Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Twins were an outstanding tonic for what had been a slightly reeling Toronto Blue Jays club heading into this weekend, even if the Jays somehow managed to piss away one of their four games against a franchise that right now oozes sub-mediocrity from just about every pore.
I’m still not sure why the hell the league’s schedule-makers couldn’t have figured out a way to have the Jays playing on the holiday Monday, but it’s hard to sit here today and want to take any of that back. Yes, even the ridiculousness involving the Twins and Josh Donaldson.
That’s not to say that I like Donaldson getting thrown at — or ejected for nothing by some clown ump (though if ol’ Gibbers wants to get tossed every single game, I’d be sooooooo for that) — but it at least allowed the reigning AL MVP the opportunity to say, “Hey baseball, this is pretty fucking stupid right here.”
It’s a position I’ve held for a long time: if the league was actually serious about protecting its players (like they’ve become regarding collisions at second base and at the plate), the consequences for a pitcher who intentionally throws at a batter need to be much, much greater.
“You saw Stanton a couple years ago — he got hit in the face. The ball crushed his face,” said Donaldson in the middle of a truly righteous rant to reporters after Sunday’s game. “It doesn’t take much in order to break these bones in your face. And Phil Hughes didn’t throw the ball at my face. But it only takes an eighth of an inch off your release point in order to for the ball to go somewhere else.”
Dayn Perry of CBS Sports has an excellent piece on the entire dustup (which includes clips and the full text of Donaldson’s comments), and while I don’t agree with everything he says — in particular his saying that he has “no problem with skin-in-the-game players forming a consensus over what the on-field codes should be,” whether they’re dangerous or not — he ultimately gets exactly why Donaldson speaking out is important.
“This isn’t an offense-seeking fan calling for players to change the way they behave toward each other,” he writes. “This is one of the best players in baseball who’s come to the plate more than 5,000 times as a pro saying this is all a bunch of damned nonsense.”
Hopefully the league — and, in particular, whichever mooks signed off on Matt Bush merely getting a fine for his role in the Jays-Rangers rutabaga last week, despite fully acknowledging that he threw intentionally at Jose Bautista — is listening.
Just when you think you start to think you might not feel terrified when Gavin Floyd comes into a ballgame for the Jays, he goes out and does what he did on Saturday, allowing a go-ahead three-run shot to Eduardo Nunez. Say what you will about how the Jays found themselves in that situation — and it wasn’t pretty, with J.A. Happ coughing up the lead in the eighth, or (more importantly) the Jays struggling to find offence against fucking Pat Dean — it was still the third straight appearance in which Floyd had allowed a run. He’d allowed just eight hits all season going into his appearance against Texas a week ago Saturday, and in the three appearances since then he’s allowed five, two of which have been game-winning home runs. I want to believe it’s just a blip — there are some extenuating circumstances, like the fact that he was being asked to get six outs in two of those appearances, and his overall numbers are still quite nice — but holy pissing shit, when will the blips end for this bullpen???
There continue to be some encouraging signs on Troy Tulowitzki. They’re still not quite adding up great results, but you don’t even have to squint to hard to like the 142 wRC+ he’s put up over 40 plate appearances since the start of the Texas series. It’s just… though I’m not complaining about a couple of doubles and genuine signs of life against the Twins, most of that production came in Arlington. Still, over that span he’s struck out just 15% of the time, and posted an ISO of .256, which are much, much, much more like the kind of guy we’re all hoping Tulo can be for this club. Of course, maybe we should have expected this, since only three of his last nine games have been at Rogers Centre, where he’s struggled mightily so far. Tulowitzki actually has a 112 wRC+ on the road, compared to a 45 at home. SOMEONE SHOW HIM WHERE THE MAN IN WHITE IS SITTING ALREADY!
Aaron Sanchez after 9 starts in 2015: 3.98 ERA, 34K, 34 BB
Aaron Sanchez after 9 starts in 2016: 3.20 ERA, 52K, 21BB https://t.co/iaIDhjdyir
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) May 24, 2016
How about those Raptors!!?!? I was thinking on Monday night about the ticket stub I still have somewhere for a Sixers-Suns exhibition game at Maple Leaf Gardens in, like, 1991, and just how long ago that was and how far basketball has come in this city and this country since then to have finally arrived at a “holy shit, they might even actually be able to do this — we could be watching the Raptors in the goddamn NBA Finals!” moment. But I’m not going to lie, it’s been a few years since I was a game-in, game-out fan of the team the way that I was through its first grim decade of existence (and then some). What can I say? The Colangelo era ended badly, the league doesn’t seem to cater to cable-cutters nearly as well as MLB does (and especially the Jays do), the loss to Brooklyn two years ago was dispiriting, and the last two seasons have felt plenty futile at times. But man, to have seen the joy from the people who did stick it out and who kept believing? It was pretty amazing. Which isn’t to say that their fandom is more authentic — just as I wouldn’t say my Jays fandom is more authentic than anyone who came along for the ride last season — but you can tell that all the feels come from a damn deep well, and it’s really fantastic. Let’s do this!
Worth a read…
There were a few things that came across my screen that I think are well worth passing along — the story of Rougned Odor’s cancelled autograph session (in which he was supposedly going to sign things like “bat flip will get you a fat lip” on shots of his instantly infamous punch of Jose Bautista — because THAT’s not disrespecting the game!), one from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star on baseball’s dearth of Latin American managers, or an excellent piece from Joanna at Hum and Chuck about baseball blogging while female — but I’ve really got to draw your attention to Bob Elliott’s report in the Toronto Sun about the Jays potentially making Drew Storen available in trade.
Because that’s just hilarious.
I mean, I get that there might be some teams who think that Storen could provide some kind of value for them if he moves back to the National League, but… really?? I mean, there’s no way the Jays can move him, at this point, without eating salary and getting nothing in return, right???
I’m not saying that it might not even be worth it, just to open the roster spot, but are we really at that point yet?
Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet goes deeper into the issue, looking at the ways Storen and the Jays are working to try to find a way to make him
better not suck.
What do you meme?
Trying to think of the last time Toronto really had a performance like Biyombo’s from a non-All-Star in the playoffs.
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) May 24, 2016
Um… Marco Estrada?
The Twins did the Jays a monuMENTAL favor by waking up the fierce competitor in Josh Donaldson. He’s an MVP for a reason Minnesota. Thanks
— Jesse Barfield (@JesseBarfield29) May 22, 2016
this is an ACTUAL PROMO PHOTO, posted by the actual Houston Astros. Presented otherwise without comment. pic.twitter.com/jnslnPFHi3
— Productive Outs (@ProductiveOuts) May 24, 2016
Tuesday – Wednesday @ Yankees, 7:05 PM ET
Thursday @ Yankees, 4:05 PM ET
Friday vs. Red Sox, 7:07 PM ET
Saturday – Sunday vs. Red Sox, 1:07 PM ET
The Jays then host the Yankees for three, before heading to Fenway for three more against Boston. Yep, tweleve straight against the Yankees and Red Sox! Don’t say “make or break,” because it’s certainly not, but it’s a pretty important stretch for this early in the season. Thing is: they all are. It’s not like they can relax after that — they go to Detroit and then host Baltimore before things ease up a little with the Phillies, O’s, Diamandbacks, White Sox, Rockies, and Clevelands to close out June.