10:10 PM Eastern

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but Zeppelin was the third musical act that came to mind when I typed that title up. The first, of which I’m not ashamed, was the Pat Benatar classic. You know, dream-maker, love-taker, don’t you mess around with cheese, that one. The second, that’s the issue for me. After thinking of the Benatar song, and deciding that lyrics from there wouldn’t fit into the title of this post, my inner insanity took me to Dionne Warwick. It’s sad, I know. Maybe as sad as most Jays fans feel about this afternoon’s result.

Make no mistake, this was a terrific game. It featured great clutch pitching, some timely hitting, sensational defense and tremendous bullpen work. It’s just that the wrong team came out on top.

This wasn’t a game that the Blue Jays lost, nor was this a game where they threw away a bunch of opportunities and made their fans pull their hair out in frustration. This was a plain old fun game to watch, with a great atmosphere at the ballpark. Actually, the atmosphere was terrific all week, with Jays’ fans and Red Sox’ fans doing their best to shout each other down. Will this be as close as we’ll get to a playoff feel at the Dome this season? Probably, but you never know.

A.J. Burnett had one bad inning, and when the Jays recovered from it to take the lead, he gave it up right away. Coco Crisp’s leadoff homer in the 7th was a dagger, tying the game mere moments after Barajas’ big double put the Jays ahead by one, though it should have been two.

The Captain was in a 3-for-22 drought when he stepped to the plate following a two-out intentional walk to Matt Stairs in the 6th, and he ripped a ground ball just inside the line at third. Vernon Wells was at third, and scored the go-ahead run. Stairs came chugging all the way around the bases, and slid in under Jason Varitek’s tag, but home plate umpire Angel Campos called him out. I’ve railed against this before, but it’s sad that at the height of the profession, where allegedly the best officials in the world are working, an umpire will still call a player out on a tag play at least 90% of the time when the ball beats him to the base, regardless of the tag. It certainly wasn’t painfully apparent that Stairs was safe, but he was, and he was called out because the throw beat him.

So the Jays only had a one-run lead going into the 7th, as opposed to two or more, and Crisp’s homer tied it up instead of drawing Boston back to within a run.

Burnett was done after seven, despite his protests, and Scott Downs came in to provide two shutout innings, followed by a perfect tenth out of B.J. Ryan against the 2-3-4 hitters in the Sox line-up. That guy should really hang ‘em up, he’s done. Brandon League pitched the 11th, and hung one to Jed Lowrie and the rookie crushed it for what stood up as the game-winning home run. Before you bury League, please note that this was the same guy who struck out David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis as part of a 1-2-3 inning yesterday, and even moreso, remember that he hadn’t given up a run in his last 12 outings!

As much as some people seem to think that a pitcher can get every hitter out when he really wants, or every hitter has the capability to get a hit (or at least hit a fly ball) if he deems the situation important enough, that’s just not the case. Remember, the other guys are really, really good at this, too.

Speaking of really good, after several fans were burying him for his 0-fer on Friday night, Vernon Wells came up huge again – a first-inning, two-out, two-run homer for the second straight game, and then an RBI double in the 6th to pull the Jays back to within a run. Wells was 6-for-9 on the weekend, with a double, three homers, six runs scored and six RBIs.

Here’s today’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:

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So, the Jays are off to Tampa Bay now with a little less of a spring in their step, eight games out of the wild card instead of six, three games back of the third-place Yankees instead of two with only 32 games to go. Roy Halladay starts Tuesday night’s opener, but is followed by David Purcey and John Parrish. It certainly seems less and less likely that the miracle is going to happen, but that’s why they call them miracles. If they happened all the time they’d just be called things.

Here’s the deal. In order to finish with 90 wins, the Jays need to go 23-9 down the stretch, which means they’re going to have to put a mean streak or three together. But they showed us today how entertaining and fun they can be to watch even if they’re not going to be taking part in the post-season yet again.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome. If you’re going to come in here and spew bile, please take your act somewhere else.

111 Responses to “Heartbreaker”
  1. 1.

    Barry Gibb wrote the song “Heartbreaker” for Dionne Warwick. If you hate the Bee Gees or 1970′s music, you might consider that spewing bile. Hope that info helps you sleep better.

    Tough game to lose today. It seems they are getting more timely hitting of late. There was a time earlier in the season where they’d have a bad week. The offensive funks have been reduced to just one game it seems anymore.

    Bip Roberts was your favorite player? The same Bip Roberts who is eternally loathed in Cleveland for refusing to play in game 7 of the 1997 World Series? Oh my God, they hate him down here. You better stick with Magadan. That was a great interview you did with him. Keep ‘em comin’.

    MW: The fact that Barry Gibb wrote that song actually makes me feel a little better. Yes, Bip was my favourite player, but long before the ’97 Series. Glad you enjoyed the Magadan interview!

    - Jim in Ohio
  2. 2.

    On the play at the plate with Stairs in the sixth, it looked as though Nick Leyva made a late decision deciding whether or not to send him, causing him to slow down at third base. Do you think he was too hesitant in sending Stairs?

    MW: No, I didn’t think so. He has to wait until he’s sure one way or the other, and Stairs has to go all-out until he sees a signal.

    - Jesse
  3. 3.

    Hi Mike,

    As soon as League came in I said to my son game over. Yes you make good points in your blog about his record of late but a 1-2-3 pitched inning in an 11-0 game does not mean much to me. He should not be brought in ever in close games, I have seen him give up up too many home runs in at the worst times. Hate to say it but the season ended today. With the Yankees sweeping Baltimore and us losing 2 of 3 to Boston and we never play Tampa well, it is over now.
    Love listening to you.

    - David Harris
  4. 4.

    Hi Mike, yes it was a heart breaker but the Jays played really well. Jason Bay made that amazing catch in left on the Rios ball.
    Some one asked about Shea Hillenbrand. He was playing for a minor league team, the York Revolution. He was injured on August 14, he slid into home plate with the game winning run and injured his neck.
    Liz

    MW: Thanks for the Hillenbrand info – the Revolution plays in the Atlantic League, which isn’t affiliated with the major leagues. Hillenbrand is there along with fellow former Jays Corey Thurman and Frank Castillo.

    - Liz
  5. 5.

    Hey Mike,

    I was looking up details on Zaun’s contact and I discovered that his option for next year depends on his appearances, this is the article on ESPN where I found the contract details (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2678618). I’m going to assume that appearances was a typo for plate appearances. I highly doubt that Jays are keeping him on the bench so that Zaun doesn’t get his option but that would be a reason why he is playing so little. I know that Barajas has been playing better but Zaun rarely plays. I would appreciate your feedback on this matter because as soon as I found out about Zaun’s option a light bulb went on in my head.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comment and keep up the great work you do on the JaysTalk.

    MW: Thanks. Zaun’s option was based on games played, and as soon as Eric Hinske fouled the ball off his thumb last year, Zaun wasn’t going to get the 270 games over two years needed to guarantee the option year. As soon as Zaun got his THIRD day off this season, the option was voided, so that has nothing to do with how much Barajas has been playing.

    - Kevin
  6. 6.

    Mike, today’s game reminded me of a hitter’s version of Halladay’s 3-run, no good hits inning of a while back (or something like that).

    The Jays seemed to hit a heck of a lot of balls really hard, but about 2/3rds of them were turned into outs, which is absurd. The Jays could easily have had 16 hits.

    On the other hand, I can’t think of any plays where the Red Sox hit it on a line and it was turned into an out.

    Am I imagining things, or was this just a brutal luck game?

    MW: I have the Red Sox making five spectacular defensive plays in the game and the Jays making two. I have the Jays hitting five balls to the warning track or wall for outs and the Red Sox hitting none.

    - gabriel
  7. 7.

    This game sucked. I don’t feel like talking about it.

    Somewhat off-topic question: Do you think the Mets will pick up Delgado’s 12 million option for next year? I see no reason why they wouldn’t. His replacement would cost them even more. But in the off chance that they don’t pick it up, I really hope JP goes hard after him. He should be good for at least another two years. And watching him finish his HOF career (yes) in Toronto would be awesome.

    MW: Delgado is definitely a bubble Hall of Famer, it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I can’t see the Mets not picking up his option. There’s a $4 million buy-out, so really it’ll only cost them $8 million.

    - SP
  8. 8.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    There’s really not an opportune time to write on the blog when I’m not baked, so for the time being I’ll have to take a raincheck on your suggestion that I do.

    Who is the best golfer on the Jays? In the media?

    re: this Marcum thing… do you think the decision came from Gaston or JP? It seems like more of a Cito thing that anything.

    Is this move designed to increase their chances down the stretch or is it purely something for Marcum’s deveopment? In other words, would they get better pitching if he were still in the rotation nd is that being ignored for the sake of his personal development?

    Anyways, I’d saved that comment from last night, when I was so baked that I let my baterry get critically low, and I’m so baked tonight that it took me like ten minutes to get from the Word document I saved it in to your blog because I kept getting distracted.

    Okay, a baseball thang for you’s (oops, there goes my grammar):

    Were this weeekend’s losses typical of the underachieving, dissapointing choke tendencies this team has shown all season (and many past) or were they losses you can be proud of?

    MW: No idea on the team’s best golfer or the media’s, for that matter. All I know is that Ashby is really, really good. I think the Marcum decision was a combined effort by Cito and J.P. I suggested to Cito that he has more decision-making power relative to J.P. than his predecessors and he literally laughed at the idea. As for the baseball thang, I don’t know that you can be proud of any loss, but I didn’t think Sunday was typical of the way the Jays have lost games for the most part this season.

    - JCL
  9. 9.

    mike, once again you keep perpetuating this myth that you predicted the hitters would turn around. once again which hitters are you referring to? once again, most of the lineup has changed. the lineup in may was

    stewart
    wells
    rios
    rolen
    eckstein
    hill
    overbay
    zaun
    stairs/thomas

    the lineup now is
    lind
    wells
    rios
    scutaro
    macdonald
    inglett
    overbay
    barajas
    stairs

    only wells, rios, overbay and stairs have remained from the original starters. how many of them have really improved? wells and rios have improved a little. overbay still has little power and stairs is still the same. rolen, hill, zaun, thomas, stewart all have not improved since they are not even playing! so of the original lineup, only 2 you could argue have improved!

    MW: I didn’t think I was only talking about the starting nine against right-handed pitching when I said the hitting would improve. However, I didn’t anticipate Hill being lost for the year, Eckstein losing the job at short or Rolen playing hurt for five weeks before going on the DL. Adam Lind has been the team’s best bat since Cito took over, but dig this – under Gaston, Rios’ OPS is 189 points higher than it was under Gibby. Wells’ OPS is 100 points higher, Overbay’s is up 22 points and Stairs’ is up nine. Damn me and my myth-perpetuation.

    - chubby
  10. 10.

    Mike, Just a random question. Would you take man on 2nd no outs OR man on 3rd one out?

    thanks,

    MW: Hmmmmmmm. Man on second none out – run expectancy is .206 higher.

    - The Rat
  11. 11.

    Two thoughts…

    I have shared your assumption about Dopirak’s age, but while researching some background for a blog post I came across a nugget of info which stated that Dopirak is actually only 6 months older than the average Hi-A player.

    Take that for what it’s worth.

    More importantly, this is now twice that we get word that Arnsberg was offended that he wasn’t consulted about the demotion of a starter.

    This concerns me greatly. Are we in danger of seeing him take his fantastic work elsewhere in the off-season? I can’t think of another pitching coach I’d rather have here.

    MW: Where did you hear that about Arnsberg?

    - WillRain
  12. 12.

    The Jays are definitely unofficially out of the race. They had to win at least two of this weekends games.
    Both Marcum and Burnett HAD to pitch better than they did in this crucial series.
    Marcum stunk in his outing and Burnett blew two leads on Sunday.
    I don’t care what anyone says, but giving up 5 runs in 7 innings is not a quality start. Showing some class, Burnett took the blame for the loss after the game… which he should have.
    Sorry, Mike! There is no miracle coming from the Bluejays with Purcey and Parrish in the starting rotation.
    Goodbye J.P.

    MW: Who said Burnett had a quality start?

    - Kelly Pfeiffer
  13. 13.

    I thought the game today was awesome. Although im sunburnt all to hell and I probably sweat out 10 pounds from the sun blasting on me, the game had it all. I know you said that it wouldnt have been a good idea to pinch run Stairs, but I disagree. They had nothing to lose by putting in a faster run and he would have scored for sure. The three lefty batters in a row didnt help our cause either. Why doenst Cito shuffle them up a bit? Its making it a lot easier for the bullpen to plan it out NO?

    MW: Definitely makes it a lot easier on the opposition manager late to have those three lefties in a row, for sure. They had nothing to lose by pinch-running for Stairs there except Stairs, who they might have needed in a close game later on.

    - Dave Brantford
  14. 14.

    This game was a one that the Jays absolutely had to have. This essentially ended any realist hopes of a postseason bid..or even a post season outside bid.

    Aj burnett pitched well but had noone else to blame for his “one bad inning” (thats all it takes you know). he walked the 8 and 9 hitters…come on..forget the pedroia homer…the game was lost on the preceding players at bats. this is why AJ is AJ and doc is doc. Aj is good..doc is great. AJ will walk the 8/9 hitter..doc wont..at least not back to back.

    brandon league was due to give up a run..however i fault barajas for this one. brandon has no business throwing a slider in that situation to a left hitter. jed had little chance of tagging leagues 98mph heater and if rod DID want to go with a wrinkle..the split would have been the move. so they sped up his bat and then hung one that even omar moreno could have hit out..bad bad pitch call..

    lastly..even with all that..the jays sort of got jobbed today. crisp actually struck out before he walked..only the ump decided not to call it…stairs was clearly safe…and how many rockets did they jays hit today that were caught?

    yup im bitter..cause this game was HUGE..season making or breaking huge IMO

    MW: If League hadn’t hung the slider, the call would have been fine. Nice Omar Moreno reference, though! I’m surprised at how many people seem to believe that this loss ended the Jays’ hopes. A win would have made the miracle less extraordinarily difficult, but still extraordinarily difficult. This loss doesn’t end things anymore than Friday’s did.

    - sammy jalalzai
  15. 15.

    mike, I see a banner on the wall for dandy-house.co.jp. when I type this in it is all chinese. what is this company and why are they advertising in the bbb (baby barajas ballyard).

    MW: It’s a men’s spa, and they advertise at Rogers Centre when the Jays play the Red Sox, Yankees and Mariners and a large Japanese audience is anticipated.

    - chubby
  16. 16.

    Hey Mike. It’s too bad that the majority of Jays losses couldn’t atleast be entertaining like this game! Most of the games the Jays lost have been hair pullers! If only they could have started the season with the way they are playing now! Also is it just me or do most of these bad calls end up going against the Jays?

    MW: It’s just you. Most people think that the majority of bad calls go against “their” team.

    - Matt from BC
  17. 17.

    Mike,

    Did you find out why JP thought you’d been put up to asking the question about Collins(Lansing pitcher)?

    10 games left against the Sox so catching up 1 game every 4 days isn’t impossible(incredibly improbably though).

    Thanks
    Ciaran (Dublin, Ireland)

    MW: Incredibly improbable, indeed. I did find out why J.P. thought I’d been put up to asking the question. Great to hear from the Emerald Isle!

    - Ciaran
  18. 18.

    Hello Mike

    Texiera and Sabathia in pin stripes? Scary……. They would give Boston a run for their money.

    A couple of question;

    What do you think of our newest signing, Bautista? Looks like he has range, but can he hit?

    Can you tell me a little about Brett Cecil, I gathered from his stats he is a power pitcher, how hard does he throw, have you ever watched him pitch?

    Thanks, keep up the good work. I love listening to your show

    MW: Bautista was acquired in trade, not signed. He’s OK, but not much more than that. I’m a little puzzled as to how he fits in long-term, moreso because they gave up Robinzon Diaz for him. I’ve only seen Cecil pitch once, this spring, and I was very impressed.

