11:41 PM Eastern

Well, how about that? 

The Blue Jays picked up their first walk-off win of the season and improved to 3-1 by first coming back from a 5-0 deficit to force extra innings (with major thanks to the Oakland A’s defense), and then coming back from a run down in the bottom of the 10th on a two-run homer by Yunel Escobar – an opposite-field shot into the Oakland bullpen that was his first big fly of the season.

Escobar took the small-ball thoughts right out of everybody’s mind – would he bunt?  Would Davis steal second?  Would Davis steal second and would Escobar then bunt?  – by taking the first pitch he saw from Grant Balfour deep and trotting 360 feet.

The home run continued an amazing streak that the Blue Jays have going.  Rajai Davis has three hits this season; his first two led immediately to four-run innings, and his third one scored ahead of Escobar’s homer.  And how cool is this?  Earlier in the ballgame, Escobar told both Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Encarnacion that he was going to wind up delivering the game-winning hit.

Speaking of Villanueva, he played a big part in this win with his 2 2/3 innings of no-hit shutout relief, coming on for a shaky Jo-Jo Reyes.  Villanueva bought the Blue Jays time to come back and tie things with his fine work.  In total, the bullpen threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed a run on four hits after Reyes gave up five runs on nine hits in his 3 1/3 innings.

An auspicious debut for the lefty to be sure.  A great spring earned Reyes a spot in the starting rotation, but if he’s not careful, he’s going to give it right back.  His problem tonight wasn’t his stuff, it was his location – and that’s been what has held him back every time he’s gotten a chance in the big leagues, so that doesn’t exactly augur well.  He’ll start again on Sunday in Anaheim, but his start after that could well go to Brandon Morrow if Sunday looks anything like tonight.  Not that I’m saying pull the rug out from under Reyes because of one bad night, but if there’s no bounceback, Morrow is a freight train coming in the rear-view mirror.  Of course, Jesse Litsch (the guy everyone wanted to talk about on The JaysTalk tonight, for some reason) will have something to say about that, too, based on how he throws tomorrow and then in Seattle on Monday.

The Jays’ comeback from the 5-1 deficit was as much an implosion by the A’s as it was good work from the home side.  It started with a Rajai Davis double down the left-field line, then Escobar hit a routine grounder between short and third.  Davis waited a beat until he saw third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff abandon the bag to go for the ball, then took off for third, crossing in front of Kouzmanoff just as the ball got there – and the ball clanked off Kouzmanoff’s glove for what was scored an error at the time, but later changed to a hit.  Adam Lind followed and hit a pop foul towards the stands in short left.  Kouzmanoff went back to get it, and made the catch stretching over his head with his back to the plate, so Davis took off for home and scored easily; Kouzmanoff tried to throw to second, but spiked the ball into the turf about 10 feet in front of him.

Next up was Aaron Hill, batting clean-up in the absence of Jose Bautista – reportedly home for the birth of his first child, a daughter, he’ll meet the team in Anaheim on Friday - and Hill hit a rope to left for an RBI single to bring the Jays back within two.  Brandon McCarthy tried to pick Hill off first, but threw the ball into right field, and Juan Rivera hit a grounder to third that Kouzmanoff threw away for another error, putting runners on the corners with one out.  Edwin Encarnacion was next, and he kept the chains moving with a double into the right-field corner and Travis Snider delivered the tying run with a groundout to second.

It stayed tied until Josh Willingham took Jason Frasor deep leading off the 10th – it was the second homer of the season for Willingham, who leads all his teammates by two in that category.  Frasor wound up striking out the side and leaving two on, and got the vulture win, Mike Timlin style, when Escobar provided the heroics.

With the Maple Leafs playing down the street, and going into the evening with a heartbeat in the race to be the 16th-best team in a 30-team league, there wasn’t much of a crowd at the ol’ ballyard.  Those who were here saw one heck of a show, though - and it was the fourth time in as many games this season that the Blue Jays were entertaining as all get out.  Hopefully with the barely-flickering playoff hopes of the Blue and White now extinguished, some of the Leafs faithful will turn their attention this way, but I’m not holding my breath.

