“The only thing I know is that I would never compromise the integrity of the game of baseball. I love this game too much,” Colabello said in his statement released by the player’s association. “I hope that before anyone passes judgment on me they can take a look at the man that I am, and everything that I have done to get to where I am in my career.”
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
I’m sorry to say it but there is NO WAY that people aren’t going to pass judgment on any pro athlete who fails a drug test. And from the sounds of Troy Tulowitzki’s comments, some of his teammates are none too happy too. Maybe they don’t believe him. Maybe they’re pissed that he didn’t tell them sooner. Maybe they’re pissed that he kept trying to play these past 17 games and hitting .069. What could he do before they suspended him? Take himself out of the roster?
He is using his long difficult road to the majors as a defence. He is claiming that he would never compromise his career when it took so long to get here. But, maybe he lost patience and wanted a boost to get himself across the finish line by the age of 30. I can’t imagine that he had never had a drug test before. And why dope before spring training when you know that you’re going to get tested?
I think we’ll never know for sure whether he’s innocent. But it doesn’t matter. Even if he took uncertified supplements that were laced with steroids, he’s still responsible. And what a shame considering that he isn’t buff and he isn’t performing well! But I have a feeling this shocking blow could divide the clubhouse. Or maybe it will help them focus. Friday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics kind of fell apart. Was it the news? I don’t know but Sanchez was not the pitcher he’s been and gave up 6 runs before they finally yanked him in the 5th inning. But the Blue Jays did battle back run by run to get back to 6-5. When Osuna came to the mound, there was hope that magic would happen. If it was September 2015, it would have. But there isn’t much spark or magic yet within this club. Hoping they ignite today.
Another loss. What should have been a fun and competitive reunion between David Price and his previous team on Saturday ended up feeling like a bit of a debacle. For the most part, Estrada was strong except for the 3rd inning when he got nailed in the leg. This allowed 1 on base. Then Donaldson missed what could have been a double play to get out of the inning, instead leaving 2 runners on for the ensuing 3-run homerun. That was unfortunately the turning point.
Even before this, the game looked promising but started with a bit of bad mojo. Donaldson started the 1st inning with a triple but got caught on camera yelling at his 3rd base coach Rivera. Bautista then followed with what should have been a triple, but the call was that he got tagged out.
Encarnacion later hit a double. Throughout the rest of the game, Angel Hernandez’ strike zone was quite unstable leading to increasing frustration among the batters, who aren’t hitting that well to begin with.
What’s different from last year?
So why is this slump happening so soon? Well, slumps happen but consider this theory. The off season changes that were made to the Jays lineup were meant to fill gaps in skills. The biggest perceived hole was the starting rotation and the bullpen and most changes were made in that area. The starting rotation now seems to be just fine with Stroman, Estrada, Sanchez, Happ and Dickey (well, not so much Dickey), although the bullpen has yet to find it’s groove except for Roberto Osuna who has picked up where he left off last season.
New gaps were created with the losses that occurred during the off season. I believe a big one may be the clubhouse cheering squad. We all know that we lost a superstar pitcher when David Price’s brief stint with the Blue Jays was over and that we lost a speedy leadoff hitter with an on base percentage (OBP) of 0.354 when we traded Ben Revere for Drew Storen, believing that we needed another closer type of pitcher more than we needed Ben. The new lead-off hitter Kevin Pillar’s OBP in 2015 was 0.314 and so far in 2016 is 0.235 (yeesh!). It also seems like Revere was also better defensively in left field than Saunders but it’s harder to know since Saunders has played so little recently. Let’s see if we can make anything of the stats.
Range Factor per 9 Innings
Revere (LF) 2015 2.02
Saunders (LF) 2016 1.25 (only 9 games)
Saunders (LF) 2013 1.74
Saunders (LF) 2012 2.06
Comparing to Blue Jays’ gold standard:
Pillar (CF) 2015 2.99
Pillar (CF) 2016 2.51
Ok, yeah, Revere wasn’t Pillar but Saunders hasn’t been as good as Revere was in 2015 since Saunders played with Seattle in 2012. I omitted 2014 and 2015 for Saunders because he only played LF 3 games.
