Tagged: Martin

This Round Goes to Jose Bautista & the Blue Jays

Ahhh, feels so good to beat the Texas Rangers at home doesn’t it? Toronto Blue Jays win this series 2-1. Not back considering that 2 of 3 games required back-up starting pitchers. Is there a greater nemesis in 2017 than the team with the 23-year-old hoodlum, Rougned Odor, who boxed our beloved Jose in the face? Even if Jose asks for it sometimes with all the glares that he shoots around the league. But hey, that’s the Toronto Blue Jays! We love old guys with attitude. We thrive on their antics and swagger.

Highlights from this series…

Josh Donaldson returned from the disabled list after missing 39 games, and he didn’t suck with a double in his first at bat. (Game 1)

Devon Travis hits his second career grand slam! (Game 2)

Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor both had 3-run homers, but Jose’s won the game, Rougned’s not enough.

Unfortunately, the Jays couldn’t get the bats going in game 3 but there were some positives. Stretched out relief pitcher Joe Biagini had a nice game and completed 6 innings. Russell Martin successfully threw out Elvis Andrus at 2nd (albeit after a wild pitch) and made some solid contact with the ball. (See video). And finally, struggling relief pitcher Jason Grilli was back to his usual self with a shutdown 8th inning and enthusiastic fist pumping (See video).

TOR vs. CLE 2016 Head-to-Head

Blue Jay bandwagon fans have been happy fans for the past week and a half because when you’re hot, you’re hot. And the Jays have finally looked like the Jays we know and love.

Looking forward to the much anticipated ALCS that begins in 17 hours, I’ve been interested to see the match-up stats between Toronto and Cleveland showing that despite the Jays out-hitting, out-pitching and out-homering Cleveland, the Jays had a 3-4 record against Cleveland this season playing in July and August. I had to look back at the 7 games to figure out how that was possible.

screenshot-2016-10-14-03-29-39

see via TOR vs. CLE from 2016 to 2016 Head-to-Head Records | Baseball-Reference.com

So, looking at the 4 games that were lost, Dickey pitched the first one. That’s ok, Dickey won’t be meeting them this series. The 2nd game lost was July 1st. Remember that 19 inning 1-2 loss on Canada Day when both Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney pitched the final 2 innings? That was the game that effectively took Goins out for the season. And Darwin gave up the homerun to end it. That game for sure could have gone either way and here’s hoping there are no 19 inning games with Barney pitching again in this series.

So that’s 2 losses accounted for. The 3rd loss was another 1-run loss with a 2-3 score on one of the rare occasions when Osuna blew the save by giving up 2 homeruns in the 9th, one to switch-hitter Jose Ramirez. Devon Travis also made 2 errors that game. And the 4th loss was another 1-run 2-3 game where Cecil gave up a 2-run homer to, once again Jose Ramirez, in the bottom of the 8th.

On the flipside, the Jays did get 1 of their 3 wins beating C. Kluber with a score of 17-1. That game probably accounts for much of the lopsided stats.

So overall, looks somewhat hopeful, although, Cleveland has a very different looking bullpen now, particularly due to the acquisition of A. Miller. Here’s hoping that Russell is due to break out of his ‘1-for’ playoffs so far.

Go Jays!

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!

Breathe

Ok, Blue Jay fans have been holding their breath a lot this season. For us bandwagon fans who only started watching in August and September last year, we’re not used to the Jays losing and not blowing out the competition. This year, they’ve been weaker in terms of offense and in the bullpen, but maybe it’s a positive sign that they’re still able to grind out some wins.

Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles started with a 5-run first inning and then a 7-1 lead, but ultimately, the Jays squeaked out a 10-9 win with the tying run at 3rd, and the go-ahead run on 2nd. Jason Grilli’s strikeouts were absolutely needed and we have to give high praise for the sac fly catch by Ezequiel Carrera right at the wall that could have easily been a double. Who didn’t breath a sigh of relief after that?

HIGHLIGHTS

Russell Martin’s 3-run homer in the 6th.

Edwin Encarnacion even stole a base for the 1st time this season to manufacture a run. Even Kevin Pillar got his farthest home run of the season.

STANDINGS

The Blue Jays are 35-30 (.538) heading into tonight’s game against the NL’s Philadelphia Phillies who are 29-34 (.460). The Jays are currently 2.5 games back of 1st place Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles who are tied for 1st place and who are heading into a series against each other. The Jays are in 6th place overall in the AL and are tied for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

UPCOMING SERIES AGAINST THE PHILLIES

Dickey (4-6) vs Eikhoff (3-8)

Stroman (5-2) vs Eflin (0-0) 1st major league appearance

Estrada (4-2) vs Hellickson (4-4)

Happ (7-3) vs Nola (5-5)

Based on the last 7 games stats for each pitcher, Estrada is the one clear favourite to win. Dickey and Happ are pretty evenly matched. Eflin hasn’t played in the Majors yet, so we’ll see if Stroman can regain his mojo and beat him.

63 Games

Ok, there are only 99 games left to go and how are the Blue Jays doing? Well, most would say compared to last year’s Jays, they haven’t hit their stride. There have been glimpses of brilliance this year, but for the most part, we’ve witnessed enough meltdowns that there is no lead big enough that instills enough confidence in us to relax.

