SOT6 Podcast - Episode 9

Episode 9 of the SOT6 Podcast is now up. In it, I expand on the news regarding the Toronto Blue Jays that has occurred this past week. Topics are:

  • State of things?
  • Should we start talking rebuild?
  • Recapping games against Boston and Los Angeles.
  • Let's just wait and see, OK?

Music:
Intro: "Cash Rules" by Ari de Niro
Raptors: "A Story To Tell" by Audiobinger
Intermission: "Intruder" by Ghost Town Riot
Blue Jays: "Nothin' Down' 1.3" by Ari de Niro
Outro: "Blue Bloods" by Aulx Studio

As always, I appreciate your ears and your word of mouth for this podcast and website. Honestly, sharing is the best thing you can do for any independent blogger/podcaster, so I am in your debt if you do this for me. I'm trying my best to keep this podcast completely ad-free, as I know how annoying it is to constantly hear ads about Square Space, or Harry's Shave Club, or Blue Apron, or whatever. I'm not about that life. I do this completely out of my own pocket. I do this for fun, enjoyment, and the opportunity to connect with fellow fans, such as yourself.

You can subscribe on iTunes by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking the iTunes icon. Or, you can subscribe on SoundCloud by following the same instructions, just with the SoundCloud icon (obviously). Whatever's easier for you. Any suggestions, criticisms, or compliments can be issued in the comment section of this page. Or, hit me up on Twitter @ACorsair21, or @SouthOfThe6ix (or both!). I'm always looking to improve and cater to you guys, the audience. 

Thanks for listening!

Game 14 of 162 Takeaways

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Red Sox on April 19, 2017 - 

  • Real quick - I apologize for not being able to do one of these over the weekend and last night. I had prior obligations over the weekend, in addition to the Raptors' playoff game last night. I know - you figured I'd be all over these Red Sox games, being a Jays fan from New England and all. But... ya know, life. Anyway...
  • God I hate the Red Sox.
  • I had to post this prior to the start of the game - 

 

Glad I was wrong.

  • I'm really admiring Pillar's improvement at the plate. His approach is like night and day compared to years past, being much more patient and swinging at actual strikes. If you're searching for positives, this is definitely one. 
  • Weird to see the Jays playing a little small-ball (I hate that term) by showing bunt a tad more often, in addition to attempting more hit-and-runs. Which... sure! Whatever works! 
  • Darwin Barney was able to capitalize on two Sox errors by grabbing a base-hit and driving in Tulo and Martin in the 2nd. Carrera was also able to drive in Barney in the same inning to give the Jays a 3-0 advantage, rattling Porcello early (and making me look foolish with my aforementioned tweet). 
  • Liriano took the mound for the Jays and picked up where he left off from his previous outing. An added bonus was that he was able to end Mookie Betts' streak of consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout (ended at 129 PA's). He was very sharp early on and those that were worried after his initial outing - don't. He finished with 5.1 innings pitched, throwing a total of 91 pitches - 61 of which for strikes (67%) - giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 6 K's. Solid! He was pulled after two consecutive base-hits by Benintendi and Betts, as Biagini entered in relief.
  • Porcello was rattled early, throwing 35 total pitches in the 2nd inning alone. He didn't have his best stuff tonight and it took him until the 5th inning to settle in. Too little too late. He finished tonight's game pitching 7 innings, throwing 110 pitches - 76 of which for strikes (69%) - giving up 6 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. None of the 3 runs were earned. 
  • In relief, Biagini was solid, throwing just two pitches to get out of the 6th inning as a result of a ground ball double play. He further pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th. I know we're thin on starters, and I know there was some conversation about converting him into one, but he's just so well-suited in relief. At least for now.
  • I don't know what's going on with Bautista, but it's absolutely concerning. It looks like it's more of an in-between-the-ears problem than a sharp sharp decline in hitting. Maybe I'm jaded, but hitters like Bautista don't just completely fall off this much.
  • Grilli was able to get out of an 8th inning jam with two men on base and Betts at the plate acting as the tying run. A little too close for comfort, but it worked out.
  • Osuna closed out the game in familiar Osuna style, grabbing his first save of the season. 
  • Jays take it, 3-0.
  • See! It's not all that bad. I mean, we beat the defending Cy Young Award winner, sooo.... it's something! Maybe this is the start of something positive! 
  • Player Of The Game: Kevin Pillar (3 for 4 at the plate with 2 stolen bases).

