12:55 AM Eastern

Just a quick post tonight because, and this is kind of funny, I woke up this morning with a stiff neck, so it’s hard to sit at the computer and type too long, especially since I’ve been doing it all night at the ballpark.

What’s kind of funny is that if I really think about it, this stiff neck could probably be called a tight trapezius muscle on my left side.  Although I think my lat is a little sketchy too.  So dig me, I’m a combo of Brandon League 2007 and B.J. Ryan 2009.  Anyway, I’m hoping it gets better in a hurry, since my old-man softball team is having its first practice on Saturday.

I’m starting to think that Scott Richmond might be a lot better than I, and many others, thought he was.  Granted, he has no pedigree whatsoever, he’s a 29 year-old rookie and his numbers in independent ball weren’t especially impressive.  He was just OK in his five-start stint last year, with the overall numbers helped out a lot by a rain-shortened six-inning shutout in Baltimore on the next-to-penultimate day of the season.  He didn’t pitch that well in the spring, and was in the process of getting lit up when the rain yanked him from his first start this season.

There was really no reason to think of him as anything but a decent-enough 5th-starter type who would hold onto that job until someone better was ready.

But then there were his last two starts.  He shut down a lefty-heavy line-up in Minnesota, and came back tonight and stuffed one of the best-hitting teams in the majors.  As I wrote before that Twins start, Richmond was going to have to find a way to get lefties out if he was going to be able to stick in the majors.

Tonight, lefties went 3-for-10 against Richmond, posting an ugly .300/.417/1.000 line.  Ugly if you’re the pitcher, that is.  But the thing is, Richmond destroys right-handed hitters.  Going into this game, Richmond had held right-handed hitters to a ridiculous line of .143/.191/.175.  That’s just wrong.

Tonight, Richmond gave up two singles to Nelson Cruz and one to Michael Young.  The righties combined to go  .214/.214/.214  with six strikeouts in 14 at-bats.

I’m not sure what to make of this, but it seems that the facts that Richmond rarely walks anybody and that righties can’t touch him mean he can be bad against lefties and still pitch effectively.  If he perfects that change-up and makes it a real weapon against lefties, or gets them fishing for his curveball on a regular basis as he did with Chris Davis tonight, Richmond’s ceiling could wind up being way higher than I thought, and I would love to be proven wrong on him.

Bryan Bullington wound up getting the call to take B.J. Ryan’s spot in the bullpen.  The first overall pick in 2002 by the Pirates, Bullington has allowed 10 hits and a walk in 9 2/3 innings with Las Vegas, striking out 10 and allowing just two earned runs.   He’s worked at least three innings in two of his four appearances, and gives the Jays a long-relief option, with everyone else moving up a spot. Scott Downs is the closer, Jason Frasor and Jesse Carlson likely handle the 8th and Brandon League the 7th.

It was a good edition of The JaysTalk tonight, second in a row where there haven’t been any irrational whiners calling in.  A caller mused, and probably rightly so, that it was because Rios, Wells and Overbay all homered and Ryan didn’t pitch.  None of the favourite targets were in the sights.  Here it is, for your listening pleasure:

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Tomorrow, a special treat for you FAN590 listeners.  I have been trying all week to get a John McDonald/Omar Vizquel interview done, the two of them being good friends, two of the best defensive shortstops ever and former teammates with the Indians.  This afternoon, it finally happened.  It started off with Vizquel interviewing McDonald, but Johnny Mac switched sides halfway through or so.  It’s nine minutes of radio gold, and even though I plan to use it on The Blue Jays This Week this week, I’m going to play it for you during the pre-pre-game show Friday at 7:05 pm Eastern.  Make sure you tune in!

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

123 Responses to “Selling Scott Short”
  1. 1.

    The Romero injury might be a gezundheit in disguise. He only threw around 165 innings last year, so the Jays likely didn’t want him to throw much more than 175-180 innings this year anyway. This is an injury that isn’t arm-related that can help limit his innings without having to pull him earlier from games or skipping starts for no reason.

    MW: It’s not a bless you in disguise while he’s throwing so well and the pitching staff is in disarray.

    - Ari
  2. 2.

    Mike, hope your neck gets better. Any chance of getting the Jays Talk audio up earlier? Before the blog? Thanks

    MW: Nope, no chance of that. Our fine producers work their tails off after the game to turn around all the tape that our reporters send in from the ballgame, as well as our voicers, to make sure that stuff can get out on the air as soon as possible. When they’re done all that, then they get to The JaysTalk.

    - Andrew
  3. 3.

    This seems like a good time to remember how much we take Scott Downs for granted. To have somebody who can step in and close is a major luxury that few teams enjoy.

    - Michael
  4. 4.

    Hey Mike,

    You woke up with a stiff neck? Perhaps you had a violent sneeze. No joke. It can put someone of superior condition out of commission for about 15 days.

    MW: I don’t know why you would mock the sneeze.

    - Ken Pagan
  5. 5.

    The Jays are #1 in baseball. Thank you Scott Richmond and welcome back to the land of hitting homeruns Alex Rios!

    12-5.. #1 in ALL of Baseball despite the pitching woes.

    I think it’s silly, personally, that Accardo wasn’t recalled when BJ went on the DL. In fact, I think it’s sillier that he hasn’t been up here the whole time. Dude’s got game and he’s proven. What more do the Jays want?

    I wonder, when Marcum, MacGowan, Janssen, Litsch and Romero are all healthy.. wait.. let’s not get ahead of ourselves.. let’s enjoy the ride.

    12-5! #1 in MLB!

    MW: Actually, 12-5 isn’t as good the Marlins’ 11-4, but they’re close.

    - Angelo
  6. 6.

    Did anyone notice that the last two series wins, roy halladay has not won a game and were still winning! That never happens.

    MW: You really shouldn’t speak in absolutes like that.

    - Dave Brantford
  7. 7.

    The bats seem to have cooled off but it was inevitable that they would. At the very least the offense is managing to produce just enough run support to give the team a very good shot to win. For some reason I was afraid the offense would go from red hot to ice cold but it seems like the lineup has settled into a nice groove. Thumbs up to that.

    On a more depressing not, it would a appear that the Jays have legit 2nd (Marcum), 3rd (McGowan), 4th (Litsch), and 5th (Romero) starters all on the DL. Wonderful. Oh, the closer’s on there too? Fantastic.

    I realize that this was going to be a year to get some feet wet in the majors but this is ridiculous.

    MW: Such is life in Blue Jay land.

    - KP
  8. 8.

    I dont believe BJ is injured at all. You know theyre faking an injury to have him get his stuff together. Its a pride thing. I guarantee hes fine. If he was a second year player or a rookie, they would have sent him down, but since Bj is a vet, how convienient it is. I do hope he gets back to his dominating ways though. I feel for the guy.

    MW: I actually don’t believe that for a second, because of Ryan’s personality. He would blow a gasket if the team tried to put him on the DL when he wasn’t hurt, and I’d wager there would be a grievance filed.

    - Dave Brantford
  9. 9.

    Hi again Mike, was listening to Jays talk last night & had to comment on one of the last callers & on you if you don’t mind ‘cause I was annoyed. I still can’t believe you actually think that Cito & Gene has nothing to do with their hitting improving. Unbelievable. Is it because you are just stubborn & not capable of admitting something that is so obvious???…& I don’t think that caller was insulting you. It was just a question & you insult him back with your usual sarcasm. I just wished he had more baseball knowledge to defend himself. This is why people think you are condescending at times, maybe not intentially. You always say you don’t know why people say that of you. On top of that, you go & say “it’s funny how many people think that” after that caller…A typical Mike Willner condescending remark. Well, you have to include the Jays players, Sportnet commentators & ex players that think that the hitting has improved due to Cito & company. So, everybody is wrong including people that is or has played the game & you are right???…Either you are just stubborn or think you are never wrong. Unbelievable.

