12:30 AM Eastern

Calm down now.  I don’t mean by the title of this post that I believe the Blue Jays are going to make it to the post-season, though I won’t stop anyone from thinking that way.  What I mean is that, for the Blue Jays, the playoffs begin NOW.  Problem is, it’s not simply a best-of-7.

The streak has been great, 11 wins in their last 12, 37-20 since July 7th (105-win pace over an entire season) and all of this current streak coming against teams ahead of them in the standings, but the real work begins now.  If the Jays don’t take at least three out of four in Boston, starting tomorrow night, then they’re all but done.  If they do, there’s a pulse, and if they sweep (which would mean 15 wins in 16 games) then that pulse becomes pretty strong.  But enjoy this, because without question, the Blue Jays are now playing MEANINGFUL GAMES IN SEPTEMBER.

As for this last one against the White Sox, it was almost a carbon-copy of seemingly every other Shaun Marcum start in the first half, except that this time the Jays scored early enough to get him a win.  Marcum seems to be the king of six shutout innings only to have the score be 0-0 going into the 7th, and tonight it stayed that way into the 8th, when the Jays exploded off of Gavin Floyd and two relievers.  In the 8th inning, Jays hitters actually went 7-for-8, with Adam Lind’s strikeout against Matt Thornton the only time a Blue Jay  got out against his will.  Joe Inglett willingly gave himself up – a good time for a sac bunt!- and Scott Rolen was eliminated on the basepaths.

Marcum seems to have keyed into the same magic that Jesse Litsch picked up in his return from a short demotion.  When Litsch got back, he went two starts without giving up a run, and Marcum hasn’t been scored upon (while he’s been on the mound, at least) in his two starts since his return.  He turned things over to the usually-reliable Scott Downs, who has been anything but the last three times out.

I was curious as to why Downs would be called upon in the 8th inning of a 6-0 game, especially with the four-spot in Boston coming up, but then I thought it should just be a quick two-out tune-up, not so bad.  Instead, it may have given Cito Gaston a reason NOT to use Downs as his automatic 8th inning guy in the big series in Boston.  After Brian Anderson took him to the base of the right-field wall for a fly out, Jermaine Dye ripped a double to right-centre, then Jim Thome destroyed a ball to dead centre for a two-run homer – the only round-tripper Downs has given up to a left-handed hitter all season.

Granted, Thome is a great hitter, but he struggles making contact against lefties, hitting .227 with 46 strikeouts in 132 at-bats.  He does however, tend to make the ball go far when he does hit it, slugging .500 against the southpaws.

That’s three shaky outings in a row for Downs, though this was the first one in which he’s been scored upon.  I mentioned it on the show and in the comments section, but how weird is it that at a time when the Jays are playing their best baseball of the season, Downs and B.J. Ryan are the weakest links?

Ryan wasn’t bad today – he hit A.J. Pierzynski, which is commendable, to lead off the 9th, but then struck out the side around a routine grounder to third that Rolen booted.

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

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Remember, today and every day in the month of September, please vote for Tom Cheek and ONLY for Tom Cheek to be on the ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award to gain entry into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  It’ll make more of an impact on the voters if Tom alone gets the overwhelming majority of the votes.  Just click on this link:

It’s a bit of a pain to fill out all the info, but it only takes two minutes at the most, and Tom Cheek was certainly worth your time.  Thank you.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

89 Responses to “PLAYOFFS!”
  1. 1.

    Hi Mike –

    You mentioned this upcoming series at Fenway was the most important one of the season till the next one against Boston assuming we do well this weekend. I want to alert you to Boston’s schedule after this weekend – they’re off to Tampa where they have been swept twice. I think that series is as important to our season as our two against the Red Sox.

    If Tampa can add 2 or even 3 L’s to their Loss column, and we go 3-1 this weekend and take care of business against Baltimore, we’re in it.

    Boston have four with Cleveland and New York at Fenway to finish the season … hopefully Cliff Lee won’t hide from them and the Yankees will be motivated to keep them away from the playoffs.

    It all starts with this weekend. Rain forecasted for Sunday in Boston by the way.

    MW: If the Jays can’t get the job done against Boston themselves, the hill they need to climb becomes almost insurmountable.

    - T from NY
  2. 2.

    Dd you see that bare-handed play David Wright made the other night?

    Did you see Rolen muff that routine grounder?

    And Wright hits 35 homers, too,

    Way to go, J.P. Where would the Jays be if they had Troy Glaus’ middle-of-the-order bat from June through August, instead of a No. 8 hitter?

    MW: Yeah, he should have traded Glaus for David Wright. What an idiot.

    - Ken Pagan
  3. 3.

    Eleven out of twelve against top-flight opponents is indeed, an impressive run and I’m enjoying every minute of it. The skeptic in me hopes and prays that they do not lead us on by playing well against Boston, only to lay an egg against Baltimore.

    Watching this streak is like blowing up a large balloon, hoping it doesn’t blow up in your face.

    MW: Or, you could just enjoy it.

    - Andrew Shone
  4. 4.

    Hey Mike, who do you think J.P., will get to hit in the middle of the order next season?

    Carl Everett? Frank Thomas? Jose Vidro? Manny Trillo?

    MW: Manny Trillo would be awesome.

    - Ken Pagan
  5. 5.

    mike, i can tell you’re excited, as you should be. the jays have been absolutely phenomenal lately, and its about time. i’ll see you in the playoffs! GO JAYS!

    - sam
  6. 6.

    You said that you don’t know what’s up with Scott Downs – I don’t either, but just to take a guess, I noticed that he started struggling once Ricciardi and co. started talking about possibly converting Downs to a starter next season. Possibly nothing to do with his struggles, but could that have affected him in any way?

    MW: No.

    - Brendan
  7. 7.

    Also, a quick question – isn’t dumping the contract of BJ Ryan enough? Obviously if that 10 million dollars is just going to rot and not be spent, then of course you keep BJ Ryan, but if Ryan’s contract stands between picking up another solid bat, or decent SP next year, why isn’t simply dumping Ryan’s contract on another team good enough, when he can basically be easily replaced?

    MW: He’s a valuable player, and getting rid of him just to clear salary on a contending team doesn’t make much sense.

    - Brendan
  8. 8.

    And if you disagree on the “easily replacable” part, he’s certainly much easier to replace at least than AJ Burnett is.