 


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    Latos and Lawrence May Start For Happ and Sanchez

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    (To clarify, I say "may start" because it hasn't been officially announced.)

    It is being reported that both Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence will be called up from Triple A Buffalo to fill in for JA Happ and Aaron Sanchez for the weekend series in Anaheim. This, according to Joel Sherman on Twitter  - 

    It's not going to ease the worries of those that have been in full-blown panic mode with the Jays, but this is why the team has Latos and Lawrence; to fill-in during situations such as these. Granted, their numbers aren't anything to write home about, so I understand how having to watch them start this weekend will compound the negativity that is already lingering amongst the fanbase. It sucks, but that's the breaks.

    However, it's not as though these moves lack any strategy. The Angels consist of a right-handed heavy lineup, so bringing up Latos and Lawrence makes the most sense as they are right-handed pitchers. However, the move to bring Latos up is a bit trickier, as he isn't currently on the 40-Man roster, so the Jays will have to make a corresponding move - consequently DFA'ng a player or extending one of the injured ones to the 60-Day DL. I don't even want to begin to speculate which will happen because... well, I'm not qualified and - let's face it - I'll probably be wrong.

    The sample for both pitchers, in terms of their time in Buffalo thus far is obviously quite small. Latos has appeared in two games - both of which resulted in no-decisions - with an ERA of 1.00 over 9 innings pitched, giving up 7 hits, 3 runs (1 of which was earned), 9 K's, and 6 walks. Not terrible when you completely ignore that A) it's just two games, B) it's Triple A, and C) both.

    Lawrence's numbers are equally as deceptive. He's has pitched two games - both of which resulted in no-decisions - with an ERA of 1.80, over the course of 5 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 earned run, 1 HR, 7 K's, and 0 walks. During his brief appearance with the Jays earlier this month, it wasn't pretty. Lawrence gave up 3 runs,  3 hits, 2 K's, 5 walks (two of which were intentional, in fairness), over 2 innings of relief. He ended up picking up the loss in his debut outing, by walking in the winning run with the bases loaded against the Rays. Not the way you want to debut, ideally, but hopefully he can put it behind him and take advantage of the opportunity.

    Look, I'll be the first to admit that this will more than likely be painful to watch. Latos had a not-so-great Spring Training (to put it mildly), and we all kept our fingers crossed in hopes that the starting rotation would avoid the injury bug. But these things tend to happen in baseball and, more than likely, the Jays weren't going to be so lucky. Last year was a blessing, really, as they had a total of 7 pitchers making starts for the team (Stroman, Sanchez, Estrada, Happ, Dickey, Hutchinson, & Liriano) throughout the entire season. The Jays will meet that number within the first month of this season already. It's sort of unreasonable to believe that they'd remain that lucky this year; especially with how things are going. That whole "When it rains..." thing.

    But, who knows?! Maybe Latos will be a pleasant surprise! 

    Either way, we hope that Happ and Sanchez can recover quickly and the Jays can start playing the way we know they're capable of. I mean, again, they only lost by 1 run last night, putting up 7 total. It is what it is, I suppose. Hopefully they're starting to turn the corner. Moreover, if they're able to limit the appearances of Latos and Lawrence to just this weekend, then I suppose it's something I can roll with.

    Deep breaths, guys. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

    Get all Zen-like. You'll need it.


    Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


     

     

    It's Not Pretty, But It's Not Over

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    Let's just address the elephant in the room. There's really no point in tip-toeing around it and coming across as condescending, as I admittedly tend to. So let's just get into it.

    The bats are dead. Within 10 of their first dozen games, the Jays have failed to score more than 4 runs. As a team, their strikeout percentage is sitting at 24%, while their walk percentage is at 8%. Both of which are incredibly poor. Moreover, they currently rank 26th in hits, 29th in home runs and extra base hits, 30th in RBI's, slugging, and OPS, and 27th in team batting average (if you're into that sort of thing). All not good.

