11:58 PM Eastern - UPDATE – The Snider Era Begins!
After the game, the Jays designated Matt Stairs for assignment and purchased the contract of Travis Snider from Syracuse. Stairs will be traded in the next couple of days, my guess is to the Dodgers, and Snider steps in for his first taste of the big-league life.
It’s interesting that J.P. said just last night that Snider wasn’t going to be a September call-up, and I guess it’s true, he’ll make his debut on August 29th, but it’s still a great piece of the future for the Jays and their fans to get a look at. As I said back in July, if they’re not going anywhere anyway, they might as well see what the kid can do. And as I reiterated tonight on the very The JaysTalk that you can hear below, I’d love to see Snider up. And now I get my chance, and so does everybody else. I don’t know if he’ll DH or play left, but I’m really looking forward to seeing him play for a month. The 20 year-old will make his major-league debut in the last series the Jays will ever play at Yankee Stadium. And he might even get to do it against Carl Pavano!!!!!!
As for Stairs, I wish him luck wherever he winds up. He’s a terrific guy, fantastic in the clubhouse and the Jays will miss him. The future, however, is now.
11:32 PM Eastern
Please, somebody, tell me what happened to Gene Tenace and why he has been replaced by Gary Denbo for the last two games. I mean, since Denbo was everything that was wrong with the Jays’ offense for the first half of the season, he’s got to be back to oversee these last two games in which the Jays have managed a grand total of two runs while going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, right?
Whatever happened that brought him back, here’s hoping that he didn’t get on the plane to New York after the game, so we can see more of the team that’s been 12th in the league in OPS since the all-star break. Wait a minute…….I thought the hitting was fixed under the new regime. The OPS is up – .720 pre-break and .749 post – but it’s still pretty dismal.
We had a caller on The JaysTalk tonight who pointed out that it was sad that four of the Jays’ top six home run hitters have fewer than 350 at-bats, but I didn’t think that was as sad as the fact that not a single Blue Jay has hit as many as 15 home runs this season. Even post all-star break, after Cito and Tenace had had three weeks to try to implement their system, the Jays are 12th out of 14 A.L. teams in both home runs and total bases. The hitting still leaves quite a bit to be desired, as we saw in Tampa Bay.
The Jays had a legitimate chance to go into St. Petersburg and sweep away the first-place Rays – they limited them to just six runs in three games – but the hitting fell astoundingly flat. We can blame last night on The Matt Garza Magic (patent pending) , but what about tonight? The only thing that stands out about tonight was that in the 6th inning, when the Jays had runners on the corners and nobody out and Lyle Overbay at the plate, Overbay simply scorched a line drive up the middle. Right at a perfectly placed Jason Bartlett . Rod Barajas popped up on the next pitch and that was the rally right there.
I guess it should have been apparent that this wasn’t the Jays’ night right away. Eric Hinske may well have made the best catch of his life to rob Joe Inglett of a double down the left-field line leading off the ballgame. Not only did he chase the fly ball down at the line, but he dove, and as he reached the apex of his dive, caught the ball in the very tip of his glove just before he and the ball both hit the ground. It was an incredible catch, and the guy in whom no major-league team was confident enough to offer a guaranteed contract in the off-season continues to impress in a Rays uniform (Rays as adjective there – dig me!).
Jesse Litsch was fine. Unspectacular, but good enough to win. He’s going to give up home runs, and he gave up a pair of them tonight, but so long as he can do his best to make sure there’s no one on base when he does, he should be ok. As long as he’s backed by an offense that’s close to average, that is, and he wasn’t tonight.
We had a David Eckstein sighting! He came in to pinch-run for Barajas after The Captain doubled in the 3-2 run in the 8th. Eck might be on his way out – there are rumours that the Angels are getting more desperate to beef up the middle infield. I hope for his sake that he does get traded. I think it’s been terrible the way that the Jays have treated him since the regime change. There’s absolutely no reason that MVPco Scutaro should be getting so much more playing time than Eck.
I’m wondering where Scott Rolen was tonight. The Jays activated him off the disabled list before Tuesday’s game, even though Cito said Rolen wasn’t going to play that night or the next. Weird. But he wasn’t in the line-up tonight, either, which raises the other eyebrow. Hopefully, he’s ready to go in The Bronx Friday night, otherwise what the heck is he doing here?
And yes, Jose Bautista was allowed to hit for himself with the tying run at second and two out in the 8th, against a righty, with Matt Stairs, Gregg Zaun and Rolen all on the bench. The only thing I can think of, other than something was wrong with Stairs, is that Cito was thinking that if he sent Stairs up to hit for Bautista, he would have been intentionally walked to bring up John McDonald. So I’m guessing that Cito liked the Bautista/Balfour match-up better than Zaun/Balfour.
Here’s tonight’s The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!