In honour of Cinco de Mayo, but a propos of nothing in particular, I rated the current MLB managers this morning over on Primer in response to a question. Thought I'd share it with you all and invite your ripostes, comments and abuse.
With open arms to welcome you
Beware the masked pretender
An early lead, a sustained rally, a little power, a gutty starting performance, and some last-minute bullpen heroics -- the Blue Jays looked a lot more like themselves last night, and it paid off with a win they needed like nobody's business. Gunning for their second consecutive win at home for the first time this year (eep), the Jays are sending Doc Halladay to continue to build momentum, going up against KC's Brian Anderson. This team isn't yet firing on all cylinders -- but they're already firing on more than half, and that should keep them rolling.
For 2004 I have been tracking start by start statistics for all minor league starting pitchers. I have been adding this information to the prospect pages such as the one for David Bush
. But how do we compare a Josh Banks
start for Dunedin to a Dustin McGowan
start for New Hampshire? To do this I turned to Bill James and his game scores. Bill developed game scores to answer this specific question.
With the contraction spectre coming back in a couple years, Jays fans need to find a way to make the Skydome experience fun and entertaining for other fans, so they'll come back more often, and so MLB gets rid of some other team instead of our Blue Birds.
One way to create noise in the Skydome is with those blue horns. But those have been maligned as being annoying and "non inclusive". So let's come up with things which are inclusive, such as the "Moooookie" chants from the 1980's. Named For Hank's crew came up with an idea yesterday:
Through the latex breeze
Synthetic fibre see-thru leaves
Fell from the rayon trees
Last night's loss could easily have been a win for the Blue Jays, and they did show gumption (a word you don't hear often enough) in coming back to the tie the game with two runs in the 9th inning. The team is in better shape today than it was a week or ten days ago: the starting pitching has invaribaly been solid, the batters (with the exception of VW) are coming around, and the bullpen is slowly gathering steam. The turnaround could start anytime, and facing Darrell May and his 7.32 ERA seems like a good place to start. Pat Hentgen, sporting a comparatively stingy 5.96 ERA, is just the guy to lead the renaissance. This team is very close.
Another bottom-heavy day for the Jays' system. Toronto and Syracuse lose, New Hampshire is rained out, Dunedin wins, and Charleston sweeps a double-header. Winning percentages by level so far this year: .308 (MLB), .423 (AAA), .500 (AA), .577 (Hi-A), .833 (Lo-A).
The Blue Jays need our support, that much is clear. The Doctor himself remarked the other day that unlike some other teams, the Jays could not rely on their fans to make noise and pick them up when they needed that extra boost during games.
Tonight is your chance to give that extra boost to the Jays.
It was a tough day for the organization. The big club, Syracuse, New Hampshire and Dunedin lost. Some of the Jays top pitching prospects had rough outings. It looked like it was going to be an organizational oh-fer until Charleston scored 6 runs in the top of the ninth to register the only win of the day. It is a somewhat abbreviated report today.
Ignorance is kind
There's no comfort in the truth
Pain is the hole you'll find.
Two weeks ago, I was downplaying a 12-0 sweep, in which several of the categories were decided by slim margins. Last week, I squeaked out a 7-4 decision that could have gone either way. Once again, I feel fortunate, as my Toronto Walrus remains in first place after a 10-2 victory over the Thunderbirds that doesn't reflect how close the match really was. A mere .008 of AVG, .011 of OBP and .09 in K/BB decided three "games" — I was relieved when it was over, as my hitters, who had been strong all week, collapsed with a 5/38 Sunday. But I'll take it.
Based on an admittedly small sample size, May does not appear to be the panacea that Blue Jays fans might have been hoping for. After a pretty excruciating road trip through Chicago and Minnesota, the Jays return home to face last year's surprise team, the Kansas City Royals, which this year has been looking unsurprisingly awful. Tony Pena's club is doing its best to prove that last year's successful campaign was, in fact, the fluke that it appeared; sound familiar? Lefty Jimmy Gobble faces The Illustrated Man, Justin Miller, in a 7:05 pm start.
I began putting together these monthly Farm Reports last April. The impetus, at least in part, came from the need for some distraction from the Blue Jays’ terrible start. Plus ca change. Anyway, that first report a year ago featured some excellent news about several players having breakout seasons, including such up-till-then disappointments as Guillermo Quiroz and Alexis Rios. There are plenty of good-news stories in this year’s inaugural farm report, too (all stats current to April 30). I hope you enjoy this instalment.