After going 3-4 in their last homestand, the Toronto Blue Jays are kicking it back today before heading off on the road for a three-game series against the 46-42 Cleveland Indians (note that the Thursday game is a 12:05 pm affair) and then another three games against the Baltimore Orioles to round up the unofficial first-half of the season. The Blue Jays are 43-45 right now, so in order to get to their April goal of .500 at the All-Star Break, the club would have to go 4-2, which is certainly a possibility. I wouldn't bet on it, though.
Announced matchups: Josh Johnson vs Ubaldo Jimenez on Tuesday and Esmil Rogers vs Justin Masterson on Wednesday. The Indians have not announced a starter to go against Mark Buehrle on Thursday. R.A. Dickey and Todd Redmond are expected to take the mound for the first two games in Baltimore.
Blue Jays Related
Blue Jays’ path to second-half success remains problematic - The Globe and Mail
Yes, the Blue Jays routed the Twins and we all had fun watching the game on Sunday, but Jeff Blair reminds us that the Jays don't really have an adequate starting rotation. He also writes about how well the attendance has been at the park, and also (interestingly) mentioned about fans on Twitter "skewering" fans at the park who cheered loudly when Munenori Kawasaki came in to pinch-run for Edwin Encarnacion.
The tweets that I saw at the time had some fans calling the folks who were cheering "stupid" for believing that Kawasaki was better than Encarnacion just because he received a louder ovation. I think it's just arrogance on their part for thinking that fans who follow the Jays less closely than them actually believe that Kawasaki is the superior player. I cheer for Kawasaki because he makes me happy and he is a fun guy. Don't cheer for him if you don't want to, but don't come telling me how to be a fan.
Hayhurst: Blue Jays' Johnson must attack hitters - Sportsnet.ca
Dirk Hayhurst gives his advice to Josh Johnson: don't nibble, attack the zone. I wonder if we should tune in to Brady & Lang to see of Johnson calls.
Jays pitcher Cecil tips his hat to his dad - Toronto Sun
All-Star reliever Brett Cecil thanks his dad Duane above all for his success. "And like any dad, he’s one of the people I can open up to when it has been a rough season. Obviously the last two years he has been involved pretty heavily."
Toronto Blue Jays’ Steve Delabar continues his remarkable saga as all-star candidate - National Post
I think the "#RaiseTheBar" hashtag is kinda stupid (I prefer #LetsGoToTheBar) but Steve Delabar does have a fantastic story and an almost-as-fantastic 2013 season. So go here and give him a vote or 50 or 500 (there's no limit), won't you? Delabar is currently first among AL vote getters. Let's keep it up, Jays fans!
Jays look to help get Delabar to all-star game - Sportsnet.ca
The Blue Jays have partnered up with the Atlanta Braves to coordinate campaigns for the final spot at the All-Star Game, asking fans to vote for Freddy Freeman in the National League when they vote for Delabar. This was undoubtedly inspired by the Citizens United to Yell "Kawasaki!!!!" Super PAC and their campaign ad targeting Nationals fans. Also, sad news coming from the Super PAC:
Citizens United to Yell "Kawasaki!!!!!" Super PAC is officially suspending its #WriteInKawasaki campaign. Thanks for all your support!— Kawasaki Super PAC (@WriteInKawasaki) July 6, 2013
Down on the Farm
Bisons sweep doubleheader - The Buffalo News
Dave Bush and Chien-Ming Wang throw back-to-back seven-inning complete games on Sunday as the Buffalo Bisons sweep the Syracuse Chiefs in a doubleheader down at Coca-Cola Field. The Bush-Wang dual complete games was the first for the Bisons since Jon Niese and Nelson Figueroa both did it in 2009. In the first game, Kevin Pillar hit his fourth homer with Buffalo. On Bisons radio Saturday evening, Alex Anthopolos told Ben Wagner that he's "just been geting incredible reports about Kevin Pillar" and that when Melky Cabrera went down, there was discussions in the front office to call up Pillar; however it was ultimately concluded that a two-week stint in the majors would not be the best for his development.
