11:50 PM Eastern

How about those Blue Jays?  A couple of huge two-out hits, some bend-but-don’t-break starting pitching, and the tenacity and guttitude to add on runs after the game gets close.  Put it all together and you get a road win over a huge nemesis that also happened to have the best home record in baseball going into the game.

Luck was a factor, it always is, and so were injuries.  Evan Longoria most assuredly makes the play on the Vernon Wells grounder into the 5-6 hole that somehow clanked off the glove of Willy Aybar for a two-out RBI single to give the Jays an insurance run in the 7th.   Dioner Navarro goes down in the 6th with hamstring cramps, leaving Shawn (.226/.309/.404)Riggans to hit with the go-ahead run at second and two out.  The Jays, though, took advantage of the breaks handed them, which they haven’t always been able to do this year.

Once again, Roy Halladay had a hard time with the Rays, who worked him for 111 pitches over six innings, his shortest outing since the last time he pitched against T-Bay, when he also only went six.  Halladay has only had one start this season against a team other than the Rays in which he’s failed to throw a pitch in the seventh inning, and that was against the Cubs back in June, when he went five in a 6-1 loss.  Regardless, he managed to wriggle out of the trouble into which he got himself in the 6th inning.  Eric Hinske made him pay for hitting Aybar with a 1-2 pitch with two on and two out by stroking a two-run single, but then the aforementioned Riggans strode to the plate and struck out to end the inning.

Immediately, the Jays got one of the runs back, on that Aybar play mentioned above.  That James Shields just can’t hold a team down when his own has just scored.  He’s just as bad as A.J. Burnett.

Good for Wells, by the way, for keeping his hot streak going.  With the 3-for-5 tonight he’s now 9-for-his-last-14 with three homers and six runs scored, and he’s driven in three runs in each of his last three games to move into a tie for the club RBI lead with Alex Rios.  Rod Barajas went deep as well, but more impressive was The Captain’s work on the basepaths.  Not only did he beat out an infield single in the 4th (it deflected off Shields towards centrefield, but Akinori Iwamura got to it), but he also went first to second on a relatively routine (but slow) grounder to second later in the inning.  Even though Barajas is incredibly lacking in footspeed, he can do the routine things, which puts him one level higher than Frank Thomas as a baserunner – and I wasn’t sure about that earlier in the season.

I’m not quite sure why B.J. Ryan came into the game to work the 9th in a non-save situation against the bottom of the Tampa Bay line-up.  I understand that he was warming up since it was a save situation before Wells hit his homer with two out in the 9th, but I would think that this is a road trip on which Ryan might be pressed into pressure-packed duty quite a bit, and using him tonight means that he won’t be available Thursday if he’s needed to close one down tomorrow.  With a four-run lead, the best bullpen in baseball, and the bottom of the line-up up, Brian Tallet or even Jason Frasor wouldn’t have been a poor choice.  Or heck, Scott Downs had only thrown five pitches in retiring the side in order in the 8th, let him come out and get the save.  I hope that decision doesn’t come back to bite Cito.

Scott Rolen was activated off the disabled list before the game, but didn’t play.  He may be in the line-up tomorrow and it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any more flexibility in that busted shoulder.  With Rolen back, the Jays now have three back-up infielders in David Eckstein, Jose Bautista and whoever isn’t starting of Joe Inglett and Marco Scutaro, which brings up the question – why would they give up Robinzon Diaz in order to bring in Bautista?

I guess the question is, are the Jays worried about the health of both Rolen and Aaron Hill so much for next season that they felt the need to buy insurance with Bautista, or had Diaz fallen off so much in their thoughts that they could afford to move him for something that they really don’t seem to need?

I wonder.  I know Diaz has had a rough season with the bat, and I know that he’d been passed on the organizational catching depth chart by both J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, but couldn’t he have been that  same third baseman against lefties that Bautista will wind up being if Rolen can’t play?  I’m not sure. 

Perhaps the thinking was that Diaz, as a hitter, has always been a high average, low OBP, low slugging kind of guy, and for a catcher, that’s not bad.  For a guy you have to move out from behind the plate, maybe you look to do better.

The move, now that we know it’s Diaz, still strikes me as odd.  It seems to me as though they’re giving up something that could be useful down the road in exchange for something they didn’t really need.  It’s not like Bautista makes the team over Scutaro (even though he’s a better bat) because they like the fact that Scoot can play shortstop, and Bautista can’t.  If it’s a choice between Bautista and Inglett, I take Inglett.  Sure, Bautista will do more for them than Eckstein, but how many back-up infielders can you have?

By the way, the reason Diaz was a “player to be named later” in the trade was because he hadn’t cleared waivers when the trade was made.  The Jays claimed Bautista, the teams settled on Diaz as compensation, and then the Jays had to put Diaz on waivers.  It may show the overall value of Diaz that not a single team in the American League put in a claim on him, nor did the Nationals or Padres.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Cito Gaston said that Jeremy Accardo still isn’t right, and Jerry Howarth mentioned on the pre-game that privately, Gaston has acknowledged that Accardo is done for the year. 

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

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Reasonable, rational comments are always welcome!

69 Responses to “Victory At The Trop – Halladay Catches Burnett”
  1. 1.

    Hey Mike,

    Whats the chances that Jeroloman is our backup catcher coming out of ST next year? I can’t wait to see his highly acclaimed defensive ability.

    MW: The chances are not good.

    - Coreu
  2. 2.

