The Daily Duce: Tuesday, September 20th

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Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has a nifty little piece up that takes a look at J.A. Happ’s “newest fastball secret.” It’s not just that he should throw it more, which he figured out last year, and not that as he throws it more he finds that anxious hitters swing at it more (and swing and miss more too). It’s that he’s added a sinker that he’s using quite a bit — and, most interestingly, the difference between his “rising” fastball and his sinker is bigger than the difference that any other qualified starter this season. Hmmm…

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan writes that “the Red Sox are basically last year’s Jays,” which seems like a terrific thing to read just before you gouge your fucking eyes out with a rusty fork.

Speaking of the arsenals of the starting pitchers the Jays are relying on (which… weren’t we?), Shi Davidi of Sportsnet looks at Marco Estrada’s “everything” changeup, and how he’s begun to feel better throwing it — because he’s trying not to think about it (and, in particular, how he’s gripping it) too much.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, it’s a little old (we mentioned it on the podcast last week), but Arden Zwelling’s piece on the indispensable Russell Martin is well worth a read. Meanwhile, Jeff Blair has a piss take (pre-Monday’s win) on the sputtering Jays that is featured in the title, but for some reason comes well after a lengthy thing about some exhibition hockey tournament or something.And Donovan Bennett talks to Jose Bautista about… TIFF, movies, and celebrity stuff?

Similar to Blair, Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail has decided (or did before Monday) that while the math says the Jays still have a chance at the AL East, common sense says they’re looking squarely at the Wild Card. Which is probably true, if we’re being honest, but could still do without the attempts at extrapolating from how the Jays have played so far in September or the stuff about controlling their own destiny sounding like a threat.

Elsewhere in the Globe, Andrew Willis wonders whether Rogers should get out of the sports game, or… his title does. The article is paywalled, so I have no idea. 

Eric Mandel of ESPN 710 in Seattle passes on comments from Brock Huard (yes, the Brock Huard), now a radio voice in the Pacific Northwest, and who, while careful not to criticize all the Canadian fans who have invaded Safeco this week, wants to see the Mariners enact measures to prevent folks with Canadian billing addresses for their credit cards from purchasing tickets to Jays-Mariners series, or to at least restricting them. That would suck hard for the outstanding, outstanding fans from out west who have shown us a thing or two about passion, and yet… as someone who remembers all too well the catering to opposing fan bases that happened at Rogers Centre during the Godfrey years, and how fucking insufferable and demoralizing that was, I kinda must say I do get the impulse.

A pair from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, as he attempts to diagnose what is ailing the Blue Jays’ offence, and also gives some helpful tips on how to manage the stress of September baseball.

Great stuff from Kyle Matte over at BP Toronto, as he uses some great Statcast data to look at Marcus Stroman’s troubles with runners on base, while he also finds that Stroman is elevating his sinker more than usual when runners are on base. Perhaps that’s an attempt to induce double play ground balls, rather than missing low and walking batters, but if so… uh… can he maybe not?

Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Matt Gwin looks at John Gibbons’ roster usage this month, which apparently he finds problematic (though mildly so, at best, it seems), and which probably isn’t all that problematic if you ask me. But what was I gonna do, knock Gibbers? Pffft.

MLBTR rounds up Nick Cafardo’s Sunday column, in which this time around he apparently suggested some potential replacements for John Gibbons, should the Blue Jays go that way. They seem, as far as I can tell, to be pulled out of someone’s ass. You can probably read them at the Boston Globe, too, if you really want to do a thing like that.

Lastly, at the Canadian Baseball Network, Ian Hunter declares that the 2016 Blue Jays are the new franchise strikeout kings, which I’m sure will be a cathartic read for people who are dead certain that strikeouts are a much, much bigger problem than they really are for this club (and who missed the fact that strikeouts are at an all time high league-wide, so this kind of “achievement” isn’t exactly nutty). And over at his own site, the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian points out that the Blue Jays are [somewhat close to being] the most home run dependent team in baseball… which would be a worse thing if they weren’t (until September, at least) so good at hitting home runs. Meh.