Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Game #73 Atlanta Braves (43-30) @ Toronto Blue Jays (34-39) - game recap

JA Happ pitched 8.1 strong innings as the Blue Jays defeated the Braves 5-4 to earn the series split. The two teams will meet again July 10-11 in Atlanta.

This was a key game that the Blue Jays will want to win with the team embarking on a difficult west coast road trip that starts tomorrow in Anaheim. Last night, they were trounced by the Braves, who jumped all over some shoddy pitching. Today, the Blue Jays sent ace JA Happ to the mound, looking for his 9th win of the season. Could he be the tonic for the Blue Jays? Here is today's game recap.

Game highlights

  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the 1st as Kendrys Morales crushed a 2 run HR into the upper deck that also scored Justin Smoak
  • The Braves got one back in the top of the 2nd as Kurt Suzuki homered into the Blue Jays bullpen
  • The Braves tied it in the top of the 3rd on a Peter Bourjos homer to left
  • The Blue Jays retook the lead in the bottom of the 4th as Randal Grichuk doubled home Morales
  • Russell Martin scored on a sac fly by the next batter, Aledmys Diaz
  • Anibal Sanchez pitching line: 5IP 5H 4R (all earned) 4BB 7K 97 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th as Yangervis Solarte singled to score Devon Travis
  • JA Happ pitching line: 8.1IP 6H 3R (all earned) 0BB 8K 113 pitches (79 for strikes)
  • The Braves got one back in the 9th as Suzuki singled to score Freddie Freeman.
  • Two batters later, Ender Inciarte singled home Nick Markakis
  • Ryan Tepera escaped the jam for his 5th save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Braves 4
My take 

  • JA Happ was excellent today. He pitched 8 strong innings, giving up a pair of solo HR on inside fastball attempts that didn't quite get in far enough. He gave 4 singles, 2 in the 9th and unfortunately both runners came around to score. Happ retired the side in order in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th innings
  • Kendrys Morales and Aledmys Diaz both had good days at the plate with 2 for 3 efforts.
  • Russell Martin continues to struggle at the plate, his average actually dropped 2 points to .163 but he did draw 2 walks and he did a nice job calling a good game for JA Happ.
  • It was nice to see the Blue Jays bounce back after a tough game yesterday.
  • Up next, they embark on a week long road trip, starting tomorrow in Anaheim. The Blue Jays will not face Shohei Ohtani, who could be looking at Tommy John surgery for his elbow. The Blue Jays lost the series in Toronto back in May. They will have to pitch carefully to Mike Trout, who is having another MVP-like season with a .333BA, 23 HR, 1.158OPS and 48RBI. Thursday's pitching matchup sees righty Aaron Sanchez up against Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs.

no. 73 - Atlanta Braves (43-29) at Toronto Blue Jays (33-39)

Amazing they still embrace this, huh?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | 12:37 pm
Rogers Centre | Toronto, ON
Anibal Sanchez (3-0, 1.93, 0.96 whip) vs. J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.48, 1.06 whip)


After an 11-4 win in yesterday's opener of a short series, the Braves look to sweep the Jays.  The Jays, meanwhile, look to get back on the winning horse again after sweeping the Nationals.

This should be a decent pitching matchup with current ace J.A. Happ going up against Anibal Sanchez, who has performed well in a small sample size so far this season.

This game is going to be aired exclusively on Facebook as a yet-another-fuck-you to fans that don't have Facebook (i.e. yours truly).  A further fuck-you to the fans:  A 12:37 game time.


Sam Gaviglio has been placed on the paternity list and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been called up.  Hearty congrats to Sammy as his wife gave birth to a daughter yesterday.

Here's a new one for you:  Brandon Morrow is hurt again -- that's not the surprising thing, but the reason is.  He strained his back while taking his pants off after a game.  Really.

There needs to be greater appreciation for guys such as Nick Markakis.  Other than the one season where he had a 7.4 bWAR, his overall WAR numbers season-by-season aren't overwhelming but just consistent.  I'll bet the average fan has no idea that he's got 2100 hits, 1000 runs scored, 450 doubles and 920 RBIs at the age of 34.  If he stays healthy and consistent for another five years after this one, he'll finish with 3000 hits, 1300 runs, 600 doubles and 1200 RBI.  Possibly the quietest 2000+ hits in baseball history.  Here's hoping he finally makes the All-Star team this season.


This is your "bring back the unsweepable mantra" game thread.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Game #72 Atlanta Braves (43-29) @ Toronto Blue Jays (33-39) - game recap

Braves No. 9 hitter Charlie Culberson was 4-5 at the plate with 5 RBI and 2 runs scored and he sacrificed his body to make a great catch in LF to save a pair of runs as the Braves routed the Blue Jays 11-4

After a terrific series vs. the Nationals on the weekend, the Blue Jays were looking to continue their good play of late against a Braves team, who came into their series winners of 5 of their last 6 games, They had Jose Bautista for a couple of weeks but released him a couple of weeks ago Tonight, Toronto fans got to see Calgary native Mike Soroka on the mound. Canadian citizem Freddie Freeman is also on the team and batted 3rd and played 1B tonight. Ex Vancouver Canadian Kurt Suzuki was in the lineup and batting 6th as the DH tonight. The last time theses two teams met was last year and the Braves took three of four. Macus Stroman hit a home run in the Blue Jays 9-0 victory in Atlanta. Oh, and welcome back to Alex Antropolous, who put the rosters together for the 2015/2016 playoff runs. Here is today's game recap.

