Archive for July, 2008
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
4:30 PM Eastern
You know, I really thought they were going to do something this time.
Nothing huge, but I thought there was a chance we might see B.J. Ryan moved, or David Eckstein, or that someone would come calling on Matt Stairs or Gregg Zaun, but none of that was in the cards. I thought that they might even rethink holding onto A.J. Burnett given the events of the last two days, but no.
What surprised me most was that they wound up being buyers – or at least, trying to be. The Jays made a call on Jason Bay and quickly decided against meeting the Pirates’ asking price. It’s been reported that the Buccos wanted Shaun Marcum and Travis Snider in return, which would have been an immediate non-starter. My sources wouldn’t confirm that, but if the Pirates-Rays trade goes through, Pittsburgh settled for less in acquiring Jeff Niemann and Reid Brignac.
The Jays were closing in on Raul Ibanez from the Mariners, a guy who could step in and DH and play a little left field, and apparently they were willing to part with two major-leaguers for him, but the M’s backed out late, deciding to take the draft picks when Ibanez walks after the season. It makes one wonder who those two players the Jays were trying to shoot back might have been. Could the Mariners have wanted Jason Frasor to help out in the bullpen? Zaun to tutor some of their young pitchers and young catcher Jeff Clement? Could it have been Lyle Overbay going back to the Pacific Northwest? Was Scott Richmond’s major-league debut designed to give a few teams a look?
We may never know the answers to these and other questions, but we do know that the Blue Jays of August 1st, 2008, at 54-54 with fully one-third of the season remaining, will look remarkably similar to the Blue Jays of July 30, 2008.
There are over 100 comments sitting and waiting to be moderated. I’ll try to get to them tonight. More comments are welcome.
4:45 PM UPDATE
Obviously, the Rays-Pirates trade didn’t wind up going down, with Jason Bay being dealt to Boston in the three-way Manny Ramirez deal with L.A., just I thought I’d clear that up.
Also, the Blue Jays have just informed us that Dustin McGowan’s rotator cuff did NOT have to be repaired during his successful surgical procedure this afternoon. That means that McGowan will begin a throwing program around the beginning of December and could be ready for Opening Day 2009, but likely will have to start the season on the disabled list and miss up to the first month.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
5:05 PM Eastern
And that’s an understatement. The Blue Jays were most assuredly up to their old tricks in dropping the rubber game with the Rays. Continuing their tear-your-hair-out frustrating inability to drive in runners from third with less than two out.
After Lyle Overbay hit the car in right-centre with a two-run homer in the first, the Rays tied it on Carlos Pena’s lead-off big fly in the 4th, then went ahead on a Gabe Gross double play ball with runners on the corners later in the inning.
That one-run lead held up, because the Jays couldn’t cash a lead-off triple by Adam Lind in the bottom of the 4th, and then couldn’t take advantage of a second and third, none out situation the next inning.
In the 4th, Brad Wilkerson popped up foul, Gregg Zaun grounded to first with the infield in, then John McDonald hit a fly ball to deep right that Gross ran down.
In the 5th, Alex Rios grounded back to the mound, Overbay struck out, and after a four-pitch walk to Matt Stairs, Adam Lind hit the flyball that they could have used a batter or two before.
The Jays’ offense had improved some since Cito Gaston took over, but the last two games had them looking as bad as they ever did under Gibby. Just for reference, the Jays cashed 58.5% of their runners on third with less than two out (either scoring them with less than two out or with the second out) when John Gibbons was managing. Since Cito has taken over, the Jays are at 65.7%, which is better, but still pretty bad.
This is why it will take a miracle for the Jays to make the playoffs.
Two-thirds of the season is in the books, and they’re 54-54. As I write this, there are four teams between them and the wild-card Red Sox, which they trail by seven games. That’s not that big a deal to me, since the Rangers, Tigers, Jays and A’s are all bunched up pretty tightly, so breaking out of that pack would only take one hot streak, like the one it took to get into that pack. The big deal is that, as currently constituted, they’re more than likely not good enough to get into that upper echelon, even if the Rays and Twins do fall back.
