Blog Archive

Bunt Plays – Video Replay Joke

Man I’d love to have a job where I can have my buddies determine not that a challenge against my ruling was wrong, but that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn, thus stripping a team of their only challenge and letting me have the entire night off to make the most egregious calls without reproach.

That’s basically what happened in Toronto tonight. The Blue Jays loose there only challenge to a really tight call at first base. Then later get completely robbed of the game in a blown call on a run down between third base and home. And now the Blue Jays will loose there first series of the year. Hopefully they can salvage the sweep tomorrow night.

All they do is win, win, win no matter what

Lets just make this both Alek Manoah‘s and the Toronto Blue Jays theme tune for 2022. Last nights win made it 7 straight decisions for Alek tying him for second all time with Roger Clements, trailing only Doc’s impressive 11 straight in 2003. The Jays have also won his last 12 starts. I spoke Monday how Kevin Gausman was sneaking into can’t miss territory. But maybe its Alex that we need to be watching.

He’s so young, that you have to pinch yourself. It’s still less than a year since his MLB debut. You keep preparing yourself for a slump, its inevitable. It happens to everyone. Christ Doc famously got sent back to single A at one point, but man oh man this kid is cool, calm, relaxed, self aware, and just fucking full of confidence and completely unfazed by the big lights. Its something else. Oh yeh… and he throws some absolutely nasty stuff.

Alek Manoah pitch compare

This then too puts the team at a 13-7 record through the first 20 games. I said at the 10 game mark I’d be trilled with 12-8, so this is just gravy. Yet to drop a series (5 wins 1 tie) even without playing well. A number of key injuries. Relying heavily on the Bull Pen and squad depth guys early. Its not a great start, but it is a great start. Anyone around us in the standings right now, is there off the back of games against either or both the woeful AL Central or the woeful Baltimore Orioles. The Jays have played neither at all yet. Texas aside its been all quality teams, all playoff bound teams, all divisional teams. So to be 5 games north of 500 with that schedule. That’s impressive. If your other teams around the league, you need to be nervous. They hype is REAL!

Away from the main roster there was surprising news yesterday when it was announced Dexter Fowler was leaving the training facility in Florida to lead off for the Bisons last night. He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI and scoring a run himself. He DH’d so we still need to see how he plays the filed, and also just how he recovers. But his rehab is well ahead I think of anyone’s expectations. He’s an automatic call up as soon as he’s ready too. I know that has 40-man roster implications not to mention the 26 man active roster. But if he’s anything like his old self that’s a huge boost to this team.

Six more games left in this home series. Two more series wins hopefully. Rotation wise the Yankee series is more scary, but then you look at what the back half did down in Huston last weekend, and you gain some confidence.

Talk to you after the weekend! Thanks for reading.

How do you replace a golden glove?

Let’s face it, going into the season the biggest question looming over the team was how are they going to replace Marcus Semien. How does a team get better in the face of the loss of their 2021 Gold Glove second baseman.

Cometh the man, cometh the hour, cometh Santiago Espinal. A good solid backup, utility type player in his first 2 seasons with the Jays (118 games), Santiago has transformed his game this year, and made himself completely indispensable. He has taken part in all 16 games this year, starting 13 of them, and baring injury, he’ll start 145+ this year. He is now definitively the starting second baseman for your Toronto Blue Jays.

Small sample size alert. Its only 16 games, but his batting averages this year are ahead of Semien for all major stats except batting average. Which is at a record low all over mlb this year, so I’m not too worried there. His on base, slugging, exit velocity, barreled ball percentages all better. Defensively too, Santiago has been a rock star thus far. He’s made some seriously critical plays.

2021 Semien Stats
2022 Espinal Stats

So look, I am the first to admit when I am wrong, and boy was I wrong. I did not see that series win in Houston, and I don’t think the Jays do that, without Espinal. 2 really big home runs in both wins, and just a handful of highlight real defensive plays.

