happsterbackground

Well, if the accumulation of a massive amount of season-saving wins is going to start somewhere, where better than at home against the Red Sox, and against Clay Buchholz in what’s been an abysmal year for him (even though his peripherals don’t look too different than they ever are at all)?

Not that we’re at the stage where the Jays can pick and choose who they get hot against, mind you. Things are bleak. The winning has to start now. It might not even matter if it does. Etc. etc. etc.

Nice day, though, eh? And baseball!

Scuttlebutt

Megan Robinson tweets that John Gibbons says Casey Janssen and Dustin McGowan are getting the night off tonight, with Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup expected to be used in the 8th and 9th innings.

Mike Wilner adds that Gibbers was sure to “relay confidence” in Janssen as he noted that he was being given the night off.

Jose Bautista still doesn’t think he should have been ejected.

Talk about the mushy middle: the Jays went into this game 5.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot and 5.5 games out of landing a protected draft pick next June. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for stealing his shtick, you might be a garbage clown if… you think the Jays should tank for the protected pick instead of doing everything they possibly can to get back in the race.

Lately Facebook changed its algorithm with respect to sharing, it’s really become a much more powerful social media tool, and so it’s probably in your best interest to just go right ahead and like DJF on Facebook. That way you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins.

And while we’re at it, you might as well follow me on Twitter, follow @DrunkJaysFans, and follow the dusty ol’ DJF Instagram too!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. Boston

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Boston Red Sox

SS Brock Holt (L)
2B Dustin Pedroia (R)
RF Yoenis Cespedes (R)
DH Mike Napoli (R)
1B Allen Craig (R)
RF Daniel Nava (S)
3B Will Middlebrooks (R)
CF Mookie Betts (R)
C Christian Vasquez (R)

RHP Clay Buchholz

griffbag

Another week, another Griff Bag! Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! On time and everything!

Anywho…

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, unless it’s about fucking Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q-Hi Rich Stoet,

The Jays are playing listlessly and ever since the trade deadline came and went without the owners doing anything to improve the team that was performing quite well without some key players like Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie – have given up hope and the grit that they had and it is now a case of “Roger, it’s all over and out” (I should make that plural).

I wish that some group or company with the money and the love for the game purchases the team and the ball-park that the current owners got for a song, from them. All the very best to the Blue Jays team that has shown courage and great performance in so many games – thank you guys.

Have a great weekend Rich Stoet.

Tony in Toronto

Thanks, team, for your courage and spirit for all those games before you packed it in like a bunch of spoiled children with two months to go!

What a load. You want to cry about Rogers? Fine. But don’t make shit up. Whatever listlessness you want to pretend you’re seeing is just coincidence. They’ve played poorly. They’re not sulking and letting it show in their play on the field — or if they’re so unprofessional and collectively out of their minds as to be actually doing so, you sure as fuck aren’t able to divine it through your TV.

Come on.

Read the rest of this entry »

JBejected

The Garbage Clowns Knew First…

Welp. Here we are. They’re not finished just yet, but they certainly will be if they don’t start winning immediately, and winning a lot. Even if they do, the Jays now find themselves behind Cleveland, in addition to the Tigers, Yankees, and the Mariners, who currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the AL. Stranger things have happened than a team coming from where the Jays are to make the post-season, but the club hasn’t made their task any easier in the last week. As last Tuesday began and the Jays headed into their first game against Milwaukee, in order to just ensure a tie for that second Wild Card spot, over their final 37 games of the year they would have needed to play a half game better than the Yankees, and three-and-a-half better than both the Mariners and Tigers. Tough, but not impossible. As it stands today, to get a share of the Wild Card they’ll need to be a half game better than Cleveland, two games better than the Yankees, four-and-a-half better than Detroit, and five-and-a-half better than Seattle over the course of their 32 remaining games. To give some perspective: the Jays weren’t even 5.5 games better than the Mariners in May, when they went 21-9 and Seattle was 16-14. The BP-powered playoff probabilities listed at MLB.com currently gives the Jays a 4.0% chance of making the playoffs.

It’s not early anymore.

 

Jose, Can You See?

As the annual grim ritual march to irrelevance — *COUGH* — gathers steam we seem to be shifting nicely into finger-pointing mode, and Jose Bautista sure put a target on his back and a narrative on Sunday, getting himself ejected for arguing balls and strikes. But it wasn’t, of course, just the manner in which he was ejected that irked fans so much — though, rightly, that was part of it — but it was also the fact that, in a crucial affair, his replacement, Nolan Reimold, ended up making a giant shit-turd of an extra-inning error, and striking out to end the game, and a rally-that-could-have-been that saw the Jays place runners on first and third with none out and — ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME???!!? — failing to score.