    As a Blue Jays fan, I know firsthand that when you lose, you do stupid panicky things like release Frank Thomas, fire John Gibbons, change your OBP philosophies, bench regulars like Zaun and Eckstein, and trade for guys like Jose Bautista. Losing clearly makes you stupid.

    The New York faithful booed A-Rod pretty good tonight as it looks like panic time in New York. I love it because it means the Yankees will probably panic and do stupid things this offseason, especially with Steinbrenner boys in charge.

    MW: The problem with that is that the Yankees panic equals overspending, and they’re likely to haul in at least one top-flight starting pitcher (Sabathia or Sheets) as well as Mark Teixeira.

    - Jim B
  3. 3.


    On your Brian Jeroloman comment on the radio: I don’t think the service time starts when he comes up as a September call-up.

    MW: Time on the 40-man roster does, though.

    - Jaybird
  4. 4.

    Mike, do you think that the days of the steroid era are finally over and why?

    MW: No, because the cheaters are always ahead of the testers.

    - andrew
  5. 5.

    Regarding Arnsberg:

    “Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg indicated earlier this month that he wasn’t asked for his input when the club decided to send Litsch to the Minors, saying the move caught him so off guard that it “humbled” him. On Sunday, Arnsberg — never one to shy away from conversation — declined comment when asked about the decision to send Marcum to Triple-A.”


    The precise word was “humbled” but combine that with refusing comment on Marcum is enough to worry me.

    MW: I was surprised that Arnsberg declined comment on the Marcum thing, but often he doesn’t have an “off” button so it may just have been that he was afraid he’d say too much. If Arnsberg does go, Bruce Walton would slide right in to take his place.

    - WillRain
  6. 6.


    Just wondering what separates a type A free agent from a type B free agent?


    MW: I think you have to be in the top 20% of your position to be a Type A, and Type B is the next 20% but I could be wrong.

    - Josh
  7. 7.

    First off, we need to finish up with yesterday’s compound/possessive noun issue. The simple answer is that yes, one is a fan of the Jays, but they do not belong to the Jays.

    The complicated answer is that “Jays” is not acting as a determiner, because you can’t have two successive determiners. As in, you couldn’t say, “Jays’ fans’ cheers overpowered a large Boston crowd this weekend.”

    You’ve also got an extra space in the paragraph that begins with “I wonder.” It’s further down in the paragraph between “that” and “same.”

    You should also refrain from using hyphens when you should be using em dashes.

    The sentence, “Regardless, he managed to wriggle out of the trouble into which he got himself in the 6th inning” is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever read.


    Regardless, he managed to wriggle out of his self-inflicted 6th inning trouble.

    Lastly, putting two spaces after periods went out of style years ago. I don’t know of a single style guide that advocates it.

    But this is a blog, so you’re supposed to be able to get away with the occasional typo or grammatical gaffe.

    And while my stomach turns at some of the mistakes that people make in their posts, remember that they’re not writers, they’re fans.

    Take it easy on them.

    MW: Nah. Though I do appreciate the explanation up top. The fact that one is not a writer doesn’t excuse not knowing the difference between their, they’re and there, or your and you’re. Nor does it excuse using an apostrophe to pluralize.

    - tj
  8. 8.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    Ugh, I am baked and totally overwhelmed by the incomprehensible options of writing on your blog, listening to country music , finding the angey caller from like a week ago and listening to the DJF’s podcast. Eek.

    I don’t quite know how to feel less than a week before starting University. Is it a good thing?

    I had the option of possibly either covering a first week baseball game and missing a day of FROSH (the yuppie introduction thing that they do) or not doing the game and going to FROSH and I chose FROSH. Would someone who was committed enough to succeed at journalism choose the game over FROSH or am I just normal?

    What is the payscale in print journalism, with the bottom being, say, a city beat writer, and the top being the editor in chief of Macleans? As far as you know offhand, anyways.

    MW: I’m not sure you’re just normal, but that’s the more likely of the two scenarios you present. I have no clue at all about the pay scale in print journalism.

    - JCL
  9. 9.

    mike, even the seasons over today, who do you think is the a.l mvp and the jays offensive mvp

    MW: The season’s not over today, though. If it were, the Jays’ offensive MVP is probably Alex Rios, though an argument could be made for Vernon Wells or Adam Lind. The A.L. MVP? A month ago I’d have said Josh Hamilton in a walk, but now my vote goes to Carlos Quentin.

    - John Terry
  10. 10.

    A while ago when a caller was dissing the Jays’ minor league system, you said that they had “three incredible catching prospects.” I assume Jeroloman and Arencibia were the first two, but who was the third you were referring to?

    MW: The other one was the dearly-departed Robinzon Diaz.

    - Jay Money
  11. 11.

    MW: 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.


    Did you make that suggestion in an interview that was broadcasted on the air? If so, where can I find it? Or was this one of those conversations only insiders like yourself are privy too?

    Does Cito realize what stooges Tosca and Gibbons were? I am assuming he did seeing that he was special advisor to JP’s boss. Did either Tosca or Gibbons have such access to Godfrey? If not, how do you think this impacted their relationships with JP as compared to Cito’s?

    Why would you suggest this to Cito when you declined to ask JP who he was offering to Seattle for Ibanez on the grounds that there was no point asking? Did you think Cito would tell you he has way more input with JP than his predecessors?

    While we’re at it what do you think of Geoff Baker’s suggestion that JP made up the rumour about the Ibanez trade to make it look like he still has a mandate here? Do you think Baker is well positioned to know such things or did he make it up?

    Anyway keep up the great work.

