Tag: Toronto Blue Jays

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez named Players of the Month


Major League Baseball has announced its players, pitchers and rookies of the month for April. So, as has become custom at HBT, we’ll do a post on it, only to not be as interested in following through on it for May through September. As it is:

Players of the month: Nelson Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez

Cruz batted .322 (28-for-87) with three doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 22 RBI, and 14 runs scored in 22 games. Gonzalez led the majors in slugging (.790) and was the NL leader in home runs (8). He featured a .383 batting average, hit nine doubles, drove in 19 RBI and had  .432 on-base percentage.

Pitchers of the month: Dallas Keuchel and Gerrit Cole

Keuchel had a 3-0 record with a 0.73 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 37.0 innings. Cole was 4-0 in five starts with a 1.76 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 30.2 innings of work.

Rookies of the month: Devon Travis and Alex Guerrero

Travis batted .325 (26-for-80) with six home runs, 19 RBI, 17 runs scored and six doubles. Guerrero, who doesn’t even really have a regular position, hit .423 (11-for-26) with a 1.077 slugging percentage, hit five homers and drove in 13.

Blue Jays demote Daniel Norris to Triple-A

Daniel Norris Blue Jays

Daniel Norris won a spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation this spring, posted a 3.86 ERA through five starts, and is now headed back to the minors.

Toronto has demoted the 22-year-old left-hander to Triple-A despite his having the only sub-4.00 ERA among the team’s five starters in order to call up soft-tossing 29-year-old Andrew Albers. Marco Estrada, not Albers, will replace Norris in the rotation.

Norris was hardly dominant with an 18/12 K/BB ratio in 23 innings, but it’s still an odd move for a team that went very heavy on young pitching to begin the season and is now apparently having some second thoughts.

Carlos Quentin is retiring at age 32

Padres Mets Baseball

Carlos Quentin, who’s been playing at Triple-A for the Mariners after being released by the Braves last month, has decided to retire at age 32.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Quentin left the Tacoma team Thursday after going 3-for-17 in five games.

Atlanta acquired Quentin from San Diego as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade, but his inclusion was strictly to help balance out the money and the Braves ate his entire $8 million salary in releasing him.

Quentin retires as a career .252 hitter whose power, plate discipline, and ability to get plunked by tons of pitches helped him post a strong .831 OPS. When healthy he was a middle-of-the-order asset, posting an OPS above .800 in six of his nine seasons, but constant injuries limited him to fewer than 130 games in all but two of those years.

Quentin made two All-Star teams, earned more than $50 million, and among all active right-handed hitters with at least 3,000 plate appearances his .831 OPS ranks 17th sandwiched between Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Upton.

Video: Remembering Rickey Henderson’s record-setting stolen base

Rickey Henderson


On May 1, 1991 — 24-years-ago today — Rickey Henderson passed Lou Brock for the all-time stolen base record.

Records are broken all the time, but any stolen base record is a little different in practice, at that particular moment. The stolen base requires the element of surprise, you see, so when someone is at a milestone moment in stolen bases you know damn well he’s got a bit of an extra incentive to go. You know it’s coming and he knows you know it’s coming, yet you play that game anyway.

Such was the case with Rickey Henderson on that day in 1991, as this video of the event shows. Yet, despite the fact that everyone knew Rickey was going, he still got a huge jump and it wasn’t even close:


Fun fact about Rickey and stolen bases: he stole 467 bases AFTER breaking Lou Brock’s record. If you just took his post-record stolen bases, he’d rank 46th on the all-time list, ahead of guys like Bobby Bonds, Ichiro, Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford and Roberto Alomar.

Of course Rickey wasn’t just stolen bases. He got on base and scored runs better than almost everyone in history. He hit for power. He played great defense when he was younger. Indeed, no player gets overlooked more than Rickey Henderson when it comes to the Greatest Living Ballplayer conversation. I still think it’s Willie Mays right now with Hank Aaron likely second. Your mileage may vary on Bonds depending on what you think of him, obviously. But if Rickey Henderson isn’t on your short list, I don’t wanna know you.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Astros dogpile

Astros 3, Mariners 2: Jose Altuve hit a walkoff single in the tenth inning, lifting the Astros to their seventh straight win. Altuve was up, by the way, because Lloyd McLendon decided to walk Colby Rasmus to get to Altuve with a man on second. I suppose that whole set-up-the-double-play thing has been on page 16 of the Managerial Handbook for 100 year, but I feel like “Don’t Pass Up a Much Easier Hitter To Get To The Reigning American League Batting Champion” is on page 13 or 14. In any event, I’d rather go after Rasmus, hope to get him out and then be able to be carful with Altuve, but I’m just some schmo in my armchair. Oh well. The Astros’ 15-7 record and .681 winning percentage represents their best April in 29 years.

Cardinals 9, Phillies 3: After a slow start to the year the Cards’ offense is now clicking. Some may choose to believe that adjusting the batting order, dropping Matt Carpenter down from the leadoff spot and stuff is what has done the trick. I prefer the Occam’s Razor=friendly explanation which has only one variable, with that being “the Phillies have been in town.” As it was, Carpenter doubled, singled and walked twice. Matt Adams had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three.

Twins 12, White Sox 2: In basketball, the big star is almost always going to have a good game, even if the team comes up flat. In football, teams can be out of synch — quarterbacks and receivers not on the same page or the game plan disrupted by a superior defense — but it’s not like the quarterbacks forget how to throw or the receivers forget how to run routs. In baseball, though? Dang, sometimes even the best players show up to the park and simply don’t have it. Like Chris Sale last night. He’s one of the best in the game but, sometimes, you just don’t have anything and one of the worst teams in the game beat you around like the Twins did last night. But, in baseball, you also don’t get a week’s worth of thinkpieces about it. No one talks about benching Sale or questions his skills. We just say “huh, I’ll be damned,” shrug our shoulders and forget it the next day, his inflated ERA the only real reminder of that shellacking. It’s part of what I love about baseball. Here, as in life, you’re best not to dwell on a bad day. And most of the time we don’t.

Angels 6, Athletics 5: Kole Calhoun drove in three, but this catch from Mike Trout with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth is what everyone was talking about:

Watch the second time they show the play on video — the one with the wide shot showing Trout’s positioning before the ball hit off the bat — and note how immediately that dude breaks back once you hear the crack. Just outstanding instincts and a quick-as-all-get-out read.

Blue Jays 5, Indians 1: The Jays plated five in the fourth with some walks, singles and doubles strung together. Which for them anyway is small ball. Blue Jays starter Daniel Norris threw 78 pitches in three innings without allowing a run somehow. That’s quite a trick. Normally that would spell disaster, but the Jays’ pen — Jeff Francis, Roberto Ozuna, Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil — allowed only one run over six.

Reds 5, Braves 1: Mike Leake tossed eight shutout innings and hit a homer to [all together now] help his own cause. Todd Frazier, Tucker Barnhart and Billy Hamilton all had solo homers, helping Leake’s own cause as well. And their own, because there is no “i” in “own cause.”

Nationals 8, Mets 2: Remember way, way back at the beginning of the season when the Mets couldn’t lose and the Nationals couldn’t win and we were talking about how great it was for New York and how crappy and underachieving Washington was? Nah, me neither. The Mets have dropped five of seven since their big winning streak. The Nats have notched three wins in a row. Bryce Harper hit two doubles and drove in three.

Royals 8, Tigers 1: Danny Duffy put up goose eggs into the eighth inning and Royals’ bats were not fooled by Alfredo Simon. Eric Hosmer homered for the second straight day. The Royals finish April 15-7 and a half game up on Tigers in the Central.