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Can't complain about much of anything after the Blue Jays took two of three from the first place Red Sox. In Fenway, behind a pair of left-handed starters.

They probably didn't draw it up quite this way. The Jays did it with the back half of their rotation. Troy Glaus went 2-10, both singles, in the three games. Lyle Overbay went 1-12. Shea Hillenbrand went 1-9 in the first two games, and with his BAVG on the wrong side of the Mendoza Line, was replaced for the finale by Eric Hinske, who promptly rapped out three hits.

A few pronouncements regarding last night's game:

Star of the Game - Ted the Tease, obviously. Three batters into the game, Ted Lilly had allowed a double by Loretta and an RBI single by Big Papi. And then - doubtless saying to himself "the line must be drawn here" - he held the formidable Boston lineup to four singles over the next 6.2 innings, striking out 10 and walking none. Game Score: 71.

Unsung Hero - The Dude got the offense started in the second with a leadoff single and scored with some nice aggressive baserunning on Zaun's double. He chipped with two more hits and drove in a run. I am, and I remain, the Dude's Advocate. And Vernon Wells managed just a single hit in five at bats. But when that one hit is a grand-slam home run... we give the man his due.

For the Sox - David Ortiz drove in the first Boston run and his two-run homer off Tallett cued the Boston comeback attempt, which eventually brought B.J. Ryan into the game to face... David Ortiz, representing the tying run.

Defensive Play of the Game - Not so much an outstanding play as a timely and necessary one. The Jays were up 6-1, but Gonzalez and Youkilis led off the Boston third with singles. Mark Loretta was the hitter, and after him would come Big Papi and Manny. Lilly got the ground ball, and Aaron Hill started a 4-6-3 double play, which took a lot of steam out of the impending threat. Lilly then fanned Ortiz to escape the inning.

Defensive Misplay of the Game - Jerry Howarth was all over this on the radio, both at the time it happened, and later as its consequences played themselves out. The score was tied 1-1 in the Toronto second, Zaun was on third and Rios was on first. Aaron Hill hit a ground ball to Mike Lowell at third base, and Zaun lit out for home. Lowell, for reasons that surpasseth all understanding, made no attempt to turn the 5-4-3 double play and instead threw home to erase Zaun. At Fenway Park, in the second inning. Zaun was eventually tagged out, but Russ Adams got to bat with runners on first and second rather than the bases empty. Would Youkilis have been able to make a play on Adams' hit in those circumstances, for the third out of the inning? Maybe, maybe not - but after Adams' RBI single, Catalanotto walked and Wells hit his slam and it was 6-1 Toronto.

Streakers - Vernon Wells extended his to 9 games, but Aaron Hill went 0-4 and had his streak broken off at 7 games.

DP Watch - Even with Hillenbrand and Molina sitting on the bench, this team can still produce two outs with a single swing of the bat pretty well any time they want. They managed to hit into three double plays last night, courtesy of Hill, Zaun, and Overbay. The Jays now lead their division, their league, and the entire majors in this dubious category.

Boxscore - Here you go.

The Toronto offense isn't this good - the team is hitting better than .330 - but the pitching is considerably better than it's shown so far. One half of the bullpen - Ryan, Schoeneweis, and Speier - has been outstanding. The SS LOOGY still hasn;t allowed a base hit - Ryan gave up his first safety last night. However, the other half of the pen has been an abomination in plain sight. The work of Chulk, Frasor and Walker was one of the 2005 team's strengths. Furthermore, while Josh Towers has had each of his two starts ruined by a single big inning, ruined is still ruined and he is 0-2, 6.75. The Blue Jay nation suffers serious heart palpitations when Roy Halladay has a cold, never mind a strained forearm. And of course A.J. Burnett still hasn't thrown a pitch that matters.

And yet... after this series at Fenway I see no reason to think the Blue Jays can't play at the same table with the Beasts of the East. Toronto's team, as a whole, looks better to me than Boston's. The Red Sox still have their two mighty offensive superstars, which has been a major difference-maker in the past. I don't know that it's going to be enough anymore.

