Monday, April 23, 2018

ten random thoughts: Week 4: April 16-22

It's hard to believe that the Blue Jays are where they are a month into the 2018 season. They started out 0-2 and looked like they were headed to a similar fate as last season when Toronto started 1-9 in their first 10 games, 8 wins in all of April. Toronto already has 13 wins with eight days left in the month. If the playoffs started today, the Blue Jays would be facing the Angels on the road in the wild card game. Here are ten random thoughts from week 4 of the MLB.

1. Some good news and bad news on the injury front. The good news is DH Kendrys Morales returned Friday after missing 10 day-s with a hamstring injury. He had 2 hits in Fridays victory and a pair of runs scored and a RBI in the 8-5 win. The bad news is third baseman Josh Donaldson is a ways away from returning from a shoulder injury. Donaldson was shut down from throwing for a week and is expected to begin a throwing program in the coming weeks.

2. To make way for Morales, the Blue Jays demoted LHP Tim Mayza and the struggling Gift Ngoepe. Mayza had one appearance in the call-up. Ngoepe had the team-worst batting average and only had one hit all year. The Jays also recalled rookie Lourdes Gurriel Jr. who had a fine major league debut with a pair of run-scoring hits. He looks like a definite upgrade over Gift Ngoepe.

3. Ex-Jay Jose Bautista has signed a one year deal with the Atlanta Braves. His career looked over after Toronto opted not to re-sign him. Joey Bats will be playing third base for the Braves, instead of his traditional role in right field.  The 37-year old had a difficult year last year batting .203 with 23HR and 65RBI. The signing reunites Bautista with GM Alex Anthopolous, who was in the same role in Toronto 2003-2015. The Braves face the Blue Jays in Toronto June 19-20.

4. How about the play of Luke Maile? The Blue Jays backup catcher is off to a hot start in 2018, batting .476 with 8 RBI. He is taking full advantage of the extra playing time with starter Russell Martin on a 2 on 1 off playing schedule. It will pay dividends later in the season as Martin will be fresher at the end of the season with the extra rest and the Blue Jays know they can rely on Maile if Martin can't play. Also, Maile could be the starting catcher once Martin's contract ends after the 2019 season. Maile had a tough start Saturday with three wild pitches and a dropped ball on what should have been a force out.

5. Another ex-Jay, Adam Lind signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. Lind was signed by the Yankees but was released after 5 games in spring training after batting .200. The Yankees have a lot of injuries right now and not a lot of depth. Adam Lind will initially start in extended spring training in Tampa Bay but that stint may be short. Lind played for Toronto 2006-2014.

6. A very scary moment from the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros series when White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar collapsed in the dugout during the 6th inning Friday night. Farquhar was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had a ruptured brain hemorrhage. As of Saturday he was listed in stable, but critical conditions. We here at JITH wish Danny the best and a speedy recovery.

7. A big test for the Blue Jays this week. The Boston Red Sox are in town for a three game series. After losing the opening game of the season, Boston immediately caught fire and have won 17/20. However, Boston has lost 2 in a row. Then again so has Toronto. The Blue Jays will have to be careful pitching to JD Martinez, Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland, who are all batting over .300. Their pitchers are allowing 3 runs or less most games. It will be a good early test for Toronto.

8. Age is just a number. Bartolo Colon has been terrific this season. He had a 1.45 ERA going into his Saturday start. The big sexy had a perfect game through 7 innings on April 15. The 44 year old has transformed himself from a power pitcher to a control/contact pitcher. Colon is the last remaining active player to play for the Montreal Expos.

9. A major league record was set on Sunday as Brandon Belt had a 21 pitch AB vs. Angels starter Jamie Barria. Belt eventually flew out to right field. Barria lasted just 2 innings thanks in large part to Belt single-handedly running up the pitch count. The previous record was a 20 pitch at-bat when then Cleveland Indians rookie Bartolo Colon struck out Houston Astro Ricky Guitierrez back in 1988.

10. Blue Jay of the week: Teoscar Hernandez. The rookie outfielder was a bright spot for the Blue Jays this week. He had half of the Jays hits on Sunday and counted the lone run by taking ace Luis Severino yard for the first time this season. He had a big 4-6 night against the Royals on Wednesday and drove in 4 runs while scoring twice himself. Hernandez might be in the majors for life now.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Game #21 Toronto Blue Jays (13-8) @ NY Yankees (11-9) - game recap

Yankees ace Luis Severino pitched 7 strong innings as the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 5-1 on Sunday afternoon.

After a difficult 9-1 drubbing yesterday afternoon, the Blue Jays were looking to even the 4 game series and avoid their first series loss of the season. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • Didi Gregorious opened the scoring with a solo HR to right with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st
  • Austin Romine doubled to right scoring Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd
  • Teoscar Hernandez got the Blue Jays on the board with a solo HR in the top of the 6th
  • Andujar doubled in the bottom of the 6th scoring Sanchez
  • Jaimie Garcia pitching line: 5.1IP 6H 4R (all earned) 3BB 6K 95 pitches (57 for strikes)
  • Luis Severino pitching line: 7IP 3H 1R (earned) 2BB 6K 112 pitches (69 for strikes)
  • The Yankees added a fourth insurance run in the bottom of the 7th on a sac fly by Gregorius
  • Final score: Yankees 5 Blue Jays 1

My Take:

  • The umpires got one wrong in the bottom of the 8th. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made a wide call to Justin Smoak that pulled him off the bag. It appeared on replay that Smoak was off the bag when he caught it. Tyler Austin was called out on the play and the call was held up on replay. That meant 2 outs nobody on instead of 1 out one on 1st.
  • The difference today was the Jays were facing Yankees ace Luis Severino who was on point. His slider was working leading to swings and misses and weak contact.
  • Jaimie Garcia battled through his 5.1 innings of work.He gave the Jays a chance to comeback keeping the score close until he tired in the 6th inning
  • Russell Martin continues to slump at the plate. He was 0-3 at the plate today and his average dropped to .130. Even though Luke Maille had a difficult start yesterday, he may be the better catching option.
  • Up next: After an off-day tomorrow, the Blue Jays return home to face the Red Sox, who are first in the majors. Last season Boston took the season series 12-8; including 2 series sweeps (June 30-July 2 and Aug 28-30). Tuesday's pitching match-up sees Rick Porcello facing JA Happ

no. twenty-one 2018: Blue Jays (13-7) at Yankees (10-9)

Sunday 22 April 2018
1:05PM EDT / Yankee Stadium / Bronx NY
Jaime Garcia (LHP 2-0 3.86 17K 0.00) v. Luis Severino (RHP 3-1 2.63 28K 0.00)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Game #20 Toronto Blue Jays (13-7) @ NY Yankees (10-9) - game recap

Aaron Judge was 2-4 at the plate with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored as the Yankees routed the Blue Jays 9-1 on Saturday afternoon.