    - francis
  19. 19.

    After that Love Power shown by Jed Lowire Jays fans must have been asking How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye?

    MW: Make it stop!! Please, at least tell me you had to look up Dionne Warwick song titles.

    - Zack
  20. 20.

    hi Mike;

    First and foremost Vernon Wells deserves ample credit for carry the jays on his back via his offence and defence and if he can keep up this exceptional level of play and sneak his team into the playoffs then he will have earned his salary most assuredly. In regards to stairs he was safe and this bad call(where is instant replay) changed the complexion of the game; Inglett had an off game(why is Cito so apprehensive to use either Eckstein @ second or Zaun @ dh) could have inginited some extra hits, I guess hindsight is 20/20; In regards to Marcum sending him to triple a was a good move, his location is off since the injury and Parrish can help and win @ this level. Burnett did not have a good game even by his own admission and won’t be missed @ the end of the season, If Riccardi is smart he will try to sign either pedro martinez, ben sheets or attempt to negotiate with Sabathia(rather have him than manny ramierez) as our young rotation needs a year of seasoning. As an adjunct, Overbay has been outstanding and deserves credit. One can only hope the new Bautista hits as well as tony Bautista of yesteryear. Great show thx.

    MW: There was no way to know that Inglett was going to go 0-for-5, and you can’t manage thinking “what if one of my regulars has a bad day?” Burnett will very definitely be missed.

    - robert s
  21. 21.

    Mike,
    Must be something in the DNA of baseball fans that makes letting go hard to do but
    this will be a final word from me on the Tony Fernandez to Cooperstown subject.
    Ozzie Smith’s lifetime AOPS is 87, Tony 101. There is no question that Fernandez was a much better hitter.
    Smith was better defensively but Tony was an excellent shortstop. When Cito compares Johnny Mac to the best, his yardstick is Fernandez.
    Are you saying Fernandez does not belong in Cooperstown and Ozzie does? Or that neither do? Comparing Fernandez to Aparicio strengthens my argument.
    The guy was never my favorite player. I just think he has been unfairly overlooked.
    J.C.

    MW: I’m saying Fernandez doesn’t belong in Cooperstown and Ozzie does.

    - jchenry
  22. 22.

    Does this team make the playoffs with Cito in the chair from day one? I was a Cito basher and I am ashamed that I was. This man can manage!
    Failure to replace Delgado the blackest mark on J.P.’s record.
    J.C.

    - jchenry
  23. 23.

    Why is there “clutch” pitching for you when according to you there is no such thing as clutch? Everytime anyone mentions clutch hitting you dismiss them and yet you say yesteday’s game had clutch pitching. Have you changed your position?

    MW: Nope, I have always said that there is such a thing as clutch hitting. To deny that would be ludicrous. Hitters have clutch games, clutch months even clutch years all the time. But there’s no such thing as a clutch hitter.

    - Peter B.
  24. 24.

    23-9 down the stretch, kind of hard with the way the Jays are playing.

    Apparently it won’t be John Parrish starting and it will be Jesse Litsch.

    http://snaptopic.com/sports/mlb/toronto-blue-jays

    MW: 23-9 is kind of hard no matter how a team is playing. That’s a 116-win pace. They did switch to Litsch at some point – Cito told me before Sunday’s game that both lefties would be going in Tampa Bay.

    - Tim
  25. 25.

    For the first time in a long time the future looks bright for the the Jays. The minors have been producing for the first time since I can remember. Even if the hitting gets a little better next year I think the Jays will contend. I think if the Jays fire Riccardi it could set them back a year or two. Do you think that could happen?

    MW: I take it you’re not familiar with players like Alex Rios, Aaron Hill, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and Casey Janssen, all players produced by the Jays’ minor-league system the last four years or so. I think Ricciardi could be fired, but the better they play down the stretch the less likely it is (which is stupid, but that’s the way it works).

    - John McLean
  26. 26.

    Hi Mike

    Thought you would pipe in yesterday when Jerry and Alan were spaeking about Scutaro as the team MVP for 08′ (at least I was waiting for you to say something). My guess is you would beg to differ based on some of your postings this season. Were you thinking of adding your two cents or are you supposed to stay quiet during their analysis? Do you have the “green light” during games to add your say?

    Thanks

    Garry

    MW: I don’t always have the green light during games. If they’d invited me into the discussion I’d have given my opinion. But you heard Ashby say he knows I disagree – that’s because he saw me shaking my head when they were talking about it.

    - Garry
  27. 27.

    While the new (but old) manager still continues to frustrates me, this was truly the best game of the year that resulted in a loss. Boston’s defence came up big and was the difference in the game. Blue Jay fans have to be really happy that Wells, Rios, Overbay, and Lind look locked in and hit the ball very hard.

    - Jim B
  28. 28.

    Scutaro MVP.

    - The Rat
  29. 29.

    ‘This wasn’t a game that the Blue Jays lost…’

    I beg to differ somewhat from your comment that I pasted above. As you stated later in your post, AJ gave the lead right back on the Coco Puff homerun in the 7th. That to me is “losing” the game. As I’ve commented a couple of times on this very subject, the one issue the Jays’ pitchers seemed to have a problem with all season is keeping momentum on their side. Always giving back most if not all of the runs the meager offense provided them, the very next 1/2 inning afterwards.

    On a side note; it pains me to think that, going into this series, Dustin Pedroia would’ve been the Jays’ leader in homeruns! How pathetic is that!!

    Also, props to Vernon for stepping up in a big series and in big moments. Finally VW is clutching up.

    MW: Burnett didn’t give the lead back, he gave the lead away – the homer didn’t put the Jays behind. As for Pedroia, right now he’d still be the Jays’ leader in home runs.

    - JJ
  30. 30.

    When do you expect the PTBNL to be annouced in the Batista deal?

    MW: Just a guess, but I’ll say sometime around 1:59 PM Eastern on Monday.

    - Jim B
  31. 31.

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for putting so much time into this blog – I enjoy reading it daily, as well as listening to you on “The Jays Talk”.

    I was at the game yesterday, and was surprised to see the roof opening in the early innings. I thought that once the roof was closed for the first pitch, that it had to stay closed?

    I’m happy it opened anyways, it made for a beautiful afternoon.

    Thanks,
    Chris

    MW: It’s happened a couple of times now that the roof has been opened in-progress. I was very happy to see it, too.

    - Chris in the Village of Islington
  32. 32.

    So when are the Jays going to stop pitching Pedroia “up and in”?

    If my memory is correct, that is at least the third (maybe fourth) time he has homered against the Jays this year off of high and tight fast balls, and clearly he loves that pitch!

    Admittedly, yesterday’s was SO “up and in” that he had no business swinging, let alone hitting the ball — nevertheless, you’d think that by now the Jays would have adjusted their pitching pattern to him. If they pitch him “down”, at least they’ve got a chance to keep the ball in the yard!

    Of course the BIG problem was the two walks that led off the inning — AJ sure picked a bad time to lose his control! (Is there ever a good time?)

    - Norm
  33. 33.

    So let’s talk a little baseball other than the Jays. I think I asked you a few months ago on what might be wrong with Vlad.

    You said the consensus was that he was playing hurt. Is that still the case? I see his power numbers are creeping up a bit since Teixeira moved in, but his batting average is still, well, average. All season he has not had one of those Vlad-like 2 week stretches where he could hit a 100 mph ping-pong ball 4 feet off the plate.

    I am starting to worry that swing of his will not stand up in a 32 year old body.

    BTW, do you have any web links you can recommend that will get me info on him?

    As for the Jays, I think more than a miracle is in order. If Boston and Minnesota maintain their current winning percentage, they will win 93 and 92 games respectively. Both would have to tank the rest of the way AND the Jays play better than they have all season (14-4 in May, yes, I know).

    MW: I haven’t really been keeping up on the Vlad Guerrero story, sorry about that. Why not check angels.com to see what you can find out?

    - Paul B
  34. 34.