    JA Happ's elbow is being examined after experiencing tightness in Saturday's game against the Orioles in the 5th inning. Elbow anything for a pitcher is always worrisome. All you can do is hope for the best while expecting the worst.

    Aaron Sanchez was placed on the 10-Day DL with blister issues that he has reportedly been battling for quite some time now. He is visiting a hand-specialist to analyze the issue which, hopefully, will be remedied for good.

    Roberto Osuna's velocity has been hovering around 92-93 mph; down from around 98 -  where we are used to seeing from the closer.

    This is the oldest team in baseball. So even if you are thinking about selling off the team at this point, it's going to be incredibly hard to as these are aging assets that come with huge contract commitments (I'll get to that in a bit). 

    According to Fan Graphs, their playoff odds currently sit at 17.8%.

    Lastly, the Jays are 2-10; the worst start in the history of the franchise and the worst in all of baseball right now.

    I'm more than sure there are other things that are making a good chunk of the fanbase pissed that I haven't listed, but those are the main things that are at the forefront. Look, all of these things are true and I'm not turning a blind eye towards them. I'll be the first to admit that the Jays are playing terribly and not like a team that began the season off of an ALCS appearance the previous year. I won't deny that it sucks to watch and that it is incredibly frustrating. None of us want to see the Jays play like this and none of us want the Jays to be dead-last in all of baseball (in fairness, St. Louis is 3-9 - just for comparison's sake). The hole that they are digging themselves in is becoming harder and harder to climb out of with the addition of each outing they lose. However, the reason why I (choose to) remain optimistic is because it's far from impossible to climb out of this hole, as there is still plenty of baseball to be played. There are 150 games left, so claiming that the season is "over" at this point is still ridiculously premature if we're basing this on pure mathematics (which... ya know, facts and all...). 

    But if I am to play this game - which I really don't want to - and entertain the notion that the Jays should begin thinking about selling off some of their assets (Buster Olney reports that rival executives are already planning on this), it's not nearly as easy as some fans want to  believe it is. This isn't fantasy baseball and players that are playing poorly cannot be moved for young ones with a lot of upside. I don't care how savvy the GM is, moving players that are not producing won't bring back much to write home about - if anything at all. Further, the players that teams would want to trade for are the same players that the fanbase does not want to see gone; thereby hyping up those Twitter thumbs even more than they already are. 

    IF things stay the way they are, players that (some) fans assume would be "so easy" to move - Martin, Bautista, and Tulowitzki -  aren't going to be in high demand by teams that would be considered buyers come the trade deadline. Teams that are in contention and are vying for a playoff spot want players that will produce and enable the club to make a strong push, not declining assets. IF we are to believe that the aforementioned players won't progress and flip the script on their offensive woes (I don't, btw), then they are going to be incredibly hard to liquidate. If you don't want them on your team, what makes you think other teams will? It's not like GMs of other teams only pay attention to the team they run. A player's production is much more valued than the appeal of their name, and there are very very very few exceptions when it comes to this.

    Thus, if you really want the Jays to be sellers (which you won't after I explain), the players that they would have a much easier time selling off are players like Donaldson, Liriano, Happ (so long as this injury isn't serious), Sanchez, Stroman, Pillar, Biagini, and mmmaaayyybbeee Morales. In other words, the players that are actually doing quite well and are producing for the team. Still want to sell?

    Look, no one is blowing up the Jays' phone-line begging to make a deal for players like Pearce or Carrera - it's not happening. Could they be packaged? Sure, but it would be combined with the latter set of players I listed that no one wants to see gone. I can't believe I'm even discussing this.

    So you have to choose. Would you rather wait it out and see if the former set of players - that are currently unmovable - start to turn it around and hit the way we know they are capable of hitting? Or are you so desperate to see the Jays start a fresh rebuild after only twelve games have passed that you'd be willing to trade away the latter set of players, eliminating all hope of another post-season appearance this year? There really is no in between.

    Once you start looking at things logically and cogently, you realize that it's just far too early to even consider anything close to a rebuild and/or fire-sale. It's only April, and it's not unlikely to see teams fall in slumps during other parts of the season. I mean, ask yourself - would you rather see the Jays go 2-10 at this point in the season or in September when they could be battling for a Wild Card spot? The answer is obvious.