After a solid 8-5 victory last night the Blue Jays were looking to win their second straight game. It was a gorgeous day weather-wise at the ball park, a nice change after the rough weather the Jays played in last weekend. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • Aaron Judge opened the scoring with a 2 run HR  in the bottom of the 3rd that also scored Brett Gardener
  • Steve Pearce got the Jays on the board in the bottom of the 5th with a single to left that scored Randal Grichuk
  • Didi Gregorius extended the Yankee lead to 2 with a single to right scoring Gardene
  • Judge extended the lead to three as Luke Maile dropped what should have been a force out with the bases loaded
  • Miguel Andujar added two more runs with a double over the head of Kevin Pillar scoring Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks
  • Gardener hit a sac fly to Pillar that scored Adujar
  • The next batter, Judge, singled to left scoring catcher Austin Romine
  • Marcus Stroman pitching line: 5.1IP 5H 8R (6 earned) 4BB 5K 94 pitches (55 for strikes)
  • Jordan Montgomery pitching line: 6IP H4 1R (earned) 3BB 5K 91 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • Final Score Yankees 9 Blue Jays 1

My Take: 

  • Tough game for catcher Luke Maile defensively with 3 wild pitches and a dropped ball on a throw home by Stroman that should have been a force out. He was also 0-4 at the plate. 
  • Starter Marcus Stroman cruised through the first five innings but then the Yankees hit him hard in the 6th with a big 7 run, 12 batter innings, 6 runs which were the responsibility of Stroman. Overall, Marcus had good movement on his pitches and deserved a better fate today.
  • Blue Jays hitters were cold today. They loaded the bases in the 5th inning but were unable to capitalize. The good thing about baseball is you can put a bad game behind you pretty quick as you generally play the next day.
  • Up  next, the Blue jays wrap up this four game series looking for the split as the Jaimie Garcia gets the start against Yankees ace Luis Severino

no. twenty 2018: Blue Jays (13-6) at Yankees (9-9)

Saturday 21 April 2018
1:05PM EDT / Yankee Stadium / Bronx NY
Marcus Stroman (RHP 0-1, 7.98 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 16 K)
v. Jordan Montgomery (LHP 1-0, 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 12 K)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Game #19 Toronto Blue Jays (13-6) @ New York Yankees (record) - game recap

Making his major league debut, Blue Jays prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was 2-5 with 3RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 8-5 to even the series at 1.

After dropping the opener of this four game series, the Blue Jays were looking to get back on track and even the series. Of note, Kendrys Morales was activated from the disabled list and called up Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Both were in tonight's lineup. Being sent down to AAA Buffalo were LHP Tim Mayza, who pitched one inning of relief during this call-up, and Gift Ngoepe, who had only 1 hit this season. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights: 

  • Tyler Austin opened the scoring for the Yankees with a 2 run HR to right, also scoring Aaron Hicks
  • The Jays tied it in the bottom half of the inning as Teoscar Hernandez continues to swing a hot bat, smacking a 2 run shot to left-center, also scoring Curtis Granderson
  • Giancarlo Stanton gave the Yankees their 2 run lead back in the bottom of the 3rd with an opposite field shot that scored Didi Gregorius
  • The Jays got one back in the top of the 4th on a ground rule double by Kendrys Morales scoring Russell Martin
  • Newcomer Lourdes Gurriel Jr. gave the Jays the lead with a 2 run single the plated Morales and Kevin Pillar for his first career base hit and first 2 career RBI's
  • Sonny Gray pitching line: 3.1IP 5H 5R (all earned) 4BB 0K 73 pitches (39 for strikes)
  • The Yankees tied it in the bottom half of the innings as Miguel Andujar went yard for a solo HR; the 4th ball to leave the yard tonight; 5th if you count the Morales ground rule double
  • Gurriel Jr. singled to right in the top of the 5th scoring Martin to give the Jays their second lead of the game
  • Hernandez picked up his 3rd RBI of the night with a bases loaded walk that forced in Morales
  • Yangervis Solarte hit a solo HR to extend the lead to 3
  • Marco Estrada pitching line: 5IP 5R (all earned) 1BB 4K 98 pitches (65 for strikes)
  • Roberto Osuna notched his 6th save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 8 Yankees 5
My Take:

  • Quirky stat of the night: the Blue Jays drew 9 walks tonight but only scored 2 runs off those walks. Nevertheless, those were important walks because they ran the pitch count up on Sonny Gray and Domingo Germane, who were responsible for 8 of the 9 walks on the night. The Yankees bullpen has now had two games in a row where they've had to pitch most of the game. Also, unlike the Blue Jays 'pen, the Yankees relievers have been hit hard by Blue Jay batters
  • Starter Marco Estrada got stronger as the game went on. He threw 70 pitches the first three innings with a lot of deep counts. His final inning of work, he got the Yankees in order. Estrada was either affected by the cold weather or having problems with the back that gave him issues last start. Not Estrada's best night.
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had a nice major league debut with a a couple of hits in 5AB and 3RBI. He certainly looks like an upgrade over Gift Ngoepe, who was sent down to AAA earlier today.
  • Kendrys Morales had a good night at the plate as well coming off the DL. He worked the count in most of his AB's and had a pair of hits and runs scored on the night. 
  • Up next, the Blue Jays and Yankees continue the 4 game series with a matinee featuring righty Marcus Stroman taking on Southpaw Jordan Montgomery

no. nineteen 2018: Blue Jays (12-6) at Yankees (9-8)

Friday 20 April 2018
7:05PM EDT / Yankee Stadium / Bronx NY
Marco Estrada (RHP 1-1 4.24 14K 0.00) v. Sonny Gray (RHP 1-1 6.92 15K 0.00)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Game #18 Toronto Blue Jays (12-6) @ New York Yankees (9-8) - game recap

Catcher Luke Maile was 2-3 at the plate, scored a run and threw out two base runners in a losing cause as the Yankees won the opener of this 4 game series 4-3.

The red hot Toronto Blue Jays, winners of 4 straight games began a 4 game series vs. division rivals NY Yankees today. The Bronx Bombers are playing .500 baseball. Newcomer Giancarlo Stanton is off to a horrible start with just 3 hits at home and hitting .197 for the season, a far cry from his MVP season a year ago. This will be the second to last game without DH Kendrys Morales, who is scheduled to come off the DL on Saturday. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Yankees opened the scoring on a Tyler Wade ground out that scored Aaron Hicks 
  • A batter later Ronald Torreyes singled to left, scoring Neil Walker 
  • Luke Maile scored on a passed ball to put the Blue Jays on the board
  • Maile tied the game on a single that scored Yangervis Solarte 
  • CC Sabathia pitching line: 4.1IP 4H 2R (none earned) 1BB 1K 71 pitches (50 for strikes)
  • Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the 5th with a 2 out single that plated Torreyes
  • Aaron Sanchez pitching line: 6IP 7H 3R (all earned) 2BB 2K 99 pitches (60 for strikes)
  • Aaron Judge doubled the Yankee lead in the bottom of the 7th with a homer to left
  • Pinch hitter Curtis Granderson cut the lead to one with a single that scored Teoscar Hernandez
  • Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the 9th for his 3rd save of the season
  • Final score: Yankees 4 Blue Jays 3
My Take

  • Key play in the 6th inning when Devon Travis flipped the ball to Aledmys Diaz for a force out. Diaz dropped the ball in transferring to throw to first. Unlike the play with the Royals yesterday, Diaz clearly had control of the ball. Had Aaron Hicks been ruled safe on the play, it would have been 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Instead, Neil Walker was on first with one out and Sanchez got the next 2 batters out.
  • Catcher Luke Maile had another terrific game. He scored on a passed ball and drove in a run and was 2-3 at the plate. He also threw out two Yankees runners, including Hicks on a strike 'em out, throw 'em out to end the 8th inning to keep the Yankee lead at 1 and giving the Jays an opportunity to come back in the 9th. Assuming there are no ill effects from a foul tip which bent his wrist back, he's earned another start behind the plate. Expect Russell Martin to be at 3rd base if Maile is fit to play.
  • Aaron Sanchez battled through his 6 innings of work. The Yankees battrs did a good job in working the count today and getting Sanchez's pitch count up. However, there was a lot of soft contact today and plenty of ground ball outs. This is just one of the better lineups the Blue Jays have faced early on.
  • The Blue Jays manufactured another late run in the 8th inning but were unable to get more than the one run despite having the bases loaded on David Robertson. Chapman came on in the 9th inning and literally blew the Blue Jays hitters away. His last pitch was 101mph.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays look to even the 4 game series with Marco Estrada taking on Sonny Gray.

no. eighteen 2018: Blue Jays (12-5) at Yankees (8-8)

Thursday 19 April 2018
6:35PM EDT / Yankee Stadium / Bronx NY
 Aaron Sanchez (RHP 1-1 3.66 13K 1.42) v. C.C. Sabathia (LHP 0-0 4.00 7K 1.22)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Game #17 Kansas City Royals (3-13) @ Toronto Blue Jays (12-5) - game recap

