Posted tagged ‘starting rotation’

Seriously, I really want Aaron Sanchez to get his groove back

February 25, 2019

Honestly, I’m not dreading the upcoming regular season. Yes, the Jays are likely going to be akin to the 2011/2012/2013 Houston Astros. It’s going to be ugly, save for Vladdy’s debut. But I’m okay with that. With a pair of rose-coloured glasses, I intend to treat 2019 as a season of development and teachable moments.

In fact, the only amount of worry I have is for Aaron Sanchez. Seriously, I really want Aaron Sanchez to get his groove back.

Do you recall Spring Training 2016? Sanchez showed up with 25 pounds of added muscle and a very confident disposition. The kid wanted to be a starter and was determined to make it happen. Don’t know what it was about his work effect, but my gut was telling me we were in store for something special.

Not only did Sanchez deliver, but he captained a starting rotation that carried the entire team to another exciting playoff run.

Sanchez was an artist out on the mound. You’d fall to your knees and weep at how he dominated the competition. No inning limit – though a compelling storyline – was going to stop him. He got the Jays into the postseason and picked up an ERA title along the way. Aaron Sanchez was an elite starter.

And then….he was robbed at gunpoint by a blister and a suitcase. We were robbed too.

2017 and 2018 were rough years for Sanchez. Having him on the sidelines was my biggest frustration two seasons ago and the one of the biggest reasons why they finished with 76 wins.

Imagine if Sanchez was fully healthy in 2017. Maybe they would’ve had at least 10 more wins. Maybe they would’ve competed for a wild card spot. Maybe things would be different.

Alas, dust in the wind.

So here is Aaron Sanchez caught in a baseball version of purgatory. It seems like there’s a chasm between what he was in 2016 and where he is now. I’m just hoping he can close that gap.

A recent Shi Davidi article on Sportsnet.ca highlighted his strategy. He’s studying film and correcting bad habits caused by last year’s finger injury. It reminds me of that same determination from 2016.

If he can regain his form, his path will be clearer. Of course, that path can lead one of two ways: Either he’ll be an integral part of the rebuild or he’ll be traded for younger talent. I’m actually conflicted with what I’d prefer. But I know this: A healthy and optimum performing Aaron Sanchez will make things less murky. The less murkier, the more he can move forward.

I don’t want him to be a one hit wonder. I don’t want him to be lost in obscurity. The Jays can lose games and be the joke of the league. That won’t bother me. What will be upsetting is if Sanchez’s once-promising career fades away.

It can’t happen. Just like Ricky Romero, it would be tragically unfair.

ER

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Short, scribbled thoughts about J.A. Happ

July 17, 2018

I’m thrilled Mr. Happ is representing the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game. In a season that’s been on a steep decline since late April, there have been very few positive story arcs. J.A. Happ is one of those arcs.

As he prepares to stand with the game’s best at Nationals Park, I’ve been reminiscing about his two tenures with the Jays.

I’ve been thinking about the attempt to put him in the bullpen when he first arrived in 2012. Happ put his foot down and argued he was a starter. Ultimately, he was not wrong.

I’ve been thinking about that scary night at Tropicana Field when a line drive struck the side of his head. He recovered, thank goodness.

I’ve been thinking about how some freaked out when he came back to the team as a free agent. Getting Happ instead of resigning David Price was an outrage to certain fans.

I’ve been thinking about Happ’s 20 wins in 2016. Yes, that stat is no longer a sexy accomplishment. However, that 2016 team would not have succeeded without the triple threat of Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada.

I’ve been thinking about milk in a bag. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

The first chapter was noteworthy and the second one – quite successful – will likely conclude before the end of the month. There might even be a third chapter.

Regardless, I sincerely hope he makes a positive contribution wherever he winds up. Fingers are crossed for a World Series ring.

ER

Short, scribbled thoughts about Brett Cecil

November 21, 2016

I guess my earliest memory of Brett Cecil would have been around 2007-2008. All the bloggers were writing about two specific “prospects” in the Jays’ system: Cecil and Travis Snider.

He debuted in 2009 with a shaved head and wearing fancy sports goggles. There were some teachable moments.

There was a match against the Yankees where he threw a ball out of play, but forgot to call ‘time out.’ New York, being such savy veterans, took advantage.

