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Today was a day wherein Brian Tallet pitched in an extremely high-leverage situation.

Today was a day wherein a pitcher with a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio was pulled from the rotation and replaced with one with a career 1.3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Today was a day wherein Matt Stairs pinch-ran, and Jason Smith pinch-hit.

My Jays fanship is ready for the picket line. This thread is my sandwich board. I'm on strike!

I have been a Jays fan for as long as I can remember, and I will continue to be, but I refuse to sit here on my ass in Fredericton and accept the way that this team is being managed. Instead, I will sit here on my ass in Fredericton and naively self-aggrandize by making futile complaints.

This team is not that bad, but the roster construction and usage is mind-boggling from time to time. The front-line talent on the Jays is fantasic, but virtually no team could compete without replacement-level complementary players. With so many outstanding players on the team (Halladay, Burnett, Ryan, Hill, Overbay, Glaus, Wells, Rios, Thomas and Lind) it is intensely frustrating to watch games hinge on the performance of journeymen who would be in AAA for most teams. Any of the players currently on the team would be good to have around individually, but taken collectively and thrust into high-leverage situations, the bottom quarter of the roster is a real problem.

The ups and downs of the Jays' roster strength are frought with paradoxes:

  • Towers got pulled from the rotation after pitching well, but he only got into the rotation in the first place because an inferior pitcher, Thomson, got injured in March.
  • Lind got into the starting lineup, but only because an inferior player got injured.
  • Accardo - arguably the best reliever on the team - was stolen from the Giants last season in a brilliant trade, but is now burried in the back of the bullpen (he ranks seventh among Jays relievers in leverage this season, according to Fan Graphs).
  • Dave Bush is currently sporting 22 strikeouts to only 3 walks for the Brewers, but even if he were still a Jay, that is the kind of stellar performance that would have had him banished from the rotation (as we learned from the treatment of Josh Towers).
  • On-base percentage has been stressed by the organization ever since, oh, let's say November 14, 2001, but the roster now includes - by design - four players with career OBPs below .320 (five including Fasano, but the Zaun injury is not management's fault).
I have never been too critical of the drafts, and I have supported many of the trades over the past few years. Ricciardi has made more good moves than bad, in my opinion. I have faith in this management team, but it is being tested right now. The acumen of Ricciardi and Gibbons is often unjustly impugned, but geez, J.P. and John, give your exhausted defenders a chance to catch their breath.

This strike is unlikely to last very long: I'm pretty weak. I'll be wearing my Fightin' Jays cap again soon. For the duration of my strike, however, I will be watching a greater variety of Major League games (yes, on the Rogers extra innings package... expect my payment to be late this month, Ted); less Jays, more National League, perhaps.



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Joanna - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#166791) #

Yeah, right on. 

This game smelled from about a mile away.

Frasor plunked Cat, unintentionally, in the 9th.  But he should have buzzed Kinsler for hanging over the plate and sitting on pitches that are away.  Jason, sweeting, use that zippy fastball of yours and re-claim your plate. Something high and tight. Tallet was brought in late and then left in too long.  He is the solution for no team.  Cheapness in the bullpen.

And the Towers thing is just dumb.  Is J.P. punishing him or something?  Give him another start.  Bleah!

HippyGilmore - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#166792) #

One tough, heartbreaking loss a month is really tough to take. Two or three really makes you question why whoever the hell is running this crazy show we call life loves to torture us. But what is it now.....5 tough, heart wrenching, mind boggling, faith testing, incredibly improbable, I-can't-believe-that-happened-honey-pour-me-a-glass-of-arsenic losses this month. We all love this team, and that SUCKS right now, it really sucks. They should scrap Frank Thomas figurine day and change it to something useful for Jays fans, like Rope To Hang Yourself With Day. Now please excuse my as I go outside to scream at the top of my lungs.

Four Seamer - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#166794) #

Well said, Leigh.  I was already at a total loss for words when I heard before the game that Towers - the third best starter the Jays have used this year - was being moved to the bullpen to make room for Zambrano, a thirtysomething journeyman coming off TJ surgery who will be lucky to go three innings in his first start, since he has been buried in the bullpen since Opening Day, rather than starting every fifth day in the minors to keep him stretched out.  On top of that I then I see Gibbons making a hash of a game (helped in no small part by the careless roster construction of his general manager) with what apparently passes for strategy.  This kind of half-assed effort from Gibbons and Ricciardi makes me wonder why I should spend any of my time supporting this franchise.  Leigh, make room for me on the picket line.

Petey Baseball - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#166795) #

The day has finally come for me to call out Mr. J.P. Ricciardi and the rest of the Blue Jays management for action. As stated in an earlier post, the core of this ballclub (Halladay, Thomas, Glaus, Overbay, Wells, Burnett, Hill, Ryan, Rios,Lind)  is just too strong and too talented to waste like this.  It is sickening to see the Jays take crushing and devastating losses like this because they have 1 or 2 players on their team that have no business being there. I'm not talking about guys like Royce Clayton who have stepped in and done a decent job, but guys like Brian Tallet just simply don't have the right stuff to play on a team with so much potential. 