Teoscar Hernandez was 4-6 today with 4 RBI's and 2 runs scored as the Blue Jays routed the Royals 15-5 to complete the series sweep

After sweeping the double-header yesterday, the Blue Jays were looking to sweep their first series of the season (sorry but 1 win does not make a series so Cleveland doesn't count as a series sweep). Toronto is having an outstanding start to the season with 11 wins in their first 16 games. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring as Justin Smoak doubled to right scoring Teoscar Hernandez
  • The Royals took the lead in the top of the 3rd as Mike Moustakas doubled to left, scoring Alcedis Escobar and Whit Merrifield
  • The Blue Jays retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning as  Hernandez crushed a 2 run blast to center, also scoring Curtis Granderson
  • Two batters later, Yangervis Solarte crushed a solo HR to right to double the lead
  • The Royals tied it in the top of the 5th as Meriifield hit a 2 run HR to left, also scoring Jon Jay
  • Randal Grichuk got the lead back with a line drive to left that was dropped by Royals LF Paulo Orlando that scored Solarte 
  • Two batters later PH Luke Maile singled home Kevin Pilla
  • Adam Kennedy pitching line: 5IP 8H 6R (all earned) 3BB 6K 106 pitches (62 for strikes)
  • JA Happ pitching line: 6IP 5H 4R (all earned) 2BB 8K 99 pitches (63 for strikes)
  • Grichuk scored on a wild pitch with 2 outs in the 7th
  • The next batter, Hernandez tripled scoring Maile and Granderson
  • The Royals got one back in the top of the 8th as Jorge Soler hit a solo HR to center
  • Pillar doubled in the bottom half of the inning, scoring Solarte
  • Two batters later, Aledmys Diaz singled, scoring Martin
  • Granderson then stepped up hitting a grand slam, scoring Pillar, Diaz and Maile
  • Final score: Blue Jays 15 Royals 5

My Take: 

  • Today was the first of two Facebook only games. I still think having the game broadcast on Facebook should have just been optional as not every fan has a computer and/or uses Facebook. I am on Facebook so I can give my take on the experience. The stream was very smooth. I stream on and it buffers a fair amount. One thing that could have been done differently is they could have included the player's position when displaying who was batting. I liked the in-game interviews with both managers and Danny Duffy and Aaron Sanchez. If you opted to have the comments running on the side, it distracted from watching the game. Overall, I liked the Facebook game and can see the league continuing it in future seasons.
  • The Blue Jays will have a big roster decision to make come Friday as Kendrys Morales is scheduled to come off the DL. Call-up Teoscar Hernandez has been excellent going 8-18 with 4 doubles and a HR. He also made a nice catch at the end of the game today. Gift Ngoepe is definitely an option to be sent down. He struck out looking twice today and has just one hit this season. The Blue Jays could also send down a pitcher and go with a 7 man bullpen. Either way, there is no chance Hernandez is going anywhere.
  • Starter JA Happ battled through 6 innings today. Happ had two 1-2-3 innings, in the 1st and the 6th. He was pitching with a few extra days rest after the three cancelled games. He should have started on Sunday. 
  • The Blue Jays had more late inning heroics, putting up 9 runs combined in the 7th and 8th innings. This speaks to the depth the Jays signed/acquired in the off-season.
  • Luke Maile definitely deserves more playing time. Look for him to start tomorrow as the Blue Jays need his hot bat in the lineup.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays travel to NY where they will face the Yankees. The two teams split the opening series in Toronto. Aaron Sanchez, will be up against CC Sabathia, who is coming off the DL after leaving his last start with a hip injury.

no. seventeen 2018: Royals (3-12) at Blue Jays (11-5)

Wednesday 18 April 2018
4:07PM EDT / Rogers Centre / Toronto ON
Ian Kennedy (RHP 1-1 1.00 16K 1.06) v. J.A. Happ (LHP 2-1 3.94 23K 1.31)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Game #16 Kansas City Royals (3-12) @ Toronto Blue Jays (11-5) - game recap

Blue Jays catcher Luke Maille hit a walkoff single as the Blue Jays defeated the Royals 5-4 in the second game of today's double header. They also won the first game 11-3.

The Blue Jays won the first game of today's double header as the offence put up 11 runs. They were looking to sweep the double dip today and win their 5th straight series (they won the one game played in Cleveland on the weekend and I say that counts as a series win.) Here is the game recap from the second game of today's double header.

Game Highlights:
  • The Royals opened the scoring in the second game in the top of the 1st as Lucas Duda was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in Jon Jay
  • The Royals doubled the lead in the top of the 3rd as Mike Moustakas doubled to center scoring White Merrifield
  • Abraham Almonte homered leading off the 6th to extend the Royals lead to 3
  • Joe Biaghini pitching line: 5.2IP 6H 3R (all earned) 3BB 4K 106 pitches (65 for strikes)
  • Danny Duffy pitching line: 6IP 2H 0R 3BB 8K 100 pitches (64 for strikes)
  • After Royals reliever Justin Grimm walked the bases loaded, Luke Maille jumped on the next reliever, Brad Keller, and lined a single to right scoring Almedys Diaz and Kevin Pillar
  • The next batter, pinch hitter Devon Travis, hit an infield single to score Randal Grichuk
  • The next batter, Steve Pearce, singled to score Maille
  • The Royals tied it in the top of the 8th, courtesy of an Alcides Escobar solo HR
  • Maille hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the tenth, scoring Pillar
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Royals 4
My Take:
  •  Joe Biaghini had a decent start under difficult circumstances. The Buffalo Bisons have had several of their games wiped out due to  weather, so Biaghini was pitching for the first time since April 9th. He had a difficult first inning, loading the bases and allowing a run on a hit batter. Biaghini settled down after that, allowing 4 more hits and another run and a walk.
  • I've said it on here before, pitch counts are a bit ridiculous. Danny Duffy had a 2 hit shutout going when he was pulled after 6 innings. No Blue Jay had really touched him. The Blue Jays made them pay with a big inning in the 7th. The first reliever, Justin Grimm walked the bases loaded. Then Toronto got three straight hits and 4 runs off the next reliever, Brad Keller. If I'm Royals Manager Ned Yost, I send Duffy out to start the 7th and have relievers ready in the bullpen.
  • More late game heroics from the Blue Jays today. They have now scored 36 runs from the 7th inning on, first in the AL, second in the MLB behind the Cubs. These late inning heroics will be beneficial as the season wears on and runs become harder to come by.
  • Next up, the Blue Jays wrap up this brief home stand with Aaron Sanchez pitching against Ian Kennedy.

Game #15 Kansas City Royals (3-11) @ Toronto Blue Jays (10-5) - game recap

 Randal Grichuk was 2-4 at the plate, including a 3-run HR, his first HR as a Blue Jay as Toronto defeated the KC Royals 11-3 in the opening game of today's double-header

After an unprecedented three day break due to rain-outs in Cleveland and ice ripping a hole in the Rogers Center roof, the Blue Jays return home to face the Kansas City Royals. Last season, the Blue Jays won just 2 of the 6 games played against the Royals. Here is the game recap of game one of today's double-header.