    Yes, it sucks. Yes, it's frustrating. Yes, we hate seeing this. But let's at least let a few months of baseball pass so we can assess where the Jays are to evaluate what the future will likely hold. Any talk of trading away players or blowing up the team - it's just too soon for all of that and you're wasting your breath. Is it possible that what we are seeing is what the Jays are? Of course it is. But do we really believe that the team, collectively, will be this bad for the entire season? That's just silly.

    Further, 7 of the 10 games the Jays lost were only by 2 runs or less. Surely if the bats start to wake up, these results may start to reduce and the team can get right back in it. I'm not saying this will be easy, but it's certainly conceivable. Of course, the margin for error is slimming at a rapid pace, but it's not like the whole season has been put to rest because of the first 12 games. This isn't the NFL.

    I know you all hate hearing that it's early, so we can put that aside. Let's just give it some time to see exactly what it is we're dealing with before we make any rash and hasty decisions. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned, because I am. This isn't what any of us expected going into the season, so it's fair to wonder just what the hell is going on. But I also refuse to believe the following:

    • They're this bad.
    • The lack of Edwin screwed up the chemistry enough to lose 10 out of 12 games.
    • They're this bad.
    • We're witnessing an incredibly sharp decline in production from players like Bautista and Martin and this is what they will be henceforth.
    • They're this bad.

    If things stay status quo up until the All-Star break, then I'll start to consider other options. For now, let's just see what happens. Trust me - they're probably much more worried about it than we are and part of their craft is making adjustments. It can only get better from here. Remember, part of being a legit fan is sticking with your favorite team no matter what. So stick with them.

    We've got the Red Sox for three games starting tomorrow. For my sake, as a New Englander, let's flip the script and shove it down their throats.

    Please?


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    Game 9 of 162 Takeaways

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Orioles on April 13, 2017 - 

    • Donaldson got another start tonight as the DH, which meant Morales took over first base and Barney took over third. However, in the 6th inning, JD hit a double and clearly aggravated the calf injury he's been nursing. Odds are he'll be hitting the 10-Day DL to give it some much needed rest. I know he's a gamer and all, and I admire his grit, but we have a whole season to play here. Rest up.
    • Liriano got out of the 1st inning! The season may not be over after all!
    • There was NO WAY Donaldson came up short with that infield hit in the 4th. What's the point of replay if you don't see what's actually there?
    • Tulowitzki continued to hit well, grabbing 2 singles in 4 at-bats, striking out only once.
    • Speaking of Tulo, he made a terrific relay throw to Martin to prevent a 3rd overall run from being scored in the 5th, which was very pretty.
    • Liariano finished tonight's game pretty much the complete opposite way that he did in his first outing. You can tell he was in "pissed off mode" as he retired the first 7 batters he faced. However, in the 5th inning, the Orioles were beginning to figure him out, driving in 2 runs on 4 consecutive hits. That, and he seemed to be getting a bit fatigued. He finished tonight going 6.2 innings, throwing 91 pitches - 59 for strikes (65%) - giving up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, offering 10 K's (!), and only 2 walks (!!). His command was sharp during the first 4 innings, but then he seemed to unravel a bit in the 5th (as mentioned). However, a HUGE improvement from his last outing and it can only get better from here. Biagini came in for relief. 
    • The bats for the Jays were still asleep, for the most part, and Gausman didn't do them any favors. He pitched 6 innings, throwing 97 pitches - 63 for strikes (65%) - giving up 5 hits, 1 earned run, issuing 2 walks, and 3 K's. 
    • I'm not saying it's not frustrating. I'm not saying the Jays shouldn't be called out for the lack of offensive production. I'm not saying this won't be a difficult hole to dig out of. I'm just saying, relax. Even if this season ends up being unsuccessful, relax. We don't know how it will unfold, so just enjoy baseball while the weather is nice. 
    • Like I've been saying - Baseball is a very deceptive game.
    • Consider this your alarm, Jays Offense. Wake. Up.
    • Jays fall, 2-1.
    • Player of the Game: Francisco Liriano (10 strikeouts, regardless of the L).

