Archive for September, 2009
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
12:25 AM Eastern
I’m sure after tonight’s terrific finish (thank you, Shawn Camp), most people will be talking about the fact that Jonathan Papelbon drilled Adam Lind in the 9th inning, but that’s not my major issue with this game.
Lind had a fantastic night, belting three homers – two to dead centre and one off the Pesky Pole in right, and then got hit by Papelbon’s first pitch to him as he came to the plate with two out and nobody on in the 9th. Try as you might – and Papelbon did with his “My bad, man. My bad” comment to Lind as the inning ended – there’s no disguising intent when you hit a guy in that situation. None.
I do hope a significant Red Sock gets drilled tomorrow, but at the appropriate time. I don’t want Roy Halladay getting thrown out of the game in the first inning for putting one in Dustin Pedroia’s or Victor Martinez’ ribcage. Actually, I suggested on The JaysTalk tonight that Camp be given the ball to start tomorrow and that he hit as many Red Sox as he has to in order to get thrown out, and then have Halladay brought in from that point. It won’t happen, but that’d be a lot of fun.
My problem with tonight’s game was the starting line-up. I understand that there are a lot of people who think I criticize Cito Gaston too much, but I defy any of you Cito fans to explain this one.
In what universe is the 2009 version of Kevin Millar EVER an appropriate choice to start a major-league game at third base?
Granted, he had a fine game over there – even made a nifty turn of a double play with the shift on – but, to use one of the greatest journalistic arguments ever, come on. Cito has made himself so deathly afraid of using Lind in left field that he’d rather start Millar at third than put Lind out there, move Travis Snider to right and Jose Bautista to third. I understand why Cito does a lot of the things that he does, though I don’t agree, but I absolutely can’t wrap my head around this one.
I understand last night. Encarnacion got hurt mid-game, Lind was already DHing, Marco Scutaro and Joe Inglett are hurt, there weren’t a lot of options, they were leading 11-3. But tonight? You have got to be kidding me.
You know that Millar will start in the series finale with Tim Wakefield on the mound, given Millar’s .419/.486/.903 mark against Knucksie in 35 career plate appearances. Millar has homered more often off Wakefield than off any other pitcher he’s ever faced. I’m just really, really hoping that with supergroundballer Roy Halladay on the mound, we won’t see Millar at third. Heck, put HIM in left field if you’re so scared of Lind out there. No, wait – don’t.
But the bigger question is – why is Cito so reticent to let Lind play the outfield? He’s not a good outfielder, but he’s not THAT bad. He’s certainly a better left fielder than Millar is a third baseman. And allowing Lind to play some left will let the Jays see if they can go with a Lind/Wells/Snider outfield long-term.
What’s the point of running Jose Bautista out there every night? Sure, the defense is good and the throwing arm is outstanding (as are the seven September homers – a career high for any month) . But if the Jays up the payroll, Bautista’s not going to be the right fielder next year. And if they cut the payroll, Bautista (who is arbitration-eligible and will earn about $3 million next season if tendered a contract) isn’t going to be the right fielder next year. Sure, this 8-1 run is a lot of fun right now, but doesn’t it have to be about 2010 and beyond?
This just adds more fuel to the “Cito must go” fire.
By the way, I couldn’t resist the shot at Camp, who was awful tonight, but let’s not forget that he has had a relatively outstanding season. For a guy who was pretty much the definition of “nothing special, if even that” going into this season, he’s been a big, big part of any limited success the Jays’ pen has had. Going into tonight’s game, Camp had a WHIP of 1.234 and was holding the opposition to a .238/.311/.367 line, which is pretty terrific. Right-handed hitters have barely touched him (.218/.288/333) and he’s gone more than two innings ten times.
As a true long man, he’s been ridiculous. Over those ten outings in which he was asked to pitch more than two innings, he’s thrown a total of 29 innings, allowing three runs on 16 hits, walking five and striking out 23. That’s a 0.93 ERA and a 0.724 WHIP when the team has needed him to suck up some innings.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure (can you believe there are only three or four left?):
Tomorrow night, it’s Halladay against Wakefield. Hopefully, the game presents itself with the opportunity for the Blue Jays to even the score for Lind. Despite what the last caller said, putting the winning run on in the bottom of the 9th via the hit batsman wasn’t the right way to go.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
4:10 PM Eastern
A 6-1 homestand was a fine way to finish up the home schedule, with two walk-offs and an eighth-inning come-from-behind thrown in to boot!