Game Highlights
  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in this series courtesy of a Yangervis Solarte 2 run HR, which also scored Steve Pearce
  • The Royals answered back in the top of the 2nd with a bases loaded double play grounder by Paolo Orlando that scored Lucas Duda
  • In the top of the 3rd, the Royals took the lead on back to back HR by Mike Moustakas and Duda
  • Pearce tied the game in the bottom of the 5th with a single scoring Randal Grichuk
  • Two batters later, Justin Smoak singled to right, scoring Pearce
  • The next batter, Solarte, singled to score Toescar Hernandez
  • Jaimie Garcia pitching line: 5IP 8H 3R (all earned) 1BB 5K (86 pitches, 51 for strikes) 
  • Eric Skoglund pitching line:5IP 8H 5R (all earned) 1BB 6K (77 pitches, 54 for strikes)
  • In the bottom of the 6th, Randal Grichuk blasted a 3 run HR scoring Kevin Pillar and Almedys Diaz
  • Three batters later Solarte hit a sac fly to plate Devon Travis
  • Two batters later, Pillar doubled to plate Hernandez and Smoak
  • Final Score: Blue Jays 11 Royals 3
My Take
  • The Blue Jays won this game on the strength of 2 big innings in the 5th and 6th innings. Randal Grichuk was responsible for three of the runs courtesy of a 3 run HR. Toronto scored a lot of their runs today playing small ball, hitting the baseball where the Royals defense was not set up
  • Jaimie Garcia continues to be an effective fifth starter for the Blue Jays. He pitched 5 solid innings and really only got in trouble in the 2nd inning when he loaded the bases. He escaped the jam giving up just the one run.
  •  Devon Travis was plunked by a pitch in the 7th inning. While he finished the game, look for him to sit out the 2nd game of the double header Even if he wasn't hit by that pitch, I still think the Blue Jays would park him on the bench for the second game, especially with the rest schedule he is on.
  • Ex-Jay Ryan Goins made an appearance in the game. He came in as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning. He struck out in his only AB leading off the 9th. Goins spent 5 seasons in the Blue Jays organization as a Utility infielder before being granted free agency in the off-season.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays look to sweep today's double header, with Royals lefty Danny Duffy facing Joe Biaghini

nos. 15 / 16 2018: Royals (3-10) at Blue Jays (9-5)

Tuesday 17 April 2018
Rogers Centre / Toronto ON

Game One: 3:07PM EDT
Eric Skoglund (LHP 0-1 9.64 1K 1.71) v. Jaime Garcia (LHP 1-0 3.18 12K 1.15)

Game Two: 6:37PM EDT
Danny Duffy (LHP 0-2 5.40 15K 1.47) v. Joe Biagini (RHP 0-0 0.00 0K 0.00)

Monday, April 16, 2018

no. fifteen 2018: Royals (3-10) at Blue Jays (9-5)

Monday 16 April 2018
7:07PM EDT / Rogers Centre / Toronto ON
Jaime Garcia (LHP 1-0 3.18 12K 1.15) v. Eric Skoglund (LHP 0-1 9.64 1K 1.71)

ten random thoughts: Week 3: April 9-15

Here we are week 3 and the Toronto Blue Jays are exceeding expectations. They sit four games over .500 and the Blue Jays sit 2nd in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Yankees are at .500 and have serious health concerns and major questions about their lineup. Here are ten random thoughts from week 3.

1. Toronto received bad news and dodged a bullet on the injury front this week. On Monday, DH Kendrys Morales came up lame while running the bases. He was put on the DL with a grade 1 strain of his hamstring. Early indications are that he will not miss much more than the required 10 day stay on the DL. Resting him for 10 days is the right thing to do, especially with the cold weather Toronto is playing in this coming week. They were in Baltimore and Cleveland this past week and after a brief 3 game series at home, they head to New York for a 4 game set vs. the Yankees. All three road series are experiencing cold fronts at the moment. Besides, you don't mess with hamstring strains.

2. Josh Donaldson also landed on the DL this week with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. On opening day, he was unable to make a throw to first base without bouncing the ball. He DH'd for several games and came back to play third base. Evidently the rest did not help and now JD will head to the Blue Jays training facility in Tampa Bay to begin a throwing program. Quite frankly, Donaldson should have been put on the DL to start the season. He was having trouble with his shoulder almost right from the get go. Expect him to miss more than the mandatory 10 days.

3. The bullet the Blue jays dodged involved Devon Travis. The starting second baseman was hit in the hand by a pitch in the 9th inning of Friday's game. He finished running the bases but was removed from the game in the bottom half of the inning. X-rays taken after the game were negative. Travis was penciled in the starting lineup of Saturday's rained out game. Devon Travis has endured multiple injuries in the past 3 seasons. It would be a shame if he missed significant time again this year.

4. In last week's blog post, I talked about being impressed with a lot of the new signings/acquisitions the Blue Jays made in the off-season. However, two of the acquisitions, RF Randal Grichuk and utility infielder Gift Ngoepe have struggled mightily at the plate. Grichuk was in an 0-26 slump until he got a base hit this week. Ngoepe has managed just one hit in 13 AB this season. Randal Grichuk has big shoes to fill as he is replacing Jose Bautista, who the Blue Jays opted not to re-sign. Manager John Gibbons said Saturday that he believes Grichuk is close to bumping the early slump. If he doesn't do it soon, Toescar Hernandez could get an opportunity to play. Hernandez had two big doubles on Friday. He also looked great in spring training.

5. Saturday and Sunday's rainout will be made up May 3rd as a double-header, taking away a potential off-day. It also means the Blue Jays will have to travel three days in a row, from Minnesota to Cleveland to Tampa Bay. Look for the Blue Jays to fly Friday's scheduled starting pitcher to Tampa Bay Wednesday to avoid having 2 flights to endure. The extra rest will benefit Devon Travis, Russell Martin and any Blue Jay who might have a minor ailment.

6. Congrats to Roberto Osuna for becoming the youngest pitcher to reach 100 saves. The 23 year old has looked like a ten year veteran when coming into save a game. Yankees hall of famer Mariano Rivera holds the all-time record for saves (652)

7. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry turned nasty last Wednesday with benches clearing twice. Yankees DH Tyler Austin was the catalyst of both incidents. In the 3rd inning he slid hard into second base catching Red Sox SS Brandon Holt. In the 7th inning Boston reliever Joe Kelly drilled Austin in the elbow with a fastball. In all, 4 players were ejected from the game. No further discipline was handed down by the MLB. This game reminds me of this infamous incident from the 2003 ALDS between these bitter rivals. It certainly won't be the last time fireworks break out in a Yankees-Red Sox game.

8. Weather continues to wreak havoc on baseball. On Sunday alone, six scheduled games were postponed. The Blue Jays, Indians, Yankees, and Tigers all had two days in a row wiped out.The White Sox, and Twins  saw the final 3 games of their series snowed out.  Detroit has now had 6 games postponed so far. The baseball season started early this year, March 29, and weather can be bad until the end of April/beginning of May in some places. The options for making up games, especially if the cancellation comes at the end of a series. Schedule makers need to find a place in both teams schedules where both have an off-day. Within league teams (non-divisional games) meet for one series at each team's ballpark. It is easier to reschedule a divisional match up early in the season because division teams meet each other around 20 times in a season. Perhaps baseball might consider extending the season into October a few days. With global warming the MLB must consider options for teams which do not have covered fields. Please comment below with your suggestions

9. Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day. Jackie Robinson day commemorates the day (April 15) when Jackie Robinson broke color barriers and became the first black player to play in the majors in 1947. On this day, all teams wear #42 on the back of their jerseys. Every other day, #42 is retired by all major league teams. Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear #42. Here is how teams celebrated Jackie Robinson day this year.

10. Blue Jays of the week: Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna. Sancheez was outstanding in his start this week, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Aaron Sanchez is definitely back after that disastrous 2017 season, which was wiped out due to a recurring blister. Roberto Osuna gets the nod as well for becoming the youngest player to record 100 saves.