For the love of God J.P., do something. Now. Trade for Brad Lidge to get another arm in the bullpen. Give up a McGowan and some other young talent to get another starter that we desperately need. Do something. If not, this team is destined for another 82-88 win season in third place. There is just absolutely no way of getting around it. Peace

Fawaz - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#166796) #
This sequence didn't affect the outcome of the inning since Teixiera walked anyway, but I enjoyed it nonetheless:

Top of the 9th, Michael Young on first. Shift put on for Teixiera. Overbay plays behind the runner. Young takes second without a throw. Shift is taken off.

To recap: Young's run doesn't mean anything when he's on first (neither does the double play opportunity), but when he's on second he can't be allowed to take third. The defensive alignment is so critical to stopping Teixiera with Young at first that they must allow Young to take second, at which point it's no longer as critical.

None of the above makes sense if my recollection is wrong and they were, in fact, holding Young on.
jeff mcl - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#166797) #
Was watching Cheers yesterday...

DIANE: "I have dire news, Sam."

SAM: "Good or bad?"

The bad news is that Gibby suffers from an advanced case of Pat Quinn disease, that is playing his personal favourites over the best man available.  Bumping Towers for a SP who hasn't earned a promotion and should be stretching out his arm in the minors.  Pinch-hitting Smith, who strikes out about 33% of the time, for anyone.  Leaving a struggling Frasor in to face two lefties and blow the game with death-to-lefties Tallet languishing in the bullpen. 

The good news, is, well, Adam Lind sure looks like a major leaguer.  I'm a fan.

Well, I'm off to Boston for a 3-week research trip and will be taking a hiatus from watching Jays games.  I hope they've sorted it out by the time I get back, if not I'm moving to Florida to become  a D-Rays fan to beat the rush.

Paul D - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#166799) #
I don't think it's clear that Lind was superior to Johnson at the start of the year.

Other than that I agree. (Unless you were comparing Lind to Stairs)

Barry Bonnell - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#166800) #
Certainly our less than stellar record also has something to do with our closer and set-up man being injured? Something to do with our slugging third baseman being out for a couple weeks? Don't get me wrong I do believe that Gibbons has to go but lets keep things in perspective.

Oh and what's going on with the love for Josh Frickin' Towers? Need I remind you he almost singlehandedly ruined last season for us? Who cares what his strikeout ratio is when he keeps losing ball games.

Zambrano is not the answer but he has been a starter throughout his career so mnaybe he just wasn't comfortable in the bullpen. I honestly don't think he'll be that much worse than Towers. We have an option on him for next year so let's run him out there and see what he has. I believe Towers is an UFA next year and it's clear he won't be back. At least Zam will also be on a short leash. If he doesn't pan out then insert Janssen. Then McGowan, etc until someone steps up and claims the spot.
VBF - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#166802) #
I do expect this team to do a 180 or even 90 degree turn and step it up eventually, hopefully sooner than later. I will say this though--you don't see alot of 95 million dollar teams not playing meaningful games in September. I'm thinking 2004-5 Mets and that's about it. At least the White Sox and Angels made it close last year (divisional difficulty levels aside).

If the team isn't playing competitive baseball in September, JP has to take it on the nose. (Sorry, bad joke).

If a top notch GM were to step in the doors of Blue Jays headquarters right now, he would have enough pieces that with the right complementary players, he would have a contender in a year. Maybe I've been conditioned to accept this, but I would be happy with a team that loses a divisional race in September that claimed significant profits. Then we could at least sell the fans something and keep Ted happy. Right now, I don't even know if we'll get that.

Mylegacy - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#166803) #

No question April can't end soon enough. Don't mind losing (that's not strictly the truth) but I hates, absolutely hates, losing ugly. This month we've had 7 years of bad luck.

BUT, JP and Gibby...don't panic, us guys here at DaBox are doing enough panicing for everyone. The loss of Ryan and League has turned our bullpen into mush. Think...Ryan, League, Frasor, Janssen, Accardo, Marcum and't you feel a lot better?

The ship will be righted...the qestion is, will any of the crew still be alive when it happens.

Jdog - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#166804) #

I didn't really even bother reading most of the posts above cause I am all too familiar with how they will read. I just wanted to come on here and state that the game today was a complete delight to watch, the good guys may have not won, but it was a treat. Nothing like a nice slide into home plate to avoid a tag! My only qualms with Gibbons decisions today was the fact Accardo was pulled when he was pitching great, but every manager in the game makes that move these days so I can't really blame him.

