The Blue Jays’ July additions of Troy Tulowitzki, David Price and others fundamentally changed the team, ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes. Prior to yesterday’s 10-2 loss to the Orioles, the Jays had scored 200 runs and allowed just 97 in 32 games since acquiring Tulowitzki. Both those marks were the best in baseball in that time frame. Of course, Tulowitzki himself has a modest .696 OPS since joining the Jays, but GM Alex Anthopoulos suggests that pure numbers are only part of the picture. Earlier in his tenure as GM, Anthopoulos says, “I was mostly focused on production.” But merely acquiring productive players didn’t work if those players weren’t the right fits for the team. “So I’m probably a little more balanced now, between production and fit,” he says. Here are more quick notes from the American League.
- Angels infielder Johnny Giavotella has been out the past two weeks, and he said yesterday that he has fourth nerve palsy, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes. The condition causes Giavotella to have double vision when he looks down or to the left. Giavotella says that the symptoms have improved, however, and that the condition will not be permanent. He hopes to return this season.
- Red Sox starter Joe Kelly has had a frustrating season that’s included a demotion to Triple-A, but he’s fared much better lately and could be pitching his way into Dave Dombrowski’s plans for the 2016 Sox, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Kelly has made adjustments lately — via Brooks Baseball, he increased his total usage of breaking balls and changeups from about 28% of pitches in June to about 42% in August. He’s only allowed 14 runs spanning 43 innings in his last seven starts. “It’s something that I’ve learned that you can’t just throw fastballs, especially in this division with hitters we see all the time and are very good hitting ballclubs,” he says. “You’ve got to throw hitters offspeed throughout the whole entire game. It’s something that, hopefully going into next year, realizing what I’m doing, I just have to keep pitching like that.” Lauber notes that the team is likely to try to add a top starter this offseason, and Eduardo Rodriguez could join Clay Buchholz (whose option the Red Sox will likely pick up as long as he doesn’t have any trouble in his recovery from an elbow strain) and Rick Porcello in the 2016 rotation. Kelly could then potentially compete with Wade Miley and Henry Owens for a starting job. Of course, much remains to be determined — Dombrowski’s plans to remake the Red Sox in his first offseason on the job might turn out to be more extensive than the blueprint above suggests.