We rise again. By "we" I'm referring to MOE, not the Jays. The Jays are still out of it, despite their modest success of late. Right? But if we take two more from Tampa.....
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.