Elsewhere - Maybe there is a Mazzone effect. So far, the Braves are allowing 7 runs a game. This is not something seen often in Atlanta in recent years. They're scoring just as many as they give up (the Braves and the Dodgers lead the majors in runs scored), which is keeping them afloat, although the Mets have come out of the gate smokin'.

Today is the birthday of a Hall of Famer - Greg Maddux is 40 years old, and he sports a 2-0, 1.46 log after his first two starts. Smoke and mirrors? Well, mirrors maybe.

Blue Jays vs Red Sox | 27 comments | Create New Account
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ScottTS - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#145137) #
However, the other half of the pen has been an abomination in plain sight. I agree about Chulk, but I thought Frasor deserved better than he got last night. It sure looked to me like he threw strike three to both Snow and Pena before walking them in the 9th.
Craig B - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#145138) #
What I found most disturbing about that was that I didn't think either pitch was particularly close either.  The second walk was particularly egregious; and there was another pitch somewhere in there, a high curveball (was it to Cora?  I had the sound off and didn't see who PH for the shortstop) that was a perfect belt-high strike.
zeppelinkm - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#145140) #
I found the home plate umps to be really stingy on the called strike in this series.  Although it was a different ump tonight, I noticed that in the game Chacin started he threw a lot of borderline pitches that didn't get the call, and I felt that he was better then his 5 innings and 3 ER showed.

What is up with Lilly? Why does he have to torment us like this? He was so good last night. If he could even pitch 75% as good as that, 75% of the time, I'd be happy...

Taken from :

"Lilly improved to 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last seven starts against Boston dating back to an Aug. 23, 2004, start when he struck out a career-high 13 in a 3-0 win.

He has seven 10-strikeout games in his career, four of them against Boston."

Could be useful in the stretch run...

Anyone know how Troy's foot is doing? He's looked much less confident at the plate since dinging his foot twice in one at bat then he did in the 3 at bats before. I know he only had 2 singles, but I think that first single he hit yestarday woulda been a double or home run if not for the green monster. It was far from a little poke single!

And finally.. Vernon CRUSHED that ball, and it was nice to see.

Personally, I'm excited, because Shea, Overbay, and Glaus, really haven't got it going yet. We haven't seen Burnett and Doc isn't fully operational, but we're still 5-4, and we just took 2 of 3 from the BoSox!

Dave Till - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#145141) #
Good point about the Lowell throw home to get Zaun. The TV broadcast wasn't as critical of Lowell's play as Jerry was, but they did point out that Zaun did absolutely the right thing when he broke for home.

I don't understand. Why does Ted Lilly do so well in Fenway? He's a left-handed pitcher who sometimes struggles with his control - that should be a recipe for disaster in Boston. Maybe it's a confidence thing - maybe he believes he owns the Sox in Fenway, so he does.

I'm not too worried about Frasor. He was just off the plate a few times (and may have had his strike zone squeezed). Besides, he's now the fourth-best reliever on the team. He, and the Jays, will be fine.

One thing I've noticed about the newfangled Toronto batting order is that everybody is capable of making a contribution. There aren't any automatic outmakers in there (assuming Rios is for real and Shea reverts back to form). It's just as important to fill the holes as it is to find some stars, and the Jays have done that.

By the way, let's give J.P. some props here. Bush and Batista both struggled in their last start. Hudson is hitting .220 in Arizona (and, according to Marty York, is in the manager's doghouse for being a hot dog - it's too bad they don't appreciate his sense of style and his hard work, sigh). Koskie and Gross are hitting well, but they're not playing full time. And all of his acquisitions are contributing (except of course for Burnett).
Rob - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#145142) #
I read in Lee Sinins' ATM report today that the Nationals sent Brandon Watson to the minors and called up Ryan Church. If I'm not mistaken, they chose Watson over Church to start the year because...well, who the hell knows.

