New Blue Jays’ President Mark Shapiro spent some of his first day of his new job meeting the media and laying out his plan for the Toronto Blue Jays going forward and as he laid out some of his ideas and how he likes group collaboration within his baseball people, it may have made it a little easier to see where former GM Alex Anthopoulos had said he didn’t think things were a “good fit”. Where as Anthopoulos seemed to be a guy who operated like he had a million ideas go through his head at once, and other than going to ownership if money was needed to be added to payroll had pretty much free reign on the baseball operations side of the Blue Jays leaving Paul Beeston to the business side of things and dealing with the board of directors. Shapiro will be more of a guy that wants a decision to be made as a collaboration of information by the group of the baseball people in the front office to come up with the best possible decision for the ball club.
The biggest take away from Shapiro’s introductory press conference was the goal of building on this years accomplishments and making sure the goal is to win a World Series, but Shapiro also talked about keeping an eye towards the future in terms of building up the base of prospects in the organization, stating that the most successful teams do a good job of doing both and that should be the goal.
The first order of business for Shapiro was naming Tony LaCava the interim General Manager while Shapiro looks for a permanent one, personally I would love to see the interim tag dropped and LaCava become the permanent GM. Shapiro also said that John Gibbons will be back and all the baseball people have been invited back for next season, so much for some fans thinking that AA’s departure would begin a total housecleaning of the baseball people. Another thing with Gibby coming back for 2016, it also means that his 2017 option will kick in come New Years Day, Although the new GM could go a different direction come the end of next season.
LaCava said that the first decisions will be looking at the player options for next year, adding that a decision on R.A Dickey’s option hasn’t been decided on contrary to reports last week saying that it would be. I think the Blue Jays would be crazy not to pick up the option as a pitcher that can throw 200 innings at the price of 12 million dollars is a bargain in the current market.
Overall I have a good feeling about the job that Shapiro is going to do with the Blue Jays going forward. It appears that the payroll will stay close to where it has been the past few years which is a positive and with roughly 30 million coming off the books it gives the Blue Jays some flexibility with what they want to do this winter.
I would say to the naysayers out there, and there seems to be a more than a few out there, give Shapiro a chance to show what he can do, yes it’s disappointing that AA walked away but there is nothing that can be done about that. What is done is done, it’s time to move on to a new era in Blue Jays history with excitement and optimism that 2015 was more than a one off and that it will be an annual thing to watch the Blue Jays contend for the playoffs every year.
Depending on what side you would like to believe, Alex Anthopoulos’ departure as much as it stinks and as much as Rogers, most notably Edward Rogers, says they wanted him back as GM the beginning of the end for AA came last winter.
The day Edward Rogers let it be known he wanted to push Paul Beeston out of the teams presidency, and also made it known that he would have no problem going behind Beeston’s back or tampering as the Orioles accused him of doing when Rogers tried to get Dan Duquette, started the motion in the overhaul of the management of the Toronto Blue Jays.
When It became apparent that Rogers was looking outside the organization at a new president, it became apparent that they really had no plans in keeping either AA or Beeston beyond this season. It also became easier once the Blue Jays got off to a bad start and looked like they were going to be out of it in early June.
It isn’t known when Rogers reached out to incoming President Mark Shapiro, but I think it’s safe to say that feelers would have been put out before June. It was said that the Jays had talked to Dave Dombrowski after he was let go by the Tigers, but that also doesn’t mean talks with Shapiro hadn’t started earlier, but I think it’s safe to say that they started before the trade deadline and the offer was probably be the President and GM of the ball club.
It all would have worked out too, except for one small problem, AA who was smart enough last winter not to use up all the money in the budget so he would have wiggle room to add payroll at the deadline. The Tulowitzki deal was even money wise, which left AA enough money in the budget to land Price. We all know how things went from there.
Even as the Shapiro hire became official at the end of August nothing was ever said about AA’s future and nothing was made of any offers of a contract extension, which after the type of run this team went on the last two months of the season should have been a no brainer.
So, now the Blue Jays head into uncertain times, how much does the Shapiro hiring give Rogers and excuse to cut payroll, because it’s not like Rogers has never pulled the plug on a general manager before when it comes to payroll and being forced to cut, having said all that, Rogers who have proven themselves to be an awful ownership bunch would be committing financial suicide with the fan base.
I also wonder if Nadir Mahomed was still the head honcho at Rogers would Paul Beeston have gotten pushed out the door and would we even be talking about Alex Anthopoulos leaving?