At one point this afternoon I contemplated doing an Anatomy Of A JaysTalk post to try to rein in some of the madness, but then Joanna of Hum and Chuck reminded me that I basically responded to all this already. More than a year ago.

“Hey,” I sarcastically intoned, “let’s all try to extinguish the fire in Bautista’s belly by taking giant steaming shits down his throat. At least it allows us to pretend there’s some explanation– some manifestation of karma, some vengeful umpire-led conspiracy, some unseeable force of poor leadership and selfishness–  for the way the season has gone so far. I mean, it’s far easier to point fingers and think we’ve got it all figured out than to actually grapple with the notion that things may really not be as bad as the results make it seem and that the universe sometimes just isn’t fucking fair, eh?”

After showing a GIF of the argument, I went on:

“Have we really never seen that from a good team before? From a leader before? From a presumed leader, even though we don’t really know anything about what goes on behind closed doors, before? Or are we just twisting the meaning to make it fit with whatever negative bullshit our guts are desperately telling us we must think about this frustrating team? Because I think it’s the latter, and I’m not going to let that happen to me. It was an ejection. It happens. No need to insist it’s so imbued with deep meaning.”

Yeah, it was dumb, and the timing of it was terrible — especially with so much conversation still going on about Bautista’s post trade-deadline comments and his commitment to the club. But let’s not lose sight of reality. It was his first ejection of the season, and the first for a Jays player in 2014, after it happened six times last season. Jose now joins fellow non-leaders Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, Albert Pujols, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Jason Kipnis, David Wright, and Russell Martin in getting tossed from a game this year.

 

Good Gri(e)ff

Speaking of finger pointing: “Once again a Blue Jays game came down to a lack of execution and fundamentals, both offensively and defensively, further dimming their fading playoff hopes.”

That’s from Richard Griffin’s gamer for the Toronto Star, and while he’s not wrong… I dunno… can we maybe not sound the FUDAMETALS idiot alarm? The commenters on that one are already pretty deep up their own assholes.

But at least one man in Griff’s piece is pointing a finger in the right direction: John Gibbons.

“The bottom line is we needed him in the game. Say your piece and get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get in the playoffs, we need you on the field. He’s a marked man in this game. Bill Welke? I thought he had a pretty good zone today. It was steady, he was calling strikes. He was looking to call strikes. But we need you in the game.”

Bang.

Bautista, as you’ve probably already seen, wasn’t exactly seeing it the same way as his manager:

“If you want to stick to facts, the facts are that because I did say something, anything at all, I did get tossed,” Bautista said, denying umpires may have it in for him. “I guess you would say yes (I blame myself). But again, I feel like what I said was nowhere near warranting getting ejected. But if you want to get the other side of the story, you’re going to have to talk to Welke.”

An umpire being accountable? Pfft. Good luck.

But you know what? Bautista might even have a point. Too bad his reputation will preclude most people from listening.

 

Moving On…

Rightly or wrongly, the confluence of all these troubles for the Jays has got a lot of people, myself included, starting to think more and more about what this team ought to look like next year. I’m not sure it’s as difficult a question as a lot of people want to make it out to be. Bautista and Encarnacion locked for up two years at way less than their market value? Hutchison, Stroman, Sanchez, and Norris potentially on the cusp of forming the core of a dirt cheap young rotation you can feel awfully good about? The increasingly real possibility of another failed season under Alex Anthopoulos will increase the volume of those wanting to insist the club do something drastic, but maybe you just play for 2015 and — especially — 2016. Maybe you take a step back and use R.A. Dickey as a chip to get a real second baseman. Maybe J.A. Happ gets it done. Maybe you swallow hard and pay a big portion of Mark Buehrle’s contract in order to get out from an even bigger portion of it and restore some financial flexibility. As scary as it is to keep on humping the diminishing returns of Jose Reyes, and to think of banking so hard on what will, by 2016, be a 35-year-old Bautista and a 33-year-old Edwin Encarnacion, maybe we’d do well to remember just how rare their kind of talent is.

Maybe these are questions better left for… y’know… every day of the off-season. Maybe Anthopoulos can beef up the damn analytics department in the meantime.

