The Toronto Blue Jays haven't had an off day since April 16, a stretch of 20 games in which they went a respectable 11-9 (.550). After a breather today (I hope some of them are taking this chance to drive up to Oakland via the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway), the Jays are going straight into 16 straight games that will take them to Oakland (2 games), Minnesota (4 games), before heading home to host the Rays (2 games), Yankees (2 games), Mets (3 games), and back on the road to St. Petersburg to face the Rays (3 games).
Your Blue Jays are 16-13 (.552) and 3rd in the AL East, behind an orange-hot Baltimore Orioles (19-9, .679) and the Tampa Bay Rays (19-10, .655). The Yankees are half a game back of the Jays (15-13, .536), and the Red Sox are well back in last place (11-16, .407). The O's are headed home to play the Rangers and the Rays and Yankees will be battling each other, so this week may be a good time to gain some ground in the standings.
On Sunday, before the Blue Jays game, I was watching the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Intercounty Baseball League beat the Ottawa Fat Cats 6-4 in their season opener. The Intercounty Leafs were no-hit through the 6th inning by Ottawa starter and North Carolina import Brandon Huffman. In the 7th, the Leafs' Damon Topolie singled to break the no-hitter in a bat-around 5-run inning led by a Tyler Fata three-run homer that helped the Leafs come back from a 3-1 deficit. The Leafs will be travelling to Kitchener to face the Panthers this Thursday.
Here is your off-day edition of the Monday Morning Media Mashup (thanks JohnnyG for filling in last week) there should be enough for you read during this off day:
Blue Jays Related
Secret to Toronto Blue Jays early success is stellar defense - ESPN (Insider only)
Yes, sometimes they take a night off (like Saturday) but the Blue Jays' defense has been stellar so far with 37 defensive runs saved, according to Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Solutions.
URL Weaver: The Blue Jays Defense Edition - Getting Blanked
For those of us without access to Insider articles, Getting Blanked's Travis Reitsma gives us his take on above article.
Brandon Morrow Dominates Angels, Strike Zone - FanGraphs
Jack Moore analyzes Brandon Morrow's outing against the L.A. Angels, notes that Morrow's key to success is getting a first-pitch strike. (thanks to Frag for his FanShot)
Behind The Scenes: My Day With John Lott - Jays Journal
Jays Journaler Scott Barber was able to obtain media credentials with the National Post and spent what seems like a great evening with John Lott. Yours truly will continue to liveblog from his seat in the 500 level.
Looking a Little Ahead - The Tao of Stieb
Present The Org Guy talks to Future The Org Guy about the Blue Jays, violates the Temporal Prime Directive, and pollutes the timeline. Now that we know the future we'll probably end up changing it and will experience a divergent timeline. But in any case I'll go out to buy a few shot guns, a few thousand cans of food, and a stronger front door.
For his always fun Flashback Friday feature, Ian talks to the first Diamond, who was the Blue Jays co-mascot with Ace when B.J. Birdie retired. It is not known whether she, or the second Diamond (who may be featured soon!), is the mother of Junior.
I don't usually get to put them in my Monday Morning Media Mashup due to the timing of their episodes, but I want to give a shoutout to the guys over at Back in Blue. They put in an incredible amount of effort to produce a short video podcast on the Blue Jays every single week. Go check them out when you have a chance.
Down On The Farm, Around The League, and Game Recap links after the jump!
Down On The Farm
Strong pitching carries Lugnuts - Lansing State Journal
Manager John Tamargo, Jr. is surprised at the Lansing Lugnuts' incredible pitching--they already have seven shutouts this season and have yet to have a 2-game losing streak. They are sporting a 21-8 record (.724), tied for 3rd best in Minor League Baseball with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (SAL, Marlins). The St. Lucie Mets (.800, FSL, Mets) and Fresno Grizzlies (.742, PCL, Giants) are the only teams with a better record. The Dunedin Blue Jays aren't far behind (.700, FSL).
Clemens making a name for himself - Gray Matter
Non-prospect spotlight: Kevin Gray writes about the Koby, son of Roger.
Blue Jays being cautious with Snider injury - sportsnet.ca
Travis Snider is ready to be activated from the AAA 7-day disabled list, but the Jays are being extra-cautious with him after he felt some discomfort during batting practice.
D'Arnaud streaks past slow start - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Top prospect Travis d'Arnaud started the season batting .182 in the first two weeks but he has turned it around after 14-game hitting streak. Todd Dewey with quotes from d'Arnaud and 51s manager Marty Brown.
2012 Sleeper List Review, Part Three - Minor League Ball
John Sickels lists 20 year old Mitchell Taylor, currently suspended for a drug-of-abuse violation, as a 2012 sleeper prospect. Taylor is the only Blue Jay on his list, probably because not many of the Jays' prospects can sleep with all the attention on them.
Around The League
Jayson Werth Injury: Nationals Outfielder Suffers Broken Wrist - Baseball Nation
Bad break for the Washington Nationals, star Jayson Werth is going to be out at least 6 weeks with a broken wrist after a sliding catch against the Philadelphia Phillies. I wouldn't be surprised if he is out until around the All-Star Break.
