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Roster moves R Us.

Updated: 2017-04-25T08:15:02-04:00


Francisco Liriano's 2017 ERA progression in one chart



It's been an interesting start to 2017 for Francisco Liriano, in some ways Mark Buehrle's 2013 first half on steroids. After a disasterous debut against the Rays, his ERA sat at an unseemly 135.00. After a third consequence solid start since then last night, totaling four earned runs in 17.1 innings, Liriano has lowered that to a respectable 4.58 ERA. Here's what his 2017 progression looks like in chart form:


That early season spike really distorts the scale, so below is the same chart but with a logarithmic scale instead (and without the background shading to separate starts).


Here the descent looks a lot more gradual, except for the little spike when he allowed a couple runs in his second start.

Jays lose to Angels


Bad baseball makes me sad. Blue Jays 1 Angels 2 You know, if you can’t hit Jesse Chavez, it might be time to take up a different sport. Chavez went 6 innings, allowed just 4 hits, 4 walks with 7 strikeouts. And just 1 earned, a Russell Martin solo homer. We managed 4 base runners, in 3 innings against a rather lousy Angels bullpen, but we couldn’t score. To add insult to injury: Ezequiel Carrera was picked off first base in the 8th. Devon Travis was called out for, I guess, interfering with the catcher on a stolen base attempt. His back swing hit the catcher, but then the catcher had popped up out of his crouch. I hated the call. He did step a bit towards the plate, but that’s a call that is never made unless there is body contact between the batter and the catcher. We are getting weird umpiring this series. Pillar was caught stealing in the first inning. Gibby was ejected for, I think, arguing a third strike call on Russell Martin. It was a terrible call, but the night was full of terrible calls. Ezequiel, once again, threw to the wrong base, turning a single into a double. We got runners on first and second, with no outs, in the 9th. Chris Coghlan tried to bunt, twice, but couldn’t and then struck out. I HATE bunts with runners on first and second. With the corners in and crashing, it’s almost impossible to get a good bunt down. And you had the pitcher in trouble, and you let him off the hook, without making him pitch his way out of trouble,without mak. Travis followed with a double play to end the game. We had O fors from Pillar (0 for 3, 1 walk, 1 caught stealing), Bautista (0 for 2, 2 walks), Morales (0 for 4, he’s been looking terrible lately), and Travis (0 for 4) Good things: Francisco Liriano pitched well. 5.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned, 4 walks and 2 strikeouts. He should have been pulled after 5 and there is no way he should have been allowed to load the bases in the 6th, but that’s not his fault. Dominic Leone came in with bases loaded and 1 out, and got 2 strikeouts. Terrific job. Joe Smith pitched a quick 7th. Man he looks good. Jason Grilli gave up hard contact, including two hard hit line drives, but had a 3 up 3 down 8th. Martin hit the home run. Ryan Goins made a nice play And that was about it for good. I’m all for releasing Ezequiel and calling up Dwight Smith (or really anyone). I don’t see anything that Ezequiel does well enough to earn a spot on a major league roster. Jays of the Day? Well, FanGraphs seems broken again, so lets give one to Leone and one to Smith. And one to Martin for the home run. Suckage? Ezequiel for being picked off. Coghlan for not getting down the bunt (though really the Suckage should go to whoever called for the bunt), Morales, Pillar (yeah he got a walk but he also was caught stealing) and Travis for the 0 fors. We had 1025 comments in the GameThread. A truly amazing number for a bad team playing a late night game. You guys are great company. Matt W led the way. Great job. # Commenter # Comments 1 Matt W 102 2 barraqudie 89 3 citizen928 76 4 radivel 69 5 lalalaprise 64 6 Alan F. 54 7 delv213 53 8 Minor Leaguer 40 9 Nelson Liriano 39 10 MidnightOverlord 36 11 Cameroli 34 12 Pillar for President 32 13 Gerse 32 14 Mike Hannah 30 15 GameOfInches2.0 24 16 hpatton 21 17 erik.t 18 18 DaveDee 18 19 Tom Dakers 17 20 otter79 17 21 bellw 15 22 TulosHyperbaricChamber 13 23 Belisarius 11 24 phoenixzhng 10 25 Diamond_D86 10 [...]

Slightly More Fun(?) With Numbers



Describe the below in one word: #content

Hello and welcome to the 4th of somewhere between several and many looks at the historical and statistical tidbits that arise from having a W-L record somewhere near the tail end of possible.  Inspired by the 1-9 post, I've painstakingly collected the data from the Baseball-Reference season logs for each team-season from the Wild Card era (1995-2016) and, through ExcelMagic TM, am now passing the savings along to you!  Onward!

