Baltimore 10 Blue Jays 8; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Jays dropped their first slugfest of the season 10-8 to Baltimore. The Jays are still in second place in the AL East with a 11-10 record and sitting a game back of the Yankees.

The Good: The Jays offence sprung to life tonight scoring six runs in the second inning, highlighted by a Brett Lawrie three run home run a Jose Reyes 2 run home run and a Edwin Encarnacion RBI single. Ryan Goins had his first good night at the plate since last season, he drew a walk and scored in the second inning and then hit his first home run of the year in the sixth inning. Jose Bautista had another two walks to bring his April total to 27 which is one of the team record of 28 also held by Bautista from 2011. Bautista also went 2 for 3 on the night, Melky Cabrera, Dionner Navarro and Lawrie all went 3 for 5 tonight and it looks like Lawrie is breaking out of his early season funk. J.A Happ who stopped the bleeding in the Orioles six run fifth did his job tonight in trying to save the pen. Happ went 2 2/3 innings allowing a run on two hits allowing two walks and striking out three.

The Bad: Dustin McGowan didn’t really have it tonight, and again for the second straight start didn’t record an out in the fifth inning as he loaded the bases to start the fifth inning before being taken out of the game for Todd Redmond. McGowan got tagged for six runs over those four plus innings walked a batter and struck out five but did allow two home runs, the second home run got Baltimore back into the game at the time. John Gibbons bench management tonight wasn’t good, he burned his bench in the span of one at bat in the seventh inning tonight leaving him with out a pinch hit option for Jonathan Diaz in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run at second base. Unfortunately, as long as the Blue Jays decide to carry an eight man bullpen, there will be more issues like tonight happening. I hate to bang on Gibby twice in one night, but, bringing in Redmond with the bases loaded and no one out in the fifth was asking for trouble, why not bring in a short reliever like Loup or Wagner who have experience coming in with runners on? It just seemed odd that Gibby would bring Redmond in a spot like that.

The Ugly: Todd Redmond didn’t have it tonight, yeah it started out alright with an infield pop up, but then he left everything up. Redmond gave up three runs on four hits and only recorded two outs and allowed the Grand Slam that gave the Orioles a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Juan Francisco went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts tonight, although he did get hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance in the second inning and came around to score on the Lawrie home run.

Blue Jays 9 Baltimore 3; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Frank Gunn/Canadian Press

Frank Gunn/Canadian Press

The Blue Jays opened their three game set with the Orioles with a 9-3 win. The Jays’ record stands at 11-9, they are in second place a game behind the New York Yankees. The Jays’ send Dustin McGowan to the mound tomorrow night against Baltimore’s Chris Tillman.

The Good: It’s been said over and over but the defence tonight was stellar, Jonathan started an impressive double play to get out of the eighth inning, and then made a great running grab to end the game. The offence from the sixth inning on was excellent, Edwin Encarnacion getting his first home run of the year, a three run shot to at the time tie the game. Brett Lawrie also came up big in the eighth hitting a go ahead three run blast to give the Jays a 6-3 lead and then Melky Cabrera hitting yet another three run shot, his fifth of the season, to ice away the game at 9-3. Juan Francisco with another 2 hits tonight now is 4 for 10 so far and he just missed out on a home run, which ended up being a triple. Perhaps the Jays have found their power bat off the bench once Adam Lind returns from the DL. R.A Dickey, who was great for the first five innings holding the Orioles offence off-balance in those innings. Neil Wagner and Brett Cecil cleaning up the mess that Dickey had left on in the seventh. Wagner got a big ground out and Cecil got tow big strikeouts to get out of the inning

The Bad: Dickey’s sixth inning and start of the seventh. Dickey has been known to blow up around this time in a game. In fact the third time thru a line-up the opponents hit .440/.533/.680 off of Dickey. And personally I wouldn’t have brought Dickey back out for the seventh with the way the sixth inning went for him. Yet again the attendance tonight was a little disappointing only 14,866 showed up to watch the game, although I suppose many were busy paying attention the Raptors playoff win over Brooklyn tonight.

The Ugly: I understand why Ryan Goins is on this team, but after another 0 for 2 night and one at bat where all he had to do was lay down a bunt and failed miserably at it, and watching his average dip to .140 for the young season, when is it time for the Ryan Goins experiment to end. I fully expected Goins to be the one sent down when Jose Reyes came off the DL, and I still think that Goins is working on a short leash right now. Jonathan Diaz has proven that he can handle the bat better than Goins and he is just as good defensively, I gotta think it’s only a matter of time with Goins before he gets sent back to Buffalo.