I was expecting an excited, happy edition of The JaysTalk tonight, given, you know, how the game went, but instead I got a few people who called just to take me on about a comment I made in the spring that Jesse Litsch was one of the best pitchers in the A.L. in 2008.  Weird how things like that happen.  You can hear it for yourself right here:

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I don’t want to get into debates about new stats vs. old stats, and I certainly wouldn’t have expected to have people lining up to argue with me about something I said a month ago with which they didn’t agree.  But like I said on the show, you can’t throw away stuff like WHIP and ERA because they actually tell the story of what happened.  They don’t necessarily tell you why it happened or whether it’s likely to happen again, but they tell you what happened, and that’s significant.  If a guy wins a batting title because of an inordinately high BABIP one year, he still won the batting title, he still had a very good year, that can’t be taken away because the advanced stats say he got lucky.

Anyway, here’s hoping for more positivity from JaysTalk callers in the future – or even for more talk about things relevant to that night’s game, especially after wins as dramatic as tonight’s was.

Tomorrow night, the series continues with Litsch making his season debut against Oakland lefty Dallas Braden.  J.P. Arencibia should be back in the line-up.  We’ll be on the air for you at 7:00 PM Eastern for a 7:07 first pitch, we’ll be live blogging it up with Shi Davidi and Scott Carson, and tweeting feverishly over @Wilnerness590.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome, and will be answered!

37 Responses to “YEscobar!”
  1. 1.

    The argument between new stats and old stats is one of my favourites.

    Baseball’s always been a game about arbitrarily comparing two completely different players in completely different situations and arguing over who’s better. It’s part of the fun of baseball. It’s why fantasy baseball’s taken off.

    For these purposes, the use of new-aged statistics is a great call but it hardly tells the entire story. Is Roy Halladay better than Felix Hernandez? How would he fare in Coors Field?

    When you’re sitting back and enjoying the ballgame as a fan though, you’ve got to let the old stats percolate from your head to your heart. When you look back and analyze how a particular player did, you can’t just throw-out ERA, WHIP, Ks and Ws.

    Those events happened and they’ve been entrenched into the record books. You can argue against the connotations of the statistics or even argue against their importance, but they certainly don’t lie. They may fib a little, but if baseball were concrete and every statistic final; the arguments, and eventually the game, would die.

    Not every statistic needs a caveat and sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to celebrate a walk-off homer rather than debate whether or not Escobar’s homer would’ve been a long-out in 28 other parks and thus somehow worth less than a game-winning, 2-run, homer.

    In baseball, there are still many facets that’ve yet to be quantified and to argue that one set of statistics tells the entire truth is a bigger lie than suggesting that WINS perfectly describe a pitcher’s value to his team.

    - Kris
  2. 2.

    Do me a favour and ask Farrell for an update on McGowan. Haven’t heard anything since he first threw to batters about 3 weeks ago.

    - Robert
  3. 3.

    question: Does any one know what has become of Scott Richmond? Didn’t he last pitch in July of 2009?- as far as i know..

    comment: Wouldn’t Matzui look good in Blue Jay blue DHing while platooning the field?, Do you think that Anthopoulos may have had similar thoughts?

    …as always, thanks for all you do Mike, and for giving me a good reason to open my e-mail each day…

    MW: Richmond missed all last season with shoulder problems and will pitch in Las Vegas to start this season.

    - eastcoast ball fan
  4. 4.

    How would you define “one of the best pitchers in the A.L. in 2008″? Since Litsch didn’t finish among the top 10 in ERA, WHIP, WAR, or innings, how exactly was he one of the best starters?

    I am not saying you are wrong, but I am curious to what your criteria are in regards to this statement. Litsch had a good season in 2008, but was he among the ‘best’ starters? Not really.

    MW: Did I say 10 best?

    - Dave J
  5. 5.

    Hey Mike, is the name pronounced Junel or Yunel Escobar?
    p.s. very impressive how you kept your cool with the idiots calling you back on Litsch!

    MW: He pronounces it Yunel.

    - Al
  6. 6.

    Hey Mike,

    Great Jays Talk as always. Do you know if Escobar takes English lessons or does he plan to use a translator for interviews?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    MW: I don’t know if he takes lessons, but usually Jose Bautista is there to translate for him.

    - Mike
  7. 7.

    Hello Mike

    A great start for the season. Like you, I love what Farrel is doing and his approach to the game. Take the jays rally last night, down 5-0 and evened it up in one inning. If this was a Cito team, the Jays would have probably ended up with two runs that rally inning instead of the 5 runs. THe steal by Hill, the aggressive run by Davis that led to the throwing error, they all contributed to runs. At the end of the season, when you maximize all oppportunities, it can be the difference of 5-10 games at the end of the season.

    If you are still answering questions, I was watching the 30 clubs in 30 days, an MLB production. One thing was puzzling when they talked about Jays bullpen.

