Wednesday, April 20, 2011

9am Quick Hits

Options limiting your options?

For those who missed it, the Blue Jays optioned Jesse Litsch to AAA in favour of Jo-Jo Reyes yesterday. This makes no sense statistically, but since Reyes is out of options on his contract, sending him to the minors would expose him to a waivers claim. Manager John Farrell said “We can’t afford to give away pitching at this point in the year”. Apparently they can afford to give the ball to a guy with a 14.9 H/9 and a 4.7 BB/9 every fifth day. I’ll be clear, neither Jo-Jo or Jesse are going to be impact players, so while this move reeks of vanilla, this move allows them another 2 starts (at least) out of Jo-Jo before deciding to cut bait or move him to the bullpen.

4/19 at the Dome

Last night the Blue Jays did the “impossible”…they beat Mariano Rivera. He came into the game with the Yankees ahead 5-3 and blew the save on a John MacDonald suicide squeeze play. Because of an Aaron Hill injury earlier in the game and the Blue Jays desire to have a 9 man bullpen, there were no better options than John MacDonald. (Let me clarify, I like JMac…just not in a situation like this). The play happened, it was a great success and eventually the Jays won in the 10th on a walkoff double by Travis Snider. But seriously?!?!? You want to leave the offensive game in the hands of John MacDonald? I had an exchange with two of my followers on Twitter about this and they both seemed to think that because the play was a success that justified it.

A bunt is possibly the most overrated play in baseball because even if executed perfectly it has a negative impact on your leverage index (according to Fangraphs). In this one instance, it worked. My mother taught me that the ends do not justify the means…and therefore, just because the play was a success doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Baseball is a game of luck…Escobar’s leadoff double, Snider moving the runner over, Bautista working a walk and Escobar scoring on a wild pitch – that’s good baseball. John MacDonald executing a suicide squeeze for the tie – that’s luck my friends. PURE LUCK!

Final thoughts

I’ve been to two Jays games so far this year. I’ve seen Yunel Escobar hit a walkoff homerun to beat the Athletics and last night’s showcase against the Yankees. For all the bad that was the 10 game, 11 day roadtrip, this team reminds me of the Tampa Bay Rays when they started to put it all together. Relying on role players (Escobar, Jayson Nix, sigh…John MacDonald) to fill specific needs. They’re running wild over the league, stealing bases like they’re in short supply and have been in every game they’ve played (outside of Boston). They might lose more then they win this year, but one big change from a year ago…they’re a younger, more exciting team to watch.

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