Some Interesting Numbers So Far On Blue Jays Pitching

Steve Russell / TORONTO STAR

Steve Russell / TORONTO STAR

 

It has been said so far this season that the Blue Jays starting pitching needs to pitch deeper into games to help save the bullpen, and thru 19 games this season they are right.

So I’ve decided to look at the numbers this season and see where the rotation ranks in terms of innings pitched and some of the interesting numbers and compare them to last season just to see where things all shake out.

Starting Rotation

At the 19 game point the rotation ranks 25th in innings pitched with 103.2, they have an ERA of 3.85 while allowing 42 walks while striking out 92.

The longest outing by a starter is Mark Buehrle’s 8.2 innings in his first start of the season, the Jays have only had three other occasions where a pitcher went seven innings, with R.A Dickey with one and Buehrle with the other two.

The rotation has failed to go five innings on four occasions, with the shortest outing belonging to Dustin McGowan who pitched 2.2 innings in the home opener against the Yankees.

At the 19 game point last season the rotation had pitched 103 innings, they had an ERA of 5.05, while allowing 37 walks and 83 strikeouts.

The longest outing a starter had was seven innings and that occurred twice once by Josh Johnson and Buehrle.

The rotation failed to go five innings in a game four times as well, with the shortest outing belonging to Josh Johnson who only pitched 1.1 innings in a loss in Detroit in the second week of the season.

 

The Bullpen

At the 19 game point this season the bullpen has pitched 64.2 innings which ranks sixth in baseball with a 3.90 ERA, however, if you take out the two blowouts from the last road trip out of the equation the pen’s ERA would be 2.73. The Bullpen has allowed 39 walks, which is the second most behind the White Sox, and have struck out 71 batters which is fifth in baseball.

After 19 games last season the Bullpen had pitched 69.1 innings with a 3.37 ERA while walking 26 while striking out 57.

 

The number of innings thrown by the rotation and the bullpen this season are similar to last season at this point. The starting pitching this season is averaging 5.2 innings pitched which if you want to compete in the American League East isn’t going to cut it. Despite the early glitches by the pen I still think they can be a strength on this team, they have to improve their command however and cut down on walks, although the same can be said for the starting rotation right now. The Blue Jays desperately need R.A Dickey to get his knuckleball figured out and they need more innings out of Brandon Morrow who has only gone beyond the fifth inning once, twice if you count the leadoff single he allowed in the sixth in Cleveland Sunday before being taken out of the game.

Looking at the numbers overall highlights the need that the Jays had to sign a pitcher in the offseason to help out the rotation, and pitch deep into games right now. The Bullpen guys burned out last season and could suffer the same fate. Steve Delebar and Brett Cecil lead the pen in games pitched with nine, which over a full season works out to 77 games. Last season Cecil worked in 60 games while Delabar worked in 55 games. Aaron Loup led the team with 64 appearances and with 8 so far this season is on his way to matching or exceeding that number.

The good news would be that the Jays’ have done this without the services of Casey Janssen who is on the DL with the abdominal strain, it’s safe to say that once he comes back, he will replace one of the three long men currently in the pen and add more depth to the back-end of the pen which would be an added bonus for a bullpen trying to avoid being burnt out again this season.

 

 

Walks Trip Up Blue Jays Again

Getty Images

Getty Images

For the second time in four days walks again cost the Blue Jays a game.

Five of the six runs that the Jays allowed in Sunday’s 6-4 loss to the Indians got on via the walk. The big blow came in the sixth inning when Aaron Loup walked three consecutive batters and then allowed a David Murphy bases clearing double to erase a Blue Jays 4-2 lead into an Indians 5-4 lead.

The Indians would add another run in the bottom of the seventh via a leadoff walk, a single and a sac fly. The leadoff walk came via Neil Wagner who had come on in the sixth inning in relief of Loup.

I did notice some things during Loup’s struggles that bothered me. During the Micheal Brantley at bat Loup got ahead 0-2 on him and then nibbled around the zone, I know Brantley has done well against the Jays but you have a defence behind you don’t be afraid to throw strikes. It also bothered me that Josh Thole didn’t come out to the mound to try to settle Loup down, even when Morrow had a rough inning in the fourth it was Jose Reyes that came to the mound to settle Morrow down while Thole just stayed behind the plate.

The other thing I have noticed was how on twitter John Gibbons took another beating over his bullpen management, yeah Gibby left Loup in one batter too long in my opinion but with Murphy being a lefty and the only one up in the pen being Wagner a righty I can’t really beat up on Gibby for leaving the lefty Loup in for that at bat. If Brett Cecil had been up in the pen it would have been a different story.