    MW: I don’t disagree that there are many ready replacements available for Ryan.

    - Brendan
  9. 9.

    3 vs. New York
    6 vs. Baltimore
    7 vs. Boston

    If the Jays run the table (16-0), they are 95-67. The Red Sox (assuming they are the wildcard leader) would have to go 9-8 to finish behind them.

    Now the Jays can help themselves by sweeping the Sox not once, but twice.

    It’s all tall order. A very tall order.

    But if the Jays can sweep the next 4 games and come within 2.5 games, there will be a LOT more people interested in the last 12 games.

    Here’s hoping. I’d love to watch Toronto baseball in October!

    And hopefully, whether they make it or not, this can bring some serious momentum into 2009.

    Cito FTW!


    PS: FTW = for the win!

    MW: Don’t start thinking about the Jays running the table, it only makes it that much more disappointing when they don’t, and they won’t.

    - Angelo
  10. 10.

    With the importance of this series and the off day on Monday might we see Marcum make an appearance in the Red Sox series? Ala Roy Halladay in that Phillie series?

    As you said he seems to be the Marcum of old, and the Sox hit slightly worse (although still well) against RP.

    MW: I doubt very much that Marcum will come out on two days’ rest to help out on Sunday, unless the bullpen gets seriously overworked on Saturday.

    - Jason
  11. 11.

    Can we start up some sort of “Curse of the Rambino” or something to jink the Red Sox? :)

    (Although as a team they are hitting better without him. Scary.)

    - Jason
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike,

    I find JaysTalk quite interesting, and try to listen in whenever I can. It is really great to see the Jays doing as well as are right now. (The flip side is that it wasn’t great to see them during the earlier part of the season.) It is too bad they are in the AL East where they not only have to perenially contend with the Red Sox and Yankees, but also a very strong Rays team this year. My questions/comments are as follows:

    1) I agree with your observation about A.J. Burnett about how he seems to pitch his best during a contract year. It’s too bad he couldn’t be more consistent. Why does he have an opt out clause on his contract anyway when it is not a common practice? I know a potential $80M for the next 5 years with another team is quite lucrative, but $24M for the remaining 2 years in his contract is quite fine in my opinion. (But then again that’s why I am not a major league baseball player.) When I see Burnett’s contract, it makes me admire Roy Halliday more and more. Not only did he choose to stay with the Jays despite the potential opportunities to pitch elsewhere for more money, he chose to do so at a salary that in my opinion does not reflect his worth to the team. (I could not believe that Burnett was actually making more than Halliday this year.) I hope that Halliday will continue to stay with the Jays, and that management will reward him for his loyalty and contribution to the team.

    2) If the Jays continue to have a good September and end up with a decent record (e.g. winning 85 games or more), or heaven forbid, make the playoffs, what do you think were the reasons for the turnaround? Although I am an unabashed Cito Gaston fan and I would like to think that he deserves more credit than what he normally gets (even after winning 2 World Series), I understand where you are coming from regarding your views of Cito’s role in the Jays recent success. After all, I have seen Cito during the World Series years and the lean years of his initial tenure as manager, when the team could not even break 0.500. I agree with you it is ultimately the players who are responsible for their own success. The GM can put the team in place, the manager can coach and inspire them, but the players have to deliver the goods. It is too bad the players don’t seem to be as accountable as management. When the team is not doing well, the manager seems to be the first one to get fired. Didn’t seem fair to John Gibbons at all.

    3) I commend John McDonald and Gregg Zaun for their professionalism despite not getting the playing time they deserve. Nothing against Scutaro and Barajas, but I think it’s a shame that Cito doesn’t take advantage of Johnny’s solid and spectacular defence more often.

    4) What will it take for the Jays to be at the top of their division, or at least to get the wild card next year? (Or is that wishful thinking?)

    5)Do you think it may be time to introduce a system similar to a salary cap, as the current system favors teams with deep pockets which attract the best players? I know having lots of money doesn’t necessarily translate into playoff success, but isn’t that part of the reason why the Red Sox, Yankees and the Blue Jays championship teams are/were so successful?

    6) In your opinion, do the Jays, past and present have a Hall of Fame player?

    7) I know this is unrelated, but do you know of any Jays players who are playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic?

    Sorry for the long letter, it’s my first letter to your blog and the Jays recent run has inspired me to write.

    Thanks, Anthony

    MW: OK, here we go: 1 -It’s Halladay, not Halliday. I said that Burnett only stays healthy in contract years, not that he pitches is best. $24 million over two years might be fine for you, but I doubt you’d feel the same if someone was dangling $80 million or more in front of you. Don’t worry, the Jays will break the bank to keep Halladay if he wants to stay. 2 – The main reason for the turnaround is that they started to hit for power and stopped hitting at an historically poor rate with runners in scoring position. How much did Cito Gaston have to do with that? He definitely has played a role, but not as much as those who want to canonize him seem to believe. 3 – I agree that McDonald and Zaun should both be playing more. 4 – Guys like Marcum, Litsch, Purcey and Lind have to continue to develop and improve, Aaron Hill has to come back as the same guy he was last year and the year before, Lyle Overbay and Alex Rios have to get back to their career norms, power-wise, and everybody has to stay healthy. 5 – Not so much the Jays, because even though they had the highest payroll back then, the disparities weren’t that great, but I think a salary cap in baseball would be kind of cool. There would be another strike, though, before it was implemented. 6 – Absolutely. Roberto Alomar, Roger Clemens and Frank Thomas, at least, maybe Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay. Phil Niekro is a former Jay and in the Hall. 7 – Not yet, no rosters have been announced. I’ll wager that at least Halladay and Downs get invited to play for the U.S., if not Wells as well. Rios will play for Puerto Rico, Scott Richmond for Canada, Scutaro for Venezuela, Jose Bautista for the Dominican.

    - Anthony
  13. 13.

    once again, i want to point out that as good as downs numbers are, he has a very, very poor percent inherited runners stranded record.

    i think there is some suboptimal bullpenn use going on. why is league warming up yet not brought in to face dye? because if dye gets on then thome is up? i dont like that sort of thinking. WHEN league got dye out, the inning would have been over.

    downs has been pitching behind in counts the last several times he’s been up and tonight it finally hurt his era, although on other nights, he just hurt the other guys era.

    it would be wrong to not bring up some good stuff here given the way things are going…like how terrible overay was in getting that huge two out hit up the middle..against a leftie no less. that guy with the near 370 obp is really a bum. the way people sing the praises of barajas around here youd think lyle had an obp twenty points lower than himm, when in fact its 70 points higher.

