ALCS Preview

ALCS Preview

If you are wondering exactly who the Cleveland Indians are I will explain.  They are a well-managed scrappy bunch of hitters that have a fantastic bullpen, and suspect starting pitching.  Sounds oddly familiar to the team that the Jays lost to last year.  What seems to be different about this Jays team is that they are able to answer when the opposition puts up some runs.  Even though I was secretly rooting to play the Indians instead of the Red Sox; this will be no cake-walk to the World Series.

Let’s start with where the Jays have the biggest advantage – starting pitching.  The Jays have 4 starters that they could throw out there for game 1 without any question.  Estrada, Happ, Sanchez, and Stroman.  If I were in Gibby’s shoes I would throw out the exact same rotation to the Indians that they threw at the Rangers.  The Indians have Cory Kluber.  He’s a former Cy Young winner that has had a very good season, but the Jays have some decent numbers against him.  They have two very good pitchers that are both injured currently in Salazar and Carrasco.  The Jays are definitely dodging a bullet with this.  Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer are the other two starters that the Jays will most certainly see.  This is a heavy edge for the Jays and they will need to jump out to leads early in games to capitalize on this.  Salazar has a chance to be back for this series, but this is still a big question mark for the Indians.

Bullpen – The difference in the bullpen will be Andrew Miller.  He’s an absolute nightmare for lefties and righties.  The lumbering lefty came to the Indians in a deadline deal with the Yanks, and has been lights out since his arrival.  Cody Allen is a solid closer and Bryan Shaw is a very good 7th inning arm.  The Jays will need to play ahead to stay away from the back end of the Indians bullpen.  Roberto Osuna is the key for the Jays.  He has been dynamite.  Gibby has relied quite heavily on his 21 year old closer, and will probably continue to do so at least until Benoit is back from injury.  The one area that the Jays are really hurting is situational lefty spots.  Cecil has been inconsistent, Liriano is a starter by nature and might still not be ready to go, and Loup – well is Loup.  This is the one area that the Indians can expose the Jays.

Lineup – This will be more evenly matched then people assume.  The Indians are excellent at getting on base.  They walk a pile, and don’t strike out nearly as much as the Jays do.  Where the Jays can excel is once again by hitting with power.  Other than Napoli the Indians don’t have a true power hitter.  They will walk, single, and double you to death.  This lineup is good from top to bottom.  Not an easy out in there. On the other side we have seen murderer’s row heat up (minus Bautista’s game 3).  If we continue to see Donaldson, Encarnacion, Bautista, and Tulo hitting the way that they currently are the Indians will have a tough time dealing with this Jays lineup.  This is the Jays that I was expecting from opening day.  A quick strike offence that could erase 2 and 3 run leads with one swing of a bat.  The Indians current set of starters other than Kluber are not strike out heavy pitchers.  They are finesse pitchers that will try to pick corners constantly, and make you get yourselves out.

In the end I don’t think the Indians have the depth at starting pitching to make it out of this series.  With a healthy Salazar and Corrasco I think they would have the edge against the Jays.  The Jays will continue to hit the ball well, and the Indians will have a tough time keeping up against the best staff in the AL.

Jays in 6

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Thoughts of a Childless, Middle-aged Man

I don’t have children.  I don’t want children.  I have no problem with children, and you may have as many as you like.

As a married 38 year old man I have had to answer this question constantly.  “Why don’t you have any children?”  I am sure this question has come up for Sara more often; when you have been married for a number of year’s people assume that there must be something wrong with either yourself or your spouse.  Some people are built to be mothers and fathers.  Enjoy every aspect of it.  And others *insert a picture of Sara and I giving the thumbs up* are not.

I am sure that this was a more difficult conversation decades ago.  Sara and I haven’t had that tough of a time with it.  Most people can see the type of personality that we have as a couple, and know that having a child would probably rip at every fabric that makes us tick.  The pressures seem to come mainly from a couple of different areas from me internally.  Needing somebody that I can live vicariously through, and needing somebody to carry on my name or legacy.

These are two things that can go in the nice to have category, but cannot be used to pull the trigger so to speak.  Sure, it would be great if I had a little boy that was instantly 12 years old and absolutely loved baseball, golf, and hockey.  Was a straight “A” student, extremely popular without being a douche, and went on to be successful in every single aspect of his entire life.  Just came straight out of the womb like that.  Sign me up for that exchange program.  Trading in Donald Trump for that scenario would be ideal.

There are other reasons why bearing children does not interest me.  I have no interest in raising anybody into this world that we have created.  It’s an utter mess.  Violence of course, but more importantly ignorance in both religion and global warming.  If you had a car with a tire that had a 3 inch hole in it and there were no other tires available.  Would you drive the car, and think to yourself “that hole won’t get any bigger.”  Or would you attempt to summon somebody from the sky that possibly doesn’t exist to give you a new tire.”  Or, the third option.  Give up a small amount of your empire to try to seal the hole in the tire?

As I grow older it’s strange.  You expect to have that moment when everything just clicks.  Knowing exactly what needs to be done to allow a 60 year old Daryl everything that he could possibly desire.  This moment hasn’t struck yet.  The set plan that I see on every Freedom 55 commercial is the following.  “Yeah, saving 25% of my $100,000/year job is easy.  Retirement is right around the corner.”  Unfortunately, many people are working multiple jobs to make ends meet for their $500,000 mortgage on that 2 bedroom bungalow that was half of that price 5 years ago.

There is another issue.  The rat-race is real when you get that first grown-man job.    Maybe it’s immaturity or maybe it’s boredom of the everyday.  I just don’t have a set schedule.  To come home every day and follow up on the latest seasons of the 9 different shows that I am currently watching sounds like an absolute nightmare to me.  And now that I have a 9-5 Monday-Friday grown up job I feel myself falling into this pattern.  It’s terrifying.  Is this the beginning of my middle-aged boredom?

What’s next?  Coming up on 40, don’t have kids to keep myself occupied.  Many of you that do have kids would just love a few hours of free-time.  Hearing a DINK (dual income no kids) describe his issues of having too much free time must really grind your gears.  Can you let me get back to my middle-aged whining now?  Geez, so selfish.   It’s the complete opposite side of the spectrum.  Sara and I are fairly active, but my tendency to not be able to relax can drive her crazy at times.  There are instances where I swear that she wishes that I had too much to drink the night before so my need for activities would slow down.

Even though I don’t have any answers whatsoever I still try new things out to fill the hole.   Is this the canyon that people constantly try to fill with children?  Maybe it is.  Some people fill it with alcohol or drugs.  Others fill it with sports and volunteering.  I don’t have a passion.  There are many things that I enjoy doing, and I feel that I am a well-rounded person – is there a pie chart of things that will keep me occupied and content?

Most of this is a ramble.  Confusion of a middle-aged, middle-classed, childless male that would like somebody to access his brain to create a calendar of events for the next 25 years of his life.  If I only had an extremely wonderful event planner that worked in that area of my brain.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.  This is one holiday that I absolutely adore.

John Gibbons: The Encino Man

I am not really sure when I got off of the South Park train, but I am sure glad that I am back on.  Weekly story lines that portray to the exact things that are going on in the world at that exact time. Using characters from the show to portray the stupidity of the human race.  It doesn’t get any more genius than that.

Are the Hydro one people still calling people to give them job interviews without knowing anything about the person – then not telling the person what they are applying for or if they applied at all?

“We would like to bring you in for an interview.”

“Who is this?”

“Doesn’t matter.  We would like to hire you.”

Businesses that use sign twirlers must have zero respect for the dignity of a human being.  We would like you to stand at this corner with a sign and twirl.”  You are one step above a hydro pole and one step below the flailing arms man.

There is an exception to the rule though.  I did see a dance off once between the Little Caesars man and a dude in a pita suit.  That made my day.  I sat across the road on a patio with wings sauce all over my face laughing hysterically for 37 minutes.  Polishing off pitcher after pitcher of Bud Lite and elbowing guys next to me to ask if they are seeing this.  It was a great day.

While at Playdium last week I pondered why I didn’t enjoy myself quite as much as in the past while shooting baskets into a net that was 3 feet away.  It wasn’t the fact that my arm could almost touch the rim, and it seemed to a bit too easy.  It was the fact that they don’t give out paper tickets anymore, and put the tickets on the card instead.  There was nothing better than seeing that machine spit out 50 tickets.  You would stomp up to that desk, and demand the pencil with Snoopy on it like a mutha-fu**in’ boss.  Then go back and waste another $20.00 trying to get the Charlie Brown pencil sharpener; because by golly you haven’t owned a pencil sharpener in 16 years.