    You brought up all the injuries from last year so what happened the year before??…Ask any of the Jays & they will say the approach is different end of last season & this season…& who is responsible in that new approach??…Overbay just reiterated that a couple of days ago on mlb.com. Obviously, they are not going to criticize the old regime flat out on air ‘cause they are professionals but they know it & it’s obvious to everybody but yourself. You always keep on saying that “the hitting will come” for the last 2 years…So, when year number 10 comes & they hit, that doesn’t mean you’re right & say ‘I knew they can hit’

    You forgot Adam Lind went 1 for 19 when Gibbons was there. Then Cito brought him up & he performed much better under his guidance. So, you mean you don’t see him & Snider beside him before they go up to bat??…I don’t know what you are watching Mike. That stuff helps young players. You also forgot they had a lineup with Hill in it to start last season but he was not hitting anywhere as the start now…Hill was there for the first half season when Cito wasn’t there & he wasn’t hitting as well. Overbay hit better when Cito came despite his hand injury. Wells is about the same as now. & how do you know Rolan is not playing injured now as like last season??…He changed his swing when Cito came on board. Also, Gibbons would of played Johnny Mac more this year but Cito likes Scuttero & see what happened??…& Snider has won them 1- 2 games in the limited time he has played this season. So, it’s not like he is playing everyday. & I remember tsn showed this stat near the end of last season where all the major offensive catagories all went up such as HR, Ave, RISP, OBP, & a couple more almost as soon as Cito & company came. With all these improvments, I don’t know how you can not see how a coaching staff can make even a minimal difference. & I don’t know how on earth you don’t see what everybody else sees Mike. Ask Rance or even or Pat Tabler even if you don’t believe me. They ACTUALLY played the game. I now just think you are the most stubborn sportscaster I have heard. Congrats, I guess. It’s a shame ‘cause your baseball knowledge is really great. Even Bob Mcowen admits when he is wrong when he is…And he is pretty cocky. You have very good with mic skills but it just amazes me that you always think you are always right when when at times as this that you are not. Just unbelievable.

    You’re just too arrogant when talking about baseball. That’s the problem that stops you from you being good as oppose to great or an extordinary sportscaster. I have never heard you say once “I was wrong on this” & that is a ton of Jays talk. Sorry, but that what heard & would like you to improve. It’s just annoying listening to you at times when you are this stubborn & condescending & won’t admit the obvious. A sportscaster like Dan Schulman, who used to work for the Fan & did Jays talk is an extordinary sportscaster ‘cause he has knowledge almost like yours but the important thing is that he is not condescending & is no where near cocky when talking about the game to others…I guess that’s why he is no longer working in Toronto & is in the big time for a while now without mentioning his employer.

    I don’t mean to be critcal of you but it’s just annoying that at times you don’t believe or don’t see in the obvious such as the Cito/Tennace influence…However, I do agree with you in your opinion of J.P Ricciardi, Wells, Rios & pretty much everything else. It’s probably no constolation but I really do give you a lot of credit for this blog. It must be a lot of work on top of your daily duties. Probably an understatement. I don’t know anyone that replys to hundreds of comments on here pretty much every day. So, double props for you on that. You do desever an award for last years alone. Keep up the hard, incredible work on this.

    MW: I appreciate the last part, but you’re totally full of it on the diatribe part. To say that I have never said I was wrong about anything is just completely incorrect. To say that I don’t give Cito and Tenace even minimal credit for the Jays’ improvement is completely incorrect. To say that I believe everyone but me is wrong about Cito – and to infer that that makes me stubborn or believe I’m never wrong – is completely incorrect. To say that Danny Shulman is working for ESPN as one of their top guys because he’s neither condescending nor cocky is a great insult to Danny Shulman.

    - David F
  10. 10.

    hey,

    i talked to vernons trainer today again, and guess what, vernon told him he doesnt need him anymore, his schedule is just too busy. It sucks too because he wasnt used really as a benefit. At least he was told that he will be asked to come back in october.

    - paolo
  11. 11.

    “two of the best defensive shortstops ever”

    Really? Does J-Mac have a large enough body of work?

    MW: Yeah, I think so. Maybe.

    - kit
  12. 12.

    Brian Burres? Wow. There really are no better options? He’s been, uh, TERRIBLE at the major league level.

    Who else was there in the bare, bare cupboard?

    MW: They still want to keep a close watch on Brett Cecil and Brad Mills’ innings, and I guess they didn’t want to go with Fabio Castro. Wade Miller’s not quite ready yet and Matt Clement retired.

    - Matt
  13. 13.

    I hope you were wrong about Richmond, too. While it’s fun to watch predicted future stars like Snider, my favorite thing in baseball is when guys sneak in almost out of nowhere and surprise everyone.

    - LJ
  14. 14.

    Hey Mike,

    I’m really disappointed tonight that no one called in to say how Wells’ and Overbay’s home runs tonight “were not clutch” or “were not hit at an important time of the game” seeing as how the Jays won by three runs. Those first two runs didn’t even matter … I’m only kidding, by the way.

    Mike, I have another sort of random question for you. Have you ever had a ‘run-in’ with a player while conducting an interview or been around when something like that happened to another reporter? If yes, could you tell us what happened? How do you handle that kind of situation ’cause it’s not like you won’t see the player when you go into the clubhouse to do other interviews? Is it really awkward? I’m just looking for a bit of insight into the player-reporter relationship, if you wouldn’t mind sharing!

    Also, would you be able to tell me the name of the song that was the lead-in to the Extendo JaysTalk (at around 27 minutes)?

    MW: The song was “Paranoid Freak” by The Trews, or so I’m told by the lovely and talented Scott Douglas. I haven’t had a run-in while conducting an interview, but I’ve had a couple just standing around in the clubhouse. Sure, it’s awkward, because you have to deal with everybody all the time and you don’t want one guy’s upsetedness with you to colour the way the rest of the team acts towards you. I hope that, for my part, the players know me well enough from having dealt with me for so long that they will judge for themselves. So far, that has happened.

    - Justin from Ardtrea
  15. 15.

    At least he can move back to denver colorado and coach in the cape cod league which noah said he did last year. i have him on facebook and saw all his pictures working out with vernon during the spring, so all my comments are legit.

    MW: Very cool. I’ll see if I can get him on a show.

    - paolo
  16. 16.

    hey mike. im likin’ this blog.keep it rollin’. what about this? what if everybody under estimated the jays starting rotation?(the bullpen looks really really solid right now) the way richmond has pitched his last two starts it looks like he could win 12-15 games. thats a pretty good number 5 id say. also aaron hill continues to smoke the ball. he leads all of baseball with 29 hits…one more…i really want to see downs as the closer…keep putting him in the there untill he stops destroying everybody…he is lights out…what do you think mike? take care…

    MW: I think Downs has, in fact, been lights out the last couple of years. I just hope that the guys in the 8th can do the job there as well as he did so he can keep getting save opportunities.

    - trevor b
  17. 17.

    sorry for back to back posts mike, but did you hear about this video of vernon wells calling aaron hill a racist? did this happen?

    MW: Yes, it happened, and it was a joke. No big deal.

    - trevor b
  18. 18.

    If you think Richmond has no pedigree, and his minor league numbers are no good, I suggest that you take a look at the post at Mopupduty.com titled “The case for Scott Richmond,” it might fill in on some of the info that you are obviously not aware of.

    MW: Sorry, Scott’s dad, I didn’t mean it as an insult. Scott is doing great, and I’m a big fan of the guy, but his independent league numbers are underwhelming (in two of his three seasons in Edmonton), especially given the competition, and an undrafted 28 year-old who signs out of a tryout camp has no pedigree.

    - Bob Richmond
  19. 19.

    straight from Richard Griffin’s article: re; ryans injury

    (1) Last night’s lineup sheet was printed with Romero on the DL and Ryan active. (2) Gaston said he learned of the flying trapezius on Wednesday, while Ricciardi said he heard a few days ago. (3) Assume Ryan was not happy yesterday when he was told he was to be replaced by Downs. (4) That would explain Ricciardi at 3:30 p.m. talking animatedly with Arnsberg as Roy Halladay threw his side session. (5) Shortly thereafter, Arnsberg was seen talking with Ryan in a side hallway of the clubhouse. (6) Soon after that, a PR man stepped onto the field and announced Ryan was DL’d. Hmm!

    MW: 1 – Line-up sheets are always printed with a player listed as active when he hasn’t been announced as on the DL yet. Romero was announced when the sheets were printed around 4:00, Ryan wasn’t. 2 – Ricciardi said he learned of it a “couple days ago”, not a few days ago. Big distinction. 3 – Not a safe assumption, if he’s hurt. 4 – I didn’t see that, so can’t comment. 5 – Again, didn’t see that – I was waiting in the Rangers’ clubhouse trying to set up Vizquel-Mac.
    Look, I get the conspiracy theorists, but from what I know of B.J. Ryan as a person (and I’m not a fan), he wouldn’t allow himself to be DL’d if he wasn’t hurt.

    - Dave Brantford
  20. 20.

    Mike,
    This team seems to be developing alot of good pitchers lately. Does that have to do with the coaching, both at the Major and Minor league levels. Or is it just scouts finding talent? It seems like if they can find a guy with good “stuff”, the coaches are able to turn him into a “pitcher”. This team has a few guys thrown on the scrap pile, but now are effecitive guys in the Majors. (Tallet, Downs, Carlson, Richmond). Somebody is obviously doing their job very well whether its a scout or a coach I think they deserve some credit.

    MW: I think it’s an organization-wide thing, from the scouts to the coaches to the front office.

    - Dennis
  21. 21.