Important programming note: If you somehow interpret this as 1) analysis, which 2) is drawing a conclusion about the Jays' expected rest of season performance based on how teams that started similarly performed, and 3) are outraged by your inference, please see this very important link.


The Blue Jays are 5-13

Progress! Gif please?


Number of teams with the same record since 1995

Of the 654 team seasons from 1995 to 2016, 23 teams (3.5%) have started a season 5-13.  The most recent team to do so was the 2016 Minnesota Twins, who finished the season 59-103.

How many of those teams made the playoffs?

0, or 0%.  6 of the 23 teams lost 100 or more games; the 2013 Houston Sam Hinkies are one of 'em.  The 51-111 Hinkies featured two guys whose player pictures on Baseball Reference are of them in Blue Jays hats: Matt Dominguez and Brett Oberholtzer.  A young-ish and not good Dallas Keuchel went 6-10 with a 5.15 ERA.  The Astros have not slighted the Blue Jays, their fans, or the world in any notable way, so they avoid my additional 100-loss season wishes.

Give me an end of season record distribution

99th percentile: .497 (80-81 CHW 1997)
90th percentile: .474
75th percentile: .455
50th percentile: .407 (66-96 CHC 2013)
25th percentile: .389
10th percentile .349
1st percentile: .315 (51-111 HOU 2013)

Given your chosen projected estimates of the Blue Jays' true talent going forward and the number of wins required to make the playoffs, the Jays have a ___% chance of making the playoffs


Over their remaining games, the Blue Jays would have to play like a ___ team to win ___ games


Summarize the above in one word


Welcome Flames, Leafs, and Habs Fans; Here’s What’s Up with the Blue Jays


You might have missed a lot of the first 18 games of the season... You may have some questions. Let me catch you up. Well, hello there! There is a good chance that some of you have been out of the loop in the first 18-games of the 2017 MLB Season and are just now checking in and taking a deep look into what has happened thus far. This is fair. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Montreal Canadiens have been in the middle of highly emotional playoff series' and you've been a bit preoccupied. Playoff hockey is awesome, right? Sorry about your losses, by the way. You might have noticed things aren't perhaps as you expected now that you've returned. And you might be a bit... confused. So, let me get a few things out of the way quickly. Yes, the team is 5-13. Yes, they started 1-9. No, it is most certainly not still Spring Training. Yes, it is 5th in the five-team AL East. No, that isn't good. No, the season is not over. Yes, I am using the "It's only April" defence. And no. I won't use that picture of the dog sipping coffee in the middle of a burning room, either. You should probably be wondering why the team is where it is. The last thing you remember, I bet, the Toronto Blue Jays were a playoff team with another year in their window, at least. So, I guess it falls on me to explain to you what you just walked into. "Mike... Where are the bats?! What's going on?!" First, let me start by saying this is rock bottom, and things can only go up. Don't roll your eyes. The lineup has six players hitting above 100 wRC+. You might be thinking "so? That sounds about right with this lineup", and you might be right in normal times. The part that might give you pause is that four of them are Justin Smoak, Ryan Goins, Kevin Pillar, and Ezequiel Carrera. Probably not who you were expecting. As for the other two; Josh Donaldson has been very effective (188 wRC+) but only in 9 games and hasn't see the field since April 13th. Last report said he'd be down "at least" another two weeks. Kendrys Morales is also above 100 at a 107 wRC+ and is tied for the team lead in Homers with... Pillar and Smoak. Now, I get that I might have just lost you at "(Donaldson) hasn't seen the field since April 13th". Trust me, this is an on-going theme. Just... settle in. Trouble comes when looking at the rest of the roster. Troy Tulowitzki is hitting at an 84 wRC+ clip with a .263/.295/.386 line, not nearly up to what we've come to expect from him. And Russell Martin is languishing with a .149/.310/.234 slash and a 66 wRC+. Oh, by the way, Tulowitzki was just put on the 10-day DL, too... But, these are not the most shocking names on the list. Jose Bautista is struggling mightily putting up just a .132/.259/.206 slash with 1 HR and a 34 wRC+, which is still miles ahead of Steve Pearce (8 wRC+) and Devon Travis (7 wRC+)... Yes, 8 and 7 wRC+ from Pearce and Travis. But, hey... At least it isn't the -87 from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. So, there's that. We’ll get to the optimism part at the end, let’s just get through the recap. "Okay, fine. But, what about the pitching? Surely they are good!" Maybe you should sit down... Marcus Stroman, on the bright side, has a 3.10 ERA in four starts, a 2.73 FIP, two complete games, and has been pretty darn good by all measures in the early going. Joe Biagini has really stepped up with a 0.69 ERA and 2.59 FIP in 10 appearances spanning 13 innings. Marco Estrada continues to shut his critics down posting a 2.63 ERA and 3.77 FIP with a K/9 of 9.00 (BB/9 of 3.38 but disregard that... there's enough pain coming to be worried about that right now) in his four starts, and the Jays might have maybe found another decent bullpen arm in Dominic Leone (3.12 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 8.31 K/9 in 6 games). But, uh, well listen. If you don't see J.A Happ for a while don't be alarmed. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with what they call "inflammation" in his elbow, which admittedly sounds like his arm blew up and they are underselling it, but a[...]

