11:43 PM Eastern

Before you read the rest of what’s certain to be a riveting, informative and entertaining blog post, please go to www.facebook.com/baseballhall and cast a vote for Tom Cheek to win the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence, gaining him entry into the Broadcasters’ Wing of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  Tom was the Blue Jays’ lead broadcaster from Day 1, April 7, 1977, and didn’t miss a single game until his father died in June of 2004. 4,036 consecutive games – plus pre-season and post-season.  A week after returning from his father’s funeral, Tom was diagnosed with brain cancer and he passed away 18 months later, far too early.

Cheek was the voice of summer in Canada for 28 years.  Chances are very good that if you heard him, you loved him.  If you never heard him do a game, odds are you’ve at least heard the great “Touch ‘Em All, Joe” call that ended the 1993 World Series.  Please make your voice heard and let the decision-makers know how much Tom meant to you, to all Blue Jays fans and to an entire nation.

You can vote by, again, going to www.facebook.com/baseballhall and once you’re there, clicking on the wall (that link is on the left-hand side of the page) and scrolling down on the wall until you see the poll question about the Ford C. Frick Award.  You’re allowed to vote once a day each day throughout the month of September.  Thank you.

Now, about the game…..

This was the Blue Jays beating the Red Sox at their own game.  For Boston it’s all about patience, grinding out at-bats, getting into hitters’ counts, taking the walk if need be, and that’s exactly what the Jays did in the bottom of the 8th inning in coming back from 8-6 down.

Luckily for the Jays, the Red Sox’ bullpen did their best impression of how the Jays’ ‘pen has looked all too often this season.

Daniel Bard hit a man and walked three in that 8th inning, allowing only one hit in facing seven batters.  That hit just happened to be Adam Loewen’s first in the major leagues – a ground ball to right field just out of the reach of Adrian Gonzalez, who was holding Brett Lawrie on first base.

J.P. Arencibia – who had earlier hit a two-run homer to establish a Blue Jays record for home runs by a catcher in a single season with 21 – followed the Loewen hit by drawing a walk, and the Jays had the bases loaded with nobody out, down a pair.  That was when Bard seemed to steel himself.  He struck out an overmatched Dewayne Wise on three pitches, then caught Yunel Escobar looking on a gorgeous 3-2 slider.  When Bard got ahead of Eric Thames 0-2, it appeared as though the Jays were set to waste a golden opportunity to at least tie the game.

But Thames fouled off a pitch, took a ball in the dirt and then – in a very out-of-character move – didn’t offer at a high fastball.  Taking that pitch changed the dynamic of the plate appearance, and three pitches later, Thames was on first with a free pass and Lawrie had scored to get the Jays back within a run.  Bard then threw one strike to Jose Bautista in five tries, missing badly with the 3-1 offering, to force in a second straight Canadian – Loewen – with the tying run.  That was it for Bard, and Matt Albers came in to take Edwin Encarnacion to a full count before Edwin ripped one into the gap in right-centre to clear the bases and give the Jays an 11-8 lead.

For Encarnacion, it capped a 2-for-4 game in which he tied his career high with five RBIs.  The double was his 34th of the season, putting him just outside the top 10 in the American League.

The three runs were exactly what the doctor ordered, as Frank Francisco worked his first nervous frame in a long while. Gonzalez took him deep to open the 9th – the first time Mr. McFrankFrank had been scored upon in 16 appearances – and the Sox cashed another on a two-out RBI single by Marco Scutaro.  But Mike Aviles, who pinch-ran for Scutaro, was thrown out trying to steal second by Jose Molina to end the game with Francisco just having missed with an 0-2 pitch.

Francisco had allowed just one run since the all-star break, a total of 18 appearances covering 19 1/3 innings, before giving up the two in this one.  But the Red Sox needed three to tie.

Four Jays were hit by a pitch in the game – Loewen, Bautista and Thames were all nailed by Wakefield before Lawrie got dinged in the 8th – and that tied a club record.  It had happened twice before, the first time on Opening Day 2002 (my first game in the booth!), also against the Red Sox, when Pedro Martinez drilled Shannon Stewart and Carlos Delgado, Darren Oliver got Delgado and Rolando Arrojo nipped Homer Bush.  The other occurrence was June 19, 2003 in Baltimore.  Pat Hengten got Delgado and Orlando Hudson while Rick Helling nailed Delgado and Frank Catalanotto.

The Blue Jays have won all three games in which they’ve had four batters hit by a pitch.

They’ve also won every game in which they’ve had two Canadian-born position players in the starting line-up.  That would be a grand total of one game.

Here’s tonight’s brief edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:


The series wraps up Thursday night with the Blue Jays guaranteed at least a split and having the opportunity to take three of four despite having been outscored 24-12 over the first three games.  Ricky Romero would love to shake a big monkey off his back as he gets the start against fellow lefty Andrew Miller.  The Red Sox have had Romero’s number to this point in his young career – he’s 2-6 against them with an ugly ERA of 8.08 and uglier WHIP of 2.18.  The Sox have hit .357/.447/.584 against him so far.  Romero is coming off a loss in New York in which he was pulled in the bottom of the 7th with two on, two out and a one-run lead – the first game in which he’s taken the loss as a result of a bullpen failure. He’d like nothing more than to come out and shove it up Boston’s red sox and get the Jays a series win.  We’ll be on the air at 7:00 PM Eastern – join us, won’t you?