What about the intangibles?
Things we can’t look to statistics for. We lost the smiles and cheery Southern personalities of Price being from Nashville, Tennessee and Ben Revere originating from Atlanta, Georgia.
They say the clubhouse atmosphere hasn’t changed but I don’t believe it. There is no cheering squad left. We have the angry superstar leaders in Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. We have the polite Canadians in Michael Saunders and Russell Martin. We have the ‘I’m better than you think’ guys in Kevin Pillar and Chris Colabello. And we have the quiet pillars of the infield mega-defense in Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney. But where are the happy, fun guys?
New guys: Drew Storen, J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez, Gavin Floyd…anything memorable about these guys’ personalities?
Now, Stroman is super high energy, and he’s always smiling so I guess he’s the only bit of cheering quad left, but he’s got a lot he’s trying to prove and a huge chip on his shoulder that Price and Revere didn’t have.
On paper, this team as a whole looked better, but, are they still having fun? Of course, I miss David Price as the whole team clearly does, and it sucks that he went to a division rival, but I also miss Ben Revere because not only has Kevin Pillar failed to fill his lead off hitting shoes, we’re also missing some of that smooth Southern Comfort.
Thank you Ivan Nova. With the Yankees relief pitcher on the mound, the Blue Jays scored 4 runs in the 8th inning Wednesday night. The Jays had only scored 4 runs after the 5th inning in all the 8 previous games of this season. The final score of 7-2 was a sight for sore eyes.
Here are the highlights. Try to ignore the guy who keeps calling Goins ‘Goings’.
The die hard experts joke about us bandwagon fans. Silly bandwagoners freaking out over a few games. Well, so what? We bandwagon fans are spending $$$ on hats and jerseys. We bought one Tuesday night and it cost $185 + $30 for the 40th anniversary crest + HST!! We’re in it to win it. We’re not in this to grind out losses season after season. We want to cheer the team on as they win win win! What’s wrong with that? I’m sorry if I don’t enjoy watching them lose.
As a newbie fan of course I don’t understand sabermetrics but there are some stats that appear to be easy to understand, maybe hard to interpret, but isn’t that part of what we love about baseball? The stats and what picture they can paint. For example…
Smoak vs Colabello. I have this impression that Smoak is a bigger hitter and better defender than Colabello even though it seems like the Jays use Colabello more when they need hitting and Smoak for defense. So I tried to see if the stats support this.
2015 Games Hits HR RBI SO AVG BB% K% OBP SLG OPS
Smoak 132 67 18 59 86 0.226 8.8% 26.2% 0.299 .470 .768
Colabello 101 107 15 54 96 0.321 6.1% 26.7% 0.367 .520 .886
2015 G Inn Putouts Assists Errors
Smoak 110 687 666 44 4
Colabello 34 240 248 11 1
Hmm, that’s a lot of numbers but looks to me like Colabello edges out in both categories. Am I misunderstanding something? Or is it that Colabello’s kind of casual, flaccid way just doesn’t look as imposing as Justin Smoak’s 6’4 240lb frame.
One other question I had was does Kevin Pillar swing at a lot of pitches outside the zone? He seems to love chasing the down and away outside the zone. This seems to be an easy one to answer.
Kevin Pillar Plate Discipline compared to Jose Bautista.
The O-Swing% is the percentage of pitches outside the zone that the batter swings at.
O-Swing% 40.9% vs. 22.8%
Yep, compared to Bautista, Pillar swings at a LOT of pitches outside the zone. How do you get a lead off hitter to work on that?
I was at the Rogers Centre for the first game against the Yankees this season. I had expected not to see too many empty blue seats but the attendance was only 28000+. I guess because it was a Tuesday night.
I was kind of embarrassed when a NY fan and a Toronto fan started brawling in the 100 seats. I mean who does that at a baseball game on a Tuesday night? That was probably the most interesting that happened Tuesday night unfortunately.
The only highlight was Jose Bautista’s 2-run double.