As for Towers and his impressive K/BB just shows how certain stats can be way overvalued in certain cases. I like the move of trying Zambrano, if he can't handle it then you can always put Towers back in there.

timpinder - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#166805) #


you'd want to give up McGowan and more for a starter we desperately need?  I believe that MKGowan is that starter, and he may be here in a month or two if he keeps pitching like he has been so far this year in AAA.  Ryan and League, arguably the Jays' two best relievers coming into the season, are hurt.  To trade away young promising talent for a temporary solution to a problem that time will heal in two months, sounds like a big mistake to me.  I don't think the panic button should be hit yet, the Jays should ride this out, let the injuries heal, and hope for the best in the meantime.

bird droppings - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#166806) #
Seriously, Towers to the bullpen is not the worst news in the World. I love the guy personally and Towers being demoted to the bullpen is heartbreaking... however, our bullpen currently makes me think of pooh. Towers being in the bullpen shouldn't be looked upon as a demotion, but rather as the management trying to fix this titanic situation.

Josh Towers. You are my sunshine. Tallet makes me want to self harm. Lind is friggin' awesome. This team, runs wise, is absolutely incredible. Bullpen wise, pooh.
Mike Green - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#166808) #
I don't know whether Victor Zambrano has been a better or lesser pitcher than Josh Towers over his career, but I do know this.  If I had a pitcher coming off TJ who always had a problem with wildness and had thrown 5.2 innings and walked 6 in the bullpen, I would not insert him into the rotation unless I had no other option.  That is not the case here.  Inexplicable. There is little reason to believe that Josh Towers won't give you 180 innings with an ERA around 5 if you just let him pitch.

As for the bullpen handling today, the 10th inning choice was between Tallet and Janssen.  That should be an easy call.  The decision to bring in Frasor for Accardo to start the ninth was an entirely conventional use of a closer.  I happen to think that Frasor is a better pitcher, but with Accardo pitching well and with a 2 run lead, the convention does not necessarily result in the best use of either pitcher. 

So far this season, there have been 5 significant blown leads late, 2 eighth inning leads of 2 runs, 2 ninth inning leads of 2 runs and 1 ninth inning lead of 1 run.  Par for the course would be 1 or 2 of these.  The injuries to Ryan and League are, of course, the single biggest reason for this record, but Gibbons' bullpen management has not helped.

Petey Baseball - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 11:16 PM EDT (#166811) #
Hey timpinder. Trust me friend, I have been as well as I'm sure many true Jays fans have been patient with Ricciardi. I was and still am in his corner along with Gibby. But surely the line must be drawn somewhere. Injuries simply cannot be an excuse anymore, and today is no exception. We're not going to have BJ for another two months! We simply cannot afford to lose games like today's, and certainly you cannot suggest today was just another "tough loss". For goodness sake, we've blown four games in two weeks in the 8th and 9th innings. At a certain point you gotta make a move to solidify your ballclub, and to solidify your ballclub's needs. This team clearly needs at least one other good arm in the bullpen and another bonafide starter that can rack up innings in the rotation.  Josh Towers isn't the answer.  As I said, we are heading for another season 10 games short of what we need to be because we have fringe players like Brian Tallet and Josh Towers on this team.

As for Dustin McGowan, lets be real here. The guy is 26 years old and has logged basically nothing in the majors. We're waiting. I've heard nothing that indicates Ricciardi is close to bringing him up. Flip him for Lidge or somebody that can help us today, because its clear that McGowan is not the answer to help this team win THIS YEAR. I for one, am tired of waiting. The wildcard is there for the taking, and we are sitting on our hands while fringe players continue to ruin the Jays chances to win 95-100 games. Other teams have to marvel at the core of players we have, and yet we're being held back by a few scrubs.  Yes, the sky is falling. Call me Chicken Little, I don't even care.  Wait till next year? That's the talk of five years ago folks! Please, somebody back me up on this.

jeff mcl - Saturday, April 28 2007 @ 11:47 PM EDT (#166812) #
As for Dustin McGowan, lets be real here. The guy is 26 years old and has logged basically nothing in the majors. We're waiting. I've heard nothing that indicates Ricciardi is close to bringing him up. Flip him for Lidge or somebody that can help us today, because its clear that McGowan is not the answer to help this team win THIS YEAR. I for one, am tired of waiting. The wildcard is there for the taking, and we are sitting on our hands while fringe players continue to ruin the Jays chances to win 95-100 games. Other teams have to marvel at the core of players we have, and yet we're being held back by a few scrubs.  Yes, the sky is falling. Call me Chicken Little, I don't even care.  Wait till next year? That's the talk of five years ago folks! Please, somebody back me up on this.

Well, we believe that McGowan is NOW capable of winning a few games and posting a sub-4 ERA or we just give up hope this year.  3 through 5 in our rotation is absolutely mush.  Two of Chacin, Ohka, Towers/Zam/Marcum would be acceptable if you had three reliable arms at the start of the rotation...  Or you just reduce the rotation to 4 and have Roy throw until he explodes.

I sure wish we hadn't "flipped" Carpenter or Escobar when they  were 27.  Pitchers don't need to follow the ideal projection of breaking at 23/24 and giving you 6 good years before departing via free agency.  Late bloomers we might be familiar with might include Dave Stewart and Curt Schilling...
ahitisahit - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:15 AM EDT (#166813) #

The Jays got rid of Carpenter when he had a pretty serious arm injury, if memory serves. Escobar ha dsome of the best stuff I have ever seen, but he was very inconsistent at that point.