The trade deadline is less than 24 hours away, and the Jays have some thinking to do. Their situation has changed drastically since the pre-game Tuesday, when J.P. Ricciardi said that A.J. Burnett wasn’t going anywhere. At that time, they had won 12 of 17, taken the first game of the series with T-Bay and had Roy Halladay going, looking good for another win and maybe even a chance to hit the deadline only 5 1/2 games behind T-Bay. Now they’ve gone the other way, and that slim chance to make the playoffs has gotten even slimmer.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jays do nothing tomorrow, but it wouldn’t surprise me either to see them make a small deal or two, moving Zaun or Eckstein, and I still think they’ll trade Burnett if the deal is right. You never know, B.J. Ryan could be on the move as well.
As for Scott Rolen, it turns out that it was, in fact, his shoulder that has been bothering him this month. He said it’s a matter of function, that it’s not working the way it should, which would seem to mean that his swing is getting cut off by the lack of range of motion. I’m kind of glad that there’s an explanation for Rolen’s recent swoon – he hit .163/.277/.200 in July after hitting .288/.377/.474 going into the month. His overall OPS has dropped 102 points in a month. He’s not going to the disabled list, and says he’s not heading for surgery, but he’s certainly not going to be playing every day from here on out, which should mean more playing time for Eckstein (if he’s still here) or John McDonald.
Here’s today’s brief edition of The JaysTalk for your listening pleasure:
One cool note before I go – the Argos are playing here Friday night, so the Dome is in quick turnaround mode, and I just watched them take both dugouts apart. I had always thought that the roofs collapsed into the ground (maybe they used to), but it turns out that they come apart in two pieces, with the roof, back and bench all attached in each piece. Cool.
Comments are welcome, but don’t rip me for something you thought you heard.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
12:30 AM Eastern
There’s an old adage in baseball that says you can’t win a ballgame if you don’t score any runs. And if there isn’t, there should be. The Jays didn’t score against Matt Garza for the second straight time (he shut them out over 7 2/3 a couple of weeks ago in St. Pete), and they continued their impressive run of sheer offensive flaccitude in a Roy Halladay loss.
The Jays have averaged 1.6 runs per game in Halladay’s eight losses this season. That’s just awful. Worse than awful, actually. Class act that he is, Halladay said after the game that Garza is just that good, or at least he was tonight. Compare that to James Shields’ “I did my job” quotes after the Rays’ series-opening loss. Halladay deserves better, but he’s not going anywhere.
Neither may be Gregg Zaun, despite his desire to move on if it means more playing time and/or a shot at a championship. Zaun spilled the beans to the lovely and talented Jordan Bastian of mlb.com earlier this evening. He didn’t go so far as to say he wanted out, nor did he call Bastian over and tell him to get the word out that he’s unhappy, he simply answered a legitimate question honestly. It was the same thing that A.J. Burnett did last month when asked by a Chicago reporter if he’d like to play for the Cubs.
Zaun said he was confused as to why he’s lost so much playing time to Rod Barajas, and he’s right to be. Barajas is certainly the better-throwing catcher, and seems to have a terrific rapport with A.J. Burnett, at least, but he just plain hasn’t been hitting in over a month. I went over the numbers yesterday, and The Captain has gone 2-for-6 with a pair of singles since, but here they are again. Since Cito Gaston took over the team, Barajas has hit .193/.209/.318. He hasn’t walked yet, and has two doubles and three homers among his 17 hits in 23 games. For those of you who love OPS, his is .527.
Believe it or not, Zaun is actually doing worse, hitting .159/.302/.227 in half the at-bats. The OPS is ever-so-slightly better, though, at a still-disgusting .529.
It’s not like Zaun can make the case that he deserves to be starting over Barajas on a regular basis, given those numbers, but he can certainly wonder why they’re not at the very least sharing time, with the job going to whoever gets hot.
Here’s what it comes down to – Zaun is better at not getting out than Barajas, better at blocking the plate and better at blocking balls in the dirt. Barajas is a better power hitter than Zaun and has a much better arm. The two of them both call a good game and it appears, work very well with the pitching staff.
Zaun has a right to his beef. Yes, Barajas hit very well while Zaun was hurt, but he’s been a huge hole in the middle of the line-up, along with Matt Stairs and Scott Rolen, for a while now.
I’m looking forward to seeing Scott Richmond’s big-league debut tomorrow. I hope he doesn’t take Queen’s Quay to the ballpark, though – I’d hate to have him see all the boats docked in the marina, start scraping rust and barnacles off them and miss the game!