Now all the Jays have to do to avoid a 90-loss season is go 2-4 on their trip through Boston and Baltimore.
I’ll be off tomorrow to observe Yom Kippur, so I point you back to Friday night’s “remodel” post for your comments, with one change – it turns out that while Prince Fielder is under contract for one more year, he’s actually under control for TWO more years, so the rental isn’t as short-term as I’d thought. And that means the price has to go up. And THAT means that instead of Marc Rzepczynski or David Purcey, the Jays will have to put Ricky Romero in that offer in order to secure the Prince.
Here’s Saturday afternoon’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
See you Tuesday! Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
UPDATE – 1:15 PM Eastern
OK, it was really late and I got Cecil Fielder in my head and forgot that Prince hits left. That’s been fixed below, sorry.
1:15 AM Eastern
So I changed my mind.
Earlier this month, I put forth a plan to save the Blue Jays simply by bringing in free agents Chone Figgins and Orlando Hudson and – because the Rogers people seem to want to – Jason Bay. Also trading for J.J. Hardy. But upon further consideration, I have decided that a different course of action would be better.
Now, some would say that that makes me a flip-flopper. There are those who believe that changing one’s mind is an awful thing, that one should make a plan and stick to it. The “where’s the plan” contingent of the Ricciardi haters would be happy now if the left side of the Blue Jays’ infield was still comprised of Russ Adams and Eric Hinske, because that would have been J.P. sticking to his plan. But things change, people change, opportunities arise, you have to be malleable.
And here’s the thing – the Blue Jays, so the rumour mill says, are considering raising payroll for next season in order to try to field a contender. The easy way to use a payroll bump is simply to pour money into free agents, but a better way to go about doing things is to combine that with using the additional monies to pick up established players on other teams whose salaries have become too high for their current teams to bear (or whose salaries might become that high soon). Especially in a thin free-agent market.
Right around the end of July, when the Roy Halladay frenzy was becoming all but unbearable, the story came out that the Seattle Mariners were considering dealing Felix Hernandez and that the Red Sox made a late run at him, but fell short. A couple of days ago, there was another Felix-to-Boston story, this time talking about the Red Sox trying to pick him up in the off-season.
If Felix Hernandez is on the market, he should be the main target in the Blue Jays’ off-season remodel.
I’m thinking you package “local” folk Travis Snider, Scott Richmond and Lyle Overbay (paying some of his freight) and toss in Brett Cecil and an additional prospect-type (Justin Jackson? Brad Mills? Daniel Farquhar? Reider Gonzalez?) to pry King Felix away from the Mariners. That’s one.
Another name being thrown around in such talks is Prince Fielder. You’ve blown away half your farm system already for a King, why not get rid of the other half for a Prince? Now, Fielder plays for the Brewers, and the original Edwin Encarnacion for J.J. Hardy trade I suggested a few weeks back still makes sense, so now you have to open up the package. It now becomes Marc Rzepczynski or David Purcey, Casey Janssen, Edwin Encarnacion and one of those additional prospect pitchers that didn’t move in the Hernandez deal for Fielder, who will be a free agent after 2010, and Hardy, who will be a free agent after 2011. That’s two and three.
It’s a high price to pay, especially for just one year of Fielder, but we have to rehabilitate the image of a franchise, as well, and he’d be a big part of that.
Fielder will make $10.5 million next season. Hernandez is arbitration-eligible for the second time, so the idea would be to try to buy out two years of arb and two years of free agency – he gets offered a four-year deal worth about $52 million. If he accepts, mark him down for $13 million against the 2009 payroll. If he doesn’t, he’ll earn $7-8 mill on a one-year arbitration-avoiding contract. Hardy and Encarnacion are a wash, salary-wise.
Having made a couple of trades, it’s now time to dip a toe or three into the free agent market. Figgins remains a big target, as does Bay. You pull in Chone on a three-year deal for about $25 million, Bay gets four years and $55 million. Having seen the Hernandez and Fielder trades and knowing that the team will sustain a $120 million payroll, Bay would come.
What’s left? Well, there’s no right fielder, nor is there a catcher. Behind the plate is easy, Rod Barajas can play one more year, with the incredibly cheap Kyle Phillips backing him up. Barajas works well with the pitchers, throws and blocks the ball well, and despite his abominable on-base percentage, has some pop from the nine-hole.
