Yesterday was a day for firsts: The Chiefs won for the first time in 10 days; Bob File recorded his first professional win since April 14, 2001; And the AA Fisher Cats moved into first place after sweeping a doubleheader.
Today, an afternoon tilt that won't be available locally on TV - it's Lilly v Affeldt.
The Royals most valuable pitching commodity may be Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt has thrown the ball in his fiurst two years in the major, but he's been bothered by blisters. His strikeout rate has dropped considerably in 2004 (17 in 37.1 IP) - something to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Ted Lilly has looked better of late, apart from giving up gopher balls at the wrong time. The Royals missed him in Skydome, so it will be interesting to see who the element of surprise favours today.
Although Batter's Box favourite Reed Johnson is an outfielder, there are more than a few similarities between "Sparky" and 24-year-old infielder Dominic Rich. When asked about past ballplayers that influenced them, Johnson and Rich named two men famous for their on-field intensity. The words "throwback" and "old-school" come to mind, and it's hard for a true baseball fan not to like either of them. Reed Johnson arrived at the major leagues with little fanfare and showed he could play; don't bet against Dominic Rich doing the same.
Syracuse dropped their eighth straight last night, but Dunedin broke a five-game skid with a late-inning comeback. Charleston also won and is sitting on a 24-8 record.
The people keep on writing, and wishing I was well
I said, "It's no occasion, it's no story I can tell"
The Mighty Drum has been cleared for the upcoming homestand against the Boston Red Sox. Now that we have that out of the way, who's coming out to make some noise with the Cheer Club? I need your RSVPs ASAP so that we can give the Jays an idea of how many people are coming. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm posting this game thread early because I'll soon be leaving for Team Coach's baseball game this afternoon. From there it will be over to the well-advertised Will Carroll Pizza Feed.
Though he is but 27 years old, today's starter Dennys Reyes is with his 7th major league team. He's been a reliever most of his career so pitch count should be an issue for him tonight.
Doc has been in a groove, notwithstanding the 11 hits he gave up his last time out. Most of them were bloopers and high choppers. A crazy idea has been bouncing around my head - would it be a good idea to sit Hinske and play Gomez at third and Woodward at short tonight? Interior defence is what Doc needs most, and Gomez' arm is so much better than Hinske's that he might get an out of two that Eric wouldn't.
Syracuse and Dunedin are going through a tough time, both have multiple game losing streaks. Charleston are back on track. New Hampshire are the hottest team, the offense has been on fire since the arrival of Stubby Clapp. And Francisco Rosario is back.
Passes in and out like a scent
But the long face that you see comes from living close
To your fears
What a difference a week makes. With five wins in their last five games, the Jays stand at 13 up, 18 down and are within shouting distance of .500. Making it to that mark by the end of May is now a realistic goal.
Last season the Jays were 13 up and 18 down entering their 32nd game and were in the middle of what would end up a five-game winning streak. Nothing more than a coincidence, I'm certain.
The Jays and Royals have been the two "unluckiest" teams in baseball so far this season. Toronto has a Pythagorean WPCT of .482 (146 runs, 151 allowed) and have won 1.9 games fewer than predicted by the Ancient Greek. Kansas City has suffered even more: their Pythagorean WPCT stands at .393 (27th in the majors); they have fallen 2.4 games short of that.
Brian Anderson, victim of a 2nd inning bludgeoning in Toronto his last time out, will take the mound against "soft-tosser" Pat Hentgen (no offence, Pat). Roy Halladay gets an extra day of rest and starts tomorrow.
After defeating Baird Brain 9-2, my Toronto Walrus remains atop the BBFL Alomar division for another week, with a 4.5 game cushion over the Horse Field Hammers, who were 8-3 winners over the Eastern Shore Birds. Four games farther back, Billie's Bashers are third despite dropping a 6-5 decision to the Springfield Isotopes, then there's a virtual tie for fourth. With a 10-2 rout of the Thunderbirds, the Chatsworth Halos moved up; AGF, whipped 10-2 by Reykjavik Fish Candy, slipped a couple of notches from second. Hannibals Cannibals, after beating Gashouse Gorillas 9-2, are now sixth. The big move of the week was by Red Mosquitos, who stung Jick’s Rays 11-1 to get back to .500 and advance from 17th place up to 12th.
There might be a sweep at Skydome today! Better yet, it might be carried out by the home team! The Blue Jays have rattled off four wins in a row as they continue to emerge from their April snoozefest. But today's assignment might be particularly tough: 2003 Andujar Winner and erstwhile Jays albatross Esteban Loaiza goes for the ChiSox, anxious to avoid a northern brooming; the Jays counter with Justin Miller, The Illustrated Man. Gregg Zaun and Howie Clark get the starts for the Gray Jays in the field. The Toronto forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of 16; might this be the day the dome cracks open?
Phelps sinks Sox with do-over
. Batista impressive as Jays win fourth straight game, this time 4-2 over the White Sox.
You know your major league team is doing well when?
They're winning in blowouts, they're winning in come-from-behind fashion --- the main thing is, they're winning. The Blue Jays look like they're starting to come together. The starters have reeled off five good starts in a row, the bullpen's anxiety attacks appear to be easing, the batters are starting to find their groove, and the manager appears to be steadying himself. This could be bad news collectively for a league that was rightly concerned about the Blue Jays' potential coming into the season. The Jays face another lefty today in Scott Schoeneweis, which unfortunately means Dave Berg is in left field today and batting second. On the hill for Toronto is Miguel Batista, the only winless starter left in the rotation and one who is long overdue for a solid seven innings and a victory.