Here’s tonight’s fine edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
12:15 AM Eastern
It continues to amaze me, how fickle the fanbase is. Mid-April – “the season’s over!” Late May – “the Jays are playoff-bound!” Mid-June – “the season’s over! It’s a collection of mediocre players who were never any good and will never be any good!” Late July – “they still have enough time to make a run, they’ll be in the playoff hunt!” Honestly, it’s almost comical. I guess it’s part of being a fan, but it can get pretty frustrating on this end.
Here’s the deal – if you think that the Jays have a run in them that will get them into a playoff race, then they were never just a mediocre group of players who “are what they are” and will never be any better. The season wasn’t over in April, or when Vernon Wells broke his wrist in Cleveland in May, or on June 5th when Jason Giambi hit the three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, or when the Jays got swept in Milwaukee leading to Gibby’s firing.
It’s a long season, which is what I spent most of the first half trying to explain on a seemingly daily basis. That said, I remain confident in saying that the Jays reached the point where it will take a miracle to get them into the playoffs on July 9th, when Wells was lost again for an extended period the day after Dustin McGowan was lost for the season. On the day that Wells got hurt, the Jays were 43-47. Since then, they’re 11-5. If they sweep the Rays, take two in Texas and then come home to go 5-2 against the Indians and A’s, that’ll have them on a 20-8 run and they’ll be 63-55. They then go on a 19-game run against Detroit (4), Boston (6), the Yankees (6) and T-Bay (3 – at the Rays). If they can come out of that in a playoff race, with David Purcey and Scott Richmond in the rotation and with Joe Inglett and Marco Scutaro up the middle every day (I’m assuming Wells will be back by then) – it will, in fact, be a miracle. Which is not to say that stranger things haven’t happened.
As for tonight, A.J. Burnett was brilliant. He walked Eric Hinske three times (for some reason – might have had to do with Jason Bartlett hitting behind him, but I doubt it), but other than that issued just one free pass over seven innings of work, striking out 10 and holding the Rays to just one unearned run. He loaded the bases with nobody out in the 3rd – because of a bad call by third-base ump Mike Winters – but got a strikeout. Then Lyle Overbay couldn’t make a throw home on a grounder, but still got an out at first, allowing a run to score. Burnett struck out Cliff Floyd following. So you have the bases loaded, a bad call, muffed play behind him, and Burnett didn’t fall apart.
Over his last four starts, Burnett has thrown 27 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on 23 hits, walking eight and striking out 31. He’s 3-1, 1.32 with a WHIP of 1.134. Shame he can’t put back-to-back good starts together. For those of you to whom it matters (the .500 pitcher crowd, I’m assuming), he has matched his career-high with a 12th win, the 3rd-highest total in the league, tied with Roy Halladay. He’s also leading the league in strikeouts, which is kind of neat.
The guy is a very good pitcher. I’m sorry.
On another note, it’s funny that in the 5th inning, with the Jays down 1-0 and Rod Barajas leading off, I thought to myself that The Captain and Stairs can’t keep hitting 5-6 if the Jays are serious about trying to make a run. Going into tonight’s game, Barajas was hitting .145/.155/.232 over the last calendar MONTH. Over the same amount of time, Stairs was hitting .196/.308/.375. They had reached the “you’ve got to be kidding me” stage for middle-of-the-order hitters in a big-league line-up. So what happens? Barajas hits a soft liner to right for a single, and Stairs blasts one off the restaurant for a two-run homer.
As for the Jays’ other run, well, the triple might just be the most exciting play in baseball. Back-to-back triples are another story altogether. Fantastic. It’s amazing that Joe Inglett is only two triples off the league lead (he has six) despite having fewer than 200 plate appearances 2/3 of the way through the season.
Lastly, Scott Richmond, of North Vancouver, B.C. was called up from Syracuse today to take Brian Tallet’s place on the roster. Tallet broke the pinky toe of his right foot while on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. No word on whether or not he’d been having a nightmare about spiders. Richmond is a 28 year-old righty who is in his first year of affiliated professional baseball. After high school, he spent three years working as a labourer in the shipyards of Vancouver before finding his way to a wood bat league in Moose Jaw. He impressed enough there to earn a spot with a Junior College team in the States, then went to Oklahoma State, then had to play independent ball in Edmonton because he couldn’t get a work visa in the States. The Jays signed him out of a tryout camp.