    Hi, Mike:

    I just wanted to mention that I was very impressed with the play of Nelson Cruz this week, on both sides of the ball. He’s a tough out, and appears to be a very good outfielder.

    His career numbers (.256/.319/.451) aren’t great, and it appears he’s never before been a regular in the majors, but he’s sure off to a good start this year.

    Just what Texas needed — another hitter!

    MW: Great arm, too. He was dive-bombing me as I interviewed Rangers coach Jackie Moore behind the batting cage yesterday.

    - Norm
  22. 22.

    JP has mentioned that there is a “chance” Marcum could return this year. “If” this team is in a playoff race(I think thats the only way he plays this year) he could be a big boost to the rotation when some of the young guys reach their inning limits. Unless this teams wheels completley fall off they are going to be there fighting the rest of the year. If they play .500 ball with a few good stretches they will be able to absorb a bad stretch if it comes. They have set themselves up for a good season.

    MW: Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. I think it’s likelier that Marcum pitches if they’re not in a race. You can’t expect him to be himself if he’s 10-11 months post-op.

    - Dennis
  23. 23.

    Richmond seems to know what he wants to do. He shook off Barajas a couple of times. Also noticed the plan of many Texas hitters the second time through was just to look for off speed stuff. He gave up a two strike double on a breaking ball. He throws pretty good and I think in those situation where they try to sit on his change/ breaking ball we might start to see him throw past guys.

    Also… great play by Hill tonight up the middle, he palmed that grounder off downs.

    - JGA
  24. 24.

    Richmond had a good start. So did Purcey. I”m not hanging out the bunting yet, but the new guys are doing a good job. And Rios hit a home-run. If he continues to hit out, then you can say ‘I told you so’ and no one will be happier to be wrong than me. Or I.

    As for your perceived bias against Cito Gaston, I do think it exists. You applaud Gibbons for making the right decisions and putting the best team on the field, and you blame the team for not winning. You castigate Gaston for making the wrong decisions and for not putting the best team on the field and by inference you applaud the team for winning. That makes no sense to me at all. Cito Gaston’s record with this team, starting last year, is much, much better than Gibbons’ record. Before Gaston arrived, the team had had some occasional success and a lot of horrendous failure. After he arrived, the team picked up considerably and even managed a rare 10 game win-streak. That success is continuing so far this season. It may be that Cito Gaston has a better grasp of what it takes to win a game than John Gibbons had. Just a thought…

    MW: And not an unfair thought at all. Still, though, the truth of the matter is that the players didn’t perform under Gibbons – whether it was the hitters in ’07 and ’08 or the pitchers in years previous. It really does astound me that people seem to believe so completely that, say, Lyle Overbay’s rough year in 2008 was Gibby’s fault and his success in ’09 is thanks to Cito. Or that the team couldn’t hit to save its life with RISP in the first half of ’08 because of Gibby and then started to because of Cito. It’s all part of the deification of coaches across all sports, I don’t get it. The players are the ones who bear the ultimate responsibility.

    - isabella reyes
  25. 25.

    If Tallet keeps Toronto in the game, they should win. If Burres keeps the team reasonably close or better, they could win. This could be the most significant series they’ll play over the next 12 games – and they’re all winnable series.

    - Richard Spackman
  26. 26.

    Hi Mike,

    Ummm..so..ummm Scott Richmond went 6 solid innings striking out 8. Ahhh..ummm. nice job. Don’t worry, he’ll get hammered in his next start :) I don’t know how he is doing it, Mike. I will say again that I cannot fully judge him or any of the young pitchers until teams have seen them more than one time (say by July or so). If he turns out to be better than we all thought, what a bonus that would be (but don’t worry, he wont).

    I love Scott Downs in the closers role. What I like is that he is quick and efficient. My idea of a good closer is one who turns out the lights quickly and doesn’t make things dicey in the 9th like BJ has done recently or the way Billy Koch did when he was the closer in the early 2000s.

    So, 12-5 and heading to the Windy City. This is good. Really good. Perhaps I will take some time on Saturday to head to the Oshawa Centre and pick up an authentic Scott Richmond road grey jersey.

    - Ian from Whitby
  27. 27.

    Your call-in show indicates that there are perhaps thousands of Jay fans across Canada who cannot get to Rogers Stadium. Isn’t this a potential source of income for a team that has to compete financially with NY and Boston? Why doesn’t someone found a Fan Club that invites financial contributions from fans towards a player recruitment and development fund? Maybe $1-$5 per game heard or watched, or per win? Multiply by 500,000 or 1 million radio or TV fans and there could be a significant filling of the hole left by the paltry staium attendance.

    MW: Interesting.

    - Shamus
  28. 28.

    Make sure to vote for the All-Stars. They made it very easy to vote 25 times this year because your picks stay chosen after each submission.

    I love the bullpen with League and Fraser setting up Downs. It makes me feel so much more confident with a 1 or 2 run lead after the 6th.

    Mike….. what is your favourite baseball movie?

    MW: Didn’t you just ask me this? Someone did. There are way too many, but Bull Durham and Major League jump to mind first when I think baseball movies.

    - Mike Mississauga
  29. 29.

    So, do you think B.J. was told that he is hurt? I actually wondered if he may, before he went on the d.l., would have asked the team for a lesser role so he could have an opportunity to work this out, in less important situations. I certainly don’t know the man, but he comes across as an extraordinary team mate and I could see him putting the team ahead of himself. Anyway it didn’t get to that. Richmond has been impressive. His location has been good and when he has given up a long ball, there haven’t been many runners on. I would have liked to have seen him pitch that Italy game but I think Canada would have been beat by Venezuala anyhow. Matt Stairs sure put a stop to David Bush’s attempt at a no no on Thursday. Call it good luck, good hitting or whatever you want but even with the pitching woes, this team seems to go out there every night and put on a show. The team hasn’t lost two in a row, they haven’t lost a series and correct me if I,m wrong, but this team has been close in the games it has lost as well. What are the pitching match-ups for the next series?

    MW: The pitching match-ups are one mouse click away.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  30. 30.

    Hey Mike,

    I am surprised to hear that Marcum will be throwing a bullpen session with the club in KC. Does this mean he is really close to coming back? Or is it just because Marcum lives in KC and it’s easy for him to meet with the club?

    Thanks

    MW: He’s not really close to coming back.

    - mike
  31. 31.

    Hello Mike,

    Yesterday I wrote how slow/flat Richmond’s fastball was and you replied he threw 92mph. After watching his performance last night I’m more than happy to eat my words. He looked really sharp! Hopefully he can keep it up. Have there been any updates on how Casey Janssen is coming along? Is he still projected to be back in May? If so, what role do you see him filling(relief/starter)?

    Have a Great Weekend,

    Tommy

    MW: Yesterday, Richmond hit 93 on the gun. See the previous post for the Janssen update. I seem him starting when he comes up.

    - Tommy
  32. 32.

    The Jays are just finding ways to get it done. It’s nice to see.

    Rios now has 11 RBI’s. The Jays now have to leave the comfortable confines of a dome for the next week, let’s hope they perform as well outdoors in the spring as indoors.

    Richmond had yet another solid start.

    Dream with me a little bit concerning next season. Let’s imagine that Purcey finds his location, Romero comes back and continues to light it up, and Richmond continues to work at a consistent pace. Each getting between 12 – 15 wins. Litsch, Marcum, McGowan all healthy and ready to go. Cecil and Mills ready for big league action. After a great 2009 Halladay reups. What do you do with all this pitching? I know you can never have enough, but 8 or 9 legit big league starters!!!

    Better to have this problem than previous years when trying for reclamation project after reclamation project. Let’s hope the Jays can keep it going with another 5 – 2 road trip to finish off April strong before they start to play their division.

    Interesting stat that I saw concerning the Jays the past couple of years. The Jays play their division about .500, but where they would fall behind is how they would stub their toes against teams in other divisions that they should beat. Maybe this year’s club has solved that problem. Could make for a very interesting and exciting summer of ball!!

    Keep up the good work.

    - Aaron Ker
  33. 33.

    Hey Mike,

    Good after show last night,

    Got a general question for you. Just wondering what you think regarding if there will ever be a player that will finish with a .400 average till the end of the season again? Myself I cannot see this happening.

    Doc gonna win the Cy Young

    Your thoughts thanks

    MW: I think that eventually someone will hit .400 again. Halladay has as good a shot at the Cy Young as anyone – every year.

    - Jason Lee
  34. 34.

    Any notion on why Bullington and Murhpy have gotten the call instead of Accardo or Wolfe? Accardo was excellent in 2007, Wolfe has been solid when he has been up, and it doesn’t seem as though they’re throwing badly in AAA. What gives?

    MW: The answer is in the blog post, no?

    - Grant
  35. 35.

    Hi MIke,I heard that the other call up is Burress.Can you confirm this and if it’s true can you pleasw explain the thinking.
    Go Jays!!!

    MW: See above.

    - mario
  36. 36.

    Do you agree with the “conspiracy theory” posted by Richard Griffin this morning about the BJ situation?

    MW: See above.

    - Joachim Tsui
  37. 37.

    Hey Mike,

    You’re centrainly not alone in thinking Richmond wasn’t anything special..

    I am convinced that if you watch video from his first 5 starts to now, you would see a drastic improvment. His secondary stuff is actually amazing!

    The thing we all need to keep in mind is that during last year he had only been playing pro ball for less than a year, and had never had real pitching coaches. So he is still a work in progress. That has to be significant!

    My concern about him last year, and still today, is that his fastball is straight as an arrow. And I think this has a lot to do with why lefties are mashing him.

    My question for you, is he trying to do anything to his fastball? Isto wait until he gets comfortable with the change up first?

    MW: I”m sure he’s trying to improve everything but, like you said, is a work in progress.

    - Stevie H.
  38. 38.

    Hey Mike,

    I’m surprised you made no mention in this entry regarding that cool stat you brought up yesterday about Richmond defying the odds of continuing on with the streak of consecutive games to start a career without giving up more than 2 runs. So much for it ending last night against the almost equally potent Rangers offence!This guy never ceases to amaze me, yet its still ridiculously early in his career still. I just keep expecting him to get lit up. Hope it happens later rather than sooner!

    - Anthony L
  39. 39.

    Mike,

    You constantly refer to Paul Byrd on Jays talk and say how he has retired when that is not the case at all.

    He is simply taking a couple months off and hoping to play in the second half of the season.

    “In Paul’s perfect world, we’ll get to July and a contender will need somebody, and he’ll be able to hop in there and help out,” agent Bo McKinnis said.

    MW: Good to know. I had heard in March that he retired.

    - Chris
  40. 40.

    Romero hurting himself sneezing has to be the second stupidest cause for an injury in baseball history.

    The only one that was more ridiculous was Marty Cordova burning himself in a tanning bed and having to go on the DL because of it. If I was ol’ Marty, I would have paid the team not to release that info to the media.

    MW: What about Glenallen Hill’s nightmare? Rickey Henderson’s frostbite? Wade Boggs’ cowboy boots?

    - Randy
  41. 41.

    Richmond has yet to have a start where he completely blows up…I’m actually really confident he’ll do his job in the 5th starter role quite well.

    And if it doesn’t work out, he’d be a helluva righty specialist in the pen.

    MW: He has yet to have a start when he even blows up a little.

    - Habby
  42. 42.

    Richard Griffin has an interesting article in the Star today concerning B.J. Ryan’s move to the D.L. The article details a very interesting timeline of the events leading up to the announcement of his injury.

    I have to believe there is a good chance the injury is a PR stunt cooked up by the team in a lame attempt to save Ryan a bit of public humiliation that accompanies
    a demotion.

    Given that this team has a proven track record of lying about Ryan’s injuries, why should we take them at face value this time around? I propose that when discussing this ‘injury’ on your show/blog, you should remember to use the word alleged.

    Then again, maybe I’m being too negative. After all, it’s not a lie if they know the truth, right?

    MW: See above.

    - J.
  43. 43.

    Mike,

    It happened again…Wells got a meaningless RBI in a non-clutch situation, as they would have won the game without his home run last night. And he also got really lucky to hit it out, as it was the first pitch he saw, and we all know that he ALWAYS pops up to the infield when he swings at the fist pitch! And Overbay…he still needs to be released, my Grandmother could have scooped that throw from Hill in the 9th, he just made it look difficult. Oh, and his home run was lucky too, because he’s a terrible hitter. As for Rios, he can’t hit a fastball to save his life, so his home run was another lucky one, and so were his 4 hits the night before…I would still trade him for a bag of balls to whomever will take him, as he clearly will still not hit more than 5 home runs the whole year.

    Thank you for your time.

    MW: Certainly

    - Marls
  44. 44.

    Mike,
    1. With the pitching staff in shambles right now, is it possible that Doc pitches on four-days rest?
    2. When do you think the earliest Cecil could be called up?
    3. I am still not sold on Richmond. What happens when teams start putting more of their left handed hitters in the lineup when he is scheduled to pitch? What happens if, or more likely when, more of the right-handed hitters get more of a book on him?

    Thanks Mike! I have to say you are one of the best radio-personalities out there right now…always a pleasure

    MW: 1 – Yes, he always pitches on four days’ rest. 2 – Late May, barring another injury or two. 3 – We shall see.

    - Eric B
  45. 45.

    Sorry Mike I don’t know your friend Dave from Calgary even though I was born there. But if I ever meet a Dave I’ll be sure to ask him if he knows Mike with not the greatest math skills. I noticed you didn’t post my last responce regarding your annnalasyss of my typing skills. Hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.

    MW: If I delete a post, that means it either goes too far with insults, it’s offensive, or it’s just too stupid to which to subject my readers.

    - Matt from BC
  46. 46.

    Why are you third on the blog list? Oh, the Leafs are in the playoffs and Toronto has an NFL team.

    - Mary
  47. 47.

    Is it Christmas? Did I just read that JP said Shawn Marcum could be back NEXT MONTH? When healthy, he’s clearly the Jay’s second best starter. This is great news.

    Does Jesse Litsch have a spot when he gets healthy if Marcum’s back and Tallet pitches lights out for the next 3 weeks?

    MW: No, it’s not, and no, you didn’t.

    - Masterclark
  48. 48.

    Mike, I would have preferred the Jays to start Bullington instead. He was a starter for the Indians and probably has a higher upside. What do you think?

    MW: I think he’s been pitching out of the bullpen in AAA so he isn’t stretched out enough to start.

    - Albert
  49. 49.

    Is it wrong that I have a real warm feeling about Bryan Bullington? As a kid he wasn’t awful and maybe he could put something together as a call-up with Arnie’s Army. Sure, he may not be able to do anything long term, but youneverknow in the short.

    MW: Youneverknow, indeed.

    - Mike in Cobourg
  50. 50.

    Mike,
    What are your thoughts about BJ Ryan’s injury? There has been some talk in the Toronto media (very reliable journalists) that BJ was told by Riccardi, Cito, and/or Arnsberg that they wanted him to move to middle relief and were making Downs the closer. BJ was not cool with it, so they found an injury that would allow him some time off to get his velocity back.
    Obviously the media can never show for sure but there is some compelling evidence. If that’s true, do you realistically think BJ will be back in a Jays uniform?

    MW: I don’t think it’s true, and of course he’ll be back in a Jays uniform.

    - Josh
  51. 51.

    Hi Mike,

    In the future, could you please not tell us that Cecil will be getting called up if you don’t know for sure? I’d like to avoid similar future cases of crushing disappointment like when I found out Brian Burres would be joining the rotation..

    MW: Sorry, but it happens.

    - Callum
  52. 52.

    Hey Mike
    Love your stuff. Why isn’t Accardo getting another shot?

    MW: I thought I explained that in the post.

    - Fil
  53. 53.

    My feeling is that the jays conveniently said BJ was injured to simply have an opportunity to send him down to have extended rehab assignments without having any type of risk in losing him over the waiverwire (or similar process).

    any thoughts?

    MW: See above.

    - Garry
  54. 54.

    Why has Bryan Bullington not made it so far?

    MW: He did make it. He was in the majors in his third year pro, then his elbow blew up.

    - Paul
  55. 55.

    It’s so nice to see Scott Richmond do so well in his fifth starter roll for the Jays. I believe my comment has already been addressed on the post-game show but I really think Richmond’s success has a lot to do with him just going out each start and doing his thing with no pressure. So many players get eatten up by the high expectations placed upon themselves that mentally, it is overwhelming. It’s nice that a guy like Richmond has gone out there, with no expectations and is showing everyone what he is made up. Kudos for Scott Richmond, keep up the great work.

    - Marty
  56. 56.

    The danged hockey guys have to bumped down to third place on the blog list. Are the guys at the fan not aware that the Leafs season is over? How does “Nothing but Leafs” stay above “Miked Up” at this time of year?

    What a difference a year makes! Last year, we’d have injuries but playing so-so baseball and we’d be saying “Just wait until we’re healthy”. This year, we’re still getting injuries, but so far we’re still winning. Imagine how we’ll be when we’re healthy”

    Even though we’re only 10% into the season, I’m pumped. This is going to be an exciting season and the team will be fun to follow.

    - Alan the stat geek
  57. 57.

    Hi Mike,

    love the show.
    Now that we have Doc (Halliday), Sneezy (Romero) and Happy (Richmond), could you or your minion help me out in naming the other Jays dwarves ? Thanks.