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    Bro, Do You Even Baseball?

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    If there's one thing that I have noticed when it comes to today's culture, it's that if information and/or gratifications are not met instantaneously, people will become both frustrated and jaded. By doing so, it inevitably creates a sense of dissatisfaction and pessimism amongst an extremely vocal minority, creating a false narrative of how things are, based on assumptions and opinions. In other words, people that have no idea what they are talking about end up being the ones that are the loudest and think a large amount of pissing and moaning will make a lick of a difference when it comes to whatever they're pissing and moaning about. I'd love to be able to say that this isn't the case when it comes to some fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, but unfortunately it is.

    I don't want to make it seem like I think the vast majority of the Jays fanbase fits the aforementioned description; I don't. I've come to discover, first hand, that most fans of the Jays are smart people that are knowledgeable of the game of baseball and realistic when it comes to their expectations for their beloved team. Yet, the vocal minority that I mentioned seem to create this narrative that the season is over, the Jays suck, the front office should blow it up, and end their empty thesis with something bad about Shapiro and Atkins. It's like clockwork, and it's simply because they do not have a sufficient grasp on the the game of baseball and how losses in the beginning of the season are - quite literally - absolutely no different than losses at any other point in the season. The reason why these losses matter more to this vocal minority is because of the significance the games hold to them. In other words, because these losses occurred on Opening Day and the Home Opener, it hurts a little extra. But, honestly, in terms of the totality of wins and losses, it doesn't matter what day they happen to fall on. Wins are wins and losses are losses- whether they fall on Day 1, Canada Day, Canada Baseball Day, or Day 162. It sucks, don't get me wrong, but that's the breaks, kids.

    The problem, I think, is that the knee-jerk reaction is to equate baseball to other sports when it comes to the importance of every single game played in terms of playoff hopes for any given team. In the NFL, games matter - big time. If a team loses 6 out of their first 7 games, chances are they are throwing in the towel and have abandoned all post-season hopes. In the NBA, it's similar, but not to the same degree. However, if at any point in the season a team loses 6 out of 7 games, it's fair to wonder if it goes beyond a slump. Yet, in baseball, the optics are completely different. It's not even close to the same and anyone looking at the game of baseball with an NFL and/or NBA mentality is operating under a false equivalency. Such individuals are simply incorrect. There's no other way to put it.

    The game of baseball is long and the season itself echos this. Being told how long the season is doesn't make it any easier and is automatically rejected by this vocal minority. "I KNOW IT'S EARLY, BUT WWWAAAHHHHH!!! THEY SUCK SO MUCH!!!!" Yes, the Blue Jays have never started a season 1-6 before. Yes, we hate seeing them lose to teams that they should beat. Yes, we're reminded of the old saying that "you can't win a division in April, but you can certainly lose it." Yes, this is the oldest team in the MLB today. Yes, we all want the Jays to get to the postseason again. I hear you on all of this. But at no point should we reflect on all of those "yes" statements and conclude "Yes, the season is already a failure." or "Yes, the season is already over." It's not. Not even close.

    I, personally, cannot comprehend why it's so difficult to look on the bright side of things. Why people would want to watch their "favorite" team in such a pissed off mood baffles me. Baseball is a game to enjoy. It's a time to sit back, crack a few beers, and escape from the business of your everyday life and allow yourself to get lost into something so beautiful. The long season and the long run-time of baseball should be considered a blessing. Anything could change, and by no means are the Blue Jays stuck where the are for the remainder of the season. It's so absurd and so asinine to think otherwise that I feel silly for even having to type that sentence. There are a bunch of positives that this vocal minority is ignoring that ought to be paid attention to. Troy Tulowitzki is hitting well and may have even taken over as leader of this ball-club. Morales is finding his groove and ought to fit in to the role that dude with an imaginary bird had once upon a time (notice, I didn't say "replicate the role."). Although there have been warts, the pitching staff - specifically Stroman and Sanchez - has looked solid, leaving a very bright future for the front end of the Jays rotation for years to come. Josh Donaldson was able to pinch hit last night, despite not being in the starting lineup due to tightness in his calf - an injury that we should be happy isn't considered more serious. The bullpen, for the most part, looks reliable and may be something that carries the Jays during the course of the season. These are good things that you should embrace and not shadow with negativity.

