Blue Jays News_Notes

Blue Jays News & Notes: Kikuchi, Zimmer & More!

JFtC has some quick hit Blue Jays news and notes. This time, Kikuchi’s new role, Zimmer gone and the return of the whiff


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The Toronto Blue Jays have won two in a row, both of which looked rather convincing and, if social media is any indication, the bandwagon is picking up a few more after so many jumped off over the last few weeks. Here are some quick news and notes items to start your day:

 

* After struggling in a starters role, Yusei Kikuchi was relegated to bullpen duty. It was a logical move for a club that inked him to a three year deal before the season started. The deal was, of course, to be the 5th starter on a team with World Series aspirations. Now, the club is in a fight for a playoff spot and may have to pull from the ‘Whatever it Takes” playbook down the stretch.

What is interesting is that Kikuchi offered to go down to AAA to figure things out and the club overruled him:

 

The need for him with the big league club may lie in the fact that he could be a rather nice bullpen weapon. His fastball, slider, change combination could prove effective in short stints, perhaps increasing his ability to get swings and misses. Interim Manager, John Schneider wasted no time in testing out the experiment. With the Blue Jays having just increased their lead to 9-2, Kikuchi was brought in and faced 5 batters. He threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes and gave up a hit, a walk and struck out two without allowing a run. This could be his new home, folks.

 

* Not to get too philosophical, but if a Zimmer gets claimed off waivers, does it even get noticed? The Phillies decided they needed some help with Bryce Harper on the IL and Brandon Marsh needing to go back on it, so they thought they’d take a chance on Bradley Zimmer.

It is understandable why Toronto traded for him. He has excellent speed and defensive skills, which no doubt played into Cleveland drafting him 21st overall in 2014. The Blue Jays front office is obviously familiar with him. That’s likely why they stuck with him for as long as they did. Of course, they’d only been using his bat sparingly, so when Jackie Bradley Jr.came onboard, you could practically hear his luggage being packed. Hopefully, he catches on in Philly.

 

* The Blue Jays management brain trust loves swings and misses. There are lots of examples of players they’ve targeted because of their ability to miss bats, but perhaps none exemplify it more than the flyer they took on Robbie Ray not too long ago. They wanted his ability to strike guys out and were willing to take a chance on fixing him. It worked, obviously.

Thursday’s game in New York featured Toronto’s pitchers collecting 13 strike outs, including Jose Berrios and his 9 over 6.2 innings. The night before, against Baltimore, they collected 10, including 7 from Ross Stripling. You have to go back to August 3 to find the last time Toronto collected 10 or more strikeouts.

It makes logical sense that striking out more of your opponent’s batters gives you a better shot of winning. But, it is not the only deciding factor. Simply, high strikeout totals don’t always equal wins. The Blue Jays lost that August 3rd game by a score of 3-2 to the Rays in 10 innings. So, we can’t overstate the value of collecting strike outs, but we also need to recognize when a strategy, in this case, having swing and miss pitchers on the roster, pays off. It seems to be.

 

 


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