Many of Mike's fellow owners endorsed the Moffatt Plan of beating Snellville 11-1 last week, but something happened -- they played the games. The Gashouse Gorillas, still on fire, melted down the Reykjavik Fish Candy 8-3 to move 42 games over .500 and extend their lead to a dozen over my Toronto Walrus. Seems like every week, I win my match, only to lose ground in the standings. I'm not complaining; edging AGF 7-5, while Baird Brain and Billie's Bashers suffered rare defeats, gives me a bit of a cushion in second. Both Mebion Glyndwr and Red Mosquitos are charging into contention, with five teams now bunched within 2.5 games of third in the race to make the championship playoff round.
The latest Baseball Prospectus Week In Quotes
features this little gem from Roger Clemens, stating why he plans on going into the Hall of Fame with a Yankees cap:
"I became a Hall of Famer here... If I'd have listened to people there [in Boston], then I'd have been done. Not people. One person that evaluated my skills and he didn't take the time to get to know me."
Have the years 1997 and 1998 been completely erased from Clemens' memory?
Much better notes
than mine are available, you know. Also, check out the Score Bard's main page
for his "The Chat Wrap of J. Morgan Prufrock", possibly his greatest poem to date.
An excellent series concludes this afternoon. I'm against interleague play for well-documented reasons, but I also dislike football scores, so this has been entertaining. Yesterday was the first time in over two weeks the Jays were held below five runs; an offensive explosion may be imminent. Shawn Estes is not as intimidating as Wood or Prior, and Cory Lidle, back on his regular routine, is due for a really good start.
It's the platoon lineup, except for Dave Berg, as O-Dog deserves to be in there every day now and lefty-killer Mike Bordick plays third. J-Zone (on Sportsnet right now for those with Canadian cable) has a Catalanotto feature and a look inside the Jays' "war room" on draft day.
The result of too much coffee, access to a perl compiler and half an hour to kill.
Very simply, the number of posts/the number of threads.
I realise that this does not bear close sabermetric scrutiny and I am working on TC (Threads created), COA (comments above average) and KAP (Keyboard Abuse Points).
Fittingly Coach is batting a Bonds-esque 1.450 while Craig and Jordan are neck and neck for second place.
Personally I am in Huckaby-land.
It may be assumed that pitching every 5 days (on 4 days' rest) is normal for the modern day starting pitcher. That's probably true of the top pitcher on staff, but less so for the bottom of the rotation. Off days and rainouts mean that the bottom end of the rotation is often pushed back - and so many pitchers start a significant number of games on 5 days' rest.
Earlier this week, the Blue Jays rewarded Simon Pond and Dustin McGowan with promotions to AAA and AA, respectively. There was a lot of speculation regarding what other changes would follow. Today we got at least part of the answer:
- Brandon League: promoted from Low-A Charleston to High-A Dunedin
- David Bush: promoted from High-A Dunedin to AA New Haven
- Jordan De Jong: promoted from High-A Dunedin to AA New Haven
It's sad that in all the talk surrounding the resignation of MLB's vice-president in charge of umpires, Ralph Nelson, that no one has thought of its impact on the children... er, umpires.
The Jays have scored 425 runs in 68 games (thats more than they got in a whole season in 1981), that puts them on pace for 1012 on the season should they be able to keep up this wacky pace.
There is a pretty exclusive club of 1000 run scorers. Since 1900 only 4 clubs have done it:
Yankees : 1930 1931 1932 1936
Red Sox : 1950
Indians : 1999
Cards : 1930
In today's Star
, Geoff Baker has an interesting profile
of Frank Catalanotto. It sounds like Frank Sr. is a lot of company. Cat, whose high school coach still calls him "little Frankie," would have been justified in giving up the game under the kind of parental pressure he faced as a 9-year-old, but Jays fans are very lucky he didn't.
This story is reminiscent of Eric Hinske's dad not allowing him or his brother to swing in Little League until they had taken two
strikes. Such fathers credit themselves for making their offspring "mentally tough," and live vicariously through their children's accomplishments. With the notable exception of football's unfortunate Todd Marinovich and his idiot scion Marv, we rarely read about the downside of such selfish behaviour. If that's the price of big league success, I'm glad my kids couldn't afford it.
