Thursday, July 31, 2008
Bay is a 900 OPS guy. And I'd trade him for Lind if I thought there was chance in hell this team would do anything this year. But they won't, and he has bum knees (I think). I guess you could still do it and go for it in 2009, but I say no, it's clear to me that with the inevitable loss or AJ and McG on the DL, and Litsch fall from grace, that next year will be more of the same.
Youth and hope should be our goal. (BTW my days with the Jays are over if we trade Snider, he's the hope. Maybe a true Superstar hitter.)
ROTOWORLD UPDATE: According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jays' bid for Jason Bay consisted of one phone call in which the Pirates asked for something so excessive that no further talks were needed: Shaun Marcum and Travis Snider? The Rays might be the only team with a chance of landing Bay at this late date
This may be the best opportunity we've had in years to improve the team's future in one quick strike, and it must be taken.
This season is going nowhere - the last two days were probably a blessing in that they pushed aside any lingering belief that these guys could get the job done. The reasons to trade AJ now are so obvious that it's scarcely necessary to set them out, but here we go:
- AJ's value should be sky high at the moment. There are a number of teams that will see themselves as one starter from a playoff push, and AJ is likely the best available. Plus his last month has been so good that he'll have seduced many GMs into believing he's a true star (full disclosure: he's not).
- AJ is gone at the end of the year. 0% doubt. If we don't trade him and he ends up exercising his option to stay with us for two more seasons, I will walk through downtown Toronto on a selected winter day wearing nothing but an Eckstein jersey. Get something for him now.
- we are NOT making the playoffs this year. We got all excited about being 6.5 back, ignoring two fundamental facts: (1) 6.5 behind 4 teams is very different from 6.5 behind one team, and
(2) our team is not good enough to make the kind of sustained run required to get over the hump. We've been average all year, mostly because we're average. That's not gonna change because the fans really, really wish it would (sorry for turning into Canate here).
- the cupboard is still relatively bare. Notwithstanding some encouraging signs on the farm, we are largely devoid of future stars. It's probably too much to expect a Bartolo Colon sort of deal, but a semi-competent GM should be able to flip AJ for at least one or two serious prospects. It remains to be seen what an utterly incompetent GM can do.
I have serious concerns about whether JP will pull the trigger today - he wants to keep his job, and would love nothing more than a strong second half push that gets us to the usual 87 wins, so that he can convince his brain-dead boss that we're almost there. Don't do it, JP - we all think you've messed up your lines for years now, and you'll be ridden out of town on a rail at season's end, no matter what. Do yourself a favour and set your legacy up now, so that six years from now we can say "man, that JP sure did suck, but at least he made that one great deal back on July 31, 2008 that was the catalyst for this great run of four consecutive World Series. Thanks JP!"
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Here's why this team drives me crazy. We have a +36 run differential, pretty much equivalent to Tampa (+37) and the Janquis (+42). BP's 3rd-order wins would have us at 59-48, which isn't bad. So have we just been unlucky? I can't quite buy it. I look at this roster and just don't see a contender. But if Lind (now at a sweet .311/.339/.529) had taken some of the 260 PAs that have gone to Wilkerson and Mench (both at .680 OPS), we might have had another couple of wins and be in the thick of this thing. God, J.P.'s an idiot.
I disagree with Canate on a few points. I think Cito has done well. Who gives a shit about batting order? It means almost nothing. He's done a much better job with the pen than Gibbons, that master of the mid-inning pitching change. I can actually watch the 7th and 8th innings of Jays games now, or could, if I didn't hate the team.
I think it's a little optimistic to talk about moving Hill to short when right now he's lying in a dark room next to Al Toon wondering if he's ever going to see the field again. Assuming he does, the evidence is that he's an average shortstop and great second baseman. Why downgrade a position of strength? Because Joe Inglett hit well for a couple of months? That's madness. For all the rhetoric, shortstop has not been a significant weakness for us this year (in fact, Eckstein and Scutaro have outhit Hill). One of the main reasons we're still somewhere on the outer limits of possible contention, despite down seasons from almost all our supposed good hitters, is that we've had one major upgrade: moving the majority of the PMoD's at-bats to a couple of guys who actually resemble major-league hitters. McDonald looks good out there, but you can't win if he's your starting shortstop. Cito's one worrying tendency, in my eyes, has been to start McDonald a few times a week. That has to stop.
Rolen's been awful at the plate the last six weeks. Can he be done at 33? He's still lovely in the field, so I would think not. His athleticism is still there. Let's not forget, he was a better hitter over his career than Glaus before '08.
Losing McGowan would hurt, but let's wait to see who we get in the off-season, whether Janssen is coming back from his injury, and whether we get a new GM before we talk about our hopes being crapped on for '09. Take it easy, Canate.
I have failed myself again.
Sorry loyal MOE reader. Canate hasn't given anything to this Blog for months. That's going to change right here, right now. I'm working this Eckstein style (low skill, hard nosed, and Caucasian!)
In lieu of a plan for this post. Here are some quick hits:
CITO. Why not. I forgot why I disliked him so in the 90s. Okay, his batting line-up was suspect. But who cares if Devo lead off, or if Joe Carter batted 4th. Joe Carter got RBIs and Devo scored runs. We could use both on this team. He may have left Sean Green to often rot. But Adam Lind is ...
LIND. The kid can hit. Who knew. Who could have predicted. It's amazing the Jays fished this career minor leaguer and got him to flourish ... Oh wait ....
INGLETT. The kid can hit. Who knew. Who could have predicted. It's amazing the Jays fished this career minor leaguer and got him to flourish at 2B. With a still gapping hole at SS, I vote that Hill (if he's back next year) moves to SS, and Inglett takes over the two-bag with Scutaro and McD on the Bench.
ROLEN. Ughhhh. But he's healthy right? Is he done, or just off? Let's discuss.
RIOS. If I had immunity and a gun he may not have left the game in Anaheim, which I was watching live. All the skill in the world, and seemingly diminishing focus. If he only had Eck's will power, focus, and skin tone. (New readers may excuse my apparent racism for satire. I get the New Yorker so I understand satire.)
McGOWAN. This is devastating. TJ surgery a couple years ago. And now a labrum. Sorry guys, he won't be pitching for the Jays effectively in 2009. This teams hope just got crapped on.
MARCUM. I hope he's not pitching hurt.
AND J.P. RICCIARDI... He's very elegant. And I like elegant GM's. But I don't want to deal with his issues. He's got to go. For all the reason's we know, but also because I'm giving this team one calendar year, almost to the day (2009 trade deadline) to compete to win the AL or we blow this sucker up Oakland A's style. J.P doesn't have the job security to rebuild, so we'll need a new GM who can deal and wait. THE CHAMPIONSHIP PLAN will be my continuing opus over the next year. I shall try to develop a blue print to a Jays 2011 Banner. Get ready... THE PLAN IS COMING
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
One AL East player on the Blue Jays: "They have the most talent in our division, but they don't know how to win. They have too many nice guys and no real tough guy."
On another note, welcome back to TO - Reed!
Friday, June 6, 2008
But Wilkerson's made some nice defensive plays, including in the 8th inning of yesterday's heart-breaker, and his bat seems to be coming around (.400/.478/.550 over the last week). Mench has done nothing, but I'm not willing to write him off after 40 PAs. He's got a history of crushing lefties and we need a platoon partner for Stairs. Even Inglett has some value in terms of defensive versatility.
That leaves Shannon Stewart. He plays a single position, LF, and that very badly. Over almost 200 PAs he's batting .249/.335/.314. Those are brutal numbers from a corner spot. Looking back, he hasn't had a useful offensive season since 2004 (when he hit .304/.380/.447 in 92 games for the Twins). For some reason I supported the signing in the off-season, but I'm completely at a loss as to why at this point. Let's cut the weakest member of the roster and move on.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Now anything can happen in a three-game series, so I'm not predicting anything, but I don't think the Angels are a team to be feared. They're 32-23 and playing well of late (7-3 over their past 10), but look more closely at the numbers. When luck's taken out of the equation, they've played worse offensively and have had significantly poorer pitching than the Jays. BP's third-order wins has them at 26-29, and us at 33-23 (that's second-best in the league, just behind Boston). The Angels' outfield situation rivals ours in its feebleness: between Garret Anderson and Gary Matthews, they've given up 450 PAs to a pair of guys who haven't got a .310 OBP. Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins are the only really good offensive players they have right now, with Torii Hunter being decent (of course, we can't expect Vlad to continue to struggle like this, and he hit well against the Jays in the last series).
We need Marcum to put on a show and one of Burnett or McGowan to come through. Let's win two and get into Yankee stadium with some momentum (although momentum, of course, doesn't exist).
Thursday, May 29, 2008
But lo and behold, we've started to win the close ones. Last night LeRoy, pitching as well as he's ever done (he leads the majors in IP and the league in Ks), was his awesome self, and we scrapped out a 2-1 victory. We're 5-1 in our last six one-run games (9-10 in such games and 3-3 in extras on the season). Frank Thomas has taken his 1.000 OPS with Oakland to the D.L., having suffered leg injuries. We've taken our lumps; is Vishnu now smiling on us?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Well, it turned out that Snider has been battling some minor injuries (that's why he's been kept out of the field). But he's also managed to hit .343 over his last 10 games, has batted .293/.385/.609 in May, and is up to .250/.358/.484 overall in AA after that horrendous start. He's also the youngest guy on the roster by two years, and (without checking) must be one of the youngest players in the entire Eastern League. I am a believer.
Some of the faithful at Battersbox have been discussing when Snider will arrive in the majors. If he keeps this up, we'll see him in September, and he could be up to stay by next summer. Given that we've been playing has-beens and utility infielders in the OF corners, I'm pretty excited about the upgrade.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Anyway, back to the point. As I watched Matt Stairs and Alex Rios take fastballs right down the middle for strike three my first reaction was not “unlucky” but “stupid fucking cunts”. When I watched Alex Rios not advance to second on a passed ball, unlucky was the farthest thing from my mind. So why are we, the Jays fan base, trying to say they are unlucky when in fact they are not? Because we are ignorant fucks worse than Dick Griffin. What the Jays are, if you feel you have to categorize them, is mediocre.
There is a good discussion going on at Batters Box about the averageness of the Jays. One Dude brings up a pretty good point of how Alex Rios is the only player on the team that is doing significantly less than we should expect. The frat boys at DJF raise the issue as well. Hmm, that’s a kind of scary thought, right? The Jays are not actually playing way below expectation? So what should we expect when Alex Rios starts hitting like he can and Shaun Marcum stops his Greg Maddux impression? Probably the team we have now, a .500, mediocre team.
How does the team get better? I’ll start with the pitching because I believe, as of right now, it is good enough to be a playoff calibre pitching staff. Next year, there is one major piece missing in AJ Burnett, and although we can not realistically expect one of David Purcey, Brett Cecil, Davis Romero, Brandon League, or (hopefully!!) Casey Janssen to fill Burnett’s shoes, I think of this group they can adequately give us a solid MLB starter for 2009.
The offence is a whole other issue. For what they add offensively and defensively Wells, Rios, Rolen and Hill are position players on a MLB playoff team. If Overbay can put up a .850 OPS and provide his solid glove work he makes the cut (barely). I don’t know where to put Matt Stairs, but a strict platoon with Kevin Mench should give pretty solid DH numbers. That leaves three players, and three positions in need. An average team (like the Jays are this year) has an average to below average 7-8-9 hitters. A good team has an average to below average 8-9 hitters. A very good team has only one hole in the line-up and an awesome team has none.
The Jays can not float with their current LF, C, and SS situation. One of these can remain, and if I had to choose it would be the catching. If Zaun/Barajas are our number 9 hitters and the weakest link in the order we are in a position to do some damage. So, in order for this we need to find an improvement in LF and SS. LF is easy, call up Adam Lind and find a lefty masher to platoon him with. I would try to throw a bullpen arm or two at Tampa and see if they are willing to let Johnny Gomes go (he seems out of favour there). If not him, there are a plethora available. So that leaves SS. There are two free agents that I know about coming into next year, Orlando Cabrera and Rafael Furcal. The also happen to play for two teams that have money and seem to have a desire to retain them. I don’t think the Jays will have any luck prying them away. The other option is a trade. Khalil Greene and Bobby Crosby are two guys that can probably be had. I think you have to do it. It is still not ideal but it is an improvement. (The final option is trying to trade Ricky Romero for Troy Tulowitzki -yes, I had to go there).
I have been talking about next years team but really, we are almost two months into this year and as Wilner always mentions there is still plenty of ball to be played. Billy Beane once said he uses the first two months to evaluate his team, the next two to fix the deficiencies, and the last two to make a playoff push. If a Blue Jay playoff push is really as simple as calling up Lind, and trying to make a swap for Greene and Gomes, is it not worth a shot?
If the Jays don’t improve their SS and LF situations either this year or next they are not going to make the playoffs. I know this is getting ahead of ourselves, but at some point you might have to consider a fire sale. If they were to hold on to Hill, Rios, Marcum and McGowan, - and then trade everyone else of value for young players/prospects, in about three years with Lind, Snider, Cecil, Ahrens, Jackson, Eiland, Arencibia et al ready to join the show the Jays might have a better shot of making the playoffs. The other option is to trade some of those young names mentioned for a real LF and SS. Either way I can live with, but status quo is killing me.
To finish, the Jays are not an unlucky team, they are just an average team. Someone very dear to Dr. K once said “When it comes to luck, you make your own.” I fully believe that. Unlucky is having to watch the EuroVision song contest with your girlfriend- not once, but both semi's and the finals. Although if all songs were like this gem (that unbelievably came in third!) from 2006 it would not be that bad.
Unfortunately the songs are not all like that. In fact they are mostly shit. 25 shit songs. Yes, that is unlucky. (Although since I'm stuck watching, my money is on France this year. Check out the video for France's entry. It has Johnny Mac like style).
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Try this one out for size and tell me if you have an effin' clue what exactly happened:
(Runner on first is Jason Kubel)
Justin Morneau singles on a pop up to shortstop Marco Scutaro. Jason Kubel out at home, shortstop Marco Scutaro to catcher Rod Barajas.
I've been watching the baseball for a couple of decades now and this sounds like no play I've ever witnessed.
(On the plus side, the parade of outs and runners LOB is somehow a bit less painful when I can't actually see what's happening. So I've got that going for me.)
Are the other teams in the division looking forward to increased production from some of their surprising underachievers? The Yankees and the Rays seem to have their share of players off to slow starts (I'm not looking at the Os, because I'm sure they suck, and will soon fade). The Sox, though, have been lucky so far. Their pitching has been solid (you'd think Dice-K would come back to the pack a little, while Beckett will probably improve), but most of their hitters are exceeding their projections. Check out some of these numbers: Cash .375/.435/.475; Casey .345/.415/.448 (both Cash and Casey are part-timers, obviously); Youkilis .318/.393/.591 and Crisp .315/.340/.472. The team has an .817 OPS on the season. Ortiz is going to hit a lot better than he has, but you have to believe some of these other guys will drop off significantly (even Manny isn't going to give them 160 games at his current level). I don't see the Sox running away from the pack this season. The Yankees and Rays are going to be in it too, but they both have significant holes.
