Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cue The Shea Hillenbrand Quotes

Well, this isn't going well.

Having lost both major-statement games so far not to mention dropping seven straight road games has made the Jays bandwagon much lighter.

This was, of course, inevitable. Everyone not named Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay wasn't going to keep hitting over .300. Rookie pitchers weren't going to keep confusing major-league hitters. The bullpen wasn't going to remain immaculate all year.

The real problem now is when does the team hit bottom? Certainly dropping two of three to the Orioles might look like bottom, but who knows?

Unlike many apoplectic/apocalyptic/narcoleptic Jays "fans", I shall remain optimistic and list the positives:

1) Six games over .500 is still pretty good, and they're only 1.5 games back despite the losing skid.
2) The pitching is as healthy as it's been all year, with Casey Janssen, B.J. Ryan and Ricky Romero (who's starting tonight) back. Robert (Bobby) Ray and Brett Cecil can go back to the minors where they belong, and hopefully they won't need em again this year.
3) Aaron Hill is still an All-Star.
4) Roy Halladay is still an All-Star.

My prediction: The Jays will be fine. They go 3-2 the rest of the month to finish 15-14 in May, and then perform well in June (Toronto doesn't face an AL East team till Tampa on the 29th).

The ship ain't sinkin yet. It's just taking on a little water.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Game of the Year (So Far, Again)

I know, I know, I've said all this before and it's still freakin' May, but I'd much rather hype this up than listen to people poo-poo the team's hot start as a mirage.

Let's not forget, the Jays weren't this good this late into the season even when they won back-to-back World Series. You have to go back to 1985 (McFly!) when the Jays won their first AL East division title for a start this hot.

Worst case scenario the Jays will still be in first if they get swept, but winning two of three would increase their lead to 4 1/2 games and put the fear of the Lord (aka Roy Halladay) into Boston and the rest of the East.

The Red Sox send Dirty Tim Wakefield to the mound tonight, which is not great since that dude can mess an offense up for an entire series. But the Jays have a few tricks up their sleeve as well; with Brian Tallet, Brett Cecil and Robert Ray, three guys the Red Sox haven't seen much of (in Tallet's case) or at all.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Halladay vs. Burnett: The Game of the Year (so far)

There's no reason to hype this game any further than it has been already, but it's without question the most important game of the Jays' season up to this point.

The rest of the baseball world (and who are we kidding, most of Toronto as well) still isn't sold on this team being for real, but the opportunity to prove just that is at the Jays' door.

The subplot is of course what the media has hyped as a mentor-versus-student pitching matchup in Roy Halladay vs. A.J. Burnett.

I'm not sure what it says about Burnett that in his 11th year in the big leagues, he claims to have learned more from Halladay than anyone else (Brad Arnsberg is sobbing softly in a corner of the Jays clubhouse right now) given that he had seven successful (albeit injury-filled) season before coming to Toronto and meeting Halladay.

What this does confirm, however, is that anyone who actually knows pitching knows that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the American League, if not the majors. I've heard Derek Jeter and Joe Torre echo that sentiment every time the Yankees face
him (Doc is 15-5 with a sub-3 ERA and two shutouts vs. New York in his career, so they know all about how nasty he can be).

Meanwhile Burnett might need to pick Doc's brain a little more, as his numbers so far this year aren't exactly Halladay-esque; he's sporting an ERA well over 5 through six starts.

And if any team knows how A.J. pitches, it's the Jays.

The offense teeing off on Burnett combined with a vintage Doc performance will not only evoke a bunch of lame student-master Star Wars bullcrap moments, but also send a huge statement to the rest of the American League that the Jays aren't going anywhere.

The atmosphere at the Dome should be at its highest in years, and I look forward to witnessing that in person, even if it means paying an extra three bucks for upper deck seats for a "Premium" game (I'll be going to sit in more expensive seats like I do every game anyway; I consider buying a 500 level ticket to be General Admission).

Halladay and the red-hot Jays! Burnett and the hated Yankees! Scores of fairweather drunk Jays fans! Almost as many upstate-New York loudmouth drunk Yankees fans!

Not having to listen to Jamie Campbell undoubtedly kill the mood with his buffoonery!

First pitch 7:07 PM! Let's get it on!

Saturday, May 09, 2009


WARNING: Multiple Rush references ahead. Read this post at your own risk.

The Jays scored early and often on Oakland, leaving A's starter Sean Gallagher in tears.

Adam Lind was clutch once again, teaching us all lessons in how to bring runners home (Lindsy's in the top 5 in the AL in RBIs, dontcha know).

Brian Tallet was stellar (side note: look at the guy, dude's probably a huge Rush fan), providing a nice passage to the bullpen.

Scott Downs was shaky for the first time all year, which made you wonder if we were in the twilight zone, but Downsy wriggled out of trouble.

It would have been nice to be in a position to sweep the A's, but you can't get something for nothing.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

18-9 And Feelin' Fine

Two more accomplishments in this early and unbelievable and unbelievably early 2009 Jays season:

- First series sweep; thanks Baltimore for settling who the worst team in the AL East will be, no matter what happens the rest of the way for the Jays.

- Responding when faced with real adversity; dropping three of four to the Royals could have sent the team into a tailspin, and instead they bounce back in a big way.

Plus Alex Rios and Vernon Wells went yard in the same game for the second time this season, which is already two more times than all of 2008.

And thanks to the Dome and its waterproof roof, the Jays won't be scrambling to make up rainouts later in the season, which can go a long way. That's rare praise for the Rogers Cavern but it's pretty much the only good thing you can say about it nowadays (that and cheap hot dog nights).

Up next are two at home against a struggling Cleveland club and then a five-game west coast roadie in L.A. and Oakland; three straight series against below .500 clubs.

This team could have 25 or even 30 (!) wins by Victoria Day. Wow.