Toronto comes home from a 4-2 road trip leading the AL East with a 10-6 record, and now playing 10 straight home games. First up is Boston for 4. As a rule, I really don’t like 4 games series. You always end up running out at least 1 starter you’d rather not, and if the bull pen gets worked hard at all either of the first two games, it becomes easier to be hit off in the second two, with excellent batters just getting to see too many pitches. Its just too hard to win 3-1, best you get it a split most times.

I would love a 7-3. I mean I would L-O-V-E a 7-3, but I think looking at the level of the 3 teams, 6-4 is more likely. But still, if they could that would be 16-10 after 26. That’s 99 win pace! Not saying we’ll reach 99, but when the goal was 92, pacing 99 early is a good place to start.

Also the Blue Jays always start slow. And this year isn’t really different. There are a lot of lower Batting averages than I’d expect at the end of the year; Hernandez and Jansen are out injured; we’re pitching with only 3 good arms in the rotation. So to ride that cold start wave out but still be in a winning leading position is such a nice change of pace. A cold streak will come. Guaranteed. But its some much nicer when that pulls you to the average than when it buries you and you need a hot week to just get back to average.

Talk Wednesday! Thanks for reading.

Houston we have a problem

Well, they did. Two big wins in a row to win the series in Fenway after Tuesday Nights disappointing loss. As we look ahead now to Houston, I think the importance of these last two outings will really show. Over the next three days, The Blue Jays 3-4-5 will be up against The Astros 1-2-3. Hard to not believe we’ll see the first series loss on the year.

I like Manoah to win his matchup, but it will take something massive from Yusei Kikuchi if we are to win the series, or perhaps save a sweep should something not break our way Saturday. Justin Verlander is on the mound tonight and with all due respect to Ross Stripling, I doubt we’ll see 3 wins in a row.

After a rough first inning, Jose really brought some great pitching on Wednesday to get the first of the two Boston wins. I still believe he is about 1 more start away from getting into the grove of the season. But the signs are promising for another great year.

Then yesterday Gasman put on an exhibition. I’ve seen a lot of pitchers take the mound to start the 9th. There have been 23 perfect games in MLB history. But it’s hard to remember anyone getting there on only 84 pitches (88 total game). AND that included 8 strike outs. That’s a true mark of excellence, and to do it this early in the year, shows there is no ceiling on where he could go. Certainly, he has the most potential in the current rotation to throw a perfect game. If he keeps it up, he’ll quickly become must watch baseball.

Vladdy had a frustrating series by his standards. But I loved home many walks he took. If they refuse to pitch to you, take the walk. How do you know someone if the greatest hitter in the league? Most HR? Most OPS? Most RBI? .. no .. you know you are the absolute best when you can go an entire road series without ever being pitched a single strike. The fear this kid generates in opposing teams is something to behold.

Not to take anything away form Vladdy but I do think he his also hampered with Teo being out of the lineup. It certainly gives teams a much easier opportunity to pitch around Vlad when you don’t have such a wicked hitter on deck behind. I seen no update on Hernandez’s health. He’s first eligible to play again Monday in Toronto, so fingers crossed for that. If Jansen could be back, then too I really think that would be beneficial. We already know that the Red Sox have unvaccinated players that won’t travel, and if we can show them a different (Stronger) lineup, it could set things up nicely for the first sweep of the year and could help make up for anything bad that happens this weekend.

Speaking of injuries and this weekend, the Jays dodged a bullet it seems with George Springer. Looks like the forearm injury on Wednesday was not serious, and I know George will be excited to try and put on a show at his old ballpark in Houston. I’m hoping it might be a good place for Cavan Biggio to start his season off too. Some home cooking and family time will hopefully get him in a good place, and he can find a grove at the plate. I think he’s plate appearances have been far better than his average would suggest, but the mind is a dangerous place, and I do worry about too long a slump doing lasting damage. Not to mention that once players do come back, his playing time is likely to drop significantly.