There's really no reason why we can't stay in the race in what looks to be a mediocre division. There's hope yet.
Friday, May 9, 2008
I like the signing, though. Mench is 30, so he probably hasn't fallen off a cliff yet. He hit a tasty .314/.343/.558 in 164 PAs against lefties last season, and has hit lefties at .305/.361/.558 over the past three years. That's a lot better than Jason Michaels, whose name I floated a few days ago. This is exactly the kind of signing we needed. I guaran-damn-tee that a Stairs/Mench platoon is going to be vastly superior to Thomas the rest of this year at DH. Well done, J.P.
As for Wilkerson, I'm not so sure. He hasn't hit well since 2004. I don't see him as an upgrade for LF. If this means we cut Stewart when one of the SSs come off the D.L., I'm okay with it, as long as Adam Lind re-enters the equation.
- Bob Dylan
As I was trudging home from the Dome in a suicidal funk last night, this line came on my Ipod, and it struck me as an appropriate epitaph to our season thus far. Of course epitaph isn't the right word because we're far from dead (or, in Dylanese, "it's not dark yet ... but it's gettin' there"), but you know what I mean.
Last week Razzer or Canate made the point that we seemingly haven't won any of those games that by rights we should lose, whereas we've lost a bunch that by rights we should have won. We're a decent team battling it out with a number of other decent teams for a spot atop the division and a wild-card place. The difference between all these teams at the end of the long slog will likely be based on which teams won more of those games they had no business winning. By this metric, we're a miserable failure.
Yesterday's game, of course, managed to fall into both categories at once. Heading to the bottom of 9 down three runs and facing a pitcher with a 0.27 WHIP and 0 runs allowed on the season is not a situation from which you expect to emerge victorious. I turned to my buddy at the start of the half-inning and asked what he thought our percentage chance of winning was. He said 10%. I countered with 5%. But once we rallied quite brilliantly for three runs to tie the game, things looked promising, and when Rios led off the bottom of ten with a triple (!!), surely our odds of victory were the exact mirror image of those above - that is to say, we should win a game from that situation at least 90-95% of the time. Not this time, junior.
We need to start winning a few of these, pronto.
A couple of thoughts:
- Stewart, to nobody's surprise, struck out when a simple fly ball would have won the game in the 10th (so did Stairs, but he's been good enough so far that he deserves a bit of slack). Every time Stewart comes up to bat, we're faced with the reality that Reed Johnson is in Chicago, Adam Lind is in Syracuse, Frank Thomas is in Oakland, Barry Bonds is in purgatory, and we have a massive sink-hole in the 2-spot. I hate the fact that JP is forcing me to resent a guy I used to like quite a bit.
- anyone who thinks we'd be a better team without VW (did anyone catch Jamie Campbell the other night, in a fit of overwhelming whiteness, call him "Vee-Double-U" instead of "Vee-Dub"?) is out to lunch.
- at the game last night I kept looking at our lineup on the big screen and checking out the OBPs and SLGs by the names. The OBPs, on the whole, are not atrocious. The slugging, on the other hand, is off the charts pathetic. There it was, in stark quantitative ugliness - all we are fucking capable of doing is walking and singling. And you know, if station-to-station is your bread and butter, you'd better get a goddamn hit with runners in scoring position once in a while, or you might end up going 20 straight games without ever scoring 6 runs.
- the guys over at Drunk Jays Fans had a nice bit the other day discussing the booing of Hinske. They're right, of course, that the booing stems mostly from the fact that the fat bastard sucked like a thousand hoovers, but there's a part of me that always feels guilty booing a guy simply because he sucks. If he tries his best, plays for the team, etc., it's hard to justify the booing (not that it's stopped me in Hinske's case). Ideally, a guy should be booed when he's a massive twat, not a bad player - see, e.g., Vince Carter. Well, good news. I have a story from a reputable source about Hinske, as a Jay, bitching about having to do some charitable appearances and insisting to his teammates that they should be paid for showing up to such events. At this point I don't care a great deal if this story is true (although I believe it is) - I'm just glad I can now boo the uncharitable, cancer-kid-hating, douche with a clear conscience.
- congrats to Razzer who, if I'm not mistaken, finished up his last exam yesterday. Raz, hope you enjoyed the giant kick in the nads the Jays got you as a graduation gift.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Canate, set me straight. Surely I'm missing something. From where I sit, we could have Johnny Mac batting 1 through 9 and we'd be a .500 team by virtue of eighty-one 1-0 wins. With an average lineup (which I've resigned myself to accepting is what we have), we should win 95 games going away.
Is it the Ravenswood talking, or do I have a point?
Even then, this move makes no sense. In the best case, McDonald's going to be out a few days. The difference between McDonald and Velandia is probably very little: the former is probably a little better in the field, the latter a bit better at the dish. So why not just DL McDonald immediately, bring up Velandia, and keep a real bat on the roster?
Maybe J.P.'s been blinded by Stewart's recent surge past the .650 OPS mark. So far this year, he's demonstrated that he simply does not understand the concept of the small sample-size.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The guy has been around too long to go through what he's going through in this here third inning, seemingly on a regular basis.
He blew through the first two innings, striking out five of six. Then the #7 hitter leads off the third, bloops a fluke single, and the freakin' wheels fall off. A.J. walks the next guy - the utterly shite and completely non-Overbayesque Gabe Gross - on 4 pitches. Before you can say "Gross is terrible - throw a goddamn strike", three runs are in.
With the way our offence is going, we might not overcome a three-run deficit if we're given 81 outs to play with instead of 27.
If it's a question of discomfort while pitching from the stretch, then Arnsberg needs to do something about that. If it's a mental thing (more likely), A.J. should be seeing a child psychologist. Christ, I thought A.J. was supposed to benefit from his closeness to the Doc. Well, it looks to me like not an ounce of the Doctor's mental toughness has rubbed off on our problem child.
Come on, now. Let's get those runs back. And let's pray the Rays don't get a single baserunner the rest of the way.
Or if not Michaels, some other free talent. Just sign someone, JP. These guys are out there. We don't even have to cut Stewart: with our deep starting rotation, we can send down one of the pen guys. But we need to close up this hole on offense.
Monday, May 5, 2008
His outings have been 1.1IP, 1IP, 2IP, 3IP and 3.1 IP, in that order.
It looks like they are stretching him out, something advocated by the likes of Razzer and Canate for a few years now.
That, combined with Eckstein batting 9th and being replaced by McDonald in the 9th, as well as the awesomeness of our pitching has me very, very happy.
Friday, May 2, 2008
That's the number of runs we've scored over the past ten games. A total of 25 runs: 2.5 per game! Alex Rios and Lyle Overbay have OBPs near .400, and Stairs and Rolen are off to hot starts. Everyone else stinks. Most worrying is our utter lack of power (and that applies to Rios, Overbay and Stairs too). I'm not sure there's a more frustrating offensive recipe than combining a decent base presence with a complete absence of extra-base hits. When Aaron Hill is driving the ball better than Vernon Wells, we have a serious problem. Part of our futility can be ascribed to bad luck with men on base, but not all of it. I'm not sure that our offensive ceiling was ever as high as I'd hoped. Take a look at the numbers: is there anyone, other than Lind, who you're willing to bet will significantly improve?
The lineup obviously looks better with Rolen and Lind than it did a week ago, but we still need another bat. I don't ever want to see Marco Scutaro start at 1B again.
