11:25 PM Eastern
Oh, the vagaries of this great game!
Take the four-game sweep of the A’s and combine it with tonight’s easy win in Detroit, and it appears as though here plays a team that has everything working for it – great pitching, all kinds of scoring, opportunistic offense (.333 with RISP, 8/10 runners scored from third with less than two out), terrific defense. A team poised for a run at the post-season.
Problem is, you can’t do that. You have to toss in those three home games against Cleveland in which they could barely do anything right – certainly not the offense (.188 with RISP, only TWO runners reaching third with less than two out).
And that’s the story of the Toronto Blue Jays this season – mind-numbingly consistent in their inconsistency.
There are a couple of lights at the end of the tunnel, though. First off, they’re now 60-59, which is the same record that they had in 1989. Thing is, that’s where they left .500 behind for good that year. Game 118 was the take-off point. Mauro Gozzo beat Mike Boddicker and the Red Sox 4-2 to get the Jays back to .500, and the next day Dave Stieb got the win (7-2 over Boston) to get the Jays over. The Jays then ripped off a 14-3 that set them on their way to an eventual 29-14 finish and a division title.
Can this team do that? Maybe. Having Vernon Wells back certainly helps. If they do go on that kind of a run now, they’re right back in it, because that run will come against the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays. They just have to do it, is all, which is a hell of a lot easier written than done.
Shannon Stewart was released today, and much to my surprise, there were hardly any calls on The JaysTalk referring to the release and to how big a mistake the Jays made in cutting Reed Johnson at the end of March and all of that. I was more than surprised, actually. I was stunned. I figured The JaysTalk would be nothing but callers wanting to talk about Reed and how much of an idiot J.P. is for letting him go and how he should be fired.
In response to those non-callers, I’ll say this, as I’ve said all season long: Given the information that was available at the time, keeping Stewart was the right choice. Shannon had the track record of being able to hit both lefties and righties, which Reed didn’t have. And still doesn’t, by the way – he’s hitting .269/.313/.393 against righties this year. With the Jays knowing that Frank Thomas would be on a short leash and that Matt Stairs would likely take a step back, they wanted someone with whom they could be confident as an everyday player when the need arose. That wasn’t the case with Johnson. It didn’t work out – at all – but nobody had a crystal ball in Dunedin.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
As I mentioned on The Extendo, the Hall of Fame has moved up the fan balloting for the Ford C. Frick Award for the broadcasters’ wing in Cooperstown to September. Every day next month, you’ll be able to cast your vote for the Frick. I know a lot of people read this blog on a regular basis, and I appreciate that a lot. During the month of September, I’ll be asking that each and every one of you cast a vote for Tom Cheek every day. If we all do it, once a day, every day (heck, you’re on the internet anyway, right?), we can win the fan balloting for Tom, and that’ll go a long way to getting him right where he belongs. I’ll have more on this as we get closer to September, of course.
Reasonable, rational comments are always welcome!