    Mike, bought a $9.00 ticket [just wanted to try that section out] to see the Yankees last Wednesday [Jays lost] and I was so high up that you could barely read the numbers on the player’s backs. Oh, and the extra charges to buy the ticket were more expensive than the actual ticket. Go figure. Beer and popcorn, etc. just out of sight re: costs. I think I have finally gotten it out of my system now and will watch on TV and listen to you on Jays Talk after the game. Seeing a game in person with the cost of gas, parking, extra ticket fees and high costs of food and drink make it as no brainer for us for sure. Thanks. Michael James

    - Michael James
  35. 35.

    Hi Mike, this loss was probably “the nail in the coffin” for the 2008 season. I know “it ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings”, but this loss got her to warm up. It was unfortunate that they lossed on an error by the homeplate umpire who called Stairs out. MLB is planning on using replays to get the calls right, this is a prime example of where to use it. You’ll get some fans say that bad calls even out over a 162 games. This is probably true, but it seems when the Blue Jays get a favourable call the game is not affected. Either they’re way ahead or way behind. I may sound biased, but this is how I see it. I hope they start challanging calls. Why didn’t Cito argue the call?

    MW: What would have been the point of arguing the call? And the limited instant replay they’re using starting Thursday wouldn’t have been applicable to that call, sadly. The fat lady has been warming up for a while now.

    - Mark
  36. 36.

    Mike, talking about umpiring, can you tell me what distinguishes major league umpires from triple and double A. I see a lot of inconsistent strike zones and missed calls in the bigs. Perhaps someone like Adam Lind would have some recent perspective on this.

    MW: I don’t think I could ever get a player to talk about that on the record.

    - Marvin
  37. 37.

    mike,
    tough one yesterday. wow. on the dock up in muskoka listening to that one. which has become a new thing for me as opposed to going up a few flights of deck stairs to watch it on tv. and of course the post game show as well. i like it.
    now mike, i’m gonna ask you more time…. has a mlb team ever led the entire league in team era and not finish above .500. i’m tellin you i think there’s a chance we might make history here if not. i need you to look it up for me as i’m still on the dock waitin’ for tues’s game vs. tampa…

    MW: I just don’t have the time to look that up.

    - darrell bishop
  38. 38.

    hey mike,

    How about that softball homerun derby they had at the game yesterday. I must say, they put on quite the show.

    On to my question. Yesterday was the first time I was at a game where the roof opened during play. I was just wondering if the opposing team has any say on if the game should be delayed until it has finished the process or is it all up to the jays management?

    Thanks Mike

    MW: There was a game earlier this season where the roof opened in-progress, and at one point the pitcher’s mound was just about the only thing in sunshine, so they delayed the game a bit, but when the wait got to be too long, they just started up again in the same situation.

    - Josh
  39. 39.

    League goes 10-2 but lets the team down in the big game. Mike, this team CAN’T win the big games. CAN’T win 1 run games, CAN’T win in extra innings, CAN’T win a game that game that would put them back in contention. This team is just happy to hang around 10 games back. After 15 years, I’ve about had it with the Jays.

    MW: OK. See ya.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  40. 40.

    Hey Mike,
    Do you think Tampa may win 90 games NOW or is it a LONG season, still time to fade………..?
    Sarcasm is always welcome.
    On a more serious note, I will be in Yankee stadium for the first and last time this Saturday. Who’s scheduled to pitch? and is it safe to wear Blue Jay garb without a hardhat on?

    Greg Q

    MW: It’s a long season, still time to fade.

    - Greg
  41. 41.

    Hi Mike
    You are doing well
    I am hearing some disturbing rumors that Bard Arnsberg may be gone in the off season.
    Is there any truth to it?
    I am sure that he has been behind the turnaround of AJ, along with Doc’s influence and he would be the reason the Jays might have a shot at getting AJ to resign.
    What is your assessment

    MW: Where are all these rumours coming from? And what makes you think Arnsberg is responsible for Burnett’s “turnaround”?

    - Richard
  42. 42.

    Did A.J. change his warmup tune? It wasn’t the the terrible track we are used to hearing.

    MW: Well, Ned, evidently it was a mistake by the folks who run the show down at Rogers Centre, as you’d know if you’d heard Ben Ennis’ fantastic wrap of the game on the radio station later that day. A.J. was less than pleased.

    - Ned
  43. 43.

    Hi Mike,

    Burnett is right to accept the blame for losing the rubber match against the Sox but ultimately, Cito himself must wear it for sending Burnett out in the seventh to face Crisp on a night when A.J clearly did not have his best stuff. Cito’s strength; that of being a ‘player’s manager’ is also his weakness in that I believe Cito fails to yank pitchers out of the game BEFORE they give up the key hit that results in a loss. Of course you can’t possibly KNOW the pitcher is going to do that but I’ve watched Cito be too slow with the hook enough times to believe it’s a serious drawback for him.
    He keeps pitchers in too long because he feels so deeply for the player on the mound. His his personal feelings and desire not to upset the pitcher end up clouding his judgement and costing games.
    The Jays have a GREAT bullpen. It’s there exactly for situations like the seventh inning when a guy like Crisp is coming to the mound and Burnett has been wild.
    Cito is a very good manager but he’s got to be tougher when the situation calls for it and make decisions that will tick off pitchers for the good of the team when the situation calls for it.

    Marc from Ottawa

    MW: Burnett had retired nine of the last 11 hitters he’d faced at that point and had thrown just 95 pitches. What on Earth would have made anyone think that he shouldn’t have gone out for the 7th? Other than, of course, the fact that Crisp hit a home run.

    - marc patrone
  44. 44.

    Hey mike.
    I have a question to ask.
    I recall you saying about 3 weeks ago that Jp will be right in on sheets after a caller called to inquire about sheets contract at the end of the year.

    2 days ago another caller called in and asked about free agents, you replied by saying,”cc and sheets are top teir pitcher, none on whom the jays will be in on”.
    I really like sheets,and i believe he will be a really good fit on this team.
    I’d just like to know how your opinion changed so drastically?

    Thanks mike.

    MW: I got some information that led to me to believe that the Jays wouldn’t be in on Sheets.

    - JaysFan
  45. 45.

    Jason Bay did not commit robbery. Alex Rios commited robbery in Toronto with the ridiculous contract he got for the lack of power he has. He needs to beef up. Where’s the beef?

    MW: I thought you were finished with the Jays.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  46. 46.

    4 more sleeps until yankee stadium.
    If they play that series the way they played this last one, I’ll be happy.
    Hey M-Dub, you should get one of your buddies, who will be at the NY series, to grab you a program on the Sunday. (last jays game ever in the old park)
    kinda cool

    - slobberface
  47. 47.

    It is a sad day today as the realization of oct. play are coming to an end. I dont even know if 90 wins will do it. As much of a roller coaster ride this season has been, it is hard not to love the guys for playing hard through adversity and injuries. We have seen Adam Lind step up, got great pitching and defense all year. Carlson, Camp, Downs, League, and Frasor have been very good. With Accardo and Janseson coming back I only like our chances more next year. There is no need to grab or spend money on a declining dh bat. With our pitching ( maybe another starter) and our defense we have the tools. No reason to take at bats from lind, and soon to be snider. I love the show and the blog. Go jays

    MW: They need to add a bat, at least.

    - Dan
  48. 48.

    I think the Jays will win 85 games this season if they play well down the stretch. I know you have answered this question on Jays Talk, but what is the deal with Cito not playing Eckstein? Eck is a Sox Killer. Jerry Remy/Sox Commentator said Staris was safe, that was a crucial call against the Jays. We should have won that game 6-5, but it was a terrific series that had playoff atmosphere written all over it.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    MW: Cito has no use for Eckstein, I’m not entirely sure why. The Jays have to go 18-14 the rest of the way to finish with 85 wins.

    - tom paolino
  49. 49.

