The Blue Jays got their second half of the season off to a flying stop last night with a very ugly and forgettable loss that certainly wasn’t expected considering the way the team flew into the break looking damn near unstoppable. Fucking Cabo, am I right?!
In his final three starts before the break, Marcus Stroman appeared to have figured himself out, posting an OK start against the White Sox, a good one against Cleveland, and a dandy against Kansas City. But last night, the Athletics had zero trouble pounding his stuff at all, collecting nine hits, including three home runs, over four-and-two-thirds innings.
When he was successful against Kansas City in his last start, Stroman used his slider a lot, throwing it 41 times, collecting 29 strikes off of it, and allowing nine batted balls, all of which resulted in outs. Last night, he cut back on the slider usage, probably because he was having a difficult time finding the grip, as the 21 times he threw it, only 12 were for strikes, and four of six batted balls went for hits. He compensated for it by throwing way more sinkers than he usually does, which the A’s batters feasted on.
Anyways, it was a very disappointing start for Stroman, but it isn’t really indicative of a problem that should cause us to worry all that much about his future as an MLB pitcher. In the short term, obviously Stroman needs to be better in order for the Jays to win for the American League East, but bringing up Hutch or throwing Jesse Chavez or, uh, fuck, I don’t know, Ryan Goins (?) in his place probably wouldn’t be much better.
Aside from Stroman, the lineup looked pretty sluggish last night, too. After feasting on rookie scrub Daniel Mengden, picking up seven runs in the four innings with a collection of singles and walks, the Jays only managed one hit off of Oakland’s bullpen the rest of the way. Despite being handed five walks, three of them to open an inning, the bats just refused to capitalize, ultimately allowing the A’s to claw their way back from a four-run deficit to grab an 8-7 win.
The loss was ultimately hung on Brett Cecil who allowed the game-winning run the in the bottom of the seventh inning. Cecil got the first two batters out to the start the inning, then walked Josh Reddick on a full count, then allowed singles to Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt (the three guys who provided literally all of Oakland’s offence yesterday). Kevin Pillar gunned out Reddick at home with a fantastic throw, but the call was overturned.
Ugly and forgettable. Ugly and forgettable indeed.
News and Scuttlebutt
Correcting my math, #BlueJays and Justin Smoak agree to an $8.25m, two-year extension with a $6m option for 2019 or a $250k buyout.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 16, 2016
#BlueJays now have $88.625m guaranteed to six players for 2017.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 16, 2016
So this was the big news of the day for the Jays, as Justin Smoak will be manning first base for the next two (maybe three) seasons. I talked about the signing in an earlier post, but I’ll give a brief overview here too.
While this signing makes it appear as though the organization is gearing up to let Jose and Edwin walk, Smoak’s deal really is its own thing. If Edwin does sign, they have a backup first baseman who isn’t terrible making around what you’d expect a player of that calibre to make. If Edwin doesn’t sign, they still have some kind of fallback net they’re familiar with.
Big meh. Moving along…
Blue Jays: Carrera LF, Donaldson 3B, Encarnacion DH, Saunders LF, Tulowitzki SS, Pillar CF, Smoak 1B, Barney 2B, Thole C
R.A. Dickey: 7-9, 3.93 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 1.294 WHIP, 8.6 H9, 3.1 BB9, 6.4 SO9
Athletics: Lowrie 2B, Alonso 1B, Reddick RF, Valencia DH, Davis LF, Vogt C, Semien SS, Smolinski CF, Healy 3B
Sonny Gray: 3-8, 5.16 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 1.467 WHIP, 9.8 H9, 3.4 BB9, 7.1 SO9
Sonny Gray has had a pretty bad year, especially considering how phenomenal he’s been in each of the past two seasons. His season has been so bad, in fact, that he hasn’t picked up a win since all the way back on April 22 when the A’s beat the goddamn Jays in Toronto. Holy shit, that feels like ages ago. Obviously it doesn’t help that the team he plays for, to be gentle, is complete junk, but Gray himself, well, hasn’t been himself at all.
Gray’s strikeout numbers are slightly down, his walks are slightly up, but his major issue has been a .311 batting average on balls in play that seems to largely be due to the fact that he’s allowing more hard contact than ever before in his career. Looking through his game logs and results, Gray seems to be pretty much all over the place. A pretty good start here, a terrible one there, but throughout all of it, the common theme is that he’s allowing a lot of contact which coincides with his fastball usage.
Anyways, let’s get over this goddamn fucking Cabo hangover, and pick up where we left off before the break, please!