1st Place Weekend May 24, 2014 Links

Gimli The Dwarf Prepares To Defend Mordor From Sauron's Army - Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It's amazing what a nice run with a tough schedule in May has done for the Jays and us, the long suffering fans.  Beating the (former) top team in the AL will do that too.  The air seems cleaner.  Food tastes better.  People look better.  Even the dandelions growing in my lawn look less abundant.  However, before you all start planning that World Series Victory Parade, I have to remind you that it is the end of May and there are still four months to play.  That being said, every Jays fan should savor these moments.  Onto the links...

JAYS LINKS

Toronto Blue Jays’ Rob Rasmussen retires David Ortiz in debut, living out ‘an absolute dream’ | National Post
It seemed like a throwaway line. Three hours before gametime in Fenway Park, John Gibbons was musing about how he might deploy his new left-handed reliever.

The Blue Jay Hunter: 3 Up 3 Down: Encarnacion, First Place and Esmil
Edwin Encarnacion is on fire, the Blue Jays are in first place, Esmil Rogers is still not great ... but life is good.

The AL East mediocrity continues for Blue Jays' division rivals - Jays Journal - A Toronto Blue Jays Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More
With the AL East struggling to find itself, can the Toronto Blue Jays take advantage of a weak division?

Gibbons no longer handcuffed by Jays roster - Sportsnet.ca
With a roster that’s built to win, not to protect out-of-options upside plays, the Blue Jays are better positioned to succeed and withstand the challenges surely to come.

Toronto Blue Jays bullpen coach Bob Stanley, former Boston Red Sox great, enjoys beating up on his old team | National Post
For many years, the barbs about his famous wild pitch bothered Bob Stanley. But he’s well past that now

T.O. on Top: Jays kick off homestand in sole possession of first place - The Globe and Mail
For the first time in five years, Canada’s only Major League Baseball team is in sole possession of first place in the American League East

Former Jays journeyman Jesse Chavez returns to Toronto looking like an ace | Toronto Star
Oakland A’s starter Jesse Chavez began his conversion from the bullpen with the Blue Jays, but they let him go before they could reap the rewards of his development.

Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie regaining power stroke | Toronto Star
The intense Toronto infielder is back to slugging at the same rate he did during his 2011 debut.

The Blue Jay Hunter: Flashback Friday: The Blue Jays Biggest Comeback Ever
Looking back at the Blue Jays biggest comeback ever in franchise history. A 10-0 deficit to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Note: I saw this on TV and remembered laughing till tears flowed when Whitt hit that grand slam.  Although I don't think Bob Stanley would enjoy this moment of Jays history.

Toronto Blue Jays’ Anthony Gose making case to stick in the majors at plate and in outfield | National Post
If he keeps this up, Gose could earn a job as the Jays’ fourth outfielder when Rasmus returns

Toronto Blue Jays’ Anthony Gose starting to look like team’s long-term answer in centre field | National Post
The 23-year-old is not just another call-up. He could be something special

Edwin Encarnacion exorcising his ghosts at Fenway Park - Jays Journal - A Toronto Blue Jays Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More
Back to back games with two home runs is raising eyebrows for Edwin Encarnacion, and raising his bar at Fenway Park.

Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Recap: Kyle Drabek impressive in Bisons win - Jays Journal - A Toronto Blue Jays Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More
Kyle Drabek, Matt Boyd, Emilio Guerrero, and Jonathan Diaz all stand-out in today's Toronto Blue Jays minor league report.

MLB LINKS

What The "Palace Intrigue" Over Bud Selig's Successor Is Really About
If Bud Selig's commissionership were a heist movie, we'd now be at the part where the thieves were gathered in a dimly lit room to count out the loot, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf would be the one with a gun in his hand, telling everyone to back away from the table slowly. NOTE: Considering that Reinsdorf had his fingerprints on the changes to the draft and FA compensation, no one should be surprised.

Chris Sale Remains Impossible
Last night, pitching against the Yankees, Chris Sale struck out Brendan Ryan on a diving change-up that had Ryan so far out in front and swinging so hard that his bat flew out of his hands, helicoptering across the infield and landing near the lip of the grass. On the next pitch, Sale threw pretty much the same thing, and Zoilo Almonte swung at it so hard his helmet flew off. I'm not even sure either one was his best pitch of the night; in the fourth, he struck out Derek Jeter on a slider that left him standing on home plate.

Pedro Martinez on the Art and Science of Pitching | FanGraphs Baseball
Pedro Martinez was a genius with a baseball in his right hand. One of the most dominant pitchers of all time, he didn’t just overpower hitters. He outsmarted them. When he was on top of his game – as he often was – he was almost unhittable. No starting pitcher in history has a better adjusted ERA.

MLB Strongly Defends Local Broadcast Territories In Court | FanGraphs Baseball
Major League Baseball asked a federal court this week to toss out claims by several fans that the league’s broadcast territories violate antitrust laws. The fans claim that MLB’s divvying up of the United States and Canada into exclusive broadcast markets means that regional sports networks need not compete with each other to telecast a team’s games in the local market.

Jeff Samardzija, In the Name of Efficiency | FanGraphs Baseball
Samardzija remains a quality starter, but ever so quietly, he’s changed his profile.

How Much Is a Draft Pick Worth in 2014? – The Hardball Times
Much was made during the past offseason about the value of draft picks. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player who turns down a qualifying offer will cost the team that signs him a draft pick – its highest pick outside the top 10, which are protected

The Value of Draft Picks: Bringing it All Together – The Hardball Times
So how much is each draft pick really worth?

The Most Improved Pitchers Thus Far by Projected WAR | FanGraphs Baseball
What follows represents an attempt by the author to utilize the projections available at the site to identify the five starting pitchers whose per-inning WAR projections have most improved since the beginning of the season.

The Pitchers Who Have the Receivers | FanGraphs Baseball
Hey, everybody, I’m the guy here who talks about pitch-framing, and I’m here to talk about pitch-framing — sort of.

No Runs, No Hits, No Strikeouts – The Hardball Times
On Sunday, May 11, 41,407 fans witnessed the final 2014 appearance of the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas – barring a postseason confrontation. I was watching baseball in Arlington too, but I estimate that the crowd was about .01 percent of the Mother’s Day crowd at the Rangers game.

HELLO... IS IT ME YOU'RE LOOKING FOR? LINK

Watch Toronto Raptors’ Landry Fields sing a Lionel Richie song dressed as Lionel Richie | National Post
Fields donned a wig and sparkly coat to sing Richie's 'Dancing on the ceiling'

TODAY IN RED LOB-STER/SHAMEFUL JAYS HISTORY

Baseball History May 24th - National Pastime - Baseball History
1994 At Busch Stadium, the Cardinals set a major league record when they leave 16 men stranded on the bases without scoring. The Phillies take advantage of the Redbirds' lack of timely hitting and beat St. Louis, 4-0.

2006 Helping the Devil Rays to beat the Blue Jays, 10-8, Carl Crawford goes 5-for-5, to tie the franchise record for hits in a game. The Tampa Bay left fielder collects five hits including a home run, scores five runs and steals four bases in his career night at the Rogers Centre.

2011 Jo Jo Reyes makes his 28th straight start without recording a victory, tying the major league record shared by Cliff Curtis (1910-11, Braves, Cubs, Phillies) and Matt Keough (1978-79, A's). The Blue Jays southpaw, who leaves the game trailing 5-0 to New York after just three innings of work, hasn't won a start since June 13, 2008.

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