If only we had Troy Tulowitzki. Oh wait, he's hitting .156/.226/.238 in 114 PAs, and is out until the All-Star break.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Last night hurt more than almost any game in recent memory. And then tonight, as if to mock our pain, we were sucker-punched with a carbon copy of last night's game, only with a final cruel twist of the knife at the death. Utterly brutal. Dustin out-doctored the Doctor, and it wasn't enough. VW was given an opportunity to atone for last night's bobble, he took his chance at redemption with aplomb, and it wasn't enough. Rolen came through with another big double and a defensive play that gave us a glimpse into his renowned defensive bag of tricks, and it wasn't enough. Eckstein lined a ball off a little Bostonian's face, and even that wasn't enough.
This is exhausting, draining, and must be unhealthy.
In the interest of self-preservation, I'll end with one big positive thought, which a small part of me actually believes:
THINGS WILL GET BETTER.
I mean it. The great pitching is here to stay, the terrible offence is not. Last week we put out a lineup featuring Rod Barajas in the 6 spot. Tonight we had Adam Lind batting eighth. The improvement, at least on paper, is dramatic. We also hit a number of balls hard tonight, but apparently every Red Sock is an illegitimate son of Brooks Robinson. One of these days, hopefully before September 30, the hits will start falling in and we'll be fine. The Yankees, Tigers, and Indians are all off to mediocre starts, so we're not far behind the teams I consider our main competition for the wild card.
All in all, the state of the franchise on April 30, 2008 is troubled. But it's not hopeless, even if that bastard God clearly has it in for us. Let's not wave the white flag just yet.
This is a sampling of the emails I've received over the past couple of weeks (and if anyone has the Kids Help Line number handy, please feel free to send it along):
What a sad and pathetic display of gutlessness this week. Go Hinske.
I just don't know what to think anymore. Harry Leroy below 500, Hinske knocking them in......what the fucking fuck. Seriously.
I’m also flat out depressed about this f*cking team. I can’t believe how quickly they can crush that wonderful early-season optimism. That Red Sox series seems so long ago now…
I just can’t f*cking stand Ricciardi.
My jury was out on Ricciardi’s decision until now. I’m ready to officially proclaim it another boneheaded move.
He's now sent me a "guest post" that I'm quite happy to post, because for the most part I agree with what he says, and it spares me from having to relive last night's nightmare. Here it is - enjoy:
There, I said it. Like the proverbial father in a dirt-poor, no-chance town, I’m ready to reluctantly cast away my beloved gifted son. It’s for his own good, I’m sure of it.
Okay maybe there is no such proverb and god knows I have no gifted children, but my point remains. I cannot stand to see our stalwart leader beaten like this, time and time again, by his increasingly worthless and desperately pathetic teammates. No Blue Jay pitcher has lost three consecutive complete games since Jim Motherfucking Clancy did it in 1980. Quite the honour our boys have given their Doc.
The Red Sox didn’t beat Halladay last night. Eight weak and overpaid men (I’ll excuse Scott Rolen from this one) cashing Rogers cheques did. Our newly minted mega-millionaire striking out with a man on in the 6th did. A bush league manager who doesn’t know what a bunt or a manufactured run is did (with apologies to actual bush league, bunt-loving, run-manufacturing managers across the continent). A midget who weakly grounded into an inning ending double play did. And the most overpaid baseball player in the history of time did. A once “gold glove” centre fielder who now approaches the ball much like the lumbering, weak kneed Red Sox DH who cashed in the winning run. To those who’ll point to his near-decapitation (oh for another couple of degrees to the left) of the idiot jig-master on the mound as evidence of his doing something worthwhile, I’m looking at the big picture here okay? I’m so fucking sick of this guy. You want him Texas? He’s all yours. Come on Hicks, think of all the money you saved when A-Rod went to New York! We’ll even pay much of the freight (See Mr. F. Thomas for details).
I give Rolen three more weeks before he goes all Hillenbrand and starts writing motivational messages on the clubhouse board. JP will passionately deny the accusations (before shipping out the latest “clubhouse cancer”), Gibbons will mutter something incomprehensible, most of the players will say something diplomatic and Vernon will shrug silently.
God bless you Harry Leroy the Third. We don’t deserve you.
Monday, April 28, 2008
On the whole I hate bandwagon jumpers. I have been a Jays’ fan through thick and thin (mostly thin lately). I have seen the collapses (or “the collapse” as nothing comes close to ’87). I enjoyed the victories, the ’89 comeback, the almost comeback in ’90 (Brunansky never caught that ball!), getting to the play-offs in ’91, the faux-tomahawk chop and “Maldonado’s throw over everything” in ’92, and of course the “93-peet”. While I was there for the good I was also there trying to rationalize the John Olerud –Robert Person trade and the Pittsburg theft that brought us Orlando Merced. I have been exciting by a meaningless Jose Cruz jr. homerun in August of ’99 and put my faith blindly into the Buck Martinez era. All the while feeling resentment and anger towards those Johnny come lately fans who think talking Blue Jay baseball is repeating everything they read in the morning paper (and they are the reason Dick Griffin has a job).
But something funny happened on my one-day strike. I suddenly gained a little bit of understanding for the fair weather fan. There is much more to life than sports, but watching the majority of 162 baseball games, not to mention the hockey, basketball, football, futbol, etc, makes sports your life. And when your mood is dictated on whether or not your team won or lost there is something wrong. (Thank god I’m not a leaf fan) On the whole, life would probably be much more productive by not hanging on to every move your team makes. But on the other hand, not being a fan would have robbed me of some of the happiest moments of my life- the back to backs in 92-93, the Habs winning in 93, Team Canada Olympic gold in 2002.
For the bandwagon jumper these moments are also very exciting. They can not be as exciting because they didn’t live through every moment leading up to the victory, but they are still very exciting. Does the difference in excitement make up for the extra hours of dedication? I’m not sure. The sad part is I probably will never know. I am in too deep now, stuck in a place where I won’t be able to step away. And since I’m in that place, I ask that the Jays do me a favour. Please make the last 20 something years of stupid devotion pay off with a play-off berth. You know I deserve it.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Still, I have to protest. I can’t let the Jays get away with this shit. I have to do something. We have lost four games to Tampa and KC. These are four important games. If we miss the playoffs we can look back at these four games as the reason why. I know you can pinpoint any four games of the season in any given year but these four games are different. They are different because by not calling up Adam Lind the Jays are not doing everything they can to win.
Before you ask if Adam Lind could really have made a difference I want to ask you if you think Bill James knows baseball? If the answer is yes, keep reading. If the answer is no, let me direct you here .
Back to Bill James, he thinks Adam Lind will be our best hitter this year. While the Jays were in the process of sinking 7 million dollars into Frank Thomas not being here (who is off to a fine start with the A’s), the Jays are trying to save a potential million or two in the future by not calling up Lind immediately. Just one more thing that is inexcusable concerning the Jays.
So remember that number, four games. That is the number I will adjust this seasons win total with. And if Jays wins + 4 > wild card team win total, I will move to NY and call myself a Yankees fan. So like Portnoy I am on strike too. Until Adam Lind is in the line-up I will not watch another minute of Blue Jay baseball. What the Jays are doing, not so much on the field but in upper management, is fraken unacceptable. So say we all.
Last night's loss was doubly painful - first, because of what a win might have meant, and second, because of the way the game was lost.
For the last excruciating seven days, we've all had one far-fetched thought on our minds: maybe we just need one key hit to turn everything around, and maybe when Rolen returns he'll be the guy to do it. Well, he's back, and yep, he got the clutch 8th inning double to give us the lead. There it was - the big knock that would inspire his teammates, re-ignite the squad, and put a skidding halt to this destructive losing streak that's threatening to end this season before it's really begun.