Remember it was Mahomed that boosted the teams payroll in 2012 when the Blue Jays made the Marlins deal and Dickey deal, not the current CEO Guy Laurence who has a history of slashing payrolls.
As dumb as it would be to slash and burn, It’s been proven in the past Rogers can’t be trusted and honestly right now I don’t trust Rogers as far as I can throw them right now.
With the season now over for the Blue Jays, it is now the time of year that we will start to hear about injuries and surgeries to repair said injuries. The first announcement came out today when the Blue Jays announced that Edwin Encarnacion had a successful sports hernia surgery, the interesting thing about it was that Encarnacion had released a picture on his instagram account that he had undergone surgery. He did not say for what, so many of us assumed it was for his finger that he had issues with throughout the season so it came as quite the surprise when it was announced that it was a sports hernia that Encarnacion had repaired. It also makes it that much more impressive when you think about his performance despite the list of ailments that Encarnacion had to deal with in the second half and the playoffs. It wouldn’t shock me to hear in the next few weeks if it’s not announced that Jose Bautista undergoes some kind of work on his shoulder.
Seems like the Toronto media, especially Sportsnet seem to want to make a big story out of Alex Anthopoulos’ pending future, some even saying there is a chance that he doesn’t come back. I’ve heard enough of Anthopoulos’ interviews in the last month and the way he has talked it has left me with the feeling that he has some sort of handshake deal worked out with Rogers and that they are waiting for Mark Shapiro to be introduced to the Toronto media once he takes over as President next week. I have a hard time to believe that AA would have talked as much about the Blue Jays offseason plans at his year end presser Monday if he wasn’t planning on coming back.
The other thing to think about, Rogers knows that if they didn’t bring AA back they are going committing a PR nightmare after the second half and playoff run that the Blue Jays went on. Rogers built up a ton of good will with the playoff run this year and they could watch it all disappear in a nano second if AA isn’t brought back.
Lets not forget the job that AA has done in scouting and drafting, without all the success they’ve had in drafting young talent there isn’t a chance that the Trade deadline goes down like it did this summer. I’m not saying they would have been sellers, but they sure as hell wouldn’t have been the buyers they were at the deadline, and it’s a damn good chance that the David Price deal never happens.
It’s time that the media get out of their mindset that everything they write about the Blue Jays must be all doom and gloom just for cheap click bait.
There will be a game six in the ALCS as the Blue Jays, who are now 4-0 in elimination games this postseason, defeated the Royals 7-1.
The story of the game has to be Marco Estrada, who in must win games has been lights out for the Blue Jays, pitched into the eighth inning before allowing a run. Estrada went seven and two thirds innings only allowing three hits.
The best part of Estrada’s start was that he was able to pitch deep into the game and save John Gibbons from having to use his beat up and beleaguered bullpen, aside from Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna.
The Blue Jays used the long ball to get the offence started in this one as Chris Collabello hit a solo shot off of Edison Volquez in the second inning. The game stayed that way till the sixth when the Blue Jays finally blew it open. Volquez loaded the bases with no one out. Surprisingly with Kelvin Herrera warm in the bullpen Royals manager Ned Yost elected to stick with Volquez, the move didn’t work as Encarnacion walked forcing a run in making it a 2-0 game. Yost then went to Herrera who would strike out Collabello, and then would allow a bases clearing double to Troy Tulowitzki making it a 5-0 game.
The Blue Jays would add a run in the seventh as Jose Bautista would double home Josh Donaldson. The Royals would finally get on the board on a Salvador Perez homerun in the top of the eighth, the Blue Jays would finish off the scoring in the bottom of the eighth when Tulowitzki scored on a Kevin Pillar double, Pillar would end up out at third trying to stretch it to a triple.
Roberto Osuna would work a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory.
It now all sets up a game six in Kansas City on Friday night. The Blue Jays will send David Price to the mound as the Royals will send Yordano Ventura to the mound.
Baseball sometimes has a way of breaking your heart. perhaps it’s ironic that only three days after “the seventh inning” The Blue Jays suffered their own seventh inning heartbreak. Going into the bottom of the seventh inning up 3-0 and David Price dealing having retired 18 hitters in a row it was a pop up not being caught that began the unraveling of the Blue Jays lead. The Royals would go on to score five runs in that inning in what would end up a 6-3 Kansas City win.