But if they're sending Watson down now because he's has a .179/.207/.179 line in 9 games...they don't really know what they're doing in Washington, do they? Will Church hit .200 over two weeks and they'll go with, I don't know, Ty Godwin? Watson again? It's elementary not to make decisions based on the first two weeks, but the Nats don't seem to get it, in my view.

As for birthdays, Maddux shares today (though not the same year) with two other Greg(g)s -- Myers and Zaun. How's that for a coincidence?
seags83 - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#145144) #


Thanks for all of your advice on taking photos at the ballpark.  I can tell that you are very knowledgeable about the subject and I will do some research to decipher all of your wisdom.  I understand most of what you told me so I thank you for that.  The rest I will take as a challenge and learn on my own.

I have been a visitor to this website since 2003 and I have enjoyed feeling part of this community, even though this is only my 3rd time posting a comment.  I want to take this opportunity to thank the roster members for all of their hard work and excellent writing.

So the reason for this post is to tell all of you about my experience at Fenway park at last night's game.  I drove from Toronto to Syracuse on Wednesday night and stayed at the Days Inn on Thompson Road.  There is a Denny's right across the street which makes this my hotel of choice.  I woke up at 8 o'clock, ate a quick breakfast and then headed to Boston, arriving here at 2pm.  I headed down to the game around 5:30pm, me with my Blue Jays jersey and hat on (I purposefully didn't wear a jacket so that I was highly visible).  Both items had the old logo on them. 

From the moment I got there, the experience was everything that I hoped it to be.  I was with my girlfriend (who is from Toronto but studying in Boston) and her friend from Uruguay (who is surprisingly a huge baseball fan) and we were surrounded in a sea of red.  I'd have to say that at least 75% of fans were wearing at least some piece of Red Sox clothing.  The atmosphere outside of the stadium was incredible, with people lined up on one side of the stadium to buy jumbo hot dogs and beer, and on the other side of the street the merchandise stores were jam-packed with people.  I couldn't stop thinking to myself that this is what baseball is all about. 

We heard a number of comments about my Jays outfit and as we were about to enter the stadium, we ran into a couple who had been in Toronto a few years ago and had an extremely good time.  They were typical Bostonians, with their accent and all, and they were both decked out in Sox gear.  We chatted with them for awhile and they shook our hands as we left to enter the stadium, wishing us well.  The stadium itself was beautiful.  If anyone wants picutres of the stadium, let me know and I will send them along.  For the most part, people were very friendly and we talked with the group in front of us and a young couple behind us for the length of the game.  There was the odd jerk would would curse at me or yell "Blue Jays suck!" and all I could do was smile because the score was 8-1 at that point.  A few people told us to go back to Canada, and one not-so-smart guy told us to leave the ballpark and go back to "Canadia".  My girlfriend shouted back "Where is THAT??" and at that point he looked confused and then realizing his mistake, embarrased.  Generally, people were SHOCKED to see a Blue Jays fan at Fenway and couldn't understand why I was a Toronto fan.  Once I told them I was from Canada, it seemed to make a bit more sense (but they still seemed shocked by that fact itself).  The young couple behind us admitted that this was the first time they had ever seen a Jays fan at Fenway, and several people questioned the existence of Jays fans at all.  One guy who I spoke to briefly while in line for pizza asked "isn't being a Blue Jays fan the same as being an Expos fan?" 

Despite some drunken cursing after the game, we were treated like celebrities and we had an incredible time.  It was great to see BJ come in to nail down the save in the ninth inning in what became a much closer game than it should've been.  For those who have never been to Fenway Park, I would strongly recommend a trip down to Boston.  Now I can cross off one more item on my list of 'things to do before I die'.

Mike Green - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#145145) #
Thanks, Seags.  You might enjoy this 2004 piece by Leigh Sprague on his Fenway trip.
90ft_turnleft - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#145146) #

I was wondering why,especially in Boston where no lead is safe,Gibbons didn't put Reed in left as a defensive replacement for the Cat in the ninth.It reminded me of a game last year when,after suggestions from his coaches he put in Gross as a defensive replacement in the ninth and Gabe throws out the guy at home.

