Today, we have a special guest on Batter's Box, as a longtime reader and friend, Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog
(the finest one-man baseball website in existence) graces us with his views of the Stewart-Kielty trade. This article is reprinted from Aaron's blog.
Thanks Aaron, we hope you're back often.
Roy Halladay hasn't lost in a long, long time -- 18 starts, to be exact. That 13-0 streak includes three no-decisions against these Red Sox, none more frustrating than last week's 9-inning, one-run heartbreaker. Derek Lowe has a 6.61 ERA this year in three games against the Jays, who are hitting a mere .365 as a team against him. The math seems easy enough. It's always a treat to watch Doc operate, and though I'm not as optimistic about the rest of this series, it's good to begin on a winning note.
Bobby Kielty will hit sixth, as I hoped. If Embree (or any lefty reliever) is brought in to face Delgado, Tosca can bat Wilson for Myers and turn Bobby around to his more dangerous side.
Just wondering if anyone's heard -- will Hendrickson be recalled to start against the Yankees? If they bring Doc back Monday on short rest (which hasn't backfired yet) then Tuesday, it's either Lurch, Wasdin on short rest in Yankee Stadium (yikes!) or "Charlie Wholestaff" -- Thurman, Kershner and company. The Jays don't have an off day until the 28th (and only two in the next month) so they will need at least a 4.5 man rotation.
A couple of interesting pieces about Barry Bonds and his recent comments surrounding Babe Ruth.
First, Bonds's comments.
Next, a piece commenting on the comments
Finally, an article by Ray Ratto
, a humorous fellow with a snappy keyboard who writes for both ESPN.com and the San Francisco Chronicle.
I offer no words of my own. My motto is one of Fox News's: "We report. You decide."
Everything is coming together, it seems, for the Red Sox. David Ortiz has won the DH job, and he's flourished. The bullpen's roles have solidified, and they've flourished. Johnny Damon's been dropped in the order, and he's played better with less pressure. Can the Jays take them down a notch with a big weekend?
It'll be tough, and trotting out John Wasdin in the very ballpark where he earned his infamous nickname seems almost gratuitous. Similarly, Pedro Martinez against Kelvim Escobar (we'll call this edition "Rested Kelvim") will obviously also be a tough matchup. But I do like Halladay and Lowe this evening, provided the hitting switch can be flipped back on.
Meanwhile, the Jays get to trot out their shiny new outfielder/DH this weekend. It'll be interesting to see Carlos Tosca's lineup construction over the weekend.
On to the Advance Scout!
Here's a thread I've been wanting to start for some time: what are your favourite baseball books? (Other than Baseball Prospectus, Moneyball, and the Bill James collection, of course.)
The players and managers cared about the outcome in an exciting All-Star Game. The Toronto dynamic duo made us proud, contributing with their bats and their gloves, and Doc got to watch, so it couldn't have been much better for Jays fans. A Myers pinch-hit single would have been nice.
From Richard Griffin's column
in the Star
"It was almost like watching a regular-season game in terms of managerial strategies and intensity of players. The new slogan for the All-Star Game, "This Time it Counts," seemed appropriate in the comeback victory for the American League."
This is better than alternating years, or a coin flip. Bud got one right, I was wrong. The players took it more seriously than I expected, and the unwritten rules about using your roster have been modified. His manager should be co-MVP for leaving him in there, but Garret Anderson's pretty good, eh?
As detailed in this article
, the Blue Jays have traded Shannon Stewart and a PTBNL to the Twins for Bobby Kielty.
Laments Jim Caple on ESPN's Page Two.
. Caple and Eric Neel are doing a tour of all the major league ballparks (lucky stiffs) and awarding points as they go.
Skydome gets 66 (better than the Big O at 49 but a way behind Pac Bells 91). Though many of the points seem to be awarded due to the close proximity of Hooters and a bizarre love of 'Lets go Blue Jays'.
The overall assessment ' a pretty decent place to watch a game'.
Rickey Henderson, who was recently named MVP of the Atlantic League's All-Star Game
, is back in MLB after signing with the Dodgers
In case anyone is interested, Rob Neyer today will be on Seattle's public radio station, KUOW, at about 5:00 p.m. Toronto time. He'll be discussing his latest book (of course) and the evolution of the Mariners, among other topics.
