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It's not easy to lose 9 of 10; you have to do a lot of little things, wrong. The standings this morning are embarrassing; last in the East, second-worst in the league. The statistics aren't much better: last in fielding percentage and errors, worst in both facets of the running game -- basestealing and SB allowed -- 12th in team ERA, and so on. Disappointing? Sure. Time to panic or give up? Sheesh. An ace-like start by the ace will give this club a good chance to win today (catching and throwing the ball better behind him will help) and it won't require a complete overhaul to turn this team around. The Terrible Twenty is 90% over, and an 8-12 mark through that brutal stretch can still be salvaged.

Jason Kershner's arrival and Doug Linton's departure weren't unexpected, nor are they the last of the roster moves; it's a minor tweak in a positive direction. There are (for now) three lefty relievers in competition amongst themselves to avoid the axe; maybe that will inspire Doug Creek (who got his man yesterday, only to be betrayed by Delgado's glove, then was rattled enough to lose the next lefty batter). On the radio, Tom Cheek speculated that Jayson Werth would join the big club in Tampa, with Reed Johnson being returned to Syracuse. Werth's been hitting well (1.001 OPS) in Florida, and Tosca isn't aftraid to use him -- again, not an earthshaking adjustment, but it can't hurt.

In addition to Werth's 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, there was great news from Dunedin yesterday. Chad Pleiness, the 6' 6" former Central Michigan star RH and Toronto's 5th-round pick in the productive 2002 draft, dominated Lakeland, giving up just three hits and a walk through seven scoreless innings, while striking out eight. Syracuse isn't hitting -- Ken Huckaby (0-for-2 with an RBI sac fly) was the DH Saturday, and three starters are below the Mendoza line. CF Alexis Rios, whose season began late, had a double and a triple for New Haven yesterday and is off to a .556 start. RH Chris Baker tossed six scoreless innings (4 H, 2 BB, 5 K) for the Ravens.

The parent club will be fine. They can hit anyone, and neither the defence nor the pitching is as bad as they've looked the last couple of weeks. Some good fortune and a couple of timely plays might produce a collective sigh of relief, and build some confidence. In his column this morning, Richard Griffin points out, "The Jays are not playing good baseball and are not getting any breaks even when they try to do the right thing." He's right, though he also suggests Tosca should stop making excuses for his players and start getting angry. I don't think that would help; the skipper's understanding and support are more important than ever during a tough stretch like this. You can send a clear message to one player, or the whole roster, without losing your cool.

Today, facing a lefty, is the logical day to sit Hudson in favour of Berg, who homered off Fossum in Toronto. I suggested a benching yesterday, but obviously, Carlos and his staff are even more patient than me, and I respect that; I hope Orlando does. Reed Johnson is also expected to start, but maybe not in the obvious RF spot. Catalanotto's back seems healthy, and he's in a good groove; neither Stewart nor Wells has had a day off all season, so Tosca might just play a hunch. Phelps could even get a rest, with a regular OF manning the DH spot. The batting order is unimportant, compared to the need for Roy Halladay to finally step up with a dominant outing. It's a 2:05 start on the FAN 590 and Sportsnet.
Game 19: Halladay Weekend | 40 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_rodent - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#90138) #
Halliday's inspiration made The Sunday Star:

ST. LOUIS--Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling underwent an appendectomy yesterday during the team's game against the St. Louis Cardinals but might miss only one start."

...after going the dugout?

A tough bugger, your mentor...c'mon, Doc!
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#90139) #
Are the Snakes snakebit? Can a team have a Murphy's Law season?
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#90140) #
Is "snakebit" a euphemism for "old"?

Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#90141) #
Reed Johnson in RF batting second; have fun, kid. Bordick, not Berg, at 2B. Free Dave! Just kidding -- this is the best defensive alignment of the year. Cat, Dog and Myers are also available to pinch-hit, so the bench is strong.
_Gwyn - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#90142) #
A Reed Johnson sighting! I was beginning to think he was some kind of myth.
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#90143) #

How is that for a welcome to the show?

_Cristian - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#90144) #
That's right with Greg "Mouse" Myers sitting, we have a dog, cat, and mouse bench. What's a good nickname for Berg?
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#90145) #
Can somebody explain to me what happened on the Delgado play? I'm following the game on gamecast while pretending to work.

_DS - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#90146) #
Reed Johnson = FP Santangelo
_DS - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#90147) #
Delgado lined to second. Walker tried to double up Wells at first, and threw the ball away. Stewart scores, Johnson to 3rd. 1-0 Jays.

Phelps, 6-4-3 double play. Inning over.
_Cristian - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#90148) #
Delgado lined out to second baseman (playing the shift) and Walker tried to double up Vernon at first and threw the ball away. Stewart scored from third.
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#90149) #
Cool.. thanks.

People complain about all the Jays strikeouts, but I think we can all agree that we wish Phelps had struck out in the 1st.

Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#90150) #
The TV guys don't know why Berg was a late scratch. Cerutti's actually having a good game. He's thinking along with the pitchers and explained it well when Fossum crussed up Varitek.
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#90151) #
First official AB, first RBI. Nice job Reed!

Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#90152) #
Great job by Doc to maintain his composure after a brutal call at 1B by Jim Reynolds and a missed third strike by Laz Diaz on a masterful curve ball. Earlier he got Nomar on a nasty slider and overpowered Ortiz. Fossum's not fooling anyone -- Delgado is 0-for-2 but both were bullets. A fly ball lost in the sun, an ugly misplay by Little G, Walker's bad throw -- it's the red team's turn to kick it around today.
_M.P. Moffatt - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#90153) #
Did a Blue Jay just steal a base?!?

Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#90154) #
2-out little ball. Hinske draws a walk, easily steals second. Woody is still in Fossum's head; he gets nothing to hit. Bordick burns Damon with the 2-run double.

Loved Tom Wilson's line on catching Doc -- "I'm going to try to stay out of his way and let him do his thing." Halladay got Nomar to tap back to the mound and froze Millar. Roy looks fantastic today.

Cerutti, yammering about Bordick, said "here in Baltimore." Uh-huh.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#90155) #
So do we like Reed Johnson? Buzz cut, eye black, high socks, takes one for the team, goes the opposite way, gets picked off. Might as well get involved, I say.

Little G is gawd-awful out there. 5-0 Jays.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#90156) #
Woodward hit a liner that was obviously high off the wall, so Jeremy stumbled around on the warning track, hoping the ball would miraclulously find his glove. Damon hustled over to back him up, but made a bad throw. So Chris gets to third on an RBI double, and Tom Wilson's walk scores. Lots of little things going the right way.
_Shrike - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#90157) #
No shutout for Doc today. I had to go help prepare the big family Easter dinner, so I missed these last two did the BoSox touch up Roy?
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#90158) #
Millar's double off the wall above a confused Stewart scored one, then Nixon cashed him in by going with a good pitch; an opposite-field gapper for his third hit of the day. 5-2 is good, no problem.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#90159) #
Damn, the wheels can come off in a hurry. Tough break on Damon's hit -- could have been a double play, bounced high enough for a double. 5-5, I can't believe it.
_rodent - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#90160) #
Excuse me...was Miller in simply to walk Manny?
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#90161) #
How about Aquilino Lopez? Cool as can be, used the slider and took advantage of the shadows to get out of Roy's jam.
_rodent - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#90162) #
Oh, I get it...Manny was pinch-hitting...I'm a late arrival.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#90163) #
was Miller in simply to walk Manny?

Yup. Tosca has three lefties. He used one, hoping Grady would go to Manny too soon. Kershner should get his chance after Lopez faces Hillenbrand, and with any luck, Creek won't be needed.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#90164) #
Walking Damon to get to Walker was interesting, and leaving Lopez in against all these lefties was a surprise. But Tosca got the ground ball he wanted, and deserves credit for making the call. It helps that Aquilino is pretty good.
Coach - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#90165) #
That one really hurts. Politte serves up a 6-5 walkoff HR to Nomar.
_the shadow - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#90166) #
OUCH!!! oh well we have to look for the positives, Lopez proves he is a keeper, lets hope he is now used on a more regular basis when needed,
Pistol - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#90167) #
I really didn't like the decision to leave Halladay in there after the 6th, and then I really didn't like it when they left him in after the HR in the 7th. Then they waited for 2 more hits before pulling him.

This is the 2nd game in a row that Halladay has come out for an inning when he should have been on the bench after pitching a good game. Just because the bullpen is struggling doesn't mean you should let them beat your ace up once he runs out of gas.
robertdudek - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#90168) #

Given how bad the bullpen has been, why would you pull your ace after 6 innings?
robertdudek - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#90169) #
Let's put it another way,

If they had pulled him after 6 and the bullpen had given up 4 runs in the 7th, wouldn't some people be calling for Tosca's head?

The trick is to first-guess - say that Halladay should have been taken out before the fact, not after.
_Shane - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#90170) #
"Rattled" was poor Doug Creek. Really.

Thus far in 2003, Doug Creek's thrown 6 walks in five innings, jeez he's rattles a lot doesn't he. Please, the stench in here is getting quite ripe. Spare me the spin.
Pistol - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#90171) #
I was first guessing, I just wasn't typing it online at the time for evidence. I was actually considering pulling him in the 5th after it became 5-2 (I have a quick trigger).

I don't trust the bullpen at this point either, but I'd rather build Halladay's confidence at this point even if the bullpen ended up blowing the game because of it. In the grand scheme of things W's and L's don't mean much this year.
robertdudek - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#90172) #

I would say you'd be wrong to pull your best pitcher after 5 innings if he hadn't allowed a run.
Pistol - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#90173) #
Robert - So would I.
robertdudek - Sunday, April 20 2003 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#90174) #

Halladay gave up 2 runs in the 6th - he shut them out through 5. It was only in the 7th that he started to get hit hard and not even right away (the homerun in the 7th was a flyball that flirted with Pesky's pole).

I think Tosca's timing for taking Halladay out was just about right.

I don't buy this blow his confidence stuff. When a manager takes a starting pitcher out at the first or second sign of trouble, it sends the message that the manager doesn't trust his pitcher.

With Halladay, that's not the message Tosca ought to convey. If Tosca had taken him out after 6 innings with only 2 runs allowed, Halladay would be thinking to himself: "Does my manager think I'm the ace of this staff, or not?" THAT is the sort of thing that can undermine a pitcher's confidence.
Pistol - Monday, April 21 2003 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#90175) #
I agree that the confidence thing can work the other way as well, but I'd rather pull him earlier than later when he's struggling, as Halladay himself admitted after the game.

"There's no question that after the sixth I felt that I was pretty well fried and maybe should have said something," said Halladay.
_M.P. Moffatt - Monday, April 21 2003 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#90176) #
Johnson must be wondering what more he had to do to stay in the bigs.. I mean, he was only hitting .500. :)

I'd like to see both Johnson and Werth in the bigs with one less pitcher, but I know that isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Coach - Monday, April 21 2003 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#90177) #
Live and learn. Doc didn't look "fried" in the sixth, but if he was, he should have said something. He made a mistake -- "trying too hard" -- that has plagued a few other young Jays so far. They will be fun to watch when they get relaxed and confident.
Game 19: Halladay Weekend | 40 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.