A deep-ish dig into the numbers and performances and whatever else that was fun from the past weekend of Toronto Blue Jays baseball (probably), brought to you by Draft Kings — get your Daily Fantasy Sports on at Draft Kings!
Well we’re really in the thick of it now, aren’t we?
The Blue Jays, per a tweet from @SNStats, became the first team since 2009 to give up more than 20 runs in the course of a series — in this case a wild, fun, comeback-filled series. Yeah, it was just the Twins, but still! The Jays came from down 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth, and 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday. They came back to win Saturday after being down 5-1 in the sixth and 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh. And all this after an offensive explosion that felt like it had been in the offing for weeks in their Friday night victory.
And, of course, it was another sweet, sweet comeback on Sunday that left the Jays two games clear of the Red Sox in the top spot in the American League East, as the dumb Kansas City Royals actually managed to do the Jays a favour by turning a 4-2 deficit to the Boston Red Sox on its ear with an eight run sixth inning.
Two games isn’t a lot, but it feels like genuine breathing room in the context of what has been a suffocatingly tight race thus far. Let’s keep it up!
Between July 15th and August 15th Josh Donaldson posted a wRC+ of 112. Which is fine! It’s OK. It’s… not exactly awful. But it’s not Josh Donaldson.
During that span he didn’t exactly look to be the healthiest, either. At one point right in the middle of it “he seemed to grimace as he ran through the bag (on an infield single he legged out in the Baltimore series) and was lifted for a pinch runner,” as the Toronto Star explained on July 30th. Anecdotally, it seemed like it was an injury that may have lingered — or at least it felt to me he wasn’t quite as explosive as usual, and I certainly thought I’d noticed a couple ground balls that he didn’t exactly run out at full speed. Maybe I was just seeing things, but around the start of the Angels series it seemed to me like there was a shift. And the fact that he attempted a steal in the first game of that series — his first attempt since before the All-Star break — only seemed to hint further that he was feeling better again.
Lo and behold, since that series began his wRC+ — obviously helped by the small sample and Sunday’s three didgeridoos — has been an unfathomably ridiculous 297. He’s feeling pretty good, I think.
What do you meme?
— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) August 28, 2016
Uh, soo… not exactly a meme, but the Melvin Upton thing was slightly awesome, huh? Thanks Twins!
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 27, 2016
John Gibbons recently texted Mark Buehrle saying “you know, rosters expand in September.” Buehrle texted back a picture of a lake.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 29, 2016
A quick thought on the trade…
A slightly less quick thought on the trade…
I’ve maintained for a long time, in the face of a whole lot of weird backup catcher value truthers, that Josh Thole is entirely fine. And he is! But obviously Dioner Navarro is better once you take catching the knuckleball out of the equation — and that’s obviously what’s gone on here, given that R.A. Dickey has long seemed likely to be in line to get the Mark Buehrle treatment once the playoffs begin. With Aaron Sanchez still starting, Dickey remains the Jays’ fifth starter, and therefore very likely surplus to requirements, meaning the backup catcher’s job description has changed into something more traditional and less specialized.
Navarro, of course, is pretty close to a perfect fit here. He knows the staff, obviously likes it here, and he’s not a terrible bat off the bench. Sure, there are defensive shortcomings, but as fine as Thole may be, even a defender of him like myself couldn’t not acknowledge that if something happens to Russell Martin, or if you simply want to keep Martin’s bat in the lineup at DH — a fine idea considering the way he’s been going lately — clearly having Navarro around is kinda nails.
Remember Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro going on about the importance of depth at the start of the season? Yeah, I think going from Martin, Thole, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, to Martin, Navarro, Erik Kratz, and Thole shows that they surely did mean it.
Obviously this is a big one, as the Jays are in Baltimore, about to throw a whole bunch of right-handers against the lefty Wade Miley. That should play!
Monday – Wednesday @ Baltimore, 7:05 PM ET
Thursday – Off
Friday @ Tampa Bay, 7:10 PM ET
Saturday @ Tampa Bay, 6:10 PM ET
Sunday @ Tampa Bay, 1:10 PM ET
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