    MW: IT was 6-0, that’s why League wasn’t brought it. I was surprised Downs was. I don’t know why people love Barajas but hate Overbay. I don’t get that one at all. You’re right about Downs’ inherited runners – 13 of 27 have scored.

    - sammy jalalzai
  14. 14.

    Any truth to the rumour (that I just started) that Speier and Shields purposely let in three runs and left a man on base just so Rodriguez could get a save opportunity? Single-season records don’t come much easier.

    MW: That’s kinda dumb.

    - paulf
  15. 15.

    For the first time as a TBJ fan my heart is beating fast with anticipation and excitement. It’s 6:20am Friday morning, the rain is pouring and I am enjoying it more than ever. You summed it up pretty well, playoffs begin from today. Possibility of two double-headers, Red Sox, Fenway!To top it all off, Uncle Sidney has invited me for dinner tonight. This is the best I’ve ever felt as a fan.

    - Beburg
  16. 16.

    hey mike. Im a big an of the fan and the jays. I just wanted to comment thatr I trhink thjat the Jays have a legit chance of knocking off the bosox for the wildcard and if not make the playoffs but al least prevent those hated sox from seeing another post season. If u look at the standings as of today, the jays are 6.5 games back of the wildcard leading bosox and have 7 games left against them. NOw im not that good AT MATH BUT it seems that the jays have their future somewhat in their own hands.

    Also, I know youre not a big fan of fantasy trades but I was thinking of one the other day.

    Lyle Overbay, Rod Barahas, Alex Rios and Marco Sutaro

    For Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Nick Punto

    Any way, just wanted to get your opinion . thanks and keep up the good work!

    MW: That trade, like most fantasy trades that get proposed here, has no chance of ever happening. The Twins would never, ever, ever, ever even consider that.

    - Mahmoud
  17. 17.

    Please excuse my spelling in the last post as it is dark and I cant see the keybord very well

    - Mahmoud
  18. 18.

    Yep, they are playing real good. And you’re right, it’s almost halfway through September and they are playing meaningful games.

    But check The Globe & Mail this morning. Because an article there pretty much points all fingers at Gene Tenace and Cito Gaston as being the reason for the upswing. According to that article, Gary Denbo was encouraging Lyle Overbay to change his approach and hit to the opposite field. And that is why he kept rolling over and hitting into DP. Denbo apparently didn’t do much good for Rios either.

    The Globe wishes the firings had taken place earlier. And so do I.

    MW: I go back to what I said in June – athletes rarely listen to coaches, and they certainly have no problem, in general, with ignoring coaches if their coaching is working to their detriment. If Denbo was so bad for Overbay and Rios, I can’t fathom why they kept listening to him. Overbay at his best, by the way, is a hitter who pounds the gap in left-centre.

    - reyes
  19. 19.

    I have to beleive Downs is not 100% he has pitched alot of innings this year and it might be catching up to him(just my opinion). I really hope Cito starts to utilize League and Carlson more in the later innings those guys have been lights out all year and weapons we need to use more often. Not that I have lost faith in Ryan but they should be careful maybe use him a little more sparingly to save that arm of his.

    MW: Save the arm?

    - Denny
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike;
    Good to see the jays rebound, hopefully they can win a stretch like the colorado rockies last year and get the wildcard- Would love to see the toronto media and naysayers eat humble pie if the jays pull off the near impossible-thx for the great blog- i’m off to vote for Mr. Tom Cheek.

    MW: Keep voting!

    - robert s
  21. 21.

    Hey Mike, I’m just wondering what Adam Lind’s avg is vs lefty’s? He has looked teribble vs them this past series vs the White Soxs.

    MW: He’s hitting .266/.314/.405 against lefties this year.

    - Steve
  22. 22.

    So the schedulers have allowed the Blue Jays to play (according to you) “meaningful games” in September. If the Jays don’t win 3 of 4 against Boston then will they have played a total of 2 meaningful games in the month?

    Do you realize that a more balanced schedule that you preach for probably wouldn’t have this many games against the wild card leading team in the final weeks of the regular season?

    MW: Never occurred to me.

    - Peter B.
  23. 23.

    Hey, Mike.

    If I’m not mistaken, the Jays have a promo with a motel chain for the Super 8th inning! Last night it worked!

    (The marketing guys should work on expanding the promo, to give a lucky fan a prize (one night’s free room?) if the Jays score in the 8th, and a SUPER prize if they score 8 in the 8th. My guess would be that at least the “minor” prize would be won more often than the “win the car” deal).

    And isn’t it a nice feeling to be “expecting” the Jays to win, even when tied or behind late, rather than the other alternative?

    - Norm
  24. 24.

    Mike, me again, this time with a minor correction — it was actually Mighty Joe that sacrificed in the 8th, not Scutaro.

    MW: True, I’ll go fix that.

    - Norm
  25. 25.

    Unfortunately winning when it really doesn’t matter is a far cry from winning when you absolutely must. Just ask the Twins, White Sox etc. There is a huge difference. Like everyone I hope the run continues, but the real test would come if they reach a game or two from a playoff spot with games remaining. That is when we’d see the real Blue Jays, and in that situation while I’d hope for the best, would fear they’d come up short. Said that, I believe that Cito and his coaches have guided this team to play at the level expected by many of us back in March. Cito is my MVP, or it it MVM, even over Doc.

    MW: That’s the thing – if the Jays lose a couple against Boston then we’ll get all the “see, they can only win when it doesn’t matter” from all the idiots, who can’t see that winning 14 of 15 is something that’s extraordinarily rare.

    - Paul Ryan
  26. 26.

    Sorry, Mike, but one more:

    I’ve just read elsewhere that Mike Mussina is a Free Agent after this year. I had not seen his name mentioned anywhere before now.

    If true, what do you think he will command in a new contract, and would the Jays be interested?

    MW: I don’t think that the Jays would be interested, and certainly hope they wouldn’t be. He’d be a second-tier guy, behind Sabathia, Sheets and Burnett.

    - Norm
  27. 27.

