Tagged: John Gibbons

Bye-bye post-season, hello off-season

[sigh] Well, it took a few days to get over the AL Championship Series loss to a decimated Cleveland team who eked out win after win… after win after win… against the cold Blue Jays offence. The offence that was revitalized down the stretch and destroyed the much hated Texas Rangers much to the joy of Blue Jay fans (including myself).

But a 4 day break put the bats back on ice and a game 4 will to win by Josh Donaldson wasn’t sustainable.

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Comments by Jose Bautista before Game 5 about the rookie pitcher that was subbing in for Cleveland, left him a laughing stock when the Jays got shut out.

“With our experience in our lineup, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are”

-Jose Bautista

I felt upset by the loss. I wanted them to end their season at Rogers with a win. I knew a comeback from a 3-0 deficit was remote, but just wanted to see one more win. And I think the disappointment had more to do with how they played than the loss itself.

The Twitter reaction was interesting. Most tweeters seemed happy and grateful for the second visit to the playoffs and getting to the final four. I get that. If I wasn’t a bandwagon fan, I would be grateful that I wasn’t reliving the 20 odd years where they didn’t make the playoffs at all.

But, I was mostly annoyed that there seemed to be a stubborn and conscious decision by the team not to adjust their approach. This philosophy comes from John Gibbons no doubt. But every other team with success in the playoffs, studied their opponents and adjusted their approach. It’s just necessary in the playoffs isn’t it? How did the Jays not learn their lesson in 2015 when they were killed by Kansas City’s small ball?

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Well, anyway. I will be asking myself these questions for the next 5 months until Spring Training comes around again. As I watch what I hope is a promising transformation of the Jays into an even stronger team. I’m kind of excited and really hope not to be disappointed.

Of all the pending free agents, the only one I’ll really miss is Edwin.

I hope so badly that he comes back, but the man going to get paid, and the Jays may decide that they want a younger, cheaper, left-handed slugger/first baseman instead.

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I’m hoping the Jays’ head office will spend some money. I mean how much $$ did the fans spend this season? I mean it’s ridiculous really. I personally spent a few thousand dollars, and gosh, I don’t even want to count the number of hours.

It was fun, when they won. It sucked when they lost. It was an emotional ride. I guess that’s what being a sports fan is all about.

 

Exhausted

Not to dwell on the longest game in the MLB this season at 19 innings. And the Jays lost. But man, what a game against the Cleveland Indians today.

THE GOOD

Marcus Stroman looked good today and hopefully is making a come back. Also, the bullpen did a fine job putting up zeros for the 9-10 innings that they played, including Brett Cecil. Unfortunately, the bullpen dried up and Ryan Goins had to pitch, and he put up a zero! But then Darwin Barney gave up a homerun before striking the last batter out. At that point, the Jays were pretty much relinquishing the game anyway.

THE BAD

Vic Carapazza. Home plate umpire.

Forgot to wear his glasses or something. Had an unusual strike zone and couldn’t decide where it began and ended from pitch to pitch. The worst umped game I’ve ever seen. But that wasn’t the worst of it. He couldn’t stand the fact that he didn’t know what he was doing and ejected EE, Gibby, AND Russell Martin. Martin looked like he was going to kill him.

I think it erodes the MLB reputation and the game to let guys like this umpire. IGNORANCE and ARROGANCE are a brutal combination. He really ruined today’s game.

But the Jays also had the bases loaded 3 times and couldn’t score. Mainly because they were so frustrated by the strike zone and had their biggest hitter thrown out.

CLICK TO WATCH HIGHLIGHTS

WHAT’S NEXT

Tomorrow’s pitcher for Cleveland was used today. No idea who is going to take his place. Hopefully someone Estrada can beat. Jays need some sleep!

The Stench of Odor

I’ve never liked Rougned Odor, but I didn’t know why. Now I do. Doesn’t he look like someone?

What I don’t get about baseball is why it’s not ok to flip a bat in the biggest moment of your career, but it’s ok to shove and punch someone? At least, can we drop the bat flip discussion and talk about what a piece of crap Odor is?

So, yeah, the Jays lost, but that is not the headline of Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers. The full on brawl was. The Rangers pulled a cheesy move and had their rookie (who’s been in jail by the way, for something foolish like a DUI) hit Jose Bautista in the 8th inning during his last at bat of the game, during the 7th game they’ve played, the last meeting of the year. The umps (same ones from the playoffs against Texas last year), issued warnings which probably fueled the fire. They should have left it alone or ejected the pitcher.

So Bautista slid into Odor without hurting him, then Odor freaks out like the freak that he is. After things settled, Chavez promptly hit Prince Fielder nice and gently in the leg. All in all, 5 Jays were ejected today. Tim Leifer (1st base coach), John Gibbons (manager), Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson (not sure why), and Jesse Chavez. Bizarre and wild game. These two teams are going to go at it for a while.

It’s not all Cecil’s fault

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)
2015   1.20
2016   1.96

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?

PITCHING
2015   2016
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.