Game highlights

  • The Braves took the lead in the top of the second as Johan Camargo hit a grand slam scoring Kurt Suzuki, Charlie Culberson and Ender Inciarte
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Randal Grichuk scored on a Luke Maile ground out
  • The Braves added one more in the top of the 4th as Culberson homered to left-center
  • Jaime Garcia pitching line 3IP 5H 5R (all earned) 3BB 2K 64 pitches (34 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom of the inning as Maile singled home Kevin Pillar
  • The Braves added two more in the top of the 5th as Inciarte doubled home Nick Markakis and Suzuki
  • The next batter Camargo singled to score Inciarte 
  • The Blue Jays got a pair back in the bottom of the inning as Yangervis Solarte hit a ground rule double that scored  Justin Smoak and Teoscar Hernandez
  • Michael Soroka pitching line 5IP 8H 4R (all earned) 2BB 2K 77 pitches (48 for strikes)
  • The Braves added one more in the top of the 8th as Ozzie Albies doubled to score Camargo
  • The Braves added yet another one in the top of the 9th as Inciarte doubled to score Culberson
  • Three batters later, Dansby Swanson doubled home Inciarte 
  • Final score: Braves 11 Blue Jays 4
My take 

  • It was another rough outing for Jaime Garcia, his second in a row. His last start he gave up 4 runs on 4 hits while walking 4 over 5 innings. This was a crucial start for Garcia because someone will need to leave the rotation to make room for Marcus Stroman, who is now ready to return (unless the Blue Jays opt for a 6 man rotation). Garcia actually had a good start to the game, getting the first five batters he faced. Then Kurt Suzuki doubled and Garcia lost the strike zone walking the next two batters and Johan Camargo brought them all home with a no-doubter grand slam. He had a decent 3rd inning, giving up just a two out walk, but then he fell apart in the 4th, giving up three straight hits to start the inning and was pulled. The Blue Jays now have an interesting decision to make in five days when Stroman will likely be activated from the DL. Both Garcia and Sam Gaviglio have had moments where they've looked good and moments where one wonders if they'd be better suited for a long man role in the bullpen.
  • Here's a piece of good news: everyone in today's line up is now batting .200 or better. Russell Martin is the only Blue Jay hitting below the Mendoza line.
  • The bullpen was not good today. Blue Jays relievers gave up 6 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings of work today. Joe Biagini actually looked good today, giving up just one hit in 1.1 innings I honestly thought John Gibbons might bring in Kendrys Morales or Russell Martin to pitch if Aaron Loup didn't get the next batter or two, as he was nearing 20 pitches.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays look for the series split before heading on a tough road trip out west. JA Happ will be pitching against righty Anibal Sanchez. By the way, tomorrow's game is on Facebook so you better sign up tonight or activate your account if you want to watch the game tomorrow.

no. 72 - Atlanta Braves (42-29) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (33-38)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 7:07 pm
Rogers Centre | Toronto, ON
Mike Soroka (RHP, 2-1, 2.57, 1.29 whip) vs. Jaime Garcia (LHP, 2-5, 5.71, 1.56 whip)


It's the RETURN OF ALEX A.A. ANTHOPOULOS as a G.M. of the Baaaarves!  I can imagine that Oakville has stocked his living room full of red wine and Greek olives in preparation for this long-awaited reunion-of-sorts.

As well, it's a second debut for Mike Soroka, the 20-year-old from Calgary, who is making his first major league appearance on Canadian soil.  He comes in having made four solid starts as a Brave to start his career.

More Canadian content - Freddie Freeman is having an MVP-type of season for the Braves, hitting .337/.427/.585 (the latter two leads the NL) with 15 HR so far.

The Blue Jays look to continue their inter-league dominance, having gone 6-2 so far this season, including a sweep of a (allegedly) strong Washington Nationals team this past weekend.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Ten weekly random thoughts - week 11 May 11-17

The past three weeks have served to show where the Blue Jays stand against AL East opponents. In the last 2 and a half weeks, they were swept by Boston, NY Yankees and Tampa Bay and they swept the Baltimore Orioles, who are on a historically bad streak and are the only team in the MLB with less than 20 wins. This puts Toronto 4th in the AL East, better than Baltimore but worse than the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. Against Boston, NY and Tampa Bay combined this season, the Blue Jays have a 6-19 record and against Baltimore, their record is  6-1. Boston and NY are built to win now whereas Tampa Bay is in a similar situation as the Blue Jays where they are playing a number of stop-gap players in their lineup and pitching staff while their prospects are developing. Baltimore is, well, Baltimore. The Orioles have not been getting good pitching and Manny Machado is essentially the only dangerous hitter you have to worry about in their lineup. On that happy note, here are ten random thoughts from the 11th week of the MLB.