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Blue Jays Fan

R A Dickey posted by Blue Jays Fan

Born October 29, 1974, R. A. Dickey is a MLB pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays. He mainly relies on the knuckleball, which has served him well in his pitching career. Dickey switches between a slow knuckler at 54 mph and a fast knuckler that can reach a speed of up to 83 mph. He also uses four-seam and two-seam fastballs in the range of 82 to 85 mph, and occasionally resorts to a changeup, which is in the range of 76 to 78 mph.

Dickey played baseball in school and college, but started his professional career when he was drafted in 1996 by the Texas Rangers; however, his debut was not until 2001. In 2004, he started the season strongly with a 4-1 record but by the end of the season, he was down to 6-7 record with a poor 5.61 ERA. Dickey realized he had to better his pitch, and in 2006, he was given a chance to experiment with the knuckleball, and was named the fifth starter by the Rangers. However, in the first start, he gave away six home runs, and he was demoted to play with Oklahoma Red Hawks, a Triple-A team, which is a minor league affiliate of the Rangers.

From 2007 to 2010, Dickey mainly played minor league for Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners. In January 2010, Dickey signed a contract with New York Mets to play minor league, and he was assigned to Buffalo Bisons, a Triple-A team. However, in 2012, during Cy Young Award Season, Dickey played excellently, and was the first pitcher to win 10 games of the MLB season. In December 2012, Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, and in February 2013, Dickey was named the starter for the opening day. In June 2014, Dickey managed the 1,000th strikeout of his career, while pitching against Chicago White Sox.

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Blue Jays Fan

How will Toronto Blue Jays Perform in MLB Baseball Bets posted by Blue Jays Fan

For betting on MLB baseball, you need not be an expert, as there are many resources available online that can guide you to make the best wagers. From potential of each player to winning strategies, everything is discussed in detail on these websites. For instance, if you are a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, this season can be quite exciting opportunity to make some profitable wagers. The Toronto Blue Jays were quite lucky this season, as they had the opportunity in building quite a formidable team. Taking advantage of the salary issues with the Miami Marlins, Toronto was able to get Joe Buck a star catcher, great pitchers like Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, and super star Jose Reyes. This is in addition to the already existing powerful offensive of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Another recent inclusion, which has increased the winning odds for the team is R.A. Dickey. 
Another major thing playing in Blue Jays favour is the NHL lockout, which has led to decommissioning of Maple Leafs. The Toronto team has also managed to take the lead ahead of New York Yankees for winning the AL East with odds at +150, while the Yankees are trailing behind with +190. The New York team, which was considered a favourite, seems to be declining, as there are ageing players and pitching is not up to the mark. However, they still have a good chance, as they have been winning the AL East title for 12 years out of a total of 15 years play. The odds for New York Yankees of winning the World Series are at 14/1, whereas the odds of Toronto Blue Jays are at 15/2. This is going to be quite close, and betting will be quite exciting.  There is good potential of winning substantial amounts in sports betting through and by playing casino games. Now all this can be done from the comfort of your home, as you can access betting spaces and huge casinos, online. Approaching a bookie for placing a bet on your favourite team is a thing of the past, as you can do the same thing online in a highly secure environment. You also do not have to bother about the legality of the transaction, as most websites are licensed by the authorities to conduct gambling businesses. These sites come under strict government regulations, which means there is much more safety for the player wagering any amount.
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Richard Kagan

Dunn's 32nd HR Ties Blue Jays, 1-1 posted by Richard Kagan

Last season Adam Dunn has a season to forget, quickly.  A traditional power hitter for the length of his career, Dunn managed only 11 homers and a gazillion KO's last year.  Dunn was recovering from surgery before the season and never got untracked.  His swing got messed up and he kept flailing and fanning.  This season Dunn has almost 170 KO's, and may well lead the league.  But he is among AL leaders in HR's too, with 32.  He will triple his production from last season.  Dunn either seems to hit a HR or strike out.  He hit a single or double and drove in a run the other day.  I was shocked.  A Rbi that most players experience.  Some of Dunn's HR's are blasts. 

Watching him at the plate is kind of interesting.  You want to see if he hits one far, or swings at a bad pitch--it is good to see him producing and hitting HR's at bat.  He said, he doesn't get paid for hitting singles.  That seems to be the case.

