Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 1; Blue Jays 5, Tigers 1; Tigers 4, Blue Jays 1: I Am Not Even Going to Front Like I Caught These

Say what you will about Rajai but the man has a look
Look man I am genuinely glad the Blue Jays were able to take two out of three against the recently-looking-like-they-were-finally-good-but-I-guess-maybe-not-exactly Detroit Tigers, but I didn't catch more than a little bit of the Sunday game on the radio because the Olympics are just generally the best to begin with and then they go ahead and air like seven hours of judo online everyday and I mean what is one guy with even a few actual responsibilities to do? Watch less baseball than previously, is the answer to that age-old question.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Athletics 7, Blue Jays 2; Athletics 16, Blue Jays 0; Blue Jays 10, Oakland 4: Even With That Win This One Felt Like a Sweep

me too, rick
Yeah, that second game was so fucked up that it cast a shadow over what should have been a pretty cool win in the getaway game. Romero has got to be hurt or something, right? There is no way he could just have gotten this bad this quickly, is there? This is just depressing. As is this: with J. P. Arencibia out for a while now, you'd think this would be an exciting opportunity to get a look at Travis D'Arnaud, one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, but no, he wrecked his knee. So get used to Jeff Mathis, I guess, who actually pitched the ninth in the blowout, which is the sort of thing we all like to see I think (not kidding here actually). 

Coming into this series I was telling myself things like, "all we need is a sweep here against these ridiculously and unaccountably hot and possibly even magical Oakland A's, and we're tied for the wild card," which, looking back, may have been folly on my part. 

And yet, with basically no players at all at this point, here we sit, right at .500, a mere four games out of the wild card. What if everybody totally got healthy right away? What if this major-league-leading offense (look it up, it's true!) were supported by a couple of even league-average arms picked up before the trade deadline? What would all of that do to me? 

Oh yeah also Jason Frasor's arm is in ruins, how about that.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1; Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3; Blue Jays 15, Red Sox 7: Such Brooms

a faceful of safe actually
Clearly invigorated by the dullest ten-player trade in major league history, Aaron Laffey and my man Carlos Villanueva put together straight-up heroic stars on Friday and Saturday nights to put the Blue Jays in position to sweep away the significantly hated Boston Red Sox today, and holy shit did they ever. I put the game on the radio walking home from the gym this afternoon thinking it would probably be the end of the second, maybe, but no, it was still the top of the bat-around five-run first, which saw Brett Lawrie put the first pitch of the ballgame out of the park, apparently (I mean, this is what they told me, and on the radio that is all I have to go on). Big ups, perhaps the biggest, to Alan Ashby, who found it within himself to call nonsense on the safety squeeze even when it works, even as part of a ridiculous five-run start to a game in a series the Blue Jays had already one; Ashby was like, it worked here, but it often doesn't, and I just don't like that play. Ashby.

All kinds of zany doings in this one, with basically a million dingers, including one from Rajai, which was cool because he also just totally lost a ball in the sun (it was scored a double because baseball is hopeless which is part of its appeal frankly). Just a great big sloppy mess of a great time, in short. I would like to note two things in closing, the first of which is that today is Dave Steib's birthday, and he was an enormous asshole with a great moustache and a filthy slider and one of the best pitchers of the 1980s and a guy who lost no-hitters in the ninth in consecutive starts in absurd circumstances so happy 55th; the second is that even though the internet tells me he does not regularly do this, I am certain that Red Sox shortstop Michael Anthony Avil├ęs came to the plate to "Dance Yourself Clean." Or maybe they were playing it because of something else or something. But I know what I heard, and I liked it.

So yeah, a sweep in Boston, and we're back to a mere three games out of the Wild Card. I have become pretty sure that the Blue Jays are going to hover around .500 and totally dick with my head for the remainder of this 2012 season. It'll be OK.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1; Yankees 6; Blue Jays 0: Is This Real Life?

think of me as a more exasperated version of all of the women in this picture except that I am a dude
Getting swept in New York whilst our rotation is a humiliating shambles is one thing, but to lose both Jose Bautista and now Brett Lawrie to injury over the course of that shambles is quite another. If this was a season of Baseball Mogul, and one hopes that that is indeed all this is, we would have just now reached the point where you decide that the highest difficulty level is just absurdly cheap, injuring all of your key dudes in completely arbitrary, Spinal Tap-drummer ways, and you either start again or go outside. But if this is really what is going on outside, where do I go outside to? And so you see that this totally untenable rash of injuries creates not just on-field problems but metaphysical ones, and that makes me uncomfortable, like, existentially. I mean, here's the fucking .gif of the thing:

totally don't bro
If Brett Lawrie pulls this kind of pseudo-heroic nonsense again I will forsake him. It is as simple as that. I have forsaken for less. It left him looking like this . . .

. . . which is arguably punishment enough, but imagine if on top of that, he was also forsook? 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3: With Jose Bautista Hurt, Baseball is Meaningless


I am not saddened by Raul Ibanez's grand slam any more than I am gladdened by Alan Ashby's description of E5 "dead nutting" a line drive: Jose Bautista is hurt, and there are no other cares.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Blue Jays 11, Indians 9; Blue Jays 3, Indians 0: First Bats, then Arms

such dudes man just SUCH dudes
Hey, a great big hot mess of an 11-9 game is just the ticket for a hot Saturday afternoon in July, but let's hear it for the ever-dependable Carlos Villanueva who took the hill Sunday and allowed but three hits over six innings. Jason Frasor, who has been OK, put in a scoreless seventh, and Darren Oliver, who has been astounding, worked two shutout innings to close it out with his pretty dang choice 1.38 ERA. Pitching! Let's have some more of that! Maybe right away, too, since it's the New York for three! Boy, the Yankees are really running away with the division, aren't they? But I'm way less interested in the 9.5 games that separate the Yankees and the Blue Jays than the 1.5 games that separate the Blue Jays from the second Wild Card. And yeah, there are bunch of teams clustered together right there in the standings, but many of those teams are clown teams bro and therefore of no lasting concern. 

Playoffs? Almost certainly not, and yet: playoffs.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Indians 1, Blue Jays 0: Well This is Fucking Great

Now that Ricky Romero has finally got it figured out, the bats have gone cold for him, which is, as I have already mentioned above, fucking great. Another blow against pitcher wins/losses, true, but at what cost? 

Also, and shame on me for not mentioning this previously, but good for E5; that is a low-risk contract for the Blue Jays but a hell of a lot of money for a dude who sure stuck it out despite being set up to fail for most of his major league career. Do not ask Edwin Encarnacion to throw the baseball; do not ask it of him. 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

2 Things 2 Remember

So I was barely awake after the 4 hour beginning of the All-Star game the other night, but luckily caught life towards the end of the NL reserves being announced, and there they were, side by side, Harper and Strasburg. I was still half-dullard from both my napping as well as the harsh consequences of the life I've led, but my brain sharpened up with the reality that this is real. We had been conjuring up fantasy images for a couple years, about what could be, what might happen, and then there they both were, All Stars, together.
(Not to be forgotten is Gio standing on the other side of Strasburg, and dare I say Gio Gonzalez may be my favorite solid bro on this Nats team.)
Secondly though, as the deliriums of "STRASBURG! HARPER!" dances through the minds of long-tormented Washington sports fans, who would have little in their life to reminisce fondly of had Joe Gibbs never been born, and we think to ourselves, "The Nationals have the best record in the National League, halfway through the season" and start to imagine imaginary imaginings, it is important to remember this wasn't even the time for this to have fermented. Strasburg will be shut down as he should, and Harper is still 19. There legitimately should be no World Series this year for the Nats. I mean, come on. Don't be greedy.
But there seems to be a process of contention/playoffs/World Series that every franchise must navigate if they are building (unless they are the Marlins who just sort of pop in and out of the World Series every so often like magic unicorns), and perhaps we do make the playoffs and give this young ragtag collection of oddballs, castoffs, and top prospects a little post-season seasoning. I have not forgotten that at the beginning of the season on this blog I was charting the path to .500 every 16 games. They should be able to hit their target for this season, so everything else will be extra slices of blueberry pie, so to speak.
Also, of course, this is DC sports, so some terribly stupid tragedy could happen and derail the whole thing by the middle of August. But hey, let's enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clearly The Best All-Star Game Of Our Age

well isn't this just a hell of a thing

After much crying on the Internet regarding no-good Giants fans and their Silicon Valley computers (said with a sneer and followed by spitting upon the ground, to rinse the mouth of such unclean, perverse words), the four Giants starters (for there were four) did totally, and without remorse, wreck fucking shop. Melky Cabrera recorded the first hit of the game off a Justin Verlander who -- while not on top of his game -- was hurling absolute fire (as he tends to do). Buster Posey got a four-pitch walk off the fella and then Pablo Sandoval -- a guy who swings at the rosin bag behind the mound on the best of days -- hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star Game history. In history! The All-Star Game has been around a long time, my dudes, so that is truly something. And then Matt "Not R.A. Dickey" Cain pitched two scoreless innings that would have been two PERFECT innings (fitting for a man who recently threw a game that -- it could be said -- was perfect), had not Derek Jeter beaten out an infield single that Pablo only kind of misplayed.

Oh yeah, and then Melky hit a two-run dinger later to make it 8-0 National League and won the g-dang All-Star Game MVP award (pictured above). It was a hell of a game. I thought that last year's All-Star Game was the second-best All-Star Game I had ever seen (the first being that rad ASG where Bo Jackson hit a home run like a billion feet onto tarped-off batter's-eye seats), but this one shot right past both of them with righteous indignation and the NL once again absolutely obliterating things and insuring the Texas Rangers will lack home field advantage for an unprecedented third straight year in the Fall Classic. 

Midway through the season, it has been an amazing season of the highest highs and lowest lows. The Giants curl up and poop themselves when confronted with an over-.500 team (with the exception of the Dodgers, which is a great thing), Tim Lincecum has turned into a sub-Jonathan Sanchez horror show, and Emmanuel Burriss is always in danger of being inserted into a game. BUT at the same time, the Giants are only a half-game out of first place in the West, there is an extra Wild Card slot this year, MATT CAIN, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner are all putting on Cy Young-worthy performances, and Barry Zito has been better than expected. Aubrey Huff and Brett Pill spontaneously combusted, leaving Brandon Belt the starting first baseman between three and four out of every five games played, and the outfield of Melky, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco has been one of the very best outfields in baseball.

It will be quite a ride the rest of the way, but if literally nothing else, we shall have MATT CAIN, and we shall have this All-Star Game. The day when a band of Giants got together and invited the world to kiss all around their butt areas. Happy birthday (week) to me. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 2; White Sox 2, Blue Jays 0; Blue Jays 11, White Sox 9: Stumbling Towards The Break

yeah he's in there I guess
After the offense failed to support solid starts from both Aaron Laffey and Ricky Romero in the first two games of a weekend series against the apparently still active Chicago White Sox, the bats were out in force Sunday afternoon as the Blue Jays hung on to win the kind of four-hour shitshow that only ever seems to happen when it's crazy hot out. In truth the game came up a little short of four hours, but it had a languid pace that had Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby nervous about their 8:40 flights home. Brett Cecil was terrible, and made a hash of a couple of pretty hefty leads he had been staked to, but whatever. That he gets anybody out with that junk he's been tossing ever since he lost all that velocity is a miracle, and so thank you for your service, Brett Cecil. 

And so here we sit at the All-Star Break: 43-43, tied in the AL East basement, 9.5 games behind a pretty impressive Yankees squad, but only 2.5 games out the Wild Card; our starting rotation basically does not exist; who knows what is up with Romero; but we can swing the bats a little; and Jose Bautista is going to hit fifty home runs. I don't know what to make of it, man. I feel so much more out of it than 2.5 games, but there's a lot of baseball left to play, and as I have proven many times over, I don't know anything about any of this.

Anybody watching the All-Star Game?


Friday, July 6, 2012

Royals 11, Blue Jays 3; Blue Jays 6, Royals 3; Blue Jays 4, Royals 1; Royals 9, Blue Jays 6: Can This Really Be All We Are?

where have you gone, ricky ro?
While far from the worst butt, a four-game split with the Kansas City Royals at home is still firmly on the butt spectrum. I am genuinely pleased that this reborn Brett Cecil had another pretty good start (that's three of four, right?), and I always enjoy the work of Carlos Villanueva, but the sad tale of Ricky Romero renders all that moot, kind of, in that it is so bad it makes you want to forget about all Blue Jays starting pitching except for Brandon Morrow oh wait he is out for weeks. I believe it was Stoeten who said on the DJF podcast the other day that for all the awfulness of watching this once and future boss (my words not his) struggle so mightily out there, Ricky Romero is sort of doing the lord's work, in that he (along with the until-recently-winless Cliff Lee) is helping show yet again how dumb and pointless pitcher wins are as a stat. Ricky Romero is 8-3! What a great first half! Except he is awful! And he knows it! And it is clearly killing him! Note however that it can never kill us, because I am still firmly in this man's corner in the style of a NJPW Young Lion or possibly a squire of some kind, bringing him cool drinks between innings (in my heart). 

In other news, Jose Bautista continues to be utterly ripshit. I fucking love this guy. Hey did you know who he credits with turning his career around? Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, and motherfucking Clarence "Cito" Gaston motherfuckers.

yeah that's right
Is that Jerry Howarth behind him? If it isn't, it should be, because he owns too. 

In closing I would like to salute once more the fine people at DJF, who have started posting annotated win probability graphics after every game, which is probably the best idea in basbeall coverage in ever. Here are my two favourites from this Royals series, first this:

And then from last night:

An excellent idea excellently executed imo.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Blue Jays 11, Angels 2; Angels 10, Blue Jays 6: So It Goes

canada day cursive: makes me want ginger ale (even more than usual)
On Saturday, Peter Bourjos, who is awesome, dropped a fly ball and the Blue Jays scored a million runs and won handily. In a much more interesting and yet ultimately contemptible game Sunday, the Toronto bullpen coughed it up and sent the Canada Day crowd home hating their country. But what can you do? We still basically have no guys, but we're still only 2.5 out of the wild card, somehow, with Kansas City coming in for three, so it could all be worse. It could all be, I guess, slightly worse.