More on yesterday’s game


On quick pitches and celebrating wins There were some controversies yesterday. Marcus Stroman had some umpiring troubles. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of quick pitches, I think it should be a gentleman’s game, don’t throw until the batter is set and ready, in part because you are throwing a rock at 90+mph, the batter needs to be ready to get out of the way. In this case, it looked like the batter, in each of the two cases, was all set to hit. To me, it looked like Marcus was just playing with the timing of his delivery. Just like his hesitations, he was just going a little faster, to upset the batter’s timing. It was very strange....well take a look: Yeah, it was a little quick, but the batter was set. I’m ok with it. It got a little weird from there. The umpire awarded the batter first base. I’m not sure where you find that in the rule book, likely under ‘umpire embarrassed himself, let’s give the batter first’ (hey I umpired ball, I was all for the ‘make up a rule’ when you aren’t sure what what the ruling should be). As the ball is on the way in, it appears that the ump calls time, I guess at the request of the hitter, but it is too late to call time. This happened again, later in the game, with the batter even more ready for the pitch. I’d really love to hear an explanation from the umpire. If you toss out a manager for arguing, when no one seems to understand the ruling (the Angels’ broadcasters were sure the batter would be sent back to plate, from first, after the umpires discussed it), shouldn’t we get an explanation? After getting a double play to end the game, Marcus let off some steam. He didn’t quite go full Grilli, but he let his enjoyment be known. I’m an old white guy, I’m supposed to hate that stuff, but I don’t. It’s a game, players of a game should have fun (which is why I don’t understand Settlers of Catan, but I digress). As long as Marcus doesn’t walk up to one of the Angels and laugh in his face, I’m good with it. I mean, if the Angels don’t like it, play better. We haven’t won enough this year, celebrate all the good moments. But, some old guy in a clown suit, didn’t like it (if you didn’t hear Zaun, and you want to (why?), NESN has it). Marcus had the prefect answer, basically consider the source: @Jazzymariexo @GreggZaun Don't waste energy on non-credible sources. Thank you for your support though!— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) April 24, 2017 I don’t understand Zaun, beyond the whole ‘I’m an old white guy, everyone should do things the way I did’ thing. If he hates that sort of thing, Grilli’s done the same roughly 30 times, since joining the team, why not call him out? Is it ageism? Or something worse? There is nothing like the ranting of out of touch white guys to make good tv. Don Cherry makes a fortune doing just that. I get it, us white guys are used to being the judge and jury on everything, and the world is changing around us. It is scary, I guess. It’s too bad this silliness gets in the way of talking about how great Stroman performed yesterday. He was terrific, and we need some terrific. And, in Baltimore, fun things happened yesterday too. A few days ago, Manny Machado over-slid second and his spikes hit the back of Dustin Pedroia ’s leg. Dustin had to leave the game. It was a bad slide, I don’t like guys sliding over the bag. But, go back 2 years and it is a slide that no one would think twice about. Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez threw 3 pitches way inside, about knee level and missed Machado all three times. I’m kind of ok with that sort of message sending. You aren’t trying to end a guy’s career that way. Then, one inning later, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw behind Machado’s head. I don’t understand how some pitchers still think this is ok. You would think that every team would have told all their pitchers that there is no excuse for th[...]