One point I don't think anyone has made is the Jays have to beat teams that are worse than them. Getting swept by Baltimore and losing 2 in a row to Texas is not acceptable. Texas was really struggling coming into this series. All Toronto has managed to do is bring the bats alive. Every time Teixeira comes up, I am expecting him to hit a home run now. Michael Young will be hitting well above .200 when this series is over as well.

I also think Frasor has a tough time getting calls. When he was pitching to Young in the 9th, I think he had him with a breaking ball on the outside part of the plate. Young went on to foul some pitches off, he had a great at bat and eventually ripped a 3-2 fastball for a single.

As for Towers, without looking at the numbers, I don't feel he has pitched any worse than Chacin or Ohka. Ohka walked Doug Mirabelli for the love of God. I would throw underhand to that mouth breather before I would walk him.

VBF - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#166814) #
I agree, and I think that a single playoff finish would do wonders for this club in the years that follow that even if the team doesn't do it. I disagree that Lidge will help this team significantly. I proposed his acquisition last week and I stand by that, but only if the cost doesn't hurt you too much (whoever gets him will pay). I think he's a good pitcher who needs a new setting, who could work really well with Arnsberg.

I also think that if we're trading Dustin McGowan, it's to be packaged with someone else in this franchise and the name coming back the other way is Brett Myers or the like (young pitcher, good peripherals who's stock is low). However, I am not holding my breath. Even the worst of the Brett Myers will command a pretty penny.

This team will make or break it with the management of pitchers and optimizing the success of all of them. The recent pitcher swap signifies that JP is going down the line. Towers down, Zambrano's turn, and I imagine Janssen, Marcum, McGowan, Thomson, Gonzalez, will follow in some order over the next two months hopefully stopping at someone who will break out. One of those guys will break out. Hopefully it's before June or the season will be down the drain.

actionjackson - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 01:09 AM EDT (#166815) #
Petey Baseball:
1) McGowan is 25 years old.

2) If you think so little of him, why do you think the Astros would be willing to "flip" Brad Lidge for him. Besides that sounds like a deal the hockey team down the street would make: kid with a bright future for washed up has been.

3) The plan with McGowan, as I understood it, was to give him 3 months at Syracuse and hopefully let him enjoy some success as a starter, before exposing him to the monster that is Major League Baseball again. He's had some very difficult health issues: TJ surgery in 2004, a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis at the end of 2006. I want to see what this guy's got, now that he's over TJ and he understands what was sapping his energy last year. Don't you think he deserves a shot to show the brass what a healthy Dustin McGowan can do? Many of us constantly kvetch, whine and bitch about the lack of "high ceiling" arms in this organization and you want to flip the one that's closest to helping the team at the big league level for a has-been closer, who lost his edge almost 2 years ago? Get a hold of yourself, step away from the ledge and put down the C-4. You have to take a longer view than the next week. Leave destroying the careers of young pitchers to the Yankees. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make or at least the ones you don't make in the aftermath of the pain of another late inning loss. As I'm not Nostradamus, I can't say with 100% certainty that that would be the wrong move, but I feel 75% sure that it's the wrong one and therefore I wouldn't make it.

4) Of course this team was supposed to contend this year and it still might. But the team that was supposed to contend had a bullpen of Ryan, League, Frasor, Downs, Accardo, Marcum, and Janssen. Zambrano should've been off in Syracuse, or wherever they could fit him, getting stretched out to enter the rotation should he be needed, and in my opinion that need threshold still hasn't been reached, but that's another topic. Look in awe at what that bullpen could've been. But it wasn't to be. Take away Rivera and Farnsworth from the Yankees, or Papelbon and Timlin from the Red Sox. Torre and Tito would be scrambling for answers (Torre has been even with those two in the 'pen), just as Gibby has so far. Of course injuries to your top two are going to kill you. Take Damon, Giambi and Posada out of the Yankee lineup as well (They are better than Johnson, Glaus, and Zaun, but so is the collection of Yankees left behind), or Lugo, Drew, and Varitek away from Boston in addition to the losses in the bullpen. Injuries are not an excuse, but you have to admit they might just be an explanation for what's gone down so far. The guys that are here are busting their humps, but right now they're taking their lumps. Unfortunately, that's the only way to learn in the major leagues: fall down, then get back up. It's a long season and I'm sure at some point the Red Sox will slow down and go through their injury woes as well. It's our turn now. The Yankees are going to have a lot of problems in the bullpen because I think 4 of them are on pace for 100 appearances right now, so a couple of their arms could be falling off in a couple of months. Mo will be fine though. I think the only difference between the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays right now is the injuries, other than that it's pretty close.

