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Jays 2, Angels 1 as "Catalanotto solves puzzle of Escobar".

(And if you're wondering, there were no quotes about his binder in that story when I read it for the first time.)

Not having seen the game (which is what can happen with a 10:05 start time on a Saturday night...), it looks like it was a tough night for Russ Adams, who struck out twice and grounded into a double play. Gustavo Chacin appeared to be the Chacin of old, with 3 K and 2 BB in 7 innings. Give him the star of the game.

Brandon League's resurgence continues: groundout, groundout, strikeout. And if you've been following our minor league coverage at all, you know all about Adam Lind, so his two hits (including a double) really shouldn't surprise you.

But this game was fairly meaningless. The Blue Jays really haven't done anything lately that would make me want to watch another game this year. My preseason prediction (quick lesson: predicting these things is a futile exercise) was 92 wins and second place. The way Boston is phoning it in, the latter is easy to visualize. 92 wins? It would require an 18-2 run from now until October 1. At the very least, Toronto would have to win 6 in a row three separate times.

So, uh, that's not going to happen. They've won 74, lost 68, which is a .521 record and on pace for 84 wins. I can't use the words "massive disappointment" here because, honestly, it's a game played by strangers. But I wish I had a good phrase to describe confusing decision to play John McDonald every day. .217/.263/.296 is something you can put up with if the guy is Ozzie Smith. But Ozzie hit that poorly in exactly two of his 17 full time years, and never with the Cardinals.

Elsewhere, the thoroughly mediocre NL West just got a little closer. After Ray Durham's 77th career triple -- don't forget, he's only 21 behind Hank Aaron's record now -- a couple of meaningless intentional walks preceded a Mark Sweeney pinch-hit single and the Giants beat "San Diego featuring A Bunch Of Ex-Red Sox" 5-4.

The two New York teams hold the largest division leads. When was the last time we could say that?

And according to, there are four officially eliminated teams in the majors. Can you name all three non-Royal clubs?
TDIB Sunday: Going Through The Motions | 81 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Twilight - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#155069) #
I don't see why playing McDonald has been such a horrible thing (or at least horrible enough to warrant all the complaints). Yes, he doesn't hit well. We know. But his defensive skills have to be worth something. Many a time he has saved a run by turning an impossible double play. And almost every day, he keeps a runner off the bases that maybe should have got on. We've seen how errors can come back to haunt us, and having a guy that solid at SS can't be a bad thing for the team.

If the payroll were increased again and it was significant, signing a star shortstop would be in order. But I just can't see how paying someone millions a year to do the same thing Mac does with .50-.80 more average points. If you truly look back on the season, you see a rotation in shambles, an inconsistent bullpen, and a whole slew of other problems that led to a poor season by a good team. It's hard to say that the Jays failed to top the AL East because they have one poor hitter in their lineup.
Mike H - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#155077) #

To be frank, I'm going to be stunned by Toronto's win total in 2006.  Boston fell apart as so many predicted.  Tampa Bay and Baltimore aren't very good (although both Kris Benson and Daniel Cabrera pitched very well against the Blue Jays).  It's easy to blame the elbows of both Gustavo Chacin and AJ Burnett, as the somewhat predicted 2006 rotation now intact has given up less than 3 runs in their last 8 starts.  However, there's more to it than that.  Overall, the most glaring aspect that jumps out to me was the lack of major league ready talent in the system.  Players got hurt etc. and the Blue Jays called up the names of Edgardo Alfonzo, Luis Figueroa, Chad Mottola, Ty Taubenheim.  A lot of things went wrong (bullpen wasn't as strong most likely as a result of the poor starting pitching, injuries, poor road record, running into hot clubs), but the Jays couldn't match the call-ups of Melky Cabrera, Jon Lester, Howie Kendrick that other teams benefited from.

As a side note, I've been relatively disappointed by Toronto's reluctance to throw in the towel more and see what they have for 2007.  Dustin McGowan and Francisco Rosario both are out of options, Russ Adams is a complete question mark, and the bullpen could be filled by a variety of different guys next year.  I know that John Gibbons is still in a way fighting for his job (or reputation) and the Blue Jays have to live up to some of the expectations built up by ownership and management, but too many questions for my liking are not being answered right now.   Aaron Hill (at SS) and Russ Adams (at 2B) should be starting every night to evaluate their potentials at their respective positions as surely John McDonald will not be a starter in 2007.