    MW: I asked Cito the question in the pre-game writers’ scrum, which was not recorded for air. I wouldn’t have asked him that on the air, because there wouldn’t have been any point. I don’t think there’s anything to Baker’s rumour at all, based on conversations I had with people in the front office on deadline day. One of the people I spoke to, about an hour before the deadline, was talking as though the deal was done.

    - Prokopec
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike, I’m glad the Blue Jays are finally getting some luck. I still think that they are still behind and need about 10 undeserved wins this year to even out the luck factor. This team seems to be a contender and should be left alone. The only change or adjustment would to be to add a big bat. I’m sure they can sign one in the off season.
    Why is MLB using the replay only for homeruns. I think close calls at the bases and plates are more common. Don’t you find that plays at first the defence usually gets the breaks which goes against the rule “tie goes to the runner”. Everytime a tie occurs or even the runner beats the throw by half a step the umpire calls them out. This is where replay needs to be used in my opinion.

    MW: I’d say that the overwhelming majority of calls at first base are made correctly. That said, I think that MLB’s plans to use replay fall way, way short, but then I’m all for robot umpires.

    - Mark
  13. 13.

    Mike, you say that Vernon Wells is under acheiving this year. I disagree. He’s producing this year based on his career numbers. His OBP is 339, 8 points above his career OBP, his slg is 487, 8 points above his career slg. To say he’s under acheiving is ludicris. He’s just had a injury riddled year.

    MW: Vernon’s hot streak has gotten his slugging percentage back to his average levels, but I think that most people were looking for Wells to get back closer to his 2006 levels and to hang out around there through his prime, which he hasn’t done.

    - andrew
  14. 14.

    You also said that Vernon Wells has had two bad years, two average years, and very good years. Can you tell me what those’s years were?

    MW: No, but I can tell you what those years were. Actually, I’m amending my opinion after looking more closely. ’03 and ’06 were the very good years, ’07 was the bad year, ’02, ’04 and ’05 were the average years..

    - andrew
  15. 15.

    I seem to be pretty much a lone voice on this but I’m not disappointed all that much about Diaz going to the Bucs.

    I’ve never been that impressed with his singles bat and I don’t think his BA will translate to the majors at a high enough level to make up for his lack of walks or power.

    I would not be a bit surprised if Bautista is better now than Diaz will ever be in the majors.

    (After all, Diaz cleared waivers, so how hot a commodity could he be?)

    I’m not a huge fan of Bautista by any means (though I do like the idea that both he and Inglett can provide bench depth both as infielders and outfielders next season and they have compatible splits). With the uncertainty about Rolen’s production, having another 3B option can’t be a bad thing.

    The only thing that puzzles me is this: if you know you are going to trade Diaz, why not see if you can get Dave Ross?
    (I guess this would be like the Sexson deal, he may have tried and missed because the guy had rather join the Red Sox – still, I’d like to know if JP was interested in him since he would be ideal to come in here in Zaun’s place next season)

    - WillRain
  16. 16.

    I’m wondering what Eric Hinske role on the Tampa Bay Rays? He is a everyday player or a part time player?

    MW: He’s a platoon corner outfielder. Is this really something you couldn’t have found out on your own? You’re on the internet, after all.

    - andrew
  17. 17.

    Hey Mike I have just a few simple questions this time. How many extra players can an MLB team add on in september? Also do the rosters go back to 25 when the playoffs begin and are the callups always from the 40 man roster?

    MW: On September 1st, rosters can expand to as many as 40 players. The rosters go back to 25 when the playoffs begin and call-ups always have to be from the 40-man, as they do at any time. But in the playoffs, only injured players can be replaced on the active roster and no roster moves can be made in-series.

    - Matt from BC
  18. 18.

    Mike , I dont mind the deal with the boundary re-play situation.. They never said what would happen if somebody hit one out of the park , but after further review they realized it was not a dinger.. Where does the runner or runners end up at.. Do you know or any info you can give me.. Thanks Mike..

    MW: I don’t know. I guess it’ll be the umps’ discretion.

  19. 19.

    There’s definitely a great possibility of C.C and Teixeira ending up in N.Y next year but you seem to be dead sure about this. Wondering where you got the news from?

    MW: I’m not dead sure. In fact, there’s a strong possibility that Sabathia winds up on the west coast. What I am sure about is that the Yankees are going to throw a whole bunch of money at the premier free agents in the off-season, and many of them will take it.

    - Beburg
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike;

    Great game yesterday, Vernon Wells is on fire; Great for him to validate his contract and quiet the naysayers, hopefully he will keep up his torrid pace, we need his bat for any semblance of a run for the wildcard. Halladay pitched well to get out of the jam but the wild pitch and the hbp cost his era a little, but the win was well earned. As for the Diaz trade, maybe catcher was a position the pitrates needed to upgrade on, and we have Thigpen,Arincibia, and Jeroleman and Barajas as starter next year. Bautista was brought aboard for his hitting and home run power, which the Jays need to improve on immeadiately, and maybe an extra utility man will come in handy if Hill isn’t set to go next year, and Eckstein is gone at the end of the year, which makes the trade make sense, thx for the blog and great show.

    - robert s
  21. 21.

    If they really think Jeroloman had passed Diaz then they got some evaluation problems. Yeah the guy can take a walk, but he still can’t hit, I have no confidence at all in him being a MLB regular. Diaz on the other hand can flat out hit, he could be Shannon Stewart(minus the speed) behind the plate.

    MW: And yet, Jeroloman can be a catcher in the big leagues. There’s doubt about whether Diaz can.

    - PeeWee
  22. 22.