5) Quit being so Blue Jay-centric. Look around both leagues and realize what a crappy month it's been for closers so far. Trevor Hoffman got beat on a 2-run HR by Stephen Drew last week and then last night coughed up a 2 run lead to the Dodgers, only to watch Takashi Saito almost hand it right back. Do I need to bring up the name Marco Scutaro. What about the fact that Otsuka coughed up the save today. Chris Ray gave up a game winning grand slam to Wily Mo Pena. I can't count the number of icky games I've seen from closers so far. Then there's Joe freakin' Borowski, who's been perfect in the save department, but has an ERA over 10.00. What does all this mean? It means it's early and you've got to let things shake out and let people step up and take charge. It's not even the end of April yet. Let's let it unfold a bit more before we decide the season's over.

laketrout - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 05:00 AM EDT (#166817) #
The decision to bring in Frasor for Accardo to start the ninth was an entirely conventional use of a closer. I happen to think that Frasor is a better pitcher, but with Accardo pitching well and with a 2 run lead, the convention does not necessarily result in the best use of either pitcher.

One would have hoped that with the lose of Ryan the "slave to the closer" mentality could be suspended and we could see the best pitcher for the situation be used.  If that means keep Accardo for another inning -  then keep Accardo in.  If that means bringing in Janssen or Downs then do so. 

Anointing Fraser as the closer has hamstrung Gibbon's decision to use the right pitcher at the right time.
Chuck - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#166818) #
I brought this up in another thread and I'll bring it up again here. Has anyone heard a rationale for Gibbons opting to pinch-hit with Smith, and not Stairs, for Fasano? The distinction was particularly irksome when Smith decided to swing at a 3-1 pitch outside the strike zone, as is his wont.
CeeBee - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#166819) #

Injuries to a slew of key players all at the same time sure does have a way of messing up the world order, doesn't it. I wonder if Yankee fans are jumping out of windows yet, what with their starting pitching woes. Trading McGowan or any other top prospect for an over the hill, broken down pitching machine would be the worst thing JP could do. It's bad enough giving up talent at the deadline for a slim chance at winning it all but in April? So far the biggest mistake may very well be keeping(insert one of many names) and exposing Rosario to waivers. John Hattig..... yeah  good choice there JP.  I just hope he doesn't panic and dump McGowan, Purcey, Thigpen, Snider or Romero for a temporary fix.

robertdudek - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#166820) #
I wonder if Yankee fans are jumping out of windows yet, what with their starting pitching woes.

Yes, I think they pretty much are. Their expectations are always much greater than any other team's fans' are.

I sure wish we hadn't "flipped" Carpenter or Escobar when they  were 27.

They both left via free-agency; Carpenter was coming off a season lost to injury. The Blue Jays, as a franchise, have traded away very few pitchers prior to them being arbitration-eligible.

Lind got into the starting lineup, but only because an inferior player got injured.

No way that Lind is a better player than Johnson right now, not when taking baserunning and defense into account. He might be in a few years, but not now.


I can't help but wondering if Towers did something behind the scenes to incur the wrath of JP and/or Gibbons. There's no logical reason to pull Towers instead of Okha, who's pitched much much worse. Especially for a guy that has pitched as poorly as Zambrano has. It wouldn't be the first time the current regime has made roster decisions based on disciplinary reasons, and this move has all the earmarks of a "conflict of personality" move.

At least I hope it's a disciplinary measure, otherwise I'd be swaying towards the conclusion that JP has lost his mind.

Mike D - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#166821) #
I agree with Leigh subject to Paul D's caveat -- if you include offence, defence and baserunning, it's really not fair to call Reed Johnson inferior to Lind (unless, as Paul D notes, your "inferior player" was Stairs).

I wonder if the Jays have ever blown four multi-run leads from the eighth inning on in a single month before.

Mike D - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#166822) #
Beaten to the punch by Dudek again.
daryn - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#166823) #
I wonder about Towers
when they put him in the rotation, they must have had "expectations", and those "expectations" must not be met, so they demote him.

but he's delivered a 4.7 ERA and 1 Walk for every 7 innings pitched. and nearly 1 K per inning.
and he's matched or exceed his career averages in almost every measureable category.

What do you suppose they expected that he failed to deliver?

I suppose he might have been instructed to "go out there and... (get ahead, challenge hitters, keep it down) and wasn't doing that,
or there was an observable problem with his arm slot...

I just wonder what he failed to deliver, other than Wins.
Seeing as how teh Jays scored 10 runs in his 4 starts... I'd say even that isn't completely his fault

daryn - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#166824) #
took me too long to make my point, Dudek was much more efficient, and slipped in ahead of me
Paul D - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#166826) #
So far the biggest mistake may very well be keeping(insert one of many names) and exposing Rosario to waivers. John Hattig..... yeah  good choice there JP.  I just hope he doesn't panic and dump McGowan, Purcey, Thigpen, Snider or Romero for a temporary fix.

I'm not sure I  get this point.  The Jays didn't choose to keep Hattig over Rosario.  Rosario was out of options, and so couldn't be sent to Syracause without going through waivers.   That's why they lost him, not because they kept Hattig on the 40 man.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#166827) #
It's hard to imagine Zambrano being much better than Towers. He's 31, coming off TJ surgery, isn't stretched out, and has a career 4.46 ERA and WHIP of 1.50. He gives up more walks and fewer hits than Josh (who is 30, has a career 4.88 ERA and WHIP of 1.38 ERA). Pick your poison.