To work at a record shop you need to have an attitude.  That’s one of the requirements.  If somebody comes in asking for a particular record that you don’t carry; they must feel shame for even liking that band.

I wouldn’t even hire John Gibbons to run my slo-pitch team.  I would rather have a blind dog that barks only because he can’t see what’s going on making the decisions.  I would hold up signs and ask the dog to bark at which lineup card that he would prefer to go with.  Sorry Johnny boy, unless you make it past the first round this year you will no longer be there to eat your hay and have naps in the dugout.

The Hunt for the Wilder People – 9.6/10

Oktoberfest – the only part that is good is that you are celebrating drinking.  Food’s terrible, polka’s terrible, and they are serving the extremely authentic German classics Budweiser and Coors Lite.

The lowest form of human interaction is the ‘share if you remember this pictures’ that are circulating Facebook.  Yes, I remember 8 track players.  Why do you want me to share this?  You want me to share this for no other reason than they existed at some point and I listened to music on them?   This goes to the same part of the brain that secretly enjoyed Encino Man.

For those that don’t remember Encino Man.  It was a film that starred Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser.  They were put to the test of their acting ability in this absolute gem.  Finger waving jocks and car driving Neanderthals.  It doesn’t get any better.

Going Back in Time with Will Ferrell

Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew that they didn’t make any sense.  “I thought Sausage Party would be a little bit wittier and smarter.”  It’s called Sausage Party.  Why would I think that?

The golf clubs might be hung up for another year.  They went out with a high, and it’s very unlikely that they will strike the ball that well for the rest of the year.  It’s called the George Castanza. You go out on top, and don’t look back.  The high for me is shooting an 84.

If you uttered or thought the comment “was that on 9”; you have no shot in the stand-up comedy scene.  Any laugh that you receive on that joke is called a pity laugh, and most people hope that you go away after saying it.

I was notified today by Sara that there are people drilling holes in new iPhone 7 thinking that there headphones would work after this was done.  These people should be put down.

Trump and Hillary have a debate coming up this weekend.  The person on the news believes that Trump is more likely to say something that will hurt his chances than Hillary.  On the contrary.  He could state that blowing up the moon with laser cats is a good idea, and he wouldn’t lose one supporter.

Sausage Party – 5.6/10

Where has the smart humor gone?  There hasn’t been a solid comedy that has come out in a few years.  They actually usually coincide with the good of Will Ferrell and every time Wes Anderson releases a flick.

There is new music to talk about as well.  Have you been missing the sounds of Echo and the Bunnymen?  No, or never heard of them?  Well, move on.  If your answer was yes.  Then have a listen to the self-titled album by the Preoccupations.  It’s one of the first solid albums of 2016.

Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth are playing Halloween night at Centre in the Square.  Rumors are that when the clock strikes 10pm on Halloween night with these two bands and their original line up together that every fan will be transported to a half-price flannel sale in 1995.

Sunday morning is excellent for banana pancakes and the largest coffee that you can possibly find.  You will have a weird sugar and caffeine high clutching your pro-line tickets watching the clock with anticipation until 1pm when football starts. You will then hit a wall at 1pm after you come down from the high, and probably have a nap at 1:47pm watching a scoreless Bills/Cardinals game.

I am debating buying goaltending equipment to begin to play hockey again.  Then I remember how much damn equipment that you need to be a goalie.  I also remember how much getting hit in the groin by a puck hurts.  You always have that guy that’s on your team in warmups that wants to show how hard his slap-shot is from the hash marks.  He never knows where it’s going, and his laugh is similar to a stoned Seth Rogen.  Even after saying all of this I have opened 3 Kijiji ads for hockey equipment.

As we watch the Blue Jays march towards that Wild Card Playoff game remember that getting to the playoffs is a fu**ing difficult thing to do as a mid-market team in the AL East.  Enjoy every moment of it.

Spirit of the West Bobbleheads Available Out-West

Went to something extremely unique last night.  The National, Hayden, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), and members from the Arkells played in a local church in Hamilton.  All proceeds went to helping Syrian refugees.  Not only was it one of the most intimate shows, but extremely emotional.  Hayden playing an acoustic version of Ahead by a Century almost brought the house down.  Seeing a big band in a small venue is the reason that you see live music.