Mike Green - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#155080) #
Oh, and lest we forget, there's a ballgame on in an hour and an half featuring an interesting pitching matchup.  Roy Halladay vs. Jered Weaver.  Don't tune in late, because you might miss it.
Curtis Dixon - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#155084) #
We've been through this before, but MacDonald's negative VORP is costing the Jays wins at a rate of at least three games per year. His bat is THAT bad. Sure, his defense is a plus, but not as much as people think. He makes a lot of difficult plays, but you have to think any decent SS would also make at least some of those. Everytime he makes a good play, you have to step back and think "does an average SS make that play"? A lot of the time, the answer is "yes". A few spectacular plays does not make up for hitting, well, like a pitcher.
Lefty - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#155086) #

Look, I don't think anybody is making a case that MacDonald is the shortstop for 07. But equaly he has not been the problem or the hole in the line-up that caused this team to sport of 74 - 68. And to continually zero in on him is not realistic.

MacDonald is a regular because Hill and Adams proved to everyone, including management that they were not ready to handle the position. So what, now its ok to dump on guy who has been thrust into a fulltime role because of the futility of any other options.

I'm sure the pitchers on this team would vehemently disagree with anyone who is trying to make a case that MacDonald has been a significant problem to overall team success.

But as MacDonald seems to be one of the pieces used to explain lack of team success then I suppose this could also mean that they are closer than many say.


Mike Green - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#155091) #
Old friend Dave Bush just threw a complete game 5 hitter at the Astros, and struck out 10 cosmonauts.  He has 190 innings under his belt so far this season.
Mike Green - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#155107) #
It is so pleasant to have opposition eighth innings filled with two groundballs and a strikeout, over and over again. All this courtesy of Brandon "in his own" League, aka "The pitcher formerly known as the Hawaiian Punch-Out". 
Magpie - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#155108) #
O-Dog has literally become a top 2nd basemen in all of basemen with his .290, 13 homerun line.

Does the name Chase Utley mean anything to you? How about Ray Durham?

... he strikes out 1/3 of the time, hits .250 and if I'm a pitcher I don't see him as an intimdiating bat because, well, a good pitcher can probably strike him out.

He strikes out in 20.6 % of his plate appearances, actually. In other words, not as frequently as Adam Dunn, Bill Hall, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Howard, Jonny Gomes, Geoff Jenkins, Richie Sexson, Jhonny Peralta, Mike Cameron, Jim Thome, Pat Burrell, Jason Bay, Nick Swisher, Craig Monroe, Adam LaRoche, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Brandon Inge, Brad Hawpe, Mike Cuddyer, and Chad Tracy.

Some of these hitters still manage to intimidate pitchers anyway.

js_magloire - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#155114) #
Magpie, noticed how I said one of the top 2nd basemen. In terms of OPS, in the Majors, Hudson is 5th, behind Utley, Durham (making 7 mil this year and 35), Mark Derosa (who alternatively you don't have to count since he's played 25 games at the position and is having an outlier of a year), and Dan Uggla. Factor into that his cheapness and gold-glove-web-gem defence, and you have one of the top 2nd basemen in baseball.

Troy has 34 homeruns. Okay good point about the strikeouts, but he's also hitting .250, his walks are fine, but, and without regressing into the clutchness debate for a second, objectively this year he hasn't hit "clutchly" IMO, objectively. He will finish the season with around 100 RBIs, which I do not think is that good given the circumstances.

Ryan C - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#155117) #
In terms of OPS, in the Majors, Hudson is 5th

He is 5th among "qualified" 2nd basemen.  Jeff Kent(347 AB), Robinson Cano(403 AB), and Jose Valentin(331 AB) all have higher OPS.
Magpie - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#155118) #
Here's how individual Blue Jays have hit this year with runners on base.

NAME                  G   AB   R   H  2B 3B HR  TB RBI  BB  SO  SB  CS   BA   OBP   SLG 
Vernon Wells    127 252  63 77  16  2 14 139  77  25  37  14   4  .306  .366  .552
Lyle Overbay    126 228  56 69  19  0  8 112  71  24  37   4   3  .303  .366  .491
Troy Glaus    122 226  78 57  13  0 16 118  75  46  55   3   2  .252  .375  .522
Aaron Hill    126 198  58 65  12  2  1  84  38  19  26   4   2  .328  .391  .424
Alex Rios            97 189  50 63  11  2 10 108  63  15  42  13   6  .333  .366  .571
Bengie Molina         92 163  32 45   3  0  9  75  40  8  20   1   1  .276  .314  .460
Frank Catalanotto    104 145  50 58  16  1  5  91  52  28  14   1   3  .400  .486  .628
Reed Johnson    103 136  71 40  8  1  5  65  35   6  26   8   1  .294  .353  .478
Shea Hillenbrand     76 130  31  41   7  1  3  59  30   5  19   1   2  .315  .357  .454
Gregg Zaun    70 110  27  29   5  0  5  49  28  21  12   0   1  .264  .380  .445
John McDonald    71 103  30  22   2  1  3  35  17   6  17   7   2  .214  .259  .340
Russ Adams    58  95  25  25   5  1  2  38  26   7  15   1   1  .263  .305  .400
Eric Hinske    65  87  25  22   5  1  2  35  19  11  21   1   1  .253  .337  .402