I would have stuck with Towers for a couple of more starts. Although his last start was annoying, he had a good spring and has been relatively solid this April. And he's still only a year-plus removed from his strong 2005.

I agree that there seems to be a punitive element in the decision to yank him from the rotation. It's not as though Towers is responsible for the Jays' slow start.

Gerry - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#166828) #

Okha is coming off back-to-back starts against the Red Sox and he pitched better in the second game than the first.  That scores high marks with the front office as it shows you have enough pitching savvy to beat a team that faced you five days earlier.  Towers has pitched well this season but at times looks "out to lunch" as though he loses focus for a while.  That really upsets GM's and managers.

With the pitching shortage in baseball I cannot help but think that Towers would bring back a nice package from a NL team.  Towers could thrive in the NL.  Once Ryan comes back and maybe Janssen or McGowan hit the rotation the Jays should trade Towers as it's obvious now that they have lost their faith in him.

The Jays have scored 116 runs and allowed 93 this season, it's easy to see that they have been guily of bad timing in some games, including the bullpen meltdowns.  The Jays have a losing record in one run games and in two run games, maybe that luck will even out over the season.  The bullpen does have a 3.33 ERA and has been either very good or very bad.

DepecheJay - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#166829) #
I'm very worried with the direction that the Jays could possibly end up going in, and I'll keep it short.

Ted Rogers has entrusted JP with A LOT of his money over the past few seasons.  The geezer deserves a whole bunch of credit for opening up his wallet when people didn't have an idea if he would to keep Halladay and Wells, signing Thomas/Burnett/Ryan, etc.  Ted Rogers has tried to bring baseball back to Toronto.

Imagine how he'll feel if all of it goes to waste?  I'm worried that if the Jays have yet another mediocre season (the type of season that MOST baseball fans aren't satisfied, but JP tries to sell to us as a "step in the right direction") that Ted will start pocketing his money rather than spending it on the team and the Jays will slowly rot in the AL East.  I won't even think of contraction or anything because they're still only 11-12 and it's early, but it's a scary thought.

Ted Rogers believed or believes in JP Ricciardi.  What if his faith proves to have been ill-advised all this time?  These are important times for the Jays.

China fan - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#166830) #

    I'm not sure if Ricciardi and Gibbons deserve all the criticism they're getting today.  Six injuries to key players -- including the top two bullpen aces and three of the starting lineup -- will knock the stuffing out of most teams.  As for the starting rotation:  Ricciardi did make a huge effort to sign Lilly and Meche, offering up to $10-million each.  It wasn't entirely his fault that those guys preferred to play for the Cubs and Royals.   Failing to get those two, he then scrambled to sign Ohka, Thomson and Zambrano, which was probably the best he could be expected to do.   The Jays have had some frustrating losses this year, but two of them were due to BJ Ryan's injury and others were due to hitting slumps (and injuries) by some of the team's top hitters.  The team would be doing better if Lilly or Meche had signed, but that's not Ricciardi's fault.

    It's unfair to criticize the Jays for failing to put Lind in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.  He's only a few months removed from AA ball.  Reed Johnson was one of the top ten hitters in the AL last year (by batting average) and a great defensive player too, plus a great hustler and team guy.  It's hard to blame the Jays for keeping Reed in the lineup while giving Lind a bit of AAA seasoning.   As for Rosario, he wasn't good enough to crack the bullpen even after Brandon League got injured, and he was out of options, so how can you fault the Jays for trading him?

    I'm sure that some of the criticism of Ricciardi and Gibbons might be warranted, but the vitriol today speaks of emotion rather than reason.

Useless Tyler - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#166832) #
I've heard this from everyone I've talked to about the team. It first happened during that 5-game streak earlier on. Once the Jays win a couple in a row everyone turns around and begins talking about how, deep down inside, they were believers all along.

Contrary to popular belief, a couple of losses against a team that the Jays have about a .300 lifetime record against is not justification to push the panic button. Anything in April fits the same mold. I won't repeat the bevy of fair points that have already been made about how the hate on J.P. and Gibbons is excessive, so in the words of Arnold, "Stop Whining!"

timpinder - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#166833) #
Some very unfortunate news coming out of St. Louis, as reports are that Josh Hancock was killed in a motor vehicle collision early this morning.
Joanna - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#166834) #

I think we are all frustrated, not because a team who owns our team in the past beat us, but because the Jays had won this game, and then lost it.  2-run homeruns in the 8th, especially at home, meant victory last year. 

 I can't help but wondering if Towers did something behind the scenes to incur the wrath of JP and/or Gibbons.

I think he did it right out there on the mound.  Josh completely lost his composure in that third inning and panicked.  But I would still give him another start.  Avoiding the big inning is the key. 

