Monday, June 13, 2011

Silver Linings from the BoSox Sweeping


By
Image courtesy of Daylife via AP
Having been outscored 35-6 and outhit 46-12, one might not think there were many positives to come out of getting swept handily by the Boston Red Sox.

Yet, as I grasp at straws to find some positives from being outplayed in every facet by the Red Sox, there are some silver linings to take away from this series:

1.) Jose Bautista hits his 21st home run

It's funny how some people considered Jose Bautista to be in a funk when he hadn't hit a home run in 13 games, yet managed to hit .289 and get on base at a .448 clip.

When Bautista hit his 21st home run of the reason to the deepest part of the ballpark, it helped calm any fears that Jose might be going through a power outage.

However, when you're a One Man Gang (hat tip to Tao of Stieb) like Jose Bautista has been, it's very evident when he hasn't hit a home run because all eyes are on Joey Bats. Good news is he's still on pace to hit around 54 home runs anyway.

2.) Your new mop-up man, Mike McCoy

Now, coming in from the Blue Jays bullpen ... Mike McCoy? Yes, the Blue Jays favourite frequent flyer  was summoned from the bullpen to pitch an inning of relief in Saturday's 16-4 blowout.

McCoy displayed his ability to play nearly every position, and surprisingly retired the Red Sox in order in the top of the ninth. In fact, McCoy had about 5.2 innings of prior pitching experience in the minors, his last outing in 2009.

Thanks to his versatility, I guess Mike McCoy really is the new Slap Chop after all.

3.) Jo-Jo destined to start?

I was thinking about this other the weekend; had Brandon Morrow not started the year on the disabled list, do you think Jo-Jo Reyes would have even made the starting rotation out of Spring Training?

When Morrow went down, that opened the door for Reyes to snag a spot in the starting rotation and surprisingly, he's been one of the most consistent starting pitchers for the Blue Jays.

For argument's sake, let's just say Jo-Jo is put in the bullpen and the starting rotation went Romero/Morrow/Cecil/Drabek/Litsch. The second one of those guys goes down to injury, Reyes is likely moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation anyway, and we're back at square one.

Until Jo-Jo Reyes shows an inability to eat up some innings, I think he'll play through the year in the starting rotation. There isn't really anyone in the minors banging down the door anyway, so I say let the man continue to set new career highs in wins.

4.) Gregg Zaun is great

This doesn't have anything to do with the Blue Jays par sae, but it certainly relates to the Blue Jays broadcasts. I've been kicking around the idea of writing an entire post devoted to how impressed I've been with Gregg Zaun.

I realize Zaunie's worked for Sportsnet these past few years during the playoffs, but lately I've really come to enjoy what he brings to the Blue Jays broadcasts. As a former catcher, Zaun's insight into the psyche of the pitcher is especially valuable.

As a 16-year veteran who has experienced it all, it's very helpful to hear and listen to Gregg Zaun not only diagnose problems with certain players, but how to remedy the situation as well.

Not only that, but his tweets are not only incredibly insightful, but hilarious as well. Watching him give a play-by-play of stage five clinger at a watering hole in Kansas City was very entertaining. Through Twitter, we live vicariously through Zaunie.

16 comments:

  1. Rogers needs to lock up Zaun long-term as an analyst on both TV and radio. He clearly has a knack for the job. If they don't, they'll risk losing him to another network that will pay more money.

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  2. Fullmer_Fan, yes they absolutely need to extend Zaun. I think they have him signed for 2 years, but that will fly by quickly and I imagine other networks would be willing to pay him exorbitant amounts of money to lure him away from RSN.

    I've really liked Gregg Zaun's colour on the Fan this past week, and similar to Alan Ashby, i like how Gregg isn't afraid to pull any punches and call players out.

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  3. In addition to Zaun, I've been loving the musical chairs happening in the broadcast booths. It's nice that the TV-only audience is getting a taste of Ashby, and it's cool to see how each of the guys' styles play off each other.