    The commentators were saying how much of a complete haul the bullpen had undergone. They talked about missing Gregg and Downs. I agree with their comment on Downs but Gregg (and even Tallet)? I think Rauch and Francisco are either the same or better than Gregg.

    I know it is early, but do you think the 2011 jays pen is much worse than the 2010 pen?

    Francis

    MW: Not at all. I think this bullpen is likely better than last year’s.

    - francis
  8. 8.

    No complaints about Escobar swinging on the first pitch, then? :)

    Great start to the season!

    - Peter
  9. 9.

    Hey Mike,

    I bet no one is complaining that Escobar swung at the first pitch.

    - Wayne in Scarborough
  10. 10.

    Hi Mike,

    Exciting game last night! A couple of meaningless questions which may or may not prompt a response:

    1) A little surprised to see E.E. wearing #10 this year. There is some kind of unwritten rule in hockey, where if a player of prominence leaves, their number remains untouched for awhile. See Sundin and Clark. I hope no one is wearing #32. Does this unwritten rule exist in baseball?

    2) I thought it was a little “showboaty” for Escobar to take off his helmet when he rounded 1st base. That would annoy me if I was the opponent. Agree?

    3) What ever happened to Eric Chavez. Didn’t the Jays bring him in for a look? Is his career over?

    4) silly that Frasor gets the win last night. I think the official scorer should be able to make a judgment call on that. Villanueva or Rauch should have got the win.

    Thanks as always!

    MW: 1 – Generally you do see a number sit idle for a while after a prominent player leaves. 2 – If it annoys you, don’t let him hit home runs. 3 – He’s with the Yankees. 4 – Frasor was the pitcher of record, he got the win.

    - Rob H.
  11. 11.

    Mike:

    Nice comeback by the Jays last night. Redemption for falling short on Sunday. Of course, if Hill had not bobbled the ball Escobar’s heroics would not be game-changer.

    Lind at first should be fine: his diving catch of a liner was pure Overbay. He’ll continue to improve I’m sure.

    Interesting personnel decisions for AA and Farrell in next weeks as the injured return. Drabek appears to be the real deal so he is not likely going anywhere but the starting rotation. Reyes option distort the decision and if he shows any semblance of his spring training performance, Litsch may be the unlucky one.

    Bullpen choices with Dotel and Francisco return should also be interesting.

    Did Kevin Gregg shed his glasses and change name? Rauch is a pitching clone of our former closer.

    MW: If Hill hadn’t bobbled what ball?

    - Grant Carter
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike,

    I can’t believe Escobar had the audacity to swing at the first pitch during his at bat in the ninth. Doesn’t he know we are trying to rally? Shouldn’t he let Rajai steal a bag first? I blame what Lind did the night before for what happened tonight.

    - Dwayne
  13. 13.

    Mike,

    A co-worker and I made a last minute decision to check out the game last night. We both live in Scarborough and it was a bit of a trek but we were both glad we made it down. We both knew that it was a tough draw against the A’s on a Tuesday night when the Leafs are also playing, but it was worth every penny and the 11,000 that showed up all left with a big smile on their faces.

    It cost me less than $25 including TTC fare and a hot dog to catch a great game coming all the way from Scarborough and I think that more people should definitely try to make the effort to get down to a few more games this year!

    If everyone can make the effort to got to 5 more games than they did last year, it would make a hell of a difference.

    Love hearing the Let’s Go Blue Jays chants at the end of the game!

    Keep up the great work Mike!

    - Antony
  14. 14.

    1. The Jays have to cut their losses with Rivera and release him.

    He is a liability in the out field because of his lack of speed.

    With the Wells trade, the Jays are still way ahead financially.

    They can then use EE as their DH and part time 1b and Nix as their 3b until Lawrie is ready to take over.

    2. I think that Reyes has an issue with confidence in real games. He proved this spring that he plays well in fake games.

    Your thoughts

    MW: I don’t think that the situation with Rivera is so dire that it warrants releasing him.

    - ScoobyBP
  15. 15.

    Hi Mike, do you know why the blue jays got rid of the 200 level kidzone? My kids really enjoyed it and it meant we could go to more games. On your show you mention that the PR people listen, hopefully they read the blog as well…Thanks

    MW: I didn’t know they had gotten rid of it.

    - Joe in Hamilton
  16. 16.

    Reyes has shown a decent K rate and HR rate, his control is not good enough though. Personally I like Rzepczynski better, but both have trouble with control.