    Taking a page from J.P.’s book, I lied about my last email being THE last email on this subject.
    They should either boot Ozzie Smith out of or put Tony Fernandez into Cooperstown. On this subject, and this subject alone, you are wrong.
    Ask Cito.

    MW: Cito’s not a hall of fame voter. He may well believe that Devon White belongs in the Hall for his defense alone.

    - jchenry
  23. 23.

    Good road win. If the Jays are able to have another successful road trip like their last 6 gamer before September starts, 90 wins will not be such an unattainable goal.

    Is Eckstein basically finishing out the season as the 2B against left handed pitching?

    Assuming Zaun, Eckstein and Burnett do not return next season, how much cash does that free up?

    MW: Eckstein’s basically finishing out the season on the bench. With Bautista around, there’s nothing for him to do at all. The loss of Eck, Zaun and Burnett adds up to $20.25 million extra.

    - Aaron Ker
  24. 24.

    ‘Immediately, the Jays got one of the runs back, on that Aybar play mentioned above. That James Shields just can’t hold a team down when his own has just scored. He’s just as bad as A.J. Burnett.’

    I love the subtle little dig to mine and other comments regarding AJ’s blown lead in the Sox game :).

    Boy wouldn’t it be rather incredible if the Blue Jays could go like 23-8, with Wells hitting like he has the last 3 games and them sneaking away with the Wild Card? It would make for a lot of VW for MVP talk North of the Border…

    MW: If Vernon hits .643 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs down the stretch, he’s the MVP.

    - JJ
  25. 25.

    Hello Mike

    The way the Jays are playing in the last two weeks reminds me of the team two years ago when they had Glauss and everyone was hitting

    One thing I observe between Gibbons and Gaston.

    Gibbons tend to rest his starters more, giving them days off here and there. He is also quicker with his hook with pitchers.

    Gaston likes to leave the line up constant. day in, day out, Gaston is slower with his hook with pitchers. He tends to want them to sort their problems first rather than yanking them off.

    Both have positives and negatives. Gibbons tendency to rest starters is a good idea, but it throws of the rythm off the team. Sometimes, it looks like we are fielding the B team as opposed to the A team, thus conceeding the win to the other team.

    As for managing the pitchers,
    I get antsy with Cito when pitchers are in trouble and he doesn’t do anything sooner. This is when I chew my nails like crazy.

    Did you notice that Tampa Bay uses senior citizens as their ballboy/girl. I would imagine the players wold retrieve the errand balls in this park. Otherwise, we would be in for a 15 minute intermission between errand hits

    MW: “Errant” balls, but your points about Cito and Gibby are well-taken. The only thing I would correct is that often when people believed that Gibbons was simply giving players a day off, it was with a purpose (i.e. they were hurt).

    - francis
  26. 26.

    Hi Mike

    Who got sent to triple A when rolen got activated from the dl. Would there be any chance of the Jays calling up Ricky Romero (wasn’t he the 2005 or 2006 first round pick). What is the Gulf Coast league is it just players who will never see the majors playing profesional baseball or is their actual prospects down their. Thanks Mike

    MW: Kevin Mench got sent to AAA to make room for Rolen. The Gulf Cost League is another low-A level minor-league. The Jays might make Ricky Romero a September call-up, but I doubt it.

    - Jason
  27. 27.

    Do you think the Rays have a better scouting reports, or have picked up something against Halladay that other teams have not? It seems odd, and unlikly that he just happens to always have an off game against the Rays.

    MW: I believe their speed tends to give him trouble, because he doesn’t hold runners well.

    - Denny
  28. 28.

    I don’t see how Diaz would be that usefull down the line. I have a feeling in a year or two with Arencibia behind the plate this trade will long be forgotten about. The trade for Bautista was insurance. What happens if Rolen never fully recovers from his shoulder issues (a legitimate concern)and decides to retire next year? Bautista is not a guy you really want there everyday but it gives them a Major League option untill they can find something better. Diaz was obviously expendable, and there is no reason to get panties in a bunch over a trade for marginal MLB players. This trade will definatly not hurt this team going forward Diaz is completly replaceable.

    MW: I’m not sure anyone’s panties are bunched.

    - Denny
  29. 29.

    Hi Mike,

    I know that trading Diaz at first glance seems a little odd, but I will say that I give JP some credit for trading from a position of strength. Diaz, as has been noted, has been passed by both Arencibia and Jeroloman (sp?), so even though he could turn into a good solid player, I’m quite confident we have TWO more solid players coming down the pipe.

    I join you in your confusion about where Bautista fits in… but you can’t argue with his power, so perhaps there is something that we don’t know.

    Thanks, Mike!

    MW: Good spelling. You can’t argue with Bautista’s power? Well, no, not if you’re arguing that it’s mediocre. His career slugging percentage is .395. And I don’t have a problem with trading from an area of strength so long as you get value back.

    - Jeff
  30. 30.

    Was last night the first time this season that Ryan pitched in 3 games in a row?

    MW: I’m not sure, but there was an off-day in there.

    - Shmuel Yitzchok
  31. 31.

    Whenever Jerry or Alan crack a joke on air, you could often hear someone laughing in the background. Who is that?

    MW: That’s our fine engineer, Tom Young.

    - Shmuel Yitzchok
  32. 32.

    I see Roy Halladay has mathced is season total for wins from the previous 2 years. Im just wondering how many more starts Halladay will get before the end of the year and if you its likely that he will be able to achieve the big 20 in wins this year before the year is out.

    MW: He should get six or seven more starts this season, and if the hitters do their jobs, he should get to 20 wins.

    - James
  33. 33.

    Hi Mike: I’ve just begun to read your blog in the last couple of days. I listen all year long and really appreciate your depth of knowledge, you obviously take this job seriously. I remember early in the year you projected Inglett as a minor leaguer, having had more time to watch him now, how do you see him longer term. Obviously no Robbie Alomar, but is he any more than a bench guy on a better team?

    MW: So far Inglett is proving that he belongs pretty much every time he goes out there, it’s been great to watch.

    - Ron E
  34. 34.

    Mike this was a good win but, (you knew there would be a but) this team has got to stop beating themselves. Case in point was Halliday in the 6th. Hits when hitters are behind in counts,hit batsmen in same scenario and wild pitch all could have and in fact did bite them a little bit. These are the things that over a long season when you look back and say gee we only missed the playoffs by 5 games which differentiate a playoff team from a non playoff team. No I am not picking on Halliday per say just pointing out little things which make a big difference.

    Is it just me or does Tampa look like they might be very vulnerable against left handed pitching?

    MW: Looking at the line-up that the Rays trotted out against Purcey, with Zobrist and Ruggiano playing the corners and left-handed hitters who don’t hit lefties especially well hitting first and third, I’d have to agree with you.

    - mike glatt
  35. 35.

    You mentioned that you dont make predicitions cause you might be wrong. You predict that AJ will opt out. I am thinking this one might not happen and here is my rationale:
    At the beginning of the year I had also stated that no way was he going to stay. His wife hates baseball, she will not fly and he sold his T.O. condo.
    However some things have changed that have caused me to change my mind.
    AJ has matued as a pitcher, he doesnt get angry and react like he used to to bad calls etc. He admits he has learned from Doc. He likes Brad Arnsberg. He said he doesnt care about all the money and free agency stuff. He just gave $1 mill to a school in North Little Rock. He wants to be on a team that can win.
    Therefore I think there is a good possibilty he resigns with the Jays without opting out totally.
    HOWEVER, if Brad leaves all bets are off
    What are your thoughts?

    MW: My thoughts continue to be that Burnett’s agent should lose his license if A.J. doesn’t opt out.

    - Richard from AR
  36. 36.

    Mike to the man who asked in the last blog what the best baseball school to go was the answer would be Rice University no?

    and I wanted to follow up on this argument.

    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

    Mike I do think this was a big mistake by Leyva. I’ve seen third base coachs wait to send the runner but when they do this they have to move down the third base line alot (towards home plate) Leyva for some reason didn’t do this he was standing just back of third base and if Stairs would have kept running full out he would have had turn around and run backwards to see what Leyva’s decsion was.

    Mike I understand you don’t want people taking unfair shots a Jays personel but this was obviously a mistake by Leyva and I don’t think any of the comments you got were irrational I don’t no why you can’t just say Leyva screwed up.

    MW: Because I don’t think he did. He wasn’t standing just back of third base when he made the call, though he wasn’t halfway down the line as he sometimes is.

    - Dan M
  37. 37.

    Mike I think Diaz was over hyped by J.P. and Toronto media/fans bought into way too much. I’ve talked to two scouts about Diaz and both of them said his ceiling was a backup catcher on a bad team.

    I’m willing to play wait and see on this move I’m sure theres something J.P. and his staff like about Bautista. perhaps they think he can play secound base and will move Hill to SS.

    As much as it sounds like your down on Bautista his batting line isn’t far off of Aaron Hill who you seem to think is a hitting stud and he’s only one year older.

    MW: Going into this season, Bautista was a career .240/.329/.395, Hill was a career .287/.341/.415.

    - Dan M
  38. 38.

    Mike Im hearing alot of people using fuzzy logic with regards to the Diaz trade. They state the Diaz has been “passed” on the Jays depth chart by others.

    Yes, this is true, he has been passed. And? So? Just because the jays have no need for him doesnt mean you just toss him. He is a bullet in the chamber. If a team had 10 great pictching prospects, should they trade the bottom two or three for beans just because they themselves wont be needing them. They are assests that can bring things back in return at a later date.

    What really gets me isn’t that they traded the guy, its that they traded him for a completely superfluous utlility clone who has no business being considered “insurance back-up” if rolen cant come back next year.

    Diaz has hit over 300 in over 2000 minor league at bats. what he will do at the bigl league level we know not. we KNOW what bautista is capable of and its not much.

    MW: I agree with you, but not with as much venom.

    - sammy
  39. 39.

    Mike, I am just curious. Do the Jays have a really “rah rah” like guys in their clubhouse?
    I was sitting a few rows behind the Red Sox dugout last week, and they certainly do, particularily Youkilis. The Jays seemed pretty subdued. I know it doesn’t mean much, but was just wondering. Thanks.

    MW: Youkilis is a guy who sparked a team intervention to get him to cool his jets in the dugout after he gets out, and when he didn’t, he got punched in the face by Manny Ramirez, so I’m not sure he’s the guy you should be pointing out.

    - Al
  40. 40.

    How is it going Mike?

    Just wondering your opinion on how defence affects pitching. The blue jays i believe have the best overall defence in the league and I was wondering how much that has an affect on the blue jays pitchers era. I know errors dont affect era but I am also talking about range of field and making plays other players would not turning double plays and etc.

    Also just an off topic question where does Pujols rank among current players in the league? I personally only think A-rod and holliday can even be mentioned in the same sentence

    MW: I think the better your defense is, the better it makes your pitching look, for sure. Pitchers’ ERAs will be better the better the defense is behind them. Pujols is among the best of the best, for sure.

