The Blue Jays are finally back home today, after a week-and-a-half away, to face the Tampa Bay Rays for a two-game series. The Jays are just coming off of three consecutive series splits against the Angels (4 games), Athletics (2 games), and Twins (4 games). Playing .500 ball during a long road stretch isn't the worst thing ever, but there was a lot of missed opportunities to win a couple more games while they were playing the American League's weaker teams. Unfortunately, the Jays are now being thrust into one of the more difficult parts of their schedule, facing the Rays, Yankees, Mets, Rays again, Rangers, and Orioles to close the month of May. In these 16 games, I think I will be happy with a .500 record.
Here are your Monday morning links to keep you busy until game time:
Blue Jays Related
Thames, Lawrie reflect on highlight-reel catch - BlueJays.com
Eric Thames and Brett Lawrie reflect on Saturday's unique foul out.
Flyout 5-7 - Baseball is Magic
Greg Wisniewski also writes about this delightful little play.
Fallout follows Farrell's pinch-hits - Toronto Sun
The Toronto Sun employed a good headline writer for this article--it is not as controversial as it sounds. But Bob Elliott's story does offer some interesting stats. Using current numbers the Jays are projected to use 70-80 pinch hitters this season. Cito Gaston only used 29 in 1992 while Bobby Cox used 222 (!) in 1984. Also a report on the Jays scouting Georgia high school pitcher Duane Underwood.
What's wrong with Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind? - National Post
Guy Spurrier looks at the ugly, ugly numbers associated with Adam Lind.
It’s Time to Platoon David Cooper and Adam Lind - Mop Up Duty
Matthias Koster sees that the lefty David Cooper has reverse splits against lefties, hitting .391/.448/.593 against southpaws in Las Vegas in the past two seasons. Would he be a good platoon partner with the levophobic Adam Lind?
Three-Pitch Strikeout Rate Leaders & Trailers - Beyond the Box Score
Brett Lawrie sees only 3 pitches in 28% of his strikeouts, landing him 8th on the Top 10 list.
Jose Doesn’t Care For Your Umpiring - Drunk Jays Fans
Stoeten thinks Jose Bautista is doing himself a disservice by showing up umpires.
The Best Toronto Blue Jays Finishers - Mop Up Duty
Over at Mop Up Duty, Callum Hughson looks at the Blue Jays who threw complete games most often. The first two names on that leadersboard surprised me a bit.
Romero on his favorite basketball team, the Lakers - MLB.com (video)
Ricky Romero talks to Kevin Millar and Chris Rose of MLB.com about the Lakers, his meeting with Larry King, his dog Ace, and Buck Martinez's hair. I'll blame Romero's bad outing on his talking with Kevin Millar.
Questions – How to Shrink a Hat - Back In Blue
Andrew Hendriks answers a question from @GrubersMullet, who asked for advice on shrinking his hat. I have an opposite problem: my 7 1/2 Jays cap squeezes my skull a little too tightly for comfort.
Down On The Farm and Around The League links (+ bonus baseball GIF) after the jump!
Down On The Farm
1BJW Interview: LHP Prospect Aaron Loup - 1 Blue Jays Way
Jay Floyd over at 1BJW chatted with New Hampshire Fisher Cat Aaron "The Wolf" Loup.
Lansing Lugnuts Profile: outfielder Chris Hawkins from Sugar Hill, Ga. - MLive.com
Larry Hook interviews Lansing Lugnuts outfielder and chicken lover Chris Hawkins, who notes that there aren't a lot of good chicken joints in Bluefield.
Theriot, Marmol, Snider are nominees for Lansing Lugnuts Hall of Fame - MLive.com
The Lansing Lugnuts are asking fans to vote for the next member of the Lugnuts Hall of Fame. The nominees include Travis Snider--so go vote now and vote often!
Sorry, Blue Jays fans near Ottawa, it looks like the Jays are unlikely to move away from New Hampshire for their AA affiliate.
Roger Clemens makes his BP pitch as Fisher Cats win - New Hampshire Union Leader
Roger Clemens threw batting practice for the Fisher Cats!
Travis Snider swinging hot bat for Blue Jays’ Triple-A club in Las Vegas - Toronto Star
Back from his injuries, Travis Snider looks to continue to dominate the Pacific Coast League and isn't worried whether his future is with the Blue Jays or another Major League club.
Around The League
Will The 2012 Minnesota Twins End Up Historically Bad? - Baseball Nation
Not if they keep playing the Blue Jays! ZING!
MLB teams could be more flexible with the closer - National Post
John Lott writes a fantastic piece in the mainstream media about how it may be wisest for a team to use their best reliever at the point of highest leverage, rather than saving him for the ninth inning. Of course I believe in that too, but what would relievers think? Being anointed as the "closer" and racking up a bunch of saves can help get them better contracts and endorsement deals than middle relievers. As Casey Janssen said last week, "no one aspires to be a middle reliever."
Being in a slump is a feeling unique to baseball - ESPN
Slumps suck. Even for the best players in the game. Even the great Hall of Famer Frank Robinson thought he wouldn't get another hit during a 0-for-20 streak.
Carpenter shocked by Little League intensity - New Hampshire Union leader
Chris Carpenter's latest injury has allowed him to spend more time watching is 9 year old son play in Little League and is shocked by the competitiveness.
It will be star witness vs. star attorney in Roger Clemens perjury trial - ESPN
Another step in the ongoing Clemens perjury trial: former trainer Brian McNamee will be going on the stand as the government's star witness.
Weekend Buzz: Red Sox are the most unlikeable team in baseball - CBS Sports
Scott Miller calls the Boston Red Sox the most unlikeable team in baseball. In my mind, they are second behind the Yankees.
Wilson Ramos to undergo surgery on knee - Washington Times
This year, ACLs are snapping like Bobby Badfingers.
Bryce Harper hits his own face with a bat, gets 10 stitches in return - Big League Stew
Bryce Harper hits himself with a bat and gets bloodied after a 0-for-5, 3K game less than 24 hours after aggravating Mark DeRosa's oblique after a high-five.
The Diamondbacks had an awesome promotion - CBSSports
Fantastic promotion at Chase Field as the Arizona Diamondbacks give out Ryan Roberts temporary tattoo sleeves!
Ottawa man takes on Jose Canseco - The Globe and Mail (video)
Ottawa native Evan Malamud (and Bluebird Banter reader?) challenged former Blue Jay and current Twitterer Jose Canseco to a charity home run derby. Money raised will go to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Lastly, thank you, Jeff Sullivan, for sharing a great baseball gif this weekend. My favourite part is when the ball rolls into the glove: