VOTE FOR TOM CHEEK! DETAILS AND LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST!
12:45 AM Eastern
As the season’s final fortnight moves along, the injury news gets worse and worse for the Blue Jays. It turns out Rod Barajas suffered a Grade 2 tear in his hamstring while pulling into third in Boston Saturday afternoon. It’s the same thing that cost Vernon Wells a month in July, and interestingly enough, both of them hurt it running to third, and both of them stayed in the game and wound up scoring.
The Captain is done for at least a month, so it’ll be Gregg Zaun and Curtis Thigpen the rest of the way.
The Blue Jays continue to say that Scott Downs is day-to-day with a re-occurence of the right ankle injury he suffered in Detroit in August – he allegedly aggravated it just prior to his faceplant in Boston Saturday night – but the odds are very much against him pitching again this season. Jesse Carlson and Brandon League will take over his 8th inning duties.
The big news, though, concerns Shaun Marcum. The Jays got the results of Marcum’s MRI today, and forwarded it to Dr. Tommy John himself, James Andrews, for a second opinion. Even Marcum (he says) doesn’t know what the MRI showed, but we’ll all find out what Dr. Andrews has to say about it tomorrow. It must be sad when just the mention of your name gives people chills. I’m sure Andrews is a really nice guy, but nobody wants to go see him. I’m not saying that Marcum will have to have ligament replacement surgery – I have no idea of knowing whether that’s true, though my sense is that it’s not unlikely – but if he does have to go under the knife for TJ, then we’ll see him again in Spring Training 2010, and what a shame that would be.
If Marcum is out, and at the moment it’s still a reasonably big if, then we may have seen next season’s number two pitcher throw six innings of four-hitter at the Orioles tonight, picking up his 12th win. Many of you have said that you think Jesse Litsch is a lot more than a 4th or 5th starter, and we could be about to find out. It’s possible that the starting rotation coming out of Spring Training 2009 will be Roy Halladay, Scott Downs, Litsch, David Purcey and Insert Name Here (my money’s on Carl Pavano – that’s a free agent pick-up I’d love to see the Jays make). In my mind, that’s not very scary to the rest of the A.L. East.
In an effort not to get ahead of ourselves, I’ll get into this stuff a lot more tomorrow after we get the news on Marcum. I’m really hoping it’s good news. Even if he has to be shut down for 3-4 months, no big deal. Heck, shut him down for six months and he’ll still be able to get back into the rotation in May, along with Dustin McGowan.
All we know right now is that either John Parrish or Scott Richmond is going to start for the Jays on Sunday.
Interestingly enough, the injured factored into the Jays’ comeback win tonight. Zaun, pinch-hitting for Thigpen, drove in the tying and winning runs with his 6th-inning double, and Carlson took Downs’ spot beautifully, working a 1-2-3 8th through the heart of the O’s order to hand the lead to B.J. Ryan.
For some strange reason, Zaun tried to stretch his double into a triple, and was meatcake at third base, ending the inning. I don’t know what got into him, maybe he was trying to show Cito Gaston something after Zaun was pinch-run for in the 6th inning last night, but as he neared second I could tell that he was thinking triple and all I could do was shake my head and smile. After the game, he said he ran out of gas in a hurry, and figures now that his triples days are over – unless an outfielder falls down.
Ryan made things interesting again, though he wasn’t helped by a catcher’s interference on Zaun with runners at first and second and one out. But he got out of it, as he has FAR more often than not this season, by retiring the two toughest hitters he had to face in the inning. He popped up Melvin Mora, who is leading the A.L. in batting average and slugging percentage since the all-star break (I can’t believe it, either), and then got Brian Roberts to hit a slow roller to short. Roberts was retired on a gorgeous play that featured John McDonald charging hard to grab it, then throwing a one-bouncer to first that Lyle Overbay deftly picked out of the dirt. Ryan has converted 31 of 35 save opportunities, regardless of how nervous you’ve been watching him.
Jose Bautista had an up and down night in his second start at second base for the Jays. He homered in the first inning – his 3rd as a Jay, 15th of the season – and he looked really good turning a 4-3 double play on Jay Payton to end the second. Oscar Salazar had taken off from first on the hit-and-run, which drew Bautista over to take a throw, but Payton hit a grounder right to the bag. Bautista made a nice acrobatic play to come across the bag and make the throw. In the 5th, though, he couldn’t make the diving play on Alex Cintron’s ground single that plated the only Baltimore runs. The ball was hit into the hole to Bautista’s left, and as he dove it either skipped under or over his glove and into right field. Aaron Hill makes that play, and the Jays get out of the inning unscathed. Joe Inglett and Marco Scutaro likely at least knock the ball down and keep it in the infield, so only one run scores, if they don’t make the play. It was a tough play, but it was makeable. The fact that Bautista didn’t make it shouldn’t be cause for alarm, though. He is, after all, the Jays’ fourth-string second baseman.
Before I go, I just want to apologize to whoever was sitting in the 200-level beneath our broadcast position, if you were struck in the head by a flying dessert treat. It might have been the funniest thing that has ever happened in the booth since I’ve been there. Every once in a while, Bob Leyden (a fine floor director for the TV broadcasts – great guy) brings us a bag full of Rice Krispies Treats made by his lovely wife. Told you he was a great guy. Sometime in the middle of the game, I want to say the 5th or 6th inning, there were two left in the bag and between innings, Alan Ashby took one, and then flipped the bag to me so that I could throw down the last one.
The problem is, the fact that there was one square left in the bag made the thing react in flight like an Oopie (remember those? The weighted beach balls that I think KFC used to give away?), and it sailed way past me and out into the crowd. You may have caught us still laughing when we came back from the break. We’re still wondering if the thing hit somebody, and better yet, if they ate it after it did!
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
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!