As for right field, there are a few ways to go – Buck Coats could get an honest shot at a big-league job (remember, we’re only looking for a guy to hit 7th or 8th). You could go for defense and sign a free agent like Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd or Randy Winn, hoping they’d wind up in centre, pushing Vernon Wells to right. You could go reclamation project and sign Xavier Nady or Rick Ankiel, and of course, Reed Johnson will be a free agent, but I prefer the trade route once again.
I would take a shot at Mark Teahen, who is out of a job with the Kansas City Royals with the return of Alex Gordon and the emergence of Alberto Callaspo. Before the Royals started throwing Teahen all over the field, looking for a place to play him, he had a couple of very nice offensive seasons. He’s a left-handed hitter who will take a walk, who has a bit of pop and who is a tremendous defensive outfielder with a great throwing arm. He’s arbitration-eligible for a third time, and will probably earn close to $5 million next season. I’ll deal Brad Mills for him.
Our shopping list is almost complete – I also want to sign Rich Harden to a low-base, incentive-laden contract to be the 5th starter behind Halladay, Hernandez, Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum. I fully expect him to break at some point, of course, but I’m hoping that by the time he does, either Jesse Litsch or Dustin McGowan will be ready.
The bench is filled out with John McDonald (who comes back because he’ll be guaranteed a chance to actually play once in a while), Randy Ruiz (who plays the Kevin Millar role), Phillips and one of Joe Inglett or Coats. I like the speed of Coats and his outfield defense, but ideally I’d like to find someone to platoon with Teahen, so I might have to keep looking for that 25th man.
With all this done, you’re left with a five-man rotation, as mentioned, of Halladay, Hernandez, Romero, Marcum and Harden, with McGowan, Litsch, Purcey or Rzepczynski, Robert Ray, Fabio Castro, Luis Perez and, later on, Zach Stewart, Chad Jenkins and Henderson Alvarez waiting in the wings. The bullpen has Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Brandon League and Jeremy Accardo at the front (one of them is the closer) and three of Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Brian Tallet, Josh Roenicke, Brian Wolfe and Dirk Hayhurst with the rest of them waiting in the wings.
The farm system has had a chunk removed but is hardly destroyed.
As for the line-up – Figgins, Hill, Lind, Bay, Fielder, Wells, Teahen, Hardy, Barajas is pretty solid. I’d rather have overpaid for Justin Morneau than for Fielder, but I’m guessing the Twins see him as an almost unmoveable piece as they go to the new ballpark and try to extend Joe Mauer.
Your total payroll? Glad you asked: For the 25-man roster mentioned above……..$119.5 million. I saved yo half a mill, you’re welcome.
Of course, I would want my team to go out there every night with the best possible chance to win each game. That means bringing in a new manager.
Tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk was a good one – we were visited by the Jays’ first-round pick this past June, Chad Jenkins, as well as short-season A-ball MVP Sean Ochinko. They hung around for a bit and the phones were solid before and after. Here it is, for your listening pleasure:
And since I missed Thursday night’s, here it is:
Make sure you tune in Saturday for the pre-game show (and the pre-pre-game). During the network portion of the broadcast, I’ll have an extended sitdown with Vernon Wells to talk about his year and everything that’s gone on with him. For the noon pre-pre only on the Fan590 and this very website, I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do, but I may reveal the winners of the post-season awards for the ’09 Jays, voted on by the players, coaches and front office staff. And hopefully interview some of those winners.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
11:40 AM Eastern
In a sense, it’s hard to believe that the Jays hadn’t swept a series since they went to Philly in the middle of June (the series that featured Marco Scutaro’s great steal of second on a walk), but in another sense, it’s not – seeing as the Blue Jays have been the worst team in the American League since then.
Still, it was nice to see them sweep the Orioles out of town, and in so doing assuring themselves of a winning record at home this year – one more highlight in what’s been a lost season in an overall sense.
The lack of interest continues, of course, mostly due to directional wheel-spinning. No one is going to get excited about anything until somebody upstairs tells us how they want to go about putting together a team for 2010 and beyond. There are plenty of rumours flying around, and we’ve touched on the idea that payroll may be raised, but the question is what to do with a raised payroll – spend it on free agents who are on the wrong side of 30 or use it to greater benefit? Tonight – prior to a weekend that will lack bloggage – I’ll take a deeper look into what the Jays could do beyond the Figgins/Hudson/Bay postulate.