    If Morrow turns out to be healthy this year – you really only need one of Reyes, Rzepczynski or Litsch to be decent. I’d be surprised if one of them didn’t pan out.

    - jmaron
  17. 17.

    In a season that has started 3-1 and on a night where the Jays win, Sox lose (to drop to 0/4) and the hated Yankees also lose, I’m not looking for rain clouds but what’s with Bautista taking a whole series off for his child being born?

    Is his family still in the DR?
    Be with your wife, see your child born and leave them in the capable hands of your three nannies and get back to your team; we have a wild card to chase here! :0)

    btw, the Blue Jays website lists him away “dealing with a family matter”. Is it that much of a secret???

    TORONTO — Right fielder Jose Bautista was absent from Tuesday night’s game against the A’s because of a family matter.

    Toronto manager John Farrell declined to provide more details on Bautista’s situation. The veteran slugger is expected to make his return on Friday when the Blue Jays visit the Angels.

    “He has been excused from the club to attend to a family matter,” Farrell said. “We do expect him back to rejoin the club when we open up in L.A. If for some unforeseen reason that were to change, hopefully he gets back to us sooner, but he is dealing with a family matter at this point.”

    Go Litsch tonight!

    - Gary
  18. 18.

    michael,
    great win last night needless to say.
    and it’s obviously only game 4 in the books but i can’t say enough on young escobar and how he looks this yr.
    he kinda has flown under the radar screen somewhat in terms of the talk about this young team and all it’s current & coming components. it seems to me anyway.
    just loving him in the field and up at the plate being plugged in at the top of this order.
    and such a great physical specimen. no doubt.
    what a trade that was michael. honest to god.
    and hey on a side note, as i think you’re probably best to answer this…
    why are so many people alcoholics?
    i’m sorry, i’m not trying to poke fun at ryan. as he obviously had a bad experience on opening night with some of the gathering that were overserved that night.
    god bless him. but that compassioned question to you was absolutely hilarious.
    almost peed my pants reading it. just too funny.
    later.

    - darrell bishop
  19. 19.

    Rajai and Yunel are an awesome combo at the top of the order. As impressive as it was for Davis to score on a foul sac fly, I was exhilarated to see Yunel (who was stealing on the play) race back to 1st, tag and make his way to second.

    This team is fast, smart and confident.

    My only disappointment is the coverage. I knew that the big crowds would dwindle mid- week but I didn’t think the Fan590 would follow up this win with morning coverage of the Leafs’ loss, Barry Bonds trial and luge?!?SERIOUSLY?

    The management and players are doing their part to get people in the seats. It’s now time for the FAN to put a less than mediocre hockey team on the back burner and cover a rising, exciting baseball team.

    Imagine how a team feels by coming back to win the way they did, desperately trying to bring attention to themselves in this city, and to just be a short blurb at the top of the hour on the next morning talk shows.

    On the positive side though, it’s really comfortable watching a game when you have a couple of rows to yourself.

    - @2011mnbatigers
  20. 20.

    Hi Mike,

    I’d like to add on to the Litsch debate, and I guess that the issue here is that it appears your opinion of him just seems too optimistic. I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him either. There’s no reason that, when healthy, he can’t be a quality #4 or #5 starter. But ERA doesn’t tell enough about a pitcher’s talents and it’s not a predictor of future results, and certainly you need more than 1.5 years of decent ERA to determine whether a pitcher is “a number two starter” or “one of the top pitchers in the AL.” Certainly, his defense from ’08 looked much different than it does now, so that could have something to do with it.

    Maybe some people just see a pudgy guy with bad facial hair, and that doesn’t translate to him being a good major league pitcher in their minds. But I acknowledge his strengths — the ability to keep walks low, low 90s fastball, the ability to cut and sink a lot of pitches, his fielding skills — and I don’t think the total package adds up to a number two starter in the AL. It certainly didn’t last year (albeit in a small sample size).

    MW: Assuming you know your stuff – and it appears as though you do – it’s intellectually dishonest to refer to last year as any sort of anything as regards Litsch, 12 and 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery and on his way to hip surgery.

    - Matt
  21. 21.

    Is it me, or was the ball that was hit in the 10th inning to left field catchable. Instead it landing in front of Rivera. It looks like he didn’t even try to run after the ball.

    MW: Right field, and yes – it was a catchable ball by a more mobile right fielder.

    - Anonymous
  22. 22.

    Just because someone calls you out for making a mistake doesn’t mean they are being negative.