Continue reading "Dunn's 32nd HR Ties Blue Jays, 1-1"


David

New season brings new hope posted by David

Two thousand eleven was a difficult year for Major League Baseball.  There was no strike, no brawl in which a player grabbed an elderly coach and threw him to the ground, and no collision between players that proved to be career-ending for anyone.  (Buster Posey should be fine this season.)  On the field, things were good.  In the stands and outside the park, however, tragedy struck the baseball world.

Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old granddaughter of former Phillies GM Dallas Green and daughter of Dodgers scout John Green, was shot and killed in Tucson at the Gabrielle Giffords Congress on Your Corner event in January.

Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, was beaten nearly to death outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.

Shannon Stone, a firefighter, fell 20 feet in front of his six-year-old son at Rangers Ballpark in July and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Greg Halman, a 24-year-old Mariners outfielder, was stabbed to death in his native Holland in November, allegedly by his own brother.

Despite the tragedies that occurred in 2011 – both during the season and before it began, inside and outside the stadium, accident or intentional – it was heartening to hear about Barry Bonds’s offer to pay for Stow’s children to go to college.  I have personally never been a Bonds fan – and I’m still not – but I give credit where credit is due.  Detractors may say that it was just a publicity stunt to improve his image, and I can’t say for sure that it wasn’t, but does it really matter?  A wealthy athlete did something he didn’t have to do in order to help someone in need.

Continue reading "New season brings new hope"


Blue Jays Fan

Jays' Santos brings the heat posted by Blue Jays Fan

The Blue Jays will not be going to need to face Sergio Santos this year and that’s a fantastic thing.

Monday a couple of in the Jays’ hitters got a firsthand look at Santos’ repertoire inside a live batting practice session as well as the new closer sent Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion away shaking their heads and grumbling under their breath.

Santos features a heavy mid-90s fastball, a sharp, biting slider and this year is dusting off a changeup that he neglected last year as Chicago’s closer.

"The a single thing we went back and looked at when he evolved into the closer function was that he became predominantly a fastball-slider pitcher," said manager John Farrell. "The year ahead of when he was inside a late-inning (setup) role his changeup was a true weapon for him.

"By his own admission in conversations throughout the off-season, he felt like he got away from that pitch. It is a darn great pitch, whether to righthanders or lefthanders, and when you are running within the mid-90s, having a wipeout slider and also you can throw another pitch in to the mix that they've to defend against, it makes him less predictable."

The Blue Jays will have some interesting mlb props this year, that's for sure.

Continue reading "Jays' Santos brings the heat"


David

A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day posted by David

If you’re looking for a baseball book that will keep you entertained until Opening Day, check out Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran.  The book details Hayhurst’s 2007 season at three different levels of the minors.  He describes long bus rides, living with host families, Kangaroo Court, and battling the urge to give up on a dream.  It’s an honest story about the arduous journey it takes so many ballplayers to reach their ultimate goal, knowing they may never achieve it.

Hayhurst has since made it to the majors, pitching in 25 games, making three starts, and compiling a 0-2 record and a 5.72 ERA for the Padres and Blue Jays.  The Kent State University graduate’s book received rave reviews from Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Tim Kurkjian, and made The New York Times Bestseller list.

Hayhurst also played for my hometown’s college summer league team, the Bethesda Big Train, back in 2001.  After missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he signed a minor league contract with the Rays and will hope to spend this season in Tampa Bay.  Dirk Hayhurst, best of luck.

A big step in my career

After spending last season working for the Toledo Mud Hens, I’ll start a new job next month in the Research Department at MLB Network.  I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with baseball people who love the game as much as I do.  The researchers support the on-air personalities by providing statistical and analytical information for each broadcast.  In addition to Bob Costas and Peter Gammons, MLB Network on-air personalities include retired ballplayers Sean Casey, Bill Ripken, Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Harold Reynolds, and John Smoltz.  Since I’ll be living so close to New York City, hopefully I’ll make it to Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium this year for the first time.

