Toronto was 38-24 and in first place by six games on June 6, but the Blue Jays have gone 22-26 since then and general manager Alex Anthopoulos did nothing at the trade deadline yesterday.
Several veteran players talked publicly about their unhappiness with the lack of moves, led by closer Casey Janssen telling Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com:
For us not to do anything, most of us had some ideas that we were going to
improve this club a little bit. It’s unfortunate we didn’t. At the same time, we just have to do what we have to do to win games and try to find ways to get into the playoffs. Yes, it was frustrating but we have to play tonight.
I think everyone is just kind of shocked with all the movement that happened and big names going in every direction. … I’ve never seen anything like it, I can’t remember anything like it, that was as crazy as this was and kind of down to the wire as the deadline approached. Like I say, congrats to those teams, they did good.
Star slugger Jose Bautista had a similar but slightly less outspoken take:
Of course it’s a little disappointing that we somehow weren’t able to get anything done, but everybody around us that’s in contention somehow–and even some teams that aren’t in contention, like the Red Sox–somehow figured it out. But there’s still time to get stuff done. We still have a pretty good team put together and we’re hoping to get the guys that are hurt back and that’ll be a good injection of talent for us down the road. … But it’s a little bit of disappointment.
According to various reports Toronto was linked to, among others, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jon Lester, Bartolo Colon, Chris Denorfia, and Alex Rios. And certainly Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to make a big splash in the past, so perhaps Bautista is right that the Blue Jays may yet add some help in August.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.