Archive for the ‘Toronto Blue Jays’ Category

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

Unless you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, everything you know about Edwin Encarnacion is a lie. If you still think of Encarnacion as “E5″, you’re wrong. Not only has he made just 10 starts at the hot corner over the last two seasons, he has evolved far beyond the the league-average hitter who pounded 26 home runs as a member of the Cincinnati Reds (with stops in the minor leagues and on waiver wire in between).

Here, in 2013, Edwin Encarnacion is one of the best power hitters in the game. He is the only player with a slugging percentage above .450 who still manages to walk more than he strikes out. He has more extra base hits this season than strikeouts. Nobody else in baseball, not Miguel Cabrera or Adrian Beltre, can claim that. Just Edwin Encarnacion.

On Sunday afternoon, Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate in the seventh inning with his team down a run. The opposing pitcher, Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays, was dealing. Archer had allowed just a single hit to that point, striking out five batters without issuing a single walk. Archer was doing it with his superlative fastball, commanding the pitch and coaxing a series of lazy fly balls.

This presents itself as a good matchup for Edwin Encarnacion, who pounds fastballs for a living. 21 of EE’s 31 homers have come against the heat this season, tying him for the lead league with Miguel Cabrera. It is a matchup of strength versus strength.

Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals

The Blue Jays have about two dozen questions to answer this off-season. One of the most disappointing clubs in baseball entered the season with such high hopes, only to see it all crash around them. Their season was effectively finished by Memorial Day (Victoria Day in Canada), no matter how much hope their 11 game win streak gave Jays fans.

There is still plenty of talent around the diamond, as the Jays have good to great players in Colby Rasmus, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Bautista set to return next season. The pitching couldn’t possibly be worse than it’s been this year, so they have that going for them (which is good.) As David Ortiz told the Toronto Star this week “I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they come back and just whoop everybody’s ass, to be honest with you.”

One question must answer starts with their designated hitter and part-time first baseman, Adam Lind. What is to become of the 2009 AL Silver Slugger? The Jays have to ask some tough questions before they ultimately make a decision on his 2014 contract option.

Read the rest of this entry »

sad trout and sosh

Tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays travel to Angels Stadium in Anaheim to take on the Los Angeles Angels. Before the season began, this looked like the kind of series you might see MLB Network or ESPN pick up for national coverage. Two teams loaded for playoff bear, ready to take on the established order of the American League. The kind of teams who might look to add a key piece as the just-passed non-waiver trade deadline with that final playoff push in mind.

Instead, there are two teams going nowhere. NO. WHERE. Two teams with nearly identical records: seven games under .500 for the Jays, an amazing ten games below for the Angels. Two teams looking to shed soon-to-be free agents and gear up for next season. Two potential trade partners in their own special way

How could this happen? Where did I all go wrong to the Jays and Halos?

Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals

It was a bizarre Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. First, the Kansas City-Cleveland game was delayed for more than two-and-a-half hours by rain. Then, near midnight, during the sixth inning, the lights went out due to a preset computer program.

At some point in there, the Royals were up by a run when Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis hit a long fly ball to left. Alex Gordon went back trying to make the catch at the wall, but then awkwardly fell back, seemingly hitting the back of his head on the wall as the ball rolled forward. Kipnis came around for a three-run, inside-the-park home run to put his team up 3-1. The Royals actually battled back and ended up winning 6-5 on Eric Hosmer‘s solo home run, which was fun for Royals fans.

Gordon’s injury, however, was not. He did not get carted off, but from the looks of things, he hit his head pretty hard. The initial diagnosis was that Gordon suffered a mild concussion (to the extent that any concussion can be called “mild”) and a bruised hip. It is not clear how long Gordon will be out at this point, but it was definitely scary at the time. 3

Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers

The two loveable scamps who host Baseball Prospectus’ Effectively Wild podcast, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, had a fun idea on Friday’s show: they drafted a dream home run derby team. Not just in terms of “which team would win” but which team would feature the most entertaining players? They sought entertaining players more than effective players for this hypothetical situation.

After the usual suspects (Giancarlo Stanton et al) and some off-the-board choices including football player/famous progeny Trey Griffey, Ben Lindbergh selected Munenori Kawasaki of the Toronto Blue Jays. Kawasaki is enjoying a fun run for the Toronto Blue Jays, mostly scoring points in the “antics” column. He is a solid defender at shortstop and turns in solid at bats but he is not an everyday player in the big leagues.

Which is the point of Ben’s tongue-in-cheek selection: it would be fun to see the slight, slap-hitting Japanese import swing for the fences.

As someone who joylessly drifts through life as literally as possible, it got me thinking: how might Munenori Kawasaki actually fare in the home run derby? To answer that question, I did some digging and watched him take batting practice. The results might surprise you!

Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

The latest edition of My Approach gets into the head of one of the most patient and prolific sluggers in the game, Jose Bautista.

As he did last season, Jose is off to a bit of a slow start in 2013. While he isn’t putting up the batting average he’d like, Jose remains a very productive hitter, still walking at an elite rate and hitting for power like very few batters can. His walk rate is fifth-best in the American League and his seven home runs place him among the league leaders.

During the Jays most recent home stand, Jose spoke to Getting Blanked about many aspects of preparation and research, where Bautista quotes numbers and describes, in as many words, the game theory of hitting in the big leagues. Plus a whole lot on his preparation against his nemesis, CC Sabathia.

Read the rest of this entry »

There are few things in baseball more anticlimactic than a walkoff walk (unless you happen to know what “shrimp” means, then it’s TOTALLY THE OPPOSITE.) But for most, normal, functioning people, a walkoff walk is a missed opportunity to whoop it up and celebrate a dramatic victory.

The Toronto Blue Jays of 2013 have been just that – anticlimactic. After a roster overhaul landed them squarely in the middle of playoff favorites in the winter, the real baseball season has provided only heartbreak. Disappointment. Let down.

What better way for the Blue Jays to lose then by walkoff walk? Brad Lincoln misses low and the Rays win! The Blue Jays slink off the field as defeated men. The Rays, meanwhile, halfheartedly celebrate around Luke Scott, who drew crucial base on balls.

Walkoff walks are the best and the worst. The Blue Jays are mostly just the worst. At least they aren’t protesting a game against the freaking Astros, as Mike Scioscia‘s Angels are currently playing their game in Houston under protest after an illegal pitching change. Or something. God, what disastrous seasons for both these sad-sack teams.

To say nothing of the Astros, the team happiness forgot. Misery follows that pathetic outfit around like a lost puppy.