I was reading the G&M baseball blog and during the Oriole series, Blair pointed out that Gibbons mentioned Baltimore spending on their bullpen last season, without prompt, twice.   And Gibbons' reluctance to remove Frasor might indicate that he doesn't trust Tallet.

It's all very stupid.

CeeBee - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#166835) #

"I'm not sure I  get this point.  The Jays didn't choose to keep Hattig over Rosario.  Rosario was out of options, and so couldn't be sent to Syracause without going through waivers.   That's why they lost him, not because they kept Hattig on the 40 man."

You're right. my bad.... Guess that's what happens at 5  in the morning and the coffee isn't quite ready.

robertdudek - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#166836) #
Once the Jays win a couple in a row everyone turns around and begins talking about how, deep down inside, they were believers all along.

When did you hear that from me? During winning streaks and losing streaks, before the injuries and after, I've maintained that the '07 Jays are not a contending baseball team.

actionjackson - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#166837) #
Mike D, you threw down the gauntlet so I must answer. It doesn't completely fit your definition of multi-run leads in the 8th inning, but nonetheless these were all tough late inning losses. From August 24, 1983 to September 24, 1983, down the stretch no less, there were 11 of them and the bullpen was full of veterans who should've known better. Here they are:

1) August 24: The most (in)famous of them all. Your Blue Jays lead 3-1 into the bottom of the 8th, only to blow up and cough up the tying runs. They then take a 4-3 lead in the 10th, with 3 players playing out of position (the funniest of all was Lenn Sakata at catcher, but Lowenstein and Roenicke in the infield was interesting as well). Tippy Martinez takes it all upon himself and picks three straight Blue Jays off first. The Orioles win 7-4 in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off 3 run HR by light-hitting catcher Lenn Sakata. But that was just the start.

2) August 25: Your favourite club takes a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the tenth against Baltimore, only to lose 2-1.

3) The very next night in Detroit, the game goes extra innings again, and once again our boys go down, this time 4-3 in 10.

4) Two days later in Detroit, the boys in blue take a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but RHP Joey McLaughlin serves up a game winning 3-run HR to Larry Herndon, 4-2 Detroit.

5) The next day in game 2 of a doubleheader with Boston, the Jays take a 7-5 lead into the 8th, only to lose 8-7.

6) The next day, the team is down 4-0 after 5 and 1/2 innings, roars back to tie it, only to watch it get frittered away again. 5-4 Boston in 12 innings.

7) Sept. 2, 1983. A 7-6 lead against Detroit is taken to the ninth inning, but once again the "hand grenade brigade" as the bullpen came to be known, throws kerosene on the fire and the Jays lose 9-8 in 10 innings.

8) Sept. 7, 1983. The Jays take a 6-4 lead to the ninth in the first non-divisional down the stretch game of this sad series against Gene Autry's Angels, only to lose 9-6.

9) Sept. 9, 1983. Against the Swingin' A's, it's a 5-4 lead going to the 8th that becomes a 7-5 loss.

10) Sept. 19, 1983. Todays opponent is the lowly Mariners. It doesn't matter though as a 6-4 lead goes to the 7th inning and by the time it's all over it's a 9-6 loss.

11) Sept. 24, 1983. The Jays take a 1-0 lead to the bottom of the ninth against the A's. Manager Bobby Cox, feeling understandably gun shy sticks with starter Jim Clancy and loses anyway 2-1 in 10 innings.

A couple of points. One, this exercise was very painful for me and will be very painful for the other vets to go through again. This was one calender month down the stretch and the first 7 opponents were divisional. It doesn't get any worse than that. I chose to force those of us that were there to re-live those dark times as an educational exercise for those that were not. I apologize wholeheartedly in advance for the trauma I may be causing to those who over time had forgotten the utter grief of this month from hell. Two, please cut it out with the wailing and gnashing of teeth over what anyone who lived through the stretch run of '83 sees as a mere flesh wound in the grand scheme of the grand game. Realize that this is April and 1983 was the stretch run and this is being done with youngsters, while that was done with somewhat more experienced pitchers, not to mention a manager who will probably go to the Hall of Fame after his career is over (something about those 14 straight division titles plus the virginal division title for your favourite team tells me he'll make it somehow). I know it sucks to lose like this, but as bad as it seems right now, believe me it's been a whole lot worse. So, those of you that have Monty Python's "Life of Brian", put it in the DVD or VHS player and go to the part near the end. Strike up the band: "Always look on the bright side of life..." Still not doing it for you. OK, but don't say I didn't try.

Thomas - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#166839) #

A number of good points have already been made (re: Johnson vs. Lind, re: pulling Towers from the rotation without warning), so I won't repeat those. I just think that Gibbons was too slow to pull Frasor yesterday. I can't criticize the decision without hesitation, as Frasor is the closer and I understand the decision to let him lose the lead, rather than someone else.