The three guys at the heart of the order - Wells, Glaus, and Overbay - have basically hit exactly the same with runners on as with the bases empty. And this is a bad thing. Normally, batting averages go up with runners on base. You can, with considerable justice, regard this as a failure. But it applies to all three of them, not just Glaus.

It's well known that Frank Catalanotto does not like leading off. Seeing as how this year he's hit .260 with the bases empty, and .400 with runners on base, he may be on to something.

Overall, the team has hit .294/.362/.481 with 83 HRs runners on base, which is better than what the opposition has done. Opposing hitters are at .275/.353/.451 with 75 HRs. Wells and Glaus will fight it out for the team RBI lead right down to the final weekend, and they should both finish up with about 110. What is surprising is that Glaus is going to lead the team in Runs Scored by a wide, wide margin. He may end up scoring more runs than he drives in.
danjulien - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#155119) #

O-Dog has literally become a top 2nd basemen in all of basemen with his .290, 13 homerun line.
Just to continue the debate, I was parusing the Think Factory for some defensive stats and I found something interesting... The Think Factory ( does a pretty good job with their runs saved above an average fielder stat.  With this stat, they have found that Aaron Hill is the best second baseman in the American League!  As of yet he’s saved the team 16 runs more than an average player would have.  Even more interesting, Gold Glover Orlando Hudson has actually cost his Diamondbacks 2 runs above an average player with his defense.  So the debate rages on…
oh BTW McDonald’s great glove has only saved one run this season

For the 9 players listed for the team, the Jays have the third best defense in the league as their defense has saved them 20 runs
I posted a long post on my blog about the team defense where you can see the stats..

Magpie - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#155120) #
Even more interesting, Gold Glover Orlando Hudson has actually cost his Diamondbacks 2 runs above an average player with his defense.

Ahem. In my D'Backs season preview, I did say:

On the whole, I think the defense up the middle will be worse than last year.

Of course, I was thinking this would happen because Arizona already had a fine second baseman (Counsell) whom they were planing to move over to shortstop. I wasn't sure he'd be up to the new job. It's true that Hudson's defense hasn't exactly blown away people in Arizona this year. But I'm inclined to think it's mainly a matter of adjusting to a new surface and a new pitching staff.
King Ryan - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#155121) #
I thought I already posted this but I guess it got lost in cyberspace (or I'm losing my mind.)

Magpie, as someone who scores games for Stats, do you have any interesting insight on Johnny Mac's defense this year? I am very curious because it's one of those polarizing things where Jamie Campbell and the like rave about his amazing defense but most metrics I've seen have him as basically average.  Obviously, if he's only an average defender he has zero value.

So I'm just wondering if you can offer any professional thoughts. 

danjulien - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#155122) #
But I'm inclined to think it's mainly a matter of adjusting to a new surface and a new pitching staff.

Also maybe he spent too much time in the batting cage during the off-season with his numbers :).  My point was mostly that we should not miss Hudson's defense too much since Hill has been giving the Jays excellent defense according to those stats.  Substance over flash...

Another thing I found in the Think Factory's stats was that Rios was the second best RF for defense according to the Runs Saved stat.  Has anyone gone from potential bust to rising superstar as fast as this guy?  Gives hope for the whole underwhelming farm system :)
King Ryan - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#155123) #
Doesn't that kind of make you think that there is some kind of weird park/team factor going on though, Dan?

I mean Orlando Hudson had excellent defensive numbers last year, the best in the league.  Then he goes to Arizona and puts up bad numbers, while his replacement in Toronto is suddenly the best in the league.  Aaron Hill might well be that good, but that causes some red flags to go up.  Something to do with the turf maybe?  Or maybe it's just an odd coincidence.

Named For Hank - Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#155124) #
Something to do with the turf maybe?  Or maybe it's just an odd coincidence.

How do the stats work?  Would fielding easy grounders behind Roy Halladay skew the numbers?
TDIB Sunday: Going Through The Motions | 81 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.