OFFENSE
2015    2016
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.

The Jays get swept…and we wept

The Blue Jays get shut out of the game and of the series against the Chicago White Sox and 3 former Blue Jays.

BULLPEN WOES

Wednesday was a wasted effort by Marco Estrada and the final result, a 3-0 series win by the Chicago White Sox, a team that now includes Dioner Navarro, Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera. In 2015, the Jays only got swept once in a 3 game series. Estrada actually did great with a sore arm and leaving after 118 pitches. He gave up his one bad hit to none other than his old catcher Dioner Navarro who got a triple. Dioner obviously had the advantage of see each of his pitches for a year.

The bullpen is supposed to save the starter. That has NOT happened. More than half of inherited runs are still getting home. This is the highest in the league. The bullpen lacks pitchers who can strike batters out and keep runners on the bases. In addition to the shortcomings of starting pitcher R. A. Dickey, this has been a consistent problem amidst the intermittent problems with batting and defense.

The pitchers that the Jays retained and acquired were pitchers that could limit runs to 3 or less. This was with the assumption that the hitters would hit! This has not been happening as we all know too well.

And defense was a bit of a circus out in right field Wednesday night.

LINEUP SHUFFLE

The lineup has been shuffled on an almost daily basis. I think this lack of stability is not helping matters at all.

But I do think we need to move at least Russell Martin down the lineup. His at bats should be limited until he finds it. The wasted batters need to be grouped together at the bottom. Too many runners are getting left on base because adequate hitters are followed by the inadequate.

GIBBY GETS EJECTED

John Gibbons was not happy with a lot of the homeplate umpire’s calls and they argued a fair bit. Ultimately, the homeplate umpire butt his nose in and ejected Gibby even though Gibby wasn’t talking to him. Ridiculous.

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Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star

 

It’s Time To Switch-Up The Blue Jays Lineup – Bluebird Banter

Due to a poor lineup construction, the Blue Jays are easy to matchup against late in games, and the team is simply wasting runs as a result.

Read article via It’s Time To Switch-Up The Blue Jays Lineup – Bluebird Banter

I HATE LOSING

The Toronto Blue Jays went 42-18 after the trade deadline in 2015, so bandwagon fans were only used to watching the Jays lose less than 1 in 3 games. So far this season, the Jays are losing more than 1 in 2 and it sucks. As a bandwagoner, I haven’t yet learned to derive enjoyment out of watching them play poorly. If they play well and still lose in a close game, yeah I can enjoy that. But games where the whole team looks lacklustre or when after 11 games in the season, there are still 3 positions batting less than 0.200, well, I don’t like it.

HIGHLIGHTS

Of course the highlights of Friday night’s game were Encarnacion’s 2 homeruns. Josh Donaldson however ended his 10-game hit streak and in fact, threw his first error of the season. He had 18 last year.

The other highlight? Seeing John Gibbons signal the bullpen with a 2-handed air quote gesture to call for the amidextrous (not ambidextr-i-ous Buck) pitcher, Pat Venditte.

I also love rundowns. The Jays got Shaw in this not so elegant rundown.

Sigh of Relief

Thank you Marco Estrada! The quiet, humble, understated, under the radar Marco Estrada came out big on this frosty Sunday afternoon final game of the 2016 home opener series against the Boston Red Sox. After losing the first 2 games of the series pretty BADLY (I mean, any loss would have been bad), most of us felt we needed to win. John Gibbons said after the game that there really isn’t such a thing as a MUST WIN so early in the season, but as a bandwagon fan, it certainly felt that way didn’t it? We needed some confirmation that we weren’t out of minds. That the team wasn’t just great on paper. That all the hype wasn’t just hype and that we were in fact headed for a disappointing season. Afraid that despite being good, the rivals were better.

The Jays hadn’t been swept since May 2015 in Houston. The Jays hadn’t lost 3 straight at home since August 2014. Thanks to Marco Estrada, they still haven’t.

Vintage Estrada

Estrada had 8 strikeouts in 91 pitches over 7 innings pitched. To put it in Gibby’s words, he was ‘vintage Estrada’. Smooth. On target. Quietly understated finesse. Estrada in his subtle fashion shut Boston down and the Jays took home the win 3-0.

Thankfully the defense found their groove, like they had to give Estrada everything he needed to quiet the naysayers. Dustin Pedroia almost got home but the defense came alive with power throws by Bautista and Goins and a perfect tag by Russell Martin.

Oh, and Donaldson got his 4th homer of the season. At first I thought I was watching a replay, that perfect Josh Donaldson homerun swing.

And don’t you just love watching Osuna run out to the mound to save the game? Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout.

Jose Bautista, who walked twice, has reached base in 20 consecutive games (including post-season), dating to Oct.3, 2015.

The Rogers Centre has had 15 straight sellouts going back to last season. And I think that’s going to continue for a while. I mean, everyone including me, is just hanging off every detail about this team. The expectations are extraordinary. Who knows what’s going to happen but it sure is going to be a fun ride.