    - Marcel
  58. 58.

    If the Blue Jays ever get almost all injured starters back, perhaps Richmond’s role will be in the bullpen to deal with tough righties.

    MW: Mayhaps, but how about we don’t yank him from the rotation until he actually has a bad start?

    - Doug Prokopec
  59. 59.

    Do you think Halladay has an influence on the other pitchers on the BJ staff in a way that other top tier pitchers in MLB don’t?

    MW: Not really.

    - Jabes
  60. 60.

    Good thoughts on Richmond being underestimated. He has quickly become a great story this year. On the otherhand, Jeremy Accardo is the opposite. How could he go from dominating hitters to not being able to find the plate? Is there a physical component to his problems or did he somehow lose his mental edge?

    MW: He spent five months on the disabled list last year, which would indicate a physical component. His splitter isn’t where it was in 2007.

    - Dave W.
  61. 61.

    I am beginning to think we have been worrying too much about this pitching staff.Yes there are many injuries right now and we are scraping the bottom for starters but on this team you don’t have to be Doc Halladay quality to win a few games.The defensive play is strong and so is the hitting.A fairly ordinary pitcher can look pretty good with the Jays.The bull pen is great and there are some good spare parts waiting in Vegas.I think this is going to be a good year especially once the walking wounded start returning.

    - Paul
  62. 62.

    Hi Mike:

    Love the work you do on Blue Jay broadcasts and Jays’ Talk. You’re a real asset to the FAN 590 and to Jays fans.

    Whatever happened to Jeremy Accardo? I haven’t heard much about him lately and the Jays site says he’s not on the 15 day DL. Also, when are Marcum and McGowan projected to be back? Given what we’ve seen so far from the pitching staff, if the Jays hitting can stay around .300 or higher and bat continue to bat as well with men on base, do you think they have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs?

    MW: Yes, but there’s no chance the Jays will hit .300 as a team this season. As far as all the other questions, check the previous blog entry.

    - Stefan
  63. 63.

    Hi Mike -

    Going back to a couple of days ago. You said the hit the Texas reliever O’Day gave up would be charged to Kason Gabbard (the jersey O’Day was wearing). The box score lists O’Day as the pitcher of record in that.

    Did the ruling change at some point? Believe it or not, this is what my coworkers and I talked about at lunch today (three of us are obnoxious Jays fans).

    MW: IT WAS A JOKE, PEOPLE!!!!!

    - Joe
  64. 64.

    Sorry, just noticed one of your replies in the Romero post saying that Accardo was doing ok in the closer role for Las Vegas. Does it look like he’s on his way back up anytime soon?

    MW: If the Jays need a short reliever, he will probably get the call.

    - Dave W.
  65. 65.

    Interested comments for Shea about his time with the Jays and JP.

    http://www.heraldnews.com/sports/x50629401/WHATEVER-HAPPENED-TO-Shea-Hillenbrand

    - Rahil
  66. 66.

    As you say, the pitching staff is in disarray, and so far they have been decent, but how far can a team go with all rookie pitching. Before the season started, Richiardi should have gone after 1 or 2 more seasoned pitchers. Now, he should show the fans the team REALLY is trying to maintain their good record by at least looking at some free agent pitchers that weren’t signed.He should make some sort of move. He may be saving some money, but by year’s end the total attendance will be down by atleast 1/2 to 3/4 of a million fans. Do some spending,to show the fans and the players that you are committed to putting a good product on the field.
    It just seems like they are writing off the season, just do with what we got. At least do some tinkering with the pitching staff so we the fans think they really care about putting a good product on the field. There has to be a good mid-level pitcher who is available and not signed.Just make some sort of effort, show you are doing something.

    MW: Remember what the goal of this year is, and don’t lose sight of the forest because of the first 17 trees.

    - Angelo
  67. 67.

    michael,
    well am i ever embarrassed.
    as you might recall i regrettably declared my exit from your wonderful blog & this current baseball season a few nights back. in hindsight it was very foolish of me to do so.
    what i thought was going to be an extended losing streak turned out to only be a 1 game losing streak. the much talked about hitting slumps from the 3 & 4 hitters of the team in this early part of the season has since been dealt with as multiple hit & home run efforts have ensued from the 2 culprits in question ( i swear to god i thought those slumps were never going to end michael)
    even lyle o. at 1b looks like one of the better hitting 1b in the a.l. right now (what a shot that was last night from him) very very impressive.
    anyway, the record is 12-5, my prediction of 109 wins is still on course and the team’s lead is back to 2 full games in the ever tough a.l. east.
    it’s all good my baseball friend.
    so glad to be back on board.
    honestly don’t know what i was thinking…….

    MW: This is a joke, right?

    - darrell bishop
  68. 68.

    It is certainly nice to see a solid pitching staff at the beginning of this season after the injuries to Marcum and McGowan. My question is where do Richmond, Purcey, Romero, Janssen end up next year if Marcum and McGowan return healthy.

    MW: It’s a good question, and a GREAT problem to have.

    - Keith
  69. 69.

    I’d like to see Snider in there against the lefty Buehrle tomorrow, but with four of the next five probable pitchers versus the Blue Jays being righties, I think Cito will probably go with his platoon-mate, Bautista. I’d really like to see him get some time against lefties. Any thoughts?

    MW: I would, too, and he will. But it’s going to take a while.

    - Jordie
  70. 70.

    I don’t get it, Richmond’s been pitching fine, and I still don’t feel safe when he’s on the mound. I don’t feel terrified, like with BJ, but I don’t feel safe, like with Downs.

    What’s wrong with me Mike?

    MW: How much time do you have?

    - Matt
  71. 71.

    Richmond’s 08 season offered a suggestion that he can at least make batters swing and miss a fair bit.

    Between AA, AAA and the majors he struck out 144 batters in 164 IP. That’s an excellent ratio for a starter. But his walk and home run ratio suggest he’s not much more than a 4th or 5th guy. Which isn’t all together horrible.

    Frankly I don’t think he’s much if any a drop off from McGowan. He’ll strike out about the same number, walk a few less but give up a few more homers.

    McGowan’s stats aren’t nearly as dazzling as his 96MPH fastball.

    MW: No, they’re not. But he’s young yet.

    - Jim Maron
  72. 72.

    Speaking of Richmond, and getting destroyed against lefties… Who would have thought lefty Brian Tallet would be the one to put up these numbers so far this year:

    vs. Left: in 13 ABs, .538 AVG, 1.801 OPS (OUCH!) 5 doubles, 1 HR
    vs. Right: in 32 ABs, .031 AVG

    Go figure! Small sample size, but go figure!

    At least his numbers from 2006-2008 are generally quite balanced from both sides of the plate… let’s hope it returns to that :)

    MW: Or let’s hope he continues to destroy righties, because he’ll always face far more of them.

    - Shawn
  73. 73.

    Hi Mike

    I am totally confused. Why Burres – yes, I know, give him a chance but looking at his stats, you have to admit, it is not impressive, as a matter of fact, it is rather scary. This guy is a has been or a never-will-be. Don’t we have anyone in the minors better than Burres?

    Francis

    MW: See above.

    - Francis
  74. 74.

    Question: Have other team’s rotations suffered as much as the Jay’s has in the last two years? Is it possible that the cause of the starters’ woes lies with the way the Jay’s prepare and condition their young starters – is it systemic?

    MW: Pitchers drop like flies, regardless of the organization in which they pitch, but the Jays have definitely had more than their fair share recently.

    - StevoMcD
  75. 75.

    Bob Elliot reported in the Toronto Sun that Litsch, Janssen, and Marcum will be back in mid May. Marcum? He meant Romero right? You mentioned on Jays talk that Paul Byrd has retired, but Yahoo Sports is saying that he is looking for a team. It’s a moot point anyways since it seems that the Jays will not go the free agency route and go with what they got until mid May when one of Romero, Litsch and Janssen return. Do you think that they brought up Bullington because he was a long reliever in Las Vegas? He can relieve Burres if he gets into early trouble. Hopefully Burres and Bullington can combine to give the Jays six competent innings. We may not see Burres at all as they are forecasting thunderstorms and rain on saturday and sunday and Gaston has said that Halladay will throw every 5th day and stay on his routine.

    - Domenick
  76. 76.

    Are you surprised that the Blue Jays have the 6th best ERA in the majors and the 3rd best in the American league. I knew they were bashing the ball but I was surprised they ranked so high in every pitching category. (BB, WHIP, K) This further proves that their start is no fluke.

    MW: It does?

    - Domenick
  77. 77.