Continue reading "A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day"


Michael McGauley

"Time for the Giants to Focus on the Rockies and Not Wednesday's Disaster" posted by Michael McGauley

Okay Giants' fans, it's time to get over Wednesday's loss, and get ready for the Rockies Friday night. Hey, I can be just as greedy as anyone, especially when it comes to a potential three-game sweep of the defending N.L. Champion Phillies. Everything was looking good: Lincecum on the mound, a three-run lead in the top of the 9th, and Brian Wilson getting loose in the pen should Timmy run out of gas. Then, with one out, a four-pitch walk to Shane Victorino, Bochy yanks Lincecum after 106 pitches, and Wilson cannot close the door. Jayson Werth's bases-clearing bloop double down the right field line tied the game at 4-4. In my opinion, total fluke! Wilson had not allowed a single run all season, and actually retired the first batter he faced. There were two outs before Utley singled and Howard walked to load the bases. Listen, if Wilson had finished off the game as he usually does, we wouldn't be having this endless discussion about Bochy's ill-fated pitching change. If he had left Timmy finish the game and he blew it, the same people would be criticizing Bochy FOR NOT making a move. It's really an impossible position for the skipper. I don't mind seeing Lincecum throw 120 pitches, but you have to figure it will make a difference later in the season once he exceeds the 200-inning plateau. If Bochy can save him, and limit the pitch count here and there, it could keep him fresher into September, and that's really the big picture. Don't pound your horses into the ground in April. Yes, it would have been nice to see the complete game, but IT IS Wilson's job to slam the door, and Wednesday just wasn't his day.

Continue reading ""Time for the Giants to Focus on ..."


David

Jason Heyward: Instant Hit posted by David

When the Atlanta Braves announced during the last week of spring training that Jason Heyward had made the big league roster, it made headlines in part because both Stephen Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman were being assigned to the minors.  However, after winning the starting right fielder’s job in Atlanta, the 20-year-old phenom wasted no time before impressing the baseball world by launching a three-run home run in his very first major league at-bat.  Batting seventh in the lineup behind Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and others has limited the pressure on the 14th overall pick in the 2007 draft, but before long, you can expect to see Heyward taking his hacks in the cleanup spot.

How ‘bout that?

How about Albert Pujols?  Picking up where he left off at the end of the 2009 season, Pujols collected four hits – including two home runs – on Opening Day.  The Cardinals slugger has been nothing but superhuman in the batter’s box; unless he suffers an injury, he will likely win his third straight (and fourth overall) Most Valuable Player Award.

How about Vernon Wells?  Looking to bounce back from a disappointing season (.260/.311/.400), Wells has already hit four home runs and boasts a .600 batting average.  The centerfielder became the first Blue Jay in history to homer in the team’s first three games of the year and played a major role in Toronto winning its first series of 2010 over Texas.

How about the Giants?  Led by shortstop Edgar Renteria’s .727 batting average (eight hits in 11 at-bats), San Francisco has continued to play well, sweeping a three-game series in Houston following a 23-12 record in spring training.  Not only are the Giants the only team yet to lose a regular season game, they have not even trailed at any point.  Though it is far too early to call a winner, the Giants will hope their fast start is a sign of things to come as they eye their first division title since 2003.

Continue reading "Jason Heyward: Instant Hit"


David

The Big Unit hangs ‘em up posted by David

Big news from the Big Unit: 46-year-old Randy Johnson announced his retirement, concluding his career with a record of 303-166, a 3.29 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.  His five Cy Young Awards – one with the Mariners and four in a row with the Diamondbacks – rank him behind only Roger Clemens, and his 4,875 career strikeouts are second only to Nolan Ryan.  He was a 10-time All-Star, starting the Midsummer Classic four times – twice for each league. Johnson made history in 2004 when he became the oldest player – at 40 – to throw a perfect game.

Johnson was a crucial member of his Diamondbacks team in the 2001 playoffs: after pitching well but losing his only start in the first round, he went 2-0 with 1.12 E.R.A. in the National League Championship Series against the Braves, including a 2-0 complete game shutout against Greg Maddux.  Then in the World Series, Johnson shut down the three-time defending champions from the Bronx with absolute dominance.  He picked up three wins, including a complete game shutout in Game 1 and back-to-back victories in Games 6 and 7, to end the Yankee Dynasty.  He surrendered only nine hits and three walks in 17.1 innings for a remarkable 0.692 WHIP to go along with a 1.04 E.R.A.  For his extraordinary performance, he was named co-MVP of the Series.  A fan attraction everywhere he went, Randy Johnson will surely be missed.

