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12:37 AM Eastern
Another disappointing loss for the Blue Jays in Milwaukee. For the fourth straight game they failed to get a hit before the 4th inning, though they did manage to pound out 10 safeties. The double play ball came back to bite them, twice in the 9th inning. Gregg Zaun made me look bad for hailing his defense by not closing up quickly enough on Corey Hart coming home in the 4th (though it would have been a REALLY tough play and he did hold onto the ball, at least), and then not looking Mike Cameron back to third later in the inning on Ben Sheets’ bunt, choosing instead to employ the cursory glance back, which didn’t work at all.
Zaun did show up offensively – he’s now homered in his last three starts, and he drove in three runs all told on a 2-for-3 day.
Poor Shaun Marcum, he’s now given up a total of eight runs over his last 27 innings (a nifty ERA of 2.67) and is 0-1 over the four starts.
And with the loss, the Jays have now dropped six series in a row.
But onto the good stuff. J.P. Ricciardi once again showed up for his weekly gabfest with the fans, which he always does, win or lose, and the frustration in his voice was palpable. He held nothing back, taking full responsibility for the failures of the team that he built and expressing his surprise and great disappointment about the way things have gone over the first 73 games of the season.
He talked about how the lack of offense was completely unexpected, calling out Lyle Overbay (22 homers, 46 doubles, 92 RBI in 2006), Vernon Wells and Alex Rios specifically. He mentioned that some analysts had picked the Jays to be a playoff team and that no one he talked to in baseball in Spring Training told him they thought the bats would be a problem.
He said that everything has fallen apart offensively for the Jays. He can’t believe (nor can I) that his team is hitting 35 points below the league average with runners in scoring position. When asked about the status of his “plan”, he said that we’re supposed to be in the payoff portion right now – that they’d been hopeful of being a playoff team the last few years and that this year was supposed to be the best team they’d had. He did add that he feels the season is salvageable, but that there’s no big move in the offing.
A couple of quotes that piqued my interest, in case you can’t listen to the whole thing below:
-”No one is more disappointed than I am. I take full responsibility. We’re underperforming, no excuses, we should be playing better, and if this keeps up we have to have an open mind to doing some things differently.”
I’m not sure what that last part means. Is it replacing the manager with an experienced, more independant type? Moving away from trying to find guys who hit home runs and focusing on a more Angelsy type of offense? Trading an established player for a shot at a lightning-in-a-bottle kid?
And, of course, his throwing Adam Dunn right under the bus, then backing it over him a couple of times. After mentioning Dunn’s poor career batting average and propensity to strike out, he went on to say that Dunn actually doesn’t like playing baseball, and doesn’t have a passion to play. For you hockey-reference folks, think Alexandre Daigle. I still love Dunn’s bat myself, make no mistake, but I’ve never met the guy and am willing to defer to someone who knows guys who know him well. That may also be why the Jays may not be players for Erik Bedard. Still, despite the fact that Dunn doesn’t like playing baseball, he’s awfully good at the hitting home runs part, which would make him a fine addition, I think.
J.P. also mentioned that Jeremy Accardo is at least three weeks away, and that he didn’t think that the injury was what prevented him from throwing the splitter, and that we might see Travis Snider at the major-league level by late 2009. Ricciardi again answered the question about Adam Lind’s absence from the major league line-up, though he didn’t give a specific reason, other than he likes Wilkerson (who led the club in RBIs in May) and that the fans want Lind because they haven’t seen him and therefore he’s the next big thing, and the fans always want the next big thing.
It’s worth a listen, and it’s in the hot audio section of the site, but you can also hear it here:
Comments are encouraged, as always. The 24/7 JaysTalk is slowly killing me, but I’ll try to get to them between dropping The Billie off at school and hitting the chiro to prep for post-Jays softball before the game tomorrow afternoon.