Archive for May, 2012

Public Enemy # 1

Well, instead of posting about how I sat in the cushy 100-level last night instead of my usual 524a seats, it seems an umpire has hijacked the topic. I just watched the replay of the those two ‘strikes’ again and yes, they were less than borderline. I’m not sure what Brett Lawrie did to incur the wrath of Miller but the Ump was certainly out to call him out. After the questionable second ‘strike’, Lawrie seemed to just get back in the box and not say a word. So I’m not sure, other than not waiting for the call, what Lawrie did to stir things up.

Anyhow, seems like he’ll be suspended eventually. All suspension appeals have to be heard in New York so Brett won’t get his day in ‘court’ until the Jays visit the Yankees after the All-Star break. Personally, I’m fine about the whole thing. Brett should’ve been mad. He didn’t mean to hit the ump with his helmet (bad bounce — could we get real grass already?) but I guess he needs to not throw things around… His outburst didn’t cause us to lose the game, nor did the bad call from Bill Miller. I think what’s lost in all this is that the Jays are playing some sloppy ball.

That’s at least two games in a row that the Jays have almost gift-wrapped for their opponent with bad defense. They’ve now lost 7 of their last 10. In a way, the Jays are lucky that the Miller incident happened because it took the focus off of the real issue — this team isn’t playing well. And now the Yankees are coming to town.

Should be a full(er) house tonight. Like the Red Sox, the Yankees always bring out the crowd. Rumour has it (Ian Harrison from AP) that the Bill Miller crew is staying for this 2 game series with the Yanks. So expect some boo birds out tonight. Hopefully not flying beer — although it was pretty funny. Can’t imagine what might’ve happened in New York or some other cities if that happened. Big deal — he went home smelling like a bar. Haven’t all of us?

Not sure what’s wrong with the Jays lately. There’s a fine line between ‘young team with potential’ and just ‘team’ and although we’re only, what, 40 games in, this team could go either way. They need to get back to some fundamentals and focus on the defense. There are no easy plays. Only the ones you make and the ones you don’t. I could get into the hitting woes as well, but I already said last week that I think the Jays need a new hitting coach. The Angels fired theirs last night and really it’s just because Pujols isn’t hitting well. We have at least 3 regulars that are sputtering along — Bautista, Lind, JP, Rasmus, and arguably JP (although he’s been a bit better of late). Once again I’ll say that perhaps AA won’t make any drastic changes until the 50 game mark. Let’s hope the Jays can stay within 5 games until then.

I’ll be booing Miller from the 100 level again tonight with my 83 year-old dad and then we’ll be back in our regular perch in Section 524a for the rest of the season.

 

Putting out fire with gasoline

Well, what can I say? If you watched last night’s game, words can’t describe how the ninth inning unfolded. And today I read that Casey Janssen is now our closer. I think Perez would’ve been better (most of us might agree), but mainly I’m just glad that Cordero has been relieved of the ninth inning duties.

That was, in a word, embarrassing last night. But it’s a long season everyone. Better we work this out now than in July.

I still feel good about this team. It’s part of the growing pains.

After 25 games

The Jays have reached the 25 game marker and it’s time to do a bit of an assessment. First of all, I’ll say that taking 2 out of 3 from Texas isn’t easy. It was a good series despite the dubious start — yes, Yu Darvish can pitch apparently.

So after 25 games, what have we learned? Well, despite the Jays having a number of things not working for them, they’ve put up a very respectable 14 – 11 record. I honestly feel the best of this team still lies ahead, but even with the scuffling they project out to a 91 win season at this pace. That could be enough for a playoff spot.

So here’s what’s good right now…

The starting pitching has been pretty decent. I think the starters have made it into the 5th inning every start so far this year. That’s pretty good. Ricky has been very good and at his worst, just average (today was his worst outing probably). Brandon Morrow has been solid, no matter which pitcher shows up — the fire-baller or the pitch-to-contact guy. And after that I’d have to say that Kyle Drabek has exceeded expectations. He’s showed poise and has found the strikezone again. The guy can pitch. The jury is out right now on Henderson Alvarez and Drew Hutchison. I think Alvarez will be okay — some run support would be nice — but I’m not sure about Drew. He needs a couple of more starts for us to accurately say what he has under the hood. I’d give the starting pitching a B-plus so far.

EE, Kelly Johnson and Brett Lawrie. These are the hitters carrying us right now. Brett has only recently come around but KJ and Edwin have been consistent at the plate. And in EE’s case, the guy’s been a monster. I’ve never seen a player so locked in for so many games in a row.

Luis Perez. Let’s not get too down on his bad outing the other night. It’s the only one he’s had. He’s been very good in the pen and a case could be made that he should be our closer.

The defense of Colby Rasmus. The guy’s amazing out there.

And really, the defense overall has been very good. I would say other than a couple of positions (I’m looking at you Eric Thames and JP Arencibia), we have seen some all-star caliber defense this year. These guys can field. They’re fun to watch. They turn the double play and they play smart. It’s not often you see another team out-think these guys.

KJ. So far, he’s been a nice surprise. He’s not flashy-looking but he’s very solid out there. He’s a gold-glover trapped in an accountant’s body.

Okay, now the bad…

The ‘closer’. Whoever they’ve been so far — Santos or Cordero — they’ve been inconsistent. We’ve blown a lot of saves already. I can’t really judge Santos yet but I hope he comes back soon because I’m not sure Cordero has enough left in the tank to throw a full ninth inning like he used to. Sure, it’s hard to argue with over 300 career saves, but he just might not have it anymore. We’ll see how he does for a few more weeks. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt right now. A cause for concern, as is Santos’ health.

Adam Lind. The slow start of Jose has been lucky for him because it’s taken the spotlight off the fact that he hasn’t been very good at the plate. Not very good at all.

Escobar. Every night I feel like this guy has the talent to be the difference, but he hasn’t been… He’s off to a slow start but his fielding makes up for it.

JP. He’s been coming around at the dish lately but he seems to be having trouble hanging onto the ball when he’s catching. Seriously. I don’t know if he’s getting crossed up or what is going on but every game I watch, there’s a ball getting past him or it seems like he’s expecting another pitch. Not sure what’s going on.

Eric Thames. Yes, I’m still on his case. His defence is passable. So you’d expect his bat to make up for it. So far, it’s a coin toss. We’ll see what happens.

Jose. I won’t beat this to death. There’s too much made of it already. He’ll come around.

The bench… I still think it’s thin. I love the secret weapon of Rajai in the late innings. But I’m still not sure what Ben Francisco is doing here. We have a bunch of lightweights on the bench. None of them can hit it out like Matt Stark could years ago. We need one of those. I like Vizquel, and Mathis has shown some surprising pop but Francisco needs to go (sorry dude) for someone that can potentially rake.

Anyhow, overall it’s been a very entertaining 25 games. I think they’re indicative of the type of team we have right now. They’re young. They’ll make mistakes. There will be times they will infuriate us but if this is how they’re doing with all these problems, well it bodes very well for when they’re hitting on all cylinders. This could be a very good team. A very good one…

I guess what I’m saying is that if this is the worst they are this year, we’re in for some good baseball. Buckle up.

 

 

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