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:

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Now here’s Sunday afternoon’s show:

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Here’s Saturday night’s show:

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Here’s Friday night’s show:

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And finally, Thursday afternoon (the trees are drawing me near, I’ve got to find out why):

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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!

27 Responses to “It’s Over”
  1. 1.

    [Seattle has] the worst batting average, on-base percentage and OPS with runners in scoring position in the bigs. Explain that.

    Easy!

    It’s dumb luck. We’ve studied this very issue over and over at Da Box. Teams that are good in one-run games have nothing in common with each other. Same thing applies to teams that are bad in one-run games. A good bullpen, for example, is no guarantee that you’ll have a good record in close games. A bad bullpen is no guarantee you’ll have a bad one.

    When the game is close, the impact of random chance is large enough to overcome the impact of overall quality. You simply can’t win a lot of blowouts by being lucky – that’s a mark of quality – but you can certainly win a lot of close games. Happens to somebody every year.

    All of which means that the Mariners are nowhere near as good as their record suggests. And nowhere near as good as they probably think they are.

    MW: It’s as good an explanation as any. I know that one-run records have more to do than dumb luck than anything else, but I would have thought that there were correlations with stuff like bullpens and RISP.

    - Daniel McIlroy
  2. 2.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    A few months ago a Globe & Mail writer — it wasn’t Blair or Macleod, and I don’t care to search for the name, so you’ll just have to trust me that this person exists — wrote a piece about how something has been ‘missing’ from Blue Jays’ TV broadcasts, in relation to the quality of the commentary. It named names, and I won’t name the names that it named out of respect for your policy of not naming names when it comes to people not here to defend themselves after their names have been named.

    Anyways, speaking of naming names, how do you feel about that kind of a column, from a journalistic standpoint? I know the Toth thing with you was a bit different since he was being petty rather than substantive, but do you feel there is any place in journalism — or any form of commentary — for that kind of objective, fact/reason based criticism, when it comes to reporters?

    I know the person who was named (when the guy was naming names, names which I won’t name) isn’t a ‘journalist’ per se, but he does fall under the category of people whom you do not allow callers to criticize.

    MW: That was Bruce Dowbiggin’s column in the Globe that you read a couple of months back, and there are media columnists whose job it is to criticize others in the media.

    - Kevin D
  3. 3.

    Mike, who do you think the closer will be next year for the club? I think Downs is far more effective as the 8th-inning man, and that the closer job will be between Accardo and Frasor. I mean, Accardo saved 30 games two years ago and he hasn’t pitched that badly this year, considering his yo-yo status between here and Las Vegas. Would League merit consideration for the job as well? They’re all pretty good arms in this lot, whom do you think will win out in the closer’s role for 2010?

    MW: I don’t know who will win out. I think I’d be pretty happy with any of Frasor, Downs, Accardo or League as the closer next season.

    - Jonah
  4. 4.

    Hang in there for the rest of the season Mike, could get ugly in some of these games.

    One of Bill James’ ideas was that a starting pitcher should never be given up on until they are tried in relief (and sometimes vice-versa, but not often).
    I don’t know if Purcey is one of those guys, but I hope the Jays are careful about potentially tossing him aside.
    Speaking of which, how’s the rolling of the dice on Bryan Bullington coming along? Is he officially just another AAA filler guy now?

    MW: Bullington’s numbers in Vegas weren’t bad this season, but he missed the last two months with a wrist injury. He’s a depth arm, with a chance – I guess – to be more than that.

    - Wil
  5. 5.

    Hey Mike

    In light of people freaking out over the 11k crowds at the RC last week, just thought I’d pass on some other attendance figures from tonight:

    Texas drew 13,600 (in a playoff race!)
    Baltimore drew 10,600
    Cincinnati drew 9,852.

    At least the Jays aren’t the only team pulling in some brutal crowds.

    - James H
  6. 6.

    Hi Mike
    Just wondering if Marco Scutaro is becoming worn down from being an everyday player this late in the year? I don’t wish to bash him after what happened on Monday nite, but I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will. I was at the game on Sunday(Comerica Park is nice)and I’m not sure what inning it was, but there were runners on 1st & 3rd with 1 out and Gerald Laird hits a soft looper in front of him and he goes to the plate to get the runner. With the catcher running, I believe he had more than enough time to turn the double play & get out of the inning. I get that it’s been a long season but it just seems like he’s not there mentally right now.