For now, here’s last night’s edition of The JaysTalk for your listening pleasure:
Tonight – the beginning of Ken Griffey, Jr.’s last appearance at Rogers Centre! Tomorrow night – a good chance of it being Roy Halladay’s last home start as a Blue Jay!
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
11:15 PM Eastern
Hard to believe, isn’t it? This was the seventh walk-off win for the Jays this season (although it was only the third since the halcyon days of 27-14) and who better to walk it off than Aaron Hill, with RBI number 100?
Hill had homered earlier to get number 99, but struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th when almost any kind of contact would have won the game, so it was sweet redemption for him in his next at-bat. I didn’t actually think he’d get a chance to get that next at-bat, though – I thought John McDonald had won the game with his little looper over first with the bases loaded in the 10th, but it just didn’t carry enough to get over Michael Aubrey.
Edwin Encarnacion looked pretty good out of the third-hole, too, belting a pair of homers – neither one a cheapie. Eddie has really started to turn it on since coming off the disabled list, and I think he’d be changing the minds of a lot of people who wanted to ride him out of town on a rail after his first couple of weeks here, if any of them were still paying attention.
The Jays are now 7-1 against the Orioles at home this season and 1-5 against them in Baltimore. Go figure. They’re also now 3-67 when trailing after eight innings.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure – The Fan590′s own Eric Smith stopped by and we had a lovely chat, while also taking some calls. Enjoy:
Tomorrow night: Brooms! And who knows, maybe 12,000 spectators!
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
10:50 PM Eastern
It’s amazing what the Blue Jays can accomplish when they’re not playing a team that’s in a playoff race. Stack the Jays up against another second-division team and wondrousness occurs. With the only goal remaining in this season being to avoid 90 losses, the Jays improved to 26-18 against the current under-.500s of the American League. Hey – that works out to 96 wins over 162 games. Yee-ha.
Randy Ruiz was MIA again today – Cito Gaston said over the weekend that Adam Lind’s shin is still sore from being hit by a pitch in the first game of the just-concluded nine-game road trip, so Lind can’t play the outfield, which means Ruiz can’t play. I’m not sure about the whole Snider-as-the-left-fielder thing anymore, since he played right field in T-Bay on Saturday night.
I just think it’s incumbent upon the Jays to get as long a look as possible at Ruiz while they have the chance in a series of meaningless games from now to the end of the season. How can you know he can’t do the job when he’s never shown he can’t do the job? I get that Jose Bautista has a really good arm and stuff – he does, and he’s a ton of fun to watch in right field, but a team with aspirations to contend for a championship does not have Jose Bautista playing right field every day. I have my doubts that he’s even tendered a contract this winter.
It’s too bad that Ruiz doesn’t play shortstop or the outfield, what with Marco Scutaro and Joe Inglett both likely shelved for the rest of the season – Inglett with an oblique thing and Scoot with an exploded heel.
David Purcey looked terrific tonight, holding down an Orioles team that’s even more dead in the water than the Blue Jays are. He clearly ran out of gas with two outs in the 8th when he walked Cesar Izturis – a man to whom I think even I would have a hard time issuing a base on balls. To me, that was it, but Cito gave him two more hitters, then yanked him before he had a chance to take the loss should the game have gotten away. Congrats to Purcey for win number one on the season – he’s definitely in the running for a spot in the rotation next year.
Kyle Phillips showed something as well tonight. After getting nailed in the family jewels in the first inning and living to tell about it, Phillips made a terrific throw to get the extremely quick Izturis trying to steal second in the third. If he can hit – and early indications seem to be that he can – maybe the Jays have something here.
Travis Snider’s two-run single in the 8th was big for him, and for those of you who feel that Vernon Wells doesn’t show enough emotion on the field – check out his reaction when Brian O’Nora called him out at first on a throw that he beat. Not enough to get him tossed again, but something for those of you who want something.
Here’s tonight’s MNF-shortened edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Friday, September 18th, 2009
5:57 PM Eastern
Before the sun sets on 5769 and I take the weekend off to observe Rosh Hashanah with family and friends, I figured I should throw a blog post up here both to give you Wednesday night’s edition of The JaysTalk and to discuss something that’s been bothering me about the way this September has come together for your Toronto Blue Jays.