Richmond had 16 OK starts in New Hampshire this year, throwing 89 2/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.33, allowing 89 hits, walking 30 and striking out 84 while allowing a scary 14 home runs. He got moved up to Syracuse (when John Parrish came up to the Jays, I think) and in five starts there really opened some eyes. In 32 innings he allowed just 31 baserunners (25 hits and six walks) for a WHIP of 0.97. He struck out 31 and only gave up four homers.
Could this be some lightning in a bottle? You never know. Richmond will get the start in Wednesday’s series finale, much to the chagrin of the Canadian Olympic team, for whom he was going to pitch in Beijing. I’m really looking forward to seeing him pitch.
There may be a big to-do about the Jays denying Baseball Canada a chance to have Richmond for the Olympics but the Jays can’t worry about that. They’re 6 1/2 games back, and he has a chance to be part of the miracle. It’s very different from the 2004 Rockies calling up Jeff Francis – the Rox were well up the track (11 back of the wild card on August 1st) and wouldn’t have been poorly served by letting Francis pitch in Athens and taking a look at him in September. The Jays believe that Richmond is the best option to help them win. I don’t quite get it, but I’ve never seen him pitch. The Jays’ player development people in the minors are crazy about him.
Ideally for Canada, the Jays would have picked someone else and let Richmond go to China to wear the maple leaf but, again, the Jays have to worry about the Jays. Richmond, from talking to him before the game, is thrilled to be two days away from his major-league debut, despite the fact that it means he won’t be going to China.
Here’s tonight’s super-long edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Reasonable, rational comments are always encouraged!
Sunday, July 27th, 2008
7:15 PM Eastern
The Jays couldn’t close the deal on a sweep of the league-worst Seattle Mariners this afternoon, a victory that would have moved them three games over .500 for the first time since June 5 (a date many commenters on this blog marked as the end of the season) and would have given them a six-game win streak for the first time in over four years.
Instead, they ran into a highly-motivated Jarrod Washburn, who shut them down almost completely, and couldn’t turn a big double play in the 6th inning that would have changed things immensely.
I got a phone call shortly after arriving at the ballpark this morning saying that there were reports that Washburn had been traded to the Yankees and, therefore (duh) wouldn’t be making the start today. After chasing the story for a bit, the assemblage found that he would, indeed, take the ball, which doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no deal. Normally, if a pitcher is about to be moved, there’s no way he throws – but in this case, the Mariners may simply have been out of arms. They used seven relievers in Friday night’s loss to the Jays and had to move R.A. Dickey up to Saturday to start on short rest (Carlos Silva couldn’t answer the bell, evidently he strained his gut). So Lee Pelekoudas could very well have told Brian Cashman that he wanted to make the deal, but the Yanks had to let him start Washburn one last time.
Whether or not that theory holds water, Washburn knows that he’s very much on the block, and would be incredibly motivated to show potential suitors that he can contribute since, well, why the hell would he want to stay in Seattle?
He threw very well, allowing four hits and walking two over eight innings and, amazingly, only allowing ONE Jays’ runner to move once he reached base. The Jays had six baserunners, and just David Eckstein even managed to advance 90 feet once he got on. John McDonald never stopped, belting a no-doubt shot to left in the 5th for his first homer of the year.
Shaun Marcum deserved better. He wasn’t very good last time out in Baltimore, in his first start after a stint on the disabled list, but he was today. He disagreed, saying that he got lucky with the Mariners hitting a lot of balls hard, but right at people, but that was only true on a couple of occasions. The fact is, Marcum should have had six innings in the books having allowed two runs on five hits and should have left trailing 2-1.
With one out in the 6th, runners on first and second and two runs already in (on a Jose Vidro homer), Jeremy Reed hit a hard ground ball to second – textbook double play. All Marco Scutaro had to do was throw the ball to second base and Johnny Mac would have relayed it to first for the inning-ender. Instead, Scoot decided that the best course of action would be to tag Jose Lopez going by, then throw to first. He got tangled up in Lopez, couldn’t make a throw, and Kenji Johjima followed with the two-run double that ended Marcum’s day and, basically, the game.
Scutaro has been a capable defender all season long, at any of five positions. Not great, but certainly adequate, and I can’t remember seeing any other brain cramps from him, but this one was costly. As soon as he made his move towards the runner, I thought “just throw the ball to second”. D’oh.
