The Daily Duce: Friday, September 30th



Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet sorts through the scenarios for what could be a wild (and wet) weekend with respect to the Wild Card. The big one: if the Jays are swept in Boston, Detroit could pass them by winning three of four, or tie them (forcing a tiebreaker game) by winning just two of four. Meanwhile, in that scenario the Mariners would need to sweep Oakland to pass, or take two of three to tie. In other words: just one bloody little Blue Jays win makes life real hard for the teams behind them. So… for fuck sakes, let’s get that over with tonight, huh?

Similarly, Scott MacArthur of looks at how the Jays, even if it maybe doesn’t feel like it, still control their own destiny.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun tattles on Blue Jays players for uniting behind some anti-media sentiment in the clubhouse, and honestly… maybe there’s something interesting here (Vice and Deadspin thought so). But… ennh, I don’t know. As a quasi-member of the media I certainly bristle at the negative way a whole lot of people view the media (when it’s not warranted, that is), and in general I think we’d all benefit — like, as a society, man — from more people understanding better how the media works. But holy shit, it’s hard to have sympathy for a piece that’s trying so fucking hard to whip up popular sentiment against the players because of a few petty slights.

“The current ‘fight’ has been overblown and inaccurately reported,” tweeted our own John Lott this afternoon. “Petty inconveniences involving reporters/sources arise every day. Not news.” He adds that “journalists’ wounded egos should not be the story.” Tell us how you really feel!

Elsewhere in the Sun, Scott Mitchell talks to R.A. Dickey as his Blue Jays career winds down. Steve Simmons writes something I agree with (!), suggesting Marcus Stroman should move to the bullpen (though the part about moving him before last night’s start is nutty). And Ken Fidlin looks at new Jays executive Ben Cherington’s time with the Red Sox.

Back to Sportsnet, where Shi Davidi talks with Edwin Encarnacion, who doesn’t want a frustrating night like Thursday to have been his last home game in a Blue Jays uniform. (Note: pay him!)

More from Sportsnet:  Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at some of the front office restructuring the Jays announced on Thursday (including Joe Sheehan being moved from head of Analytics to Assistant GM, as was as Ricciardi-era hire Perry Minasian). Jeff Blair writes that Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion deserve better if this really is the end for them as Blue Jays. Kristina Rutherford has a great interview with backup catcher and hot dog connoisseur Dioner Navarro. And a quick look at some ugly weather that maybe in store for the Jays and Red Sox this weekend at Fenway.

Lots of great stuff from the Toronto Star, as well: Brendan Kennedy talks to J.A. Happ, who seems to have finally figured it all out. Richard Griffin sets up the Jays’ big series in Fenway, and also has a great one in which he talks with pitching coach Pete Walker about Jose Fernandez, his inspiring daughter, and tragedy helping to keep things in perspective. And there’s also a pair from Rosie DiManno — one on the tight-lipped Roberto Osuna as the pressure of the season mounts, and the positive-thinking Brett Cecil — which you might be able to see somewhere through the fog of purple prose.

Alykhan Ravjiani of looks at Francisco Liriano, who pitched well again against Baltimore this week, and is looking like an increasingly strong rotation candidate for 2017. And speaking of Liriano, he did something awfully ballsy in his last start — he threw a pitch, against Russell Martin’s call, that he almost never does. Jeff Sullivan looks at that tasty bit of an otherwise gut-punch of a game over at FanGraphs.

Great stuff, as always, from BP Toronto, as we have Tammy Rainey taking an early look at potential matchups and roster spots for the Wild Card game, while Elie Waitzer looks at how Melvin Upton Jr. seems to have solved his swinging strike problem, which… that can’t be right, can it?

Interesting stuff from Same Page Team, as Dan Grant looks into MLB’s beanball problem — featuring an idea from yours truly: giving batters two bases for a hit-by-pitch instead of just one.

Lastly, an uplifting one from the Blue Jay Hunter, as Ian gives us an obstinately positive piece on the Blue Jays.