Lastly for today then, just a short 1 liner from me on Gosuke Katoh. I love seeing players make their debut. I think defensively he played extremely well. Played a part in a nice double play. Didn’t look out of place at all. Then to take a walk in your first at bat. Hats off. I mean, think about it, how hard must it be to not just swing at everything in your first ever MLB at bat? I know I would.

The Importance of Statistics

Last night was a rough one in Boston. Outhitting the Red Sox 8 – 3 leaving 17 men on base to lose by a single unearned run. Yikes. If we end the year 1 game shy of the post season, I think this could really be the stand out game.

Watching live last night I was furious with Yusei Kikuchi. Walking the first two batters with 6 straight balls to open the night. So imagine my surprise when doing research today to find out that in the end he actually only walk 3, only giving up 3 hits and getting 3 Strike outs over his 5 full innings. That’s really not a bad line to end the night, and opens your eyes to the important role statistics play in the game.

I’ve often held the opposing view. That the stats could only tell you so much and that you needed to actually see the games. But yesterday thought me how when your personal bias is distracting what you are watching how the stats and a clear head can actually let you in, on what really happened.

In the pregame yesterday Tabby noted that the Blue Jays only had 3 errors on the year and none on the infield. I turned to my wife in that very moment and said “why the fuck did he say that out loud”. The equivalent to talking up a perfect game. Queue Bo making two really awful throws when he had nothing but time, and one of those then leading to the game deciding run.

I wish there was a way statically for Yimi Garcia to not have been giving the L. That was completely unfair to him, who again was great out of the pen.

That’s what’s left me feeling disappointed now rather than mad. We wasted a great chance to not loose a Kikuchi start. So now here we are, Toronto now needs to win two straight to save the series. Something we’ve not done since the opening 2 games of the year. As I wrote Monday its been a string on win 1 loose 1 for 9 straight now, and also need José Berríos to fine real form, something he’s yet to do this year. Hopefully it won’t need an opening day level comeback to win tonight.

Small sample size alert I know, but man Zack Collins is having himself a time. .400 off his 20 at bats, with a really well take HR last night. Its going to be really interesting if he can keep those production levels up to see what we do once Jansen is fit again. They can’t carry 3 catchers into May.. can they?

Ok going to leave it there. Game is about to begin. Lets go Blue Jays!!!

Ryu kidding me? Another Blue Jays series win.

Apologies for the lack of blogs lately. Have miraculously avoid COVID-19 for 26 months, I was thunderstruck with it this past week. Which allowed for some glorious laying in bed and watching the Blue Jays time, formulating lots of thoughts about what played out, there was no energy nor will to type.

Yet to loose a series this year, the Toronto Blue Jays sit alone atop the AL East with a 6-4 record as I write today. Still its not all positivity right now. Danny Jansen, Teoscar Hernandez and now Hyun Jin Ryu are all on the IL, and the Jays have gone on a win one – loose one streak for the last 8 games due in most part to the poor starting pitching. Most notably by Ryu.

The next 16 games are now all against teams I would expect to make the playoffs this year, so this will really be a big early season test. 10 are at home at least, where the jays have been playing close to .600 ball. That trend will need to continue.

Perhaps it will be a blessing that Ryu misses some game time. I thought stripling did quite well on Friday night, even if I was furious going into it that we were already in a position where we felt we needed to give Ryu an extra day. Not nearly as furious as I was when on that extra days rest, Hyun Jin laid a dirty egg on Saturday, costing us what should have been the season first swept series.

Alek Manoah was absolutely outstanding in New York last week, and followed it up with another solid performance yesterday. He’s arguably the best Jays starting pitcher at the moment. Until Berrios finds some form, it bothers me no end that we go from Kikuchi to him for our first two games in Boston. One of the two will need to pull their thumb out if we’re to have any chance at continuing our series winning ways. That or the pen will need to be lights out in cleanup.

