Friday, May 30, 2008

A Dozen Runs, and No Holes


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Ordinarily, after scarfing down a dozen I would feel extremely bloated, resentful and guilty. But yesterday’s dozen left Jays fans feeling quite content.

It was a bit of sweet revenge lighting up the Athletics for 12 runs yesterday. Many feared that the Jays would get swept by Oakland again - but the offence clicked yesterday, and had no problems putting runs on the board.

It’s still mind-boggling how Jesse Litsch has the best record on the entire pitching staff. A 7-1 record with a 3.18 ERA is not too shabby for someone who wasn’t even a lock for the 5th starter position in Spring Training. Let me just say that I was a Litsch advocate all along, and it’s great to see him so successful in just his sophomore year in the majors.

Some are speculating though that Jesse Litsch is just another Gustavo Chacin waiting to happen. In his sophomore year, Chacin went 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA in 2005. And we all remember what happened after that. Aside from their paleness, I don’t really see any other similarities between Litsch and Chain. I don’t think Litsch is a fluke or destined for failure. Let’s just ride this out, and see where it goes. He better not have jumped the shark yet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still Better Off Without Him


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It’s been just over a month since the Big Hurt parted ways with the Jays; and out of curiosity I was wondering how much better he’s been fairing as an Oakland Athletic. I remember hearing last week that he has more RBI’s and HR’s than any of the Blue Jays, so I decided to do a little comparison.

7 HR, 27 RBI, .255 AVG

Compare that with Vernon Wells, who leads the Blue Jays in RBI’s, and is 2nd in HR's;

5 HR, 25 RBI, .281 AVG

This tells us two things; one, the Blue Jays are not really hitting for power this year. And two, with Vernon Wells on DL for the past two weeks, he still has nearly identical stats to Frank Thomas who has been active all year (aside from the few days after the trade). So really, I’d say we’re better of without Frank the Tank, don’t you think?


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Son of a Listch - what a game!


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There's something about the first baseball game of the season that feels like taking your bike out for the very first ride of the season. Except for that my bike has sat on my balcony since last July - so now I just watch Jays games on TV. But on Saturday, I got to experience my first live game at the Rogers Centre.

Jesse Litsch pitched a gem of a game, with a complete game shutout. Aside from it being a no-hitter, I don't think I could've asked for a better game. Brad Wilkerson hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 1st, and Joe Inglett earned his keep with two spectacular catches.

Having not been to a game since last July, I forgot just how entertaining it was to go to a ballgame at the Rogers Centre. For a while, it was the beer guys who kept us laughing.

"If you can't catch a ball, you may as well catch a buzz!"
"Slightly overpriced beer here!"

"BEER BEER BEER BEER BEER BEER BEER BEER"

Not only that, but there were also come pretty interesting folks in our section. There were two opportunities where guys with gloves had a foul ball fall right into their glove, but they dropped it. Then our entire section booed them for dropping it, which was hilarious for some reason.

Then there was the drunk guy who kept yelling at the one jackass who caught a ball, and kept demanding that he give the ball to the kid. This drunk guy was insisting on yelling this for atleast 2 minutes, while the other douchebag was posing for Jays vision and too busy texting his "My Fave" about how he caught a ball at a Jays game.

I'll admit that totally thought Brad Wilkerson would strike out in the bottom of the 1st when the bases were loaded. But he ended up clearing the paths with a grand slam. My friend Jon called it, and immediately after I texted him saying "I grand slammed your mom last nite". Classy, very classy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame


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I am very excited to announce that on Saturday I will be attending my first Jays game of the 2008 season. In no way is it a marquee match up - the Blue Jays are playing the Royals, and it’s Jesse Litsch (5-1) pitching against Luke Hochevar (3-3). I envision that there will probably be a lot of runs scored in this game, considering that both pitchers ERA’s are above 4.00.

There’s something about the first ballgame of the season that’s very exciting. Aside from a few new players, there’s really not that much new to the Blue Jays in 2008. And as far as the Rogers Centre goes, it’ll be as cold and dull as ever. Though I am looking forward to blowing my money on some new retro Jays merchandise. And for some reason, I always find it necessary to come home with some over-priced Jays paraphernalia.

Another great part of going to the ballgame is the food. Last year, I discovered that the food stands have these kickass fries that make the $7.50 hotdog combo totally worth it. Though I’m not looking forward to paying $11.50 for a beer. Now I see why people sneak liquor into the games - you’d have to take out a bank loan, just to afford enough beer to get hammered at the Rogers Centre.

So long as the Blue Jays don’t ground into 4 double plays, I think it will be a great game. That and I’ll remember why I hate traffic in Toronto so much.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blackouts in Effect


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Believe it or not, there was actually a Blue Jays game last night. But since it wasn’t even televised, you would never know. For some reason, Sportsnet is opting to cover the Memorial Cup in lieu of their flagship team.