For you Jason Frasor-haters, the diminutive (and deliberate) power righty had another good game today. After a 1-2-3 9th to close out the blowout win on Thursday in Baltimore, he worked his way around a pair of singles yesterday to throw a shutout inning, and this afternoon worked two scoreless, even stranding a leadoff triple by Ichiro Suzuki in the 9th. He may not look the part, and the fact that it takes him a couple of minutes to let go of the baseball every time may make him appear nervous and/or indecisive, but he can very definitely be an effective piece of a good major-league bullpen.
Finally, Vernon Wells may be returning far quicker than expected again. He was running in the outfield before the game today, not at 100%, but not at 50% either. All he needs to be able to do to get back in there is be confident in taking that first, explosive step out of the batter’s box. Wednesday will mark three weeks since he pulled up lame stealing third – we were told he’d miss 4-6 weeks. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was back for the Texas series that starts Friday. Of course, some of you might not like that, since the Jays are 24-16 with him on the disabled list this season. I’ll still take Wells in the line-up over Brad Wilkerson any day of the week.
Oh, and for some reason, I will be on an episode of Kenny vs. Spenny later this year. Kenny came by to film some stuff while I was in my tent for the pre-pre-game show. Nice guy. A little pushy, but nice.
Here’s today’s abbreviated edition of The JaysTalk:
Reasonable, rational comments are always appreciated! The 24/7 JaysTalk rocks (you can still read it 24/7, after all)!
Saturday, July 26th, 2008
5:45 PM Eastern
Someone mentioned this in the comments section a few days ago or on The JaysTalk, but man, the Blue Jays should really have gotten Alex Rios to spawn sooner. He didn’t exactly sleepwalk through the unofficial first half of the season, but has he ever turned it on since the break – coinciding nicely with the birth of his daughter Alessandra three days prior.
The .401 pre-break slugging was the major disappointment with Rios. Only four home runs in 362 at-bats. He did hit .285 with a .337 on-base, both almost bang-on his career norms, and he also smacked 24 doubles and stole 25 bases, so his “first half” wasn’t nearly the write-off that so many seemed to feel it was.
Since the break, though, in the little tiny sample size of nine games, Rios is hitting .300/.317/.700. Twelve hits – four singles, four doubles and four homers. He’s also stolen four bases. As well, he’s scored seven runs and driven in eight. The two big flies he hit today were beauties – the first, a 2-0 “heater” (85 mph) that was destroyed deep into the seats beyond the Jays’ bullpen, and the second , a knuckleball that was turned around and made it into the seats just left of dead-centre.
For some reason, people expect Rios to be a perennial 30-40 homer guy despite him never having hit as many as 25 in a season, but it’s games like today and starts like the first half of ’07 that make people think he can be a big-time power bat. And he can. That’s one of the reasons he got the contract he did.
It’ll be interesting to see if the power surge continues – Rios had a career post-break slugging percentage of .412 coming into this season, as opposed to .490 beforehand – but there’s no reason to believe he won’t finish the year with at least 15-20 bombs, if not more.
Joe Inglett fed off his game-winner last night with three more hits today, so he’s gone from a 1-for-18 right into a 4-for-5, which is good. He made a mistake in the 4th, though. I like the aggressive, hustley move to stretch the liner into right-centre into a double, but the throw was close, and if he’d gotten out before Scott Rolen had touched the plate, the Jays would have lost a run. Now, it’s very obviously moot because: A – Inglett was safe at second, and 2 – Rolen stepped on the plate before the play on Inglett, but a lot of baserunners put it into cruise control coming home when there’s no throw. It was a situation that could have turned out badly.
David Purcey did exactly what I hoped he would do today – he threw strikes. Only one walk (and one hit batsman) in six innings of work, which was a massive improvement on his first two starts. I’m thinking that the fact those starts were both one-offs probably put a little extra pressure on Purcey, thinking that it would be his only time to impress the grand poobahs. Now he’s here for the rest of the season and it certainly seemed like his mind was a lot more at ease. And he’s got a big-league win under his belt.