    MW: Scutaro has definitely been off mentally compared to the way he played the first five months of the season. I wonder if it has to do as much with him wearing down as it has to do with the ball he took in the melon in Boston.

    - jeff
  7. 7.

    Mike, I saw a comment asking about the jays talk as a podcast. Here is how to get it,
    go to the link “Click here to subscribe to Wilner’s blog.“ on the right hand side of this page, when there click “Add to iTunes.“

    - Skye
  8. 8.

    Mike, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the blog, and all of the comments, but I rely on the post of the show to get me through the first hour of my morning. Please do not make me wait so long between Jays Talks.

    MW: Fair enough.

    - Darryl
  9. 9.

    Laird was clearly out and that call cost the Jays the game. Couldn’t tell if Wells was off the bag or not from replay … but if not, that call also cost the Jays the game.
    I try to be objective about it and pay close attention to replays but the Jays seem to be victims of many bad calls and rarely (although it happens) gain from one. Why is that?

    MW: The home run by Aubrey Huff and two walks by Brian Wolfe in the 10th cost the Jays the game. It’s not that the Jays have far more bad calls go against them then go in their favour, it’s just that that’s what you remember. And they got a big call go their way tonight against the Yankees – Alex Rodriguez was probably safe at the plate in the 3rd.

    - Norm G.
  10. 10.

    Great synopsis.

    There were a lot of gaffes by the Jays, including Snyder’s missed fly ball which luckily didn’t amount to anything.

    I think playing on grass in the rain maybe made the ball particularly slippery. Maybe Scutaro should practice a bit in the rain. The error in the 9th I think was his brain thinking quicker than his glove because he just plain missed it. Detroit made a few klutzy plays too.

    I really am not too disappointed in the results of the game. Now that the jays are officially mathematically eliminated (I guess it’s official when the math is verified by someone “official” like an MLB statistician or something instead of my kid yelling at the TV “they’re done”.

    At this point in the season, it’s about individual performances. I agree with you on all points: Vernon’s seeing the ball; Hill’s playing great; Lind’s having a fantastic, great year. Scutaro blew the game last night and it would have been very nice for the team and Purcey to get the win.

    I loved Snyder’s effort to catch the ball in the stands. Surely that will go on a blooper reel but the kid has alot of heart.

    The 1B ump missed a couple of calls last night, one which may have ended a rally and the other one which resulted in a run for Detroit.

    - Tim
  11. 11.

    I didn’t see them, but when I heard that Scutaro made errors in the 9th and 10th, I immediately wondered if he is just flat out tired. Playing a full season of winter ball, and the most games he has played in a season.

    You know that Wells heating up now will just add fuel to the fire that he can’t produce in pressure, right?

    Lind and Hill to get 30-100 would be nice to build on for next year. A couple of Joe Cartereque seasons.

    Any of the pitchers who were shutdown early this year also going to be shut down early next year?

    MW: Hill’s season is definitely Joe Carteresque. As for Lind, Carter would have loved to have had a year like Lind is having at any point in his career. They’ll probably keep a bit of an eye on Rzepczynski and Cecil next year, too. They’re likely to be shut down around 180 innings.

    - Aaron Ker
  12. 12.

    michael,
    have to tell you… regardless of whether this team is in a playoff race or not, i still find it very distressing to watch them lose a game in that fashion.
    especially when a normally rock solid guy like scutaro gets dinged twice in the 9th & 10th inning no less. very unfortunate for him & the team.
    for me, if they were playing a team (not in the post season picture as well) i’m quite sure i wouldn’t care nearly as much.
    but when it’s a team still vying for an october appearance & the game & result has real consequences.. well it’s just bothersome at least a bit anyway.
    but how about purcey michael?
    what do you think? it does seem control is always going to be a thing he’ll struggle with to at least some degree as he marches on but man does he ever have a nice arm & stuff when he’s on top of things.
    a 6’5 lefty, still in his 20′s, that throws the fast one in the mid 90′s & a pretty decent off speed 2nd pitch.
    if i have any kind of say in this organization, i’m still running him out there with the hopes it one day just clicks in for him. i still like the raw potential he shows very much.
    and you? with all the other young promising hopefuls this gm & organization has gathered over the last 5 yrs. or so, are you bullish (hot) or bullish (luke warm) on this young man? just curious…

    MW: I think out of the many promising young arms the Blue Jays have in their organization, Purcey’s is definitely one of them. Someday he may find his control, and when he does, it’d be great for the Jays if they still had him.

