The Blue Jays Are Getting Hot But It May Already Be Too

The Blue Jays Are Getting Hot But It May Already Be Too

CATEGORIES:

102012Phillies.640.776+.136 72005Pirates.650.803+.153 10Jeff SamardzijaGiants9873-25 Nelson was awful last season, but he’s striking out more than two extra batters per nine innings this year — and walking two fewer — in part by ditching his lousy sinker. For his part, Anderson was nearly as bad as Nelson last year; his 2017 tonic has been a drastic reduction in homers allowed, from 1.7 per 9 to 0.7.Needless to say, neither is likely to be so lights-out going forward. But of the two, Nelson seems more likely to hold on to his gains (he has the better peripherals and is allowing softer contact). And for now, the Brewers have two of the best pitchers in baseball — completely out of the blue. It’s one of the biggest reasons why the Brew Crew are above .500 and a game up on the Cubs for the top slot in the NL Central, after being projected in preseason for a fourth-place finish. Just call them the anti-Mets.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 13Sean ManaeaAthletics9877-21 Source: FanGraphs When a previously solid hitting team (such as the Blue Jays, whose 2016 OPS was 1 percent better than average) suffers a poor April and bounces back in May, they usually deserve the benefit of the doubt. In a regression predicting each team’s rest-of-season performance based on its OPS in the first two months and its OPS the previous year4Again, using data since 2002., April is the least predictive. Performance in May and the previous year combined to carry about three times as much relative importance5According to the “lmg” (Lindeman, Merenda and Gold) function in R’s “relaimpo” package.. Also of particular note for an elderly roster such as the Toronto’s: Age was not significant in the prediction after controlling for a team’s various OPS splits.This isn’t to say a poor April means nothing. The Jays’ projected rest-of-season OPS would be 14 points higher if they’d hit in April like they did in 2016 as a whole. (That’s the difference between having the fifth-best offense in MLB and merely the 10th best.) But in conjunction with the lineup’s May recovery, it was more a blip on the radar than a sign of impending collapse.Now for the bad news, Toronto. A poor April record can sink a team’s playoff chances, even if it doesn’t represent their true talent level. Since MLB added the extra wild card in 2012, the worst April record by an eventual postseason team was 7-14 (.333), by the 2015 Texas Rangers. By comparison, Toronto’s April record was a full game worse, at 8-17 (.320). Of course, some of that is chalked up to the fact that teams with playoff-caliber talent don’t tend to suffer such rough starts, but it also speaks to the challenge posed by falling so far down the standings, so quickly. Even if every game were a coin-flip from May onward, the Jays’ April record dropped their playoff odds from 33 percent in preseason to 10 percent after one month.They’ve since risen to 21 percent under “coin flip mode” — or higher, if you account for the talent on Toronto’s roster. But any way you cut it, a team that boasts one of baseball’s top 10 or so most talented rosters will probably find itself outside the playoffs at season’s end. And if that does happen, they can look back and blame it the extra month of spring training that Toronto decided to take in 2017.Milwaukee’s dynamic duoEarlier this week, we detailed the horror show in Queens, formerly known as the Mets’ pitching staff. The Mets entered the season with several pitchers who they thought were aces, only to see a historic decline in 2017. The Milwaukee Brewers are enjoying the opposite scenario: Several pitchers who looked like liabilities before the season have transformed into elite starters (for now).Specifically, each of the two hurlers who’ve reduced their fielding independent pitching (FIP)6Relative to the league, so using FIP-. most between 2016 and ’17 wear Milwaukee uniforms: Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson. (These numbers are through the games of