If there had been any question as to for how long Purcey would be up, it was answered mid-game when the lovely and talented Shi Davidi broke the story that Dustin McGowan will miss at least the rest of the season. I’ve told you here before that it was more than likely that we wouldn’t see McGowan again this year, but now it’s official. He’ll have surgery on his right shoulder on Thursday. Dr. Timothy Kremchek – the Reds’ team doctor and the surgeon who did B.J. Ryan’s Tommy John last year – will repair fraying of the labrum and check out his rotator cuff. They’re hoping that the cuff won’t need surgical repair. If it doesn’t, McGowan likely comes to Spring Training ready to rock and/or roll. If it does, we see McGowan next August and the Blue Jays have to put the lion’s share of the $30 million in off-season spending money into starting pitching.
Speaking of which, they’re hoping to see a much different Shaun Marcum in the series finale tomorrow than they did in Baltimore early in the week. The Jays are going for the sweep, and for their 12th win in 16 games, as they attempt to inch ever closer to the miracle finish they need to make the playoffs. 1989 update: That team was 51-53 through 104 games, two games behind the 2008 club.
Remember, the pre-pre-game goes tomorrow from the tent at Gate 6A. It’s likely that I’ll play the Glenallen Hill interview I did at the all-star game. He was there as a member of the Rockies’ coaching staff.
Here’s today’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
OK, so the link doesn’t work. We’re having some trouble with the audio, but it should be available by Monday when the regular crew comes in. Yesterday’s link should be fixed then, too. Sorry about that.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Saturday, July 26th, 2008
Thursday, July 24th, 2008
5:40 PM Eastern
So how cool is it that on the day that the Jays get back to .500 for the first time in more than a month (they woke up June 15th at 35-35), the dictionary definition of a .500 pitcher gets a win – and doesn’t even pitch?
Very cool, is how cool.
A.J. Burnett got the win for his efforts last night when this afternoon the team did, in fact, add on and the bullpen shut Baltimore out for four innings anyway, and then Roy Halladay went out and, without his best stuff, shut down the O’s over seven innings while the Jays romped in the series finale.
That’s more like it.
Marco Scutaro chipped in with three hits, and so did Adam Lind, who is hitting .400 with a .677 SLG for the month of July. His time to climb, line-upically, is almost upon us. Lyle Overbay hasn’t looked too bad as a clean-up man, either. With today’s effort, he’s now batting .333/.400/.417 (EXTREME small sample size alert) since being installed as the 4-hitter against righties when the Jays arrived in Baltimore. It should be noted as well that Overbay hasn’t hit into a double play in a month. Cito loves him, why don’t you?
Gregg Zaun hit the ball very hard three times, resulting in a fly out into a double play (that Markakis fellow has a very, very good arm), a sac fly to the warning track and a two-run single. Nice to see.
Before I go, I just want to weigh in a little more than I already have (in the comments section – you should read that stuff) on Jesse Litsch’s demotion. I’ve said that I’m just as fine with him being in Syracuse as I’d have been had they kept him up and let him work his problems out in the majors, but it might be better to give him a couple of starts down there. Look at the decline in his performance since the end of May, when most people were ripping me for not agreeing that Litsch was going to be an all-star or even a Cy Young candidate.
On June 26th, Litsch threw eight innings of three-hitter, outdueling Edinson Volquez in a win over the Reds. Outside that one start, Litsch is 0-6, 7.07 since June 1st, having pitched 42 innings, allowing 65 hits and 9 walks (1.76 WHIP) and giving up eight homers (1.7 per 9 IP). That’s really bad.
So let Litsch get two or three starts in Syracuse to get his head on straight and, as Cito suggests, throw more fastballs and fewer cutters, and he’ll be back once the combination of Dustin McGowan being out for the season and John Parrish continuing to return to being John Parrish reaches critical mass. In the interim, David Purcey comes up and will be told “the job is yours for the rest of the season, go out and pitch”, and we might get a truer indication of the young lefty’s capabilities.
There was no time for a post-game edition of The JaysTalk today, had to make room for the man himself, but here’s The Mini-JaysTalk from between games:
Rational, reasonable comments are, as always, encouraged, but I’m no longer going to be answering them outside normal work hours, so you’ll have to wait for my responses until around gametime tomorrow.
Thursday, July 24th, 2008
12:45 AM Eastern
I don’t know, it’s been over two hours since tonight’s game was suspended and all I can think about is poor Lyle Overbay having to stand out there at third base all night while the rest of his teammates are snug in their hotel beds. That’s a rule that should definitely be looked into by Major League Baseball – players on base when games are suspended should be allowed to leave the base during the suspension without risking being called out. I hope that’ll come up in the next C.B.A.