    MW: You’re absolutely right. Now listen to the call again and tell me that caller wasn’t being negative and didn’t have an agenda.

    - NorthOfSteeles
  23. 23.

    auspicious: adj. promising success; propitious; opportune; favorable

    I don’t think that’s the word you were looking for.

    MW: I forgot the “in”. Meant inauspicious. My bad.

    - Nicholas
  24. 24.

    Please tell SOMEONE from the IT department that their stupid sports tracker at the top of all the rogers sportsnet pages is generating errors all the time

    Until it’s fixed I’ll be staying from all rogers online media…..

    MW: Then how will you know when it’s fixed?

    - Tim
  25. 25.

    Wilner, you still can’t admit that you made a mistake? You hung up on me twice because you didn’t want to argue constructively with me. You have the biggest chip on your shoulder and call everyone else out for mistakes, but can’t admit your own? You don’t even explain the merits of era – “it tells the whole story.” What does that even mean?
    Don’t take a step back when writers are taking a step forward and recognizing that strikeouts and weak contact are what makes a good pitcher like f. hernandez. For someone who is normally objective your arguments and rebuttals were weak.
    You are in the media and what you say will be scrutinized as you are making your opinion public. Don’t be such a whiner-baby and actually defend your claim or admit you made a mistake.
    Chacin was better in 2004 than litsch was in 2008.

    Regards,

    Evan (and Kareem)

    MW: Let it go. Do you have nothing better to do? I hung up you because you were being belligerent, and now you’re showing that you’re not only that, but something else as well. And you know what? If you’re going to argue using Chacin’s 2004, that just proves to me that you’re interested in nothing more than an argument and a chance to “get me” – which you might do someday, but haven’t yet. Chacin was outstanding in 2004, in his two starts and 14 innings pitched in the major leagues. There is no argument to be made that any “real” season Chacin had was better than Litsch’s 2008 when you look at actual on-field results.

    - You're Mistaken
  26. 26.

    Hello,

    For me the thing about Litsch is his ability to battle even when he’s having a bad day. Is that what they call the bulldog mentality? I think your comment was based off your memory of how he continually exceeded expectation and improved. There were some nights that he looked perfect and looked like one of the best.

    How important do you think the Jays ability to perform in late innings will be this year? Did the Jays struggle last year in the late innings?

    - Denis
  27. 27.

    Mike…I was curious why Romero isn’t starting Wed. vs. Oakland…Many times one hears that with all the off days in April, the team only needs a 5th starter on such and such days. This isn’t to smear Reyes or Litsch, but to keep your ace and opening day starter on his rotation..like NY did with Sabathia Tues. vs. Minnesota….and Randy Moffitt was the original vulture 8 years before Timlin.

    MW: It’s up to each team to decide how they want to handle off-days. The Blue Jays have decided that it’s best with these young guys to buy them an extra off day when they can.

    - chris m.
  28. 28.

    Mike,

    Your right Jesse Litsch had a good year in 2008, and sometimes these guys with their fancy new stats just need to take a step back and actually watch what is going on the field. You can analyze and manipulate numbers all you want but in the end the game is still happens on a baseball diamond not a piece of paper. I agree they can be useful tools but some people just get carried away.

    Keep up the good work!

    - Denny
  29. 29.

    I was interested to see Vernon Wells as the furthest circle to the right on this chart. Then I got to wondering where Wade Boggs would have placed. Smack on the left-hand axis, I’m thinking.

    MW: James is referring to a story on the CBS Sports website about pop-ups. I don’t publish links here.

    - James (of the Church of the Double Steal)
  30. 30.

    why leave molina in to hit for himself and not pinch JPA in the bottom of the ninth there? just because there were 2 outs and none on, and wasting your defensively oriented catcher in that scenario wouldn’t have been prudent?

    either way, i’m not sure i liked the idea to leave that much thunder on the bench…

    - Jay B
  31. 31.

    Hello Mike,

    I just wanted a comment from you as to why some pitchers throw fastball after fastball without ever mixing it up. It is really frustrating especially as a fantasy team owner when you watch one of your pitchers like Matt Thornton today serve up 95-98 mph fastballs one after another and then blow the save. It doesn’t take a genius to find out most major league batters would much rather face fastballs than any other pitch. Even after the pitching coach came out, he threw a fastball and luckinly got the out. Also what’s up with the catcher calling for/accepting the choice for the fastball? Luckily Thornton was facing the royals and gave up 1 run, I guarantee if it was a stronger hitting lineup, they would have scored more than one.