The Jays have Monday off as they prepare to open a six game home stand Tuesday against Baltimore. The Jays will send R.A Dickey to the mound to face the Orioles who send Miguel Gonzales to the mound.

Jays Bounce Back, Lind to DL.

After a Bullpen collapse in Minnesota Thursday night, the Blue Jays pen got a chance to redeem themselves and for the most part redeemed themselves, although Sergio Santos made it interesting by loading the bases before getting Micheal Brantley to ground out to Edwin Encarnacion to seal the deal on a 3-2 win.

The game for the most part was a pitchers duel between Drew Hutchison and Justin Masterson as both pitched very well early on. The Jays broke thru in the fourth inning when Colby Rasmus doubled and then later scored on Brett Lawrie’s infield single to make it a 1-0 game.

It stayed that way till the bottom of the sixth when Hutchison ran into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth when Jason Kipnis led off with a single and then Carlos Santana whacked a two run shot to right to give the Indians a 2-1 lead. Hutchison got Brantley to ground out and then gave up an Astrubal Cabrera triple spelling the end of his night. Steve Delabar came on to get them out of the inning.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the seventh one on a Munenori Kawasaki RBI single and the second one on a Edwin Encarnacion RBI single to give the Jays a 3-2 lead that the pen made stick.

After the game the Jays’ announced that they were optioning Munenori Kawasaki back to Buffalo to make room for Jose Reyes who is back from his DL stint.

The Blue Jays also put Adam Lind on the 15-Day DL with his back tightness and called up Juan Francisco from Buffalo, to make room on the 40 man roster for Francisco the Jays’ transferred Maicer Izturis to the 60-Day DL.

The Blue Jays send Mark Buehrle to the mound Saturday to face Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, first pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm.

Is Juan Francisco Being Called Up? Lind to the DL?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So it looks like the Blue Jays may have made their decision with Adam Lind’s ailing back as Gregor Chisholm tweeted out earlier this evening.

Lind last played on Tuesday night and left in the seventh inning with tightness in his Back.

Francisco has hit 349/429/581 with a OPS of 1.010 as well as two home runs in 11 games so far in Buffalo this season.

Franciso has played six games at third base and has played five games as the Designated Hitter.

One Horrific Inning.

Eight walks.

Eight freaking walks in one inning.

Eight walks in an inning by three different pitchers.

Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos and J.A Happ combined to allow six runs on ONE HIT, while walking EIGHT batters in the eighth inning last night.

The Blue Jays disastrous eighth inning didn’t set the Major League record for walks, the record is 11 walks in an inning. It did set a Blue Jays record for walks in an inning.

I sit here almost 12 hours after the fact and it’s still hard to put into words just what happened in the eighth inning. I guess the Monday morning quarterback in me could second guess some of the moves manager John Gibbons made last night.

Brett Cecil came in to finish the seventh inning recording one out with two pitches, why not let Cecil start the eighth. It also makes me wonder, if Neil Wagner gets thru the seventh clean if the eighth would have been Cecil’s.

I suppose though that Gibby thought what most Jays’ fans were thinking going into the eighth inning with the track record that the bullpen has had in the last year, Delabar for the eighth and Santos for the ninth. So I have a hard time pinning the meltdown on Gibby, although maybe he had a quick hook with Delabar, asking Santos to come in for a five out save did seem risky at the time and turned out to be a disaster.

Just how bad was Santos last night?

Santos became the first pitcher in Major League history to throw three wild pitches without recording an out. out of Santos 16 pitches he threw last night, only four were strikes.

The last Blue Jays reliever to throw three wild pitches in a game was Jim Acker way back in 1986 in a game against the Yankees.

The Good news from last night, it was just one game. The bad news, it’s a game that’s gonna sting for a bit.

Time For Happ To Quit Being A Diva.

Chris Young/Canadian Press

Chris Young/Canadian Press

J.A Happ was activated from the DL on Sunday and joined the Blue Jays in Minnesota on Tuesday. Upon his return he wasted no time in letting people know that he thinks he should be in the Blue Jays rotation.

Wait, there’s more.

In other words, just like last Spring when Happ whined about not being in the rotation before Ricky Romero fell off the face of the earth.

Happ had his chance to make the rotation out of Spring Training but was awful when he was given a chance, maybe if he had actually pitched half decent he would be in the rotation, but I digress.