How ‘bout that?


How about Matt Holliday?  Christmas came late for the biggest name on the free agent market this offseason, as Holliday was rewarded for his huge numbers (.353/.419/.604) after his arrival in St. Louis with a very big payday – $120 million over the next seven years.  Though it was painful to watch as it happened, Holliday has been forgiven for his costly error in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers.  The slugging outfielder hopes to lead his team back to the playoffs in 2010, and with Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright working together, expectations will be high once again for the Cardinals.

Continue reading "The Big Unit hangs ‘em up"


Stan Walker

Another Defensive Outfielder for Oakland posted by Stan Walker

The Oakland As recently got a John Hancock from Former Red Sox brawler Coco Crisp, for a modest 1 -year, 4 and a half million dollar contract. With this latest Billy Beane brain storm the A's should give its fans one of, if not the best defensive out fields in baseball, if thats how it will play out. As the normal with the A's, they leave the winter meetings with questions all over the diamond. But the outfield, with the signing of crisp and deals for others are the most muddled. Crisp could join Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney to form that crew.

But what does this move really mean for the A's. Well for starters last season Oakland brass acquired Matt Holiday for stud outfield prospect Carlos Gonzales in a trade with the Colorado Rockies. They then showcased Holiday for all the true playoff contenders, to decide who would acquire the best bat available for the stretch run. That team ended up being the St. Louis Cardinals. Oakland would acquire thirdbase phenom (why is every flash in the pants considered a phenom. Remember Ben Grieve ? former Rookie of the year who was king of hitting into the double play? He has been out of baseball a long time . anyway,) Brett Wallace.

The A's now have essentially flipped prospects with the Toronto Blue jays by obtaining outfield genetic freak prospect, Mike Taylor, for Wallace. Taylor had just become a Blue jay days before this deal ,as he was a part of the squirrelly Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee trade.Being involved in a deal with two Cy Young Award winners, should speak for it self, but here is Taylors 2009 in fast forward. At 6-6 250 Taylor has a unique blend of speed and pop. In 2009 he compiled at double A and triple A a criminal record of 21 steals in 26 attempts. He then killed pitchers by posting a .320 average, 20 homers and 84 RBI's. Not overly gaudy numbers, some might even call them pedestrian until you add in his 48 walks and 33 other extra base hits which shot his OBP up to .977. .850 is great 900 is remarkable, 977 is God -like. Now im not saying that this kid is omni-potent, and I am not saying that this kid is the next in a long line of Oakland Rookie of the years. I am simply pointing out that this guy has scouts around the league calling him major league ready, and will push the kids that have had a chance like Travis buck, Aaron Cunningham, and Tommy Everidge for a spot. If these once heralded prospects don't step up for the millionth time, it could be waivers for these guys. This is also guys like Sweeney , Davis and Scott Hairston's chance to show that they can be reliable and healthy an entire campaign as well. Add in the fact that the Oakland A's also traded for stud OF/IF Jake Fox from the Chicago Cubs, and you can see that the A's don't even know how the roster will end up. Fox is a average outfielder at best but his bat is definitlywhat the team needs. Then there is the Desme factor. Grant Desme just finished Arizona Fall league where he hit ten homers in ten games. So again Athletic nation, I ask you. What does the signing of another outfielder, mean for the A's? Well it isn't to add pop to an already anemic offense. CoCo isn't exactly Matt Holiday ya know. So could it be to get some of his family ties into the stands, to help the ticket sales, that match last years team offense? They also got Antioch, California native Aaron Miles in the Fox deal, who can play any position on the field, so maybe his and crisp family can help fill some seats? Well I think the true reason and history with this ball club states the same, is so the A's can play "Billy Ball" as they always do and trade for more prospects. Sure guys like Crisp, Scott Hairston and Ryan Sweeney wont net Holiday caliber prospects but it will help with their already great farm system by adding more prospects and hopefully put a few more fans in the seats.