Of course, here's where it all falls apart. All season we've been complaining about Gibby's failure ever to use the Prime Minister of Defence - at a minimum, he should be out there when Doc starts and when we have a late lead. Even Richard Fucking Griffin has been saying this, because anyone with one functioning eye knows that Johnny Mac is ten times the defender that the god-damn midget is.
The midget had already done his best to give KC the win earlier in the night, when he bounced a throw in what was a bang-on imitation of how my unborn daughter might someday toss a ball (with her wrong hand), leading to the then go-ahead run for KC. So what in the name of Manny Lee was he doing back out there at short in the bottom of the 8th with a two-run lead to protect and a vastly superior shortstop nailed to the bench? Is Gibby worried about hurting his pint-sized feelings? What the Christ is this all about? Even the early-season excuse of not wanting to take out your last back-up infielder is no longer valid, because Scutaro is around, for presumably the sole purpose of being the emergency guy on the bench.
So, in conclusion, Downs induced the inning ending double play, the midget flat out choked on it in the face of a runner charging down the line, and the game was lost. Sometimes I think my dad, who's never watched a game in which he didn't think half the players were bribed, might not be completely nuts. I'm just not sure whether the criminal investigation starts with Gibby or the midget. Can we just short-circuit the whole thing by firing them both?
The final wry laugh of the evening came when Fletch (whom I like, if only because of who he isn't) made the following nonsensical excuse for the midget (I paraphrase, because I was bit distracted by my fist being repeatedly driven into my own temple): "Well, he made the big error there, but there's nobody you'd rather have handling that play than David Eckstein". Excuse me while I take a flying header off my balcony.
We gave that game away, pure and simple. And with the slightest bit of heads-up managing, the loss could have been avoided. I'm through making excuses for Gibby and the rest of them. I wish I were the one who had declared a strike yesterday. Fuck them - today I'll be cheering on TFC, followed by a little pvr'ed Raptor action, and the Jays will be a distant painful memory in my mental rear-view mirror.
Friday, April 25, 2008
How bad is Overbay? Pretty bad. A .726 OPS is not good.
Now I was against the Overbay trade, and was seemingly proved wrong in Overbay's first year with the Jays when he had a career high .880 OPS. Since then he's been craptastic. I hated to see Bush leave, less so with Softy Lefty, but the straw that broke my back (I don't own a camel, and must carry things myself) was giving up Gross. He has a cannon for an arm! And he just seemed like the talented version of Reed Johnson. He's exactly the type of throw in that haunts an organization, I argued. He's the kind of player you get a team to throw in, not give up on. The hitting version of Chad Gaudin, I said.
The question has to be asked; tw years later would you rather have Gave Gross or Overbay straight up? PECOTA projects a 262/ 360/456 2007 for Gross and a 262/337/416 for Overbay. Which, sadly, I agree with. Considering Gross can play all 3 OF positions, and isn't locked up to a large contract, it's overwhelmingly Gross in my book. In retrospect I think I win the argument.
BTW If those projections don't have you depressed, PECOTA predicts 260/317/428 for Lind. I think PECOTA's wrong here -- while right on Overbay --- Lind was horrible last year, but a rookie with great minor league stats 2005 through 2008. I think he'll bounce back to a plus 800 OPS.
Until one of the following three things happens, I'm on strike (meaning no Jays games and no MOE posts): 1) Gibbons is fired; 2) J.P. is fired; 3) Lind is in the starting lineup, and any two of Stewart, Scutaro and Inglett are off the roster, and we sign a right-handed hitter who can plausibly DH or play a corner OF (or Barry Bonds).
Summer's around the corner, I've got a stack of books I want to read, the roof's cleaned up and we've refilled the cannister for the bbq, my wife's in a down period at work, and there's a shitload of great concerts coming up. I've got better shit to do than think about this useless fucking organization.
p.s. I reserve the right to change my mind for any reason.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
As of a week ago the line-up plays normal, and had been to that point in the year. The next night is another normal line-up. So why, suddenly, over the past four games are the line-ups so ridiculously stupid? Because Gibby is sticking it to the (General) Man(ager). That’s right, he is doing what so many of us want to do, he is telling JP to go and eat a dick.
Before you get all “that’s crazy” on me, let me explain. Gibby knows it is all about this year. This is the year the Jays have to do it because Boston and New York have a few holes and some young pitchers that need development time. So when hook-nose-fuck-face GM approaches him and says “yeah, I ugh kind of fucked up, make sure Thomas doesn’t get 300 more plate appearances this year,” Gibby’s response, naturally is “but he was our best hitter last year.”
So Gibbons, listening to orders goes and tells Frank. Frank gets pissed, and secretly Gibby is happy because he hopes Frank’s revolt will have him back in the line-up the next day.
However, the next morning Gibby comes in to work only to find out that his number five hitter has been released, despite the fact that an April slump is par for the course with him. Why, was he released? Because of a stupid dumb ass option that everyone new was a bad idea the moment it was signed.
This does not sit well with Gibby. Faced with managing for an organization that clearly will not do what it takes to win, Gibby gives the big fuck off and starts playing scrubs and three catcher/two SS combos. It is a protest that says “Screw off and let me do my job without having to cover for your stupid mistakes.” By sitting Wells, Gibby is drawing attention to the fact that Wells was another stupid contract destined to be released one day. Ditto for Overbay. Why play three shortstops? To show that all three of them suck. It’s the same reason he has two catchers and the gimpy left fielder in the line-up at the same time. Are you telling me Gibby didn’t say “Reed Johnson” as JP said “Shannon Stewart.” Of course he did, but for JP and Paul Godfrey (whom I hate, by the way) it’s about the money. So I say good for you John Gibbons, stick it to the dumb fucks who will fire your ass, at least you’ll get another job.
SI.com has an article today in which Barry Bonds' agent practically pleads for some team to make an offer - any offer - for his much maligned client. Apparently, not a single offer has been forthcoming. And although the agent states (correctly, I suppose) that "the minimum salary wouldn't be a bona fide offer for a player of his stature", the implication is clear that Barry wants to play and would do so for a salary significantly below his true worth.
The article ends with the following quote from an "ownership source": "There are a number of very rational reasons why teams wouldn't go for Barry Bonds". I have no doubt that JP would say that very thing, if asked, as would Godfrey (although it would take Godfrey 15 minutes and 10,000 words to say it). Dick Griffin made the same sort of point in his mailbag this week - the usual nonsense about how Barry would bring with him distractions, drug peddlers, reclining chairs, jugglers, X boxes, mariachi bands, etc.
All of this is a bit ridiculous, isn't it?
I thought winning was the only goal. So the only justification for not going after Bonds must be that the various concerns/distractions he carries around his neck like so much bling outweigh the value he represents on the field. I just don't think that case can be made. Everybody knows this already, but Barry's numbers are good. Absurdly so. Seriously, what sort of "distraction" would he have to create to outweigh the 1.045 OPS he put up last year?
We simply can't win with the lineup we've been trotting out there day after day. It's April goddamn 23rd, and I feel like the season is slipping away.
Perfectly timed interlude:
I just this second received the following email from our man Portnoy: Have you guys seen tonight's lineup? What the fuck is going on?
I have not, and frankly I'm scared to look. But I know one thing about tonight's lineup: it would look better with Barry Bonds in the middle of it. And the man can probably be had for $2 million or so. At this point, what do we have to lose?