Follow me on twitter @tpoole00 and check out my other blog @

Saturday, April 14, 2018

no. fifteen 2018: Blue Jays (9-5) at Cleveland (7-6)

Saturday 14 April 2018
4:10PM EDT / Progressive Field / Cleveland OH
Jaime Garcia (LHP 1-0 3.18 12K 1.15) v. Corey Kluber (RHP 1-1 1.27 27K 0.65)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Game #14 Toronto Blue Jays (9-5) @ Cleveland Indians (8-6) - game recap

Aledmys Diaz was 2-4 at the plate with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored as the Blue Jays doubled up on the Indians 8-4

Toronto began the final series of the opening road trip of the season. They won the first 2 series of the trip, defeating Texas and Baltimore. The Blue Jays will have to win this series without DH Kendrys Morales and 3B Josh Donaldson, who were both placed on the 10 day DL this week. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:
  • The Indians opened the scoring in the series in the bottom of the 1st on a Yonder Alons single that scored Francisco Lindor
  • Two batters later, Tyler Naquin doubled the lead with a single scoring Jose Ramirez
  • The next inning Lindor doubled to score ex-Jay Rajai Davis
  • The next batter Jason Kipnis hit a ground-rule double scoring Lindor
  • Kevin Pillar got the Blue Jays on the board in the top of the 4th with a single that scored Justin Smoak
  • The next batter Almedys Diaz tied the game with a 3 run HR that scored Yangervis Solarte and Pillar
  • Mike Clevinger pitching line: 4IP 3H 4R (all earned) 2BB 5K 82 pitches (48 for strikes)
  • Marcus Stroman pitching line: 5IP 9H 4R (all earned) 2BB 5K 99 pitches (62 for strikes)
  • Toescar Hernandez, recalled today from AAA Buffalo, smacked a double to left in the of of the 7th scoring Steve Pearce to give the Blue Jays their first lead of the series
  • Steve Pearce added a pair of insurance runs with a double to left scoring Diaz and Devon Travis
  • The next batter Hernandez plated Pearce with his own double
  • Final score: Blue Jays 8 Indains 4
My Take:

  • Marcus Stroman had a rough first 2 innings, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk. His only clean inning was in the 4th. Every other inning, the Indians had multiple runners on base. Stroman was forced to throw a lot of pitches and that led to an earlier exit.
  • On an injury note, Devon Travis was lifted in the 9th after taking a pitch off his right hand. He ran the bases, but Gift Ngoepe came in defensively in the bottom of the inning. We'll have to see if Travis can go tomorrow night. If he can't, three of the four  starting infielders will be out of the lineup (Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki being the other 2)
  • This game came down to one bullpen getting the job done and the other bullpen not being able to shut the door. In the top of the ninth, the Blue Jays got to Indians righty Matt Belisle, scoring three runs on a pair of doubles and a hit by pitch. By contrast the Blue Jays 'pen allowed just three hits over 4 innings of work. Tim Mayza, recalled a few days ago, has yet to make an appearance. He has not pitched competitively since spring training due to rainouts in Buffalo.
  • RF Randal Grichuk continues to struggle at the plate. He was 0-3 on the night but he did draw a walk. It will be interesting to see how much patience the Blue Jays will have with him.
  • Up next, Lefty Jaimie Garcia pitches against 2-time Cy Young winner (2014 and 2017) Corey Kluber. It should be a good pitching matchup.

no. fourteen 2018: Blue Jays (8-5) at Cleveland (7-5)

Friday 13 April 2018
7:10PM EDT / Progressive Field / Cleveland OH
Marcus Stroman (RHP 0-1 8.38 11K 1.76) v. Mike Clevinger (RHP 1-0 0.71 9K 1.42)

What is your twitter handle?

brentinkorea suggested a post where we can all find each other's twitter handles. I'll update this post as ya'll pass your handles along so it will be easy reference later.

I'm at the official JITH twitter @jaysinthehouse
Mule is @MuleorAstromule
RADAR is @RADAR (expecting something different?)
Fowl is @HouseofLais
Ray is @Beaches_Streets
Steve-O is @freerange_steve
Karen is @mutable_me
Earl is @tonious35
Tom W is @TomWilliams111
justinjam is @justinjamieson
man in the suit is @bluejayhunt (he swears he never uses it though)
it's all over! is @sedin26
Tina is @tpoole00
JM is @jmarkgraham

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Off Day Farm Treat (Leafs Game Thread?)

Welcome to our second (hopefully) regular off day farm treat. I had plans to make this another Fisher Cat game thread but later realized that the Fisher Cats and Jays both have scheduled off days today. So we will use this thread to discuss all levels of the Jays farm system. Below I have compiled a very basic introductory to the various Jays affiliates and have highlighted some key prospects that we are keeping tabs on. There are many other players and prospects to watch, but I wanted to keep this post a reasonable length so I only highlighted the big names. All stats are as of end of day Wednesday April 11th.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Game #13 Toronto Blue Jays (8-5) @ Baltimore Orioles (5-8) - game recap

Jonathan Schoop was 2-4 at the plate with 2 RBI and a run scored as the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 5-3 to avoid the series sweep.

The Blue Jays came into this game having won three straight series. They were looking for their first sweep of the season. Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:
  • Kevin Pillar opened the scoring in the 1st with a single to center scoring Justin Smoak
  • Jonathan Schoop tied the game in the bottom of the 4th with a double to score Manny Machado
  • Three batters later Chris Davis singled to right scoring Schoop
  • The next batter Tim Beckham hit a sac fly to plate Pedro Alvarez
  • In the top of the 5th Yangervis Solarte singled to score Luke Maille
  • Schoop singed home Chance Sisco to double the Orioles lead
  • Marco Estrada pitching line: 4IP 6H 4R (all earned) 3BB 5K 87 pitches (53 for strikes)
  • Aledmys Diaz cracked a homer to left to cut the lead to one in the top of the 6th
  • Sisco scored in the bottom half of the inning, singling to center scoring Beckham
  • Kevin Gausman pitching line: 6IP 6H 3R (all earned) 3BB 7K 106 pitches (68 for strikes)
  • Brad Brach pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up his 3rd save of the season
  • Final score: Orioles 5 Blue Jays 3
My Take: 
  • There was a very key moment in the bottom of the 5th. Manny Machado hit a flyball to right that was slicing foul. Randal Grichuk dove for the ball and deflected it foul. The original call was that Grichuk made contact in foul territory. The Orioles challenged and the call was overturned and the two base runners on first and second were allowed to advance 2 bases edoubleach and Machado was awarded a single. Had the original call stood, Estrada had the chance to get an out. Instead the bases were loaded, Schoop singled home a run a batter later and Estrada was out of the game.
  • Through the first 3 innings, it looked like Marco Estrada was going to replicate what Aaron Sanchez did last night. Estrada had a no-hitter through three innings. In the 4th inning, the Orioles got to him with a pair of doubles, a single and a walk. Estrada was forced to throw 30 pitches in the inning. The Orioles appeared to be looking for his change-up and were not missing on it today.
  • Baltimore did a good job in limiting the damage of the Blue Jays offence. Gift Ngoepe (who has just one hit this season), Randal Grichuk (0-4 tonight and .077 and is tied with Ngoepe with a team worst batting average) and Devon Travis, who flied out as a pinch hitter are really struggling at the plate this season. These three need to get it going at some point. Luke Maille is playing really well this season. He was 2-3 at the plate tonight and is batting .400 on the season.
  • The difference tonight was the Orioles offence got to Estrada and the Orioles pitching shut down the Blue Jays bats
  • Up next,  after an off-day tomorrow, the Blue Jays open a three game series against Cleveland. Game 1 sees Marcus Stroman facing Steve Clevinger. Edwin Encarnacion is batting .146 with 3 HR this season. The Indians are 7-5 through 12 games

no. thirteen: Toronto Blue Jays (8-4) @ Baltimore Orioles (4-8)

Wednesday 11 April 2018
7:05 PM EDT / Oriole Park at Camden Yards / Baltimore, MD
Marco Estrada (1-0 2.77ERA 9K 1.00WHIP) v. Kevin Gausman (0-1 8.00 8K 1.67WHIP)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Game #12 Toronto Blue Jays (8-4) @ Baltimore Orioles (4-8) - game recap

Aaron Sanchez pitched 8 strong innings as the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles 2-1. Sanchez had a no-hitter through 7 innings.