The team chemistry has been “next level” 😉 thus far. There is definitely something special brewing in the dugout. The dugout cam is my favorite thing this year. So should we fall behind badly in either of the next two outings they nor I will be worried that a comeback is most certainly possible. Just look at opening day.

The bullpen has been better to begin the year too. While I’ve put 2 of the 4 losses on them on my scorecards, Tayler Saucedo and Julian Merryweather can eat most of that. Ramano and Garcia have been lights out, with Mayza, Thornton and Cimber solid enough. If the starts can keep us in a place to only need those 5 then things could go really well, its once we burn the pen so much that we need to go deeper than that, that things get scary. Ryan Borucki is back now too, and will no doubt get his debut at Fenway.

Before I close out for today, I just wanted to say how sad I was to hear the news of Buck Martinez cancer diagnosis and to say I wish him a speedy recovery and can’t wait for his next broadcast, as soon as he feels able. I love Buck, he’s a great broadcaster, and seems to just be a genuinely great human being too.

Til next time, thanks for reading.

Best Home Opener Ever?

Was that the best home opener ever? Certainly the best in the last 10 years. Such a brutal start, followed by such a great comeback, and the an all time save scenario in the 9th inning too. It had everything you could ever ask for.

As mentioned Friday, I got to go to the home opener. Only my second time in live attendance for the opener. Home Openers are always my favorite. I got to the ballpark nice and early. Saw some of the Rangers batting practice, collected my free hat, stopped by the Sportsnet Studio, and took in the new “Next Level” big screen. Boy what a beauty that it. The clarity and the contrast and brightness make a huge noticeable difference, but the biggest thing is just how much more data it can display. You get the full batting history for the player at bat. For pitching, in addition to speed, there is now get pitch type, and velocity information also.

I really enjoyed getting to to see the silver slugger awards being handed out to Teo, Vlad and Marcus Semien. It still blows my mind to think we had 3 silver sluggers last year, AND a Cy Young award. Nice and fitting that Marcus ended up being here on opening night to receive his with the other two.

I forgot to check if Robbie Ray got his award yet or if they’ll wait until he is here with Seattle later in the year. Either way I’m sure there will be some type of video appreciation video. I was glad too that Marcus was able to get a nice reception (the only for any ranger) when the teams were announced, as we were unable to give him an ovation in his first at bat, due to the horrific HR that proceeded it.

God that first Inning was bad, and absolutely NOT what you want (or expect) to see from your stud ace. From a “glass half full” perspective, Jose will be well rested having only pitched 32 pitches. But he’s got a long road ahead of him to reduce the 108 ERA!!

You hear at the start of a season, mangers often talk about the need to try to get everyone some playing time and let them get into their seasons. Well Friday certainly allowed for that. I think Charlie did a brilliant job managing the bullpen also. He so easily could have totally burned an arm and left someone out there for 3-4 innings, but instead chose to really keep everyone’s pitches low, get more involved and the pen paid him back with a excellent outing.

Gausman had a solid outing Saturday also. He did a really good job. Ryu actually unfortunately gave me what I expected from him Sunday. He more than others was going to suffer from the shorter spring. He turned the corner last year towards old man slipping away from his best, and I expect a further decline to come. That’s not to say he’s done, or will be awful. Just that he’s certainly the number 3 (maybe even 4), only two years now removed from being the star number 1.

Still all told, we opened the season with a series win, and that is the job done. 162-0 is a lovely dream, but playoffs will be made or missed based simply on winning series.

The first big test then begins tonight. Four games against the Yankees in the Bronx. I’d circled this one in during the preseason. This will be a real good test of just where we are at. At minimum 2-2 split for any real post season hopes, with 3-1 really being preferred. We swept the preseason 4-0. Could we do it again now?