Happ should have come in saying, “I’m happy to be back here, looking forward to helping the team win and do my part in what ever role they need me to fill for this team” Am I wrong in thinking that’s what most guys would say?
I know he’s unhappy and would rather be in the bullpen but there are times that sucking it up and doing what is best for the team is a much better option than publicly sulking about your role with the team and risking becoming a clubhouse cancer.

I mean haven’t we heard enough about the whole lack of chemistry and leadership bullshit in the last few years? The Jays have gotten off to a good start and by all reports this team seems more like a team than they did last year, things are good in the clubhouse and now Happ is here whining about his role? Now would be a good time for someone like Mark Buerhle or Jose Bautista to quietly pull Happ aside and tell him to suck it up and quit with the public whining. The fans have heard enough of it and I’m sure the players probably have too.

You know, Happ could always learn from bullpen mates Brett Cecil and Casey Janssen, both failed as starters and both accepted their roles in the bullpen and both have become key members of the Blue Jays bullpen.

At this point though, it’s time for Happ to quit being a diva and quit whining and if he really wants to get back into the rotation then let his pitching do the talking, because all his pitching has proven so far this year is that he really doesn’t deserve to be with the Blue Jays, and really should be in Buffalo.

The Monday Night Notebook

kawasaki

The Blue Jays announced tonight that Maicer Izturis will miss the next four to six months with a complete tear of his LCL and will have to undergo surgery to repair it. For the time being the Jays called up Munenori Kawasaki from Buffalo to take his place on the roster. It’s disappointing news considering how well of a start Izturis has gotten off to and this now really tests the Blue Jays depth at second. It should be interesting to see who gets sent back down to Buffalo once Jose Reyes comes back, honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan Goins is the man who gets sent down, his defence has been great but like everyone before the season feared, his offence just isn’t cutting it and with Jonathan Diaz being just as good of a defender and he has done more offensively than Goins to justify staying up with the team until Alex Anthopoulos can find more of a long-term solution for second base.

Also yesterday in a bit of a head scratching move, the Jays sent down Erik Kratz to make room for J.A Happ, who comes of the DL. As it stands the Jays now have an eight man pen with three long relievers. Not quite sure where the need is for three long men and with Esmil Rogers really scuffling it makes one wonder how long before the Jays make a move with him. Although with Rogers it seems like John Gibbons is only using him for two innings at most per outing, which would make me believe that if injuries to the rotation come into play that Happ and Todd Redmond would get a chance before Rogers does. I would imagine that when Casey Janssen comes off the DL sometime within the next week that it’ll force AA’s hand to make a decision on moving one of the three long men in the pen, chances are AA probably tries to sneak Redmond thru waivers to Buffalo, even though Rogers is more deserving of a demotion the Redmond. Redmond has pitched well out of the bullpen, he is a good option to get through a lineup once, it’s when he reaches the second time through the lineup that trouble hits.

Maybe just maybe, the offence has awoken from their early season slumber after lashing out a season high 17 hits in their 11-3 win over Baltimore Sunday. It was nice to see Brett Lawrie have a good day at the plate and collect his second home run of the season, it’s also nice to see Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion get their bats going, with the Jays starting a series in Minnesota on Tuesday it should be interesting to see if the Jays can keep the offence going against the worst pitching in the American League.

 

 

Astros 6 Blue Jays 4; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

dickey

The Blue Jays had their two game winning streak come to an end with a 6-4 loss to Houston. The loss also drops their record to 5-5 which puts the Jays in a three-way tie for first with Tampa and the Yankees. The Blue Jays are in Baltimore to start a nine game road trip, the Jays will send Dustin McGowan to the mound in hopes that he has a much better start than he did in the home opener.

The Good: Colby Rasmus hit his first home run of the season and went 3 for 4 while scoring twice, Melky Cabrera continued his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2 for 5 night. Adam Lind hit a two run double in the bottom of the ninth in his only at bat of the game. Once again the Jays showed that they won’t go away easily, After entering the bottom of the ninth down 6-1 the Jays plated three runs and had the tying run at the plate at the end of the game.

The Bad: R.A Dickey didn’t have a real bad night but once again he gave up a big home run at the worst possible time. With the game still 2-1 in the top of the seventh Dickey allowed a three run home run to Jonathan Vilar which at the time seemed to put the game out of reach at 5-1. Dickey has a tendency in the late innings to give up home runs at a time when it turns a close game into a not so close game. Brett Lawrie went 0 for 4 tonight so maybe thinking that getting that home run last night might help him get out of the slump wasn’t such a good idea.

The Ugly: The Blue Jays attendance was announced at 15, 778, the three games against Houston still add up to the number  that took in the opener.

 

 

 

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