happsterbackground

Yep. Reaaaaally going to want to start winning some of these games here. A nice little hot stretch starting right now would do wonders for how exciting things could get in September — and it still might not even matter, given the way that some of the teams around them have played of late.

There should be zero belief in anybody’s mind that on talent the Jays truly are, as Megan Robinson notes, the MLB-worst 4-11 team, outscored 81-46, that they’ve been so far in August. But that doesn’t mean they’re due for a good stretch and to find some equilibrium, either.

It might happen, and they sure could use it happening, but most likely they’ll play out the string as the just-above-.500 team that they’ve been all year. Yet that still could keep things exciting: playing merely at the .512 clip they’ve played this year for the final 37 games would give the Jays 19 more wins — they’d finish at 83-79. Not great, but they’d need only to turn a few extra losses into wins to get themselves real close to legitimately being in the conversation.

In other words, not only is someone saying now that it’s over a garbage clown, they’re also simply wrong.

Scuttlebutt

The NL is dumb, so Adam Lind sits tonight, while Juan Francisco is in at third.

A sign that the Jays maybe aren’t full-on desperate-desperate? No Encarnacion or Bautista at third. It’s got to be a temptation, but I completely understand not doing it — and I suspect there are as many aghast that Francisco is playing as there would be at the thought of risking either of those two out of position, which ought to be telling.

Just spitballin’ here, but this series could be Juan Francisco’s last hurrah. I doubt it — they’re so close now to when rosters expand — but Ryan Goins will be eligible to return on the weekend, and you might want to go defence-first with the roster spot. They should probably at least consider it, though Danny Valencia against RHP may be the least bad of all worlds anyway.

Giving JuanFran a chance against the team that released him this spring might just be the spark that gets him going again, thought someone somewhere. Probably.

Today in #GibbyTheBest, Brendan Kennedy tweets that John Gibbons said that Melky Cabrera took it upon himself to bunt in the first inning of Sunday’s loss, adding, “Sometimes when you play for one run, that’s all you get. We might’ve scored those five or six.” (No, he’s not blaming Melky for the loss.)

In case you missed it, those of you in Toronto are all invited to come for a little DJF drink-up tonight at Opera Bob’s — 1112 Dundas St. W (@ Ossington) — as we watch the Jays and Brewers clash in Milwaukee in an 8:10 PM start. And if you follow @OperaBob‘s on Twitter, you already know that there will be ballpark dogs, nachos (or, if you prefer — and I do — ‘chos), as well as $5 pints. Nails much?

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 2:10 PM ET @ Milwaukee

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 Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
LHP J.A. Happ (L)

Milwaukee Brewers

CF Carlos Gomez (R)
1B Jonathan Lucroy (R)
RF Ryan Braun (R)
3B Aramis Ramirez (R)
LF Khris Davis (R)
2B Rickie Weeks (R)
C Martin Maldanado (R)
SS Jean Segura (R)
RHP Mike Fiers (R)

 

BlueJaysSS

I… uh…

Yeah… nope. I have no idea right here.

I mean, sure, I suppose that if you want to illustrate the immense speed at which you think the Jays season is hurtling towards the ground, you’re going to need some indication of movement in your drawing. But to do that, and have the maple leaf being displaced by what preeeeeeety clearly looks like the symbol of the military wing of Hitler’s Nazi party? That’s… something. And precisely the editorial cartoon image the Toronto Sun crowed about this morning on Twitter, and presumably published within its pages.

I’m not suggesting it’s intentional or that anything is actually meant by it or anything — mostly because I can’t imagine what any possible suggestion might be. Just weird is all. And probably not imperceptible to the Sun’s target football and porno and books about war demographic, which sort of makes it doubly strange.

I dunno. The Tao of Stieb offers a slightly less horrifying interpretation.

griffbag

Another week another Griff Bag? Not exactly, as there was no Griff Bag to speak of over at the Toronto Star back on Friday. However! In the Griffmeister’s latest Bullpen post for the Star he promises a full one will return this week, and unleashes a mini mail bag on us, and so… y’know… let’s have at it!