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a long time Jays fan and I just finished voting for Tom Cheek. I hardly recognize many of the newer Jays players because I watch the game on the radio. I’m hoping for the Miracle finish which includes sweeping the last 7 games against Boston. However, even that wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot if the Twins win 2 of 3 from the White Sox. It could put the Jays in a 4 way tie with Boston, Chicago and the Twins, even if the Jays win out the rest of the season, assuming these teams win all other games. So lets assume the Rays win the division and these 4 teams are tied for the Wildcard at the end of the season; how do they determine a which teams make the post season?

    MW: That’s not going to happen.

    - Scott
  28. 28.

    Hey Mike,

    I have heard that a torn labrum (Jansen, McGowan) is the equivalent of career ending. Is it true that many pitchers that have the surgery never return to form?

    If this is the case, how does it affect our depth in pitching for next year?


    MW: Things have changed in the last five years, medically, and a torn labrum is no longer a career death sentence. McGowan’s wasn’t torn, regardless.

    - Scotty D
  29. 29.

    Hey Mike,

    WOW! What a game. I wish you could have seen my “happy dance” when BJ got that save(maybe not):).

    So with the Yanks and Rays opening a series this weekend, who would we want to win in that one?. Are the Yanks still in it?. Your thoughts….

    Great bloggage dude.

    Always a fan,


    MW: The Yankees are not still in it, Jays fans should want them to win, as sad as that is.

    - Owen
  30. 30.

    In trying to understand contracts with MLB, you mentioned that Bautista does not have a contract, but is under control by the Jays. Is this as simple as the Jays having a club option for next year?

    Jays only 1 game back of Twins for 2nd in Wildcard. 11 wins away from 90. I am going to assume that Burnett, Litsch and Halliday will be pitching in Boston on short rest. Jays need to take 6 of final 7 games against Boston to even attempt to pull off this miracle that has been talked about since the beginning of August.

    It does make the end of the season very interesting. When is the last time the Jays finished with a .500 or better record on the road? Who would have thought there was even a remote possibility of that halfway through the year?

    Great blog. Keep it up, I check it every day for the wrap on the game.

    MW: Thanks. The last time the Jays had a winning record on the road was 2003, when they were 45-36. As far as contracts go, players aren’t eligible for free agency until they have six years of service time, so they’re under the club’s control until then.

    - Aaron Ker
  31. 31.

    Glad to see you mention that you were also puzzled as to why Downs was in the game with a 6-0 lead. Downs has been worked pretty hard this year and from the look of his last few appearances, could use some rest.

    - PeeWee
  32. 32.

    Hey Mike,

    Quick correction… Inglett laid down the bunt, then Scutaro, once again, got a hit off Floyd… but the more important thing is that the TEAM won AGAIN!

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in the Jays this late in the season in a LONG time…

    Quick question… do you see Arencibia (if that’s how it’s spelt) playing at the start of next year… just saw on one of the better columns I read that his numbers were more than impressive… you think that we have the next Geovanni Soto on our hands?

    Thanks Mike and Go Jays!

    MW: Spelt is a grain, you’re wondering how Arencibia is spelled, and you spelled it correctly. Geovany Soto is not allergic to the walk, so Jays fans can only hope that Arencibia will get over that, and then maybe. I fixed the Inglett/Scutaro thing.

    - Luke
  33. 33.

    Hey Mike,

    I think you said something like “nobody questions Cito because he is Cito.” I think any new manager this early in his tenure gets a break, aside from the fact he won 2 titles. I seem to remember Cito being “questioned” quite frequently in 96 and 97 when we were losing. Having said that I totally agree with some of your points about his in-game managing, and I appreciate you calling it like it is no matter who it is.

    I love that the playoffs have started. If we can somehow eke out 3 wins this weekend, all these guys who insisted the season was over in July (like myself) will have to be eating crow and acknowledging the mighty Wilner!

    How do you feel about people referring to the team as “we”? My wife hates it when I refer to the team in this manner. She gets very sarcastic and asks how long I have been playing for them.

    Thanks as always!

    MW: I don’t like it when people who aren’t on the Blue Jays’ payroll refer to the team as “we” and “us”, but many people have made good points about how a sports team is imbedded in the fabric of the community in which it plays, and how fans feel as though they have ownership, so it doesn’t bug me as much anymore.

    - Rob H.
  34. 34.

    Like you said Mike, meaningful games in september. If they can get at least 3 of 4(would make them 4.5 out), I guarantee there’s going to be a big crowd at the rogers centre next week with finally some electricity from the fans, especially the boston series next weekend. Do or die boys.

    MW: That’d be great, I hope it happens. I’m just not looking forward to the reaction if they should take 3 of 4 from Boston then lose the first game to Baltimore.

    - Brian
  35. 35.

    Hey Mike, just wondering where you stand on the pitching-with-short-rest question. I don’t really have an opinion so I’m looking for some input. Is it really that big of a deal? Are injuries more likely to occur? Or is it mainly a routine thing for the pitchers…they’re used to a certain amount of days between pitching and if they come back on 3 days rest, then the routine is messed up? Just wondering.
    Also, is there any chance in the future that your Jays Talk which I listen to with regularity, can be posted as a Podcast in addition to the option of listening to it on the computer? Sometimes I don’t have access to a computer at work but would love to listen to it on my iPod.
    Keep up the good work.

    MW: We don’t seem to be getting anywhere on the podcast thing, so I wouldn’t bet on it. As for the short-rest thing, it’s about routine if it only happens once in a while, if it becomes a regular thing, then a pitcher needs to change the way he prepares in an overall sense.

    - Todd M
  36. 36.

    Hey Mike,

    AJ and Litsch will be pitching in their second double header in a row. I’m wondering if that has every happened before, and when. My guess would be not too often!

    Loving these meaningful September games!

    MW: I’d think that it’s happened more than a few times – there used to be a lot more double-dips than there are now, but it’s cool nonetheless.

    - Marlin Lichti
  37. 37.

    I thought yesterday, of all days, was a good day to give Downs a rest because he has looked tired (balls are up and pinpoint command is off). He has worked a lot lately and that doesn’t count all the times he has had to heat up in the bullpen. I don’t know the numbers, but I also think he has worked consecutive days a lot this year.

    Last year, the Red Sox had to give Okajima some time because he had become tired late in the season.

    - Jim B
  38. 38.