June 5; Nelson and Anderson have both made — and won — starts since.) Less than a month into the season, the Toronto Blue Jays seemed as good as dead. Toronto had 17 losses against only six victories (the worst record in baseball), was getting outscored by 1.1 runs per game and found itself threatening franchise records for April offensive futility. The Jays had enjoyed a handful of good seasons in recent years, but with such putrid stats — and the second-oldest roster in baseball — the party appeared to be coming to an ugly, abrupt conclusion.Then, just like that, the Jays started winning ballgames again. It started with two straight victories to close out April, followed by a .500 record in the first week of May. (Baby steps!) Then they got legitimately hot: Seven wins in an eight-game span as the month neared its midway point. And, after another brief mid-month hiccup (losing five of six), eight wins over the final nine games of May. Toronto was hitting again, pitching pretty well and clawing its way back into an absurdly stacked division race.Baseball can be a strange sport in that way, with hot and cold streaks coming and going without warning. So when a team has such a mercurial start to a season, how do we know which version is the genuine article? Toronto is hoping it’s the one from May, and history has good news — that’s more likely than it being the awful edition that showed up in April. But even so, one poor month may have buried the Jays in too deep a hole to escape.It’s hard to be much colder than Toronto’s hitters were in April. Out of the 480 MLB team-seasons since 2002,1The earliest season of monthly splits in FanGraphs’ splits leaderboard tool. the Blue Jays’ .645 April on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) ranked 30th worst; it also represented the seventh-biggest April dip from a team’s previous full-season OPS, down 110 points as it was from Toronto’s .755 OPS showing at the plate in 2016. Although perennial-MVP-candidate third baseman Josh Donaldson was in and out of the lineup with a leg injury, his absence wasn’t the only explanation for Toronto’s struggles. Starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit poorly when healthy,2Only adding to his disappointing record since donning a Jays uniform two years ago. aging sluggers Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales looked well past their primes and second baseman Devon Travis was the worst regular batter in baseball.The Jays’ improvement at the plate in May was even more remarkable than their April slump. Since 2002, only two teams — the 2015 Texas Rangers and 2003 Detroit Tigers — improved their OPS as much from May to April as this year’s Jays did.3For all the good it did those Tigers; they still finished with 43 wins, the second-fewest of any team in the 162-game era. And it was their worst hitters from April who caught fire most when the calendar flipped: Bautista’s OPS leapt from .554 to 1.055, Morales’s from .667 to .930 and, most remarkably, Travis’s from .388 to 1.019 (!). Only the surging Houston Astros had a better month at the plate than Toronto did in May. 42007Tigers.727.888+.161 9Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks9974-25 6Luis PerdomoPadres11891-27 FIELDING INDEPENDENT PITCHING MINUS YEARTEAMAPRILMAYDIFFERENCE The biggest April-to-May OPS increases since 2002 22003Tigers.512.688+.177 PITCHERTEAMNEW TEAM?20162017DIFF. Includes pitchers with a minimum 100 innings per 162 team games in both seasons. Stats for 2017 through June 5.Source: FanGraphs 92004Expos.552.691+.139 8Josh TomlinIndians11488-26 12Sonny GrayAthletics11291-21 3Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacks✓12081-39 2Chase AndersonBrewers11878-40 5James PaxtonMariners6734-33 32017Blue Jays.645.809+.164 14Michael FulmerTigers8869-19 15Ivan NovaPirates✓9678-18 62004Yankees.723.877+.153 4Chris SaleRed Sox✓7943-36 82002Angels.684.836+.152 1Jimmy NelsonBrewers11970-49 11Dallas KeuchelAstros9271-21 52010Reds.713.873+.161 ON-BASE PLUS SLUGGING AVERAGE The most improved pitchers of 2017 7Chris ArcherRays9266-26 12015Rangers.611.797+.186