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  4. Contrasoma, I really like what Alan Ashby brings to the table on the TV side as well. I wonder if they're grooming him to be an eventual TV colour guy?

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  5. Still hating the One Man Gang nickname. It reminds me of that wrestler from the 80's who became Akeem the African Dream or whatever he was called. He was white and couldn't dance, but he was somehow an African Dream. The nickname sucks.

    And Gregg Zaun is great? The guy who thinks Romero is a lousy pitcher because he pitches a complete game but doesn't get the win?

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  6. While I'm on a rant, if we are to believe Alan Ashby then Kyle Drabek is doing just fine because his stuff looks great. Anyone who isn't clobbering the shit out Drabek is getting walked in four pitches, but we need not worry because Ashby says his stuff looks great.

    I hate Zaun and Ashby a lot less when the Jays didn't just lose a historically bad series against the Red Sox, but right now I have a pretty short fuse.

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  7. Why would anyone worry about a 23-year old rookie playing his first season in the bigs? Plenty of great pitchers who started out as highly-touted prospects did terribly and had to be sent down, or adjust, or heck...grow up.

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  8. Parker, I don't recall Zaun saying that, but with all his nuggets of goodness lately, I can let a couple of comments like that slide.

    I think Ashby's perspective is that Drabek's stuff looks good, he just isn't getting the results. Keep in mind he's still a very young pitcher in his first full year in the bigs. Kyle is going to take his bumps do doubt, and hopefully he will get through these growing pains soon.

    BlueJaynator, I still have more faith in Kyle Drabek right now than Brett Cecil. And even if Kyle was sent down to work on his stuff, no problem.

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  9. I think you could make an argument that Brad Mills is banging down the door in the minors. In 84.2 IP he has a 2.87 ERA and even more impressive 1.146 WHIP. Those are very good numbers for Vegas and the peripherals support them. His K/9 is 8.3 and his K/Walk is 3.71. He's been the Jays best pitcher in AAA and that includes Cecil. Because he's a soft-tossing late bloomer (age 26) and has done nothing in his trips to the majors, there is absolutely zero hype about him but I don't think there's any doubt he's pitching well and probably deserves another looky-look.

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  10. King_Cats, that's exactly it: I haven't even heard a peep yet about Brad Mills, but those numbers certainly warrant a look if the Blue Jays aren't confident in Cecil yet or if Litsch needs more time.

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  11. Ian, he didn't say it specifically about Romero, but he has made some retarded comments that put him in the "Bert Blyleven doesn't belong in the HoF because he's not a winner" camp:

    Bridging baseball’s great statistical divide

    Zaun's comments are about 3/4 of the way down the page.

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  12. Parker, thanks for the link to that piece - it's a really great article. Zaun's comments in the that piece kind of surprised me. He's on board with on base percentage, yet places a lot of weight on the win/loss record.

    It seems like Zaunie straddles the line between old school and new school (leaning a little more towards old school), but its definitely a step in the right direction.

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  13. Ian, I'll give you that. He's nowhere near as bad as some of the "old school" baseball guys. I think it bothered me so much specifically because Zaun had always struck me as very insightful and progressive in his analysis and commentary until I read that quote.

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  14. Also, without judging further, I suspect Zaun's support of OBP might have something to do with the fact that he himself was a mediocre-BA high-OBP hitter in his playing days.

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  15. Gregor Chisolm tweets that Drabek has been demoted to AAA and Zach Stewart has been promoted from AA.

    http://twitter.com/#!/gregorMLB/status/80711156091727872

    So much for Mills, all the guy is doing is leading the PCL in ERA.

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  16. Parker, I know exactly what you mean - I thought Zaun would've been hip to all the new stats. All that aside, I'd still listen to Zaun any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

    King_Cats, talk about a move out of left field! Not really surprising that Drabek was sent down, but that Stewart is coming up. Wow!

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