    Mike,

    Nice to see the Jays finding ways to win games in many different fashions. This bullpen is absolutely sick and we may not see the best of the rotation until mid-May. Is the innings the bullpen been pitching a cause for concern? I agree that there may have been an injury that may be a blessing, but not to Romero, but to Ryan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ryan and when he’s right, he is one of the best and I hope he recovers nicely. But knowing and seeing what Downs can do in that role is great. People saying that Snider should move up may be seeing some good reasons why he is hitting last. This is a progression, and he will have some ups and downs and hitting last will keep pressure of him. By the way, wasn’t Frasor a closer for the Jays not too long ago? Thanks Mike.

    MW: Frasor was the closer for the Jays in his rookie season.

    - justin
  78. 78.

    hey mike just wanted to say love your comments really insightful you really are defensive about our jays as you should be but i think maybe sometimes a little bit too defensive. not every player is going to be playing great every game and i think also it deals with the fact as jays fans we hold our jays to a much higher standard because we know what they are capable of. so about our pitching, the other night when doc lost i think i can speak for most jays fans when i say we kind of take doc for granted in that when he doesn’t win its almost as if we expect him to win 34 games every year. hes amazing but not god. as for the others i love romero and richmond is starting to win me over but in the bullpen brandon league really concerns me. hes the only only i get uncomfortable when he takes the mound i don’t know why and i know you’ll say hes been good so far but hes very shaky. so my big two questions are what do you like of league? and what do you think of the jays young players as far as this year and future years to come?

    MW: I don’t think I’m defensive at all, I just refuse to accept the knee-jerk day-to-day roller-coaster reactions. I like League a lot, and think that he’s still figuring things out. I love a lot of the young players.

    - joe from new jersey
  79. 79.

    Blue Jays at this point compared to last year are keep me glued to the broadcast because they continue to fight stay in game throughout. Isn’t that what people wanted last year? To be competitive every game? Bonus that they’re also winning most of them too!

    We just got Rogers Digital (~Rogers theme~) at home and this is my first year watching Blue Jays games at home on HD. Watching BJ Ryan on HD, after Duane Ward is he the second sweatiest relief pitcher in Blue Jays history?

    7-11 (7:11pm) start time in Chicago. If Mike Mussina was the visiting pitcher he’d complain about the late start. :)

    MW: What’s with the revisionist history? You’re hardly the only one, but the Blue Jays weren’t blown out more than 5 or 6 times last year. They were in every game.

    - John
  80. 80.

    hey Mike,

    Never mind Brett Cecil and Brad Mills – this guy Tim Collins is who the Jays fans should be excited about

    19yrs old and already in Dunedin

    stats in two years of A

    85IP – 125K – 1.80 ERA
    in 11 innings this year in Dunedin 1 walk and 20K’s

    I can’t wait to see this guy pitch – he’s only 5’7″ tall and he’s simply blowing away older competition.

    Can you tell me anything about him?

    MW: Yes – his numbers are insane and I can’t wait to see him pitch.

    - Jim Maron
  81. 81.

    One of the bloggers says Where are all the fans. Great question.
    I wonder how other parks are doing in the recession?
    I hope Rogers Centre considers doing more of their recession busters.
    This is how I spent money the other night at the park:
    $5 for a program, which was a good idea – lots of new players, and there was a lot of info there.
    $5. for a ticket. (amazing)
    $5.00 for an ice cream. I had to leave a bit early and ate in the aisle. Other folks were asking how much it cost.
    There are lots of folks out of work. I hope mlb and Toronto in particular keeps it in mind. Might as well fill the park. !

    - barbi
  82. 82.

    Mike,

    Not that anyone’s in much of a position to question JP right now, with being 12-5 and all, but I’m a little disappointed with Burres getting the call. Heck the team ERA for New Hampshire must be under 2.00 right now. You’d think he could’ve picked someone out of there. I think Castro has a little MLB experience.

    Oh well, I hope I’ll be eating my words tomorrow.

    MW: We shall see.

    - RM
  83. 83.

    Is Chicago a young team?
    They are off to a good start this year too.

    MW: They’re not especially young, with players like Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Mark Buehrle, among others. They’re a .500 team right now, not such a good start, but they did win the division last year.

    - barbi
  84. 84.

    Hi Mike,
    Enjoyed that post today…as I always do. I find myself going to your blog first for a game recap as opposed to newspapers etc.

    How fun is this season so far? Have we ever entered a season with such low expectations and done so well off this early? With the offence slowing down a little (in terms of hits) and the pitching injuries mounting, we just keep rolling on winning seemingly with smoke and mirrors, but there is definitely substance there. This year we are finding ways to win. Last year we found ways to lose. I have no idea what the chemistry is like in the clubhouse…it must be loose and upbeat?

    I have these hunches that Wells and Rios are going to turn in pretty solid seasons when it’s all said and done and I have a feeling Snider might end up with a spell in the minors. I would also like to see Frasor given a shot at the closer’s role. He’s done it before and now apparently has a new pitch.

    It also bugs me from afar seeing such low turnouts at the home games.

    Sorry, idle ramblings.

    - OzRob
  85. 85.

    I was reading something in baseball prospectus yesterday about defense. The point was essentially brought up that pitching nearly = defense (save for high strike out pitchers)

    It seems that whoever the jays roll out there seems to do quite a job on the mound. But when one watches the games more carefully, one sees a myriad of balls hit into the field that are turned into outs that other teams would would not. Plays that had they not been made, would not even be considered errors.

    This jays defense is really, really good is basically what im saying. We dont talk about it enough or give it enough credit. We all know about wells, rios, overbay, rolen..but man Scutaro can really play short. barajas is a solid catcher.

    MW: The defense is really, really good. I tell people every chance I get. The Jays have been the best defensive team in the majors for a while now.

    - General Zod
  86. 86.

    you know, this is looking good.

    - bruce
  87. 87.

    I know that each organization has a certain amount of players in A, AA, AAA and MLB clubs. So when the Jays have 3 AAA players called up to the big team, I’m guessing some players from the AA team get moved up, creating a ripple effect. The ultimate result, the A team will be short a few players. Do they have “backup” or “emergency” players who sign short term players to fill in in case you have an unlucky run of injuries?

    Thanks

    MW: No, but they can sign guys or pick them up on minor-league waivers throughout the season to fill gaps.

    - James from Mississauga
  88. 88.

    real good

    - bruce
  89. 89.

    save j.p., dump j.p nice novice arms.Is there a more simpler question?

    - bruce
  90. 90.

    It’s the 6th inning and I am wondering. First of all, have the jays had the lead off runner on every inning? Do you know what the league average is for lead off runners reaching base, and what the Jays are averaging this year. It seems like the lead off runner has been on many times this season. Fun times to be a Jays fan. Also, obviously the Jays are at the top of many offensive categories and the surprising pitching doesn’t maybe get noticed because of that. How do the numbers look compared to the rest of baseball as far as pitching is concerned?

    MW: The lead-off man didn’t reach in the 4th, and that was the only time through the first six. I have no idea what the league average is for leadoff runners, and don’t have the time to go through it for the Jays. As far as pitching, the Jays’ ERA is 3rd in the A.L., but the pitching staff’s WHIP is the best, and second in the majors.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  91. 91.

    Forgot to comment on the “conversation” before the game. That was very entertaining. You can tell the MacDonald has a lot of respect around the league from other players even though he has never really been a full time player.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  92. 92.

    What a great game for the Jays so far! Tallet pitched a great line and the bats were fantastic (not that Ramirez’s play at short didn’t help our cause).

    Just want to comment to all the Scutaro critics that once again he’s shown that he can do the job at the top of the lineup. Walks, singles, whatever. He once again did a great job of setting the table tonight.

    Mike, love the show. Tough to listen to some callers whining for a bit there, but seems like people are starting to come around…

    - Greg
  93. 93.

    The Jays are on fire. Sick. Everything is clicking. If Kevin Millar, Marco Scutaro and Outrageous Barageous (Barajas) keep hitting lefties, their pitchers will not have that pressure them. The key this year is hitting. Let the pitchers pitch, again, no pressure. The team will have it’s ups and downs but with everybody hitting, I don’t even see a 4-game losing streak this year. And what about Cito, my man. I am happy for him and his staff. Old school. No blackberries. Good for them!

    - Skinnycoffee
  94. 94.

    …from Guelph.

    - Skinnycoffee
  95. 95.

    yeah baby. 13 /0

    - bruce
  96. 96.

    “Two out, 0-2 count, man on third. The runner breaks for home on a steal attempt. The pitcher, pitching from the windup position or just being slow or whatever, delivers the pitch very late, and the runner slides across home safely BEFORE the pitch arrives. The batter swings and misses, strike three, three out. Does the run count by virtue of having happened first? (The definition of “Batter-runner” is sort of the crux of the issue, at least as we’re arguing it.)”