Continue reading "Another Defensive Outfielder for Oakland"

Toronto Blue Jays News

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White Sox-Blue Jays Preview (The Associated Press)

The Toronto Blue Jays had little trouble finding offense in their series-opening win against the Chicago White Sox, and may need a similar effort Tuesday night with the inconsistent R.A. Dickey on the mound. Fresh off their first back-to-back victories in nearly three weeks, the Blue Jays try to match their longest win streak of the season against a White Sox team that has dropped six of seven. Toronto (21-26) scored four runs in the first inning Monday en route to a 6-0 victory for its first win streak since May 6-9. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Marlins lose eighth straight game, Mat Latos and Henderson Alvarez to DL (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. The Miami Marlins weeks of turmoil and terrible baseball continued on Friday, this time with an 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. That makes eight straight losses for Miami, all of which have come on their current 10-game homestand which is set to end on Sunday. That moment probably can't come soon enough for a Marlins team that desperately needs to get out of town and regroup. The former will definitely happen. It may honestly be too late for the latter to matter if it does happen. As for Friday, it started out promising as the Marlins tallied three early runs against Ubaldo Jimenez. But hope quickly faded when Baltimore scored two in the fifth and four more in the sixth, all against Henderson Alvarez. Adding insult to injury, immediately following the game Miami placed both Alvarez and another starter, Mat Latos, on the disabled list with injuries.   #marlins place Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) & Mat Latos (left knee inflammation) on 15-day DL — clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) May 23, 2015 Of all Miami's issues, the injuries in their rotation might be the most concerning. #Marlins DL now includes four starting pitchers ... Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos and Jarred Cosart. — Jason Martinez (@mlbdepthcharts) May 23, 2015 On the plus side, Miami actually outhit Baltimore 14-11, including a milestone from Ichiro Suzuki, who passed Babe Ruth on the all-time hit list. However, they were burned by seven walks and an ill-timed error in the decisive fifth inning. They'll now seek that elusive win on Saturday when they send veteran Dan Haren against O's rookie Mike Wright. KING FELIX FIRST TO SEVEN WINS In the race to seven wins, Felix Hernandez left all of his competition behind on Friday night. The Seattle Mariners right-hander pitched eight innings of one-run ball, allowing only four hits in Seattle's 4-3 triumph against the Toronto Blue Jays, to become the league's first seven-game winner. After dropping his last decision to the Boston Red Sox on May 16, a game in which he allowed two homers and a season-high four walks, Hernandez bounced back, allowing just a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion. Hernandez is 7-1 overall, but 7-0 in games when he's pitched into the seventh inning or later. There was some anxiety in the ninth when Fernando Rodney served up a two-run homer to Chris Colabello, but he recovered to retire Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson. Earlier, Nelson Cruz hit his league-leading 17th homer in support of Hernandez, which proved to be the winner. Logan Morrison gave Seattle the lead with a two-run triple. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] PRINCE FIELDER, RANGERS ROUGH UP MICHAEL PINEDA With Masahiro Tanaka hurt, CC Sabathia struggling and no other real standout options available to lead their rotation, the New York Yankees were quite thrilled when Michael Pineda stepped up and started his season with an impressive string of outings. Unfortunately, in the wake of his 16-strikeout performance against the Baltimore Orioles on May 10, he's taken two steps backward. After allowing five runs on 10 hits in a loss to the Royals last weekend, Pineda was bounced around again, this time by the Texas Rangers, allowing seven runs (four earned) in six innings. All of the damage actually came in the third inning and was set up by a pair of errors. Pineda's own throwing error really set the wheels in motion, and then Didi Gregorius followed immediately with an error of his own leading to the Rangers first two runs. The big inning was capped by Prince Fielder's three-run homer and Mitch Moreland's solo shot. Fielder hit a solo homer later that proved important in the outcome. For hispart, Gregorius at least partially made up for his blunder with his own three-run homer, but the Yankees had too big a hill to climb and not enough time to climb it. DODGERS END THREE-GAME DROUGHT, LOSING STREAK After being shut out completely during their three-game series in San Francisco earlier this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers scraped together just enough offense to upend the San Diego Padres, 2-1. The run scoring drought actually extended to 35 innings before Andre Ethier doubled home Justin Turner in the fifth inning. Behind Zack Greinke, that seemed destined to hold up, but San Diego broke through themselves on a Will Venable RBI single in the seventh.  From there, it came down to one swing, Joc Pederson's mammoth solo home run in the eighth, as the Dodgers ended the accompanying three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion. The last Dodgers player to hit a home run before today was Jimmy Rollins on May 15. — J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) May 23, 2015 If you're going to wait, might as well make the next one count. Pederson's timing was perfect, and the Dodgers are on back on the winning track as they open up a six-game homestand.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Blue Jays should be encouraged, not discouraged, by John Gibbons' work this season (Eh Game%