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,

When the Yankees saw that they needed a second baseman, they went out and got one – when they were in need of a third baseman, they spent money and brought one in. In both cases, excellent players. Some teams spend money to build an “A” class team while others, i.e. “Bean Counters” make all sorts of excuses. What a shame. Injuries are also the cause of the Jays inability to play as they did in May – they have had some bad luck in that area. Melky is, in my opinon, undoubtedly the best player that the Jays have and I hope that they bring him back for a few years.

Regards.

Tony in Toronto.

Is “bean counter” really supposed to pass as an insult around now? Really?? I mean, just parroting such an impotent gibe really takes away the impact of the one thing you said that made the faintest hint of sense. Yeah, the Yankees spend large, and as much as any organization in the game, the on-field product is at the top of their corporate pyramid, while Rogers — probably dumbly — doesn’t see the benefit in assigning special status to the baseball aspect of their business (certainly not the way they have with live hockey rights). The Yankees seem to believe in winning as the prime driver of their bottom line, and spending as a means to that end, while the Jays are locked into a very different corporate structure where that just doesn’t seem possible for them, even though that’s precisely what they did in the most successful, on- and off-field, era of the club’s history. It is what it is, but it totally fucking sucks, yes.

Ah… but then there’s the rest of it. Chase Headley maybe plays excellent defence, but an excellent player? Maybe once, and maybe he can be again one day, but that’s not a label I’m about to slap on a guy whose 92 wRC+ on the season leaves him tied for 117th among 153 qualified big league hitters this season with the likes of Billy Hamilton, Alcides Escobar, and Dioner Navarro. Martin Prado, by the way, ranks 131st on that list, and has been abysmal since moving to the Bronx (while Utley has merely been league average).

Sure, injuries have played a part in the Jays’ inability to repeat their May performance, but it hasn’t been everything: Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison haven’t quite been the same, and it doesn’t help that on May 18th Juan Francisco was sporting a wRC+ of 175, and since then he’s put up a mark of 72.

And while you’re right that re-signing Melky is something to be optimistic for — and would be a sign that ownership is at least half-serious about winning — he’s undoubtedly the best player on the club? Uh… look right. (No, no, keep going.)

 

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Q-Dear Mr. Griffin,

In your 8-8-14 Mailbag answer to Al from Toronto, you listed Ryan Goins among “the fresh group on the way to fill the upper farm system void.” Was this a slip of your fingers on the keyboard, or do you really consider Goins to be a prospect? He’s already 26 YO and as I type this has 245 ML PAs over two seasons. His slash line is .227/.247/.309. His OPS is .556. He has 54 Ks and 6 BB. Why should a fan have any optimism that Mr. Goins has a Major League future?

Thanks,

John Thompson, New Westminster, BC

Well, he’s got a hell of a glove, and you can never say never, but honestly? I’m with you. Which isn’t to say he has no value. He could be something like a Munenori Kawasaki with less bat and more glove, I suppose. Mune has batted .279/.328/.320 this season in the Majors, while Goins has put up a .282/.335/.340 in Buffalo, both with BABIPs higher than you’d think would be sustainable. So… yeah, it’s not much. Glove and bat seem to even out to pretty much replacement level, as far as I can tell.

 

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Q-Mr. Griffin,

On Thursday night, August 8, I attended the Jays v. Orioles game at the Rogers Centre. I witnessed the following incident that I believe is indicative of why many fans don’t attend many, if any, games at the stadium. I’ll be thinking twice before I go again.