Tangent here, but it would be a little bit fucking nice if this winter we can avoid missing details like Dioner Navarro’s poor pitch framing, which was discussed by Jeff Sullivan at Just A Bit Outside last week. Sullivan looks at the total strikes gained or lost by framing — both by a team’s own catchers, and against its hitters — and finds that the Brewers are the top team in baseball (+400 strikes), and the Jays are the bottom one (-280). It’s not all on Navarro — Sullivan notes that Jays hitters have lost out on strikes because there are so many good framers in the AL East that they face with regularity — but still! He explains:

“What does a single strike mean? Calculations in the past have put the value of an extra strike somewhere around 0.14 runs. That’s not very much, but then, you can do the multiplication. These things add up fast. If you use that estimate, then the difference between the Brewers and the Blue Jays, here, comes out to about 95 runs, just from pitch-framing alone. That’s thought to be something like ten wins. That’s just the difference between the two extremes, but that’s an enormous difference.”

I’ll still take him over Arencibia, though.

Seriously now, try winning a damn game.

Game Threat: Jays vs. Rays

They’re playing the Rays tonight, right? Well… still working out some kinks in the new computer working procedure and… well… this week has already been so abysmally half-assed around here, I’m kinda thinking… why bust my ass on a right proper Game Threat at this point? In the words of Alex Rios, who gives a fuck?

Back to normal soon, though. Oh, and Jays… win a fucking game!


Oh, hello. Apologize for the inactivity over the last day or so, but I got just a little bit robbed the other night and am currently a touch low on computers on which to… y’know… work. Things will be back to normal soon, though, so don’t fret.

In the meantime, I want to thank everybody who came out to last night’s Pitch Talks event, which may entirely have been my favourite yet — and not just for the continued spread of the term “garbage clown.” From Shi Davidi outlining J.P. Ricciardi’s terrible drafts as the reason the Jays seem perpetually thin in terms of depth, to Sid Seixeiro lamenting that the one-shot, payroll-increasing, can’t-say-no Marlins trade came around at the wrong moment for this organization and its GM, to Jeremy Taggart slaying the crowd and hilariously telling of his tryout with the Atlanta Braves (!), to Stacey May Fowles, Jenn Smith, and Erin Valois debating the merits of baseball’s replay challenge system, it was a night full of great baseball talk, and… y’know… beer (from the outstanding Left Field Brewery). And it was great putting faces to names and meeting people I’d only known through the internet, like David Shemie and Slappy Shalom — but not RADAR, even though he was apparently there!!

I’d add everyone’s Twitter handle to all that, but I’m writing this on my phone and… well… do you have any idea what a pain in the ass that would be?

What I will add, however, is what the title of this post refers to: my spot yesterday morning on TSN Radio 1050 here in Toronto.

Have a listen!

Now that was a fine game of mid-afternoon baseball for a… uh… a… what is this? A Wednesday?

Anyway, that’s more fucking like it, eh Jays? A right proper offensive outburst to distract from the August version of Jays pitching still giving up too many runs, and our learning about the franchise trying to force the Creighton Blue Jays to change their logo, and their history of being frivolously protecting their brand (trying, along with the Rays, to stop a pizza place called Ray Jay’s, and trademark filings against Jay-Z!), and the Enarnacion’s Parrot shirt stuff, and the club’s social media being apparently outsourced to some MLB drone (who accidentally updated the Rangers score on the Jays’ Twitter feed), to that thing some player said to Arash Madani yesterday, which I still haven’t written about, but probably will, even though it’s kinda dumb.

Yep, just a good ol’ solid win to end an abysmal road trip and set up a huge fight for playoff positioning on the upcoming home stand, with opportunities abound, even though it’s the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees coming in. The Jays then go to Tampa, go to Boston, then host the Cubs and the Rays before beginning their two week push against the teams ahead of them (at Baltimore, at New York, vs. Seattle, vs. Baltimore) as the season comes to a close.

They’re still not licked yet. The names are scary and the teams are maybe better than their records show, but the Jays certainly have seven very winnable series coming up, with the three games against the Yankees being the only ones (barring a strong run from Tampa) in which they’ll see a team with a record above .500. It’s a small consolation, but if back in the spring you had told me this is where they’d be at this point (and… y’know… probably didn’t tell me the specific teams they were about to play, only their records) I would sure as fuck have taken it in a heartbeat.

Four games (the amount behind the Jays currently sit in the Wild Card race) can evaporate fast. Shit, so can the 8.5 they now trail the Orioles by.

Ask the Jays.