    If the batter strikes out, then no run scores, and there can be no stolen base. The only time the issue of whether an out occurred before a potential run scores is after the batter successfully reaches first base. If the batter is thrown out at 1B it doesn’t matter if the runner on third crosses home plate before the out is made at 1B. A strike out is the same thing. Even if the catcher misses the ball and retrieves it and throws out the batter at 1B no run can score no matter how much earlier he may have crossed the plate.

    MW: It’s a moot argument. If the batter swings, he hits the baserunner in the face. If the catcher comes out to try to make the tag on the runner, it’s no pitch.

    - Ken
  97. 97.

    The blowout tonight might be reversed when Brian Burres takes the mound tomorrow night…what are the Jays thinking?

    - John
  98. 98.

    hey mike,

    we need to think of new nicknames for snider, i dont much like calling him lunchbox, it aint exactly inspiring.

    I have thought of two, tell me what you think,

    Sniderman, we can start a song:

    Sniderman, sniderman, does what ever snider can, hits a ball very far, catchs balls just like flies, oh yes, here comes the sniderman.

    Or, T-Rex, i came up with this one when looking at the jumbotron and thinking wow he looks very big almost like a dinosaur (considering of course that hes only 5″11). And then i put (Tr)avis, and the fact that hes our (EX) factor and made T-Rex.

    MW: Yes, he almost looks like a dinosaur.

    - paolo
  99. 99.

    I am so excited about Travis Snider. At the age of 21, most power hitters are not even in the league yet and the ones that are usually walk about 40 times and strike out about 130 times and the ratio levels out a bit after the hitter gains experience. What I am basically saying is that Travis Snider has showed a very impressive batting eye for someone so young. I expected 20HR 80RBI 40B 140K from Snider and it is beginning to look like he will exceed those numbers. I expected a season like the one Delgado had at 24 years old. (25HR 92RBI 58B 139K) We all know what Delgado became and he may hit his 500th home run in September. It is the little things that are impressing me as well. He plays real hard and doesn’t just get by on raw talent. An example is in the fifth inning when broke up a double play with a really aggressive wide slide at second base. How about Jose Bautista? Whether it was J.P. or Cito who made the decision to have Bautista with Toronto rather then Inglett, it has proved to be an astute one. He has been above average defensively and has also contributed offensively as well.

    - Domenick
  100. 100.

    MW: Take a look at Quentin’s career splits. I wasn’t just talking about last year.

    ………vs L…….vs R

    2006……171……..280
    2007……172……..230
    2008……246……..303

    MW: Gotta give me more than just batting averages.

    - Theo
  101. 101.

    Hey guys

    Six appearances, team record – 6 – 0.

    I will be missed. See ya !!

    - BJ
  102. 102.

    micheal, you need to help a brother out and get the jays talk into podcast format. work strange hours so i miss the show a lot and i really need you in my life. podcasts are the only way mike and without that i believe we will drift apart.

    i miss you

    MW: What’s keeping you from clicking on the link on the page?

    - Derrick
  103. 103.

    Hi Mike,

    you wrote this in a reply on your blog “I get the conspiracy theorists, but from what I know of B.J. Ryan as a person (and I’m not a fan), he wouldn’t allow himself to be DL’d if he wasn’t hurt.”

    Do you mean by that comment that you are not a fan of BJ Ryan as a person? If yes, could you expand on that?

    MW: Yes, and it’s probably better if I don’t.

    - Gary W
  104. 104.

    Hey Mike, just wanted to point out that with The Jay’s romping of the ChiSox, we now have the best record in baseball

    - Chris
  105. 105.

    The Blue Jays are now +46 runs, far and away the best in the AL. Add this year to last year and Toronto is behind only Boston and 50 runs better than the next best team.

    Bos – +173
    Tor – +150
    TB – +100
    NYY – +46

    Based on these numbers. I just don’t see how the Blue Jays can be considered anything but one of the best teams in the AL (probably baseball as the AL has pounded the NL for the past few years). Run differential is a far better predictor of future success than wins and losses.

    Mike – you disagreed when I said the Jays had an excellent chance of making the playoffs – maybe the choice of word wasn’t the best; but I don’t see any evidence that they aren’t as good as any other team in the AL – with the possible exception of Boston.

    I think many saw the loss of 3 starters and decided the Jays would plummet in the standings. I think the error in that logic lies in the fact that much of what made the Jays the best in stopping runs was their defence. Much of what people think is pitching is actually defence.

    MW: I’ll agree with you that defense plays a far larger part than most believe, but I also think that the starting pitching is nowhere near as strong as it has shown to this point in the season, and will fall back to Earth. The starting was far better last year, which is why simply adding run differentials doesn’t tell the whole story.

    - Jim Maron
  106. 106.

    I was watching the blue jays game on thursday night and Rance mentioned that Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked with the bases loaded last season because he was highly respected and was having an outstanding season. He went on to say that he did not remember that happening since it happened to George Brett. I’m sure it has happened more frequently but it is obviously very rare. Well, it just happened tonight. Manny Ramirez was intentionally walked with bases loaded in the 8th inning and the very dangerous Andre Ethier was the next batter. Just a little oddity I thought you might enjoy even though it is not related to the Jays.

    MW: Actually, Manny wasn’t intentionally walked with the bases loaded tonight. He came up with the bases loaded, but Jason Grilli wild-pitched home a run, and then Manny was put on. It would have been cool, though. Barry Bonds was intentionally walked with the bases loaded (by Buck Showalter’s D-Backs) between Brett and Hamilton, but he might have been the only one.

    - Domenick
  107. 107.

    what happened between you and BJ, mike? Why are you not a fan of him. You did bring it up and now of course I am curious to know what happened? Did he do something to you?

    MW: No, nothing happened between us.

    - Tomis
  108. 108.

    Cy Young Race – Early Returns

    Zack Greinke….4-0 29 IP 0.00
    John Danks……2-0 19 IP 0.95
    Glen Perkins….1-1 24 IP 1.50
    Eric Bedard…..1-1 21 IP 1.69
    Jarrod Washburn.3-0 21 IP 1.71
    A. Galarraga….2-0 18 IP 1.96
    Kevin Millwood..1-2 30 IP 2.10
    Tim Wakefield…2-1 22 IP 2.45
    Andy Pettitte…2-0 21 IP 2.53
    Gil Meche…….1-1 27 IP 2.63
    Edwin Jackson…1-1 26 IP 2.77
    Dallas Braden…1-2 19 IP 2.79
    Kyle Davies…..1-0 19 IP 2.89
    Brian Tallet….0-0 18 IP 2.95
    Mark Buehrle….2-0 18 IP 3.00
    F.Hernandez…..3-0 27 IP 3.12
    A.J. Burnett….2-0 21 IP 3.20
    Trevor Cahill…0-1 19 IP 3.26
    Jered Weaver….1-1 19 IP 3.38
    Joe Saunders….2-1 26 IP 3.51
    James Shields…2-2 27 IP 3.67
    Roy Halladay….3-1 29 IP 3.72

    - Cy's Tyme
  109. 109.

    Mike, this really isn’t what your blog was about, more about what you have been talking the last few nights about on Jays talk. I understand and half-heartedly agree about a manager not making that much of a difference to a ballclub. What about the coaching staff? Can a pitching coach or a hitting instructor have a huge influence on the team? After hearing or reading about Romero and how Arnsberg had decided he was throwing across his body and tweaking his delivery, or a hitting coach being able to detect and solve a hitch in a swing, could that not make a substantial difeerence? I am just curious, and regret not being able to call in and ask.

    MW: It can make a difference, and with the occasional guy can make a very big difference, but in the overall, I believe that coaches are there to facilitate work for the players more than anything else.

    - Kris Markham
  110. 110.

    Hello Mike,I just read a write up on Cito Gaston, by Jeramy Sandler about ” Gastons steady hand”. From the National Post on april 24th. He seems to think that Cito has made a big difference with the team. I believe that you respect Cito and I only point this out as I also think that the manager makes a huge difference. Perhaps you don!t agree with mr Sandler, but he seems to be saying what alot of your callers are trying to express. I love your work on the radio and hope you enjoy reading another persons ideas that differ from yours….Garnet Wheadon in West Gore Nova Scotia

    MW: Believe me, I know a lot of people’s ideas differ from mine, and you’re entitled to them. I just don’t think it can be proven that a manager makes a huge difference, otherwise it would be sustainable and consistent. The best managers would always win – or at least always exceed expectations. They very obviously don’t.

    - garnet wheadon
  111. 111.

    every manager has a shelf life. there is a novelty effect. look at cito’s record his first 2-3 years managing and then his record after. same for now. manager’s usually start off well, then players tune them out after 3 years.

    hanson

    MW: Managers and coaches do seem to have a shelf life – most of them, anyway – but to say Cito’s shelf life was three years the first time around is wholly incorrect. The Jays were great for 4 3/4 seasons under Cito the first time.

