Tuesday 31 May 2011

NOW are there any questions?

Yeah, so remember yesterday when I said that the game Sunday was a really bad curbstomping?  I think yesterday's game trumps Sunday's.  That was fun.  This offense just seems to be pounding liner after liner, which is always good considering the way they should be, given the career numbers of Patterson, how badly Rivera has regressed in the last couple years, how completely awful Jayson Nix is, etc.  It seems completely outrageous to assume that this can keep up, but I'm going to enjoy the shit out of this while it lasts.

And the Joje got that hypothetical meaningless monkey off his back, so that's good.  But really, it's a stupid streak that shouldn't be mentioned ever, and I'm not going to go scrub his balls because he finally picked up a win, just the same way I didn't scrub Hill's or Encarnacion's the other day for doing something that they should have done weeks ago.  Simply, Jojo was effective against what is a pretty bad true-talent team, no matter what the Indians' record is.  This is not a sustainable run, this is not a good team, and without Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, things should be (are?) hopeless for them to succeed.  They're probably a 75-win true talent team that ran really hot to start the year, and if they win 45% of their games for the rest of the year (75 wins = .450 win percentage) then the season should be looked at as a success.  This is the exact opposite of the Red Sox, who started 0-6 and everyone shit their pants, but look where they are now.

Anyway, the thing about Jojo getting that win exciting me... it's not necessarily because he's pitched poorly in each of his last 29 starts, because he hasn't, in fact, he's actually been pretty good in 4 of his last 5, but that's not what I'm getting at (though he wasn't amazing last night, he was simply decent and up against a below average team that didn't show up).  If the Jays decide that they want to turn him in to something via trade, it seems a whole lot more likely that someone will bite on him if he has a winning record, whether that does or does not mean jack shit.

Jojo is the perfect example of why pitching wins and losses don't mean anything; he's found a way to get losses/not get wins, whether it be through a lack of run support, blown saves, unearned runs, or just simply being bad.  Any pitcher, especially a stopgap 5th starter reclamation project who has been sent to the minors time and time again, is going to have a rough outing here and there, everyone is going to get a save blown, everyone is going to get no run support here and there, and so on.  It's a dumb streak, and it's too bad that he still has that little record stuck beside his name, because it's going to be hard to trade "a guy who just can't win games", just in case any dinosaur in a front office thinks that way.

It would be awesome if he could put up a few consistent starts in a row.  In his 11 starts this season, he's got 6 good ones, 1 meh one, and 4 outright bad ones, though he last 6 starts include 4 of those good starts.  If he can keep stringing together some decent pitching over the next month or so, he could turn in to something.  Better yet, if the Jays put up some run support for the dude (before yesterday, he had received a maximum of 3 runs of support), he might be able to win a game or two that he shouldn't have and really trick some fools.

But hey, here's something I've been thinking of over the last few hours.  Let's say that, for whatever reason, be it injury, trade, someone sucking, whatever..., that Jojo is still in the rotation 8 weeks from now, leading up to the two weeks before the trade deadline.  Let's say that his typical performance falls somewhere within what he's done in his last 5 starts (i.e. 1 dumpster fire, 3 goods, 1 decent, and more importantly, 3-4 more full seasons of team control), I'm not completely convinced they give up on him all that cheaply.  AA clearly saw something there when he swung a deal to acquire him in the Yunel trade.  Obviously the Jojo we've seen in his good appearances is what AA saw, and it's definitely a work-in-progress type of thing.

Obviously this is all just hypotheticals, and I'm sure that he's gone/relegated to the bullpen by the trade deadline, if not sooner.  Given the way AA likes to work, something is certainly coming with this pitching staff.  Those relievers that he built up during the offseason are going to turn in to draft picks (as of yesterday, and this is about 99% certain to change, pending free agents Shawn Camp (Type A), Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco (all type B's) will either turn in to picks or still be (moderately) effective pieces of the bullpen next year, which could certainly boost value.  Casey Jannsen and Mark Rzepcynski, given the way they've pitched this year, will almost certainly have a spot on the team in the coming years, not to mention the guys that are coming up through the farm (i.e. there's no room in the starting rotation for guys like Brad Mills, but he could find a bullpen role).  Whether or not someone is interested in Jojo before the end of the season remains to be seen, but he could definitely be a guy to fill a hole created by a bullpen trade.

To be blunt, people fucking love lefties coming out of the bullpen.  Jojo has pretty decent splits, and, as a starter, has a BAA of right around .230 vs. lefties, which would likely drop if he became a bullpen specialist (batting average against typically rises after multiple meetings in a game, and is thus more likely to drop in a relief role).  .230 obviously isn't anything super amazing as a LOOGY (Lefty opposition only guy), but again, that should drop.  I dunno, he's probably a waiver deal.

Okay, so about that game yesterday... I'm not giving Jojo the Zaun head.  I already said that I wouldn't, and am not about to go back on my word.  Frankly, I was most impressed by Rajai Davis' game.  When he actually hits the ball/gets on base, he's among the most entertaining players in baseball, given his speed, both in the field and on the bases, and his awareness.  Some of the jumps he gets, his stolen bases, and what stuck out to me yesterday, the ability to take the extra base when there's a momentary lapse in concentration (I'm talking about the Orlando Cabrera error, a.k.a. the Orlando Cabrerror, in which he scored from 2nd base on a grounder to the 2nd base hole.  He also managed to go 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.  Zauner.

Brandon Morrow pitches tonight.  I'm just waiting on him to really crush a team's soul.  He's among the most dominant pitchers in the league when he's really on, which happens only on occasion.  His last start looked like a pretty big step in the right direction though.  Mitch Talbot goes for Cleveland, which is good, given that he sucks.  He's got an ERA close to 6, which is always good to see, especially when the good guys are swinging the bats as well as they are.

Couple items of note: Adam Lind had 4 AB's in his first rehab start yesterday, and is expected back in the lineup by the weekend.

Grady Sizemore will play centerfield for Cleveland tonight.  He's been out with a wonky ankle I think.

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