LATEST POSTS

Schoneborn, Davis Named Women’s Outdoor Athletes of the Week

first_imgHonorable Mention: Tristyn Allen, Sam Houston State; Tay Nance, Houston Baptist; Dakota Mayr, Stephen F. Austin. This is the second women’s track weekly award on the season for Schoneborn after earning the honor on March 20. Southeastern now has three different weekly women’s field honorees in 2018 as Davis joins Alexia Stein (March 13) and Vigdis Jonsdittir (March 27). Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots. The Islanders head to Abilene tomorrow for the ACU Oliver Jackson Twilight while the Lady Lions travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., this weekend for the Southern Miss Open, beginning Friday. Honorable Mention: De’Shalyn Jones, Northwestern State; Kelsey Ramirez, Stephen F. Austin; Michaela Hackett, Abilene Christian.center_img FRISCO, Texas – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi senior Rabea Schoneborn and Southeastern Louisiana sophomore Ashley Davis are the Southland Conference Outdoor Track & Field Athletes of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Southland Athletes of the Week are presented by UniversalCoin.com. Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week – Rabea Schoneborn, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – Sr. – Niederkassel, GermanySchoneborn set a new school record at Mt. SAC last weekend in the 10,000m, putting up the top mark in the SLC with a time of 33:49.46. The senior’s pace currently qualifies her for the postseason, ranking 13th in the West Region and 19th in the country. Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week – Ashley Davis, Southeastern Louisiana – So. – Watson, La.Davis broke her own school record in the shot put with a throw of 55-08.25 to take first at the LSU Alumni Gold. Her distance is the ninth-best Division I mark this season.last_img

Lamar Glides Into the Lead Following Round One Action

first_imgMcKINNEY, Texas – With the opening round of play at the 2019 Southland Conference Men’s Golf Championship in the books, Lamar has taken a four-stroke lead to sit atop the tournament standings. The Cardinals have burst to the front on the shoulders of Sam Dumez, who led his LU team with a 74 in the opening round of play on the Dye Course at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas. Southeastern Louisiana’s Joris Etlin leads the individual standings after registering the only performance under par for the day with a 71.Lamar completed their opening day of tournament play with Dumez tied for fourth overall and Hugo Hellman tied for sixth individually. Dumez led the LU squad with five birdies, while Cody Banach tucked away 14 pars to lead the field. The Lamar squad currently leads the tournament in par three scoring (3.15), par four scoring (4.30) and pars made (53). In addition to Dumez and Hellman, Banach (T12), Kevin Lee (T12) and Eason Wang (T19) all currently reside within the top-25 competitors in the individual leaderboard. The Cardinals’ squad compiled a 301 in round one and stand 13 strokes above par.Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana sit four strokes behind Lamar at 305 (+17), tied for the second-place position. The Bearkats are led by Noah Steele who broke even for the day at 72 after knocking down a tournament leading 4.00 par-four scoring average and six birdies. SHSU knocked down eight of their 14 birdies for the afternoon on the back nine.Southeastern Louisiana’s Joris Etlin has led his team to a share of second place at the end of day one with a field-leading 71, one stroke under par. Etlin began his day shooting even on the opening four holes before recording a trio of birdies on the back nine. The Lions remain poised to strike in round two and will have the opportunity to do so as they will tee off with Lamar and Sam Houston State beginning Tuesday morning at 7:45 a.m. CT on hole No. 10.McNeese resides in the fourth-place position, 18 strokes above par, with a 306 in the opening round of action. Blake Elliott leads the Cowboys and is tied for sixth individually with a 75. The McNeese squad was kept in contention throughout the day due in part to the team’s 14 birdies. Joining the Cowboys in the tee box Tuesday morning will be fifth-place Abilene Christian and sixth-place Houston Baptist. McNeese’s Nicklas Mattner, ACU’s Garrett Glanton and HBU’s Daniel Dimaculangan will begin at 7 a.m. on hole No. 10.Beginning at 7:05 a.m., 11th place Central Arkansas and Nicholls will tee off on hole No. 1. At 7:50 a.m., seventh-place Stephen F. Austin, eighth-place Incarnate Word and ninth-place New Orleans will be grouped together to tee off on hole No. 1.The split tee format will be put into effect for rounds two and three of the Southland Conference Championship due to impending weather conditions Wednesday, April 24. Rounds two and three of the championship will now take place on Tuesday with the third and final round set for a 12 p.m. start time. Pairings will remain the same for rounds two and three.To stay up to date with live scores and the latest information regarding the 2019 Southland Conference Men’s Golf Championship, visit Championship Central.last_img

