9:40 AM Eastern
Before we get to the post, your daily reminder to PLEASE go vote Tom Cheek for the Ford C. Frick Award! You have to be a member of facebook, unfortunately, but there’s a link on the front page of this very website, and here’s another one – www.facebook.com/baseballhall. The vote totals weren’t as strong this weekend as they had been previously, so please get back in there and get voting!
Also, please join the facebook group “Send Tom Cheek to Cooperstown” for a daily reminder from me right to your facebook wall. The response has been overwhelming to this point, but we need to keep pushing hard so that the Frick voters understand just how much Tom meant, and continues to mean, to all of us, and just how much he deserves this long-overdue honour.
Now then………….I don’t work on the High Holy Days and, in what I’m assuming is a tribute to all their Jewish fans, the Blue Jays have chosen not to go to work on the days after the High Holy Days. I came back after Rosh Hashanah to see the Blue Jays get thumped 13-1 by Tampa Bay, and after they beat the Red Sox twice on Yom Kippur, I came back to see them get blanked 6-0 in the series finale, snapping the consecutive home run streak at 19 games.
It was what’s become a typical performance for a Blue Jays starter lately – cruise through a few innings, then hit an early wall. Shaun Marcum was terrific through four, allowing only a Victor Martinez home run that’s likely a foul into the right-field seats in any other ballpark (unless it’s caught before it gets to the corner), but then got smacked around in the 5th as the Sox opened the inning with four straight hits and J.D. Drew belted a one-out, two-run (legitimate, non-Fenway) homer to cap a five-run inning and basically end the game right there.
After the game, Marcum said that the starters – who have the worst ERA in the majors in September – haven’t run out of gas; it’s the fact that the Jays have moved to a six-man rotation that has screwed them up. Too much rest leaves them feeling too fresh and they’re not comfortable. He added in his post-game quotes “I’m not Roy Halladay, so I don’t get what I want” taking what’s probably one last shot at the way things were run in previous seasons. And it’s true, if Halladay were here, he’d be pitching every fifth day, chasing 20 wins or a Cy Young, and everyone would be slotted in around him – but that’s not a bad thing.
Marcum is right that he’s not Halladay. That doesn’t mean he’s not the ace of this team and it doesn’t mean that he’s not a terrific starting pitcher. What it does mean, beyond the obvious, is that he – like the rest of his rotation-mates – is in his first full season in a major-league rotation. He’s coming off Tommy John surgery and had never thrown as many as 160 innings in a season before this year. Ricky Romero had topped out at 192, Brett Cecil 142 and Brandon Morrow had never even thrown 125. When that’s your deal, you don’t get to call your own shots like Halladay did.
The Blue Jays feel that the best thing to do for all these young pitchers, Marcum included, is to take a little heat off them in the last month of the season so they don’t have to shut anyone else down beyond Morrow, and it’s probably the right move. Feathers may be ruffled, but the main goal is a healthy pitching staff in 2011 and beyond. Next year, everyone (with the exception of Morrow) will be ready to throw at least 200 innings and in 2012, the gloves are off completely with all five members of the projected rotation (Marcum, Romero, Cecil, Morrow, Drabek) still under 30 save for Marcum, who will have just turned 30.
The Blue Jays are off today, but will be at the Dome for the final homestand of the season starting tomorrow. It’s a nine-gamer that sees the last-place Mariners and Orioles and the first-place Yankees come to town. Jose Bautista has a week and a half to hit the one big fly that will make him the first Blue Jay ever to reach 50 in a season, and hopefully the reception he gets will be outstanding. And John Buck needs two more homers to give us a chance to see some more of the future in J.P. Arencibia behind the plate. Arencibia was the DH in yesterday’s game, and had two very good times at bat and two that were not very good at all.
Here’s yesterday’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
And here’s the transcript from yesterday’s “Miked Up LIVE!”: