The Blue Jays held their annual State of the Franchise for Season ticket holders Thursday night. In all honesty not much new came from the event. It was a lot of stuff that had been discussed and brought up earlier in the winter.
Perhaps the best part of the night was When Gibbons was asked “Who’s gonna compete for the final rotation spot?” A fan yelled “James Shields” Gibby responded “That’s a good name” and Anthopoulos blurted out “Show me the money!” Hopefully someone at Rogers was listening.
As for Beeston, who received a standing ovation from the crowd when he was introduced, said that they are dedicating 2015 to winning and that he would like to go out with a World Series championship. Beeston also added that they have every intention of playing in October. He also confirmed that he is leaving when his contract expires on October 31st.
Beeston did say that they plan on putting together a proposal to host another All-Star game saying, “sooner rather than later.” It probably won’t happen until grass is installed at the Rogers Centre which according to Beeston is still being targeted for 2018 and that the University of Guelph has been contracted to work on the project. Beeston did add that once the cement is out that there is no turning back on the project. I don’t know, call me cynical about this whole thing, but maybe a new ballpark would be a better option, although The Fan’s Bob McCown had gone into many reasons on why it isn’t likely to happen with Rogers owing the Dome.
The new turf was on full display tonight, some said that it looked thicker than the older turf which is a good thing, gotta say though, the colour looks so much better than the old turf. Lets hope it’s much better for the players health than it’s previous predecessor.
AA was asked about Melky Cabrera and said that they talked about an extension in June but the talks didn’t get real serious. AA did add that the market for Melky changed after the Michael Saunders trade was done. AA also admitted that the Blue Jays had been trying to get Saunders for the past three years. AA also said that the Mariners, who earlier this winter traded for J.A Happ, had put in a waiver claim for Happ in August. Interesting indeed.
AA also mentioned that he is opening to extending Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion before their deals expire at the end of 2016, he also said that both have said they want to stay in Toronto. Of course this shouldn’t really be anything new as AA had said as much last year when the topic was breached.
MARTIN MLB SHOW COVER
It was announced earlier today that new Blue Jays’ catcher Russell Martin will be featured on the cover of “MLB 15” This will be Martin’s first appearance on the cover. Former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie was on the cover last year and Jose Bautista had been the cover boy for 2012 and 2013 when “MLB The Show” started doing separate covers for Canada. It really doesn’t surprise me that Martin was the player that was decided on for this season, it seemed almost a given once he signed in Toronto that it would happen considering all the fanfare the deal received.
PROMOTIONAL GIVE-AWAY CHANGED
The Blue Jays changed their May 10th giveaway to a Josh Donaldson white replica jersey giveaway day. It was originally scheduled to be a Brett Lawrie jersey but we all know what happened there.
The American League won the All-Star game Tuesday night 5-3. It was a good game, there was some good pitching, some nice defence and some timely hitting. Mike Trout won the MVP, but after the game Derek Jeter was all the talking heads were talking about.
On a Blue Jays note, Jose Bautista went 0 for 2 at the plate and Mark Buehrle didn’t make it into the game. Knowing that John Farrell was the AL manager it doesn’t overly surprise me. At least on the bright side it will be one less inning that Buehrle has to throw this year.
As for the regular season, it resumes on Friday when the Jays host the Texas Rangers. John Gibbons announced after Sunday’s game in Tampa on how the rotation would be set up to start the second half. R.A Dickey will start Friday, Marcus Stroman on Saturday, Mark Buehrle on Sunday. Drew Hutchison on Monday when the Jays open up a four game set with Boston, followed by J.A Happ.
Speaking of the schedule coming out of the Break, The Jays have a chance to make up some ground on the Orioles, The Jays have three vs Texas, four vs Boston, three in New York, three in Boston and four in Houston. Once that stretch is done the Jays host Baltimore for three. Out of those games only the Orioles are above 500.
The Orioles on the other hand, get to go out West for three in Oakland, three in LA against the Angels, four in Seattle, then they come home to play the Angels for three, and the Mariners for three games and then have a make-up game in Washington before the three game set with the Jays.
In other news, add another pitcher to the trade market as the Mets made it known that Bartolo Colon is available for the right price. Colon, 41, is 8-8 this season with a 3.99 ERA, 3.66 FIP, Colon is also under contract for next season when he is due 11 million. I know that the pitching has been good, but I think Colon would be a good addition if he could be had for the right price. His playoff experience would also be an added bonus for a team looking to break their 21-year-old playoff drought and with only Mark Buehrle and J.A Happ having past playoff experience.
The Blue Jays had their third walk off win of the season defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4, The Jays swept their two game tilt against the Brewers and now head out on a 10 game road trip starting in Oakland tomorrow night. The Jays record now stands at 47-39 on the season.