Danny Janson with 2 early HRs is now on the DL, causing a bit of a shuffle in the active roster today. I prefer Kirk, I’ve made no lie about that. But do I want Danny or Zack Collins behind the plate in New York as the other catcher? You bet your life I want Danny. Lets hope we can stay out of the bull pen a little more this series. Its one thing to get everyone involved, another to burn them out in April. I trust Manoah tonight, but Kikuchi followed by Berrios gives me cold sweats for what we might need from the pen. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Ok, until Wednesday.. thanks for reading.

Opening Day for the 2022 Toronto Blue Jays

Here we go! Opening Day 2022. Let’s go Blue Jays!!! And a huge congratulations to the 28 men who broke camp yesterday to make the opening day roster. 22 of which I successfully predicted last week.

2022 Opening Day Roster
2022 Opening Day Roster

With no game to play on the actual opening day of the year, the team didn’t want to be left out of all the news cycles, so we have our first in season trade of the year, acquiring OF Bradley Zimmer from Cleveland. Bradly adds some MLB experienced depth to our outfield at the cost of a relief pitcher that didn’t break camp. So all things considered not a bad deal. I don’t expect to see to much of Zimmer (fingers crossed) he really is just a depth role.

The Score Bet Partnership

Also announced yesterday was the teams partnership with as the official gaming partner. The app was offering an odds booster offer today of +1500 odds for the Jays to win it all this year, of which I dually availed.

The pennant will be extremely tight this year. Most every expert has at least 3 AL east teams in the playoffs, some have 4. And with all but Baltimore having their season win totals set above 85, that tells you all you need to know about how close this race will be in September. I’ve a nagging feeling the Rays just might pip it. Mostly because their stadium is a fuck atrocity, giving them such a unique home advantage.

Luckily you can spin either outcome in September to the Jays favor. Win it and you have that boost of confidence and swagger. Miss out, and you’re out for revenge. Either way, I’m all in on this team. I really do think they can win it all. I think they are better than last year, better than 2015 & 2016, and just looking around the AL in particular, (no matter the pennant) better than everyone else. So over a seven game series against the best the NL has, can the do it? I think so.

The NL playoffs are going to be far more competitive than the AL. You could talk me into 4 or 5 teams there making the World Series, so I expect whoever does, do be that little bit more tired and beat up, and ripe for the taking.

There’s 162 to get through first though. The first goes later today as Toronto hosts Texas in the home opener with yours truly in attendance. I can’t wait. 45,000 sell out crowd. Last years silver sluggers to be given out, along with all the other pageantries that come with opening day. Its going to be be one hell of a show.

Thanks for reading.

Sweep Dreams are made of these

So remember when I said how you can never get carried away, one way or the other, with Spring Training results? Well forget that… the Toronto Blue Jays just swept the New York Yankees!!! Whooooow!!

How do you like them big apples?

Ok, horrible mixed references aside and the afore-mentioned meaninglessness of the games, that was still fun, and really hopefully some good foreshadowing for the year ahead. More than ever now I’m excited for that first series in the Bronx’s just to see how well this translates. 

Elsewhere the Blue Jays swapped catchers with Chicago, released Greg Bird and seemingly guaranteed Gosuke Katoh a spot on the opening day 28.

I liked the catcher swap for all of 5 minutes until reports had it also that he will make the opening day 28 also with Charlie seemingly determined to break camp with 3 catchers even when Zach Collins comes with a year of options left. All I can hope is its done with an eye to making the May 1 cuts easier. Zach has some raw talents but we can’t carry a .194 avg batter on a championship winning side.

Katoh over Bird is a surprise too. I’m really glad I made those predictions now. History would say bird is the safer bet, but hard to argue that Katoh had the better camp, and in fairness to him, won the spot. Lets just hope he can continue that form into the season, it makes for good story too, which I am a sucker for. haha.

Finally Gausman made his Spring Training debut today, going perfect through the first 3 innings. I actually muttered to myself when the Jays whiff through the top of the 4th in so few pitches that short halves really don’t help your pitcher, and boom Detroit got their first hits and run. I put that squarely on those 3 consecutive at bats than anything Gausman did. If he throws anything like that this year, this will be freeking awesome. That splitter was just full nasty.