    Thank you.

    MW: I have to tell you, pitchers are not at all concerned with fantasy team owners when they’re on the mound. If a guy is pounding the fastball, that generally means it’s the pitch with which he and his catcher are the most comfortable. Guys can fall in love with certain pitches, it happens all the time.

    - stranger
  32. 32.

    Why doesn’t JP Arencibia play more? Molina’s a good catcher but not a great hitter–let’s give the kid a real chance to string some starts together.

    MW: It’ll start to happen as the season progresses.

    - Zack
  33. 33.

    Hey, if you guys want to listen to the Jays Talk on an MP3 player, download Real Player and then you can download the Jays Talk whenever it’s posted on the Miked Up blog.

    I’m not a spammer and I’m not trying to push the product, I was just frustrated because I wanted to download the Jays Talk as well and just wanted to share the wealth with other Jays fans.

    Go Jays! This is gonna be a great year, and even if the Jays lose, there is still the Jays Talk which is almost as entertaining as the ball game.

    Mike, you do a fantastic job, I think it’s only a matter of time before ESPN throws buckets of money at you. Hope you don’t have to make “The Decision”!

    MW: It’s been 10 years, they haven’t called yet…………..

    - Dan
  34. 34.

    Easy there Dan, don’t want to give ESPN any ideas…

    …great comments all, thanks

    …thanks for the Richmond update

    - eastcoast ball fan
  35. 35.

    Mike,

    Enjoy your broadcasts. Escobar’s injury could have been avoided with simple fundamentals: Don’t slide headfirst. I have seen too many injuries from sliding this way. A player really puts himself at risk by sliding headfirst into third, especially a shortstop. What are the two most tools for a shortstop or any player for that matter? His head and his hands. So why slide into a base (unless you absolutely have to) with your hands and head leading? A SS could jam fingers, break a hand or sustain a concussion at the least. I think a lot of common injuries could be avoided this way. I wonder if there have been any studies on this?

    MW: I doubt it, but it would be great if no one slid headfirst, you’re absolutely right.

    - Kenh
  36. 36.

    How would you define “one of the best pitchers in the A.L. in 2008″? Since Litsch didn’t finish among the top 10 in ERA, WHIP, WAR, or innings, how exactly was he one of the best starters?

    I am not saying you are wrong, but I am curious to what your criteria are in regards to this statement. Litsch had a good season in 2008, but was he among the ‘best’ starters? Not really.

    MW: Did I say 10 best?
    - Dave J

    Hi Mike,
    I wasn’t rude in my email so I would appreciate a non snarky answer to my question. What is your criteria for a SP being among the ‘best’ in the AL? How many pitcher’s would you say are among the ‘best’ at the position? 10, 15, 20?

    MW: Dave, you’re right. You weren’t rude, but I was having a bad night, so I apologize for the snark. Think about it this way – each team has five regular starters, which would mean 70 starters in the American League. If you look further, I’ll wager there are over 100 guys who wind up in rotations over the course of the season. I’d put Jesses’ 2008 easily in the top 20, maybe even higher.

    - Dave J
  37. 37.

    How would you define “one of the best pitchers in the A.L. in 2008″? Since Litsch didn’t finish among the top 10 in ERA, WHIP, WAR, or innings, how exactly was he one of the best starters?

    I am not saying you are wrong, but I am curious to what your criteria are in regards to this statement. Litsch had a good season in 2008, but was he among the ‘best’ starters? Not really.

    MW: Did I say 10 best?
    - Dave J

    Hi Mike,
    I wasn’t rude in my email so I would appreciate a non snarky answer to my question. What is your criteria for a SP being among the ‘best’ in the AL? How many pitcher’s would you say are among the ‘best’ at the position? 10, 15, 20?

    MW: Dave, you’re right. You weren’t rude, but I was having a bad night, so I apologize for the snark. Think about it this way – each team has five regular starters, which would mean 70 starters in the American League. If you look further, I’ll wager there are over 100 guys who wind up in rotations over the course of the season. I’d put Jesse’s 2008 easily in the top 20, maybe even higher.
    - Dave J

    Thanks for the reply Mike. I know you have a busy job so trust me when I say I don’t take offense. I love your work on the Fan but just had a difference of opinion about Litsch being among the best in 2008. However, if we are looking at the top 20 starters, you are very correct in your assessment. Thanks for the reply and keep up the great work.

    MW: Thank you.

    - Dave J
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