VOTE FOR TOM CHEEK – DETAILS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST
5:30 PM Eastern
Honestly, I’m not sure. Has a team come back from 8 1/2 games down with 12 games left to make the playoffs? I don’t think so, so we can no longer say “stranger things have happened” when talking about the Blue Jays’ playoff charge. It’s not going to happen, but that’s OK. It was always a long, long, longshot and the Jays weren’t able to keep their long winning streak going.
A 4-4 road trip (in six days) against two playoff teams is nothing about which to be ashamed, but it wasn’t good enough for the Jays because of the hole they dug for themselves by going 21-33 in April and June. For the rest of the season, their record is 59-37, which translates to 100 wins over the course of an entire year, but those two months killed them.
That’s not to say, by the way, that the season was over in April, as some said, or even at the end of June. That’s just ludicrous. The Jays were 8 1/2 games out of the wild card on Canada Day, with 78 games to play. That’s a LOT better than 6 1/2 back with 16 to play, as the Jays were when they started the four-gamer in Boston – and they had a shot then.
A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay each did an admirable job pitching on short rest to try to get the Jays back into it, but the bats just weren’t there in three of the four games. Even with the lack of offense, the Jays still took a two-run lead into the 7th in the nightcap yesterday and were a terrible umpire’s call away from tying the game in the 9th today. It’s awfully tough to win in Boston, even at the best of times, and the Jays came close to taking three of four at Fenway.
Almost isn’t good enough, though, and the Jays will have to take whatever satisfaction they can from being the only team in MLB to have had a winning record the last three seasons and not have made the playoffs.
It wasn’t just Doug Eddings’ awful, awful call on Lyle Overbay sliding into second in the ninth that got the Jays today, though. It was also the back-to-back double play balls in the 7th that resulted in a grand total of one out, the missed gamble by Alex Rios on a sinking liner by David Ortiz in the 8th, and the grand total of three hits between Jose Bautista’s first-inning solo shot and Vernon Wells’ double leading off the 9th inning.
Of the 12 games remaining, nine of them come against teams that aren’t going to be in the playoffs, though the Jays have major incentive against the Yankees, leading them by just half a game for third in the East. It’ll be interesting to see what Cito Gaston does in the six games against Baltimore – how much will we see guys like Curtis Thigpen and Scott Richmond? Will we see Travis Snider and Adam Lind get some starts against lefties? Will we see Brandon League get some 9th-inning action? Will we see Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson anymore (there’s no reason to now)?
If the Jays can finish up 10-2, that’ll be 90 wins. It’s a tall order, but it’s the next thing to shoot for. We also get to see Halladay and A.J. Burnett twice more, and if they each win each of their two remaining starts, they’ll be 20-win teammates. We get to see Vernon Wells try to hit three more home runs so the Jays can be spared the ignominy of having it be the first non-strike year since 1977 that the team hasn’t had a 20-homer man. Small consolations, but something.
And of course, we get to keep voting for Tom Cheek through the month of September!
Make sure you tune into The Blue Jays This Week at 7:05 PM Eastern tonight on the FAN590 and right here on the website. You’ll hear from Joe Carter, and Marco Scutaro will answer 10 questions. Next week, on the final TBJTW of the season, the Jays themselves will choose the club’s MVP, Cy Young winner, rookie of the year and most pleasant surprise of this season. I’m thinking Jesse Carlson gets two of those awards, and I’m REALLY interested to see who the players pick as the club’s MVP. Halladay? Wells? Rios? Scutaro?
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure (man, a lot of people hate me):
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!