But I'm losing faith. On the whole, I've supported J.P.'s moves as GM (not all of them, of course, but most), and enjoyed Gibby's work, aside from his too-frequent recourse to the pen. That's what troubles me so much about the team's recent shenanigans. Why hasn't J.P. called up Lind? He's over whatever minor injury he suffered on the weekend, and is currently hitting .379/.431/.621. Diaz might turn out to be a nice player (he was off to a hot start too, hitting .368/.390/.553 in AAA), but we don't need another catcher on the roster, unless the plan is to go forward with Barajas as a platoon DH. Suffice it to say, any plan which includes DHing a guy who can't get on base 30% of the time is no plan at all.
Gibby's lineups have been astonishing of late too. It's been commented on by others, but why, at this early stage of the season, with a depleted roster, are Wells and Rios getting off-days? Joe Inglett has done his part, but if Gibbons thinks he's making intelligent decisions by riding the hot hand, he's managing in a fog. Add in Gibbons' failure to properly use McDonald (how many innings does he have at short this year?) and his erratic handling of the pitching staff, and I'm at a loss.
Neither J.P. nor Gibbons is making the best use of the available resources, either on the roster, in the minors, or outside the team. If Adam Lind isn't up this week, and if Shannon Stewart and Joe Inglett are on the roster in mid-May, this ship is sunk.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I suppose cutting Hurt was intended to nip in the bud a situation that, from JP's perspective, had the potential to spiral out of control. The danger is that the decision might simply accelerate the downward spiral rather than averting it. A couple more offensive bed-shittings like Monday's and the whispers will start:
(1) this team can't hit;
(2) yet they cut the guy who led them in every meaningful offensive category last year;
(3) they also cut a fan favourite who is now playing every day with an .808 OPS;
(4) to replace him with a noodle-armed has-been with a .589 OPS;
(5) and they put out a lineup the other day featuring three average/below average shortstops and two average/below average catchers (Razzer's point)
All those semi-colons might add up to the conclusion that these guys don't know what they're doing.
This way of thinking is similar to the analysis that draws a connection between the Thomas situation and the Lilly and Hillenbrand situations. Each is a unique circumstance and, taken individually, the team may arguably have been in the right in each situation. But when the "random occurrences" start to pile up and repeat themselves, the understandable knee-jerk reaction is to worry that this is a permanently sinking ship.
Three games against Tampa. Three righties starting for the Rays. With 2 or 3 wins and a decent offensive output we can change the narrative. The ship will be righted, Lind and Rolen will ride in on their white horses in a few days' time, and the decision to cut Hurt will in time seem like the right one.
But if we lose, and do so with the same degree of offensive impotence and ineptitude we showed on Monday, I worry that the wheels could fall off (I know, it was a ship a couple of pargaraphs ago. Now it's a car. Deal with it).
I never thought a mid-April series against Tampa could be so damn meaningful.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Against righties we're looking good with:
Against Lefties we have some questions:
LF: Stewart over Lind
DH: Insert Lefty DH here.
There is no obvious in the organization choice here. I guess we could go with Barajas at DH, but that hurts my feelings. So I suggest a small trade ... for Josh Phelps. Yes, Josh Phelps, here me out. He's a lefty masher. And is stuck in the St.Louis organization. I'm sure we can get him for a song, and he'd actually work for this team.
Sign Barry Bonds. I'd love to hear the media's take on Frank Thomas being replaced by Barry. Oh, the high horses that they could stand on!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
In his last seven games, he's slugging .148. God forbid the guy should get a day off. It's not as though the fat bastard's been hitting frozen ropes right at people either - he's looked utterly overmatched, and if it weren't for his plate discipline, which remains good, he would be less than useless.
He's bitching that the benching reflects an intention on the part of the team to keep him from reaching 376 PAs, at which point his contract for next year will become guaranteed. To me, this stinks of a preemptive strike on his part - a shot across the bow to let everyone know that if the benchings become a regular occurrence, he will take the ship down with him.
Fuck him. Show up ready to play from day one for a change. We can't afford to wait for him to turn it on after the break when we're 25 games out. JP and Gibby need to stand firm - nobody should feel safe about his place in the lineup, least of all a whingeing, glacially slow, one-dimensional player who's failing completely to do the one thing he's paid (a shitload) to do.
The three major sports franchises in this town are all at .500 - Raps at 41-41, TFC at 2-2, and the Jays at 9-9. (Apologies to the Toronto Rock for excluding them from this list)
It's strange (although perhaps not surprising) how different each of those .500 records feels - in the case of the Raps it feels like a significant step backwards and a big disappointment, albeit tinged with hope that things could be made right in the coming weeks. For us TFC fans, it's pure elation - the first time in our brief history at .500, made even better by the fact that we've played 3 of the 4 away from home. Just as importantly, the TFC fan experience is so spectacular that wins and losses seem, at some level, almost secondary. On the Jays front, it's a mixture of disappointment and hopefulness, but above all it's befuddlement. Our RS-RA suggests we're much better than a .500 team, and it boggles the mind that - in a season where we've had maybe two or three bad games from a starter out of eighteen - we somehow find ourselves stamped with the mark of mediocrity.
We have to start hitting, and we have to start winning the close games. I'm not holding my breath for a SkyDome fan experience that allows us to transcend wins and losses. When it comes to the Jays, it's all about the record, and 81-81 won't do at all.
Friday, April 18, 2008
David Purcey, the big 6'5" 240 lb lefty, arrived in Toronto last night and gets the start tonight in place of Burnett.
He did cross the border earlier this week with his wife to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, as he had heard it was much nicer than the US side (yes, the grass is greener too). The Border officials were not impressed as they noticed the Texas license plates and searched his car (aren't we glad Canada has not let real terrorists into this country). His car was not searched as he crossed to join the Jays - pitching for the Jays was a valid reason.
Purcey was drafted 16th overall (1st round) in the 2004 draft, ahead of names like Phil Hughes and Huston Street BUT after guys like Matt Bush (now a pitcher), Phil Humber, Jeff Niemann - who have yet to pan out. He was taken before Zach Jackson too whom the Jays selected in the supplemental 1st round and then traded to Milwaukee (he hasn't shown much in his Major League outings).
Purcey is 2-0 so far this season with the Skychiefs with a 1.89 ERA and 21K, 6 BB in 19 IP.
So let's see what this kid can do. Will he be another JP bust? I'm looking forward to another Litsch like debut.
Everyone's noticed that Thomas looks terrible out there. Let's start by calling up Lind, get him playing almost every day, and platoon Thomas with Stairs at DH. Thomas over the last three years has hit .292/.424/.600 against lefties, while Stairs has hit .273/.357/.484 against righthanders. That would improve two positions. Do it now, J.P.
Of course this is a knee-jerk reaction, but it's unspeakably brutal to have to watch our offense right now, even if (by runs and OBP) we're not that bad.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
He is utterly banal (useful synonyms: trite, obvious, predictable, hackneyed, devoid of freshness or originality. Used in a sentence: The banality of the speaker's remarks put the audience to sleep. Nice one, dictionary.com!). I assume he gets paid by the word, because he never fails to use 10 words where 2 will suffice. Worst of all, he's dumb as a sack of rocks and has the grammatical abilities of a third-grade dropout.
We often assume that people who look like enormous nerds are intelligent - on the theory, I suppose, that "God" is fair and distributes blessings and curses relatively equally. The obvious converse is the assumption that beautiful women and handsome men must be dumb. I have long since laid the latter assumption to rest, and Rance must surely be exhibit A for the flaws in the former assumption.
Last night's broadcast was chock-full of Mulliniks-ian low-lights, but the absolute nadir came when Sportsnet vomited up a graphic that demonstrated, to the utter shock and amazement of all eight people still watching, that the Jays this year have hit better, and scored more runs, in the games they've won than in the games they've lost. A moderately decent commentator would have seized the opportunity to poke a little fun at the obviousness of it all. Rance - not so much. Joined by his partner in banality, Jamie Campbell, Rance expounded on this point at some length, then posited that, if you looked around the majors, you might very well see this pattern repeating itself. Finally, he suggested that their in-house stat guy Scott Carson do some research on this point.