    Mike,

    I see you’ve taken credit for your prediction that the bats would come around and Cito would get the credit! The only problem with that, using your logic, is nobody knows for sure that the bats would have come around without Cito + Gene! For all anybody knows they might have stayed in a slump under Denbo for the rest of his tenure.
    While none of us know what goes on behind closed doors we are all witness to the product on the field + more importantly at the plate. We also get a pretty good barometer from comments by many players, ex player/comentators (Jessie + Rance) and coaches (loved Gene’s interview). They all agree on a few things. 1) Cito and the coaches are excellent at communcating + instilling confidence in players in preparing for their at bats and having a good plan of attack with aggresiveness + selectiveness. 2) Cito also instills confidence in his starters by playing them regularly so their not playing afraid of losing their spot. 3) Cito (acording to players and ex players) has a unique style of communicating that instills confidence and belief in themselves, which is key in this game of failure!
    There are many other tangible things that Cito brings to the plate as well, but I’ll move on.
    Regarding Denbo, I agree he’s not the only reason things didn’t work out, but he’s the biggest reason. Sure the Jays beat up on Oak, Royals, Phillys,Twins + Sox in May but other than that they were off the rails under him and thus his (+ unfortunately Gibbys) ouster!
    While you may just keep the blinders on or your stubborness intact, the rest of us can see the significant, positive impact Cito and his guys are having on this team…. the best is yet to come!

    MW: It’s impossible to know what kind of effect Gaston and Tenace are having on the hitters, just as it’s impossible to know what kind of effect Gibbons and Denbo had on them. If what you’re saying holds, then this offense will never slump under Gaston and Tenace.

    - Dave from Oakville
  50. 50.

    Hello

    I agree, a very good ballgame that just happened to end up with the bad guys on top. I think people often forget, or maybe ignore, how much of it just comes down to chance, or luck, or whatever you want to call it. The call at the plate on Stairs and the Rios almost-jack in the 10th are perfect examples of how the outcome could’ve been different given an extra inch or two here, an extra bounce there. For some people this seems reason enough to flip-flop from “Cito’s gonna win us the World Series!” to “The Jays suck. Fire everybody. Trade everybody.”

    I may be seeming to use bad luck as an excuse, but, first of all, I don’t care, and B, when two good ball teams play a good game, and one wins by a run in the eleventh, I don’t think there really needs to be an excuse. One team won and one team lost. Pretty sure I’ve seen that before.

    It also seems that there have been some shorter JaysTalks recently. I choose to blame this on my “whatever happens, happens” theory, rather than a huge conspiracy by the ever so evil powers that be at the fan590 theory. I hope we get some longer JaysTalks soon, as I am addicted, and I’d hate to think I could be missing another beauty like the boat in Mississauga guy. I’ve never heard somebody argue with themself like that. I should’ve known it would be a classic right from “but if you’re on the lake, is it really considered Mississauga?” “Actually, I’m from Kitchener… but I’m on a boat… in Mississauga.”

    Thanks for lettin’ me ramble again. Keep up the good work!

    MW: You’re welcome. The length of The JaysTalk is, more often than not, determined solely by the clock.

    - Dilly (it's a nickname) in Dundas (not the street)
  51. 51.

    Hi Mike,

    Two Questions.

    1.Yesterday you talked about the mechanics of, “wanting it more,” and why that doesn’t work. I’ve been meaning to ask about intangibles for a while. I am however curious as to your definition of “luck.” Why dismiss other tangibles but refer to “luck.” And I’m not wondering about one unlucky play but the systematic bad luck you seem to believe the Jays have suffered from. I haven’t heard you refer to this for a while. Does that mean you think it has evened out?

    2. A while back I heard you mention that one of the draft picks for AJ came out of thin air. How is it the Jays are able to write a “magic” draft pick into one of their players contracts, allowing them to draft ahead of other teams. Why wouldn’t every team write something like that into their players contracts?

    Best Wishes

    MW: 1 – I don’t know if it’s starting to even out, but I don’t think the Jays have been as unlucky the last couple of months. They’re hitting better with RISP, scoring more often with a runner at third and less than two out. 2 – It’s not written into the contract that the Jays get a draft pick out of thin air when Burnett leaves. Free agent compensation is determined by the collective bargaining agreement.

    - Carson
  52. 52.

    hey mike,

    you should try to stay away from music commentary. you know about as much about it as a hockey fan knows about baseball. I cringe whenever you start pontificating on tunes much the same way you react to callers using the term “backcatcher”.

    yes, you’re that bad.

    the baseball stuff is fine.

    MW: Always good to hear from a fan!

    - christian
  53. 53.

    Hi Mike,

    Just to follow up on my comment about reading in print that JP called Scutaro the teams MVP this season, I did find the article online. It wasn’t from last Wednesday, as I had posted, but from last Thursday.

    I hope linking to this site is ok:
    http://www.torontosun.com/Sports/Columnists/Fidlin_Ken/2008/08/21/pf-6523106.html

    SUPER SUB

    Hired last winter as a utility player, Marco Scutaro started his 102nd game last night. Among the current Blue Jays, only Rios (118) and Lyle Overbay (119) have started more games this year. Scutaro has started at six different positions for the Jays this year and has batted in six different slots in the batting order. In 382 at-bats before last night, he had 100 hits, four homers, 43 RBIs and scored 55 runs. “I think he’s been our MVP,” marvelled Ricciardi. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.”

    There you have it. From JP’s own mouth.

    Thanks, Mike.

    MW: Yeah, it had been pointed out a couple of days ago. It’s sad, really.

    - Jeff
  54. 54.

    Mike,
    Too bad to see League give up the run in the 11th, but I agree with you that with Stairs getting to home after the ball, the umps make the ‘usual’ (incorrect) call. Too bad.
    What do you think about Robinson Diaz going to Pittsburgh as the player to be named later? Was it too high a price?
    I enjoy your insight during and after Jays games… keep up the good work!

    Matt

    MW: I do think Diaz seems too high a price to pay for an average guy like Bautista, who doesn’t seem to have a real place on the team in the future. I’m quite surprised.

    - Matt
  55. 55.

    Hello Mike…….. I know JP has denied bringing up Travis Snider but with his recent success at AAA do you think he will be in Toronto by Tuesdays game..

    MW: Nope.

    - Mark from Thorold
  56. 56.

    Any idea who is going to be recalled now that Mench has been sent down (I’m sure it will be announced prior to your next blog but you are the guy in the know)? I see that Buck Coats is back and swinging a good bat – that’d be my guess. No way they call Snider is there?

    I always wondered how the ‘player to be named later’ as part of a deal works. The Jays sent Diaz to the Pirates today for Bautista – would the Jays and Pirates have had a list of players both sides would be comfortable with going the other way?

    MW: I thought it’d be Coats, or maybe even Russ Adams, but it turns out they’ve activated Scott Rolen from the DL. As for how the PTBNL works, in this case it was always Diaz, but he had to clear waivers before he could be traded.

    - Cameron
  57. 57.

    Hi Mike, Wow, this weekend was fun to watch. Too bad the results weren’t better.

    I found it interesting how quickly Robinson Diaz went from being the next Blue Jays catcher to the player to be named later.

    I came across an interesting article on Fox Sports today (http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8486960?MSNHPHMA) and was happy to see two members of the best pitching staff in baseball mentioned. It was also the first time that I’d seen or heard anyone mention K-Rod as a Cy Young contender…though the article is pretty quick to point out he shouldn’t be. I was also surprised to see how Eck’s Cy Young season stacked up. I thought he’d have been much more dominant.

    Lastly, you should read through some of the comments and be thankful that your blog attracts a much more civilized following! It’s so nice to have such a large population of baseball savvy people to communicate with!

    MW: Diaz hasn’t been the Jays catcher of the future for a few months now. Thanks for the compliments!

    - Chris - Kitchener
  58. 58.

    “…for you listening pleasure”

    Mike, say it ain’t so!
    What’s next, the word “irregardless”?

    MW: Yikes! I’ll go fix it.

    - Tyler
  59. 59.

    Hey Mike,

    Since you love to berate your readers for poor spelling and grammar, I feel compelled to nit-pick.

    There is no need for an apostrophe in “Jays’ fans” or “Red Sox’ fans.”

    They are compound nouns, not possessive nouns.

    Also, please try to leave some commas for the rest of us.