    - hanson
  112. 112.

    Mike,

    Every other team puts their worst batters down the order, why Jays are putting their worst at 3 and 4? Those two guys have been busts. One is way too overpaid and can’t hit a sac fly to save his life and he’s the so-called franchise player who at age 30 has less homers than Miguel Cabrera at age 25. The other one, the so-called 5 tool guy and the next big thing can hardly clear the infield. Shouldnt they be batting 8th and 9th respectively?

    MW: This is a joke, right?

    - Beburg
  113. 113.

    yes absolutely joking michael.
    sarcasm doesn’t always ring thru completely loud & clear via email does it?
    fortunately you’re on the ball enough to have a sense of it.

    MW: Whew

    - darrell bishop
  114. 114.

    Re Post #57

    With Downs’ rep as refusing to talk to the media, he’d have to be either Grumpy or Bashful

    MW: Was there a dwarf named “Superstitious”?

    - Norm
  115. 115.

    Hey Mike – we’ll see.

    - Jim Maron
  116. 116.

    No insult taken Mike; but I must admit, that I do enjoy a well crafted insult as much as the next guy, possibly even more, particularly when it’s justified.
    I have noticed however, what I believe to be some inconsistency, in what I presume is a strategy to avoid compromising your ‘baseball expert’ credibility status, in the eyes of your fan base, in your caution to avoid being accused of jumping on the Richmond bandwagon too early.
    At one point you wrote;

    “He didn’t pitch that well in the spring, and was in the process of getting lit up when the rain yanked him from his first start this season.”
    [In my opinion, it was quite the reverse, he appeared to be settling down nicely despite the slippery conditions affecting the landing zone of his front foot. The relief corps also had the same problem, and gave up more runs that he had.]

    Then in an answer to Habby, you state,
    “MW: He has yet to have a start when he even blows up a little.”

    To me that’s a contradiction, you can’t have it both ways!

    In reply to the “undrafted” stigma on his pedigree, the fallout from 9/11 resulted in no more visas available for foreign minor leaguers. Every MLB club had already over filled their legal allotment.
    In his draft year at OSU, 16 MLB clubs had shown interest in him, 3 or 4 quite strongly, and in fact the Yankees called him 45mins before the draft, telling him that they wanted to take him in the 4th – 6th rounds, and to stay by the phone. In the interim, they found out he was Canadian, and with no visa available, he was undraftable. Not a talent issue, which so many people just assume. So it was off to the ‘bushes’ till he was ‘discovered,’ and that’s a story in itself.

    As for pedigree, for the most part, I don’t believe that one can have a sport specific pedigree advantage. Athletic pedigree is a general physical genetic prowess, which one may gain from the combination of parental genes. A case in point is Alex Ovechkin; his mother won 20 or so world championships, but none in hockey, but she and his father obviously passed on a very successful combination of genetic material.
    In Scott’s case, both of his brothers have also represented Canada, not on the diamond, but on the rugby field, so the consistency of athletic prowess within the family, suggests the only real definition of pedigree that counts.

    I’d still suggest that you check out Mopupduty.com’s piece on “The case for Scott Richmond.” you might find it quite illuminating.

    MW: I really do love that we’re having this conversation. I’ll say that I disagree with you about the Cleveland start – he went rough inning/good inning/rough inning/good inning/rain. I don’t think I contradicted myself – both statements I made were true. To the “undrafted” question – were no Canadians selected in the 2002 draft? As for pedigree, I didn’t mean genetics.

    - Bob Richmond
  117. 117.

    I think that we were spoled the last few years with all the aces on staff we had.

    Name one of these pitchers that couldn’t ave been a number one pitcher on most teams last year or two years ago: Basically,m when these guys were healthy, all of them could!

    Marcum (1)
    McGowan (1)
    Halladay (1)
    AJ (1)

    We had three number one starters, four if you count AJ!!!!!

    Then, name how many of our pitchers from this year could have been number two’s on most teams on era alone?

    Litsch (historical 3.00 era)
    Purcey (4.00 is pretty good for most Al 2′S)
    Romero (yeah, it’s early, but…)
    Richmond (historical 3.00)

    Then name how many of our fours and fives could be 3′s and 4′s on other teams

    Tallet (4)
    Richmond (3)
    Jannsen (3)

    The truth is, our pitching in previous years was ridiculously good, now it’s just slightly above average when you include the bullpen.

    With the balanced attack we bring at the plate….that means a lot of wins.

    I’ll submit to you we are much closer to contending than you think.

    MW: I’ll submit to you that you’re a “glass 95% full” type. Romero, Richmond and Purcey could have been # 2′s on most teams? Seriously?

    - David Moro
  118. 118.

    Mike:

    The McDonald-Vizquel spot was great. I hope to hear more of that type of thing.

    You said that you though that Vizquel’s comment about watch JMac taking PB was mean. I thought it was part of the joshing and rapport they had going on. Later on, he commented that JMac should make sure his agent doesn’t have him playing behind another Venezuelan.

    JMac’s comments about Scutaro and his work ethic were nice to hear too.

    You down-played your role in this. You did more than just hold the equipment; you made this happen. Kudos.

    MW: Thanks. And I was kidding when I said Vizquel was being mean.

    - Alan the stat geek
  119. 119.

    “If the catcher comes out to try to make the tag on the runner, it’s no pitch.”

    Only if the catcher specifically interferes with the batter by touching him or stepping in front of the plate with the ball, then yes, the umpire calls a balk/interference at there’s no pitch. (Rule 7.07) I agree it’s unlikely that the catcher would sit back and wait to catch the pitch, but he doesn’t have to interfere. In the situation the poster described, the catcher catches the ball normally, and so although the runner reaches home plate, the run does not score because the strikeout ends the inning.

    It’s not unlike the Ron LeFlore incident, when he intentionally let himself be caught stealing home to rattle the pitcher out of appealing that the previous runner had left third base too early. If the pitcher had kept his wits about him and not given in to his instincts, he could have completed the appeal and saved his team a run. In the situation the poster describes, if the catcher had kept his wits about him and let his pitcher throw a strike, he could have saved his team a run.

    MW: Cool story, but the question is moot, isn’t it? There’s no way a batter swings, let alone stays in the box, with his runner trying to steal home.

    - J. B. Rainsberger
  120. 120.

    Hey Mike,
    I was pleased to read that you enjoy that, we’re having this conversation.
    OK, so it seems that not every MLB organization was short on visas, but the ones showing interest in Scott claimed to be.
    Some of the other Canadian’s drafted may have had circumstances which negated the need for visas.
    As for pedigree, I realize that you weren’t talking genetics, but that’s my point, maybe you should have taken it into consideration.
    If college baseball programs figured into your assessment of pedigree, then OSU was no slouch, having won a dozen Big 8 championships or more before entering the Big 12.

    MW: OSU was no slouch indeed. I don’t want to get too deep into this, because it will make it look like I’m running down Scott Richmond, and I don’t want to do that. I really like the guy, and I’m very impressed with how well he has pitched. Still, I stand by my original comments, and I understand why you want to convince me otherwise.

    - Bob Richmond
  121. 121.

    Fair enough Mike. I realize that you’d like the guy to do well, just like a lot of other BJ fans. It’s just fun being a bit of a contrarian and taking a run at somebody else’s viewpoint. A little mental gymnastics to challenge your reasoning processes, and to keep you on your toes.
    You never know just who might be reading this stuff.

    MW: I would hope that the players and their parents are reading this stuff, but I can’t allow that to change my opinion. I don’t write anything here that I wouldn’t say to their faces. I appreciate being kept on my toes, but I deal with more than enough contrarians out here!

    - Bob Richmond
  122. 122.

    Cito Gaston is a direct descendent of Jesus Christos. Recognize MW. Come down from the sabermetric altar of simpletons and see the game within the game.
    As for JP’s building of this team,even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut.
    He’s been here for a long time and this team has never done squat during his tenure. Yeah,he’s fighting with one hand tied (JP does a great job of keeping his other hand tied up voluntarily-who hired Tosca? Gibbons? but the facts are obvious (and backed up statiscally);the Jays have only been good while associated with Cito Gaston. Fact.
    Stats don’t lie right?

    MW: They do if you use them to lie. Cito Gaston has been associated with the Blue Jays from 1982 to the present. So yes, the Jays were no good in the first five years the franchise existed.

    - Tom Tom
  123. 123.

    How long do we have to endure Vernon Inning-killer Wells at clean-up? Time after time his team-mates work pitchers hard to get on base, only to have him swing at the first pitch he sees to pop-up or hit into a DP. Deflating for fans and team alike.

    MW: All season long, I’d say.

    - Shamus
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