    Since now that they are playing meaningful games, should they not put the best bats in the lineup from now until the end, which means Scutaro and Inglet should be the regular middle infielders and McDonald (defense and all) stays on the bench except maybe for late inning replacement?

    MW: Why?

    - Jeremy
  39. 39.

    What do you think of Griffey as the Jays full time DH next season? Although he didn’t look very good at the plate this week do you think he still has a little left in the tank?

    MW: I’m sure he has a little left, but I’m sure many other free agents have both a lot more left and are willing to play here.

    - Nick
  40. 40.

    MW: You’re right about one thing, though you’re an ass. Bautista did lay down two successful sacrifices in the nightcap, a game the Jays won by six runs. Obviously, the bunts were key. Still, that’s successful sacs in three of the 10 games – very much the key to five wins.

    Mike, I am right about something!! Yes! My dream has come true. Don’t be angry because you are wrong Mike, you should be used to it by now (being wrong about baseball stuff that is).

    Another successful sac bunt last night to springboard the Jays 6 run top of the 8th inning.

    Keep entertaining me about your confusion as to how Cito manages this club. Hopefully we fire him at the end of this season because he makes so many odd decisions, let’s bring back John Gibbons, predictable, stat focused manager who really got this team going in terms of wins/losses. Keep entertaining me Mike I love it, I know you love controversy because it gets you more blog posts!

    You do realize that many, many people think you are an ass too, so that puts us in the same boat – amigo! You can dish verbal venom but you can’t receive – classic!

    MW: Classic! If it were true. I’m not an ass to the same extent that you are. I love that you think that your comments are creating a “controversy” and upping the comment numbers.

    - Jeremy
  41. 41.

    So what do you do with Downs and Ryan? Like you said, the playoffs start now, so nobody’s job is safe.

    I would think yanking BJ out of the closer role would be premature; he’s been shaky but he still isn’t blowing saves.

    But what about Downs? Can you really put him into a one-run game against Boston right now?

    How would you the bullpen for this series?

    I’m not going to get into any grammar battles this time Mike, but please consider using em dashes. Inappropriate hyphens make baby jesus cry.

    MW: The emotional state of the baby Jesus doesn’t have much of an impact on me – what are em dashes? I don’t know what to do about Downs right now. I’m sure he’ll still be the guy, but I’d be reticent to use him.

    - tj
  42. 42.

    What do you think of Bobcat’s playoff expansion ideas (besides that it would make making the playoffs easier and therefore worth less)

    1. Eliminat the Central Division – go back to the east and west division.
    2. Division Leaders make it, plus the next best 4 regardless of division.

    MW: I think all divisions should be eliminated and that there should be a balanced schedule, with the top four teams making the playoffs.

    - Sam McLean
  43. 43.

    “Ryan wasn’t bad today – he hit A.J. Pierzynski, which is commendable”


    Alright M-Dub,
    This has been bothersome to me for a long time now, and I think maybe you can help.
    In The above quoted sentence is the “-” interchangeable with a “;”?

    MW: I would think so.

    - slobberface
  44. 44.

    Hey Mike, nice to see a NEW winning streak begin. We know what they have to do in Boston and it makes for some GREAT baseball. GO Jays GO!!

    As solid a season Scott Downs is having, he seams to be getting fatigued and I was surprized to see Gaston use him. This game would have been the perfect opportunity to have given Carlson/Tallot the 8th and League the 9th or is Gaston saving these guys for 8 run leads?.

    MW: Both Carlson and League have been pitching in very high-leverage situations, so I don’t get the shot at Cito there. I wonder if Downs is getting tired, I don’t think that’s the problem.

    - Dave Farnsworth
  45. 45.

    Yikes, now you we how Chicago fans felt on Wednesday night with the Jays making things interesting in the 9th. Great win after a loss going for 11 wins in a row and especially after losing a game when Doc pitched. Shows a lot of character.

    I don’t think Citos’ moves the other night – especially the Zahn move were questionable at all. Zahn is a much better catcher defensively and hey, who could argue with what he pulled off the other night at the plate.

    As to the ball that got by Rolen in the 9th last night – wow that was a scorcher – not booted. If Rolen can’t get a glove on that who can.

    Downs looks tired, BJ needs to settle down a bit when he first steps on to the mound. I think he gets a bit too wound uo – hence the low pitches. Adrenalin can work in reverse when it comes to control.

    I liked Gibby, no doubt about it. However, no one can say Cito and his crew are not one of the biggest reasons for this turn around. His presence, his hitting knowledge and his committment to doing something, rather than waiting for something to happen, has done wonders for this team.

    I said it near the beginnig of the season, Marco Scuttaro was the best move JP made this last off season. This guy has team MVP written all over him. He has been more than effective playing 2nd, short and 3rd. Even some outfield and hisbat has been better than ok. Talk about the definition of an infield utility guy. He’s the Bosun’s Mate of the Jays.

    McCowan, shooting from the lip again. Who cares, I like his show and what he does. He loves to “go fishing”. He has again, thrown out some bait for the listeners and many have bitten. Don’t do the same thing Mike. You know, McCowan knows and the majority of us konw you are great at what you do. Food for thought. Talk about a guy who can put a spin on things, the king himself Bob McCowan, gotta love it.

    In the words of Yogi – “it aint over till it’s over”. Gonna be playoff baseball this weekend – Hogtown Vs Beantown. I can hardly wait. Go Jays.

    Kepp up the good work Mike! Next season we will have “Baseball Central at Noon” on the fan.

    Everyone, vote for Tom and send along those emails to Mr. Farraway as to getting a basbeall show at noon Vs hockey during MLB season.


    MW: The Marco Scutaro as MVP talk is insane, I just have to say that again. Zaun has never been used as a defensive replacement for Barajas before, so I don’t know why that game was the right time to do it or why Cito wanted him, and not Lind, to lead off the 9th. I also don’t get the Cito “doing something rather than waiting for something to happen.” You’re going to have to explain that one to me.

    - Bob -
  46. 46.

    This is off topic – sort of, but you know what I would really like to see? A list of the Jays’ striding to the plate / mound music posted somewhere. It’s usually a topic of conversation at our house sometime during the game… “Did you hear that?” “What was that?” It’d be nice to get a definitive answer to some of our arguments. :) Anybody have any idea if this info. is available anywhere? I’ve searched to no avail. Hey, maybe it could be a little trivia contest on this very blog.

