Image via @NDrules43
Believe it or not, some baseball was actually played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, this weekend, in between and on either side of a couple of right fuckin’ brannigans. And it was mostly not great for the Jays. But who cares, amiright??? Because PUNCH FIGHTS!
Unfortunately for those expecting from me some colourful swears punching up adjectives like “imbroglio” or “rumpus,” I’m pretty sure I have a fairly lukewarm take on Sunday’s donnybrook. Yeah, the pissbaby Rangers can obviously fuck right off, but I also very much get the point our old friend Scott Lewis is making when he tweets, “‘The Rangers need to get over the bat flip,’ he said wearing a bat flip t-shirt while tweeting a .gif of the bat flip.”
And yeah, Bautista has a right to be angry after getting plunked — in the most chickenshit way possible, if you’re going to do a thing like that, given that it was almost certainly the last at-bat he’d take against the Rangers in the regular season — but should have been very happy to continue letting his bat (flip) do the talking, and maybe better cognizant of the fact that the imbecilic Rangers had just put the tying run on base in a game they were lucky to have just pulled ahead in.
Seriously. Rougned Odor’s infield single off Aaron Sanchez’s last pitch of the game was a close play. If Barney is in a slightly better spot to field that ball, or gets a little more on that throw, and maybe things turn out differently. More importantly, maybe Justin Smoak’s weak roller would have been just slow enough to allow the cement-footed first baseman to beat it out, had Bautista not rendered the point moot with his illegal slide.
But, of course, Bautista did do that. And Odor did what he did. And — whoa-ho! — we had ourselves an argle-bargle.
Now, as we all know based on the types of people who rush to defend tit-for-tat garbage like this, fighting like this is pretty damn stupid and trashy. It sure as hell gets a rise out of you, though! And those opposing feelings aren’t really all that difficult to reconcile once you recognize that one of them is pretty ridiculous. I’d be full of shit if I tried to say it wasn’t kinda fun, or that it’s not even part of the appeal, to some, that these players are so emotionally invested and fired up and pushing and clawing for every inch in a near pathological drive towards victory (or whatever!). But that’s real easy to say knowing, as we do now, that Bautista didn’t crumple crumple to the ground seriously injured by Odor’s punch, and that neither his slide nor the two “purpose pitches” missed their spots and “inadvertently” impacted a pennant race, or somebody’s quality of life.
We can laugh about it now, I guess. Fortunately. But fuck is that shit stupid.
Troy Tulowitzki’s wRC+ has risen only up to a Pillar-esque 88 for the season, and it’s only 103 since April 30th — which is the point when it looks to me like he really started turning the corner — but he might finally be coming around. Four of his seven best hitting performances this season (by wRC+) have come in the last five games, including three of his five multi-hit games. His swinging strike rate since the 30th stands at 6.8%, and his contact rate on pitches in the zone over that span is 89.2%. His ISO is .268. Up to that point in the season those numbers were 11.4%, 70.9%, and .165. Legit improvement.
Hey! Remember RA Dickey? He was pretty good way back on Friday. In fact, according to his game logs at FanGraphs, his game score of 86 was his third-highest as a Blue Jay, and one of only five starts in which he’s topped a score of 80. It was his 109th start in a Blue Jays uniform. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his last five starts, sporting a 3.24 ERA over that span. So… yeah, I think we’ll take that.
Worth A Read…
It wasn’t the greatest weekend in terms of the Jays’ ongoing bullpen disaster, which is spoken to by the fact that Dustin Antolin, who nearly retired this spring, getting called up to replace Brett Cecil (15-day DL with left arm shittiness) wasn’t the worst thing that happened to the bullpen this weekend.
Jesse Chavez and Gavin Floyd, who looked last week like they might be capable of filling the huge void left by Cecil’s early-season struggles and Drew Storen’s metamorphosis into a poop emoji, didn’t have such a great weekend, as they each gave up game-winning home runs. But there’s good news! Sort of. And not just in the fact that I miiiiiiiight be willing to cut Floyd some lack, given that the home run he gave up to Drew effing Stubbs was at the end of his second inning of work.
No, it comes from a great read on Floyd from Kyle Matte at BP Toronto, as he looks at the converted starter as a quasi Storen — and, I think importantly, notes that John Gibbons’ bullpen usage, considered by leverage index, has actually been pretty good (excepting the unfortunate Arnold Leon experiment). In a table, Kyle shows us that Brett Cecil has pitched in the highest leverage situations among the Jays’ regular relief corp. Next up is Floyd, then Osuna, then Storen, then Chavez.
Yeah, yeah, Osuna should be better deployed than that, but that’s about how you’d expect that list to look — especially knowing that Cecil and, especially, Storen have had to have their leverage dialled back a bit. Having Floyd looking decent, Saturday notwithstanding, is pretty key! Uh… y’know, in a “small victories” kind of way.
What Do You Meme?
Oh, well… while we’re here, why not check out some GIFs from Sunday, which I’ve captioned (using many a fancy descriptor) over at Toronto Life.
Meanwhile, the Happster always brings the heat:
If some guy with a shitty beard is giving me a cheap shot in Texas, it’d better be because I’m at a bourbon bar at SXSW.
— Hipster J.A. Happ (@JAHappster) May 16, 2016
OK, OK, the slow motion punch is something else, too…
— Nova cashed us (@PJackk) May 15, 2016
Monday – Wednesday, vs. Rays, 7:07 PM ET
Thursday – Friday, @ Twins, 8:10 PM ET
Satursday – Sunday, @ Twins, 2:10 PM ET