Jays Climb out of Basement, Media Swoons
Freed from having to explain why Baltimore is in first place for some unfathomable reason, the Toronto media has become downright giddy about the Jays after their recent run. First game with more than five runs (about league average) in three weeks? The bats are out of their funk! My man Cathal calls generously calls last night the “most complete victory of the season“, when the first 8 innings (until the Rays bullpen remembered for the first time this season it is the Rays’ freaking bullpen) were the same incredibly old story. Heck, Gibbons is even getting managerial prose written in his honour.
Still, the bats are still as flaccid as a bad dick joke- the only change has been heroic pitching and not losing every game by one run. The Jays scored 15 runs in the last five games of their 6-game losing streak, and then the exact same number over their recent 5 game winning streak. Overbay has started hitting the ball hard, but overall the team hasn’t even shown doubles power, which they ranked third in the majors last season and are now third last. I think a fairly decent number of people owe Mickey Brantley an apology for wildly overstating the damage his “swing for the fences and pull every pitch” mentality was supposedly having…
While we’re giving 90% of the credit for the performance of career performance to their current coaches, Brad Arnsberg is clearly a god because Marcum is pitching his face off. Not only is Marcum striking out a ton of batters, but the two-seamer he was working on in spring training is clearly working out for him. Last season, he was the only real flyball starter the Jays had, but he’s the other way around now (and last night induced a stunning 15 GB to 4 FB). Maybe he can have a talk with Burnett seeing that A.J. has ditched his sinking fastball for a mediocre cutter.
Unfortunately, the pitch f/x guys were sleeping last night (how often must I apply for that job?!), so this chart of Marcum is just a rerun of the beautiful rainbow of pitches that Marcum throws when he’s got his game.
People always get on the scouts and analysts (who were actually cautiously optimistic about what he did last season) for not being able to predict that anyone could ever make it without a 90 mph fastball. The truth is that while everyone loves the idea of the crafty righty getting by on guile and changing speeds, they are incredibly, incredibly, rare. Gibbons last night said: “A lot of guys have won in this game without overpowering stuff”. Ok, so name half a dozen in the majors right now who are above-average pitchers…occasionally strike out 9 in a game…ever, ever, have no and one-hit bids…are we down to one yet?