    MW: Sorry, not something that I’m really interested in researching. Good luck, though!

    - Jayjay
  47. 47.

    Not a comment on this blog. Just saying ive all but stopped listening to Jays talk. Its a last resort when I cant find anything on the radio. The snarky, sarcastic and downright rude tone you take with what seems like a majority of callers is completely off-putting. I know the rude and crass radio jockey is somewhat of a staple in modern radio, but you arent doing the morning drive with Howard Stern; youre supposed to analyzing and discussing a baseball game with the fans who call in. Now understandably, often times people call in without the most fleshed out arguments and hearing the same things over and over will drive anyone to the point of cynicism, but I dont think people listen or call in to the show to hear you make a fool out of somebody who might not be the most hardcore numbers baseball guy, but is a Blue Jay fan nonetheless and just wants to talk with an ‘expert’ about their favourite team. Even Bob McCown, who takes pride and has built a successful career out of disdain for the average sports fan doesn’t take as condescending a tone as you do when taking calls. Maybe the issue is screening calls, im sure you would love to have some intelligent and thoughtful debates about the state of the team as opposed to an endless run of ‘we need heart’ and ‘Lets trade Wells for draft picks and cap room’ that you seem to hear on a nightly basis, but for the listeners sake, I think it would be better if these callers were recognized and dealt with before being put on the air. Listening to your show has become an exercise in uncomfort and awkwardness as I listen to you rant about/at the listeners and the fans in this city. Im sure you love baseball and have a passion for the sport that runs alot deeper than the majority of your audience, but the positive aspects of that passion don’t seem to be conveyed with nearly enough regularity on your program. The entire tone of Jays Talk is one of cynicism and condescension. I get enough of that stuff at work/school and pretty well everywhere else in this world. I listen to sports talk for positivity and levity. Youre talking to people about a sports team. Lighten up a little.

    MW: I’m sorry you feel that way.

    - James
  48. 48.

    Hey Mike,

    I think the Cito stuff is over the top as well. I think you’ve summed up his strengths well as motivator pre and post game.

    Maybe you should remind the fans of his record after 93 – a fine manager but no miracle worker

    94 – 55-60
    95 – 56-88
    96 – 74-88
    97 – 72-85

    MW: Any coach or manager is only as good as his or her players.

    - jim maron
  49. 49.

    Hi Mike

    If the Jays and the Red Sox end up with the same win-loss record at the end of the season and assuming they both have the 4th best record in the AL, I know they will play an extra game against each other to determine who wins the wild card but where would that game be played?

    MW: We don’t know. The Blue Jays weren’t included in MLB’s coin tosses for one-game playoffs.

    - Duc from Montreal
  50. 50.

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for answering my question about Scott Campbell. One other guy with very intriguing stats:

    Robert Bell – 30.2 IP – 0 hr, 0 walks, 43k’s

    Granted he’s a college guy playing low A but what’s the scope on this guy?


    MW: I don’t know – you forgot the 15 hits, by the way. Bobby Bell was drafted by the Jays’ this year in the 18th round out of Rice University, which is a great baseball school. I’ve never seem him pitch.

    - jim maron
  51. 51.

    Hey Mike
    Just wondering if Closers are alowd winning the Cy or if they have a different award. If they are alllowed winning it im just wondering why K-Rod isnt in contention for the AL Cy award?

    MW: Any pitcher is eligible to win the Cy Young Award. Francisco Rodriguez is, in fact, in contention for the Cy and will probably finish second to Cliff Lee in the voting.

    - James
  52. 52.

    More Crazy Thoughts from Guelph:

    if the Jays go 11-7 over their last 18 games (conceivable) then they finish with 90 wins on the season.

    The Jays would have to win 5 of 7 from the Red Sox, and then only lose 5 games in the remaining 11 games of the season. It may be more reasonable to predict that the Jays could win 4 of 7, then go 7-4 against Baltimore and NYY, with at least one sweep of the Orioles.

    Your thoughts on 90 wins? Your thoughts on Cito getting any votes for Manager of the Year?

    End Result Blue Jays are 3rd in the Division, Cito Gaston wins manager of the year.

    MW: Cito doesn’t have a chance to win manager of the year because of Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. I think it’s quite conceivable that the Jays could have 90 wins when all is said and done.

    - Sam McLean
  53. 53.

    Mike I wonder if you could comment on this as it relates to the jays record and it shows you how much of a fine line there is between a good team and better team.
    The jays record is 79 and 67 which some people would say is 13 games over 500. I prefer to look at it a different way. If the Jays had lost 6 more games (deduct 6 from the win column and add 6 to the loss column) there record would be 73 and 73. So in reality they are 6 losses away from being a 500 team. It puts a whole new perspective on things.

    MW: It might to you, but I don’t think it does in the overall. When people say that a team is 13 games over .500 they mean that they’ve won 13 more than they have lost.

    - mike glatt
  54. 54.

    with all due respect, the jays playoffs start a long time ago. It took 11 of 12 for them to get within 6.5 games of boston. This is just the next round. But your right, their backs are against the wall and they can’t afford to drop 3 in Boston. A split results in the need to sweep the Soxs in T.O.

    - JW
  55. 55.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    You know that elimination number statistic? Of course you do. Anyways, why are there never half games used with it?

    MW: Because there are no half-games on the road to clinching or elimination.

    - JCL
  56. 56.


    What happened to Josh Barfield? I think he was traded in the off-season, but would he be a viable 2nd or short-stop option? Can he even play ss for that mater?

    He certainly would be cheap enough, seemed to have offensive skills and obviously won’t help add pop, but might be a nice leadoff player and shouldn’t cost much to get.

    What are your thoughts on a player like this and is this more the type of player JP would go after?


    MW: The Indians expect Barfield to be their second baseman next year. He had a good offensive season in 2006.

    - Chris
  57. 57.