I realize the game is on the radio, but for some reason listening to the game feels weird unless I’m doing something like driving, gardening, or doing Jaggerbombs. Jerry and Alan do a fantastic job calling a game, and by far they are the best Blue Jays commentators, but I have an aversion to listening to the game on the radio unless I’m actively doing something else.

But I guess the radio will have to make do in the meantime, unless you follow the game at MLB.com. But I find it’s weird just watching icons flashing - it’s just not the same as the actual game.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome to the .500 Club


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Congratulations to the Toronto Blue Jays to elevating to the .500 club once again, for the first time since April. With a 23-23 record, the Blue Jays are also out of the American League East basement ahead of the New York Yankees. I guess that's not so bad, considering there are only 6 teams in the entire American League with a record above .500. But as we can see from the above photo, I guess being in the .500 club isn't such a bad place to be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Behind the Player: Mitch Williams


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Whenever I think of the Philadelphia Phillies, I think back to that faithful 6 game series in the fall of 1993. Coincidently, that was the last time both the Jays and the Phillies would play in the World Series. And it was all benchmarked by one of the most infamous blown saves in World Series history.

I usually try not to devote too much time to players who have not donned the Blue Jays uniform, but with Mitch Williams I couldn’t help it. He of course is most famous for giving up the 3-run homerun to Joe Carter in Game 6 if the 1993 World Series.

Despite what some fans think, in 2005 ESPN aired a special entitled “The Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame Mitch Williams for the Philadelphia Phillies Losing the 1993 World Series”. After that pitch, everything changed for Williams. Maybe the strangest story about Wild Thing was that he hit former teammate John Kruk in the nuts with a wild pickoff throw. The throw hit him so bad, it broke his cup and Kruk was later diagnosed with testicular cancer. Yikes.

Following that season, Williams bounced around to the Astros and Angels, before finishing his career in Kansas City in 1997.

After that, since he was such a fan of throwing gutter balls, he ended up owning a Bowling Alley in Philly for a couple of years, until he got back into baseball by playing for the Atlantic City Surf. The following year, he became the coach and then retired once again in 2004.

You can now find Mitch Williams as part of the Philadelphia Phillies post-game analysis team on Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (a la player turned broadcaster John Kruk). I’m just waiting for the day that Kruk goes for his revenge, and throws a fastball into William’s pills.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Doc!


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Yes, I realize that this information has been beaten to death, but yesterday Harry Leroy Halladay the 3rd celebrated his 31st birthday with a win over the Minnesota Twins. And yes, Matt Stairs gave him a kickass present with a Grand Slam in the top of the 1st. That homerun looked pretty much identical to the dinger he hit in the previous game; except this one cashed in 4RBI’s. Stairsy now leads the team in HR’s with 6. Boy, am I glad I have him in my Homerun Derby Fantasy Baseball Pool.

Doc settled down after giving up a couple runs in the bottom of the 1st, and returned to his usual dominant self, picking up the win going 7 strong innings. Just 1 run short of a quality start. Hey, I’d say that EVERY game that Roy Halladay pitches is a quality start.

Jays go for the sweep this afternoon! I’ve got a good feeling it’s going to happen!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scott Rolen looks like the guy from Bases Loaded


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I couldn't help but notice that Scott Rolen's batting stance bears a similarity to one of the players in Bases Loaded on the NES. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Runs Heeere, Get Your Runs Heeere !


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Can you believe that it took 31 innings for the Blue Jays to notch a single run? That’s over 3 games without a single baserunner crossing the plate. And up until the 10th inning of last night’s 3-0 win over the Indians, I figured the Jays couldn’t even buy a run if they were being sold by the sketchy guy at the flea market.

An unassisted triple play? Are you shitting me? How often does that happen? Of course, it had to happen when the Jays are in the middle of this drought, and it just compounded the frustration even more. Then in the 9th, Victor Martinez robs the Jays of basehit at 1st, and then Franklin Gutierrez makes a diving catch in right field to snag another out. At this point, any Jays fan that has any hair remaining has pulled it out of their skull, and is cursing in 6 different languages.

Thankfully in the 10th, the bats came to life scoring 3 runs and securing the win, and most importantly stopping that 31 inning scoreless drought, and 4-game losing streak.

Yes I know Cliff Lee was stellar last night, but how about Shaun F*cking Marcum? 8 innings, 2 hits and no walks? He now has a miniscule ERA of 2.22, has posted 7 quality starts in 8 attempts, and has elevated himself as the #2 dependable starter on the team. Shaun Marcum is the future of this ball club, remember that.


Monday, May 12, 2008

And then there were 6 …


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You can now add Vernon Wells and Jeremy Accardo to the growing list of Blue Jays players on the disabled list. It seems like the nightmare of the 2007 season is returning once again, as we continue to see players land on the DL in freak accidents on the field.