    - Ryan D
  41. 41.

    Oh come on, Mike. You know full well that there’s very little difference between a 3-run lead and a 4-run lead in the 9th, “save situation” or not.

    If he’s already up and warming he might as well go in the game – it still takes him a fair bit of effort to get loose, so warming him up and shutting him down three days straight can be just as bad as pitching him in three straight.

    MW: I wasn’t making the argument that in a three-run game he should have pitched, but that’s what the stat says so that’s how managers manage.

    - Doug
  42. 42.


    As you look into your crystal ball for 2009…

    Do you see The Beej, Snakeface, Surfsup, UCLA Boy, and Mulletman all in the Jayspen?

    MW: I’m assuming Jeremy Accardo is the Mulletman. I’m going to say probably.

    - Chris
  43. 43.

    Michael, greetings and salutations.

    A couple things today. First, a few days back, on the radio, I was struck by the point you made about how in baseball sheer desire to take the game doesn’t work because the other team always gets its equal opportunity on offense: no team can control the play by controlling the ball (or puck). Interesting observation that I’d never thought of in those terms. I was wondering, then, what you’d say about football. Obviously it’s not exactly the same as baseball, where you can’t lose your turn at offense through a turn-over. And turn-overs can be decisive in a football game. Still, an equal opportunity on offense is also structured into the rules and football of all games is the one probably most associated to winning through sheer desire, etc. and all that crap. How do you see that comparison?

    Secondly, a technical question that I’m a little embarrassed to ask, but it’s always bothered me. I think of the definition of a perfect game as being one in which no member of the other team’s batting order gets on base. Yet, as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s common, even frequent, that a perfect game is defined as a pitcher facing the minimum 27 hitters. Well, this quite obviously is not even close to the same thing. A pitcher could allow AT LEAST nine base runners (even more if his team can come up with the occasional triple play) in the course of a game and still wind up facing the minimum of 27 hitters: double plays, pick offs, caught stealing, base runners hit by batted balls are just the examples that come to mind immediately as opportunities to erase base runners and turn an inning into a minimum three hitter one for the pitcher. If this were allowed, a perfect game by no means would need to be a no-hitter, which just doesn’t make sense.

    So, I’m assuming that this tendency to describe the perfect game as facing the minimum 27 is just an ill-considered cliche repeated by those lacking imagination. Am I wrong?

    Have fun. Play ball.

    MW: 1 – In football, there’s the constant opportunity to take the ball away from the other team. There’s no equal opportunity structured into the game (each baseball team gets 3 outs per half-inning, each football team doesn’t get to run X number of plays on offense). 2 – I wouldn’t say it’s an ill-considered cliche. Facing the minimum doesn’t happen very often. In my mind, it’s a way of distinguishing a no-hitter from a perfect game. For me, I’ll always say perfect game, or 27 up, 27 down, something like that, rather than just “faced the minimum”.

    - mikie
  44. 44.

    I agree that trading Diaz for Bastista is a signal of something. The first thought I had was of Rolen. But maybe they are hedging with Hill too.

    - JW
  45. 45.

    I do not understand when people say Vernon is under performing offensively. If you take into consideration that he has missed almost two months. If he finishes up the season performing as he has been for the whole season to date he will finish of with 18 or 19 HR with a .045 HR/AB rate. This is only off by three ticks from his best season in 2003 where he hit 33 with a .048 HR/AB rate.

    MW: He’s not really underperforming, he’s just been missing.

    - James
  46. 46.

    Hey Mike I just wanted to leave a comment about the way the Jays have played this past couple of months. I’m very happy and entertained with the performance of this club. If people look back to July 1st you will notice that they (Jays) have compiled a record of 27 and 20. Not bad considering the injuries to two major contributors in the starting rotation (McGowan, Marcum) and injuries to such integral parts of the offense as Wells, Rolen, and Hill. That 27 and 20 record since July 1st is good for a .574 win pct. Not a bad clip and over a season would lead to a 93 and 69 record. I know you can’t really do those kinds of extrapolations. But I really do feel like this team is that close to being able to perform at that level over the course of a 162 game schedule. Hopefully with the addition of a big bat (dh) and a middle of the rotation pitcher in the off-season and a healthy Hill, return to form of Overbay, et al this team could certainly contend next season. For now I’m just enjoying the last month and a bit of the season. The fact that this team is playing most of its remaining games against clubs directly in front of them in the wild card standings is a great stroke of luck in terms of how the scheduling worked out this season. Its almost like every game is a play off game in terms of intensity and atmosphere. I love it. I know it is nearly impossible for the Jays to make the play offs this season but that doesn’t take away for me how this club is performing right now. It sure is exciting. Just think if the Jays finish this month 4 and 1 (I know thats going to be extraordinarily difficult) that would give them a record of 31 and 21 since the 1st of July. Thats a winning pct. of .596. I doubt very much that most people are aware of the kind of outstanding baseball this club has been playing for nearly two months. It sure has been a treat to watch.

    Take care Mike.

    - Troy
  47. 47.

    Further to my point that “losing makes you stupid”: I am sick and tired of reading/hearing that Marco Scutaro is the Jays’ MVP. Just saw it in the Toronto Star now! Folks, he has an OPS of less than .700! Of course, OPS doesn’t mean anything in the new world order in Toronto.

    MW: It’s sad, really, but a lot of people believe that. In truth, Marco Scutaro is the Jays’ second-worst hitter (among regulars), better only than John McDonald. One of the outfielders is the team’s offensive MVP.