    Tom Cheek
    Thank you for the link, I voted for Tom Cheek and will continue to do so and hope other fans take the time and accept your challenge…Listening to your show, as always after the game, I very impressed how you were monitoring the 1989 season with its parallels to this year, but no mention was made of how much harder it was to make with only 4 teams being permitted to make the playoffs. My hope is the MLB sees that empty parks in August and September do nothing but disillusion and embitter fans and are BAD for the league revenues; thus I hope that there is either a salary cap or more teams in the playoffs because empty ball parks are wrong on so many levels and CAN BE FIXED…Also, after a full season with Scott Rolan would you with the privilage of hindsight still make that trade?
    I can’t begin to explain how much I appreciate having you on the radio or Rogers cable channel 902 after the game, and though I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with you I believe you have been more than fair with the team as a fan and evaluator as well as a mediator to the crazy fanatics like me.
    Thank you,

    MW: Thanks – talk to that guy a couple of dozen comments up. As far as the playoffs, I think it SHOULD be really hard to get into the playoffs, and I don’t think you can make the “empty stadium” argument to Major League Baseball when they’ll set an overall attendance record for a 5th straight year. Trades that don’t involve prospects can’t be evaluated in hindsight, nor should they be. It’s completely unfair.

    - Kristopher Krawiec
  58. 58.


    Just wondering how you felt about this, The show the other night a caller went on about how Downs shouldnt be put in the rotation, you began to say its better to have 180 innings as opposed to 70+ or soemthing like that.

    Doesnt it seem like Scotty might be already in september having some fatigue issues? other than an injury we dont know about, I dont know of any other reason for his sloppy showings of late.

    I know as a starter he would get stretched out, but really the odds seem against him in the rotation, im not completley against it but theres some high risk here for sure you got to admit.

    feel free to mention that tonight on the show :)

    MW: Of course there’s risk, but I don’t think there’s injury risk – Downs came up as a starter. I don’t know why so many are so quickly jumping to fatigue as the issue for Downs.

    - Crash Davis
  59. 59.

    I’m not even sure I would count Lind’s strikeout since that 3-1 pitch looked to be just above his ankles. Thankfully the ump used the same generous strikezone in the bottom of the 9th. Was it the camera angle or were there some very questionable calls?

    MW: There were plenty of very questionable ball-strike calls, but they went both ways last night.

    - Rob
  60. 60.

    Why aren’t the Jays getting enough credit for this little fact I read in Baseball Prospectus:

    “On the season Toronto’s ERA has fallen all the way to 3.52, a mark that has not been bettered by an AL team in over 20 years.” (Since 1985 to be exact.)

    WHAAAAAAAT? That’s an amazing statement. And yet we just casually talk about “great pitching.” This is the best a team has pitched in 23 years!
    Give JP a contract extension.

    MW: Nah, fire him. Nothing good about the team has anything to do with him.

    - Matt
  61. 61.

    My pulse has been fluttering for over a month now. The Jays have gone from spoilers to having some control over their play-off hopes. It’s a long shot to be sure but they are making it exciting. With the way Purcey and Litsch have been pitching of late and how Halladay and Burnett and been able to pick up wins throughout the year, this should be a fun series. Play-offs or not, look out American East in ’09.

    - Steven
  62. 62.

    I know the chances of the Blue Jays making the playoffs are slim to none, but a coworker of mine was so sure that they won’t make it that he gave me 10-1 odds. This means if they make the playoffs I get $100, if they don’t I lose$10, I’m going to gamble.

    Regarding the vote for Tom Cheek, I voted and also added Jerry Howarth and Tony Kubek.

    MW: Good luck. Vote for Tom every day, but don’t muddy the waters. Vote for Jerry and Kubek, if you want, after we get Tom in.

    - Mark
  63. 63.

    the jays haven’t done anything that Boston, Tampa, Anaheim, Chicago and every other team ahead of them have done this season. It’s a good streak but it means nothing for next year and going 37 and 20 doesn’t translate into 105 wins. There is no reason to believe that they would continue that pace. It’s been fun and it’s better than losing.

    - anthony
  64. 64.

    Absolutely nothing to do with your post, but why do you think batter’s BAPIP is not as relevant a statistic even to sabermetricians?

    For me, the pitcher’s BAPIP is a statistic that shows luck, while batter’s BAPIP shows skill. Where a pitcher has very little control of whether the ball goes to the right of the 3rd baseman for a single, the left for a double or at him for an out, the batter is in complete control of the situation. Where the pitcher cannot control the swing of the bat and certainly cannot control the trajectory of the ball, the batter has complete control both. Now I understand that the hardest hit balls can go as a lineup and the softest hit ones can go for crazy singles and double, but I do think that this will all even out throughout a season and definetly throughout a career: but a batter certainly has more control over balls being put in play than a pitcher does.

    MW: I don’t think that a batter has nearly as much control over batted balls as you think they do.

    - Ron
  65. 65.

    I was curious about the Wilkerson for Snider pinch run situation – is 31 year old Wilkerson substantially faster than 20 year old Snider?? That seems to not bode well for this young man – its not like he’s a catcher or first basemen; he’s an outfielder !!

    MW: But he also checks in at 245 pounds.

    - Randy
  66. 66.

    nice job with tom cheek, keep reminding us no-one deserves it more

    MW: Thanks. Keep voting!

    - brent jibb
  67. 67.

    ok, im not gonna make some emotional in game comment…i shall refrain.

    but the lineup that cito has established for this game is rather troubling. i know they are facing a knuckeballer but come on..mench, wilkerson, macdonald? that team does not give you the best chance to win.

    MW: They’ve all had success against the knuckleball in the past, which might mean something.

    - sammy jalalzai
  68. 68.


    My ears perked up during the rain delay programming when you said that Gibby’s 2007 Jays had no business winning the 83 games they did b/c of all the injuries they suffered. Their Pythagorean for the year was actually 87-75 based on the 753 runs they scored and 699 they allowed, so it’s fair to say that they did in fact underperform despite all of The Bad Luck you mentioned.

    Towards the end of his tenure I had grown indifferent towards Gibbons. In game, I think there was little argument against the tactical soundness of his decision-making. In that regard he was considerably better than Cito v. 2.0 has been. But it just wasn’t working for whatever intangible reason and his head was on the block for a very good reason: his team was badly underperforming once again.

    Aside from 2006, Gibbons teams never played to or surpassed the record their pythag says they should’ve posted. (They bested it by one game in ’06). I don’t have a rational, reasonable explanation why this was the case. What are your thoughts? And perhaps, any insight as to how managers like Ron Gardenhire and Ozzie Guillen consistently outperform their pythags, or do you chalk that up to dumb luck?