Radiohead – Moon Shaped Pool – 8.9/10

Any music lover knows that Radiohead is adored by the masses in the indie rock world.  But, I put it similarly to Wes Anderson.  When you knock every single God damn thing that you do out of the park you should be worshipped by everybody that’s cool.

There is only one job that I am capable of handling while wearing a construction outfit – sign twirler.  Unless you count that summer that I want on tour with a YMCA tribute band.  That was rough times.  Playing retirement homes for Swedish mints, and candy that is all stuck together.

Blue Jays are playing some great baseball right now.  Anybody want to still sign Price instead of Happ and Estrada for 5 million dollars more a season, and for 4 more years?  Bueller, Bueller, White, Antholopous.

Bobblehead day at the Jays game was nearly disastrous.  Showed up at around the 10am time frame.  Waited in line for about an hour to receive the bobblehead.  Take it out of the packaging to take a picture with it (just want to make sure that everybody knows all of the awesome things that I am doing 24/7.  Even sleeping soundly I set up my phone to take a picture when I am in my deepest of sleep.  Look how awesome I am sleeping is the hashtag) Bautista and company fall to the floor and smash in 4 separate pieces.  I react very slowly.  Then Sara comes up with a brilliant plan.  It came out of the packaging like that.  As I tell the staff person my story, she gives me the “I know what you did” look and hands me another bobblehead.

Pet peeve #29.  Going through the drive-thru with somebody to grab breakfast, and they don’t know what they want to drink by the time the microphone person speaks up.  Drive-thru isn’t the himming and hawing area.  Go stand with Gord and Rose to talk about the shrubs inside of the restaurant if you are going to pull this nonsense.

The Path is a decent show.  It stars Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and is about a cult.  Starts great, then lulls, but then hits hard near the end again.

I know that British Columbia is a beautiful place, but I find it funny that Canadians are so in love with the idea of “out-west”.  It’s the California of Canada.  Everything is just going to come together out-west.  Sitting on the edge of those Rockies – I will understand the meaning of life, but only out-west.  What should really be said? Everything is going to come together up-north.  You realize who you are when it’s been dark outside for 20 consecutive hours.

Top 3 things that happen at buck and doe’s (also known as stag and doe’s to people in the city) that people don’t know about

3 – Spirit of the West is only appreciated at exactly 12:59am.  If you play any-time before this you will be mocked.

2 – Flirting with the DJ while attempting to get your song played will not work.  You have “woooooood” 3 times, accidentally spit while you were talking twice, and nearly tripped on cables once.  Also, you requested a song that you don’t know the name to, and only know that the person’s name starts with “T”.

1 – Bringing the DJ drinks works every single fu**ing time

Speaking Dothraki with a Dyson Vacuum

Cleaning the bathroom is exactly what you want to do on a 30 degree beautiful Saturday morning.  Maybe my afternoon will be just as exciting.  Start off by doing my taxes, and end it with learning to speak Dothraki.

“You always win if you have dragons.”  These were Hitler’s last words.

Some of my favourite people in the world are the ones that can’t wait to get to the end of the joke, and just spit out the punch line mid-joke.  Women find these men much less desirable.

Complete and utter respect for the Raptors and their fan base.  Most of us are Raptor fans, but the people that are chanting “Let’s go Raptors” at the end of the decisive game 6 get huge props.  Hearing the chant in the background while LeBron’s giving his interview gave me chills.  This is one of the most underrated things about the love for sports.

My victory lap in high-school is one for the ages.  First semester:  Children’s Literature at 10am, and that was all.  Second semester:  Gym at 10am, and that was all.  All priorities went out the window.  It’s known in some circles as the year of the Budweiser.

One of the best teachers that I have ever had is retiring.  Mr. K was my drama teacher for a couple of semesters.  He is the one that got me out of my shell, big thanks to him.  And if you would like somebody to blame for my lack of filter when I speak you can blame him.

You always think that keeping score at a ball game will be a relaxing activity.  You see old men getting such joy out of writing down F-7 in the box score.  I guarantee that you don’t last 2 innings keeping score if you attempt this.  It takes a certain person to have this much attention to detail, and enjoy it.

Went deep into the internet matrix recently.  Found myself looking at cats sleeping in bowls for about 7 minutes.  My brain clicked in, and asked politely, but firmly.  “what the fu** are you doing?”