ASTRA STAKES QUOTES-SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2019

first_imgJOCKEY QUOTESFLAVIEN PRAT, PANTSONFIRE, WINNER:  “We had a good pace to run at.  She rated kind and she was travelling well the whole way.  I thought Mike Smith’s filly (K P Pergoliscious) would be tough, but my filly gave me a good kick turning for home.”TRAINER QUOTESRICHARD BALTAS, PANTSONFIRE, WINNER: “The race kinda set up for her and she’d been training really well.  And, getting Flavien sure helps.“Nothing, I just gave her a little time, she popped a splint so I gave her like 2 months and she kind of needed a break, we were running her a lot, she’s dancing every dance, she loves Santa Anita, she got a good ride from Flavian, a lot of speed in the race and she got the job done.”OWNER QUOTESJEREMY PESKOFF, PANTSONFIRE, WINNER: “The horses never had any pace to run at the last seven races so I’ve indicated that she got some pace today and she showed what she could do.“I thought for the mile and a half the horse will run all day, and I thought to a mile and a half, would fit her to a tee, I’m not sure she’s good enough to run the Grade II and Grade I against the mile and mile 1/8 horses here, you know but at a mile and a half I think she is a legitimate horse, I’m just glad for her cause she’s had some tough luck.“We’ll just see what bares later I’m just happy to win here.”NOTES: Next Wave Racing, Pat Maciariello, Jeremy Peskoff and Mark SilversteinPantsonfire and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $100,000 Astra Stakes, Sunday, January 20, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. © BENOIT PHOTOlast_img

Eriksen ‘to complete £17m move to Inter Milan’ but Spurs yet to give green light

first_imgSpurs boss Mourinho hit out at Conte’s public pursuit of the Dane with the former Chelsea managers going head-to-head over the transfer.Mourinho said: “I think we coaches should all behave in the same way in relation to transfers. I think we should always be closed until something happens.”Conte replied: “I no longer talk about the transfer market. The last time I did it, someone we all know twisted my words so I won’t say anything more.”Eriksen to play vs Middlesbrough despite Spurs boss Mourinho admitting he’s downed tools ahead of Inter transfer Barcelona have made a last-ditch attempt to bring Eriksen to the Nou Camp despite the Dane’s move to Inter being agreed in principle.The Catalan giants are keen on bringing Eriksen to Spain but the La Liga champions look likely to miss out on securing the player’s services.Initially Eriksen fancied a move to Barcelona’s El Clasico rivals Real Madrid but Los Blancos failed to show any interest in the midfielder and he met with Levy this week to confirm his preferred destination is now Inter.MOST READ IN FOOTBALLTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for him Spurs manager Jose Mourinho previously admitted Eriksen, who has scored 51 goals in 222 Premier League games, had downed tools ahead of his imminent move away.Reports from Italy suggest the 27-year-old will sign a four-year deal at the San Siro when Spurs chairman Daniel Levy gives the transfer his seal of approval.center_img CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN is on the verge of completing a £17million move to Inter Milan from Tottenham after agreeing hefty personal terms, according to reports.Sky Sports suggest the Danish playmaker has agreed a deal that could see him earn up to £320,000 a week, trebling his current wages at Spurs.1 Christian Eriksen looks set to complete a big money move from Tottenham to Inter MilanHowever, SunSport understands that Tottenham have not given the green light for the final transfer but Inter appear confident it will go through.Inter boss Antonio Conte is keen to add Eriksen to his squad as he continues his raid on the Premier League having already signed Ashley Young from Manchester United this month.Former Chelsea manager Conte is also trying to take players from his old club with deals for Olivier Giroud and Victor Moses being negotiated.Spurs are hoping to cash in on Eriksen this month as the wantaway midfielder’s contract runs out in the summer and he could leave North London for free at the end of the season.Eriksen can now sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs ahead of a summer move but a January deal looks to be best for both parties.SPURS NEWS LIVE: Follow all the latest news on Tottenhamlast_img

Leave a Comment