Ben Zobrist lead off the seventh inning with a routine pop up that Ryan Goins had called for the ball, but at the last second he bailed out, thinking that Jose Bautista called him off on it and the ball dropped in for a base hit, Lorenzo Cain would single and Eric Hosmer would drive in Zobrist on a single. Kendrys Morales hit what looked like a double play ball, but with Hosmer running the Jays were only able to get one out as Cain came into score the Royals second run. Hosmer would score on Mike Moustakas single to tie the game up at 3, and if not for a missed cutoff the Blue Jays would have gotten Moustakas going into second. Moustakas would score the go ahead run on Alex Gordon’s double, that would mark the end of Price’s day. It was a shocking end for what had been a great game through the first six innings. The Royals would add another run as Alex Rios would hit an RBI single off Aaron Sanchez before the Blue Jays would be able to get out of the inning.
The Blue Jays offence had their chance to blow the game open in the sixth when with already two runs in, the Blue Jays would have the bases loaded and only one out when they chased Royals starter Yordano Ventura, in came Luke Hochevar who was able to get Kevin Pillar to hit a pop up and get Ryan Goins to pop out to end the inning.
The Blue Jays would also get the first two on in the ninth inning and bring the tying run up but Wade Davis was able to retire Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson and Bautista to end the game.
The Blue Jays find themselves in an eerily similar situation as they did in the Division Series now down 0-2, although now they have the next three games at the Rogers Center, and unlike the Division series the ALCS is a best of seven. The Blue Jays will have their work cut out for them, but they have Marcus Stroman going for them in game three Monday, and in my mind he has been the Jays best starter since he came back in September.
It was just one of those nights for the Blue Jays where they couldn’t buy a bounce or a break as they lost the opener of the ALCS 5-0 in Kansas City.
Edison Volquez held the Jays to two hits over six innings and in fact the Jays were held without an extra base hit for the first time since July 9th. Volquez got into trouble in the sixth inning when Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista both reached to begin the inning, Volquez got Edwin Encarnacion to strike out on a borderline pitch that in that spot Encarnacion can’t just watch go by, Chris Collabello flew out to left for the second out and Troy Tulowitzki struck out to end the inning. Tulo watched two pitches go by for strikes including a 3-1 center cut fastball he watched go by, the third strike was again a borderline pitch that once again that you gotta swing the bat.
Marco Estrada, allowed three runs in five and a third innings, his only real mistake was a pitch he left over the heart of the plate to Salvador Perez that he homered on to make it a 3-0 game. The Royals scored their first two runs in the third inning on a couple of grounders that got thru the infield. Estrada left in the sixth with runners on the corners and one out, Aaron Loup came in to face Mike Moustakas and got him to ground into one of the sweeter double plays you will see turned by Ryan Goins and Tulowitzki. LaTroy Hawkins came into the game in the eighth and gave up two runs, it was his second outing in this postseason when they have allowed two runs.
There is also an injury concern as Edwin Encarnacion left the game after his at bat in the sixth, it appeared that his finger was again bothering him. Encarnacion had an X-Ray done on the finger and it came back negative, it was reported after the game that Encarnacion has a strained ligament in his middle finger on his left hand and his status is day-to-day, John Gibbons after the game said that they are hopeful that he will be able to play in game two.
The Blue Jays released their ALCS roster ahead of tonight’s ALCS opener in Kansas City, not surprisingly there are no changes from the roster that defeated the Texas. Aaron Loup is back with the team after dealing with a personal matter that left him away from the team for games four and five of the division series. I honestly didn’t expect any changes to be made to the roster, although there had been rumblings that the Blue Jays could drop Ezequiel Carrera and add Josh Thole so Dioner Navarro could be used more as a pinch hitter than Russell Martin’s back-up. With the current roster set-up it also means that Dalton Pompey is probably only going to be used as a pinch runner during the ALCS.
START TIMES ANNOUNCED
Not surprisingly, with the Mets and Cubs in the NLCS that the days where there are both ALCS and NLCS games scheduled that the Blue Jays-Royals games are getting stuck on the 4:07 pm starts again, If the series does get to games six and seven, those games will have an 8:07 pm first pitch. Just like the ALDS start times, the US Networks would rather have the non Blue Jay games in Prime Time only because only the US TV numbers matter, the numbers that Sportsnet draws for these playoff games, as great as they have been, doesn’t mean anything to Fox/FS1.
RANKING BAUTISTA’S HOME RUN
One of the bigger discussions that have taken place since Jose Bautista’s three run shot in Game Five has been just where does it place when it comes to biggest home runs in Blue Jays history. Nothing will ever top the Joe Carter home run in 1993, but I think that you can argue that the Bautista home run could be ranked as the second biggest home run in Franchise history ahead of Roberto Alomar’s home run in the 1992 ALCS. Bautista’s home run came in a win or go home game, and it was also a game winner. Alomar’s home run in 92 was only in game four and it only tied the game. Some have mentioned the Ed Sprague home run in game two of the 1992 World Series should be even ahead of Joey Bats homer but Sprague’s homerun was only the Blue Jays first win of that series.