The Good: Edwin Encarancion played the hero by belting a walk off three run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Encarnacion went 2 for 4 and a walk and also played an uneventful seven innings in left field. Jose Bautista also had a home run, his was in the first inning that at the time would tie the game at one. Bautista finished the day going 1 for 3 with a walk before being lifted for a pinch runner in the bottom of the seventh. Juan Francisco hit his 13th home run of the year off of a slider from Willy Pena in the fourth inning it was a two run blast that tied that game at four. It’s a good sign to see Francisco hitting off speed pitches since that has been the way pitchers have been getting him out this last little while. Adam Lind went 2 for 3 today and had a RBI as well. Jose Reyes had two hits and his double in the bottom of the ninth started off the bottom of the ninth. Melky Cabrera also had a pair of hits including a lead-off double in the seventh inning started a rally that in the end didn’t produce a run. J.A Happ with the exception of the third inning pitched really well and at one point in the game retired 13 in a row. Happ went seven innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out four. As a number five starter goes, you could do a whole lot worse for a number five starter. I’m interested to see how Happ fares the rest of the way for the Blue Jays. Casey Janssen picked up the win by working a perfect ninth inning, in fact Janssen only needed eight pitches to get thru the ninth inducing three fly ball outs. John Gibbons’ who didn’t have his best game managerial wise, makes up for it with this explanation of getting tossed in the bottom of the eighth inning by Home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
Gibby da best!
The Bad: Gibby who had a rough day, made some curious moves in the bottom of the seventh inning, after Cabrera’s double and a Bautista intentional walk, The Brewers elected to go to the lefty Zach Duke to face Adam Lind, instead of letting Lind face a lefty Gibby brings in Darin Mastroianni to pinch hit. Gibby puts down the bunt sign and Mastroianni gets down a bad bunt that goes just out in front of home plate and the Brewers are able to turn a double play on it by getting Cabrera at third and then Mastroianni at first because he didn’t run it out. Then with two out Encarnacion gets walked intentionally, Gibby has Anthony Gose run for Bautista, I guess in a way you can defend the move but knowing that Bautista’s spot would likely come up in the ninth I would have left him in the game at that point. Speaking of Gose, a lot of people were critical of the bunt attempt in the ninth inning. I was ok with the move as I agreed with trying to bunt the winning run to third. You have to give credit to the Brewers defence for defending that bunt perfectly to cut down Reyes at third.
The Ugly: Mastroianni’s bunt in the seventh, but we’ve covered that already so there is no need to go into detail. The depth on the Blue Jays bench is starting to show its weakness as the Jays have struggled when it comes to production of the bench. It has become an area that Alex Anthopoulos really needs to address before the trade deadline. Home plate umpire Greg Gibson was consistently inconsistent most of the day and two high strike calls to Munenori Kawasaki in the bottom of the second inning really seemed to be what set Gibby off later in the game. Instant replay once again proved they couldn’t get the call right yet again as they completely botched a review of a missed tag on Kawasaki early in the game. Replay’s showed that Lucroy never did tag Kawasaki, but the review upheld the out call proving once again the system that was brought in to make sure that the calls are right managed to completely whiff on this one.
The Blue Jays won the rubber match of their three game set with the Indians. The Blue Jays now stand at 500 on the year at 21-21 and are tied for third in the AL East with Boston and are a game and a half behind first place Baltimore. The Blue Jays now head to Texas for a three game weekend series, The Jays’ send Drew Hutchison to the mound tomorrow night against Texas righty Yu Darvish. The win was also John Gibbons 400th career win as a manager.
strong>The Good: Just when you think it is safe to write off J.A Happ he goes out and has an outing like tonight. Happ went six innings only allowing a run on six hits, Happ only walked a pair and struck out four. Casey Janssen picked up his second save pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning, he might just be one of the most underrated closers around, he doesn’t have the stuff that most closers have but when he’s in the game the guy is money. Edwin Encarnacion hit a pair of home runs tonight to give him eight on the season. Juan Francisco hit his seventh home run of the season tonight. Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless seventh and looked good doing it, the only hit he allowed was a ball that was hit along the baseline that wouldn’t roll foul.
The Bad : Steve Delabar had another rough outing tonight only recording two outs but allowing a run on two hits and a walk, the man who was dubbed dependable Steve last year hasn’t been overly dependable this season. Melky Cabrera had an 0 for 5 night at the plate and Adam Lind had a 0 for 4 night with three strikeouts. Juan Francisco had a throwing error in the sixth on a ball that he should have held onto as he probably didn’t have a play at first on the runner.
The Ugly: Nothing game wise really, other than it took three hours twenty-three minutes for a game that went nine innings and only had six total runs scored, In all the game did seem to drag on.
The Blue Jays lost their second straight game Saturday afternoon to the LA Angels 5-3. The Jays record is now back under 500 at 18-19. The Blue Jays send Drew Hutchison to the mound to square off against Jared Weaver for the Angels.
The Good: Todd Redmond who came in to keep the game close and he did just that, going four and two-thirds innings only giving up an unearned run in the seventh inning. He also helped save the bullpen which was big. Esmil Rogers pitched two innings and was good in doing so, not allowing a hit or a walk and striking out one. Jose Bautista kept his streak alive with a run scoring single in the ninth, the streak now stands at 38. Bautista also reached on an error in the first inning and then scored on an Edwin Encanacion double. Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes both were 1 for 4 and started the two run ninth inning.