    - Jim B
  48. 48.

    Hello Mike, this is a good question about B.J Ryan. I too wonder why Cito brought him in the 9th. One of the reasons I can think of is that he wants to keep B.J sharp the rest of the road trip…or he may not feel comfortable with a 4 run lead going into the 9th against the Rays…& last he may want to save his bullpen for tbe rest of the series since he knows Percey & Parish will be starting & they might be short starts. Percey & Parish are brand new so he may want to keep them at a low pitch count & take them out early or maybe he is preparing for the worst in that they won’t have a good start…Since you are with the Jays alot, I wonder if you can ask Cito on that one…Thanx Mike

    MW: I’m not with them now, so I can’t ask. I don’t buy the saving the bullpen thing, though.

    - David F.
  49. 49.

    Tonight’s game… he’s not a mature enough hitter yet to be given the green light in that situation; mistake Cito… especially with Wells on deck

    MW: The commenter is assuming that everyone knows that he’s referring to Alex Rios being allowed to swing on a 3-0 count in the 3rd inning.

    - Mark from Ottawa
  50. 50.


    The ‘Arnsberg leaving’ rumours have been reported in Toronto newspapers.
    Apparently he was not involved in the decision to demote Jesse Litsch and was so upset about it that he described himself as being “humbled’ by it.

    MW: See above.

    - Randy
  51. 51.

    two quick things:

    1) I read somewhere that, basically, Bobby Abreu won’t be a Yankee next year. There weren’t many details to this, could you maybe tell me if there’s any validity to this? If he isn’t in a Yankee uniform next year, is HE an option to be signed by the Blue Jays, or are they looking for someone with more power?

    2) Any chance you would know what Vernon Wells “intro song” is? haha. I’ve been wondering for a while.

    MW: 1-Abreu is a free agent after the season, but I don’t believe the Jays will be willing to spend the money necessary even if they’re interested in him. 2-I don’t know what it is, I can’t even think of it right now.

    - Brendan
  52. 52.

    Hi Mike,
    Regardless of the Olympic controversy (which is overblown – JP was right on the mark last Wed), I’m curious as to why Scott Richmond goes down and David Purcey stays in the rotation. I haven’t seen either pitch so can just go on what I’ve heard/read and see in the stats. You could make an argument that Richmond performed better in his brief stint than Purcey.

    Is it because Purcey is a pet project with more upside? Otherwise I just don’t get it.

    Also…can’t believe such a small crowd to see the Rays after so many years of being in the basement. That’s embarassing. Get both those teams out of Florida and into a real baseball market… like Montreal.

    MW: Montreal’s crowds were far smaller post-94 than the Rays’ crowds are now, sadly. With reason, I know. It’s because Purcey has the capability of shutting down a first-place team, though he hasn’t shown it too often.

    - Oz Rob
  53. 53.

    Then explain this Mike if you think the steroid era is still alive. How come power numbers are down?

    MW: Because pitching is better, a lot of players did get off the juice, and maybe MLB conspired to deaden the ball to make it look as though the steroid era is over. But seriously, in the overall, how much are power numbers down? 1,000 homers from 2006 to 2008 or some such? That’s less than half a homer per hitter per month.

    - andrew
  54. 54.

    I do not expect a reply but just wanted to post some “food for thought” so to speak. Many times you have told callers that they are incorrect and do not understand baseball if they think someone like Marco Scutaro could be a team MVP. I don’t disagree with you, but i find it funny that tonight on the TV broadcast they did mention that due to Scutaro’s fine play this season he should be considered for a nod as the team MVP. I believe that the Media in Toronto generally lack of any real baseball knowledge and that truly affects the knowledge of the fan base of the Blue Jays. I think yourself and people like Alan Ashby are excellent in your jobs, but others are really affecting the “Baseball IQ” of the Toronto Blue Jays Fan base. I learned more listening to Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez growing up for the few years that I heard from there replacements over the last 10 years or so. I see my brother who is growing up with the current group of announcers/reporters and he really looses so much passion for the game due to the lack of knowledge and skill in our current group.

    I heard on Sunday that BJ Ryan was “without question” going in for a second inning and would pitch the 11th. I knew this was not going to happen due to his surgery last year, and due to JP Riccardi stating so many times that he would be used for 1 single inning all year. I was shocked that these announcers didn’t have that same knowledge.

    I think that alot of the miss informed calls that you get are manufactured from a lazy or perhaps uninformed media. I know that you don’t comment on the Media, and I’m not asking you to. its just something that has been bugging me foe a while.

    Thanks for allowing me my soap box and love the blog as always!

    MW: I’m not sure that this is the right forum to post this.

    - Sean
  55. 55.

    Hey Mike, what’s the deal with that goof who obviously has season tickets to the Rays and screams the most annoying scratchy vocals in the world? Every single game, either on the radio or tv, you hear him. I have no clue what he is saying and its so annoying. This has been going on for years. Do you know who I’m talking about? I had to get that off my chest.

    MW: I actually don’t hear him, which is a good thing. He’s a Toronto guy who lives down there now, and he picks one opposing player and just lets him have it all game long. I guess he thinks he’s pretty witty.

    - Jamie - Windsor
  56. 56.

    Mike, who would be your NL MVP? I think Albert Pujols deserves that award.

    MW: I have to take a good, hard look at all the candidates there.

    - andrew
  57. 57.


    I hope this proves untestable, but here is a prediction for you:

    If Jays go on to lose tonight, no JP for your show.