Toronto has looked like a vastly different team than 2017. Almost everyone is healthy and the Blue Jays have been getting  timely hitting. Last night saw the Blue Jays lose DH Kendrys Morales to a hamstring injury. Morales was placed on the 10 day DL today. The Blue Jays also recalled LHP Tim Mayza as Aaron Loup has been largely ineffective when called upon this season. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights
  • Aaron Sanchez picked off Jonathan Schoop to end the first inning. It is the first time this season a Blue Jays 
  • Andrew Cashner pitchng line: 7IP 4H 0R 3BB 6K 104 pitches (61 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the top half of the 8th courtesy of a Yangervis Solarte single that scored Justin Smoak
  • Tim Beckham broke up the no-hitter with a double that went between Donaldson's legs
  • The Orioles tied the game on a double by catcher Chance Sisco, scoring Beckham
  • Curtis Granderson gave the Jays the lead back in the bottom half of the inning with a solo HR
  • Roberto Osuna retired the side in order for his 5th save of the season, 100th of his career. He is the youngest pitcher to reach the milestone.
  • Final score Blue Jays 2 Orioles 1
My Take: 
  • Aaron Sanchez was outstanding today. He had a no-hitter going through 7 innings that was broken up the first pitch of the 8th inning. His only  blemishes through the first seven innings were a hit batter and 4 walks. Sancheez had tons of late movement on his pitches. He also benefited from great defensive plays by Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis. Sanchez is back after a disastrous 2017 season that saw him make only 4 starts due to blister issues.
  • The Blue Jays did just enough offensively late, getting to relievers Darren O'Day and ex-Jay Miguel Castro. I really like how patient Jays hitters have been at the plate this season. It has been paying dividends as the Blue Jays look to match their longest winning streak of the season tomorrow night. Devon Travis really has to be more patient at the plate. He swung at the first pitch in 2 of his 4 AB. He is in a major slump with a .083 batting average and .257 on base%. Travis has been good in the field though.
  • Props to Andrew Cashner who gamely pitched three more innings after taking a Russell Martin grounder off the right ankle. Cashner pitched well but wasn't as efficient with his pitches as Sanchez. 
  • Next up the Blue Jays look for their first series sweep of the season with Marco Estrada pitching against Kevin Gausman. With the win tomorrow, Toronto would be guaranteed to have a winning record on this road trip.

no. twelve: Toronto Blue Jays (8-4) @ Baltimore Orioles (4-7)

Tuesday 10 April 2018
7:05 PM EDT / Oriole Park at Camden Yards / Baltimore, MD
Aaron Sanchez (0-1 5.40ERA 9K 1.71WHIP) v. Andrew Cashner (1-1 4.09 10K 1.18WHIP)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Game #11 Toronto Blue Jays (7-4) @ Baltimore Orioles (4-7) - game recap

Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam in the 9th in the Blue Jays 7-1 rout over the Orioles. He also played 1st base for the first time since 2012

After winning the weekend series vs. Texas, the Toronto Blue Jays opened a 3 game series vs. divisioin rivals Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore won the season series 12-7 in 2017. The Orioles come into the series looking to gain some ground in the AL East after a tough 4-6 record through their first 10 games. Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • DH Kendrys Morales was forced to leave the game after injuring his hamstring in the top of the 2nd. Josh Donaldson
  • Steve Pearce opened the scoring in this series with a 2 run HR scoring Curtis Granderson in the top of the 3rd
  • Manny Machado answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot leading off the inning
  • JA Happ pitching line: 6IP 5H 1R (earned) 3BB 9K 104 pitches (69 for strikes)
  • Dylan Bundy pitching line: 7IP 4H 2R (both earned) 2BB 10K 101 pitches (66 for strikes)
  • Granderson drew a huge bases loaded walk to extend the lead in the 9th, scoring Yangervis Solarte
  • The next batter up JD crushed a grand slam to dead center scoring Granderson, Kevin Pillar and Travis
  • Final score: Blue Jays 7 Orioles 1
My Take:

  • Due to the Morales injury, Josh Donaldson moved from 3B to 1B defensively. Donaldson last played first base for Oakland in 2012. Regular first baseman Justin Smoak was DH'ing today, so if the Blue Jays had shifted him to the field, pitcher JA Happ would have had to bat. The big difference between third base and first base is having to receive throws, potentially off the mark. First baseman also have to field grounders to the pitcher who is running to cover the base, at times Donaldson committed a throwing error the first play that went his way. 
  • The Morales injury could be a blessing in disguise. Players like Donaldson and Devon Travis need to be handled cautiously. As suggested in this week's random thoughts post, John Gibbons might opt to DH Travis on days he is scheduled to have off to keep his bat in the lineup. Same goes for catcher Russell Martin, who is following a similar playing schedule as Travis. Look for the Blue Jays to take every precaution with Morales and put him on the DL.
  • Both starting pitchers pitched very well today. The 2 starters combined to strike out 19 batters. Both pitchers were having quick, efficient innings that allowed them to pitch later in the game. Happ had his best start of the season, throwiing 6 solid innings and getting 9 strikeouts for the second straight start. He will be a major part of the success for the Blue Jays this season.
  • Props to the Orioles defense who made 2 huge defensive plays: Bundy threw out Pierce at home in the 2nd and in the 8th Trey Mancini threw out Almedys Diaz, who was attempting to score on a sac fly. It's these kind of plays that win most ball games.
  • This was a tight 2-1 pitcher's duel until the 9th inning when the Blue Jsys broke it open off great patience at the plate and a huge JD grand slam
  • Up next, Aaron Sanchez makes his third start of the season against fellow righty Andrew Cashner as the Blue Jays look to continue to have success on this road trip. They are 3-1 so far on the trip.

no. eleven: Toronto Blue Jays (7-4) @ Baltimore Orioles (4-6)

Monday 9 April 2018
7:05 PM EDT / Oriole Park at Camden Yards / Baltimore, MD
JA Happ (1-1 5.40ERA 14K 1.30WHIP) v. Dylan Bundy (0-0 0.69 15K 1.00WHIP)

ten random thoughts: Week 2: April 2-8

The Blue Jays are off to their best start since 2015. They split the mighty Yankees and nearly swept the Chicago White Sox, narrowly losing a hard fought series finale game on Wednesday. They also defeated the Texas Rangers for their second series win of the season on Sunday. Here are ten random thoughts from week 2 of the season

1. The MLB announced that Facebook will have exclusive rights to 25 afternoon games. This means that there will be no local TV coverage for either team. Two Blue Jays games will be affected by the move April 18 vs. the KC Royals and May 24 vs. the LA Angels. The MLB is assuming all baseball fans have access to a computer and Facebook. In light of the recent data scandal on Facebook, many Facebook users are deleting their accounts. Also, not every fan has a computer either, especially the older generation of fans. I think the MLB should have made viewable on Facebook as an option, as opposed to a forced choice. The May 24th game will be especially tough for Blue Jays fans to miss as it will be their first glimpse on Japanese import Shohei Ohtani.

2. It was great to see Josh Donaldson return to the field at 3rd base. He had been dealing with a dead arm that affected his ability to  make a strong throw to 1st base. JD is in a contract year, so will be looking to have a big year in order to cash in on either a new deal with the Blue Jays or the open market in free agency. He is also one of the players the Blue Jays will be relying on to spark the offence.

3. I have been impressed with the Blue Jay newcomers so far. Curtis Granderson is batting .364 through the first ten games, including a big  RBI single on Sunday as a pinch hitter. Yangervis Solarte has a .308 average and was 2-2 on Sunday. Solarte has also been good defensively, helping turn some huge double plays to help the Blue Jays pitching out of jams. Randall Grichuk is struggling at the plate at the moment, currently in a 0-26 slump. Canadian John Axford has been one of the better relievers for Toronto early on. He has 3 strikeouts and a 2.70ERA in 4 appearances. Seung-hwan Oh has one save in his 5 appearances and looks like he'll be an effective setup man/backup closer. Veteran Tyler Clippard has a 3.18 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 6 appearances. Starting pitcher Jaimie Garcia has had 2 solid outings, pitching into the 6th inning in both of his starts and being effective with his pitches. Finally, in limited action, Gift Ngoepe has 1 hit in 10 AB's. He has done fine in the field

4. To start the season, Devon Travis and Russell Martin are on 2 days on, 1 day off playing schedules. Both players have dealt with injuries the past 2 seasons. Martin is also 35 years old, meaning regular rest will be important to keep him fresh at the end of the season. Devon Travis is struggling at the plate to start the season and the temptation will be to play him more to allow him more AB's to get out of the slump. Toronto might want to consider DH'ing Travis on some scheduled days off to get his bat going.