Last one then tomorrow before it all gets going for real. Can’t wait!!!

Thanks for reading.

Breaking Camp, yearly predictions time

With one week until opening day each year I will put together my predictions and opinions on who I think will (and should) be breaking camp with the Toronto Blue Jays and making the opening day roster.

Unlike previous years, this year the team almost seems completely set. Aided by the additional 28 man April roster spots for this year. It has meant any “races” we might have seen, are just everyone gets a spot.

Some ground rules: I’m going to list the plays I expect to break, with some commentary in places where I personally would prefer another player.

Starting Pitchers

1. José Berríos

2. Kevin Gausman

3. Hyun Jin Ryu

4. Alek Manoah

5. Yusei Kikuchi

No need for a magic ball here. The Blue Jays announced the opening rotation yesterday, along with José Berríos as the opening day starter. I’ve grumbled before about Kikuchi. He goes again today, so hopefully he shows us something then that we’ve not seen yet, cos I really don’t think he’s any better thus far than Pearson for example.


6. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

7. Bo Bichette

8. Cavan Biggio

9. Matt Chapman

10. Santiago Espinal

11. Greg Bird

So first sort of stab in the dark here with Greg Bird. He’ll need a 40 man spot, (we have two available), but I honesty thinks earned it, and I think the Jays see if that way too. Whether or not he can make the cut come May 1 only time will tell. I would hope so, as I’ll get to when we talk catchers later.

Out Field

12. George Springer

13. Teoscar Hernández

14. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

15. Raimel Tapia

So there is a case to be made here that maybe the 15 spot goes to Dexter Fowler if he’s ready. I just don’t expect that he will be ready that quickly, so I expect to see Tapia open the season, but he’ll need to play well to hold his place.


16. Alejandro Kirk

17. Danny Jansen

18. Reese McGuire

So I deliberately named Kirk ahead of Jansen. In my eyes he’s our best catcher, and I expect him to take the majority of the starts behind the plate this year. I also expect to see him DH on days Jansen is catching. McGuire is the awkward part here. I don’t like having 3 catchers on the roster, even a 28 man roster. But with no options left and unlikely to clear wavers the Blue jays are stuck at least for now with needing to keep him on the big league team. My hope is the find a spot before May 1 when then think they could sneak him throw wavers and send him to Buffalo, as I would prefer to see Bird stay and one f them for sure will be cut then.


19. Jordan Romano

20. Yimi García

21. Nate Pearson

22. Tim Mayza

23. Andrew Vasquez

24. Tayler Saucedo

25. Ryan Borucki

26. Ross Stripling

27. Anthony Castro

28. Adam Climber

Its all but certain that the Blue Jays will open with a 10 man pen, and the first six names here I think are an absolute sure thing. I’m also happy to have all six. For the final four I think Borucki makes it. A left handed long inning guy might well be needed in these opening weeks, but with options available his leash will be short. Same for Stripling. And then for me, and I expect the Blues Jays too, Castro and Climber have done nothing to exclude themselves.

On the Edge

I think positionally next men up are Nathan Lukes and Dexter Fowler. I don’t expect Fowler to be fit in time, and I think Lukes could use a few months of AAA before coming up, so while neither would be shocking to see in Toronto next Friday, I don’t expect either will.

For pitching, I have Julian Merryweather and Trent Thornton missing out. For me, neither has been good enough and I wouldn’t pick them, but perhaps one could take Borucki’s spot. I hope not but well see.

So like I said, not many talking points this camp. Which I guess in a way is a talking point onto itself. This team is just set. Its ready. Its hungry and I can’t wait for the Movie To Begin.

Finally as I write this the Jays have announced the extetion of Charlie Montoyo through the 2023 season. Congrats to him, I like the show of confidence to begin the year off. I think he’s the right man for the job.

Til next week, thanks for reading.