While the pitching for both teams was great, the game seemed to lack excitement and the crowd (smaller than I had expected for such a matchup) was pretty laid back; I might even say it was dead. I was seated along the third-base line, in section 128. Down a couple of rows, in the section to my left, a fan was standing up from time to time during the game, cheering and trying to rouse others around him to make some noise. I can’t say how much he was standing throughout the game as I was generally watching the field. Apparently, one or more people seated behind him must have complained that he should sit down as he was blocking their view. I can understand that, though if they had stood to cheer it wouldn’t have been a problem. Personally, I find the wave, with hands flapping in front of me blocking my view of the field, pretty annoying. At the beginning of the ninth — NINTH — inning, an usher came by and asked him to sit. He refused. I’ll add here that at no time did I hear him yell anything inappropriate, such as foul language. He also did not appear to be intoxicated.

The usher then went to get security. A couple of security guys came down, with one or two outs at the time, and again asked him to sit. Several (I think four) police arrived on the scene. Now things really became nasty and distracting. They sought to remove him from the stadium. They were intent on throwing him out as the bottom of the ninth inning was starting, for heaven’s sake. He sat, grabbing the sides of his chair, as many of us in the vicinity began chanting “let him stay; let him stay.” In the end, just before the game ended, they were able to pin his arms behind his back, cuff him, and virtually drag him out in obvious pain from the pinning of his arms.

In sum, it seems they want to treat the Rogers Centre like a church. Even if anyone could agree with their actions, why do this as the game appeared to be ending (sure, the Jays could have tied it up and then perhaps a decision might need to be made)? In my view, and I think many around me would agree, they used excessive force to remove a fan who was cheering on his team and trying to get others around him to get more into the game. There is a lot wrong with the Rogers Centre (prices for beverages and food for starters and that awful “turf”), but this treatment of fans who actually get excited strikes me as the greatest reason to stay away.

A Fan of Yours,

Richard Wertheim

I was there the night before, and I must say, I’m surprised you found the crowd laid back. But the other stuff? Sadly I don’t find that terribly surprising at all — from the irritating fan not giving two shits about the people around him, to the absolute overreaction from the stadium staff and police.

While I do particularly despise wave-starters — especially those who won’t take no for an answer — and tend to think that if you’re the only person standing up, you should probably just sit the fuck down. But somebody has got to be the first one to start standing, so even I can accept there’s a little bit of leeway here. And even still, four cops? Come on.

Add this to the stories I heard about people not being allowed to move into vacant seats during the 19-inning game in the following series — even vacant ones in the same pricing tier! — and yeah… more victories for the fun police. (Though, to be fair, my interactions with Rogers Centre staff have always been pretty good, so maybe don’t be too hard on them.)

 

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groundscrew

After taking a day and still not quite figuring out what all to say about the weekend’s reports about Alex Anthopoulos maintaining his job security for the foreseeable future, while Paul Beeston — with an expiring contract, a new cast of characters among his high-up peers at Rogers, and his possibly-telling support of failed MLB commissioner candidate Tom Werner (who Beeston’s son works for in Boston), with speculation he may have been angling for a job in the league office had Werner won — may be on his way out, I figured I should at least do a little housekeeping regarding the excellent stuff going on this week (as the Jays season potentially continues to go up in flames around us).

Besides, the Beeston and AA leaving or staying stuff… I mean… it’s not like these are new thoughts. There are sound arguments both for and against keeping either of them. Personally I’d be more inclined to keep the GM — who has done at least as much excellent work as he has questionable, has been badly hamstrung this year (possibly not of his own doing), and who still has the club in position to compete in 2015 and beyond, with still-great contracts for his elite sluggers paying dividends as the fruits of his prep pitching-heavy drafts continue to ripen — and to lose the President — whose technophobia, to me, doesn’t augur well for an organization trying to compete with the best and brightest and most progressive of the league, and whose removal might lend itself to deeper reassessment of what’s working and what isn’t within the organization (including the GM) — but honestly? I’m sure I could be convinced to go either way.

Plus, there will be plenty of time to think about all that, and right now we’ve got games to watch!

Well, there are actually only two games to watch in this two off-day week, which… uh… means only two chances for the Jays to lose, I guess. But also, of course, that they could start putting it together again. And those of you in Toronto are all invited to come for a little DJF drink-up tonight at Opera Bob’s1112 Dundas St. W (@ Ossington) — as we watch the Jays and Brewers clash in Milwaukee in an 8:10 PM start. And if you follow @OperaBob‘s on Twitter, you already know that there will be ballpark dogs, nachos (or, if you prefer — and I do — ‘chos), as well as $5 pints. Nails much?

