Welp. It can only get better from here, right? I mean, I know Casey Janssen has been so terrific that he’s probably allowed to blow a save every once in a while at this point, I guess, but… man… fuck.

anibalsDET

Anibal Sanchez. Max Scherzer. David Price. Felix Hernandez. Chris Young. Hisashi Iwakuma.

Holy. Thank fuck Melky’s OK. Um… can everyone else be OK already too, though? One thinks this could be a tough stretch — and right at a time, with the Jays now even with the Yankees, and behind the Royals in the Wild Card race, when they don’t need one.

Of course, it’s baseball, and all of those guys are absolutely beatable. The Tigers have lost nine of the twenty games Sanchez has started this year. For Scherzer it’s seven of 23. Price’s teams have lost nine of the 24 games he’s started. For King Felix it’s eight of 24. Nine of 24 for Chris Young, and eight of eighteen for Iwakuma.

Obviously that doesn’t say anything about how well they pitched. In a lot of those games surely they were great — they’re great pitchers (um… and Chris Young) — I just mean to point out that these aren’t unwinnable games, either. So it might be as fun a stretch as it will be tough.

Go Jays!

Scuttlebutt

Melky “told the trainers he was ready to go,” according to John Gibbons, via a John Lott tweet. “That was all I needed to hear.”

Barry Davis tweets that Cabrera will wear a pad on his elbow, but that he’s ready to play through the pain.

Valencia and not Francisco in the lineup tonight against a right-hander? Yep. According to a tweet from Mike Wilner, John Gibbons wants to see what he’s got — and thinks there’s some “whip in his bat,” saying that the player thinks being told to hit home runs (as apparently the Royals had done) messed him up.

A tweet from Chris Toman tells us that John Gibbons would be “very surprised” if Adam Lind’s back issue was anything.

In the Toronto Star, Brendan Kennedy asks a bunch of agents about what it will take to sign Melky Cabrera, and… actually it’s not really that bad.

The Washington Post looks at the quality of beer at the various Major League parks, and the Jays? Well… it’s shameful.

Fairservice co-hosting on TSN Radio from 2 PM to 6 PM tomorrow? Listen up!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 1:07 PM ET vs. Detroit; Sunday, 1:07 PM ET vs. Detroit

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 Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
C Josh Thole (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Detroit Tigers

CF Rajai Davis (R)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
1B Miguel Cabrera (R)
DH Victor Martinez (S)
RF Torii Hunter (R)
LF J.D. Martinez (R)
C Alex Avila (L)
3B Nick Castellanos (R)
SS Eugenio Suarez (R)

RHP Anibal Sanchez

I’ve always been quick to roll my eyes at Jays fans who get so unabashedly steamed at the possibility that someone running a huge brand and television property operated by a major arm of a multi-billion-dollar company, with a payroll over $100-million, might not always be entirely truthful, or that figures who have so often demonstrated themselves to be, above all else, company men, might be massaging the message to spin things in a positive light for their employers, and for the viability of their product at the turnstile and as compelling content on the TV network owned by the parent company.

People want to hold Paul Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos, and their ilk to a higher standard, I think, because what they represent is, to a lot of us, more than just a brand or a product or content. It’s not a soft drink or a car or something that can be distilled into some shallow pitch-line, it’s the passion that unites us — *Ehrm* — except… well… it really is a whole lot like those things when you get right down to it, and guys like Beeston and Anthopoulos really are just middle-managers, doing what’s right for the company and the bottom line when it comes to the P.R. aspects of their jobs.

We understand that. It’s OK.

Or, it is to me, at least.

The club is going to do what it’s going to do, regardless of what they say or what we think. The injured players are going to be healthy when they’re healthy. What we’re told about it, to me, matters not one iota, and those who get themselves all worked up about it are kinda hilarious. If it gives the club some any kind of competitive advantage, even better.

I’d even go as far as to say that’s all true except when that competitive advantage is gained in the form of budget increases procured by selling false hope to fans, but at this point that’s a losing proposition anyway, isn’t it?

Like, at this point does anybody even bother trying to believe Paul Beeston when he goes on the Fan 590, as he did this morning with Brady and Walker (audio here), and shovels us the same platitudes about the club’s finances?