Gibbons admitted after that game that it wasn't he who thought about putting in Gross but his coaching staff.

Did all of them mistep yesterday,most especially Gibbons b/c I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking Reed is much better defensively than the Cat.

Then when Frank can't make the play and the game becomes 8-6 with the tying run at the plate he remains in still.I realize that by taking him out after the fact it sends a couple messages possibly.#1 that yes I(Gibbons) should have put Reed in at the start of the 9th and #2 that I think Reed could have made that catch if he were in but most importantly #3 that it is never too late to make a move to improve your defense while you still have the lead in a game,right a wrong as it were.

Or can you only make a replacement like that at certain points/reasons in a a pitching change,at the start of an inning or if a player is injured for example?


earlweaverfan - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#145149) #
Did people see the comment by Shea Hillenbrand, apparently in response to his early season performance?  According to yahoo sports: 

"Shea Hillenbrand did not play for the first time this season. Hillenbrand has appeared in six of the team's eight games this season as a designated hitter, but has struggled, hitting .194 with a .229 on-base percentage.

"I don't want to be where I am and they know that," said Hillenbrand, who had split time between first and third base for much of the previous three seasons. "They know I don't want to be a DH."

This is apparently not someone who is prepared to play the role that the team needs from him.  I don't know if the authors of the game preview are right in implying that this is an excuse from him about why his bat is uncharacteristically quiet at this time of year, but if so, he has an even bigger attitude problem. 

If Shea is unhappy contributing in the way that a post-season contender requires, perhaps we could find him a job in Florida or Pittsburgh.

I am with those who would happily keep Hinske hitting as a DH instead of Hillenbrand, assuming we could get a meaningful payback from trading Shea away.  I realize Shea is better defensive back-up at 1st and 3rd than Hinske, but not by a country mile.

robertdudek - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#145150) #
I'll have to disagree about all the umps in this series not calling strikes - the ump last night called several third strikes for Lilly (with some umps, you can go the whole night without seeing a borderline third strike call).

I was also surprised that Johnson didn't come in as a defensive replacement for Cat the last two innings - I think Reed might have caught the Youkilis ball in the ninth. That could have saved me my near heart attack when Ortiz, the tying run, hit a high fly to right to end the game.

It bothers me that most modern day managers don't properly utilize in-game substitutions for position players (all the while obsessively pursuing every platoon edge with a pitching change that they can). Pinch hitting, pinch running and defensive substitutions seem to be rarer nowadays.

Pistol - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#145151) #
What does the run expectancy say about nobody on and 2 outs (with one run in) versus 1st and 2nd and one out?  I didn't think twice about that play - I would go after the sure run.

I thought it was a little odd that Tallet wasn't left in for the 9th.  He's pitched multiple innings already and by taking him out you're using someone that might not be available for tonight's game.  There was enough of a cushion that Frasor could be brought in Tallet ran into any trouble.  And with Downs pitching tonight in Chicago you may need a lot of innings out of the pen.

Pistol - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#145152) #
I'll answer my own question.....from Tango's run expectancy chart from 99-02

1st and 2nd, one out - 0.971 runs
Bases empty, two outs - 0.117 runs, plus the run that scored.

robertdudek - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#145154) #
I looked at the boxscore, which states that Reed came in for Cat when Ryan entered the game. I didn't even notice that.

Does this constitute an admission that Gibbons snoozed on the defensive substitute, waking up only when Cat was unable to reach Youkilis' hit?

Mike Green - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#145155) #

That Hillenbrand comment was in today's Star, as well.  His salary makes him pretty much untradeable unless he starts to hit; I am hoping that the odd start at first and third will lead to an improved attitude and with it, perhaps, a return to his typical offensive performance.

Magpie - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#145158) #
Or can you only make a replacement like that at certain points/reasons in a a pitching change,at the start of an inning or if a player is injured for example?