However, it was obvious from the time he came into yesterday's game that he didn't have it. He looked uncomfortable on the mound, wasn't throwing well and was walking hitters. One of his two outs came on a strikeout of Sosa where Sosa chased a terrible pitch. Once Frasor hit Catalanotto, if I was managing, it would have been the last straw. You aren't pulling BJ Ryan here, you're pulling Frasor and although he is currently Toronto's closer, Gibbons has to go with the pitcher who is going to give the team the best chance to win the ballgame against the left-handed hitting Wilkerson. Maybe we lose anyway, but yesterday, as I said at the time, I would rolled the dice with Tallet.

actionjackson - Sunday, April 29 2007 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#166840) #
Petey Baseball, 2003 was the last year McGowan had his health and I don't think it's a coincidence that he was brilliant at two different levels in 14 starts at each level that year. That is when we first heard his name. He then made 6 starts in '04 and went down for TJ surgery. He came back from the surgery very quickly, in less than a year I think, and TJ  surgery is supposed to take 18 months to fully recover from. He might have been better served to take the 2005 season off or at least come back a bit slower. I'm not going to hold anything he did in 2005 against him. Then in 2006, he felt weak and his weight was down through most of the season and was diagnosed either late in the season or at the end of it with Type 2 Diabetes. These are major health issues, and I'm willing to give him a mulligan for each of those 3 seasons.

So here we are in 2007, at McGowan's Last Chance Saloon. In my mind you give him 3 months at AAA to get his confidence back. You do not under any circumstances promote him until July 1st. If you think he's ready by then, it's time for his last chance promotion. If he's not ready by then, it's time to see what you can get for him on the trade market.

Speaking of the trade market, I don't think you'll be able to get both a quality relief pitcher and a quality starting pitcher. If you want a quality starting pitcher, I would imagine you're looking at giving up 1) Rios or Lind and one of McGowan, Purcey, or Romero, or 2) 2 of McGowan, Purcey, or Romero plus Travis Snider. I'm talking about a Brett Myers or a Dontrelle Willis type stud that you can put in the #2 or #3 spot and have that dominant front three in the rotation. Then, in the first scenario you would have to go out and trade for another outfielder because to put it mildly Matt Stairs isn't even a #4 OF, let alone a starting OF. Probably that costs you whatever you didn't trade to get your stud starter and maybe a little more. Now, your farm system is completely depleted of the type of talent that gets your blood flowing and are you a contender? Maybe, if everything breaks right, and you still haven't done anything to address the bullpen. The simple fact of the matter is that everything had to break right for the Jays to rise up and snatch the division and it ain't breaking right so far. But, there's a lot of baseball left and a lot could still happen. Most organizations spend the first 40 games assessing what they've got, before they even look at the trade market, which makes the trade market even more difficult to navigate at this time.

As for the argument that we're counting on injuries to our competitors to win the division, I brought up injuries to illustrate the fact that the Red Sox, aside from Jon Lester have not had any yet. No, I don't think we can pin our division hopes on the Red Sox suffering through injuries, but I can almost guarantee you that they will go through them, and they will go through stretches where they don't play as well as they are now. Look at the mighty Yankees, they are certainly going through them right now and it's really hurting them. A-Rod is having the best April in history and they're 9-13. But as I have painfully learned over the years, April doesn't mean much when it comes to the Yankees and they will be there in the end. Don't think they don't know that either. Just enjoy the games and enjoy the fact that your favourite team has been getting better every year since the debacle of 2004, maybe not as fast as any of us want, but show me something in life that happens as fast as us instant gratification junkies want it to.
Twilight - Monday, April 30 2007 @ 04:53 AM EDT (#166874) #
actionjackson makes a good point. Yankees fans are not scrapping their season just yet, and they're doing even worse than the Jays are. Although their monetary resources far surpass those of the Jays ("They're the Yankees... whatever isn't working will be fixed by the trade deadline." - Curt Schilling) the first part of the season has been a rough patch for a lot of clubs. The reason why statistical analysis is so useful is because things which are largely due to chance have a tendency to revert back to the mean. Observe.

Apr. 23 - Wells is hitting .257. A week later? .298. Things are getting better.
Overbay is currently hitting .239. When he starts getting hot, things will be getting better.
Frank Thomas (currently .247/.364/.416) has just turned it on. Things will get better.

In addition, we have this:
- Glaus has been out for two weeks. His current line? .310/.487/.552 - sounds good to me. Yes, he won't be hitting .310 in September, but he's still a big time RBI guy that we need in the lineup.
- B.J. Ryan and Brandon League, our anticipated 8-9 duo, are both out. As a result, we have low leverage pitchers put in high leverage situations. As others before have said, imagine what the Red Sox would look like without Papelbon and Timlin.

Yes, the Jays are off to a rough start, but we have no reason to believe that they will be playing .500 ball in September. Yes, another starter would be helpful. And yes, I really think Gibbons needs help managing the bullpen. But after living through the mid-late 90s and early '00s as a Jays fan, getting teased and spit on at school for proudly wearing my Jays hats and shirts, I really can't say I have anything to complain about right now. This isn't an excuse, just my perspective.
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