    MW: If you read the first post I ever made on this blog, you’ll note I was very up-front about my overuse of the comma (though I have nothing on Bob). Why aren’t they possessive nouns, though? Fans of the Jays, no?

    - tj
  60. 60.

    Great game but the wrong result.Oh well you can’t win them all.Now that Diaz has gone to Pittsburg and Thigpen has slid off the radar I guess that leaves us with Jeroloman and Arencibia as our future catchers.Who do you think gets there first and when Mike?

    MW: I don’t know. Jeroloman could get there sooner if the Jays need a guy to back-up for a couple of weeks. I can see Arencibia maybe getting there by the all-star break of next season.

    - Paul McCreath
  61. 61.

    Hey Mike, just wondering what your thoughts are on Robinson Diaz being the player to be named in the Bautista trade? I was a little surprised but not so much with J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman both on the fast track up

    Also who do you think will be called up to replace Mench?

    Thanks for your time as always and I continue to make your blog and post game shows a daily ritual

    MW: Thanks! And see above.

    - Chris
  62. 62.

    hey mike,
    I just heard that my favourite prospect in the blue jays organization wz the guy they traded for bautista and i am f***en p.o.’d at J.P. Why would you trade one of your best prospects who wz gunna be a big contributer for the team in september and next year, when you could have just as easily traded russ adams or some other prospect or even a pitcher or guy like Buck Coats or Wilkerson

    I thinks that this ranks right up their with the other stupid moves J.P. has made, I wz on the fence on keeping J.P. in Toronto but now i Have joined all the other thousands of people who hate J.P.’s guts and want him out of here

    MW: What makes you think the Pirates would have taken Adams or Coats or some other prospect?

    - Jazz
  63. 63.

    This year has had the worst umpiring I have ever seen. It makes me feel like baseball is becoming like the WWF. The fact that Stairs was called out was very weak. I live in the NYC area, so I have seen similar strange calls have an effect on Mets’ and Yankees’ games. It almost seems like the infield umps turned a blind eye to Stairs being safe. Did they want to call the game for Boston? Look after the NBA scandal, I’m not surprised if something is going on.

    MW: That’s a pretty big leap. There are other ways for umps to throw a game without it being that obvious.

    - jay
  64. 64.

    I think that this division has made me become a little complacent over the years. As much as we all hate to admit it, making the playoffs in this division is usually a long shot, even before the season starts. I would love to watch the Jays in playoff games again, but, I really enjoy good ball. I can accept losses like yesterday, because it was an excellent game. Having a league with no salary cap, leaves this sort of problem. I compare it to steroids. Some teams have salarys that are on steroids, which gives them an unfair advantage. I guess it’s just sour grapes, we used to have the biggest pay roll in the majors when we were on top, but the spread was never this rediculous.

    MW: The spread wasn’t even close.

    - dan from elmvale
  65. 65.

    I appreciate that Robinson Diaz has taken a step back so to speak, but to move him to Pittsburgh seems surprising. I thought that Diaz was pencilled in to be the backup next season.
    Who do you see as the backup or 1A now? Arencibia isn’t ready id assume.

    MW: I think they’ll bring someone in from outside the organization to be the back-up.

    - Sean
  66. 66.

    Hi Mike,

    This was the best experience I have ever had at a ball game! It had a playoff atmosphere and every moment was worth treasuring. I managed to get into a box and it was a great ball game. If i wasn’t a fan of either of the Jays I wouldn’t have left feeling miserable. They hit the ball right on the scres eemingly every at bat. Stairs looked safe to me at the plate. The throw beat him, but he wasnt tagged in time. So many things that could’ve happened for us that didnt, which is why it was so heartbreaking. As heartbroken as I am from this game, I don’t think the season is over yet. I think we’re gonna go into tampa and sweep them and take two out of three in New York. Youm ight think that sounds crazy, but I think it’s going ot happen. The Rays are injury riddled and have are 4.5 games up on Boston. This isn’t very much, but I thinkthe Jays aren’t going to give up without a fight and are going to go into Tampa and shock them. I think theJays will then remain hot in New Yokr and take two out of 3. Hopefully we can make a run here and get within 4 or 5 games by the end of the Minnesota series.

    MW: Hey, they went 5-1 on their last road trip – you never know.

    - Warren
  67. 67.

    Mike,

    For next year what about the idea of DH’ing Lind and giving Snider LF? I’m not sure what the sense in letting go of Frank Thomas just to bring in Jason Giambi would be especially since Snider has raked at every level.

    Also, can you give me an idea of what Snider’s defense is supposed to be like? I can tell from his stats he hits like an S.O.B. but I know nothing of his glove.

    Thanks.

    MW: I wouldn’t be to comfortable with Snider starting the season as the left-fielder next year, unless he’s at the point where they simply can’t hold him down anymore. Given how Lind was doing at AAA this year, that point is a tough one to which to get. I’m told Snider is a solid defensive outfielder with a good throwing arm, but I’ve never seen him play defense.

    - Jason
  68. 68.

    Hey Mike,
    I was wondering whats the best baseball college to go to. One that has the best coaches and produces alot of major leagures.
    Thanks alot.

    MW: Lots of U.S. colleges are pretty good, but the first school that popped into my head when I read your question was L.S.U.

    - Paul
  69. 69.

    Your last comment about how they can be fun to watch is something that I try to sell to people all the time and most are not buying it.

    I tell them that this is MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL! 90% of the time your going to be thoroughly entertained if you head down to the Rogers Centre.

    At the beginning of the year I was thinking that this could be a really good team for a really long time and this season so far has done nothing to suggest otherwise. The pitching is young and already great (and most of it isn’t going anywhere). The hitting is likely to get better next year and beyond with the depth in the minors.

    Go Jays Go!

    - Aaron - from Hamilton
  70. 70.

    Mike,

    Let’s bury this playoff talk. If Rays play .400 ball from this point on, they will end up with 92 wins. I am sure either Boston or Minnesota will play above .500 which will get them to 92 and 90 wins respectively. In other words, Jays have to play close to .800 ball to have any shot.

    So knowing all this, why you and Toronto media still talk about the possibility of playoffs? Let’s talk about september call-ups and 2009.

    MW: Not sure if you’re aware, but the season’s not over.

    - Beburg
  71. 71.

    Mike,

    Why some Fan590 hosts still say “Rickardi”. Is there an alternate pronounciation of J.P’s last name? Riccardo is Rickardo so maybe they think Riccardi is ‘Rickardi’? Put some light on that please.

    MW: Some people either don’t know, don’t care to know, or have never been corrected.

    - Beburg
  72. 72.

    Can you believe the Dodgers had 13 hit and three walks tonight against the Phillies and got shut out? Sounds like they better trade Manny Ramirez for Tike Redman.

    MW: That’d be a good deal.

    - Jim in Ohio
  73. 73.

    The jays sent Robinson Diaz to the Pirates for Bautista. Once again, Ricciardi mortgages our future for.. what exactly? it’s not like Bautista is going to make the Jays make the playoffs.

    Since we no longer have Quiroz and since Thigpen is being converted to 1st Base. how far off is Arencibia from being ready to assume the duties of being they Jay’s full time catcher?

    MW: See above. Diaz had long since been passed by Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman on the Jays’ “catcher of the future” depth chart.

    - Sam McLean
  74. 74.

    My question was answered — they traded Robizon Diaz as the PTBNL. I guess now that Rod Barajas is tearing up the league (ahem) they really don’t need any sort of depth at catcher. I guess JP Arencibia (a guy who walks even less than Diaz!) is next in the depth chart.

    MW: Yup.

    - Jim B
  75. 75.

    Another question – what’s going on with Jamie Vermilyea? I loved watching him pitch last year, but I’ve not heard anything in a while.

    MW: Vermilyea was getting lit up in AA New Hampshire until he was released in June.

    - Sam McLean
  76. 76.

    Hi Mike,
    I have no intention of spewing bile on this blog, but the fact you thought of Dionne Warwick almost makes me want to. Perhaps that’s what you were listening to when you skipped classes.