I'm not 100 percent sure you can listen on-line, but I'm darn close to being 100 percent sure, which is darn more reliable than some darn people have been lately.
Here's the link
About 2 weeks ago, I posted mid-season park factors, adjusted for road park. Here I will present current factors calculated using the same method, as well as Offensive and Defensice rankings based on park-adjusted runs per inning.
I recommend that a park factor composed of 70% 2003 and 30% 2002 be used to evaluate a player's offensive or a pitcher's defensive contributions. Nevertheless, only the 2003 park factors were used to derive the team offence and defence rankings.
There was only one objection to the idea of offseason trading in our Yahoo league. What remains to be determined is exactly when it will occur. In last week's BBFL thread
, there were a couple of good suggestions, and many of you made comments in your e-mail votes. The floor is now open for more specific proposals and discussion. I like the idea of both a post-season trading period, and a window immediately prior to freezing keepers for next year's draft. I don't even care if it's unlimited trading all winter, but some may object to that. Thanks to Spicol for volunteering to maintain the offseason rosters, and with Da Box moving to yet another bigger and better server this month, I'm sure we'll be able to have some league pages on the site.
The proposal to add a fifth keeper also passed, receiving 15 "yes" votes and four reasonable objections. By a 12-7 margin, we chose to maintain the status quo on OF eligibility. Because it's a first-year league, the Head-to-Head format was new to many, and there had been much debate about our scoring categories, I thought there might have been other concerns, but we seem quite content. At the "winter meetings" we can talk about additional rule modifications, including "no more midseason changes," which at least one owner strongly supports. The suggestion to process undisputed trades faster in the future is worth discussing, and other ideas may be forthcoming.
My new article discussing Baseball Primer's All-Star selections
, complete with misspelling of Brendan Donnelly's name, has just been posted. I'll take this opportunity to let the Boxites (Bauxites?) name their own All-Star teams. Hey, it's better than contemplating twelve Blue Jays losses in fifteen games.
Jordan's away this week, but a few results from the farm yesterday are worth mentioning. Vince Perkins, in a FSL doubleheader against Daytona: No runs, one hit, three walks, nine strikeouts in 5.2 IP. Brandon League, in the other game: One run, three hits, two walks and three Ks in 7 IP. Nice bookends; Vinny's using up his pitch count quicker. Tim Whittaker (.364 OBP) caught both games for Dunedin, going 3-for-8 with two runs and 3 RBI.
Auburn won again, and though Vermilyea and Mulholland weren't completely untouchable this time, RH Shaun Marcum struck out four of the five batters he faced. That's four scoreless pro appearances totalling six innings for the Jays' third round pick, a converted shortstop who also closed for Southwest Missouri State. He's allowed three hits and two walks while striking out ten.
The news wasn't as good in Syracuse, where Kevin Cash had a double and a couple of walks, but RH Juan Pena was lit up again in relief, and Gabe Gross went 0-for-4.
Alexis Rios, on his Futures Game homer off Clint Nageotte: "Fastball away, I hit that all day." Lexi has talent and confidence.
If the Yankees had won yesterday, the Jays would be only two games over .500 and we'd all be holding our breath today at the Escobar-on-short-rest experiment. Thanks to those terrific two-out at-bats by Clark, Woodward, Stewart and Catalanotto in the seventh, four games over looks very different. The six-run explosion in the eighth was a collective sigh of relief turning into a celebration, and the Toronto hitters can continue the party this afternoon against Jeff Weaver, a winner just once in his last eight starts. Carlos Delgado has ripped the chronic underachiever to the tune of 480/649/840 and Eric Hinske (438/471/938) is also looking forward to more batting practice. This season, the Jays beat Weaver at the Dome in May, though Jeff shut them out (3 hits in 7.2 IP) in the Bronx during their April funk.
Super Kelvim got the W on the road against the Yankees May 23 in just his second start, lasting five innings. They will see a stronger, more confident version today. Escobar is overdue for a little luck; he has a loss and two no-decisions to show for his last three starts, which were all pretty good. "Luck" includes a little help from the 'pen for a change, but they shouldn't use Acevedo today; Juan had a lot on his mind
Saturday, which had an obvious negative affect on his performance. The only lineup shuffle for the Jays has Hudson returning to 2B, giving Tosca a .400-hitting lefty stick off the bench.