Ok, as you can see, I now have a Twitter feed. I have never used Twitter before, but I’m not your average bandwagon fan. Raptors lost in Miami unfortunately. Whenever the Raptors lose, the Jays win and vice versa.
Friday night’s game was a feel good game. The Jays shut out the Rangers 5-0. It was a game after which I let out a nice cleansing breath. 🙂
Edwin really does love May and homered one pulling him ahead of Joe Carter for all-time number of homers as a Blue Jay.
Tulowitzki haters were silenced by the 2-run shot, the 200th of his career, after Justin Smoak’s 2nd double.
Dickey picked off Odor at first. (I looove pick offs!) Dickey was really on tonight. Beltre almost hurt himself chasing the knuckleball.
It feels good to beat the Rangers doesn’t it? Especially Sam Dyson.
THE GAP BETWEEN THE BEST AND THE WORST
I have come to realize the baseball season is a real grind! And that whether your team is good or bad, they will win and they will lose. The Toronto Blue Jays have played 28 games so far in the 2016 season and they have won 46% of them despite their offense, which is supposed to be their greatest strength, has been weak. Their only consistent hitter so far is the reigning America League MVP, Josh Donaldson, who seems to be on track for another MVP calibre year. The worse team in the league is the Minnesota Twins who have won 30% of their games and the best team, the one that swept us at home, the Chicago White Sox, has won 70%. This difference between the best and the worst is amplified because they are still in the 1st quarter of the season, but not a super huge gap.
So, to follow a whole season will be tumultuous. I get that. I would like to see smart plays. Good plays. Few mistakes. Then you can say you were beat by the better team.
TORONTO TEAMS TAKE IT DOWN TO THE WIRE
At around 1030pm Tuesday evening, Toronto fans were jointly going wild when both Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors sinks a hail Mary 3-pointer from half-court to tie the 1st game of their playoff series against the Miami Heat. This took them into overtime. Almost simultaneously, Toronto Blue Jay Justin Smoak, hit a homerun in the bottom of the 9th, after 8 innings of shutout baseball, to tie their game against archnemesis, Texas Rangers sending that game into extra innings.
SMOAK’S GOING TO REMEMBER THIS ONE
Overall, a super boring game for 8 innings, many runners left on base, but an awesome win nevertheless!
First of all, thank goodness the Toronto Raptors won tonight because worse than losing in the first round again, in game 7, this time it would have been after having a 14 point lead heading into the 4th quarter. Man, winning by 5 is just too close for comfort.
And it was a great Sunday as Toronto’s other team, the Toronto Blue Jays also won today on ace pitcher Marcus Stroman’s birthday. He pitched 8 intelligent innings allowing only a solo homer. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki both had homeruns, but the best played part of the game was the 9th inning when Darwin Barney pinch hit for Ryan Goins and lead off with a double. With Donaldson also on base, Edwin Encarnacion did what he had to do and got an RBI groundout. Tulo’s homer was then the icing on the cake.
AND yesterday, Toronto’s other team with die hard fans, the Maple Leafs, didn’t actually win a game but won the first round draft pick. The best news they’ve had all year. All in all, a great weekend for Toronto sports.
Despite homeruns by Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar, the Jays couldn’t get the win. Pillar made his first error since last June. And unfortunately, we can’t avoid talking about Brett Cecil again. After Saturday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3, Cecil is now 0-5. This is the most losses in relief at the end of April. Ever. (Well, since 1913). Again, he allowed 3 hits without getting an out.
The scary thing is the Cecil says he can’t change anything and doesn’t want to change anything. He says he feels good and is pitching well.
I’m not to sure. His pitches seem the seem, but the pitch choices may not be. John Gibbons wasn’t happy with his last pitch choice on Saturday.
According to baseball-reference.com he has been playing more high leverage situations in 2016 compared to 2015.
gmLI (game-entering Leverage Index)
We know that the Jays have started off slow in the past and weren’t in terrific shape in 2015 when the trade deadline came around hovering at around a .500 record. How are the Jays fairing compared to last April?
W-L 11-12 11-14
ERA 4.78 3.89
OPP AVG .270 .252
WHIP 1.45 1.30
So if they’re pitching better, why isn’t their record better? Maybe the other teams are that much better? Maybe, but actually the Offense is the reason.
Team AVG .248 .232
Runs/Game 5.3 4.0
HR 28 29
RISP .276 .220
K/Game 7.7 9.3
The biggest problem is the RISP (runners in scoring position) and too many strikeouts. So…hard to blame Cecil and the bullpen completely. If the offense was living up to it’s name, the Jays would be doing well. The team should probably listen to Josh Donaldson and change their approach at the plate.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Toronto Blue Jays were down 7-1 heading into the 9th, they ended up giving up 3 more runs. The White Sox had a field day on Tuesday night. This was the first game I didn’t want to watch. It was assumed that it would be bad with Sale who’s been hot for a while and R. A. Dickey who’s been cold this season, but I’m not sure about a 10-1 game? If it weren’t for a solo homerun shot by Edwin Encarnacion, it would have been a 10-0 shutout!