But no doubt, Cecil’s a bit of a disaster right now. It isn’t a ‘slow start’. His ERA is over 10! Even my inexperienced eyes can tell that he’s moving more slowly than last year. He seems off balance after the pitch is released. I think it’s because he’s gained at least 10 lbs. And he wasn’t that slim to begin with. Maybe he can take a lesson from Aaron Sanchez. Get in shape and it’ll all come together.
Tulowitzki, Colabello and Martin are all hitting below 0.150. One might say, ok it’s early, but neither Boston’s or the Yankees roster stats looks like that. They’re digging themselves pretty deep holes to hit themselves out of. The Jays have the 2nd worst batting average right now.
Hitting against that Yankees bullpen didn’t help one bit. I have to admit, they’re pretty scary and will be scarier once Aroldis Chapman returns. The Blue Jays’ bats and bullpen need to get it together…and quick.
Is it weird that rather than feeling all fired up, I breathed a sigh of relief when the Toronto Blue Jays won out over the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. I had been anticipating this game and was relieved to see that the Jays team wasn’t suddenly a disaster and still had the chops that we have been pinning our dreams of another pennant on. They did everything we could have asked for in an opening day game.
Our newly self-minted ace Marcus Stroman pitched 8+ innings! And then turned things over to our awesome 21-year-old closer Roberto Osuna who got the save. This 1-2 punch beat out Chris Archer, one of the top pitchers currently in MLB. Maybe Marcus will give him mighty competition in the rankings.
We saw a Jays homerun. That was Troy Tulowitzki who has had a great spring, who shot the first homerun of the season over the left field wall and drove in Encarnacion giving us the 5-1 lead that we needed. We also saw some trademark Tulo spinning throws to first to get the batter out.
We saw our biggest hitters play smart when they took a patient approach to the down and away ball and sent them all to right field leading to Encarnacion bringing in Donaldson and Bautista on his single in the first inning. That was beautifully encouraging.
And we saw Colabello move his feet and actually get them in the air to save a base hit to right field. Later, he fielded another ball but missed the tag on Kiermaier but did tag the base ahead of the runner. Colabello often defends his defensive abilities. The only thing that I thought was a bit odd, was that he started arguing with the ump before he ensured the play is complete when no one was touching the base. He was right though and we won the first review.
All in all, a great game, and we can all breath a collective sigh of relief that the team is indeed intact. Tulo looks great, Stroman looks great. If they can stay healthy, well, 161 games to go!
Tulo again! Two run homer to left and you can see the left fielder just waves it off as if to say, ‘ah, that’s outta here!’ Kind of cute. And the double play with the bad hop. It’s like a whole new Tulowitzki. I have a feeling that this IS the real Troy Tulowitzki.
I’m not too sure how I feel about the new slide rule though. An automatic double play was called today because Antoan Richardson slid into Darwin Barney’s feet at 2nd base. He CLEARLY wasn’t sliding into 2nd base and WAS targeting the 2nd baseman. I’m all for safety. Imagine it was my son out there! I’m sure the older players are going to feel it is taking away from the game though.
Ok, Floyd, pretty good. I can understand the dilemma between he and Sanchez for the starting rotation. But if Sanchez goes to the bullpen again for the whole season, I don’t know, will his heart be in it? And that’ll be another year without him being able to develop further. It won’t be an easy transition for him from the bullpen to the starting rotation mid-season if needed. My vote still goes to Sanchez, but I’m kind of feeling like Floyd needs a chance given his bad luck with injuries. Can he last the whole season though?
The more I watch Colabello, I think I know why he took so long to get to the majors. He had good numbers but he looks sleepy all the time! He’s got kind of a sleepy face, with his mouth open a bit. And he doesn’t act with much command. He seems kind of limp and probably it gives the impression that he’s not that committed. Sometimes, impressions count, and I think he’s just a bit loosey goosey. Compare him to Tulo who looks good even on the rare occasion when he misses a play. Hard to forget that game during the playoffs last season when Colabello went over and showed the umpire his empty glove wondering why he wasn’t calling the runner out. How embarrassing.