Lott: Grilli's success sets the stage for Bautista's heroics in big Blue Jays win

John Lott
September 24 2016 09:08PM

Jason Grilli
Photo credit: John Lott

With two outs in the eighth inning, nearly 48,000 fans in the Rogers Centre were craving two conclusions: a strikeout by Billy Butler and Jason Grilli’s ferocious dance of jubilation. 

There was no score, but Grilli had just given up a triple to a speedy Yankee. Everyone was standing, clapping, roaring a plea in unison: “Let’s go, Blue Jays.” The stadium shuddered.

The night before, Grilli had warmed up for the eighth inning with the Jays leading 3-0. Another of his setup situations loomed; when the score is tight, the eighth inning is his. But then his offence, almost implausibly, scored four runs and blew the doors off. Grilli sat back down. Lesser lights mopped up.

Before Saturday’s game, he said Friday’s false alarm did not tax him. I asked how many pitches he needs to get ready.

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Josh "Johnny High School" Donaldson and the Jays cruise over the Yankees, so here are some good tweets

Andrew Stoeten
September 23 2016 09:40PM

Josh Donaldson
Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski USA TODAY-Sports

Troy Tulowitzki had a pair of two-RBI singles, and Jose Bautista had a key bases loaded double (after Girardi intentionally walked Edwin to get to him -- because pissing off Jose always works, right?) to break the game open on Friday night, as the Jays crushed the Yankees 9-0, but it was reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson who stole the show.

Thing is, it wasn't necessarily he play of the field that did it -- though Donaldson did make at least a couple of great defensive plays, and plated the Jays' eighth and ninth runs of the night with an eighth inning home run -- but largely his attire. Specifically his footwear.

Because... well... look at those damn things!

Let's just say it was a fun night. To wit:

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Lott: Jays players wearing Devon "Baby" Travis on their shirts, trying to keep loose in a tough September

John Lott
September 23 2016 05:42PM

Devon Travis
Photo credit: John Lott

Devon Travis has a new nickname: Baby.

“He’s like a newborn,” said Blue Jays teammate Ryan Goins. “He sleeps and eats and poops, that’s all he does. And gets hits.”

So in keeping with this oddball description, Goins ordered a set of T-shirts with a baby-faced emoji on the front and Travis’s name and number 29 on the back. The parcel arrived Friday afternoon, before the Blue Jays opened a four-game series against the Yankees, and most of the players wore the shirts for batting practice.

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Game Threat: Are we beginning to see the light?, Blue Jays (83-69) vs. Yankees (79-73)

Andrew Stoeten
September 23 2016 05:05PM

Francisco Liriano
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are not yet out of it, and they're the Yankees, so they're not going to be pushovers like the fucking Twins (who gifted a pair of wins to the Tigers yesterday, letting Detroit slip into the second Wild Card spot for the time being). And there's always a chance that a fucking no name pitcher, like whoeverthefuck they're sending to the hill tonight, will inexplicably baffle the Jays all night. But holy shit, let's do this.

Back home for the last home games of the regular season -- perhaps of the season, perhaps of John Gibbons' second tenure as manager, perhaps of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion's Blue Jays careers -- this really is it for the Jays. Or the beginning of it.

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The Daily Duce: Friday, September 23rd

Andrew Stoeten
September 23 2016 01:59PM

ducetemp

Daily??!?!?

I don't say this just because I'm quoted in it (though I am!), or because griping about it is a bit of a hobby horse of mine, but this piece on the psychology of the wave from Aaron Hutchins of Maclean's is outstanding. And Gregg Zaun, of all people, knocks it out of the fucking park. "It tells me what your baseball IQ is when you’re in the stands in a one-run game, your home team is scratching and clawing, and you’re in the stands trying to do the wave." Fuckin' right.

Ross Atkins spoke to reporters about his first season at the helm of the Blue Jays, and Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun has an excellent round-up of the comments. The money quote, uh... for my money, is on Vlad Guerrero Jr., who Atkins says "has expedited things" in terms of his timeline. "He could be the player that moves relatively quickly. We will try to discipline ourselves to slow things down for him to ensure he has the best possible foundation. But he could be a guy who moves quicker, not because of talent but because of discipline and work ethic," he says. Nails much?

In another piece in the Sun on Atkins' comments, Fidlin notes that GM also said that the club's search for a new scouting director is narrowing and that they might have a decision in a week. Meanwhile, John Gibbons noted that Troy Tulowitzki has been the victim of some bad luck at the plate lately, despite hitting the ball hard consistently. Fidlin himself says that "by an unofficial count, six of his outs — five in Anaheim alone — were made at or on the centre field wall." Breakout coming?

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