Fisher Cats Back Stroman on Record Day - New Hampshire Fisher Cats News
Marcus Stroman threw a career-high seven innings with the Fisher Cats, striking out eight with no walks. The Fisher Cats won 16-5 over the Binghamton Mets, a day after the Mets beat them 14-3. New Hampshire has a knack of trading lopsided victories: Back in June they lost to Erie 16-2 one day and then beat them 22-1 the next.
Brett Lawrie will soon be headed to New Hampshire to continue his rehabilitation. According to Anthopoulos on Bisons radio, Lawrie may get some playing time at second base with the Fisher Cats, but management had not decided whether or not to do that.
Two homers power Jays to 5-2 victory - Dunedin Blue Jays News
The D-Jays won 5-2 over the D-Cubs in a rain-shortened affair. Kyle Drabek started, allowing a single hit in two innings of work while striking out four swinging. In case you missed it, Drabek is no longer rehabbing--he was taken off the 60-day DL and was optioned to Dunedin last week. Sergio Santos, who is still rehabbing, followed with a strikeout in his own scoreless outing.
Quick Hits: Green, Rosales, Blue Jays - MLB Trade Rumors
Charlie Wilmoth lets us know that the Blue Jays have signed Matt Boyd below slot, and have saved $1,800,000 in their bonus pool in order to sign Phil BIckford (1st round pick), Jake Brentz (11th round), and Rowdy (!) Tellez (30th round). Tellez is headed to USC so Jim Callis believes he'll need 2nd round money to go to the pros.
Anniversary of Larry Doby's breaking of AL color barrier deserves more recognition -The Strike Zone
Jay Jaffe writes about why we should do a better job recognizing Larry Doby, who, while he stood in Jackie Robinson's shadow, was still in targeted with the racist vitriol. I remember, as a kid, seeing the picture of Larry Doby and Steve Gromek in a baseball book and not really recognizing why it was so important. Now I understand.
New BP Jerseys Coming to MLB in 2014 - SportsLogos.Net
This sort of got lost in the shuffle last week, but Major League Baseball will be debuting new batting practice jerseys in 2014, and Chris Creamer mocked up what the Jays version might look like. I like them, but I hope that they would use white instead of dark blue to pipe the collar, and sleeves--dark blue would work under the arms though. I also am not a fan of uneven button spacing if the logo is on the breast and not across the chest.
All-Star roster surprises and snubs - ESPN [Insider Only]
Keith Law did not like Jim Leyland's choice of including five short relievers on the All-Star squad. He wrote that the inclusion of Brett Cecil, "who was nearly designated for assignment out of spring training, and had a 5.72 ERA last year," while not selecting James Shields or Hiroki Kuroda "perverts the original purpose of the game while also recognizing the wrong guys." Oooooook, settle down and have some pie, Keith, you're beginning to sound like the folks who sent in complaints saying that the Write-In Kawasaki Campaign "tainted the sanctity" of the All-Star Game.
Kuroda and Shields have pitched All-Star seasons (especially Kuroda) and they both deserved to get in, but so does Brett Cecil. Of course, an argument can be made that Shields and Kuroda have pitched 100+ innings each while Cecil has only weighed in at 45. But baseball has evolved to need short relievers. It's a fact. Maybe their selection will have less controversy if there were separate categories, to remind managers that both the best starters and best relievers in the league deserve to be on the team.
Machado continues to amaze, proves he's the future for Orioles - SI.com
Manny Machado made this play on Sunday just to highlight how great this 20-year-old has played this season. It's not shown in the GIF but this video shows him just calmly walking back to the dugout after the incredible throw. Could you imagine how Brett Lawrie would've reacted if he had done that?
Phantom ballplayer - Wikipedia
Remember when Brian Jeroloman came up to the Blue Jays for a month and didn't play a game? Apparently there is an entire Wikipedia entry dedicated to players like him. The list is fascinating and definitely worth a look-see. I think the story of Harry Saferight was the saddest--he so close to getting an appearance on three separate occasions--but it does look like Jeroloman spent the most time on the active roster out of any other names listed.
Foul Ball Lands in Cupholder - MiLB.com [Video]
This guy should think about golfing as a career.