The Blue Jays have the better starting pitching and the better offence. The two teams the defensively are about even, and the Royals have the advantage in the bullpen, but don’t discount the Blue Jays pen who, outside of starter David Price, have allowed only 2 runs, both off of LaTroy Hawkins, have been excellent in the playoffs. Not having Brett Cecil hurts but Aaron Loup hasn’t pitched bad when he’s been called upon in the playoffs. The more interesting thing to watch in this series will be if any of the nastiness that happened during the four game series in Toronto just after the trade deadline carries over into the ALCS, I would think it won’t but all it takes is an Edison Volquez inside pitch getting close to Josh Donaldson’s head and all bets are off. I’m picking the Blue Jays in six.
Game Five of the Blue Jays ALDS series with Texas will go down as a game for the ages and like the Joe Carter walk-off game in the 1993 World Series, it’ll go down as a game that you will remember where you were when the game happened. It will also be a game that we will be telling our grand kids about someday.
It was only fitting for the Franchise’s best player to get the Franchise’s biggest home run in 22 years. Jose Bautista, who came through in the biggest moment of his career with his go ahead three run home run in the bottom of the seventh made sure to savor the moment as he pimped the hell out of it with the most epic bat flip ever.
Bautista’s homer was a part of one of the craziest innings perhaps ever. It all started in the top of the seventh with a runner of third and two outs Russell Martin’s throw back to Aaron Sanchez hit Sin-Shoo Choo’s bat and ricocheted towards third base, Home plate Dale Scott immediately ruled the play dead as Rougned Odor scampered across the plate from third. Texas manager Jeff Bannister came out to argue that the ball should have been considered live. The umpires converged and ruled that the play was live and indeed the runner was awarded home, and at the time the go ahead run. Some of the fans started throwing stuff on the field and according to PA announcer Tim Langton things got real close to being called a forfeit.
The call was the right call but what confused everyone was Scott calling the play dead, if he doesn’t call the play dead the crowd doesn’t go full on stupid on the play. The umpires were right to review the play and check the rules with New York after John Gibbons requested that they review it. Gibbons was probably right to play the game under protest. In all honesty it would have been interesting to see how they would have ruled on it had it gotten to that, chances are if the Blue Jays had lost and that play had been the deciding factor chances are the umpires would have needed a police escort out of town.
The Blue Jays were able to take advantage of three straight Texas errors in the bottom of the seventh to load the bases before Josh Donaldson hit a popup that just eluded Odor’s glove to tie the game at three. And then with runners at first and third Bautista hit the three run homer that was the dagger in the Rangers season. Before Edwin Encarnacion got a chance to hit Sam Dyson walked towards home plate and then yelled at Encarnacion which ended up clearing the benches. The inning would finally end when with two runners on Troy Tulowitzki would pop out but Dyson headed Tulowitzki’s way standing at home plate and it looked to me like Dyson actually made contact with Tulowitzki and yet again the benches emptied. When it was finally over the seventh inning had produced five runs between the two teams and had lasted 53 minutes.
Lost in all of this was the start by Marcus Stroman who gave the Blue Jays just what they needed as he went six innings while allowing two runs, before turning it over to Aaron Sanchez who worked the seventh and left with two on and one out in the eighth. With the tying run at the plate Roberto Osuna came on to strikeout Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus to end the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout to Will Venable to end it.
Also lost in this game was Ryan Goins run saving play in the top of the sixth to steal a base hit from Andrus, if that ball gets through its a 3-1 game for Texas. The play was made even bigger when Encarnacion hit his game tying blast in the bottom of the half of the inning.
The Blue Jays will now face off against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, and for many Blue Jays fans this is the one match-up that they’ve been looking forward to since their memorable four game series just after the trade deadline.
What seemed unlikely after Friday’s 14 inning loss was made possible on Monday thanks to the Blue Jays offence and an interesting move by John Gibbons going to David Price in the fifth inning helped the Blue Jays defeat Texas 8-4 in Game four of the ALDS setting up a fifth game Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Jay bats didn’t waste anytime jumping on Texas starter Derek Holland as Ben Revere hit a bunt single to lead off the game followed by a Josh Donaldson two run blast to give the Blue Jays an early 2-0 lead, they would add another run before the inning was over when Chris Collabello hit a solo shot to make it a 3-0 game. The Jays added to that lead in the second inning when Kevin Pillar would hit a solo home run making it a 4-0 game. They would finally chase Holland in the top of the third when Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista both reached base. Colby Lewis would come into the game and the Blue Jays would add three more runs making it a 7-0 game. The Rangers would finally score in the bottom of the third inning off of R.A Dickey.