It’s totally frustrating as a fan to watch the season fall apart at the seams, in the midst of just the second month of baseball in 2008. But it’s difficult to have hope when there are already 6 players sitting on the disabled list. I didn’t expect the team to stay completely healthy in 2008, but I certainly didn’t think they’d be this bad this soon.

So now leave it up to the call-ups and the new faces to bring some hope to this shattered team. Kevin Mench, Brad Wilkerson, Jorge Velandia and Armando Benitez have now joined the 40-man roster, and can hopefully pick up where the regulars left off.

On a lighter note, our friends at the Drunk Jays Fans now have their own kickass podcast on The Score website. Check it out here, and enjoy the hilarity.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Injury Update


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We all feared the worst when we saw John McDonald writhing in pain on Tuesday night. And to add to that, the Blue Jays were already on starting shortstop #2, after Eckstein pulled out because of a groin injury.

Initially, most people figured McDonald would be on the 60-day DL. But I am pleased to say that both shortstops will only be spending 15 days on the disabled list. This means Little Eck and J-Mac probably won’t be back with the club until their home series vs. the Angels on May 20th.
In the meantime, Marco Scutaro will fill in at SS, with Joe Inglett backing up.

McDonald’s injury really opened my eyes to how much the Blue Jays (and fans alike) take him for granted. Every night, he puts himself on the line for the team; and I really expect that. 99 times out of 100, McDonald makes that play and gets the out. But it just seemed like he caught something on the field.

Get well soon boys, we need you back!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Prime Minister of Defense Goes Down


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After nibbling away at the heels of our prized Prime Minister of Defence, he was shot down last night in agony. It looks like one of his spikes caught in the turf, and he twisted his ankle awkwardly. Initial reports said he broke his ankle, but now it’s not as bad as we thought. Gibbons said that McDonald will be placed on the DL, but as of now it’s not sure for how long.

Just to show you how much of a trooper J-Mac is, he still managed to throw away the ball after falling to the turf. Wow - what a guy.

Oh yeah, David Eckstein was also benched for yesterday’s game due to an aggravated right groin. Though it sounds like he won’t be put on the Disabled List as of yet, so we could see him back sooner than later.

It’s unfortunate that the Jays lost both shortstops in one night. I think my pissoff moment of the evening was when Jamie Campbell announced “If you’re just tuning in, the Blue Jays have lost both their shortstops - and it’s only the 6th inning!”. Thanks for the news flash, asshole.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jays blast the Chicago White Sux


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The Jays managed to sweep the Chicago White Sox out of the Rogers Centre with 5-straight wins, accumulating 4 against the ChiSox. It’s the first time in 5 years that the Blue Jays have swept a 4 game series. Time to get down a la Al Gore on the Simpsons; Cel-a-brate good times, come on!

The key to it all; pitching. A league-best 1.02 ERA since April 26th has been the difference in every game for the Blue Jays. 9 straight quality starts have laid the foundation for wins every night. It’s just unfortunate that in those games in Boston last week, the lineup couldn’t give the arms some run support.

So are these the new look Jays of the 2008 season? Dominant pitching sprinkled with some key hitting here and there? For the most part - I think so. Starting pitching will be very dependable this season, and the bullpen will be solid. But for the Blue Jays to become an unstoppable team, their power hitters need to start swinging for the fences.

But let’s not kid ourselves; the Blue Jays are not the Boston Red Sox, or the Chicago Cubs. They usually don’t pile on runs, so for the time being I’m fine with the 1 or 2 run wins. Because with our pitching staff these days, those leads feel like 5 or 6 runs.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thank God April is Over ...


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It’s not often that you get to experience Déjà vu as a baseball fan; but last night’s loss to the Red Sox was pretty much a carbon copy of the night before; a pitcher’s duel between McGowan and Matsuzaka, and a play at the plate to end the game in the bottom of the ninth. Yepp, sounds like Tuesday’s game to me.

I know a lot of people want to get down on the team right now, but I have to give props to the pitching. Despite losses, both Halladay and McGowan pitched gems. It’s not easy to hold the Boston Red Sox offence to less than 3 runs on consecutive nights, but the Jays have done it. I still think the Jays pitching staff is amongst some of the best in the league.

Now while the Jays pitching is lights-out, the hitting is absolutely powerless. I’m not even want to look at what the RISP stat is over the past few weeks, because I’m sure it’s horrendous. You can’t really pen both losses on the bullpen or Vernon Wells missing a throw at the plate, because ultimately it was the offence that lost both of those games.

Roy Halladay could’ve pitched a no-hitter, but in the end you still need a run to win the ballgame. But unfortunately, the Jays couldn’t even come up with one run to support their Ace. I’m really not sure what the solution is to spark the offence, but they better find a way to fix it soon. An 11-17 record in April isn’t the worst in the league, but it’s pretty damn close.


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