First off, the Wednesday JaysTalk didn’t show up yesterday because yesterday was The Billie’s 8th birthday, and we took her and some of her little friends out to the great Charles E. Cheese’s Restaurantic Emporium. This time, sadly, Lennox Lewis didn’t show.
This weekend, the Jays are in Tampa to face the free-falling Rays, who have gone ahead and proven my point about the American League East. There’s no question that the Rays are a good, young team. In fact, they’re probably one of the best teams in all of baseball (much like, stunningly, the Blue Jays were last year). And yet, sitting in the American League East, there the Rays are – 20 full games out of first place and 13 games out of the wild card. They can’t get close to the Beasts either.
If the Jays can pull off the unlikely sweep this weekend, they’ll knock T-Bay under the .500 mark. I’m still waiting for the apologies for all those who ripped me earlier in the season for my 78-win prediction for the Tampas, by the way. It appears as though I may only be off be a game or three. And even an 82-84 win season for the Rays would, in fact, be a precipitous drop-off from last season.
Anyway, onto the curious case of RRR. That would be, of course, Randy Radames Ruiz, the Blue Jays’ missing DH-of-the-future.
All Ruiz has done since the Jays called him up in mid-August is hit. He has only had 100 plate appearances, I’ll grant you, but over that time he has amassed a line of .276/.360/.529. He’s second on the team in OPS, trailing only Adam Lind. His seven homers and 14 RBIs in 24 games put him on a 162-game pace for 47 bombs and 95 “steaks”. Now, of course, no one actually believes that Ruiz will be able to make those numbers, but why not give him a look until he proves he’s not up to the task?
And yet, he hasn’t played since last Saturday – it’s been a week off. Unless he’s hurt, and if he is, they’re not telling us, this is absolutely preposterous.
The reason that Ruiz hasn’t played in a week is that, slightly prior to that week, Cito Gaston decided that Travis Snider was better-suited to play left field than to play right field. If Snider is in left, then Adam Lind has to DH, and if Lind has to DH, then there’s nowhere for Ruiz to play.
It seems as though Gaston would rather have Jose Bautista playing right field than have the combination of Ruiz’ bat at DH and Lind and Snider’s gloves in right. To me, this is wrong-headed. It’s not about winning games in September (and who’s to say that having Bautista in right over the other option is more conducive to winning anyway). What it’s about is setting up the team for 2010 and beyond.
Snider may not have a terrific arm, but we’ve seen him throw better than what he’s shown the last month. He can handle right field enough to play there the rest of this year so the Jays can give Ruiz a shot DHing every day, which they should really, really want to do.
Also, if it’s true that Jason Bay will be a major target of the Jays this off-season, as has been rumoured, then where are they going to put him? Bay isn’t a right fielder, and one would think that one of the reasons to add him would be to have a power-packed middle of the line-up along with Lind, Snider, Aaron Hill and (keep your fingers crossed) Vernon Wells.
The way they’ve gone about things this last week doesn’t appear to make any sense, and here’s hoping they fix that as we head into the final fortnight of the season.
As promised, here’s that Wednesday night edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome! A happy, healthy New Year to those of you who are celebrating! See you Monday!
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
1:05 AM Eastern
It seems as though the Blue Jays’ hitters have been abused by the opposition most of this season without even a hint of retaliation, but that finally stopped tonight when Jesse Carlson threw behind the rear end of Jorge Posada in the 8th inning after two more Blue Jays had reached first base the hard way.
The fact that the Jays’ retaliation for hit batsmen didn’t actually involve a pitch that hit anybody is pretty much par for the course for what’s gone on this season, but at least they tried.
Leave it to the man from New Britain, CT to make things happen, and leave it to Posada and his Yankeefied sense of entitlement to get so out of sorts that he took a few steps towards Carlson after the pitch, then elbowed him going by as he scored on a Brett Gardner double.
Seriously, and you wonder why the Yankees inspire so much hate? They hit two Blue Jays, after having hit a Jay IN THE FACE the last time the two teams played, and Jorge Posada – a 13-year veteran who has seen plenty of baseball’s give-and-take – reacts like a high school bully to a pitch that wasn’t even ribcage-high? Please. Wouldn’t want to offend the delicate genius.
Good for Scott Richmond, for throwing himself right in there, and better for Rod Barajas, who was an absolute maniac.