I’ll set the record straight,” he tells us, “because we’ve never gone to Rogers for money and asked them for anything that we haven’t got. They’ve been very, very generous with us. They took our salaries up from $90-million to $125-million, then they’re up this year. They will be up next year, there’s no question about that. They’ve been very supportive. And so, when we lose, all of the sudden it’s because of finances — it’s because of money — and that’s really not fair to Rogers. That’s because of decisions we’ve made, or because of injuries, or because of the way we’ve played. It’s nothing to do with the financial part of it. And when we get into this, when I hear last week that we didn’t make decisions because we didn’t have the money and there was a hockey contract, it’s just flat out wrong. It’s patently false. We’ve got what we need to do, and if there wasn’t a trade that was made it was made because Alex and the baseball people didn’t think that they wanted to part with the players that they could get back for who they could get. It had nothing to do with finances.

Aren’t the words so transparent that they don’t even register? Don’t we all see through the well-worn line about Rogers never saying no when they’ve asked? Don’t we all fully understand that the reality is that they know enough not to ask?

Do we bother getting our hopes up when he says the big league payroll “will be up next year, there’s no question about that”? When earlier he said that Melky Cabrera is “a player you just want to have,” and that he and Colby Rasmus “are two players that are critical for the future”?

Would it matter?

We know how a team that has money would operate — we see it even with us in the standings in the form of the New York Yankees. A team with money to spare, as full of warts as a Martin Prado or a Chase Headley or a Brandon McCarthy might be, doesn’t let the team chasing them load up with potential upgrades that cost nothing in terms of the game’s most valuable commodity: talent. A team with money to spare doesn’t balk at a Prado out of fear of blowing their opportunity to re-sign Cabrera. There are plenty of legitimate baseball reasons to have not made stronger plays for those guys, but that’s not what a team making decisions that have “nothing to do with finances” does.

Does it matter whether Alex Anthopoulos is lying or not when he says, as he did this afternoon (as per a piece from John Lott of the National Post), that even though Adam Lind wasn’t scheduled to play a rehab game today for the GCL Jays because of tightness in his back — a wonky back that, according to Baseball Prospectus, kept him out 24 games in 2011, 29 in 2012, five in 2013, and 20 more earlier this season — the club’s decision-makers “don’t think it’s much of anything”?

Does it matter that it’s reasonable enough that he says they felt, “why even push it?” 

Does anything that we do or think change the timetable? Do these guys even bother to blush anymore when some of the things they’ve said in the past are thrown back at them? Or does the media understand so well how their hands are being tied from above that they don’t even bother to push it to hard — to grind them down and get to the truth?

Would it matter if, more often, they just said the truth we already know? Would it change anything?

I’m honestly asking!

Melky Plays!

melkylineup

What’s that? Good injury news for the Blue Jays?

No, it won’t put more runs on the board last night, meaning the Jays still wasted an excellent performance from J.A. Happ, but what seemed like an extra-dispiriting loss is now just a little bit more… uh… spiriting: as you can see above, Melky Cabrera is back in the lineup tonight for the Jays.

Halle-effing-lujah.

In case you missed it, or were stunned into total amnesia by the fact that Anthony Gose went yard, Melky got himself an ugly welt on his elbow last night, after taking a pitch to it in his first at-bat of the game. He stayed in to run the bases, and as DH wasn’t needed again until the third, when Nolan Reimold took his place.

In the aftermath of the game the Jays were non-committal, as usual, about the injury, leading to a whole lot of consternation — though, given their track record of late, even their saying he’d be fine would have led to consternation, I’m sure. But it’s all in the past now: Melky is back in left field and hitting second in the lineup tonight as the Jays host Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers. They needed that.

Read the rest of this entry »

happhomewhite

What a game last night, and what a performance from Drew Hutchison. Let’s do something like that again, shall we?

Um… minus the hangover, perhaps.

Scuttlebutt

John Lott tweets that Alex Anthopoulos says Edwin Encarnacion was running hard today, and is much better.

Shi Davidi adds that AA left open the door for Edwin to return in time for next week’s series in Seattle. That’ll play.

And… yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

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

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)
DH Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
LF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
3B Manny Machado (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Delmon Young (R)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
C Caleb Joseph (R)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)

RHP Miguel Gonzalez

lawrieface

There are about seven weeks left in the season, and according to a statement to reporters today from Alex Anthopoulos, Brett Lawrie could miss as many as six of them. And that’s assuming the prognosis includes time for a rehab assignment, which it almost certainly doesn’t.