In the fifth inning John Gibbons made the interesting decision with two out and a runner on and Shin-Soo Choo, who had already had two hits off Dickey, due up to lift starter R.A Dickey and bring in David Price. The moved seemed odd at the time but considering the circumstances of it being a possible elimination game and that if Choo were to reach and get to Adrian Beltre there is a chance for the Rangers to get back into the game, so I understand the move and in reality it was the right move at the time as Price was able to get Choo to fly out to Center on onepitch to get out of the inning. Price worked the sixth and seventh only allowing a run and with an 8-2 game was brought back out for the eighth inning to face the left handed bats at the top of the Texas lineup.
That move at the time seemed odd, in a six run game to bring back out Price and not go to Aaron Sanchez or Aaron Loup, although after the game it was revealed that Loup was dealing with a family situation and wasn’t available and with Price being the only lefty available it made it a necessity for Price to start the eighth. Price looked like he was starting to tire in the eighth, as he allowed three singles and a pair of runs before giving way to Aaron Sanchez to come in and strikeout Drew Stubbs to eliminate the Texas threat.
Roberto Osuna worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish up the game.
With Price having worked three innings Monday it know means that Marcus Stroman will start game five on Wednesday and honestly that’s the way I think John Gibbons was going to go after having Price in the pen in Game three and then using him out of the pen on Monday. Stroman looked great in Game two on Friday and the way he has pitched since coming back from his ACL injury he has been the best Blue Jays starter.
Another way of looking at this is if the Blue Jays win on Wednesday you have Price ready to go in Game one of the ALCS and would have Marco Estrada go in game two and could go back to Stroman in game three which would also line him up for a possible game seven start.
Honestly though, for a guy who wasn’t supposed to even pitch this year its incredible to think that he’s gonna start the biggest game of the year for the Blue Jays and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Aside from Troy Tulowitzki’s three run homer and Marco Estrada’s gem, the biggest thing we may have learned tonight is Harold Reynold’s ability to completely insult an entire country and completely not understand that in an elimination game a team has all hands on deck as Reynolds seemed totally confused as to why David Price was warming up in the pen. Having said that, Greg Zaun seemed just as confused at the end of the eighth inning when asked by Jamie Campbell.
But seriously, I can’t say enough about the job that Marco Estrada did tonight though, for a must win game, he was on his game right from the start. Even in the seventh when the Rangers did manage to get back to back hits to chase him from the game they were seeing eye singles. Estrada used his change and curve to set up his fastball and was able to keep the Rangers hitters off balance all night. The bullpen also deserves huge credit for getting the job done. Aaron Loup who got his first chance in a somewhat big spot got his job done as he got Rougned Odor to ground out before Mark Lowe struck out Robinson Chirinos to end the threat and the seventh inning. Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna finished off the night throwing scoreless innings.
Offensively it took a bit for the offence to get it going as the Jays went down quietly in the first two innings before the bottom of the lineup got things going as Dioner Navarro doubled to lead off the inning and after a Kevin Pillar single moved Navarro to third, would score as Ryan Goins would hit into a double play. The Blue Jays would keep getting chances to score as they would get a runner to second to lead off an inning three straight innings and would add a second run in the fourth when Troy Tulowitzki would draw a bases loaded walk to plate Josh Donaldson.
The Blue Jays would threaten again in the fifth as Kevin Pillar would hit a lead-off single and would advance to second when the ball clanked off Delino Deshields’ glove, advanced to third on a Ryan Goins sac bunt. It was all for not as Ben Revere’s broken bat looping infield popup would land in Odor’s glove and Pillar was easy pickings at third as he left on contact. The Blue Jays finally did hit pay dirt in the sixth after yet another double play leaving runners at second and third Troy Tulowitzki picked a perfect time to hit his first postseason hit as he hit a three run shot to left to finally blow the game open.
Game four goes Monday afternoon in Texas as R.A Dickey goes for the Blue Jays and Texas will send Derek Holland to the mound. In my mind the pressure should all be on Texas now as they want to avoid having to go back to Toronto for a fifth game. The big thing is that the Blue Jays are still alive in these 2015 playoffs.