5. The New York Yankees are facing early injury troubles. In the opening series vs. the Blue Jays, Aaron Hicks went down with a strained intercostal muscle on opening day. Game 3, his replacement, Billy McKinney was hurt slamming into the Rogers center wall attempting to catch a flyball. On Friday, the Yankees lost another 4 players to injury: CC Sabathia left his start after throwing 53 pitches with a sore hip, catcher Gary Sanchez cramped up in his calf, Brandon Drury exited the game with a migraine and closer Aroldis Chapman left after not being able to warm up properly. The Chapman injury is a direct reason why the mound visit stat is so detrimental to the game. Infielder Tyler Wade is also battling flu-like symptoms. The Yankees depth will be tested and they may regret not signing/trading for a veteran player or two. New York was an early season favorite in the AL East.

6. The need for technology that calls balls and strikes came up in the Nationals/Mets game on Saturday. As long as umpires call the game, ambiguity will exist in baseball. Managers can challenge anything but balls/strikes. Strike zones can vary game to game depending on who calls the game. Some umpires have wider strike zones, other umpires have smaller zones. The inconsistency can affect the outcome of the game as pitchers/hitters figure out what is a strike vs a ball. If technology existed that was 100% accurate on if a pitch is a ball or strike, the game would be more consistent and the outcome would be true. TV viewers can see where a ball enters the strike zone. Evidently, technology is being developed to track balls/strikes in real time and accurately. It would definitely be tested at the minor league level first and would need player approval before being implemented.

7. Japanese import Shohei Ohtani is looking like he's for real. He homered in three straight games this week, including an opposite field shot against Corey Kluber. On the mound, he pitched pitched a perfect game into the 7th inning on Sunday on the strength of 10 strikeouts. Ohtani is the early season favorite for at least the rookie of the year award. Blue Jays fans will get their first glimpse of him May 22-24 when the Angels visit the Rogers Center. It is unlikely Ohtani will pitch in the series as the Angels are starting Ohtani once every 7 days. He'll DH most of the other games.

8. Early season surprise team: Pittsburgh Pirates. They were the last undefeated team in the majors. They have proven to be a force offensively early. Corey Dickerson, Colin Moran, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Josh Bell, Adam Frazier and David Freese are all batting over .300. This is the Pirates best start since 1976. Can they keep the pace up? Pittsburgh has a favorable schedule this month. They face the Cubs, Cardinals and Rockies, who should be in the playoff mix. They also face the Marlins, Phillies,  and Tigers, who are not expected to contend for the playoffs. They should be able to win more games than they lose the rest of the month.

9. Early season disappointing team: Texas Rangers. The Rangers, who the Blue Jays faced this weekend, are struggling to get their starting pitchers to pitch deep into games. Only Bartolo Colon, Martin Perez and Cole Hamels have managed to pitch into the 6th inning. This is taxing the bullpen early on. In Friday's opening game of the series, Matt Moore threw 20+ pitches in the first inning and was gone with one out in the 4th. His replacement Jesse Chavez was forced to throw 26 more pitches to get the final 2 outs. Texas needs to get more out of their starting pitchers or it will be a long season.

10. Blue Jay of the week: Yangervis Solarte. The off-season trade acquisition from San Diego had a solid week with 7 hits in 13 AB. He also drew at least one walk in every game this week and helped the defence turn some big double plays.

Follow me on twitter @tpoole00 and check out my blog @

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Game #10 Toronto Blue Jays (6-4) @ Texas Rangers (4-7) - game recap

DH Kendrys Morales was 2-4 at the plate, including hitting a big 3-run HR in the 1st inning as the Blue Jays defeated the Rangers Sunday afternoon

The Blue Jays were looking to take the rubber match of this three game series. Toronto took game one on the strength of timely hitting by the offence. Yesterday's game went to Texas, who did a better job in the frigid conditions that saw players wearing balaclavas in the field and toques in the dugout. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights: 

  • Steve Pearce opened the scoring with a lead-off HR on the game's opening pitch
  • Kendrys Morales followed up by blasting a 3-run shot scoring Justin Smoak and Yangervis Solarte 
  • The Rangers responded in the bottom half of the inning with Elvis Andrus singling home Shin-Soo Choo
  • Pearce was caught stealing to end the second inning
  • Smoak scored the Jays 5th run in the top of the 3rd with a ground ball single off the ankle of Rangers starter Cole Hamels by Kevin Pillar
  • Luke Maille doubled home Pillar in the top of the 6th 
  • Two batters later, Curtis Granderson came in as a pinch hitter and singled to score Maille
  • Cole Hamels pitching line: 5.1IP 8H 7R (5 earned) 2BB 5K 98 pitches (65 for strikes)
  • The Rangers answered back in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of a Joey Gallo 2 run HR; Adrian Beltre also scored on the play
  • Jaimie Garcia pitching line: 5.1IP 5H 3R (all earned)  2BB 5K 96 pitches (60 for strikes)
  • Choo singled in the bottom of the 8th scoring Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos
  • Roberto Osuna recorded his 4th save of the season; escaping a bases loaded jam to end the 8th and retiring the Rangers in order in the 9th
  • Final score: Blue Jays 7 Rangers 4

My Take:

  • Today was a great response by the offence. After being held to just 2 hits last night, they were aggressive early and did not miss their pitches. The Blue Jays scored 7 runs on 11 hits, including 2 big 1st inning home runs
  • Both starting pitchers had very similar outings. Hamels gave up a few more hits, which was the difference in the ball game through 6 innings. Garcia had good movement on his pitches. If he continues to pitch like he has, Garcia will be an effective 5th starter for the Blue Jays
  • Today's game saw the appearance of 44-year old Bartolo Colon. The hefty righty is the last remaining active player from the Expos. He pitched an inning today and he looks like he will be able to pitch at least a season or two more. Colon struck out 4 of the 7 Blue Jays batters he faced today. 
  • Aaron Loup had another difficult outing today. He gave up a single and a double and managed to get a fielders choice sandwiched between the 2 hits he gave up. He really needs to take Ryan Tepera to dinner for escaping the bases loaded jam by getting two tough hitters out in Beltre and Gallo. Toronto might want to consider calling up a lefty from Buffalo if Loup continues to struggle when called upon.
  • Through 10 games, this Blue Jays team is vastly improved. A big difference has been the health of the team. This time last season, Josh Donaldson, Steve Pearce, Troy Tulowitzki and Aaron Sanchez were all ailing. This season, all but Tulowitzki have been healthy. The pitching has been pretty much as expected and so far the offence has been cashing in runs. Up next, the Blue Jays continue the road trip in Baltimore with JA Happ getting his third start of the season. He'll be facing righty Dylan Bundy, who has 15K so far this season. The Orioles are coming off a big extra-innings win over the Yankees today

Game #10: Toronto Blue Jays (5-4) @ Texas Rangers (4-6)

Sunday 08 April 2018
3:05PM EDT / Globe Life Park  / Arlington, Texas
Jaime Garcia (LHP 0-0 1.50 7K 1.00) v. Cole Hamels (LHP 1-1 3.38 18K 1.50)

PRE-AMBLE: Today is a new day. Last night was an ugly one for the Jays on a uncharacteristically cold night in Arlington. The Jays only managed 2 hits against a sloppy lefty while their ace Stroman struggled with command all night allowing 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings giving up 6 hits and FIVE walks. It was the first time in Stroman's career that he has thrown more balls than strikes (44 strikes to 51 balls). There are not many positives to take away from the game last night, but the bullpen did come in and do their job pitching 3 scoreless innings. Now I am not one for excuses, especially since both teams are playing in the same conditions,  so I will just say the Texans outplayed us and move on to the next game. 