John Gibbons is used to this. Now in the third season of his second go-around as Toronto Blue Jays manager, the calls for his firing have been nearly as frequent as Jose Bautista home runs. So it's no surprise that the hysteria around his job status is already kicking into high gear given the Blue Jays' mediocre record through six and a half weeks. According to the Toronto Sun , the organization has had discussions about the future of Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker with the club. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also included Gibbons on his recently published speculative list of next managers to be fired. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was quick to throw cold water on the Sun report during an appearance Tuesday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan . For his part, Gibbons seemed unperturbed by the talk that his time in Toronto might be up soon. "I've been in this racket for a while now and really it goes with the territory," Gibbons told reporters Tuesday . "When the team is struggling, that's generally what happens. I don't think it's any different here than anywhere else, you just learn how to deal with it." At the quarter mark of the season the Blue Jays are 18-23, five games below .500 but also just  4 1/2 games back of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Yes, it's been far from an ideal start in Toronto. No team wants to be in last place, even if they're a good week from making a significant jump in the standings. But for the early-season struggles to start costing jobs on the coaching staff? It's far too early for that. The middling results to date can largely be tied to this: veteran starters R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle and popular breakout pick Drew Hutchison haven't just been bad – they've been atrocious. Among the 110 qualified starting pitchers in MLB, the three all rank in the bottom-20 in ERA . Hutchison has been the worst of the bunch (6.17 ERA, 107th), with Dickey (5.76 ERA, 102nd) and Buehrle (5.36 ERA, 95th) only slightly better. Unfortunately for Gibbons the three underperforming starting pitchers have blemished his 2015 canvas, because even with a few injuries there's been much to like. Newcomers Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin have lived up the hype and excitement around their acquisition during the offseason. It sure seems like they haven't had an issue playing hard for their new skipper. With starting shortstop Jose Reyes and left fielder Michael Saunders sidelined for much of the season so far, and Bautista currently restricted to a DH-only role because of a bum right shoulder, Gibbons has been forced to be more creative with his lineup. Batting Donaldson in the leadoff spot and Bautista behind him in the No. 2 hole is a novel concept that many big-league managers wouldn't even consider. Gibbons understands the benefits of getting his best hitters more at-bats and it's paid off, as even with a couple key pieces out the Blue Jays lead baseball in runs per game with 5.17. Bullpens are an inexact science, both in construction and in-game management. There's no easier second guess in baseball than a relief pitching move gone awry. Gibbons has been burned by a decision before and will be burned again. What's most impressive is how he has trusted 20-year-old right-hander Roberto Osuna from the get-go, age and experience be damned, to get outs in critical situations. He's also shown a willingness to use his closer in high-leverage spots and not exclusively in save situations. These are both good things. So while the 3.93 combined bullpen ERA is a little underwhelming, that number is down to 3.63 for the month of May. Last season Gibbons took the brunt of the blame for the Blue Jays' porous defence . By that logic he deserves credit for the significant improvement in the field this year. By Defensive Runs Saved, Toronto has been the second best defensive team in MLB . Is it unreasonable to give Gibbons all the credit for the improvement ? Yes, but it's just as unreasonable as the demands for his dismissal. Gibbons deserves to have at least the rest of the season to work with what the Blue Jays have, or will have, because a move for pitching help would certainly be welcome. Could Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion be the ones dealt to make it happen ? Perhaps. It's always good to deal from a position of strength, though Anthopoulos has been publicly opposed to moving the team's two most powerful bats. As Donaldson said this past weekend "this isn't the try league, it's the get it done league." The rotation, specifically Dickey, Buerhle, and Hutchison, doesn't need to pitch like the 2011 Phillies. Merely performing at a league average level would get it done in their case. That would help solve a whole lot of problems. The truth of the matter is that the manager is the least of those problems. If the Blue Jays don't get it done this season, it's the group that will have failed, not just Gibbons. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Canada Sports: - - - - - - - Israel Fehr is a writer for Yahoo Canada Sports . Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Blue Jays should be encouraged, not discouraged, by John Gibbons' work this season (Eh Game%