All in all, I think I lost 25 IQ points sitting through the entire shit-show. If they persist in foisting Rance on us every other series, they should at least insist that he alternate innings with Garth Iorg.
It would be tough to bemoan our bad luck and missed opportunities when the fact is that (1) Texas had far more opportunities than we did to put this brutal game to the sword, and (2) the only reason we ever reached extra innings was Broussard's shocking error in the eighth. But still, man, we sure could have used a timely sac fly from the Midget in the 8th or the formerly great Joe Inglett in the 10th. Vernon also had a couple of chances to get the decisive hit, and made great contact on both occasions, but it wasn't to be.
It's painful to think about the game, let alone write about it, so I'll limit myself to a couple of thoughts:
(1) Gibby might at least consider the possibility of extra innings when managing his bullpen. Burning through the entire pen by the 11th inning was absurd, and put us in a terrible situation.
(2) Good on AJ (and, apparently, all the other starters) for volunteering to go out there. But man, was there any doubt at all that we were dead the second he toed the rubber in the top of the 14th?
(3) Jesse Carlson's performance last night should go in the annals as one of the best, and gutsiest, pitching performances in Jays history. Seriously. The guy is one week removed from his ML debut, he was brought in to an extra inning game with the bases loaded, and he struck out the side! It was pure brilliance. And then he added on another two scoreless innings to boot. His stuff looks nasty as hell against lefties, although I have my doubts about his likelihood of sustained success against righties. Regardless, we may have stumbled upon another lefty specialist, which would be great since when Downs trots out from the pen I still see the useless 2006 version, not the surprisingly decent 2007 version.
(4) Zaunie looked like shit on the game-deciding passed ball (Rance said he did everything right, which I take as rock-solid proof that he fucked up). He made a superficial attempt to block the pitch, but he left a Lohan-esque enormous hole between his legs. I'd forgive him if he had played a full 14 innings, but he came in half way through the game for Fat Rodney.
(5) Maybe it's just me, but the difference between 8-7 and 9-6, from a psychological perspective, is huge. I don't know why, but to me 9-6 sounds like a winning team well on its way to a 90-win season, while 8-7 sounds like a team that just scrapes by and will be happy with 85 wins. Fuck.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
In other news, old friend Orlando Hudson is looking for 15 milion next year! Which I think is ridiculous. O-dog's great defensively, but not a 15 milion dollar player, right? And then I checked out his numbers. Compare his last three years to this all-star who received a seven year 126 million dollar contract. (C'mon, you know I ain't talking about a contract without talking about the contract. Just like I shall only refer to the shortstop position as the place where Troy Tulowitzki plays --- I've typed that name so many times I can actually spell it from memory. And I still mess up "your" and "you're.") Maybe they're not identical, but I'd be convinced that a 2nd basemen of superhuman D-skills like O-Dog trumps a CF of Vernon's possible B+ defense. Now I'd rather have Vernon this year straight up, but a 3 year 45 million dollar for O-Dog deal, while not wise certainly doesn't look preposterous, does it? Especially in light of Delgado's, Oops I mean Vernon's, albatross contract (Sorry I got confused with what the Pimp thought of Delgado's contract when he took over, with what the next GM thinks of Vernon's.)
Monday, April 14, 2008
Any time we go into Arlington, I hold my breath and hope to leave with at least one win and with the entire roster intact. So this was good, on the whole. A few quick thoughts:
- our offence looks pretty troubled at the moment. Vernon and Hill (and, of course, Joe Inglett) are the only guys hitting at an acceptable level. Without them we'd be seriously fucked. Rios and Hurt haven't looked good for a week; Lyle hasn't looked good in twelve months (of note: last April I remarked to someone that his gorgeous swing makes him "slump-proof". He has been in a slump pretty much since that day); and we're getting very little production from C, SS, 3b, or LF.
- good on J.P. for deciding that Scutaro's production to date has been unacceptable and making a change. I doubt Joe Inglett will be the second coming of Mike Schmidt, or even Kelly Gruber, but there's no reason we should have to grin and accept 0-for-4 from the 3B position every night till Rolen returns. Even if Inglett never plays for us again once the man is back, at least he played a big part in an important series sweep.
- B.J. looked good, the leadoff triple notwithstanding. He buckled down and absolutely dominated the last three guys. I still worry that he's back too soon, but fuck it, we're going all in this year, and if it means taking a few risks along the way so be it. The rebound effect on Accardo will hopefully be huge as well.
- we need to come up with a term other than "stealing home" for what Zaunie did the other night. It was a nice play, but it's an insult to the memory of Jackie Robinson and Rod Carew and Aaron Hill to compare that to the situation in which a guy actually outraces the pitch to the plate.
- the Texas TV guys were surprisingly good. I was initially pissed at Rogers for relegating the games to some backwater channel and forcing me to listen to the other team's TV crew, but now I wish we could have them every night. They made more witty comments in one night than Jamie Campbell has in his career (I enjoyed their reference to Frank Thomas "moonwalking into third base" and their repeated insistence that Joe Inglett, while doing a good job, was "no Buck Coats". Both sounded funnier than they read, I swear.).
- Leroy is so fucking good, he makes me weep. He was absolutely filthy on Saturday night.
- We're back in town on Wednesday. It's supposed to be somewhere between 15-20 degrees and sunny. If the roof is closed I will stage a one-man Attica uprising that will make them wish for simpler times when all they had to worry about was toonie Tuesday riots in the upper deck. You've been warned, Will Hill.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I'm worried about LF. Matt Stairs was sexier than Candy Maldonado last year, but the dude is older and gimpier than John McCain, and he doesn't even have the excuse of being tortured for a decade by the Vietnamese. Between him and Stewart, there's limited upside from that outfield corner. I'm not mourning Reed Johnson (one scrapper is enough for this team, thank you), but I am starting to get the hots for Adam Lind again.
Obviously, last year was not good (a putrid .278 OBP, and that number doesn't even go up much when you take out Lind's sweet .194/.243/.299 line against lefties). But this is a guy who at the beginning of last season was in a lot of ML top-25 prospect lists. I find that prospect gurus tend to wildly overrate the impact young players can have when they break in, and also lose interest too quickly when that doesn't happen. No-one who doesn't follow the Jays ever talks about Lind any longer, but discounting a guy because he struggled at age 23 seems short-sighted. He's off to a ridiculous .448/.500/.759 start in AAA. I say give it a month, and -- if he's still hot -- install him as the starter for the big club.
In other news, future HOF Travis Snider is at .259/.333/.593 in the Florida State League. I'm excited for our future Lind / Rios / Snider OF, with a $150 million fourth outfielder.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
But seriously, can anyone articulate a single good reason why Eckstein is leading off while Hill languishes in the lineup's nether regions?
I acknowledge that the little dude seems to have a preternatural ability to drop in bloop hits and force errors out of otherwise decent fielders, but the fact of the matter is he's taking ABs away from Hill.
Taking as a given that lineup order means dick except insofar as it affects who gets how many ABs, the lineup as presently constituted makes no sense to me. If it stays as is, when all is said and done Eckstein will have 50-100 more ABs than Hill over the course of the year. If there is anyone who thinks he will make better use of those ABs than Hill would, please speak up so I can punch you in the face now and mock you in September (when I take a break from mocking Canate for being so wrong about VW).
I can't help but think Gibby is resorting to the old fall-back position of "small scrappy guy with some speed and no power = leadoff guy", and this disappoints me because I thought/hoped he was better than that.