    MW: You lose. J.P. doesn’t tend to blow us off after a loss. I think he’s only missed one show this season.

    - Prokopec
  58. 58.

    “Lastly, putting two spaces after periods went out of style years ago. I don’t know of a single style guide that advocates it.”

    Chicago suggests that, in published work, one space is sufficient and two spaces unnecessary. However Chicago also acknowledges that in personal typewritten or computer-written communication many people do leave two spaces after a period, and Chicago acknowledges that choice as valid.

    I always leave two spaces after a period because otherwise the line looks crowded. So I agree with Chicago.

    MW: I have always left two spaces after a period, always will.

    - reyes
  59. 59.

    Regarding comment 54 above, it was actually Tabby who made that comment about Scutaro being the Jays MVP. I don’t think we can say he doesn’t know anything about baseball (though that particular opinion might well give one reason to reserve some doubt on the matter!)

    MW: Lots of people have made that comment, unfortunately.

    - mikie
  60. 60.

    Great game by Purcey!
    Do you think Lind is being overly aggressive at the dish? He had some success after the call up with the approach, but it seems like maybe pitchers have figured him out somewhat. He needs to adjust a bit.

    MW: If by “figured him out” you mean he’s had three rough games in a row after going 15-for-41 (.366) then yes, he’s been figured out. He did strike out on a high fastball in the 8th tonight, something that gave him a lot of trouble last year but hasn’t been as big an issue this season.

    - Jaybird
  61. 61.

    If Burnett actually wanted to stay, would his agent and the players’ union put pressure on him to opt out?


    MW: Very much so. If he wanted to stay they’d want to make sure he stayed with a brand-new, long-term contract.

    - Julie
  62. 62.

    “Chicago suggests that, in published work, one space is sufficient and two spaces unnecessary.”

    Like I said, it doesn’t advocate it. But point taken; it’s not technically wrong.

    MW: Sorry, I have never read a style guide. When I went to school, it was one space after a comma, two spaces after a period.

    - tj
  63. 63.

    If I could have phoned in and spoken to JP tonight I would have asked him to trade for Matt Garza in the off season. He’s killing us.

    MW: Indeed.

    - Oz Rob
  64. 64.

    Hi Mike,

    TOnights loss was just horrible. Three questions:
    1. Did Barajas’ ball hit the wall?
    2. WHy didnt Cito pinch hit for mcdonald in the 7th inning? As well as hes done, I don’t think he shouldve been up.
    3. Is this it? Do you think the season is finally over? Are the playoffs out of reach.

    One comment:

    In the 8th inning I saw that weak infield hit by bartlett and then the next two guys hit the ball right on the screws and were out. Funny the way baseball goes.

    One more thing:

    Why was there 11000 people there? I mean. Seriously! This team is winning the East and they’re drawing extremely small crowds. What is it about Florida? No team there has good support other than the Heat and the Gators.

    MW: 1 – I’m still not sure, but J.P. didn’t think so. 2 – Not an unfair question. 3 – No, they still need a miracle. You didn’t think they were going to win their last 35 in a row, did you? One more thing – 7:10 pm is pretty late for most folks down in Florida.

    - Warren
  65. 65.

    “2) Any chance you would know what Vernon Wells “intro song” is? haha. I’ve been wondering for a while.”

    I’m fairly certain this is VDub’s entry music, although it could be his old one and it’s changed since then. It’s the first 5 seconds Mike, so maybe you could confirm.

    MW: I don’t think I can put a youtube link in here.

    - Ari
  66. 66.

    I don’t think the Blue Jays should take advantage of expanding their roster in September. After all, who is going to play? Cito uses his best relievers even when he has a comfortable lead. If you are not going to pinch hit with John Macdonald in late innings with the tie run at second, when would you ever? He has NEVER been able to manage a bench.

    - Jim B
  67. 67.

    “MW: I don’t think I can put a youtube link in here.”

    Interesting. Mind if I ask why?

    Brendan, I believe Vernon’s entry music was/is “This Is Why I’m Hot” by Mims.

    MW: I’m hot ’cause I’m fly, you ain’t cuz you not.

    - Ari
  68. 68.

    Just a question Mike, I’m not sure who was on second at the tiime but why did Cito pinch run with Bautista but not pinch hit for Mcdonald? Couldn’t he have Bautista hit or was there no one else available on the bench to pinch run?

    MW: Matt Stairs was on second. Eckstein and Rolen were also available to pinch-run.

    - Mike
  69. 69.

    Mike, a further comment on Post #43 — a “runner hit by a batted ball” will not result in a “minimum 3-batter inning”. In that situation, the ball is dead and the batter is credited with a base hit. So even if the “hit runner” is the third out of the inning, the official scoring will be “one LOB”, hence “one over the minimum” in batters faced.

    Also, a comment on the Scutaro/MVP “controversy”. I think that most of the rationale for considering him as MVP has to do with his versatility, his ability to cover off so many injury situations, and perform well (especially defensively) wherever he has played. In this sense I agree with JP’s assessment of “I don’t know where we’d be without him”.
    You could also argue from the point of view of “who else deserves it?”

    At the same time, I agree with you that the team’s OFFENSIVE MVP has to be one of the outfielders — clearly, the word “offensive” would eliminate Scoot. My vote would go to Wells.

    MW: I’m sure that’s the rationale for considering Scutaro as the MVP, but the truth is that John McDonald or even Jorge Velandia could have done the same thing – fill in at three infield positions, play well defensively and contribute a negligible amount with the bat, relative to his struggling teammates.

    - Norm
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