    I'm not going to lie - I've been there. I used to be that kind of fan in my youth (I'm 31 now). I used to get crazy upset when I saw the Jays lose games early in the season and it completely sucked all of the enjoyment out of watching baseball. It wasn't until I realized that it wasn't the Jays losing that ruined it for me, but how I went about responding to each loss. When you dedicate yourself to a team - whatever team it is - you do so with the understanding that they will inevitably let you down from time to time. It happens. It's part of the game. If you can't handle seeing your team lose, maybe baseball isn't the sport for you. But if you sincerely stick with your team - through good times and bad, like a marriage - then you should know that it's not all doom and gloom. 

    I'm not saying that there isn't anything to be concerned with - there certainly is. I encourage everyone to take an objective look at what we have seen over the past 7 games. I'd be doing a terrible job if I didn't. But knowing how much time the Jays have to "figure it out," it's not anything to stress out over or prematurely call the season a failure as a result. That's beyond hasty. It's unreasonable. So just enjoy it!  It's only been barely over a week, guys. They'll figure it out. 

    I mean, c'mon bro - do you even lift baseball?

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    Game 7 of 162 Takeaways - The Home Opener

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Brewers on April 11, 2017 - 

    • Home Opener against a National League team? I mmmeeeaaannnn..... at least it's a home game? Right?
    • Josh Donaldson was held out of the starting lineup due to tightness in his calf. We are told that this is not in the same area in his calf as the one that held him out of a large portion of Spring Training. Gibby insinuated that he would be available to pinch hit if needed (he was in the 9th).
    • Roberto Osuna has been removed from the 10-Day DL and will be available out of the bullpen to close out tonight's contest. Call it a trade off.
    • Are the Brewers serious with these fan-boy socks?!
    • Not how you want to start off a game... at all.
    • Happ didn't have his best stuff tonight. He went 4.2 innings, giving up 4 earned runs, 9 hits, 8 K's, issuing 102 pitches - 70 of which for strikes (69%). He fell pretty flat in the zone, which lead to two costly home-runs. While 8 strikeouts is still very good and definitely a silver-lining in this outing, you hope he'll be able to rebound in the near future. Don't get hung up on this one, guys.
    • Peralta was sharp tonight, pitching 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts, throwing 112 pitches - 67 of which for strikes (60%). Tip your cap.
    • If there's anything to be encouraged with, it has to be Tulowitzki's bat coming completely alive, as he had two clutch hits, driving in every run for the Jays, going 2-3 with those two hits being doubles. 
    • Still not panicking. Neither should you.
    • I promise I'll have a more substantial piece this week.
    • Jays fall, 4-3.
    • Player of the Game: Troy Tulowitzki

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    Game 5 of 162 Takeaways

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Rays on April 8, 2017 - 

    • STOP PANICKING! That is, of course, if you're that type of person. I talked a whole lot about how it's just way too early to be this concerned about the Jays on this week's podcast. You can listen to me rant by clicking on the SoundCloud embedded link at the bottom of this piece (See? I make it easy for you!).
    •  Chris Archer vs. Aaron Sanchez = gold.
    • We received word that Roberto Osuna would be good to go for the Home Opener Tuesday. Also, Casey Lawrence was brought up to the Jays from Buffalo to assist in the bullpen, if needed (he was).
    • Archer was solid, pitching a no-no until the 5th inning as Morales hit a leadoff single to right. However, in the 7th, Archer looked to be a bit tired as he gave up two consecutive walks to Donaldson and Bautista, as well as an RBI single by Tulowitzki. Archer finished the day pitching 7.2 innings, throwing 114 pitches, 72 of which for strike (63%), giving up 5 hits, 8 K's, 3 walks, and 2 earned runs. I'm sort of surprised that Archer wasn't pulled earlier than he was, but it worked out in the Jays benefit. In the 8th, Archer gave up a lead-off walk to Martin, who eventually ended up scoring the 2nd run of the game for the Jays off of a 2-out single by Donaldson.
    • Sanchez was equally solid and you figured going in it would end up being a pitcher's duel. His only earned run was an RBI single to Corey Dickerson off a breaking ball down the heart of the plate. Sanchez finished the night pitching 7 innings, throwing 101 pitches, 59 of which for strikes (58%), giving up 4 hits, 1 earned run, 6 K's, 1 error, and 3 walks. The velocity hovered around the mid 90's, even in the 7th inning, so he didn't show any signs of fatigue. It was great to see such a back-and-forth game by two fantastic pitchers. Both received no decisions.
    • I like how Pillar has adopted a much more patient approach at the plate. However, there may be such a thing as too patient and he may need to find that happy-medium. Granted, Archer was pitching tonight so maybe it was more being locked up by his stuff than being reserved. Also granted, he was able to fight back from an 0-2 count in the 7th to not only a) build it up to a 2-2 count, but also b) grab a single as well. It's only a matter of time, so be patient.
    • The Jays continued to do the first-base-left-field-switcharoo, as Carrera pinch-ran for Smoak in the 8th. Pearce took over first base duties as Carrera replaced him in left.
    • Biagini was the first out of the bullpen for the Jays in the 8th. Unfortunately, he gave up an RBI to Steven Souza Jr. in the same inning to tie up the game at 2 runs a piece. He was sent back out in the 9th and was able to get himself out of a serious jam.
    • Another game of extra innings. 
    • Side note: Is it just me or does the crowd at the Trop sound louder than the amount of people that are actually there? I dunno...
    • Grilli was summoned in the 10th and it was apparent that he didn't have his best stuff tonight, but was able to get out of a jam in the 10th (super intense first-pounding included).
    • Casey Lawrence made his debut in the 11th and... not the type of impression you want to leave to those that are prematurely calling the season a failure for the Jays. I get why people would want to second-guess the decision to intentionally walk two batters to load the bases with Longoria up. But when you think about it, it makes sense as it was the best opportunity to get a double play when there was already a man on third. Lawrence ended up walking Brad Miller with the bases loaded to end the game. BUT HEY! Jays have an opportunity to take the split tomorrow before going home. 
    • Jays fall 3-2.
    • Player of the Game: Aaron Sanchez

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    SOT6 Podcast - Episode 8

    Episode 8 of the SOT6 Podcast is now up. In it, I expand on the news regarding the Toronto Blue Jays that has occurred this past week. Topics are:

    • Opening Day thoughts
    • Tampa thoughts.
    • Francisco Liriano.
    • DON'T PANIC!
    • Shout-out to Ryan DiFrancesco at JaysDroppings.com

    Music:
    Intro: "Cash Rules" by Ari de Niro
    Raptors Background: "Air" by Tab & Anitek
    Intermission: "Light-Year" by Anitek
    Blue Jays Background: "The Girl" by Roulet

    As always, I appreciate your ears and your word of mouth for this podcast and website. Honestly, sharing is the best thing you can do for any independent blogger/podcaster, so I am in your debt if you do this for me. I'm trying my best to keep this podcast completely ad-free, as I know how annoying it is to constantly hear ads about Square Space, or Harry's Shave Club, or Blue Apron, or whatever. I'm not about that life. I do this completely out of my own pocket. I do this for fun, enjoyment, and the opportunity to connect with fellow fans, such as yourself.

    You can subscribe on iTunes by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking the iTunes icon. Or, you can subscribe on SoundCloud by following the same instructions, just with the SoundCloud icon (obviously). Whatever's easier for you. Any suggestions, criticisms, or compliments can be issued in the comment section of this page. Or, hit me up on Twitter @ACorsair21, or @SouthOfThe6ix (or both!). I'm always looking to improve and cater to you guys, the audience. 

    Thanks for listening!

     

     

    Josh Donaldson Demonstrates The Art of Being Yourself

    Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


    "When I step on that field, I want everybody in that ball park to know that I'm the best one on that field."

    I touched on this in yesterday's Takeaways after the game concluded, but after watching the extended video feature on Josh Donaldson by the MLB Network (and rewatching it, and rewatching it, and rewatching it) I think this deserves its own focus. If you have yet to watch the video (WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING!), you can do so by clicking here. It's 10 minutes, but a must for any Blue Jays fan.