Maybe I'm just pissed that we lost.
Monday, April 7, 2008
But let's take another look, using BP's own advanced stats. Bear in mind that Eckstein and McDonald are both 33 this season. According to BP's RAA2 (Fielding Runs Above Average, adjusted), over the past 4 years McDonald has registered 3, 6, 6, and 16. Over that same period, Eckstein scored -12, 11, 19, and -10.
What does that tell you? Honestly, it doesn't tell me shit, other than that fielding ability fluctuates a great deal year-to-year, and that it remains insanely difficult to measure. Mcdonald probably was a lot better than Eckstein with the glove last year, but he was also much better (at age 32!) than he had himself been in the past. What are the odds that he will be as Ozzie Smith-like going forward? I'd say they're slim. Players probably have career seasons in the field, just as they have career seasons at the plate. And it's likely we witnessed JMac's version of a Brady Anderson 50 in '07.
I'm not saying McDonald can't be a useful cog on this (totally awesome) team, or that he shouldn't form half of an offense/defense platoon with Eckstein. I'm just saying that the argument that he should get 140 starts, with Eckstein on the bench (despite giving up -- according to the career #s -- 80 pts of OBP and 50 pts of SLG to the scrapper), is not automatic.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The first four games have had that playoff intensity to them but more than anything it had to do with circumstance. Saturday is the day that for the first time it will feel like April baseball. If the Jays can pull it out on Saturday, it will be absolutely huge. But before we move on to Saturday’s game, the goods and bads of Friday need to be discussed.
Although the Big Hurt did have a huge hit it was after all a shoddy change-up that he got around on so quickly. The hit was good for the ego, but if your expecting any type of breakout resulting from it you will be disappointed.
Matt Stairs, awesome.
Alex Rios signed a new contract, I’m pretty split on it. If he continues on the path he’s on it’s a great deal. But there is a chance, with all that money guaranteed, that his attention to baseball wanes slightly. It’s a bigger concern than one might think.
Aaron Hill also signed a new deal. This one was totally fucking amazing and I have no complaints at all. Hill also has continued to drill everything at the plate. Fuck man, he is smoking right now.
Marcum was awesome. It was sweet to see at home. His home and away splits were nasty last year.
Robbie Alomar was inducted into the level of excellence, even though he referred to it as getting his number retired. It’s a good move as Robbie was truly amazing to watch. The one thing I really wish hadn’t happened to him, and it's not the spitting-maybe that douche ump deserved it- I wish Robbie hadn’t shit the bed so bad when he was traded to the Mets. It might impede his HOF push. Hopefully he still gets there.
Paul Beeston was also inducted to the level of excellence. Apparently Vernon Wells Senior is too busy spending his boy’s cash and no longer works so they had to get some other guy to do the portraits.
They showed Jesse Litsch on the bench, and he was wearing one of those necklaces that Burnett, McGowan and Marcum have. Is Harry LeRoy too cool for one? That would be a good unity thing right there that would be.
Finally, the pen was awesome. So far this year they have given up 1 run in 8 innings and Randy Wells, Jason Frasor and Brandon League are yet to make an appearance. As for the starters, well that is four consecutive quality starts.
With Litsch vs. Bucholtz a Jays victory would be a theft but after two tough losses in NY they kind deserve one. I couldn’t find the original but some dude in Cuba does a pretty good imitation of our headline. (Okay, it's not good but it's the only one I could find).
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
The Big Hurt went a little overboard but I understood where he was coming from, I was screaming at the fucking ump all game. He had a most inconsistent strike zone. It was brutally shitty on both sides so I’m not doing a “Jays got robbed bit” although they kinda got robbed on that last called third strike to Aaron Hill to end of the game.
Vernon Wells is too fat and slow and the announcers really need to emphasize the “former” part of “former gold glove winner Vernon Wells”. It might be time for him and Rios to switch positions. Wow, that contract is going to cripple this team.
Aaron Hill has had an unsteady three days in the field and he needs to smarten his ass up and start making plays. Who the fuck does he think he is?
There were some positives to be taken from the game, including the intensity the Jays had again tonight. The still have that feel to them, who knows if it was the addition of Rolen and Eckstein or Stairs and Thomas being around another year or Halladay’s calling out the troops, but something is different about this years Jays (so far). I think the Pie in the face days might be a thing of the past.
Dustin McGowan battled through six innings despite having the shits the past couple days and not having quite the control we are used too. The bullpen did an adequate job despite the hairy eighth.
I can’t wait for Ryan and Rolen to get back and for the Jays healthy return to Yankee stadium. We are going to play them tough all year.
Finally I’m still waiting for the Yankees to sign Joba to a lucrative long term deal so he can hurry up and tear his labrum.
Moving forward the D needs to tighten up, it has just not been acceptable thus far. More importantly Eckstein needs to be hitting 9th if he is going to play everday or until Johnny Mac wins the job.
I’m not liking are chances this weekend but hopefully we can split the first two and have a Halladay vs. Dice-K Sunday game to decide the series.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
In other news, Jeff Blair has an interesting article that covers everything I mentioned yesterday, including the Yankees looking un-Yankee like, Joba showing up Hurt, and how Joba is going to get his just desserts-he also mentions how the fat toads father has polio. Now if only if I could write like Blair maybe I would be able to quit my job at 7-11.
Joba (the hut)Chamberlain Now
Joba (the hut)Chamberlain in College
I’m looking for the Jays to win tomorrow if McGowan gets over the shits he aparantly has. I’m uneasy with Marcum and his fly ball tendencies going against seven lefties and the short porch in right. But if McGowan is throwing bullets, we’re going home 2-1.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
A loss is a loss. But the Jays looked like winners for the most part. In fact, the Jays looked more Yankee like than the Yankees They carried an impressive professional look throughout the game that has me feeling good about the team. The looked like they mean business. It was actually sweet to watch. I haven’t really seen that since back in the day. Anyway, some game observations that have me feeling giddy even though they let one get away.
Some other thoughts on the game. I was impressed with the three stolen bases (although one was a missed hit and run). The three thefts were in good situations and they all worked out. The defense was sub-par although I can’t wait to see an infield with Rolen back at 3rd and McGlovin at short. Stairs is obviously not well enough to swing the bat otherwise he is hitting for Scutaro in the 9th. Overall, considering we(the royal we) faced the three best pitchers the Yankees have and had a very discouraging average with runners in scoring position (1 for 12, 13?) I really like the outlook of the team. Halladay deserved better, but he always does. Getting two double play balls in the 7th (even though none were turned) and overmatching the Yankees all game makes it tough to take the loss. But above all, the Jays looked very serious and in no circumstances did they look intimidated by the raucous Yankees crowd (fucking losers who don’t even know they’re losers, the worst kind). That triple fist pump shit by Joba in the face of a HOFer the Big Hurt should go in the memory banks (a la Eck in the 92 playoffs) and that fat toad will get his just desserts (if not revenge by the Jays then hopefully a torn labrum, the bad kind too, the one that's on the interior, but only after the Yankees give him some stupid long term deal, because his father was poor and has polio, still, the fucking douche bag changed his name because his cousin can't say Justin, that's just retarded. Then he throws it in the Hurt's face, fuck man, he deserves some sort of life lesson like a torn labrum).
To finish, TSN had a shot of Gibby and Girardi at one point and Gibby looked like the one in control and Girardi looked like the nervous fuck. It was like what Gibby used to look in contrast to Torre. It was sweet to see that. It just made me think that the Jays have it this year. They have the feel about them. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when the Jays will pound Pussina like Rios pounds, well Pusina. If the Jays keep the intensity they had tonight going all year, good things are happening.