And — holy shit! — Stroman tomorrow!

I can live with that.

 

Image/chart via FanGraphs.

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Holy shit, would you look at that graph. Jays’ win expectancy was at 96.2% after Jose Bautista awesomely Larry Walker’d Billy Butler at first base on a hot shot single to right field in the top of the ninth. Almost like these sorts of things — especially when involving playoff odds, FYI — are kinda entirely dumbly meaningless. I mean, they’re probably not wrong, they’re just utterly useless things for anyone to bother clinging to. Hey, but nice formulas all the same, they just can’t predict that shitty Jose Reyes throw that should have ended it! And it was that throw — not, as some harping morons directing their ire towards John Gibbons would have you believe — that’s really the only reason the Jays lost today, technically. Gibbons did fine enough. He’d managed his club to a win if not for that one unfortunate play. But — and I recognize that this is far easier to say at the back end of nine straight wins — things like that happen. It’s OK. (Still sucks, though, obviously).

Shit, amazingly it actually looked like they were going to do it again and keep the streak going. In fact, I captured the moment when Edwin Encarnacion astonishingly put the Jays up for what should have been good, focusing my camera on his presence at the plate and pressing the button when James Shields released the ball, resulting in a bit of Instagram magic. Gold!

But I digress. This thing is already longer than what I wanted it to be, because I really wanted to established a precedent where I could totally mail in a post-game post every day, without having to think too much about what actually went on during the game. Just a graph and couple snarky or buoyant comments, basically. Because my intention is to keep these things going, either throughout the season, or at least throughout the stretch here before the Jays fail miserably and render themselves once again irrelevant — we’re allowed to talk about that possibility now that they’ve finally lost again, right? — and if we’re being honest, to do that they’re so going to have to really be mailed in.

So… yeah. This is your newfangled post-game post. Don’t expect nearly as much rambling in the future. (But also, if you’re like super into rambling, FYI, check out a transcript of what Alex Anthopoulos said to reporters about payroll bullshit today). (Also also: if they had a chart for umpire bullshit, just imagine the spike for that ridiculous hit-by-pitch that was entirely a strike, eh?).

 

Image/chart via FanGraphs.