Tag Archives: Jon Rauch

WPA: A stat for everyone (except Francisco Cordero)

I understand a lot of the resistance from old-school baseball people and fans to advanced stats. I really do. Advanced stats can be confusing and, because of both their naming and the math that goes into them, intimidating. There’s also the problem that, dammit, I just want to talk baseball and not what somebody might theoretically do over the next so many years, especially considering this or that park factor.

Can’t we just talk about what happened last night?

Can’t we just talk about where our team is in the standings and how they got there?

If the above describes how you feel, I sympathize. I’m not in total agreement, but I do share your feelings to a certain degree. And I have good news — if you’re like me and seeking a middle ground, at least — there is an advanced stat just for you! Continue reading

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Filed under General baseball, Toronto Blue Jays

Farrell’s useful argument

Some people, including (very) occasional poster to this site, Squizz, have argued that the argument between the manager and the umpire serves no purpose and should be taken out of the game.

Personally, I enjoy watching a manager chew out the umpire as much as the next guy — unless the next guy is Squizz — but I do agree that, in general, the argument accomplishes next to nothing. But there are instances where the argument serves a purpose and can be beneficial to the team in ways other than the slim chance that the ump will see the error of his ways.

For example, take John Farrell’s argument with home plate ump Alfonso Marquez during the 9th inning of Saturday’s game. Jon Rauch and his blowup will (deservedly) get more attention than anything else that happened in that inning, but Farrell’s argument with Marquez is far more interesting to me.

Sure, Farrell was probably upset that he had just been tossed around by one of his pitchers. And yeah, he was likely upset — and justifiably so — about the horrendous game Marquez called, but, to me anyway, that’s not why Farrell got himself tossed.

When Rauch went ballistic, the Blue Jays had nobody warming up in the bullpen. After Rauch lost it, Farrell made sure to get one of his coaches to call the pen and visit the mound to talk to Shawn Camp before returning to Marquez and engaging him a lengthy argument.

Why would he do this? I checked on the MLB.tv archive and, because the cameras were focusing on Farrell, I can’t find a video record of Camp warming up. At the game, I was also watching Farrell and really paying attention to Camp. And that’s the thing: Who was paying attention to Camp?

I know J.P. Arencibia was, because Camp was warming up throughout the whole argument, but was anybody else?

I can’t be sure, but I’d be shocked if Camp didn’t throw more than the eight warmup pitches that MLB allows.

And if that’s the case, if Farrell’s arguing allowed an ice-cold pitcher to get a little warmer before facing live bats, that’s an argument that definitely serves a purpose.

Pepper!

  • What the league will do with Rauch, I don’t know. I do feel like the team should probably take some kind of disciplinary action against him though. You can’t just let a player throw the manager around like that, can you?
  • I was worried about the fans at Saturday’s game. I thought they might be overcome with Roy Halladay love to the point of forgetting which team they should be cheering for. I was pleasantly surprised that the cheers for Doc were limited to the beginning and end of the game.
  • Rajai Davis: I want to like him. I really, really do. But watching him play is getting to be painful. He’s a fourth OF at best. #FreeTravisSnider
  • Watching Jose Bautista hit a home run is like nothing else. I knew this, you knew this, we all knew this, but it was really driven home during Friday’s game. Eric Thames’ home run was mammoth, but Bautista’s just felt more exciting, even if he didn’t hit the fourth deck.
  • I’m getting the feeling Thames could be something that’s somewhat special. I could see him as a contributing member of this team for quite a while.
  • Wasn’t it nice to see John McDonald get a couple of hits off Doc?

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Filed under Toronto Blue Jays

Lunchbox Hero and the Safety Squeezers

One game can make all the difference, can’t it? Coming into tonight’s game against the Yankees, it seemed like people were fixated on the losses to the Red Sox, the slumps the Jays’ sluggers were going through and John Farrell’s seeming insistence on using Octavio Dotel against left-handed batters.

I tuned into tonight’s game during the eighth inning. I can’t speak to what happened before that, but what I saw afterward was pretty inspiring.

The bottom of the ninth. Down two to the Yankees. Mariano Rivera on the mound. This is not a situation many teams have been able to overcome. Ever.

Over the course of his career, Rivera had 566 saves in 615 opportunities. That’s a 92% success rate. That’s a pretty slim chance the Jays are going to win.

But win they did.

Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind: They all reached base. Travis Snider did not.

Escobar scored. Lind moved Bautista to third. Literally everybody’s favourite Blue Jay (if that’s not true, it should be) Johnny Mac comes to the plate.

Beginning the season, when the Jays were doing great, fans everywhere seemed excited about the running game and the willingness of the team under Farrell to take chances. Then, when the Jays started losing, the running game was the first target of many fans’ ire (and, in some cases, rightfully so.)

People criticized Cito Gaston for sticking to his guns, but Farrell does that, too. Last night, with the Prime Minister of Defence at the dish and down a run to the Yankees with Rivera on the mound, John McDonald executed a perfect bunt and Bautista came home to score on a safety squeeze.

Let me say that again: John McDonald laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt against Mariano Rivera to tie the game.

It was a thing of beauty.

Of course, asking for Rivera to take the loss in addition to blowing the save would be too much, and he got out of the inning. Extras. A good enough top of the 10th from Jon Rauch and the Jays again got a chance to end the game.

Ivan Nova comes in and Edwin Encarnacion immediately singles. Jayson Nix and Escobar proceed to hit deep fly outs, but E5, often slammed for a lack of hustle, runs his little heart out on those two flies. The man wanted to win, wanted to be the one to score the run that capped the comeback against the Yankees.

Two outs and Snider, who was 0-for-5 in the game had struck out three times — once apparently breaking his bat over his knee in frustration — comes to the plate. The same Snider who came into the game with a slash line of .151/.250/.245 and who seems to have been touted as a “bust” by impatient Leafs fans for years now.

But since you’re reading this, I assume you’re not one of the Snider doubters.

Snider comes to the plate and what does he do? He justifies your love.

Lunchbox Hero.

If you read this hoping for some kind of insight why what happened happened, I’m sorry. Sometimes when you witness something great, you just need to get it down.

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Filed under Toronto Blue Jays