    - darrell bishop
  13. 13.

    We should give Frasor a break for this outing. The scutaro error started it , that caused Overbay to hold the runner and an easy grounded would have given him 2 out before the Huff homer. Ron

    - Ron Linklater
  14. 14.

    I thought Wegner was pretty out of line. Laird being out wasn’t particularly close from an observational standpoint, and he bounced Wells after virtually the first words Wells said. Unless Wells, to quote Bull Durham, used the word that you should never call an umpire, I think it seemed like an overreaction.

    - B Telfer
  15. 15.

    Mike what are the chances of aaron hill winning a gold glove this year? I was gunna ask about scoots too butttt….

    MW: But two errors in one game means he’s out of it? I don’t think either one of them has much of a chance at a Gold Glove. Neither of them is established enough or has enough of a defensive reputation.

    - nick
  16. 16.

    First of all, the Seattle Mariners situation or record in one run games is quite explainable. They are a horrible offensive team but they also have the best ERA in the American leagues. They had 65 save opportunities (the most in the American League) which means they were ahead late in games by a small margin (no offense) a lot of times. If you add in the fact that David Aaardsma and Brandon Morrow are a combined 40 of 46 in save situations and that translates into a lot of one run wins.
    I don’t want to pick on Marco Scutaro but logic tells me when you are ahead late in a game (especially up by 3) you want your best defensive team on the field in their best defensive positions. John McDonald is clearly a better defensive player than Scutaro with a lot more range so why wasn’t he at short and either have Scutaro or Inglett in left. This is all hindsight of course but it makes a lot of sense. All of this wouldn’t matter of course if the Jays had a true top closer as the outcome wouldn’t have come down to missed grounder here or there.

    MW: Going into last night, Jason Frasor’s numbers this season were right there with any “top closer”. So, for 143 games you don’t bring McDonald in late in close games, but you do it last night? As to the first part of your comment, the 2008 Blue Jays had the best ERA in the major leagues and no offense and B.J. Ryan and Jeremy Accardo were a combined 36 for 41 in save situations, but the Jays went 24-32 in one-run games.

    - mike glatt
  17. 17.

    Michael,

    Troy Tulowitzki, has had quite the resurgence this season, posting three consecutive months with an OPS above a thousand, and helping his team make a serious run at the post-season.

    Do you think he’s genuinely a star player who’s now found his groove, or do you think he’s going to be up and down his whole career?

    MW: I think it’s too early to tell. He’s gone great year-awful year-great year.

    - Uncle Ben
  18. 18.

    Michael,

    It seems like Cito is sneaking Wells back into the cleanup spot. Although Wells is hitting much better this month he’s still not hitting for power. (429 SLG%)

    It’s too bad Cito won’t give Ruiz a chance to hit 4th, and thereby have three consecutive guys in the lineup slugging at or near .500.

    Actually, it’s just too bad Cito won’t give Ruiz a chance to hit.

    MW: The fact that Cito has decided that Snider is the left fielder means that Ruiz is nailed to the bench. It’s pretty ridiculous.

    - Uncle Ben
  19. 19.

    Michael,

    Arnsberg and Butterfield have done excellent work in their respective jobs, has there ever been any discussion or desire on their part to manage in MLB, perhaps with the Jays?

    MW: I know Butterfield would love to manage in the majors, I have never talked to Arnsberg about it, though.

    - Uncle Ben
  20. 20.

    Damn, now I have to go hunt down ‘Days of Future Past’ to get that song out of my head.

    The gentle voices I hear explain it all with a sigh (……. eye-eye …… eye-eye …… eye-eye …… eye-eye).

    Enough.

    - jws
  21. 21.

    Mike….Loved your Moody Blues play on words. Brilliant band, seen them 10 times and got to shake hands with THE MAN Justin Hayward. I hope your Rolling Stones collection doesn’t include “Ruby Thursday” or I’ll have to send you a working calendar…Back to baseball..What’s the reasoning behind the rule why a division winner with the best record can’t play the wild card if they come from the same division?..Sorry if that’s been asked before and keep those musical references coming Mike…always witty and refreshing to us music buffs.