The Jays had a good run of winning 5 series in a row that included the Yankees and Bosox. But lost their series to Detroit with a couple of ugly ones. So far this current series with the division leading Baltimore Orioles, they are split 1-1. The Jays won last night with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Normally I would say great! But I attribute this one to luck. EE had gone 0-for-19 before that at bat, and he pretty much just swung as hard as he could and he got it over the opposite field wall. The Jays couldn’t ‘manufacture’ a run. I think they just got lucky off a relief pitcher who had only given up 1 other home run this season. That to me says that we can’t yet expect that to happen often.

The highlight was that the bullpen including Chavez, Osuna, and Storen didn’t give up any runs.

So how are the Jays doing compared to 2015?

After 63 games, the Jays record is 33-30. After 63 games in 2015, 33-30!

Ok, doesn’t seem so bad, but big changes came at the trade deadline bringing in Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, and LaTroy Hawkins. A big boost like that is not expected this year.

The split for 1-run games so far is 7-12 (.368). In 2015, 15-28 (.349).

A lot has been said about how poorly the Jays have done in 1-run games. But it seems like it’s pretty how it was last year, if not slightly better.

How did the Jays do by month in 2015?

Wining percentage 2015:
Apr  .478
May  .414
Jun  .667
Jul  .480
Aug  .778
Sep  .667

So far in 2016, Apr .440, May .586. So in fact, May this year was better than last year. Maybe June will be better like 2015.

How is the hitting compared to 2015 and is there hope for improvement?

I think it’s hard to compare because there has been some shuffling in some positions, but clearly the team as a whole has not been hitting as well as last year. Let’s look at the players who played full-time both years and see who’s got room for improvement.

If looking at batting average, on base percentage, and on base plus slugging…

Josh Donaldson is clearly not his MVP calibre self, but this year’s numbers are not that much different from 2014 so he might not repeat his 2013 and 2015 performances.

Jose Bautista‘s batting average is lower than 2015 but actually he’s not too far off his 2016 projections.

Kevin Pillar probably isn’t too far off his potential looking at his career performance so although not performing as well as last year, may not be expected to get much better over the year.

Russell Martin is below his previous 2 years with the Jays, so he is the one guy clearly hitting under his potential and who will hopefully continue to move back towards his usual level of hitting.

Edwin Encarnacion has also not yet hit his stride. He’s traditionally been a slow starter so he should get to where he’s been and we should see continued improvement.

Justin Smoak on the upside has been better than 2015 having the opportunity to play every day.

So is there hope for the offense? We could see a dramatic improvement in the hitting. We need 1) Martin and Encarnacion to get back to where they’ve been on average. We’d also like to see 2) Tulowitzki figure out how to get back to his pre-Blue Jay self. That would be a mega-boost to the offense.

 

The turnaround

The Jays have won the 1st game in their series against division rivals the Boston Red Sox. The Jays have a 4-game win streak and a 4-series win streak that they’re trying to make 5. R. A. Dickey beat the Red Sox for the 1st time after 9 losses, and David Price lost to the Jays for the 1st time in 5 years.

Two home runs for the Jays by Edwin Encarnacion and the newly rehabilitated Devon Travis. Since Jose Bautista  took lead off and Devon Travis came back, and with Troy Tulowitzki on the disabled list (DL), the Jays have been hot. Not smoking yet, but hot. That is without Bautista or Donaldson heating up.

What’s been the turning point? Well, Russell Martin’s been starting to hit after an abysmal 1st 3rd to the season. Ryan Goins who has been a cold hitter has been replaced by Travis. And Tulowitzki, who had been starting to warm up a bit before going on the DL, has been replaced with Barney who has been great defensively and getting timely hits offensively. That has turned the lineup around.

The starting pitching remains strong and Dickey’s getting stronger. Stroman however, has been wavering a bit. And the bullpen just got an infusion of strikeout skill with the acquisition of Jason Grilli, who has done just fine in 2 appearances.

Here’s hoping the team stays healthy and keeps it going! Today’s game starts at 4pm.

 

Walk off reloaded

via The Big Bat Debate: Time for change to Blue Jays lineup?

I agree with a lineup shuffle. The weakest link right now is Tulowitzki. His AVG is abysmal and he’s right in the middle of the lineup after Encarnacion. Tulo’s poor hitting is negatively affecting Encarnacion as the pitchers are unwilling to give him anything to hit knowing Tulo’s bat is coming up next. You probably can’t swap them because then you’d be giving Tulo even more at bats. Not many options, but could probably move Pillar into the 5th spot. Of course there’s the Diva issue of offending or further affecting Tulo’s confidence by moving him down. He doesn’t seem to respond well to change.

This was my comment 3 days ago at Jays Journal and Gibby must have read it 🙂 because he moved Troy Tulowitzki down into the 6th position in Wednesday nights game versus the Texas Rangers.

This was game 3 of 4 and the series was tied at 1-1. Justin Smoak had historically hit well against their pitcher Lewis, and he had a 2-homer night yesterday so he was put into 5th position. So what happened? Well Edwin Encarnacion got something to hit and drove it high down the left field line for a 2-run homer to tie the game!

Jose Bautista finally got a hit after going something like 0 for 12? And gave the Jays their first run of the evening.

Aaron Sanchez got off to a shaky start but his pitching settled down after giving up 3 runs, and he finished out 7 innings.

And for the second game in a row, they walked off the 9th inning. This time with the bases loaded and off the bat of Russell Martin who got a hit to win the game.

I know, you can’t shake things up too much but these tweaks could have big effects right?