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Next to Doug Creek, only Jeff Tam has suffered more slings and arrows early in this 2003 Blue Jays season. But as this item in today's Star indicates, he's slowly starting to turn things around. Frankly, Tam, Creek, Miller and the rest of this pen need to do just that: there's no one in Syracuse ready to take their place, and the Jays certainly aren't going to go trade for bullpen filler in a rebuilding season. Then again, if the starters keep going 6 innings or more every time out, the relievers won't be run out there so often. There's reason to believe the worst is behind this staff.
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robertdudek - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#102318) #
I might have been the only member of the ZLC to support Tam's continued stay on the roster. I had three reasons:

1) His high walk rate early in the year was inconsistent with his career through 2002; I reasoned that he would eventually figure out what was wrong with his mechanics and correct it.

2) A lot of balls in play were sneaking through for or misplayed into hits. Batting average on balls in play for most pitchers will regress towards the team average. I thought that this would happen, and, indeed, Tam's BIP average against is very close to the team average now.

3) Tam (unlike Creek) has allowed few homeruns per ball contacted in his career. He's only allowed 1 homerun this year so far (to Juan Gonzalez).

Few walks and homeruns plus lots of groundballs usually equals an effective pitcher.
Dave Till - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#102319) #
I agree with Gideon: the Jays don't have any better alternatives, so they might as well hope that the current bullpen sorts itself out.

I see four factors at work:

1) Carlos Tosca's apparent need to bring every pitcher into every game. When you empty your bullpen, chances are you'll find one guy having a bad day.

2) Pitchers always pitch worse when they come to Toronto. I think it's because the Dome is a hitter's park when the roof is closed, so new arrivals spend April getting lit up like a Christmas tree.

3) "Oh, my God - I'd better pitch well right now, or I'll get released!" Job insecurity does not lead to confidence.

4) Tam is a sinkerballer. Sinkerballers are often useful, but cannot be relied upon: when their pitches don't drop, they're meatballs. Doctors refer to this as Acker's Syndrome, and there's no cure for it.
Coach - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#102320) #
Geoff Baker mentions a Jays club that will drop a reliever once Pete Walker comes off the disabled list.

Tam's April 18 disaster could have spelled the end, and after poor outings April 26 and 29, Jeff admits he was "as close as you can get" to being waived. His subsequent improvement (three perfect appearances last week) secures his position ahead of Brian Bowles, who as the new guy, must pitch himself off the bubble. Doug Creek, who always seems to have trouble with the first batter, must display some consistency. I think Creek's job is in jeopardy if Escobar bumps Davis to the bullpen. They don't have to make decisions right away -- is there any word on Walker's condition or anticipated return?
Gerry - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#102321) #
Skydome's artifical turf may be tough on sinkerball pitchers. I am not sure if anyone has done a study on this, but you would think a grass field would work better for a sinkerball pitcher.

Sinkerball pitchers rely on the infield defense to handle those groundballs. Toronto's infield defence, especially the left side,is below average,leading to more hits allowed.
Dave Till - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#102322) #
With apologies to Dr. Seuss:

I do not like that Tam-I-Am!
Because his arm is made of spam!

(Would you like him in the clutch?)
No, I would not abide with such!

(Would you let him get a save?)
He would drive me to the grave!

(Would you let him face A-Rod?)
Your head, it must be stuffed with cod!
I would not let him on the mound
Unless I dove headlong to the ground!

No walks, no hits, no runs, no pain!
No balls, no bats! You've gone insane!
I do not like that arm of spam!
I do not like him, Tam-I-Am!
_Jordan - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#102323) #
We have our very own Score Bard! Great stuff, Dave!
_Shane - Tuesday, May 13 2003 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#102324) #
It's conversations like these that are going to make it fun when the carnage is finally too much to bare, and this bullpen is put out of it's misery.
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