John Gibbons is used to this. Now in the third season of his second go-around as Toronto Blue Jays manager, the calls for his firing have been nearly as frequent as Jose Bautista home runs. So it's no surprise that the hysteria around his job status is already kicking into high gear given the Blue Jays' mediocre record through six and a half weeks. According to the Toronto Sun , the organization has had discussions about the future of Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker with the club. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also included Gibbons on his recently published speculative list of next managers to be fired. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was quick to throw cold water on the Sun report during an appearance Tuesday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan . For his part, Gibbons seemed unperturbed by the talk that his time in Toronto might be up soon. "I've been in this racket for a while now and really it goes with the territory," Gibbons told reporters Tuesday . "When the team is struggling, that's generally what happens. I don't think it's any different here than anywhere else, you just learn how to deal with it." At the quarter mark of the season the Blue Jays are 18-23, five games below .500 but also just  4 1/2 games back of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Yes, it's been far from an ideal start in Toronto. No team wants to be in last place, even if they're a good week from making a significant jump in the standings. But forthe early-season struggles to start costing jobs on the coaching staff? It's far too early for that. The middling results to date can largely be tied to this: veteran starters R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle and popular breakout pick Drew Hutchison haven't just been bad – they've been atrocious. Among the 110 qualified starting pitchers in MLB, the three all rank in the bottom-20 in ERA . Hutchison has been the worst of the bunch (6.17 ERA, 107th), with Dickey (5.76 ERA, 102nd) and Buehrle (5.36 ERA, 95th) only slightly better. Unfortunately for Gibbons the three underperforming starting pitchers have blemished his 2015 canvas, because even with a few injuries there's been much to like. Newcomers Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin have lived up the hype and excitement around their acquisition during the offseason. It sure seems like they haven't had an issue playing hard for their new skipper. With starting shortstop Jose Reyes and left fielder Michael Saunders sidelined for much of the season so far, and Bautista currently restricted to a DH-only role because of a bum right shoulder, Gibbons has been forced to be more creative with his lineup. Batting Donaldson in the leadoff spot and Bautista behind him in the No. 2 hole is a novel concept that many big-league managers wouldn't even consider. Gibbons understands the benefits of getting his best hitters more at-bats and it's paid off, as even with a couple key pieces out the Blue Jays lead baseball in runs per game with 5.17. Bullpens are an inexact science, both in construction and in-game management. There's no easier second guess in baseball than a relief pitching move gone awry. Gibbons has been burned by a decision before and will be burned again. What's most impressive is how he has trusted 20-year-old right-hander Roberto Osuna from the get-go, age and experience be damned, to get outs in critical situations. He's also shown a willingness to use his closer in high-leverage spots and not exclusively in save situations. These are both good things. So while the 3.93 combined bullpen ERA is a little underwhelming, that number is down to 3.63 for the month of May. Last season Gibbons took the brunt of the blame for the Blue Jays' porous defence . By that logic he deserves credit for the significant improvement in the field this year. By Defensive Runs Saved, Toronto has been the second best defensive team in MLB . Is it unreasonable to give Gibbons all the credit for the improvement ? Yes, but it's just as unreasonable as the demands for his dismissal. Gibbons deserves to have at least the rest of the season to work with what the Blue Jays have, or will have, because a move for pitching help would certainly be welcome. Could Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion be the ones dealt to make it happen ? Perhaps. It's always good to deal from a position of strength, though Anthopoulos has been publicly opposed to moving the team's two most powerful bats. As Donaldson said this past weekend "this isn't the try league, it's the get it done league." The rotation, specifically Dickey, Buerhle, and Hutchison, doesn't need to pitch like the 2011 Phillies. Merely performing at a league average level would get it done in their case. That would help solve a whole lot of problems. The truth of the matter is that the manager is the least of those problems. If the Blue Jays don't get it done this season, it's the group that will have failed, not just Gibbons. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Canada Sports: - - - - - - - Israel Fehr is a writer for Yahoo Canada Sports . Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Blue Jays should be encouraged, not discouraged, by John Gibbons' work this season (Eh Game%