On Thursday night, Mark Hendrickson pitched like a man who didn't want to go to Syracuse. This afternoon, his fellow finesse lefty Doug Davis has a similar incentive. If Davis gets knocked around, or walks too many Cubs, Carlos Tosca will have Corey Thurman standing by to take over -- not just today, but the next time the Jays need a fifth starter. With Trever Miller pitching almost every day, another southpaw is needed in the bullpen, so Davis, who unlike Lurch is out of options, will avoid demotion to AAA if he can't hang on to his starting role. Mike Smith is also in the mix; if Thurman isn't the answer, Smitty will get his chance.
It's unreasonable for the Toronto pitchers (and there may be several) to expect their usual awesome run support today. I know, the hitters surprised Kerry Wood with three homers last night, something that's never happened to him before, but Mark Prior might be an even tougher opponent. The 6'5" righty fanned 10 Yankees in his last start, a six-inning win. In his last three starts, totalling 21.2 IP, he's struck out 23 and walked just two. He has a perfect pitcher's body -- long arms and torso, powerful legs -- and amazing poise for someone who won't turn 23 until September. I'm not saying the home team can't win, just that it would be an upset.
I'm mailing it in today. Forgive me.
Anything's possible. A repeat of his last start (or the first four innings of his previous outing) by Kelvim Escobar will make it a long night for the free-swinging Cubbies. Kerry Wood has hit double-figures in strikeouts in his last three starts, so this is also a big test for the Jays hitters, who have never faced the nasty righty before. Wood rarely gets hit hard, but can be worked for a walk; if everyone goes deep into counts early, it could pay off in the later innings.
Tonight's opener might be the "deciding" game of the series. Mark Prior is a big favourite to beat Doug Davis (supported by AAA callups Thurman and/or Smith) tomorrow, and I like Cory Lidle's chances against Shawn Estes on Sunday, but this one could be a low-scoring nailbiter. Shannon Stewart still hasn't been activated -- I'm guessing he starts Sunday against the lefty -- so Reed Johnson, who enjoyed most of the night off Thursday after 12 consecutive starts, is back in at the top of the order. Howie Clark is also in the lineup again, this time at third base, batting ninth, where you don't often see a .550 average.
Good results are rewarded in the Blue Jays' organization, and quickly. As first noted by R Billie in the Advance Scout thread, the club has promoted the following players, with more to follow:
- Dustin McGowan from High-A Dunedin to AA New Haven
- Simon Pond, Chris Baker and Scott Wiggins from AA New Haven to AAA Syracuse
Baker and Wiggins look like pen filler for the Chiefs, but McGowan and Pond are moving up on their merits. Tim Young was released from the Skychiefs, which makes some room at Triple-A. The big questions are: who joins McGowan at New Haven? The most likely answer is fellow flamethrower David Bush. But note: the Jays also signed former Red Sox prospect Juan Pena, recovering from arm surgery, and sent him to New Haven. And: who replaces these guys at Dunedin? Brandon League could be coming up from Low-A Charleston, but maybe someone's coming down from AA. Stay tuned for developments.
Everyone -- even your aunt in Thunder Bay -- knows by now that the Jays are playing not the Cubs but the Sosa-less Cubs this weekend. Still, this weekend should be a heck of a challenge for the Jays, whose insanely great offence has struggled only against this season's elite starters...two of whom will be on the mound tonight and tomorrow afternoon. And unlike a couple of AL East rivals I could mention, excellent starting is usually followed by a lights-out performance by the Cubs bullpen, which has been stellar this year. It's a classic case of "irresistible force meets...other irresistible force." I know, it doesn't quite work...
Are the Cubs unbeatable? No, because Chicago doesn't have a lot of offensive depth or power, so the onus will be on Esco, Davis and Lidle to go right after their hitters. Yeah, I'm lookin' right at you, Dougie! With the tragic disappearance of Mark Bellhorn, the Cubs' two power sources have been replaced in the lineup by the likes of Troy O'Leary and the un-cryogenically-frozen Tom Goodwin. Surprisingly, though the much-dissed acquisitions of Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek have worked out very well for the Cubbies, as both veterans came to the club psychologically prepared to play a reduced role -- and have performed admirably when used. They'll both likely start all three games this weekend, with Hee Seop Choi on the DL.
I wonder if Alex Gonzalez can still attract those pre-strikeout screams of adulation from the Seventeen set.
On to the Advance Scout!