    MW: Thank you! I think the reason is because the NFL doesn’t let wild cards play teams in their own division in the first round, or at least they didn’t.

    - chris m.
  22. 22.

    What is it with David Purcey?..He is 28 yrs old..Not really a rookie in the sense of age..Drafted 3 times..Mariners, Yanks and finally the Jays..He did play in the big 12 at the University of Oklahoma for 3 years but even there in the Jays’ draft year he led the league in walks with 54..

    I guess what I’m saying is why was he drafted in the first round (17th overall)?His numbers were decent that season but not worthy of a first rounder…Houston Street and J.P Howell were the best pitchers in the Big 12 in 2004 and the Jays picked Purcey ahead of J.P Howell and Zack Jackson and Purcey ahead of Houston Street..

    How many more years do you think the Jays will invest in Purcey?..He is showing the same problems as he has since College 5 yrs ago..His numbers aren’t exactly flattering throughout the minors save 2008..

    MW: Purcey has fantastic stuff, as evidenced by a couple of his starts last season, and that tends to be what gets scouts excited, rather than just the college numbers. The Jays have Purcey under control for another six years, so he’ll get plenty of chances.

    - ray b
  23. 23.

    hey mike please switch the feed over to the post game right after the game. i notice it takes like 10-15 minutes sometimes if you guys forget!

    Thanks!

    MW: Sorry about that.

    - Jamie T
  24. 24.

    Have to vent somewhere…….

    Just need to say I am embarassed for Jorge Posada and have zero respect for what he did. Often someone’s true colours come out in tense situations and his showed tonight. Anyone in baseball or around the game knows that after Ruiz getting hit in the face and Hill getting drilled tonight, something would be coming back the Yankees way….I commend Carlson for standing up for his teammates (as did Jerry and Alan on the broadcast)…..and I am not saying Posada has to enjoy getting hit (which didn’t even happen), but take your lumps, get down to first and move on. Throwing an elbow at Carlson after he crossed the plate is one of the more chickens**t things I have ever seen…..I know he is and has been a great catcher, but that just doesn’t fly with me (and I hope with you, Mike).

    - sam
  25. 25.

    Hey Mike, Thank you for keeping the blog going when now more than ever Jays fans need it in times of uncertain future. Especially in a city like Toronto where it is dominated by hockey. Speaking of which good job on OTR. I liked your hockey sense. To bad you weren’t there to talk about a Jays pennant run. Next year.

    Who are some of the candidates that Rogers and Paul Beeston are looking at to replace Beeston? I am not one of those that thinks the Jays will be sold and moved by Rogers. Nadir Mohamed has stated many times that Rogers has absolutely no interest in selling the team and I take his word for it. Am I foolishly optimistic to trust him when he says the team will stay in Toronto? What do you think the future of the Jays in Toronto is like?

    MW: I think the future of the Jays in Toronto could be very strong, if ownership gives the team a real chance to succeed. I don’t know who the leading candidates are to replace Beeston, they’re being really tight-lipped. I hope one of them is me, but I don’t think that’s too realistic.

    - Richie
  26. 26.

    Yes I agree Purcey has great stuff but so did Kris Benson..Purcey’s problem isn’t his stuff its his focus..He completely loses it at times..How do you fix that?..Arnsberg can only do so much..

    I’m not saying to send this guy packing but don’t depend on him becoming a legit starter in the rotation next season or any season for that matter..

    If you look at the stats in 2004, Purcey was a distant 3rd behind Howell and Street..Both of those guys are doing pretty well in MLB while Purcey isn’t..Just don’t understand why they take this guy over Howell..Howell led the big 12 in SO that year while Purcey led in walks..

    MW: I’ll ask the scouting staff, there had to be something they liked about Purcey more, and it wasn’t money. I wasn’t saying they should depend on him, either, though.

    - ray b
  27. 27.

    Mr.Wilner,
    I heard your show on 590 on Monday and you mentioned the interview with Alex Rios during spring training “10 questions”. I wonder if you could tell me where I could hear it, I have searched all over the website but cannot find it.
    Thank you.
    (I am a huge Blue Jays fan)

    Judy

    MW: It’s in the Audio section of this very website – The Blue Jays This Week from this Sunday.

    - Judy Dean
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