Heading to a new brewery in Cambridge today.  Barncat has opened up, and it’s about to get a fistful of dollars and a friendly (depending on the beer) hello from Kitchenerites.

Top 3 things that made me realize that I had to go to bed.

3  – Drinking out of the beer bottle that had cigarette butts in it.  Everybody from Letterkenny has done this so don’t say gross to me.

2 – Singing into a Heineken bottle instead of a microphone during a song on Rock Band.  The crowd began to boo, and I was just thinking.  “I sound so beautiful though, how am I losing?”

1 – Having my pants thrown off of a roof at a house party.  No explanation needed.

The man that invented Dyson that sounds so insightful on the commercials could sell me nearly anything.  You’re right I do need a holder for plastic bags.  They are just all over the place right now.  $30.00 – sure.  Where do I sign up?

The No Hitter

Looking out the window after a long hard day of his one and only class of Children’s Literature.  Smith thought to himself there is no way that they are going to be playing ball tonight.  Looks like rain, and that’s a mighty drive to Kincardine.  Just thinking about that beautiful cold case of Budweiser in the Admiral fridge from 1955 that was in the basement was almost enough for him to say forget it.

Then a small break in the clouds became a bit larger.  Hopping in the Eighty-Eight Oldsmobile. *before we move on here I would like to state that this is a stupid name for a car.  Especially if it’s not made in 1988.  It is very confusing.* Smith didn’t know what was about to be bestowed upon him.   On the way to the game you could feel something magical in the air, and it wasn’t passing by the KFC in Wingham.

Arriving at the game you saw the usual suspects hanging around their cars having beers and smokes.  None of them were fans, these were players.  After exchanging our usual high-fives and jokes about other team-mates mothers, we decided to get to work.  Even during the warm up I could feel the lucid delivery of a sharp lefthander.  Like a young David Wells getting to work.  Our catcher came up to me after the warm up and stated the following.  “Fuck Hencey, your breaking ball is fucking sharp.”  *Hencey was a former nickname of mine.  It basically means slow because of alcohol or drug use*

During the first couple of innings of this game, everything was moving fairly normal.  Smith was chuckin’ at a smooth 58mph.  Curve ball was looping, legs were flailing, and everything was working.  The third inning came around, and Smith was losing his control a little bit.  That’s when he noticed something.  The umpire was drunk.  He was calling strikes that were 3 to 4 inches inside or outside.  That’s when a lean lefty capitalized.  Two-two was locked in.  He pounded that zone for two straight innings.  Kincardine hitters had nothing to hit, and could do absolutely zero about it.

Fifth inning rolls around.  The umpire sadly has sobered up.  Hencey had to start pitching again.  Locking back in, he started to feel a bit of an uneasiness.  The curveball wasn’t quite as sharp, and he was going deeper into counts.  This is when the perfect game was lost.  Walking a batter with two out, and then having a screamer caught by the short-stop was the way that this inning ended.  Needing to relax, Smith goes up into the stands.  He pulls out an Export “A” ultra-lite to relieve the stress.  The Legionnaires put up a four spot that inning.  They developed a big lead.  All that needed to be done was to pitch another two innings.  At this point Kincardine realized that they were being no-hit.  It was time to bear down.

Sixth inning is where the magic started.  One out walk, and then a 3-2 count against their cleanup hitter.  He steps into a full-count offering.  Drills one right at the shins, Smith contorts his body in a way that has never been seen before and manages to catch the line drive between his legs on the back hand.  Falling down he noticed that the runner is well off the bag at first base.  Attempting to pick him off while doing an army roll….. The ball goes into the first base foul area about 10 feet away from the first baseman.  But what an effort.  Smith gets out of the inning unscathed.

7th inning.  The fog had rolled in from the lake.  Smith strikes out the first two batters on greasy curveballs.  Kincardine is down to their final out.  You can barely see in the sky anymore, the fog is unbearable.  This last batter needs to be k’d or it could be trouble.  54mph fastball is popped up on the infield.  Nobody can see it.  There’s chaos, then all of a sudden the first-baseman is screaming “GOT IT, GOT IT!” The ball lands safely in his glove.  Pandemonium breaks loose on the field.  After the hand-shakes at the conclusion of the game, venturing back to the parking lot, and lighting a few smokes; everybody knew that this day was going to go down in history as the greatest day in Legionnaire history.