Alex Trebek advertised for it so I had to stop by Camden Chat for a visit after yesterday's marathon 17-inning game between the loveable losers-turned-annoying winners Orioles and the very hateable Red Sox. Eat More Esskay describes the game and it includes one of my favourite sentences from a game recap: "Six hours and seven minutes after Ryan Flaherty led off the game for the Orioles, the winning pitcher, Chris Davis stood on the mound as Red Sox pitcher Darnell McDonald grounded into a game-ending double play." I love baseball.
WJZ-TV cuts away from incredible Orioles 17th inning win for '60 Minutes' - Baltimore Sun
Baltimorians didn't even see the end of the extra-inning game--WJZ decided to cut to a 60 Minutes special on Michael Phelps in the 15th inning. Didn't Sportsnet do the same thing during the Jays' 16-inning season opener in some regions?
How The Orioles And Red Sox Took Back The Meaning Of An Overused Word - Baseball Nation
One last link: the game was that epic to deserve 3 mentions here.
Cole Hamels says he's trying to bring old school baseball back with pitch that hit Harper
Hamels admits that he was trying to hit hotshot Bryce Harper with a pitch to the back. "It's just welcome to the big leagues," said Hamels. The Commissioner's Office may disagree. Harper ended up stealing home later that inning for the Nationals' first run--I can't wait until Harper and Lawrie appear on a diamond together.
Burnett Records a Dubious Achievement - Bats at NYTimes.com
Former Blue Jay and Toronto fan favourite A. J. Burnett gave up 12 hits and 12 earned runs in 2.2 innings on the night Jered Weaver tossed his no-hitter. Tyler Kepner looks at how historically bad that outing was. My quick search on Baseball-Reference.com reveals that Burnett's start was tied for 19th-worst since 1918 by Game Score (-13). Burnett does have some good company: Hall of Famers Bob Feller (t-13th, GSc -15) and Ted Lyons (12th, GSc - 16) has had worse outings.
What's Going On With Matt Kemp? - The Triangle Blog - Grantland
Jonah Keri sits down with Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp to talk about his tremendous April. Kemp hit .417/.490/.893 with 12 homers and 25 RBI, but he is sporting a friendly .442 BABIP. To compare, Jose Bautista hit .366/.532/.780 with 9 homers and 15 RBI in April 2011 with a .368 BABIP.
The Los Angeles Angels of ... Los Angeles? - CBSSports
The "Big A" may not be hosting the Angels for too much longer--the team may be looking to move to a downtown L.A. location.
Jeff Francoeur treats Royals fans to beer and hot dogs - CBSSports
Next time Frenchy is in Toronto I'll be cheering him on from the 100-level right field seats.
Why did Mariano Rivera put in so much effort to try to catch Jayson Nix's flyball in batting practice? 'Cause shagging in the grass on a sunny day is fun, Tom Henke tells Bob Elliot. Henke recalls his own incident in the outfield, crashing hard into the Yankee Stadium wall in the middle of the tense September 1985 pennant race.
Rosenthal Report - Fox Sports (video)
Ken Rosenthal's bowtie talks about Mariano Rivera and the curse that has struck 13 of the 30 MLB closers in 2012.
Are Concussion Lawsuits Coming to Major League Baseball? - Baseball Nation
Wendy Thurm is not a lawyer (at least I don't think), but she tries to explain whether MLB should be worried about concussion lawsuits from former players.
Troubling accusations against former major-leaguer Chad Curtis - CBSSports
Former Yankee Chad Curtis is under investigation for "inappropriate touching" of some high school students he was coaching.
The Name and Speed to Revive the Steal - New York Times
Billy Hamilton, 21, has recorded 31 stolen bases (caught 7 times) in his first 26 games with class A+ Bakersfield Blaze (Cincinnati Reds affiliate) and hitting .382/.458/.559. By the way, Anthony Gose, 21, has had 11 so far (3 times caught) in 29 games for Las Vegas.
MLB's All-Most-Immovable Contracts team - ESPN
Jayson Stark comes up with a list of players with long contracts with big money remaining and wonders if any of these contracts would be picked up if the player was placed on outright waivers. By the way the GDP of Samoa is $574 million.
Chipper Jones: Jamie Moyer accused me of stealing signs - Big League Stew (video)
Put away the canes! Geriatric baseball players Jamie Moyer and Chipper Jones may fight each other next time they meet. Simulated video of what their confrontation may look like can be found here.
D-backs' broadcast loses sound and gets artistic - MLB.com (video)
Arizona's broadcast lost the audio, so the guys in the booth had to turn to the telestrator.
Performance-Enhanced Cap Curve - NotGraphs
Kids with baseball caps: take the friggin sticker off your brim and bend it, dammit. Grumble, grumble.
An Unhappy Split - Miked Up at Fan590.com (audio)
Mike Wilner's recap plus Sunday's edition of BlueJaysTalk. Mike will be flying to Oakland to join Jerry Howarth to do some play-by-play for the series against the A's and Twins. Our very own Tom Dakers will be at Target Field for the 4-game series. I wonder what souvenir he'll be buying for me.
Please go vote in the Fan Confidence Poll, it is now sitting at a sad 68%. And oh, internet points for the first person to identify the two references made in the article headline and the photo caption (without cheating!).