Monday Bantering: Rays’ Tommy Hunter Placed on 10-Day DL


Your morning update for everything Blue Jays. The Tampa Bay Rays have placed reliever Tommy Hunter on the 10-day disabled list with a calf strain, according to a team announcement. While covering first base in Saturday’s game, Hunter felt a tug, like he “got bit by a snake,” as Hunter told reporters after the game. “My right calf didn’t want me to go.” In a corresponding move, the Rays have recalled prospect Chih-Wei Hu from triple-A Durham, his first time being on a major-league roster. In Hunter’s first year with the Rays, he has posted a 1.08 ERA in just over eight innings so far, spread over the course of 10 games. Last season, split between Cleveland and the Baltimore Orioles, Hunter had a 3.18 ERA in 34 innings. His season was shortened due to a non-displaced fracture. Aaron Sanchez, encouraged by a bullpen session on Saturday, was once again throwing yesterday, his second straight day of work following surgery on his right middle finger to remove part of his nail. Per Arash Madani, Sanchez did throw his change-up. If he progresses as planned, Sanchez will throw off a mound today or tomorrow. Sanchez is eligible to be activated off of the 10-day disabled list tomorrow. Things are finally clicking - so buckle up and enjoy the ride. The Blue Jays won 6-2 against the Angels yesterday afternoon, securing at least a series tie - ending a streak of five straight series lost, a franchise record. Riding another complete game outing from Marcus Stroman, who allowed just two earned runs over 99 pitches, the Blue Jays scored six runs in the eighth and ninth frames to defeat Los Angeles. Devon Travis, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins all homered. The Blue Jay now lead the American League for most home runs hit after the sixth inning. Pillar, with his home run, extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a career best. Today, the Blue Jays will conclude their series against the Angels at 10:07 ET - back to late-night baseball. Francisco Liriano, still working at lowering his ERA from his first start, gets the nod from Toronto today, while the former Blue Jay Jesse Chavez will start for the Angels. Chavez was initially scheduled to start yesterday, but his outing was delayed after an inning of relief in Friday’s 13-inning game. You can watch the game on both SNET and SNET-1. As always, you can listen to the game on SN590. AL East score recap: Astros 6, Rays 4. Red Sox 6, Orioles 2. Pirates 2, Yankees 1. Other news: J.P. Howell, rehabbing from an sore shoulder that landed him on the 10-day disabled list on April 9th, pitched one inning in Dunedin yesterday. He struck out all three batters he faced, and 14 of the 20 pitches he threw were strikes. Jonathan Diaz has been promoted to the Buffalo Bisons from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. [...]

Reid-Foley, Romano and Maese lead a perfect day for affiliates


Sunday was a very good day across the organization After a slow start to the weekend in terms of significant pitching prospects on the mound, Sunday was a different story entirely with Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano and Justin Maese taking the mound. Supported by strong offensive outbursts, it was a perfect 4-0 day for the affiliates and with the Blue Jays comeback to end the day, the first clean clean organizational sweep of 2017. Reid-Foley earned his first AA victory, going 5 innings and allowing a single run on 5 hits, with 3 strikeouts and 5 walks. It was somewhat of an effectively wild outing, as he frequently struggled to find the zone and strung together balls (77 pitches, 46 strikes in total). But he was missing bats with both his fastball and curveball, inducing 12 whiffs on 35 swings (66% contract rate). After a hard double to lead off the game, he didn't allow much in the way of hard contact until his final batter who lined out to first. The other hits were a ground ball through and a Texas Leaguer that fell in among four defenders. The contact was air oriented, with just 4 of 12 balls in play (33%) on the ground. On Saturday, Jon Harris turned in his first quality start of the year, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts against 2 walks. It wasn't the cleanest outing in the world, but on the positive side he did miss bats (which he did not do much in 2016) as he accumulated 14 whiffs on 49 swings for a 71% swing rate. Contact wise, it was a pretty even split of balls on the ground and in the air, with overall a few too many hard hit line drives (three or four of 16 total). *** Before Romano pitched, J.P. Howell made another good rehab outing, which probably means he should be headed back to the Blue Jays very soon. After a leadoff grounder was booted, he struck out the side on 20 pitches (14 strikes). He was only registering 85-86 with his fastball compared to 87-88 in his first rehab outing. Romano too could be characterized as effectively wild, as he needed 91 pitches to throw 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out 6 but giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and a HBP. All 18 batters he faced saw at least three pitches, with 11 seeing five or more. Romano worked 90-93 with his fastball, touching 95 a couple times. He struggled to find the zone, getting ahead of only 7 batters and starting five batters off 2-0. Considering that, his overall success was quite remarkable. Part of that was being able to miss bats, mostly with his fastball, 11 swinging strikes on 36 swings (70% contact rate). Most of his contact was in the air, with just 2 of 9 balls in play on the ground (22%), but just one was really well hit. *** Finally, Justin Maese turned in a solid effort working into the 6th inning after being staked to a large lead, working his fastball in the low-90s. His final line was 5.1 innings, one unearned run (which scored after he left) as he scattered 5 hits and a walk against 3 strikeouts. Uncharacteristically, Maese didn't induce a lot of ground ball contact with just 6 of 18 balls in play on the ground (33%). But overall, he managed contact pretty well. There were three hard line drive singles, but the lone extra base "hit" was a ball lost in the sun that almost went for an inside the parker, but the runner was thrown out at the plate. Zach Jackson pitched a messy 9th, needing 28 pitches to retire the side, piling up a walk, HBP and strikeout. *** Some quick notes on hitters: It was a good day for Dunedin, as each of Max Pentecost, Danny Jansen and Juan Kelly went yard, taking advantage of the ball carrying well Anthony Alford went 2/4, including his second home run just over the wall to right-centre. It was a very good weekend for Lansing hitters, who put up 12 and 11 runs over the last two game against Bowling Green. Vladdy Jr. was the star Sunday, with a trio of hard hit line drives that yielded a double and single as well [...]

Stroman goes the distance, bats explode late to power 6-2 Blue Jays win


Blue Jays 6 Angels 2 For seven innings, this game looked to be headed to a spectacularly frustrating conclusion. Then the sun broke through the clouds and the floodgates opened (pardon the mixing of metaphors). Marcus Stroman spun a gem, going the distance on 99 pitches while allowing 2 runs (one earned) on 7 hits, 1 walk (and a HBP) and 5 strikeouts. If we're picking nits, he was a little up and down in the first couple innings, giving up some hard contact leading to multiple runners and working out of jams (with the help of some great defensive plays). He gave up his first run in controversial fashion in the 3rd inning. With two out, none on, and a 3-1 count to Kole Calhoun, Stroman was called for a quick pitch by rookie umpire Ramon de Jesus. Not only was it a very close call, since Calhoun appeared set, but to some extent it appeared to be a "cover your butt" call since he called time as Stroman was already delivering the pitch. John Gibbons got ejected, and Stroman was quite upset but didn't regain his composure, giving up hard contact to Mike Trout for a single and then a RBI bouncer that snuck through by Albert Pujols. After that, he was simply stellar. From that point onwards through the 9th inning, he set down 17 straight batters. It was a dominating, efficient performance. He had another run-in with de Jesus when he once again called time as Stroman was releasing or had released a pitch. But Stroman rebounded for a strikeout anyway. Meanwhile, offensively the Blue Jays did absolutely nothing for the first seven innings against a player with an ERA above 6.00 in AAA the last two years. Really, worse than nothing since a few of times they did realize to reach base they subsequently shot themselves in the foot. Jose Bautista singled in the first with one on, but was thrown out trying to take second. Kevin Pillar walked in the 3rd and was picked off/caught stealing. Ezequiel Carrera walked to lead off the 4th and was picked off. Justin Smoak was the only other batter to reach (a single) and not be TOOTBLANed. It wasn't looking good. The Angels brought in Deolis Guerra, who promptly walked Russell Martin on four pitches leading off the 8th. So what do you against a reliever who hasn't thrown put a ball in the zone? You bunt apparently, and it worked out fantastically...for the Angels. Chris Couglan popped up the bunt and another inning appeared headed south with a stone cold Devon Travis coming up. So he did exactly what you'd expect. He hammered a 1-1 hanging cutter over the wall in left-centre, to give the Jays a 2-1 lead. One out later, Kevin Pillar did the same on a 2-0 pitch. Carrera hammered a triple into the corner, and scored on a botched ball by Clarence Cliff Pennington and it was 4-1 Jays. One noteworthy thing happened in the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Pillar, having already walked and homered, completed the Kevin Pillar hat trick (a walk, a home run, and a hit stolen in CF) by robbing Kole Calhoun of extra bases on a liner to right centre field. This is his second career, and first since June 7, 2016. For good measure, Ryan Goins added a two run home run in the 9th. Which was nice since it gave Stroman plenty of breathing room when he gave up a couple hits sandwiched around a hit by pitch and Bautista mishandled the second to allow a run to score. Blue Jays win! Jays of the Day: Stroman (+0.237 WPA) andTravis (+0.425). Pillar (+0.075) falls a little short of the number, but certainly merits one. As does Ryan Goins (-0.043) for the two run bomb and fantastic defensive play. Suckage: Bautista (-0.107, 1/3, BB, TOOTBLAN, error); Coghlan (-0.119, stupid bunt), home plate umpire Ramon de Jesus Can the Jays take the series tomorrow? Find out tomorrow at 10:05 EDT (ed. note: ugh) when Francisco Liriano takes on Jesse Chavez and hopefully the game doesn't go until quarter to four in the morning. [...]