The Bad: The Blue Jays offence was asleep at the switch from the second to the eighth only getting one hit, a Steve Tolleson double, off of Tyler Skaggs in the eighth inning. I know Skaggs was good but some of the Blue Jays had some really bad at bats today. Reyes committed a throwing error on a chopper to short that allowed the Angels fifth run to score, Reyes likely wasn’t going to get the runner at first and should have just ate it.
The Ugly: J.A Happ was awful, heck, he was even worse than his pitching line would make it look. He got hit hard all day. Happ got tagged for four runs on seven hits in two and a third innings, and really it could have been much worse. In the second inning, having already given up three runs and five hits face Albert Pujols with the bases loaded and two outs and was lucky not have given up a grand slam as Pujols just missed it and hit a fly ball to the warning track. Juan Francisco was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and looked foolish against Skaggs breaking balls.
The Blue Jays opened up their wacky four game series with a nice 3-0 win, It is the Blue Jays second straight win and their record now sits at 15-17 on the season. The Jays are now in a three way tie with Tampa and Boston for third in the AL East. The Jays send Drew Hutchison to the mound tomorrow night against the Phillies Cole Hammels.
The Good: J.A Happ pitched five shutout innings tonight, he did walk four and allowed three hits while striking out two, It was by no means a masterpiece but it was good enough to get the job done. Jose Reyes wacked the third pitch of the game out of the park for a lead-off home run and sparked the Jays offence which scored three runs in the first two innings. Colby Rasmus continued his hot streak going 2 for 3 and a walk, both of Rasmus’ hits were doubles. Melky Cabrera continued his hot pace getting another 2 hits, it was Melky’s 15th multi hit game of the season which leads the Major Leagues. Jose Bautista went 0 for 3 but was hit by a pitch to extend his streak of getting on base safely to 32 games on the season and his 33rd overall. The record is 84 games so Bautista has a way to go to catch that number. Bautista also showed why you shouldn’t try to run on him as he threw a laser to home plate on a Ryan Howard fly ball to deep right to nail Marlon Byrd at home plate. The Bullpen bent but didn’t brake tonight as Esmil Rogers and Aaron Loup tight roped out of trouble in the sixth and seventh before giving way to Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil who finished it off. For Cecil it was his second save of the season.
The Bad Edwin Encarnacion went 0 for 4 tonight and is now 0 for his last 15. John Gibbons, who is dealing with a short bench kind of, let Esmil Rogers bat for himself in the top of the seventh, Rogers didn’t fair all that bad he hit a fly ball to left, but he did have a couple of good hacks during his at bat.
The Ugly: Brett Lawrie left the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring. According to Mike Wilner on the post game show says that Lawrie had said it had been bothering him for the last few days and that it’s nothing that a few days off shouldn’t take care of. Having gone thru a hamstring injury with Reyes it wouldn’t surprise me if Lawrie ends up on the DL. For the time being expect to see Juan Francisco at third base and honestly that is kind of a scary thought.
The Blue Jays had a 6-2 lead going into the seventh, and for the sixth time in the last two weeks the Blue Jays found a way to let it slip away again. Aaron Loup came on in the seventh inning with a runner on second and a four run lead. Loup would go on to allow that run to score and allow three more to cross the plate to end the seventh in a 6-6 tie.
With Brett Cecil unavailable tonight, Todd Redmond came on to work the eighth and gave up a two run double to Neil Walker to give the Pirates a 8-6 lead. The Pirates tried as they might to let the Jays tying the game up in the ninth committing a pair of errors to put runners on the corners before Colby Rasmus would ground out to first to end the game.
It’s getting to the point where no lead is safe with the Blue Jays and that they need to score 10 plus runs and hope that the pen can hang on to a lead. But at this point it’s safe to say that this is getting completely out of hand, it’s almost like clock work waiting for the bullpen to implode. A lot of fans on twitter and other message boards keep saying to Fire John Gibbons, I disagree completely, Gibby isn’t the one out there pitching, he is making the moves that he thinks is giving the Jays the best chance to win, I don’t know what more he can do at this point other than keeping a starter in the game too long.
The Jays did receive more bad news on the Brandon Morrow injury. Morrow was transferred to the 60-day DL with a tendon sheath injury. The plan is to rehab the injury and if he’s not healed by July he will undergo season ending surgery.
The Jays did call up Marcus Stroman after the game tonight as well, the plan is for him to pitch out of the pen. Can’t say I agree with the move, I think if they are bringing Stroman up he should be in the rotation and that Dustin McGowan should be put in the bullpen as he was there last year and has the experience pitching out of the pen. I also worry that Stroman is being set up to fail with lofty expectations by the fan base, some of which look at him as the saviour, which is just foolish. Stroman is going to go through growing pains like every other rookie out there and I just hope that the expectations haven’t been placed to high at this point.
It also looks like now with Morrow’s injury news that J.A Happ will be in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Which may or may not end well, although I think it is safe to say that the Blue Jays really dropped the ball this winter by not getting another starting pitcher into the fold. Not that the starting pitching is the weakness on the team as of this moment.