I know we’ll hear things about “coming together” and “character-building” and team unity and all that, but I don’t believe that this was the event that will make all these guys see how much they need to band together and form that “us against the world” attitude that will lead them to a championship season next year. I do think, though, that it was nice to see them not take it lying down again. Hopefully they do the same thing the next time one of theirs gets drilled.
I expect Posada to get a five-game suspension that he’ll appeal down to two or three, using the backwards logic that one of tonight’s callers to The JaysTalk used – “Carlson was at home plate, so he was provoking”. What an enormous load of crap. Sure, Carlson shouldn’t have been as close to the plate as he was, but saying that act means Jesse “started it” is like saying that it’s OK to pound on a guy because he looked at you.
It was nice to see a couple of second-deck bombs by Travis Snider, and also good to see Edwin Encarnacion’s second home run in as many games. Are people starting to think that maybe this guy is worth a look now?
Here’s tonight’s editon of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
And, as promised yesterday, here’s Saturday night’s:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Monday, September 14th, 2009
11:15 PM Eastern
Wow, I just looked at this thing and noticed that I haven’t posted anything since Wednesday night’s “Worst Crowd Ever” evening at Rogers Centre. Sorry about that, but I’ve at least been answering comments every day – and a lot of times that stuff is better than an actual post.
So the Blue Jays’ defense betrayed them tonight – Marco Scutaro made an error in the 9th and another in the 10th, each of which led to an unearned run in yet another one-run loss in a season that has seemed full of them. The Jays are now 17-25 in one-run games, so almost a third of their 79 losses this season have been by the slimmest of margins. The White Sox (18-25) and Diamondbacks (20-25 going into tonight) are the only other teams in the bigs with as many one-run losses, and they both have a better winning percentage in such games.
Stunningly, the Seattle Mariners have the most one-run wins in the major leagues this season – they’re 29-17 – and yet they have the worst batting average, on-base percentage and OPS with runners in scoring position in the bigs. Explain that.
Anyway, the Blue Jays were officially mathematically eliminated from the post-season race with tonight’s loss, which brings up a rather interesting question. Can a team be unofficially mathematically eliminated? Or better yet – now that there’s no longer even the faintest amount of hope for any kind of run this year, can the Jays now turn their focus to next season enough that they might actually give people a hint as to how they plan on attacking 2010 and beyond?
The answer is yes and no. I’m sure they know – Paul Beeston gave a hint last week that all will be revealed “in short order” – but they’re probably not going to tell us until the season is over.
So David Purcey looked pretty good tonight after that horrific start to his outing. He gave up a home run down the left-field line to Ryan Raburn to lead things off, then walked the next two and it seemed as though a meltdown was imminent. But he struck out the incredibly dangerous Miguel Cabrera (.331/.464/.512 vs LHP) and that seemed to put some wind in his sails. Purcey went on to retire nine of the next ten Tigers he faced, and wound up with a solid line of 5 2/3 innings, four hits, one run, two walks and four strikeouts following those first three hitters.
He’ll get another start or three as he attempts to put himself back into the picture for a spot in next year’s rotation.
Congratulations to Adam Lind on hitting the 100-RBI plateau with his three-run, opposite-field bomb in the 6th inning that gave the Jays the lead that Aubrey Huff would eventually take away. I know that RBIs have far more to do with opportunity and with teammates than anything else, but to pick up a hundred in a season, especially in one’s first full season in the major leagues, is most assuredly worthy of a mazel tov. So mazel tov, Adam, to you and yours.
Vernon Wells got run from this game in that five-run 6th inning by first-base umpire Mark Wegner. Wegner had blown a call in the bottom of the 5th, calling Tigers’ catcher Gerald Laird safe as he slid into first base, failing to beat Edwin Encarnacion’s throw after an INCREDIBLE defensive play in which EE snared a hot shot down the third-base line in foul territory with a full-out dive to his right, then threw from his knees across the diamond. Cito Gaston came out and rather cordially let Wegner have it.
In the 6th, Wells was on first on his second hit of the night, and jogged back to the base on a light pick-off throw by Justin Verlander. Miguel Cabrera made a hard tag, though, and may have pushed Wells’ foot off the bag – Wegner called him out. I didn’t see Wells’ reaction, but he seemed to be rather calm in his disagreement. Still, Vernon must have said something, because Wegner threw him out of the game. As he ejected Public Enemy Number Two of most Blue Jays’ fans, Wegner said (you can read his lips if you watch a replay): “You’re gone. Boom.” He actually said the word “Boom”. Seriously. This is a major-league umpire.