He could have made that particular change any time he wanted - between pitches in the middle of an at bat, if necessary. The only restriction is on pithing changes. A pitcher must face a batter before being removed.

mathesond - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#145159) #
I don't necessarily agree that Hillenbrand's salary makes him untradeable. I would think a career .287 hitter with the ability to play multiple positions and reputation for being a 'gamer', as well as having an All-Star appearance on his resume, would draw some interest from around the leagues. That being said, I'm sure the Jays would have to pick up some of the tab. In fact, I think the harder selling point is his impending free agency. That, I'm sure, more so than his salary, is what limits the return on any trade of Shea.

To pass a few empty minutes, I ran a quick mental list of teams whose GM's' faculties are considered wanting by their fan base, and wondered if there might be a match. Nothing jumped out at me, though - Kansas City signed Mientkiewicz, who might be used better as a defensive replacement for Shea's bat, and I suspect their plans also include giving Teahen a substantial amount of playing time. Washington has Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman - granted, it's probably wise to have an injury replacement at the ready for Johnson. Pittsburgh has Sean Casey and Joe Randa.

Since that proved fruitless, I moved on to the rest of the majors. Perhaps the Twins could use a bat like Hillenbrand's at third (over Batista), although the effect that move would have on Jason Bartlett might be enough to drive Aaron Gleeman to gain twice the weight he has lost this year. Hillenbrand might represent a youth movement for San Francisco. And given the McCourts' penchant for former Red Sox, I guess it's not unreasonable to picture Shea in Dodger Blue (for the once-highly-considered James Loney?). At least there's no DH in the NL. I can't see Gillick adding Shea to a team that has David Bell. Maybe Cleveland could be tempted into a short-term replacement for Ben Broussard?

Geoff - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#145160) #
This from the Star article today on Hillenbrand:
Manager John Gibbons blamed his regular DH's slow start on problems inside the batter's box. Hillenbrand disagreed, thinking it had everything to do with lack of focus outside the box.
If Shea is going to slump because of the constant criticism here, perhaps we should be kinder in what we write about him in the Batter's Box. Although it sounds like Shea might be the player who's upset about the Wave. What a fussy guy.

Andrew - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#145169) #
Vernon Wells managed just a single hit in five at bats. But when that one hit is a grand-slam home run... we give the man his due.

Let me just mention that he came this close to hitting a second home run, under equally impressive circumstances. Julian Tavarez starts off Wells' at-bat by sending one right to his noggin, which Vernon just managed to duck out of the way of. (This pitch got a fair bit of applause by the Fenway faithful, too.) At this point I'm thinking to myself that this would be a nice time for Wells to take his revenge, and sure enough he launches the next one to center field.  Unfortunately, it's pulled down at the track, but 5 or 10 more feet and Vernon would have himself a nice little Statement to go along with his slam.
Named For Hank - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#145174) #
as well as having an All-Star appearance on his resume

Two, in fact! One for Toronto and one for Boston.
Named For Hank - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#145176) #
Seags, thanks for the great story. I had a similar experience in Fenway -- that people were mostly interested in chatting with me about the Jays rather than calling me names or throwing beer on me (a refreshing change from, uh, the Rogers Centre when the Yankees and their fanbase are in town). In fact, I think I fielded more questions about my orange Birkenstock clogs than I did about my Jays jersey.

If you have more photo questions or want clairification (or even specific advice based on what gear you have -- tell me what options you have and I'll tell you what to do), post in one of the Photo of the Day threads.
Jim - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#145184) #

I don't necessarily agree that Hillenbrand's salary makes him untradeable

Nobody else wanted him when the Blue Jays traded Adam Peterson for him.  Nobody else wants him now.





Nolan - Friday, April 14 2006 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#145190) #

Personally, I'm excited, because Shea, Overbay, and Glaus, really haven't got it going yet. We haven't seen Burnett and Doc isn't fully operational, but we're still 5-4, and we just took 2 of 3 from the BoSox!

It's also exciting that while Glaus hasn't yet started to hit that well, he still has an OBP of .450 (due to 8 walks in 9 games).  It's nice to know he'll contribute even when the bat is a bit cold (though a .313 average isn't exactly cold...). 

Blue Jays vs Red Sox | 27 comments | Create New Account
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