It was all left hander Chris Sale. Toronto had 3 dinky hits besides the homerun. Not only did Dickey allow 6 runs in 6 innings, Biagini allowed 1 and Storen, the previous closer, allowed 3 runs pitching to 5 batters. Toronto’s greatest weaknesses? R. A. Dickey and the bullpen. No doubt.
Check out the playful side of Josh Donaldson.
Ohhh…so many good things about Saturday’s 9-3 win over the Oakland A’s at the Rogers Centre. The dome was closed. The game was sold out. Not surprisingly, the Jays are ranked 4th in attendance for their home games this year. Oakland’s 5-game win streak is over. The Jays 3-game losing streak is done. All is good.
J. A. Happ pitched 7 innings and allowed 3 runs. He did this despite only 1 strikeout, the first batter in the 1st inning. He also had only 1 walk and the 2nd batter hit a homerun. But otherwise, the Blue Jay defense neutralized the offense.
Gavin Floyd pitched the remaining 2 innings and did not allow any runs.
There was a bit of drama in the 6th when recently traded Liam Hendricks hit Donaldson with a pitch. In the 7th, Happ retaliated by hitting Khris Davis with a pitch (that he caught with his armpit). Gibby didn’t believe these were intentional. Gregg Zaun though for sure Happ’s was intentional. He may not have meant to hit the batter but threw inside as if to say, ‘Hey, if you keep pitching our guys inside, we’re going to have to do the same.’ The way Happ hit his glove afterward, suggests to me that at least he didn’t intend to hit the pitcher. This drama led to warnings issued to both sides.
Blue Jay defense cleaned up. No passed balls. Three double plays. Even Ezequiel Carrera looked great and made 2 Pillar style layout catches in left field. (I disagree with Gregg Zaun about them being TV dives.) I hadn’t realized that Carrera didn’t speak English until Hazel Mae interviewed him after the game. I mean, he’s rarely interviewed!
And the Offense…
Ahh…the offense that we know and love. Bautista and Martin RBIs to start. Then Josh Donaldson and that classic J. D. swing landed a 3-run homer off Oakland’s Bassitt. That broke the Jays 2-1 lead wide open to 5-1.
What did the Jays do different? Well, they started the game playing small ball. Hit by hit. No one tried to be the hero. Even Bautista seemed so happy to get 2 RBIs despite no hits. When the big bats aren’t working, that’s the way to win a la KC Royals right?
Did you notice…
What a good mood Bautista was in? He was smiling and chatty when he got back to the dugout after the RBIs. That must have lifted everyone’s spirits. Overall, a sign of awesomeness to come.
Some mornings when I’m writing a post after the Blue Jays have lost, it feels like I’m writing a post-mortem.
Video Recap April 21
Jose Bautista continued to be angry. Looked like this ump hated both sides with a staring contest with Bautista and an ejection of Matt Wieters of the Orioles in the 5th inning.
After seeing Donaldson’s 2015 catch in the stands on the highlight reel like a hundred times, I didn’t expect to see him miss one. This Trumbo foul shot, Donaldson had in his glove, but dropped when he fell into the stands. This time, he didn’t have Toronto fans protecting his face.
Pitching and Offense
The talk all off-season was ‘the starting rotation…, the starting rotation…’ and the offense was a given. Well the starting rotation is just fine, but what is with the offense?
The 3 key offensive players, Edwin Encarnacion (AVG .299), Josh Donaldson (not Josh MacDonald, Buck) (AVG .284), and Jose Bautista (AVG .276) have been doing fine and Michael Saunders (AVG .321) seems happy in the leadoff spot. The Jays were 5-7 with Pillar in leadoff, and 3-2 with Saunders in leadoff. But the rest of the lineup is still struggling with 2 and a half hitters still below .200.
Passed balls and Permeable gloves
Remember how disappointing Wednesday night’s game was when Joe Biagini got his signs crossed and threw the wrong pitch to Josh Thole. Thole who tends to turn his glove away towards balls pitched towards his opposite side, allowed a passed ball which scored the tie-breaking 10th inning run. Thole looked like he was going to cry. A lot of people asked, why wasn’t Russell Martin in there instead? Well, turns out, the very next day, Martin also allowed a passed ball pitched from Brett Cecil in the the bottom of the 8th. This allowed Joey Rickard to advance to 2nd, which then allowed the tie-breaking run when Bautista couldn’t come up with Manny Machado’s bloop to right field.
Machado also got a fluke hit after his line drive went right through the webbing of Donaldson’s glove. It’s interesting to hear opposing team commentary. The Orioles commentator’s statement was ‘that’s why you’re not supposed to catch the ball with the webbing’. Whatever dude.
Same thing happened to Tulowitzki’s glove on April 5th. This one was predictable since his glove has been on it’s last legs for a while.
Sigh. Overall, considering the Blue Jay bats are stale, they are still managing to hover around a .500 record. If they could just clean up a few things, they could still stay in the running. If they clean up their defense which for the most part is great, AND the bats wake up, they really should be unstoppable, right? Sounds easier said than done.