Wells, by the way, seems to finally be raising his offensive game. It started with his three-hit game in the finale against the Yankees last Sunday. Over his last nine games, Wells is hitting .517/.559/.690. It’s about time.
So I guess I owe you some JaysTalks for your listening pleasure, huh?
OK, let’s start with tonight’s epic four minutes, thanks to us having to go to NFL Football:
Now here’s Sunday afternoon’s show:
Here’s Saturday night’s show:
Here’s Friday night’s show:
And finally, Thursday afternoon (the trees are drawing me near, I’ve got to find out why):
OK, that should hold you for a while! And yes, I know I’m a couple of days off with the Moody Blues thing, it just felt right.
Tomorrow, the first of two against the Yankees and Sergio Mitre, the guy the Jays pounded for 11 runs in 4 1/3 innings the last time they faced him. Please join us at 7:00 PM Eastern for a 7:10 first pitch. Roy Halladay will start for the Jays – I guess because they want to make sure they throw their best at the league’s best. It’s too bad – since Halladay came off the DL at the end of June, he’s made 14 starts and 11 of them have been against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays (back when they were good). The guy could really use a break.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
10:50 PM Eastern
The smallest baseball crowd in SkyDome/Rogers Centre history showed up tonight to watch Roy Halladay pitch for the Blue Jays.
It’s sad that even in the aftermath of the strike, even with the craptacular squads the Blue Jays fielded in ugly seasons such as 1995, ’96, ’97 and 2004 – THIS was the night when everyone decided that enough was enough and that they weren’t going to head down to the ballpark anymore.
OK, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but 11,159 is pretty ugly. However, aside from the presence of Harry Leroy Halladay III, I can’t really blame people for staying away.
The Blue Jays have been one of the worst teams in baseball since mid-May. They haven’t even strung together back-to-back wins in over a month, and they didn’t give the dyingest of die-hards something to which to look forward by giving a September call-up to a Brian Dopirak, a J.P. Arencibia, a Fabio Castro or even a Bill Murphy – just so Cito Gaston doesn’t kill Jesse Carlson between now and the season’s last game.
Randy Ruiz wasn’t in the line-up again – he’s only played in six of the Jays’ last 13 games, which brings to mind a question: Why the hell is Randy Ruiz here? I kind of thought it was to see if he could hit in the major leagues, to find out if he might be a guy who could help out the team in the future. Evidently, it turns out he’s here only to give Kevin Millar the occasional day off. Granted, ONE of those days off came after Ruiz got drilled in the mouth by Tosh Jowers on the weekend, but only one.
Travis Snider was going to play every day upon his recall, remember? That’s what teams that are dead in the water, standings-wise, do with their top kids. But now Snider is sitting against lefties again.
Evidently, Cito Gaston is ignoring the entreaties from those above him, and I’m not sure why. It’s not as though it honestly matters whether the Blue Jays win 65 games or 70 – certainly not as much as it matters that Snider and Ruiz get some quality at-bats, Adam Lind gets some work in the outfield, and Millar gets some work on his cheering from the bench as opposed to first base.
Above all else, of course, this team is rudderless. No established direction and no permanent president to set one. It seems to a lot of fans as though ownership doesn’t care, so why should they?
I found out something today that I didn’t know about Randy Ruiz, and it gives a hint, perhaps, as to why he has led such a nomadic existence in professional ball – working in what’s now his 9th organization. In his minor league days, Ruiz was twice suspended for steroid use. I report this not as any sort of condemnation of Ruiz in particular – I think he was just unfortunate to get caught, as opposed to being the only one doing any kind of bad stuff – but just because it was something I didn’t know (or had forgotten), so I thought you might want to know, too.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
And, since I owe you one, here’s Tuesday night’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Tomorrow, remember to tune in to Baseball Today at noon Eastern – Shi Davidi and I double-teamed Justin Morneau, and you’ll hear that interview. Also, Twins’ beat writer Kelly Thieser of mlb.com will join me. It’s the penultimate edition of The Baseball Today, and Friday’s finale will feature A.L. Should-Be-MVP Joe Mauer along with a talk with Justin Huber about baseball down under and Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!