The catcher walks up to Smith and asks. “Hencey what the fuck are we doing now?” Smith smirks and says “Let’s have 3 cheeseburgers from mickey d’s, and fuck off back to MoDean’s.”

Eating Dirt in Ireland with Fred Durst

There is a job for people to eat dog food to see how much they like it.  I am not sure if we as humans are a good judge for dog food taste.  I think you find the 5 most sophisticated dogs in the world and fly them all over the world for taste testing.  These dogs would be known as the Persian Pups.

Well that day has come.  I have actually uttered the words that I am watching my carbs.  In unison, my last Korn CD fell from the shelf of my hometown’s residence and smashed into 3 pieces that looked oddly similar to potato chips.

Is Fred Durst still doing it all for the Nookie?

To say that I am concerned about the Jays would be an understatement.  The starters have been great.  Donaldson and Bautista do what they do, but they are striking out a bunch, and are not taking a thinking approach to any at bats.

There should be more lemonade stands.  Those days of walking past a .25 cent stand are long gone.  Those were the days that you learnt about capitalism, and a Nintendo game was your 3 story house.  Now people just think that there will be a roofie pill in a lemonade given out on Victoria St in Kitchener.  Well, this might be a bad example, but you know what I mean.

I was never a child that ate dirt.  It didn’t smell, taste, or look appetizing.  I never judged Steven for it, but I always thought it was the incorrect move to eat it.

Sara, Sarah, and I leave for Ireland in June.  Sarah is a friend that Sara met on the AT.  We are hiking a couple of trails.  Should I say Sara 1 or just say Wife when attempting to get my significant others attention?  I find that most women don’t like to be called Wife.  They always believe that we are going to say something extremely sexist right after.

I have found a new massage therapist.  I knew that she was the one when she spoke of wanting to have a jackhammer to loosen up my shoulder, and then made the noises of a jackhammer.

Everybody Wants Some – 9.0/10

The Invitation – 8.7/10

It’s very strange when people just seem to fall off the face of the earth.  Then you think about them years later, and say.  “I forgot that they even existed.”  Then I go back to enjoying my drinking box and apple slices.

Descendants in Kitchener finally opened up.  It’s been many months of this beautiful sign outside that on Victoria St that says coming soon.  Daryl and a few family members walked through the door with glee – trying one of everything, to our dismay it was the no name pizza pops of craft brewers in the area.

The movie Keanu looks like a great movie.  It’s done by Key and Peele.  Watch the trailer and if you are able to go through the whole trailer without saying “aaaahhhh” you are a terminator, and are probably sent here to kill 4 humans over the next 7 years.

Cheers to those awkward times where your foot slides on something, it sounds like you farted.  You look around nervously.  But nobody has seemed to notice.

My proudest moment as a human being is after driving 14 consecutive hours trying to get to Florida, a friend of mine asked me if I my ears just popped after going down a massive decline on a road.  I stated to him that I didn’t have any ears.  That was the point of my life where I knew that I was hilarious.

The trade that could help the Jays make the playoffs.

The Jays are on a roll. This might an understatement. They are on absolute fire. Everything on this team is clicking right now. When you have Ryan Goins belting three-run homeruns in key times you know things are going just a little too smoothly. Up and down this lineup everything is firing on all cylinders. You know at some point that this has to slow down. They have holes on this team that will hopefully be filled before the gravy train of runs out of steam.

What do the Jays require to make a real run at a division title? They need a top level starter, a closer, and a utility player. Reyes is injury prone. Bautista still doesn’t look right throwing. Colabello is a sore spot in the field. There is a team in the American League that have all of these things, and could be selling at the deadline. The Oakland A’s.

Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard, and Ben Zobrist all in the final year of their contracts. The A’s are a miserable 13 games under .500 and could be looking to deal. Kazmir would instantly become the Jays ace. He has been extremely reliable over his time in Oakland, and can match-up with any pitcher in the AL East currently. Clippard is a solid closer. He throws strikes, and has had a history of closing over the past two years in Oakland and Washington. Zobrist is an ultimate utility player. He can play nearly every position on the field. Having a high on-base percentage and can hit in every part of the lineup. Best part about it. You don’t have to take on that much salary. Reasonable contracts without any term.