Then this Thursday night at 918 Bathurst, it’s another opportunity for booze, as @Tallboys presents the sixth edition of the Pitch Talks, which has a terrific lineup, including myself and former Our Lady Peace drummer, Jeremy Taggart, talking about baseball and music (no, really), as well as Shi Davidi, Sid Seixeiro, and a terrific panel featuring Stacey May Fowles (the Walrus, Deadspin, National Post), Jenn Smith (@GTAChick78), and Erin Valois (theScore.com). Follow @PitchTalks for all the pertinents. Get your tickets here – use the promo code DJF for $5 off! Cool-ass poster here.

More housekeeping: 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 ol’ DJF Instagram too!

 

Image via.

07-BigAnthopoulos
I don’t know why anybody who knows would say it to Steve Simmons, of all people, but according to his report in this morning’s Toronto Sun, Alex Anthoupouls will return as GM of the Blue Jays next season.

To wit:

Anthopoulos has taken tremendous heat from fans, and even from some of his players, for his inability to make a significant deal at the non-waiver trade deadline and, of late, the Jays’ playoff chances are fading.

Ownership, however, looks at it somewhat differently. No matter what happens over the final 38 games, it appears pleased that Anthopoulous has put the club’s future in good pitching hands with a potential rotation down the road that includes Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison and minor-league stalwart Daniel Norris — all of whom are 23 years old or younger.

This is pretty understandable, and quite fine — especially if Simmons is correct when he later, a few sentences before diving full-on into total fucking insufferable lemon-sucking garbage clowndom regard Jose Bautusta, roster construction, and Kyle Drabek, he writes that the money issue is maybe murky as ever, since “the Jays never went to Rogers and asked for more money because they were never close enough to a trade that would have required additional funds.” But obviously it will require elaboration, which I’ll totally provide… y’know… tomorrow.

He also adds that Melky Cabrera is telling people he wants to stay here, if you want to believe more people with knowledge are actually willing to tell Steve Simmons stuff, and that John Gibbons’ status is up in the air — though Shi Davidi clears that up at Sportsnet (as MLBTR makes clear).

Davidi’s piece says that Rogers Media honcho Keith Pelley rubbishes the report, but it’s not like he’s believable either, and let’s be honest, Beeston is still around and AA has been an awful good corporate soldier over the years, so… yeah, I wouldn’t at all be shocked if Simmons is right and Pelley is just deflecting. Who knows, though?

So… there’s that.

Here’s an idea: try winning a damn game, maybe. Remember?

eebautistasunset

So Gose goes so Francisco can sit on the bench while Valencia plays against a right-hander?

Actually, I can deal with that. It means that keeping Francisco is a matter of asset management more than actually wanting to play. Keeping him to see what they’ve got next year or if he can be moved in a deal, in exchange for two weeks without Gose? Ahhh, fine. Fine.

Anywho, at 40 games out it’s still early. Too early, at least, to say the Jays are fucked — and if you’re someone whose sphincter tightens any time someone tells you it’s still early, might I suggest to you that you’re a fucking garbage clown — and too early for there to be “must win” games.

That said, the Jays had better fucking win this game.

Scuttlebutt

EDWIN IS BACK!!!!!!!!!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET @ Chicago (AL); Sunday, 2:10 PM ET @ Chicago (AL)

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)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
DH Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Marcus Stroman

Chicago White Sox

LF Alejandro de Aza (L)
SS Alexei Ramirez (R)
1B Jose Abreu (R)
DH Adam Dunn (L)
RF Dayan Viciedo (R)
3B Conor Gillaspie (L)
C Tyler Flowers (R)
CF Jordan Danks (L)
2B Gordon Beckham (R)

RHP Hector Noesi