Please give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590.  Please also follow @VoteTomCheek and @jaysthis week – Ben Ennis and I recorded a new podcast, it’s up on this very website for your enjoyment.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!


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10 Responses to “Ed For The Win”
  1. 1.

    Hi Mike,
    Apologies if this has all beeen discussed before on the blog or JaysTalk, but I haven’t been able to keep up as much lately. I’m also not jumping on the doom and gloom bandwagon, but my question to you is: should we be concerned about Brandon Morrow as a future quality starter? It seems this year that he’s giving us what tantalised and frustrated Seattle: flashes of brilliance interspersed with getting lit up. Thoughts?

    MW: No one is guaranteed to be great, no matter how good their stuff is. Morrow is still young, and only in his second year as a full-time starter. It’s far too soon to pull the plug on him.

    - OzRob
  2. 2.

    Do you think Morrow has pitched well enough this season to be automatic for one of the top 5 spots in the starting rotation? I’m just having a hard time determining if he’s part of the team’s future, as he is now 27 years old and although he has flashes of brilliance, hasn’t necessarily put it together as well as most people would have liked.

    MW: I don’t know that anyone is guaranteed a spot in the rotation aside from Romero, but I can’t imagine Morrow not making the team.

    - Cole
  3. 3.

    Hi Mike:

    Messy but great comeback last night. I was at the game. Not a big crowd in #’s but big in volume and energy: sitting row behind dugout and the guys beside me got the crow in our section on their feet in the 8th and the 9th. Nice enthusiasm.

    Got to wonder about Morrow’s recent skid. Something we don’t know?

    Suggestion: perhaps the Jays could support Tom’s HOF bid by displaying the web link on the video board and encouraging everyone in the crowd to use their smartphones and vote for Tom.

    MW: A fine idea!

    - Grant Carter
  4. 4.

    A very cool moment ocurred with “Canadians on the corners” at one point. I’m not sure what the odds are of a premium potential pitcher (Loewen) ever making the majors on the strength of the bat.

    Rick Ankiel comes to mind and some guy named Babe Ruth…Loewen kooks like a physical monster compared to Ankiel…

    You have to be a bit concenred about the Jays starters these days; Morrow again last night and if thye get another poor outing from Cecil today, you can add him to that list.

    Top of the lineup starting pitching has to be on the list of needed upgrades for next year.

    - Gary
  5. 5.

    That lopsided series run total just goes to show you, it doesn’t matter if it’s 14-0 or 1-0, a loss or a win only counts +1 in the record column!

    - Marlin
  6. 6.

    To me this is a very big off-season for the Jays. You’ve got a guy like Lawrie who busts his butt every game and is highly competitive. I don’t see him as a guy who is going to be content for this team to be nothing more than a .500 team. I think it’s time for Rogers to go out and bolster the payroll. If it was me running the show, I would look to land Fielder, trade Lind for some starting pitching and either have Morrow or McGowan audition to be the closer next year. The other option would be to add a guy like Andrew Bailey. The bullpen would be mostly reworked with the only returnees being Perez, Villaneuva and Janssen. Francisco would be nothing more than a set up guy in my bullpen.

    - Craig M
  7. 7.

    Farrell was a pitching coach .
    Morrow should be his major project, don’t you think ?

    I wonder if he needs a sports psychologist ?
    Mike, you have a psych. background . What say you?

    MW: I don’t think it’s a psychological issue with Morrow. Why do you?

    - Garry G.
  8. 8.

    Great Win by the Jays last night! Whoot!!! 4 HBP + 6 BB’s that’s 10 baserunners w/out a hit! nice! Let’s extend the at-bats and games as Farrell said the other day – if it means winning!

    I did have a question about Morrow, though. Do you know why he has stopped throwing his curveball? I read this year in a Sportsnet.ca article how John Farrell said, Brandon has to start mixing in his change-up and curveball instead of relying solely on his Fastball and Slider.

    Is it something physical, that he doesn’t throw it anymore? Pitch-confidence? Can you ask him about it, Mike, or the pitching coach, or the manager this question? – especially considering Farrell’s comments earlier in the season.

    I just re-watched the footage of his 17K performance from last year ( on MLB.com )… 11K’s came by the ‘breaking ball’, 6 via the Fastball – Problem was, the announcers Tabler and ? kept referring to it as the ‘breaking ball’ not slider or curve… Was that his curveball on those K’s? or was that his slider? Correct me if I am wrong, and please clarify for me, Mr. Wilner! :)


    MW: Most of them were on the slider. He didn’t throw the curveball much last season, though he threw it more often than he has this year. I’m not sure why he’s stopped throwing it.

    - Ed
  9. 9.

    Ugly performance by Perez on Tuesday night,and ugliest performance by Morrow last night !
    Wow way to go Morrow, team gets you a lead and you give it right back. I know the Jays are high on this guy and he’s got great stuff, but he’s got the worst numbers of any regular starter on the team. I think he’s a free agent at the end of the season, I really hope they don’t re-sign him, unless they somehow get him for really cheap, because as much as he’s got great stuff, he just cannot seem to get his stuff together. He shows flashes of brilliance here and there, but then comes along with stinkers like tonight to completely overshadow his potential.

    MW: He’s not a free agent after the season, and he’s not going anywhere.

    - Kerry
  10. 10.

    Pitchers like Morrow, with high strikeout totals, usually do fine in the long run. I’m not sure what’s going on with him right now, but I don’t see any reason to worry.

    - Doug D
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