Another time, he entered the dugout after a bad performance. It prompted Cito Gaston to walk over to the young hurler and have a heart-to-heart. Cito was calm and father-like with his message. It was critical, but also encouraging. It was something Cecil needed to hear.

Surley lost amongst the discussion of Cecil’s departure would be his strong 2010 performance. He started 28 games, posting a 15-7 record, with a 4.22 ERA and 1.326 WHIP. Had it not been for Jose Bautista’s incredible offensive outburst that season, Cecil would’ve been the best part of 2010.

However, things fell apart in 2011-2012. Cecil pitched poorly and it clearly affected him. Countless times he left a poor performance and threw a tantrum. Things were smashed and tossed, with plenty of profanity. I attended one of his starts in 2011 that didn’t go well. I followed him back to the dugout on the jumbotron. As soon as he started venting his frustrations, the screen quickly cut away to a video. It was as if the Skydome control room wasn’t familiar with Cecil’s tantrums, which had unfortunately became his calling card.

Ultimately, he was sent down to AA New Hampshire. It wasn’t as bad of a demotion as one would think. At the time, the Jays’ AAA affiliate was in the offence-friendly Pacific Coast League. It only made sense for Cecil to pitch with the Fishercats, where the results wouldn’t be skewed.

But things turned around in 2013 when Cecil successfully reinvented himself as a reliever. He had a sparkling 2.83 ERA and 1.104 WHIP. It was a performance that earned an appearance at the All-Star game. In a season that was ripe with unfulfilled promise and disappointment, Cecil and fellow reliever Steve Delabar were the lone bright stars.

While Delabar was unable to match his 2013 performance, Cecil has maintained his course. Yes, he had moments of imperfection. However, when things mattered the most, Cecil got the job done. Never forget the strong finishes he posted in 2015 and this past season.

Now he’s off to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m sad and disappointed to see him leave, but I certainly wish him the very best. I’m grateful not only  for what he did wearing a Blue Jay uniform, but to also witness him go from a young man full of emotion and blossom into a mature and professional veteran. His development happened right in front of us.

My lasting memory of Brett Cecil was after game three of the 2016 ALDS. Amongst the incredible euphoria, Cecil was on the field with his three little children and wife, Jennifer. As the celebration went on, Cecil lined up his children for a family photo. It was a wonderful moment and he couldn’t have picked a better setting.

ER


Episode 72: Crunch Time

August 18, 2016

August has been a busy month for the Blue Jays.

April Whitzman shares her thoughts on several topics surrounding the team.

Episode 72 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

Getting ready for the final….stretch.

Short, scribbled thoughts on the non-waiver trade deadline dealsย 

August 2, 2016

Honestly, I have no time to post an in-depth analysis of the three trades. If you want something thoroughly researched and presented, go somewhere else. Seriously, I won’t hold it against you. 

Anyway…

Hutch: Sorry to see Drew go. The potential is still there, but he has struggled with his consistently. We have seen him at his best and also witnessed him at his worst. Hopefully, a change of scenery and the chance to work with Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Searage  will set him on the right path. 

Jesse Chavez: Started well, but has struggled of late. It’s funny. There were some who suggested back in April/May that Chavez get a chance to start. Seems those same people were now begging the Blue Jays to get rid of him. 

Scott Feldman: Good numbers this season. According to Baseball-Reference, he has a 2.90 ERA in 26 games thus far. As long as he holds the fort, I’m happy. 

Mike Bolsinger: Good 2015 numbers. From all the hot takes out there, looks like he’s the “sixth starter” if needed. 

Francisco Liriano: I certainly like this acquisition, but also concerned. He has not pitched well this season. Baseball-Reference shows a current ERA of 5.46, as well as a 4.40 ERA in seven American League seasons. But as BP Toronto’s Matt Gwin pointed out, Liriano has put up some productive results when pitching to Russell Martin. Here’s hoping that will continue. Of course, this also means Aaron Sanchez is about to move to the bullpen. Personally, I prefer/want Sanchez in the rotation. However, it feels like the Jays had never intended to change their original plan for Sanchez. 

ER


Episode 68: The Great Sanchez Debate

June 23, 2016

Gibby says it’s “gonna happen;” but is moving Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen the right thing to do?

Joanna Cornish of HumandChuck.com shares her thoughts on this hot-button topic.

Episode 68 Direct MP3 Download

…or try the embedded SoundCloud player.

 

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