In other words, it’s not impossible that we’ve seen the last of Brett Lawrie in a Blue Jays uniform this season.

That’s getting ahead of ourselves a bit, though. What the GM said, according to a tweet from Barry Davis, is that the left oblique strain that has landed the oft-injured infielder on the Disabled List yet again will require a recovery time of “three to six weeks.”

While I generally roll my eyes — or worse — at the tinfoil hat wearing individuals who want to see a conspiracy in everything the Jays say about their players’ injuries, here they’re giving us a timeline that admits it may be tough for Lawrie to get back in time to finish the season. It may not! He may end up close to the three week side of things, but I think fans can be forgiven if they’re skeptical.

Other Injury Updates

In the tweet about the injury timeline, Davis notes that Anthopoulos says this latest oblique injury for Lawrie is unrelated to the previous ones he’s had. Which… great? I guess?

Another tweet from Davis says that Edwin Encarnacion has been running and may start rehab games on the weekend (yay!), and that Adam Lind went 2-for-3 today in his rehab assignment, and is on track to return when the club goes to Seattle early next week.

Encarnacion will return at the end of next week “at the latest,” says Anthopoulos, according to a tweet from Brendan Kennedy.

gibberssour

Gibbons, come on, man, you can’t leave the desk like that!

Welp. Let’s try this again.

Games like this are what we’re all emotionally involved in this for, so let’s enjoy the piss out of it. And let’s maybe enjoy a win, goddamn it!

Scuttlebutt

Brett Lawrie, as you see, is not in tonight’s lineup for the Jays. Mike Wilner tweets that the MRI results are not in yet, and that John Gibbons says he’s hoping it’s not something that will land Lawrie on the DL, but that he’s been wrong before.

Megan Robinson adds that Lawrie says he feels a bit better today than he did last night.

In better news, John Lott tweets that Adam Lind will begin his rehab assignment tomorrow with the GCL Jays. John Gibbons says he hopes the number of rehab games Lind will need is “not many.”

Wilner notes, however, that David Price goes on Sunday against the Jays (note: yeesh), so there might be more sense bringing him back in Seattle next week if he’s not going to be ready for Friday. Could help off the bench, though…

Lastly, if you’re not on the Twitter machine, you may have missed some outstanding news today, which is that our dear friend Drew has joined FanGraphs. Congrats to him and to FanGraphs. Outstandingness all around.

As for some of the changes that have taken place at theScore, and other places like Sports On Earth, I obviously can’t really say anything, but if you’re interested, Parkes gave some food for thought on this week’s Canadaland podcast. I should note, though, I completely disagree with some of what Parkes says at the end about the value of sportswriting. I think that when it’s done well it’s a terrific way to introduce big and interesting and important ideas, and to have a conversation about them with a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily encounter or be receptive to them otherwise. That probably sounds a bit snobbish, and there’s all sorts more to it than that, obviously, but as one example, the way that so many have been exposed to new ways of thinking about gender issues, LGBT equality issues, etc. through the prism of sports? That’s pretty powerful stuff, to me. Even in terms of articulating arguments for critical thinking, raising sociological questions or critiques of unquestioned power structures or ones about the nature of human behaviour — maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I think that has value. Even if the outcomes of the games are trivial, I don’t think the conversation is entirely trivial. That said, while, as you might expect, I’m not particularly thrilled that that kind of writing appears to be losing ground as a commodity to the Upworthy- and Buzzfeed-ification of content, I entirely agree with Parkes when he says he completely understands what’s happening from a business perspective too. Art and commerce, have they ever been at odds before?

Hey, and while we’re all here and addressing people who may have missed stuff on Twitter, I might as well mention that earlier this week the CBC made a dumb list of the “best” Canadian songs, so I wrote mean things about music you like.

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

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 Nolan Reimold (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
3B Manny Machado (R)
CF Adam Jones (R)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
LF David Lough (L)
2B Ryan Flaherty (L)
C Nick Hundley (R)

LHP Bruce Chen (Actually it’s more likely country troubadour Wei-Yin Chennings)