    Any follow up to the behind the scenes reason for Marcum’s demotion or JP’s reaction to Tiny Tim (he was genuninely shocked you brought that up)?

    MW: Haven’t been able to dig up anything on Marcum beyond the company line, and the Tiny Tim thing? He’s kind of a pet project of J.P.’s.

    - Oz Rob
  77. 77.

    Hey Mike,

    What are the odds that the player getting called up is one who will need his contract purchased? I mean with 2 empty spots (I believe) on the 40-man, and a couple of players that could be transfered to the 60-day DL if need be. Any idea who it might be? Thank you.

    MW: It wouldn’t surprise me if they called up a guy in September from off the 40, but off the top of my head, I don’t know who it might be.

    - Jeff
  78. 78.

    Im not one to believe in moral victories. This isnt high school or even college. You are up two runs, you walk the 8th and 9th hitters and give back the lead. your team comes back and gives you the lead again..and then you go and give it up the first batter of the next inning. most of the talk AJ’s “great pitching” this year is due to his win/loss record. well to be consistent if we are going to say that AJ’s previous years contributions were skewed by a poor record due to things beyond his control, then we must also admit that this years his record is skewed positively for him…his ERA is over 4.5. last i checked the jays didnt average that many runs again. the jays should be averaging a loss everytime he starts. he has given up more than a hit per inning. his whip is the worst of his career. i just dont understand where this idea that AJ is having a brilliant year is coming from. sure he strikes out a ton of guys and makes hitters look stupid for stretches…but facts are facts and somehow he is finding a way to get allow nearly 1.5 baserunners per nine innings!!!! thats more than the two guys the jays have sent to the minors this year. since AJ has many dominant stretches yet STILL has this pedestrian WHIP and ERA…dont you think it lends credene to the concept that AJ has a tendency for the Avalanche inning? how do you make hitters look stupid and then give up walk, walk, homerun, double, single, single? this has happened quite a few times with him…

    MW: There’s no question that Burnett is having his worst year in almost every statistical category, save for wins.

    - sammy jalalzai
  79. 79.

    Hi Mike,

    Tremendous game on sunday, you can’t ask for more than that when watching a Baseball game (other than a win of course)

    It was interesting to see Jason Bay play so well considering all the rumors surrounding him as a possible future Jay.

    Sorry if this has been asked a million times already, but what do you make of Robinson Diaz being sent to The Pirates to complete the Bautista trade? I thought he had leapfrogged Thigpen in the Jays system.

    MW: He had. But he’d also been leapfrogged by Arencibia and Jeroloman.

    - ukJay
  80. 80.

    Mike,

    Has Janssen started throwing yet?

    MW: I think so? Maybe not until the end of this month.

    - Beburg
  81. 81.

    Hi Mike,
    Just wanted to mention a couple things I thought you or others would have mentioned yesterday but didn’t. The play that Matt Stairs was thrown out at home, Nick Leva waited to long to send him home, Stairs had actually almost stoped at third base befor Leva sent him home! I was surprised no one mentioned this, they’re very few games you can say your third base coach coast you the game but this was one of them.

    In regards to Marcum being sent down do you not think it has something to do with his arbitration clock? I can’t see his attitude being that bad that they sent him to the minor because of it, after all Zaun said he wanted a trade and he’s still here. I definitly don’t think J.P. believes they have a better chance to win with Parrish on the hill instead of Marcum so I’m left thinking the Jays have some people working for them alot smarter then me who have fiqured out that sending Marcum down for these two weeks or the rest of the season which ever it may be will make a difference in his arbitration clock?

    What do you think Mike?

    MW: By no means did Leyva cost the Jays the game. See above for a more detailed answer to that. Marcum may well have been on the Super 2 bubble had he not been sent down, it’ll be VERY interesting to see if he winds up missing arbitration simply because of these two weeks.

    - Dan M
  82. 82.

    This is going to be a tough 6 games on the road. Hopefully the entertaining games keep coming.

    I thought Rios’ shot in the 10th had a chance to leave the yard, and after the catch by Bay, all I could say was “Wow”

    90 wins would be quite an achievement, especially where is team was at hte end of June.

    Would Sheets be a cheaper option that Burnett (assuming his opt out)? How much cheaper? Are the Jays going to take a run at Raul Ibanez for there DH spot next year.

    They have one of the top pitching staffs in the league, and one of the top defensive teams as well. The Jays just need a power bat and some guys to hit all season, not get hot as the weather warms up, so more of those games can be won while the kids are still in school.

    MW: They won’t be in on either Sheets or Burnett in the off-season, unless they can get something done with A.J. before he opts out of his contract (extraordinarily unlikely). They’ll take a run at Ibanez, but he won’t be Plan A.

    - Aaron Ker
  83. 83.

    hey Mike;

    I like the fact that Russ Adams is still with the jays, he is apparently hitting up a storm in triple a ball, now that Diaz was sent to the Pirates to complete the Bautista deal(thigpen is a better catcher) and Mench was sent down(hopefully to find his hr swing-might be worth signing to minor league deal) maybe Riccardi can bring up Buck Coates and Adams for a look and some ab, Adams hit fiarly well last year after being brought up around this time, maybe Johnny mac can tutor him on the finer points and qualities of defence! thx great blog.

    MW: Adams hit .233/.313/.383 last season, which certainly isn’t “fairly well”. How much have you seen Diaz and Thigpen catch?

    - robert s
  84. 84.

    hi mike;

    Just a thought, if Parrish pitches lousy in his start, would Cecil be brought up? How about starting Halladay and Litsch and Burnett on three days rest each to get them more starts and oppertunities to win, and possibly bring back Marcum at the end of next series if he’s progessed. Lastly, Litsch has the arsenal(great fastball) to possibly be number two next year behind Halladay.

    MW: Marcum has to stay down for 10 days unless there’s a DL move, there’s no way those guys will go on three days’ rest, and Litsch really doesn’t have the arsenal, or the great fastball, to be the number two.

    - robert s
  85. 85.

    The reality is the jays were done in June. Minnesota has the easiest sched to the end of the year and as I point out a month ago because the Yanks and Sox play each other a lot before the end of the year the jays have only 20 games where they can gain on the teams in front of them.

    - john in North York
  86. 86.

    Hi Mike,

    Unlike other extra-innings losses this year, this one wasn’t incredibly frustrating. Like you said, it was a very exciting game all the way through and the Jays battle a very tough Red Sox team. It wasn’t a game that “they never should have won”, it was just unfortunate they had to be on the losing end of it. I’m really looking forward to this upcoming road trip!

    - Ian
  87. 87.

    From mlbtraderumors.com:

    The Pirates received catcher Robinzon Diaz from the Blue Jays in the Jose Bautista deal. Not too shabby, he should develop into a credible cheap backup.

    I am pretty confused. Was Diaz getting a hype job done on him and he’s not that good? am i undervaluing Bautista? Are our other catchers closer than i think?

    I am lost in a world of question marks.

    MW: The other catchers are closer than you think, and better than Diaz, but I think the Jays gave up too much.

    - jeremy
  88. 88.

    Mike, I heard on Seixerio show that you been on a Tampa Bay sport radio show. What show were you on?

    MW: I was on with the Fabulous Sports Babe.

    - andrew
  89. 89.

    Sadly, they always seem to turn it on when the season is lost. However they still have a very slim chance this time, so maybe we’ll still be interested in a couple of weeks’ time.

    I was at the game. Great atmosphere and great baseball. I’m not going to get on League for that hr. He’s pitched really well recently, and any hard-throwing pitcher will get hit out occasionally.

    The Jays are getting beat by all those games they lost in the early part of the season because they couldn’t hit the ball with RISP and there’s nothing to be done about that.

    MW: So the season was lost before the all-star break, then.

    - reyes
  90. 90.

    1. is it out of the q. that joe inglett plays short next season
    2. barajas & mcdonald obp are like batting avg.- there goes basically a whole inning -that’ll kill us down the stretch
    p.s. scutaro bought the rights
    to- all star / mvp (overrated)
    from reed johnson

    MW: 1 – Yes. 2 – Maybe, maybe not. P.S. Could be.

