Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Thoughts: Can Blue Jays get back in race?
By David Schoenfield
Quick thoughts on Tuesday's slate of games ...
- The Blue Jays belted three home runs off the Rockies' Jeff Francis (why is he still in their rotation?) in an 8-3 win, their seventh in a row. Now 34-36, the Jays are 8.5 out of first place -- although still in last place in the AL East. Can they really climb back into the playoff race? Well, let's do some quick math. With 92 games left, the Jays will have to go 58-34 the rest of the way to win 90, a .630 winning percentage (or 102-win pace over 162). Jose Reyes has begun his rehab in Class A, so he'll be back soon. Brandon Morrow suffered the same forearm soreness in his rehab start on Monday so his return remains down the road. Currently, we have the Jays' odds of making the playoffs at 17 percent; the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report had the Jays at six percent before Tuesday. While catching Boston will be difficult (if Boston plays .500 ball, the Jays have to win 17 more in a row to catch them), I think the Jays can make it an interesting summer in Toronto and get in the wild-card hunt.
- Here's Adam Rubin's report on Zack Wheeler's impressive major league debut for the Mets. Wheeler or Gerrit Cole? My quick impression after watching both debuts is that I'd take Wheeler first, although one follower on Twitter suggested Wheeler's box score line looked like a Daniel Cabrera line: five walks, seven strikeouts. He certainly has to improve his command but he has a lot of life and run on his fastball. Cole's heater, on the other hand, is very straight, one reason he has just three strikeouts through his first two starts. Anyway, one or two starts don't mean anything, other than at least Mets fans two days a week the rest of the year to watch exciting baseball. Here's a good breakdown on Cole from Andrew Shen of Beyond the Box Score.
- Speaking of the Mets, Matt Harvey was dominant in the first game of their doubleheader sweep of the Braves, taking a no-hitter into the seventh before tiring. He struck out Jason Heyward in the first on a pitch clocked at 100.1 mph -- the fastest pitch by a starting pitcher this year.
- The legend of Paul Goldschmidt continues to grow as he hit a walk-off homer to lift the Diamondbacks to a 3-2 win over the Marlins. That's five go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later. That's how you win MVP Awards.
- Nice win for the Pirates, a 4-0 shutout of the Reds to hand Mat Latos his first loss. The Pirates are scraping together a rotation right now with A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Jeanmar Gomez all on the DL, but Charlie Morton, in his second start since returning from elbow surgery, stepped up with 5.1 scoreless innings. It was the Pirates' MLB-leading 12th shutout. By the way, over the last calendar year, Pedro Alvarez leads all NL hitters with 33 home runs.
- Mark Simon wrote about Carlos Gomez's ability to go back on balls last week. He did this Tuesday in Houston, running up that ridiculous hill to make one of the great catches of the season.
- Jonny Gomes hit a dramatic walk-off homer to give the Red Sox a doubleheader sweep over the Rays. Don't miss the punt he gives his helmet as he trots home.
- Tough loss for the Padres to see their seven-game winning streak end as the Giants scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to win 5-4. Juan Perez, filling in for the injured Angel Pagan, had two big plays, throwing a runner out at home and hitting the go-ahead single.
- Yu Darvish is winless over his past six starts -- but he has a 2.66 ERA. Run support, my friends.
- Another rough night for Josh Hamilton in the Angels' 3-2, 10-inning loss to Seattle. He went 0-for-5, grounded into three double plays, and struck out with runners in scoring position in the seventh and ninth. He's hitting .213/.269/.388 and over a calendar year is hitting .235 with a .302 OBP.