    MW: I don’t know why that would be, and they’re still seriously underperforming their pythag this year with the Gibbons/Gaston combo. As for the 2007, the fact that their expected wins was so high is even more of a credit to the manager (for those who believe that a manager has a great effect on the team).

    - johnny was
  69. 69.

    Em dashes are another form of punctuation. They have several purposes, but the one you most commonly mistakenly use a hyphen for is when you’re trying to break up a sentence.

    “Joe Inglett willingly gave himself up – a good time for a sac bunt!- and Scott Rolen was eliminated on the basepaths.”

    The new online style — which I hate — is to use two hyphens to make an em dash (see what I did there?).

    Two hyphens is kinda lazy, but it’s better than one.

    I do enjoy the blog though. I know it must be tiring keeping up with all the responses, and I appreciate the effort.

    MW: Thanks. I don’t see why two hyphens are better than one, though.

    - tj
  70. 70.

    Hey look! You’ve got an excellent blog posting system that replaces the two hyphens with a proper em dash!

    MW: Dig me!

    - tj
  71. 71.

    Because one hyphen is flat out wrong. It’s like using a comma when you should use a period. At least with two hyphens you’re trying to make an em dash.

    Anyways, let’s get some runs.

    - tj
  72. 72.

    It’s funny that Rolen’s defense is the thing that will cost us a shot at the playoffs this year.

    Go figure

    MW: The level of ludicrosity in that statement is right off the charts. I mean, really, step back and take a look at what you just wrote.

    - Blackie
  73. 73.

    Hi Mike,

    I am flabbergasted that there are two lefties in the lineup. Wheres Lind and Inglett? What about playing Zaun for a change. Wakefield is owning us right now, but hopefully we’ll turn it around

    - Warren
  74. 74.

    By the way, “spelt” is a perfectly acceptable past tense of spell.

    MW: It’ll always be a grain to me.

    - tj
  75. 75.

    Ludicrosity, is that even a word?

    MW: It is now.

    - Mitch
  76. 76.

    In reference to an earlier blog, I need to ask:


    MW: Pythagorean – I explained it in an earlier blog post.

    - Arthur
  77. 77.

    Mike, if they lose any of the games before Halladay’s start, are they still going to start him on short rest?

    If they lose, I would move him back to his regular day.

    No need to risk injury in a meaningless game

    MW: If they lose all of the first three, then maybe Halladay doesn’t pitch Sunday. But I doubt that would sit well with Roy.

    - Bennie
  78. 78.

    I don’t get that. Why do you give David Ortiz a chance to beat you? Walk him and pitch to Youkilis.

    I know he’s having a great year, but wouldn’t you rather have a fresh Frasor against Youkilis than a tired Purcey against Ortiz?

    MW: See above.

    - tj
  79. 79.

    Hey Mike,

    I just turned on the game to see that hit by Ortiz and was wondering what your opinion is on leaving Purcey in. This isn’t meant as a shot at Cito, but with almost 120 pitches and arguably Boston’s best hitter at the plate would you have brought in someone from the bullpen? Carlson maybe?

    PS I hope this doesn’t anger you like the other in-game comments you mentioned do. I just wanted your opinion.

    MW: There’s not a thing wrong with this sort of in-game comment. Given the fact that Purcey had been pitching awfully well and that there are three games to play in the next two days, leaving him in wasn’t an awful move. And Cito likes to let his starters try to work out of stuff.

    - Wesley
  80. 80.

    Like I said, Mike, 116 pitches, get him out of there.

    They should have taken him out during the first trip to the mound. He had 2 runners on and it was clear he was gassed.

    I am so angry now, I could scream.

    What the hell was Purcey still doing in the game???

    The Jays have THE BEST BULLPEN IN BASEBALL!!!!!!!!! If you are not going to use it in that crucial situation, you shouldn’t be managing in the majors.

    Mike, I defy you to defend the decision to keep him in.

    By the way, DO NOT say I second guessed Cito. I posted my comment to take him out BEFORE Ortiz hit the double.

    - Ralph
  81. 81.

    Hi Mike,

    Why not Carleson to Ortiz with two outs? I realize they need the pen for the weekend and pitch counts so forth. But that was a big, big gamble at 115+ for Percey. Thanks for your work this season on the blog. First time post, long time reader.


    MW: Thanks for finally coming out of the closet. See above for the answer.

    - Blake
  82. 82.

    And an ex-Jay puts the final nail in the Jays coffin.


    MW: Final nail? For tonight, yeah.

    - Tim
  83. 83.

    comment 43
    i think so too
    but see what im saying?
    what the hell is the rule?
    i want an explanation from some sort of high ranking English Knight.

    MW: I’ll forward your question to the House of Lords.

    - slobberface
  84. 84.

    2 questions:

    1.) What did Bob Mcowan say that ticked you off? or what did you say that ticked him off?…I’m interested to know how this happened.

    2.) What do you think of this trade:

    Mike Jacobs for Casey Jansen OR Casey Jansen for Garret Atkins…both players are reportidly being shopped.

    MW: Janssen, coming off a missed year because of a torn labrum, has no trade value. McCown said something unflattering.

    - Jake
  85. 85.

    Bob McCown is a philanthropist? Who knew?

    MW: He probably is.

    - Chuck V
  86. 86.

    You can’t (well you can, but please don’t) leave me hanging like that. I am as interested in this “fight” between you two as I am of the Raptors 09 season. So I’ll stop bugging you if you really don’t want to tell me, but if you don’t mind sharing I’d truly appreciate it…oh and also….

    how about Litsch and Accardo for Atkins/Jacobs?

    MW: There’s no fight. Accardo is damaged goods, too.

    - Jake
  87. 87.

    87. Bob McCown has a very good radio show but I tune him out whenever he talks about baseball because frankly his thoughts are ridiculous, dated and uneducated.

    Don’t know what he said that was unflattering but you might want to tell him what Trudeau said about Nixon when he heard Nixon called him an a******

    “I’ve been called worse by better people”

    MW: Truth is, I’m a huge fan of Bob’s and love listening to him.

    - jim maron
  88. 88.

    – & ; tend to highlight…somebody in there might know.

    - slobberface
  89. 89.

    Comment #40- I don’t see any difference between Jeremy and you. Thinking you will confirm that by replying with a question.

    Comment #47- Well written. James “hit the nail on the head.”

    MW: 1 – I see plenty of difference. 2 – Glad to see you’re here anyway!

    - jc
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