Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
That was more like it yesterday, eh? The Jays played the Phillies for the second of a four game home-and-home series (or as the final of the first of two two-game series’, if for some reason you want to pretend that all four games don’t constitute a series), and crushed the shit out of them like they were an Aaron Loup meatball.
I was at the game, and so naturally found dealing with the 12:37 PM start time too difficult to actually manage to have posted a Game Threat. It turns out that I also took my sweet time walking home afterwards, stopping at a bar to watch Iceland subdue the car horns of Little Portugal for at least one night, then had some food and a nap, and… well… it turns out I didn’t end up writing a damn thing about it.
Let’s fix that with a few quick thoughts…
Thing is, there isn’t too much to say about this one, because games against the Phillies don’t actually count unless you’re bad. That’s not great news if you’re Marcus Stroman (who was good!), but it’s especially unfortunate for Aaron Loup or Scott Diamond, both of whom were sent packing following the game, presumably on account of their unmistakable badness.
I use the word “packing” there because the pair left the team in slightly different ways: Loup, who was again unnervingly hittable on Tuesday afternoon, has options left and has been moved to Buffalo. Diamond, who blowed up real good Monday night, is out of options and so had to be D’d FA. In order to get back to Buffalo he will have to clear waivers, meaning… I’m sure he’ll be back with the Bisons real soon.
After a year of defending Loup’s shit luck in 2015, I’m really feeling right now that I should be as clear as possible from the get-go that I’m very much not into whatever the hell he’s been doing so far — and it seems like the Jays are in agreement. And Diamond? The fact that I’ve written and had to erase “Copeland” literally every single time I’ve typed out his name so far in this piece probably tells you all you need to know about where my opinion of his role in this bullpen is at.
I could give Loup a bit of a break because he’s just making his way back from injury, and
Copeland Diamond one because he’s Canadian and it would nice to see him succeed, but that doesn’t mean they looked like they should be anywhere near a big league roster right now.
A reciprocal move will be announced sometime Wednesday, and might need to include a position player — perhaps Dalton Pompey. Pompey is the only outfielder in Buffalo who is hitting at all, and the Jays might feel they need one — in case Ryan Goins’ appearance in left didn’t make that obvious enough — because Michael Saunders (who exited mid-game on Tuesday) and Jose Bautista (who was at DH for the second straight game on Tuesday, and missed the final three games of the previous series against Baltimore) are dealing with leg issues. They will also likely want to bring up a left-handed reliever, which probably means Chad Girodo.
Update: Girodo has indeed gotten the call, along with Andy Burns — who apparently wasn’t in the Bisons lineup last night, which means my teasing about Pompey probably wasn’t the wisest. I’m all for the Jays letting him continue to play everyday down there anyway, tbh. It, of course, doesn’t hurt (as Brendan Kennedy points out) that Burns is an addition to the bench as the club gets set to play a couple games under NL rules.
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And then there was Stroman.
As I said before, it’s unfortunate for Marcus that games against the Phillies don’t count. He induced the most soft contact of any start of his season, and for the first time this season went back-to-back starts hard contact rates below 30%.
Of course, the fact that he was facing the lowly Phillies doesn’t necessarily mean that he was doing, to better results, exactly the same things as he’s been doing all year. Looking at his pitch usage data at FanGraphs, a couple of things jump out as different: he used what was classified as a cutter more frequently than in all but one of his starts this season (18%), and threw it noticeably slower than usual — it averaged 87.6 compared to 89.4 on the season.
That would be more interesting, however, if the data at Brooks Baseball agreed. It doesn’t — it shows a dip in changeup usage, and one of his more slider-heavy games of the year, but not anything that jumps out so much in terms of usage. In terms of velocity or movement, all I really see is that he was throwing his slider a little harder than he has been since about the start of May. Was that all it took to look a lot better? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
But at least the results were there! And at least Stroman felt good about his start, telling Shi Davidi of Sportsnet that he’s “not exactly where I want to be, but I made strides.”
John Gibbons was impressed, evidently.
“His two-seam fastball, which is really his bread and butter now, it was moving down, that had kind of deserted him a little bit. I thought his breaking ball was much better today and even a few good changeups. He was into it, he looked confident, a really good outing for him.”
The Phillies, though.