John Gibbons is used to this. Now in the third season of his second go-around as Toronto Blue Jays manager, the calls for his firing have been nearly as frequent as Jose Bautista home runs. So it's no surprise that the hysteria around his job status is already kicking into high gear given the Blue Jays' mediocre record through six and a half weeks. According to the Toronto Sun , the organization has had discussions about the future of Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker with the club. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also included Gibbons on his recently published speculative list of next managers to be fired. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was quick to throw cold water on the Sun report during an appearance Tuesday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan . For his part, Gibbons seemed unperturbed by the talk that his time in Toronto might be up soon. "I've been in this racket for a while now and really it goes with the territory," Gibbons told reporters Tuesday . "When the team is struggling, that's generally what happens. I don't think it's any different here than anywhere else, you just learn how to deal with it." At the quarter mark of the season the Blue Jays are 18-23, five games below .500 but also just  4 1/2 games back of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Yes, it's been far from an ideal start in Toronto. No team wants to be in last place, even if they're a good week from making a significant jump in the standings. But for the early-season struggles to start costing jobs on the coaching staff? It's far too early for that. The middling results to date can largely be tied to this: veteran starters R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle and popular breakout pick Drew Hutchison haven't just been bad – they've been atrocious. Among the 110 qualified starting pitchers in MLB, the three all rank in the bottom-20 in ERA . Hutchison has been the worst of the bunch (6.17 ERA, 107th), with Dickey (5.76 ERA, 102nd) and Buehrle (5.36 ERA, 95th) only slightly better. Unfortunately for Gibbons the three underperforming starting pitchers have blemished his 2015 canvas, because even with a few injuries there's been much to like. Newcomers Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin have lived up the hype and excitement around their acquisition during the offseason. It sure seems like they haven't had an issue playing hard for their new skipper. With starting shortstop Jose Reyes and left fielder Michael Saunders sidelined for much of the season so far, and Bautista currently restricted to a DH-only role because of a bum right shoulder, Gibbons has been forced to be more creative with his lineup. Batting Donaldson in the leadoff spot and Bautista behind him in the No. 2 hole is a novel concept that many big-league managers wouldn't even consider. Gibbons understands the benefits of getting his best hitters more at-bats and it's paid off, as even with a couple key pieces out the Blue Jays lead baseball in runs per game with 5.17. Bullpens are an inexact science, both in construction and in-game management. There's no easier second guess in baseball than a relief pitching move gone awry. Gibbons has been burned by a decision before and will be burned again. What's most impressive is how he has trusted 20-year-old right-hander Roberto Osuna from the get-go, age and experience be damned, to get outs in critical situations. He's also shown a willingness to use his closer in high-leverage spots and not exclusively in save situations. These are both good things. So while the 3.93 combined bullpen ERA is a little underwhelming, that number is down to 3.63 for the month of May. Last season Gibbons took the brunt of the blame for the Blue Jays' porous defence . By that logic he deserves credit for the significant improvement in the field this year. By Defensive Runs Saved, Toronto has been the second best defensive team in MLB . Is it unreasonable to give Gibbons all the credit for the improvement ? Yes, but it's just as unreasonable as the demands for his dismissal. Gibbons deserves to have at least the rest of the season to work with what the Blue Jays have, or will have, because a move for pitching help would certainly be welcome. Could Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion be the ones dealt to make it happen ? Perhaps. It's always good to deal from a position of strength, though Anthopoulos has been publicly opposed to moving the team's two most powerful bats. As Donaldson said this past weekend "this isn't the try league, it's the get it done league." The rotation, specifically Dickey, Buerhle, and Hutchison, doesn't need to pitch like the 2011 Phillies. Merely performing at a league average level would get it done in their case. That would help solve a whole lot of problems. The truth of the matter is that the manager is the least of those problems. If the Blue Jays don't get it done this season, it's the group that will have failed, not just Gibbons. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Canada Sports: - - - - - - - Israel Fehr is a writer for Yahoo Canada Sports . Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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