What do the Jays have to give up? Well, these are three valuable pieces. This would be a costly trade. It wouldn’t cost them Stroman or Sanchez. But it might cost them Norris, Pompey, and Hoffman. I know that’s a huge return. But look at last year’s deadline and what yielded Lester, Price, and Samardzija? Addison Russell was one of the top prospects in baseball. Drew Smyly is going to be a top of the rotation pitcher, and Yoenis Cespedes was a proven all-star. This is an awful lot to give up though. Especially if they end up not making the playoffs. What’s the alternative though? Aaron Harang from Philadelphia? Kyle Lohse from Milwaukee? How much better are these guys then what you already have? Then there are Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto. They would cost the Jays two to three top prospects on their own.

Say this trade does go down and they end up losing all three players to free agency. What do they receive? The Jays would receive compensatory picks. It could be 3 first round picks. Or 2 first round picks, and a second. Regardless, it’s not all for nothing if you don’t make the playoffs. Is this worth the investment? Hoffman could be a potential ace. Pompey a starting outfielder, and Norris a middle of the rotation guy. I am not sure if I would make this deal. But it’s what it would take to get those 3 players out of Oakland. With so many teams having a shot at post season play it becomes more and more difficult to find rental players. Which is why they have become so expensive. The one thing that I do know is that Scott Kazmir versus David Price sounds a lot more appetizing than Drew Hutchison versus David Price as a Jays fan.

Blue Jays playing small ball to win

Bottom of the ninth, runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. 0-2 count, Colabello has looked lost at the plate, and in the field the whole day. The runners take off, the pitch is in the dirt, blocked by Conger. No play at either base. This isn’t the Jays that I am use to. The well-executed double steal on a 0-2 pitch that you know Gregerson was going to bury to try to get Colabello to strike out. What happens after this? What does this create? Sacrifice fly or wild pitch ties the game, and a single or better wins it. Knowing that Gregerson isn’t a dominating closer by any means, Gibbons played the odds, and won. If I was watching this game a month ago it would have gone like this. Colabello strikes out on a pitch in the dirt. Reyes and Bautista are still at first and second.

This isn’t the John Gibbons that I am usually writing about. The guy that I am usually watching is the laid-back manager that is waiting for the long ball to get the win. In the Astros series I witnessed a change in these Jays. Sacrifice bunts, steals, and hit and runs were key to a lot of the victories over the weekend. Sweeping a first place Houston club out of Toronto. It was exciting baseball to watch. The fans were engaged, and so were the players.

Toronto was able to overcome a key error by Donaldson, and multiple walks in key situations by the pitching staff yesterday. This is rare to say about the Jays, but they are learning how to win. Sometimes you need to go after runs. You need to press the defense of the opposing team. Keep on manufacturing runs, and do not stop until the game is over. It’s complacency that has gotten the Jays into trouble before. They know they have a great offense with an abundance of power. It was the record that was just being put on over and over again by Gibbons. Things will turn around. These players will get hot. This weekend showed that they are not going to wait around anymore. Bautista is red-hot. Other than him we have players doing what they have always done. What’s the difference than? Timely hitting, decent pitching, and smart managing. During the games over the last two days there have been multiple times that I have said to myself. “Smart move or gutsy call.” All of Gibbons moves have produced, catching teams off-guard.

It’s nice to see the Jays playing this way. At the start of last year you were seeing a team that couldn’t maintain what they were doing. They were hitting home-runs at an outrageous pace, and Beurhle was looking like a Cy Young candidate. Everybody was playing at the top of their game. You just knew that the bottom was going to fall out once a few players cooled down, and injuries would happen to key pieces. This team is still a few games under .500, but you can see the tide turning.

It’s easy to go back to bad habits. If they get thrown out a couple of times in key areas, or hit into outs while trying to start a hit and run. They could just go back to what we are accustomed to watching. Big swings in key areas, when all they need is a single. Hopefully they realize that this isn’t a fluke. This is an exciting team when things are in motion. I have to give credit to Gibbons. He has made all the right moves recently. Maybe we are seeing an enlightened man that is managing to the style that is required to win? Or maybe we are seeing a man managing for his job? Either way, it looks like this team has been woken out of its slumber. Let’s see if they can continue this streak against a couple of very beatable teams in the Marlins and Mets. Is this a new Jays team? Doing whatever it takes to get the win. Let’s hope so. If this is the new brand of baseball in Toronto, I am completely on-board.