It’d all be moot if the Jays had just scored that run in an earlier inning. If they hadn’t completed the 5th inning tied, or had been able to complete the 6th untied, the game would have been official, and ended. Instead, they have to pick it up in the afternoon and hope that the bullpen can get 12 outs without giving up a run. Or maybe the Jays could actually add on to the 2-1 lead and give the relievers some breathing room.
Had you going there for a second, didn’t I?
Anyway, in honour of the suspended game (3-4 years ago it would have been declared a tie, stats would have counted, and the game would have had to have been replayed in its entirety), I offer you this suspended blog post. It’s late, I still have about 80 comments to get to from yesterday, and there’s a day game and a third coming up pretty quickly. At least Roy Halladay is starting the regularly-scheduled game, so maybe the bullpen won’t be needed much in that one.
Two audio files for your listening pleasure tonight! First, here’s the Rain Delay Programme/Suspension Show:
Second, Wednesdays with J.P. Among the highlights – Ricciardi was NEVER offered Ryan Howard for Ted Lilly, nor was he ever offered David Wright for Jose Cruz, Jr. (I hadn’t heard that one). He doesn’t expect to trade A.J. Burnett, given the offers he’s received for him so far, nor does he think he’s taking much of a risk with A.J. continuing to be healthy (of course not – he’s pitching for a new contract!). Burnett hasn’t given the Jays an indication about whether he’ll opt out or not. From the farm, J.P. says Ricky Romero is starting to “settle in and show some good signs”, and thinks that he may have been trying too hard to live up to the pressure of being a high pick. As well, Ricciardi said the Jays did try to sign Richie Sexson, but he wanted to go to the Yankees.
Two other big things: 1 – Ricciardi said that he’ll go to ownership after THIS season to talk about freeing up money to extend Roy Halladay, and this with two years left on Halladay’s deal, and B – When J.P. was asked about possibly trading Scott Downs, he talked about teams being interested in Downs for the same reason the Jays are, and not wanting to tear things apart, but when he was asked about trading B.J. Ryan, he said that he’s “not ruling anything out”.
Here’s the whole show for your listening pleasure:
Reasonable, rational comments are always welcome – I’m going to go answer some old ones right now!
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
11:45 PM Eastern
I wonder if I’ll be able to use the same two post titles for the rest of the season. You never know, though I certainly don’t expect the Orioles to even be within shouting distance of .500 when the season is over, and I think the Jays will probably be on the happy side of the break-even mark when all is said and done.
Tonight was pretty interesting. A rusty Shaun Marcum couldn’t keep the ball in the park when he needed to, but the bats bailed him out.
With all the discussion about John McDonald vs. Mavid Scutstein at shortstop, Mac goes out and plays terrific defense and drives in four runs, smacking a double off the wall in the left-field corner with the bases loaded and two out! The best part of that was the JaysTalk caller who said “given the Blue Jays’ need for offense, do you think they should be giving McDonald more playing time?” Those kinds of calls make me smile.
Adam Lind continues to fuel the fire of those who want J.P. handed his pink slip. He played Crushy McCrushstein tonight with four hits – all against lefties – and the three-run homer came off Alberto Castillo’s sidearm slider! It may have been hung a bit, but left-handed hitters, in general, have no chance against side-arming southpaws, so the fact that Lind was able to stay inside the ball and yank it out down the line speaks volumes about his ability. Maybe he needed those two extra months in AAA, maybe he didn’t, there’s no way we’ll ever know. But right now, he seems to be the Jays’ best hitter, though Alex Rios continues to come on.
Rios doubled and homered tonight (though the homer was a line drive that barely got out in the corner in left), and now has six extra base hits in the last three games. He’s hitting .304/.304/.739 since becoming a father. Boy, I sure hope someone will take him off the Jays’ hands in the off-season. He’s having a disappointing year, no question, but he has 28 doubles, 25 stolen bases and is hitting .286. So can we please stop with the “it’s a terrible contract/the Jays have to see what they can get for him”? Please?
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk – stunning that no one called asking what’s wrong with B.J. Ryan:
Most comments are encouraged, but if you’re going to be insulting or an idiot, please keep it to yourself.