In case you weren't already mad after watching last nights game or reading my pre-amble, here is a gif from the first inning of last night where Odor randomly kicks the air and grabs his filthy crotch towards Stroman. I am not sure why he does this but its Odor so this childish behavior is to be  expected.

I wouldnt worry too much about Odor though, as he posted a league worst (among qualified batters) 61wRC+ last year and will likely be out of the league working at Arby's in a few years.

In other news around the league, here is how the now 2-7 Padres lost to the Astros last night. You will notice a familar face.

OF NOTE: At game time today, it is expected to be 12°C in Arlington, with the temperatures rising as the game goes on. This is significantly warmer than it was last night, with the temperture dropping below 0°C during parts of the game. Hopefully this warmer weather will wake the bats as the Jays will likely need more than 2 hits to win the game and the series. Papa Garcia takes the mound for the Jays today, and he has surprisingly been the Jays most effective starter early in the season. He has only had 1 start, but it was a quality one pitching 6 innings while only allowing 4 hits and 1 run. Look for Garcia to continue to dominate as he faces Odor and his fellow garbage juice producing teammates. 

Key Matchup - Handsome vs Handsome

I am sorry to say, but Cole Hamels is beautiful and Luke Maile is only handsome. Although Maile may not win in the looks category, he has a chance to best Hamels on the field. Maile has looked surprisingly good so far this season, and in limited AB in his career against Halmels, he is batting .375 with 3 RBI. 

Toronto Blue Jays
LF Steve Pearce (L)
3B Josh Donaldson (R)
1B Justin Smoak (S)
2B Y. Solarte (S)
DH Kendrys Morales (S)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
RF Randal Grichuk (R)
C Luke Maile (R)

SS Aledmys Diaz (R)

Texas Rangers
RF Shin-Soo Choo (L)
DH Rougned Odor (L)
SS Elvis Andrus (R)
3B Adrian Beltre (R)
1B Joey Gallo (L)
C Robinson Chirinos (R)
3B Jurickson Profar (S)
LF Ryan Rua (R)
CF Carlos Tocci (R)

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Dabbles here signing off until Thursday when I host our regular Off Day Farm Treat! Stay classy.

This is your GAME THREAD: "Crush These Assholes" Edition.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Game #9 Toronto Blue Jays (5-4) @ Texas Rangers (4-6) - game recap

Texas Rangers Joey Gallo went 1-2 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored on the way to a 5-1 Rangers win 

After a victory in the opening game of the series, the Blue Jays were looking to secure their second series of the season. The offence has really been on point this season. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights
  • Joey Gallo opened the scoring for the Rangers on a sac fly by Ryan Rua
  • Kevin Pillar broke up the no-hitter with a triple off the wall in left field
  • Gallo doubled to score Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo
  • The next batter Jurickson Profar double home Gallo
  • Juan Centeno cashed in the Rangers 4th run of the inning with a grounder that ate up Devon Travis scoring Profar from 2ndFinal c=
  • Marcus Stroman pitching line: 4.2IP 6H 5R (all earned) 5BB 3K 95 pitches (44 for strikes)
  • Steve Pearce got the Blue Jays on the board with a solo HR to left
  • Mike Minor pitching line: 6IP 2H 1R (earned) 2BB 7K 93 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • Final score: Rangers 5 Blue Jays 1

My Take:
  • A shoutout to members of he Humboldt Broncos and their families who died or were injured in that horrible accident. You are in our thoughts and prayers
  • Blue Jays players were wearing toques in the dugout. It was a cold night for baseball. The cold weather affected Stroman's ability to grip the baseball. Batters were also affected as the ball behaved differently in the cold.
  • Marcus Stroman had a difficult night in the cold as it affected his grip on the baseball. He walked 5 batters and finished his night throwing more balls than strikes. 
  • It was a tough night for the Blue Jays as Mike Minor looked good on the mound tonight and the Rangers bullpen was nearly perfect in their three innings of work. The Blue Jays bullpen had a better night than last night, although Danny Barnes allowed 2 hits before getting out of the 5th inning. Up next is the rubber match of the series with lefty Jaimie Garcia taking on fellow lefty Cole Hamels in a mid-afternoon matinee.

Game #9: Toronto Blue Jays (5-3) @ Texas Rangers (3-6)

Saturday 07 April 2018
8:05PM EDT / Globe Life Park  / Arlington, Texas
Marcus Stroman (RHP 0-0 7.20 8K 1.20) v. Mike Minor (LHP 0-1 3.86 5K 1.07)

PRE-AMBLE: Sigh...we really take afternoon baseball for granted when we have games like tonight that are on at 8PM on a Saturday night. As most of you probably have friends or loved ones and want to experience all the world has to offer, I imagine it will be quiet in here tonight with me talking to myself as per usual.

In minor league news, the Bisons season opener has been postponed for the 2nd day in a row. They will hopefully open the season tomorrow with the big eared beauty Joe Biagini taking the mound. The Lugnuts (1-0) and Fishercats (2-0) are also undefeated this year, so things are looking bright for Blue Jays future. I have watched both Fishercats games and I must say everyone is looking great. Vlad and Bo have both looked good as expected, but watching live I must say Vlad's plate discipline really is crazy. In the first 2 games of the season he has walked 3 times and has not struck out. The most surprising Fishercat so far has been slightly less touted prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. While batting clean up for New Hampshire, he is batting .556 with 4 RBI in 2 games. As promised I will keep tabs on our petite leagues and post a recap when I can.

The talk of the league so far today has been this ejection of Anthony Rendon of the Nationals by home plate umpire Marty Foster. Take a look at the video below and let us know what you think...or what we should do about ump shows.

Ump Show! Rendon ejected for lightly tossing bat after K.

OF NOTE: At game time today, it is expected to be 5°C in Arlington, with the temperatures dropping as the game progresses. This is significantly lower than the seasonal temperature of 22°C and much colder than yesterday where it was 18°C at game time. I expect the bats to cool off tonight (pun intended) with the cold weather and for Buck and Pat to mention that we are "locked in a pitching duel" about a dozen times.

As you can see in the lineup below, Dosh Jonaldson is at DH today. I imagine this is just to get Diaz into the lineup as he was hot before missing a few games, but what do I know. Our very own Dr. Wolf who has a PHD in Saturday Night Spanish Guitar Lessons notes that he is probably fine and is taking it slow. I don't know about you, but I trust a man with those credentials. Also of note, Kendrys "Morsel" Molasses is out of the lineup today. This shouldn't come has a huge surprise as he provides nothing with the glove and has looked sub-optimal at the plate so far this season. Now we just have to hope Grichuk can make a little bit of contact and we are looking good 1 through 9!

Key Matchup - Solar Flare vs. Salt n' Peppa

Solarte has 9 AB against Minor in his career. He is batting .571 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. 

Toronto Blue Jays
LF Steve Pearce (L)
DHJosh Donaldson (R)
1B Justin Smoak (S)
3B Y. Solarte (S)
C Russell Martin (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
SS Aledmys Diaz (R)
RF Randal Grichuk (R)
2B Devon Travis (R)

Texas Rangers
DH Shin-Soo Choo (L)
2B Rougned Odor (L)
SS Elvis Andrus (R)
RF Nomar Mazara (L)
1B Joey Gallo (L)
3B Jurickson Profar (S)
C  Juan Centeno (L)
LF Ryan Rua (R)
CF Drew Robinson (L)

Here is a gif a monkey riding a dog.

This is your GAME THREAD: "Texas Toast" Edition.