    - steve
  91. 91.

    While I totally agree with your statement that this was a great game to watch, i also find it very frustrating. It seems this time of year (though earlier this year) they become a much better team, and way more fun to watch. It is frustrating becaucse it leads to the very fun “What If?” game. ie, What if they played like this all year? Here is hoping for that crazy run, doubtful, but hopeful.

    - Sean
  92. 92.

    Mike,

    any truth to the rumours that you will be taking a job in the States?

    MW: What rumours? Do you have an offer for me?

    - Chris Jones
  93. 93.

    Hey Mike,
    Just wanted to get your take on Diaz being sent to complete the Bastista deal. A bit surprised that they would consider moving the catcher for next year for a jouneyman utility infielder. I know they have some depth in that position but the future catchers won’t be ready for a couple of years. Have the plans change and do you think they gave up too much in this deal?

    MW: Diaz wasn’t the catcher for next year.

    - AK
  94. 94.

    Hey Mike,

    I get the impression Arnsberg is upset because I read that he was angry not to be consulted when Litsch was sent down. Then he wouldn’t issue a comment when asked about the Marcum situation.

    Thanks

    MW: I don’t know if his no comment on Marcum indicates that he’s upset.

    - Jeff
  95. 95.

    Unfortunately 23-9 won’t make the playoffs, they will probably have to go 26-6.. which also means Boston and Minnesota will have to go 17-15 or worse… which is possible… Say Yes to Miracles!

    - Darryl
  96. 96.

    hey mike,
    four of us are going to the bronx this saturday. who do you think we will see pitch?
    we’ll also be going to wrigley and comerica after if you or any readers have tips or suggestions.
    thanks.

    MW: Saturday should be Burnett for the Jays. I’ve never been to Wrigley, as for Comerica, don’t park too far away.

    - diego
  97. 97.

    Hi Mike.

    who would you say has been a better GM?

    J.P. Riccardi or Kenny Williams

    Also if you owned a team and could only hire one of the two who would it be?

    Thanks

    Doug from Woodstock.

    MW: Kenny Williams won a World Series, so he gets the nod. As for which one I’d hire, it would depend on a lot of things – the team I had, the payroll I had, the division I was in, etc.

    - Doug
  98. 98.

    I heard the Jays and Halladay will discuss a extension this offseason. What kind of money do you think the Blue Jays would offer him?

    MW: Lots.

    - andrew
  99. 99.

    Mike: Do you think adding Carlos Delgado as a free agent makes sense this offseason (assuming the Mets don’t pick up his option). I’d envision him as a DH vs. RHP, and obviously a strong pinch hitter in the games he doesn’t start.

    This year, his OPS vs. RHP is .881. While he’s certainly not the Carlos of old, he’s much likelier to perform at a higher level than Matt Stairs.

    There is of course, the added PR value. I’d be tempted to offer him a 1 year deal with a vesting option for the 2nd year. That way, if he hits 20-25 HRs next year, he’d likely hit his 500th as a Jay in 2010. While that’s clearly not a priority for the club, it’s a nice bonus if things all work out.

    MW: He’s not going to be available.

    - Kieran Roy
  100. 100.

    Hi Mike
    I really like how the Jays have been playing the last couple of weeks. Actually despite their struggles they really are in a position where they can control their own destiny because they’re actuall playing teams they need to catch. If they can string us along throught the last week of the season…hey, you never know.

    I know that your a big time Dynasty League Baseball fan. I speak with the game creator from time to time and he looks forward to speaking with you come playoff time. Do you play in any leagues? I’m involved in a Great teams of the past tournament and a bunch of us are having a blast. Let me know if you’d like to join in the action.

    Regards
    Paul D

    MW: I already play in two leagues, and I barely have time to keep up with them, but thanks for the invite!

    - Paul D'Amelio
  101. 101.

    hey mike, what the heck’s the matter with the tv guys? they’ve spent the last 10 minutes talking about how inglett just got drilled in the arm and didn’t complain to the ump that the pitch was called a strike… i wonder if anyone’s going to let em know that if you swing at a pitch, it doesn’t matter if you get drilled, it’s still a strike.

    MW: This isn’t the place to complain about the TV broadcast.

    - arj
  102. 102.

    Mike, is JP Arinceba destined to be the catcher of the future now that Robinson Diaz has been traded?

    MW: See above.

    - andrew
  103. 103.

    “MW: So the season was lost before the all-star break, then.”

    No, the season was probably lost when they hired Gary Denbo as a hitting coach.

    MW: Yeah, it’s all his fault.

    - reyes
  104. 104.

    Mike,

    Just wondering, do you read other blogs too? What are your favourite baseball sites?

    MW: I do read other blogs when I have time. I read most of the Jays’ fan sites, especially the Drunks, the Tao and Hum and Chuck.

    - Jaybird
  105. 105.

    Hi Mike,

    Had some time before the game started tonight and started to read your blogs from the beginning. I laughed when you said that hopefully you would get enough e-mails to do a mailbag. I noticed your replies are much shorter now since you have 100+ comments , up from 12 ! Are you surprised at this “monster” you’ve created ?

    MW: Stunned.

    - kim
  106. 106.

    It stunned me that you want Roy Halladay over CC Sabathia. Why would you want him over Sabathia?

    MW: Because he’s better.

    - andrew
  107. 107.

    in response 2 caller on jays talk halladay is best also b/c he is the best innings logger in the game by far also when he doesn’t have his stuff he doesn’t blow up- usually also works quick (just a few things u
    might pass on 1st glance

    - steve
  108. 108.

    On the play at the plate with Stairs in the sixth, it looked as though Nick Leyva made a late decision deciding whether or not to send him, causing him to slow down at third base. Do you think he was too hesitant in sending Stairs?

    MW: No, I didn’t think so. He has to wait until he’s sure one way or the other, and Stairs has to go all-out until he sees a signal

    If Stairs is going all out rounding third waiting for a signal, doesnt he risk being tagged out at third if Leyva doesnt send him.

    MW: Tagged out at third? No, if there was that good a chance of that happening, Leyva wouldn’t wait to make a call.

    - Jesse
  109. 109.

    #34. Michael, $9.00 ticket is the way to go. Buy that and after an inning or two slide down to the 100 level. Security is too dumb down there. Me and my friends have been doing it for years. Cheers!

    - Beburg
  110. 110.

    “MW: Yeah, it’s all his fault.”

    No, it isn’t. But I think he was the predicate reason for all those hitters going on the fritz at the same time. You were the one who kept saying ‘these guys are better than this’. And you were right. They are. They’ve proven that recently. So the facts are these: We have a reasonably good offensive team. We fire the batting coach and hire a new one. All the hitters go ice cold immediately afterwards. We fire that batting coach and his boss and bring in a new batting coach and a manager that used to be a batting coach. Slowly but surely our offense improves.

    You will say that is a simplistic approach and you’d be right. I don’t think the earlier coach was the whole reason for the Jays’ problems this season but I think he was a contributing factor in those problems. Add all the other stuff I’ve complained about tirelessly, and you have an unhappy, insecure bunch of position players and a squad of exhausted pitchers tired of fruitlessly trying to keep their team in the game. It’s a recipe for disaster. I’m amazed that the team has recovered so quickly and that does bode well for next season.

    MW: You’re never going to change my mind and I’m never going to change yours.

    - reyes
  111. 111.

    “Why aren’t they possessive nouns, though? Fans of the Jays, no?”

    Not always, because the word ‘Jays’ can pertain to the fan’s preference, not the Jays’ possession. You might say something like ‘The Red Sox’ fans were much rowdier than the Jays’ fans.’ And in that sentence the possessive apostrophe would be appropriate. But if I say ‘I am a Jays fan’, then I am not referencing the Jays’ ownership of me, I am referencing my own description of who I am and I am using the plural ‘Jays’ rather than the singular ‘Jay’ because they are always referred to that way. So no possessive grammar point needed. Yes, ‘Jays’ is a noun not an adjective. But it’s being used as an adjective in that sentence.

    MW: Cool.

    - reyes
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