    The video is hosted by former Blue Jay, Mark DeRosa and it's quite candid. Basically, the piece completely humanizes Donaldson, as he discusses his journey as a professional ball player. Yet, more compelling than the details of the hard work he put in to achieve that elite status that he has earned today, the most important thing that I got out of the whole video was the underlining importance of staying true to yourself and, above all else, the fearlessness in which one should express it.

    DeRosa lays down the foundation, describing the contrast to how Donaldson was when he first walked into the Chicago Cubs' clubhouse as a rookie to the super-stardom he has blossomed into. DeRosa offers the tag "rebel" to best describe how Donaldson is today. Donaldson attributes much of his demeanor to his mother, who encouraged him to stay true to himself. The importance of this was exemplified, as Donaldson described his attitude as a young player in the game by striving to avoid stepping on people's toes. By doing so, it inhibited his natural personality and resulted in poor performances on the field; enough so that he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2008 (the headline for the trade read "John Donaldson traded to Oakland." FOR REAL!). 

    The rest of the piece goes into how Donaldson began to buck the trend of listening to the hitting instructor during his time in Oakland, while he instead started to trust himself and in his own abilities at the plate. It was this type of mental shift that helped propel him to an MVP-caliber year and be the player that we are all familiar with today. I don't wish to focus much on the mechanics, as breaking down the personal approach and swing Donaldson developed would be a complete disservice towards him and his incredible abilities. Seriously, I'm not even close to qualified to analyze that. I don't want to downplay how fascinating this part of the video was though, as he gets real philosophical when it comes to his hitting approach; specifically his rhythm and timing. He just does a much better job explaining it than I ever could. More reason to watch the video.

    The main point I'd like to sit on here is the psychological one Donaldson brought up. Donaldson stressed how important it was to trust himself and, if he wasn't going to make it as a professional ball player, he was going to fail on his own terms and by his own direction. It goes to show the value in trusting your own intuition in order to pave your own path towards success. I can only imagine how much of a cluster it is for players as they develop. There are probably countless different instructors telling a guy something that contradicts the previous instructions, leading to overthinking, over analyzing, and perhaps paralysis at the plate. Donaldson seems to elude to this without fully admitting it, suggesting that he abandoned most or all input and trust his own process.

    This isn't something that it easy to do. Imagine going into work, having a pretty good grasp on what you're doing, but you have 4-5 different higher-ups telling you to do the same thing 4-5 different ways; all while implying that "if you don't do it this way, you'll never succeed. You won't make it." That can be not only disheartening, but ridiculously intimidating! So it takes a giant set of balls to ignore those that are supposed to "know" how to "fix" you and trust in yourself. It takes an enormous amount of confidence to go all-in with your own instincts to keep your head above water and thrive. This is Josh Donaldson.

    As mentioned, DeRosa throws out words to describe Donaldson - rebel, swagger, confidence, etc., and he's not wrong. Often times when we see players act confident, we find it off-putting and regard it as unnecessary showboating. Yet, after listening to how Donaldson became what he is right now (for our team mind you), how he pretty much self-taught himself to greatness, he has more than earned the right to bleed swagger and confidence all over the field. He has more than earned the right to be called "The Bringer of Rain." He has more than earned his right to demand respect from players around the league, as well as those that work in the media. He has earned the right to be the self-described "Dream Crusher" by "crush[ing] dreams when [he's] on defense by taking hits away." There's a fine line between annoying AF arrogance and confidence. Josh Donaldson walks that line just fine.

    Maybe it's because he's a Blue Jay. Maybe it's because I've grown accustomed to seeing Donaldson on my television screen during the spring and summer (and fall!). But there is something incredibly compelling about this personal philosophy. Often times we look at most players as statistics; a body that occupies a given team's jersey until their services are no longer required - then it's on to the next one. We often see them as replaceable vessels that ought to serve our interests as fans, as a means for entertainment. Yet, when seeing a piece like this that demonstrates the importance and art of trusting who you are, while at the same time taking pride in that, it's hard to not be inspired. 

    "When the real lion steps up, the other lions walk away..." 

    You be you, Josh.


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