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The affiliates only won one game but there were some encouraging pitching performances.  Ismael Ramirez only allowed one earned run in seven innings for Syracuse.  Russell Savickas made his AA debut and gave up two runs in six innings.  Kristian Bell made his first start of 2007 and pitched five shutout innings and Nate Starner had one bad inning but struck out eleven in six innings.  Curtis Thigpen played second base and made an error.

Syracuse 3  Louisville 4

Curtis Thigpen played second base in this game as Russ Adams sat out.  The move backfired in the second inning when Thigpen made a throwing error on a force attempt with two men on.  The error allowed a run to score and put runners on second and third.  Chad Moeller then doubled both runners home to make it a 3-0 game.  Ismael Ramirez started for Syracuse and pitched his best game of the season, seven innings, one earned run on five hits and a walk, with 7 K's.  This makes two good starts in a row for Ramirez, a sign that he might be settling in at AAA.  The Chiefs got two runs back in the fifth, Jeff Duncan and Rey Olmedo singled and John Hattig walked.  Kevin Barker singled with two out to drive in two runs.  The Chiefs tied the game in the sixth, Thigpen led off with a double and a sac bunt and a sac fly brought him home.  Blaine Neal replaced Ramirez to start the eighth and the first batter he faced, Canada's Joey Votto, homered.

Homer Bailey, Cincinatti's top prospect started for Louisville and the Chiefs did well against him, they had 6 hits and four walks in 5.1 innings.  In total Syracuse had seven hits, Chad Mottola had 2.

New Hampshire 1  Bowie 2

Russell Savickas made his first AA start for New Hampshire and had a rude welcome, the first batter he saw tripled, and after a ground out the third hitter also tripled.  But Savickas got a couple of pop outs to end the inning and settled down to hold Bowie off the board.  In the fifth Aaron Mathews homered, his second, to tie the game.  Savickas wasn't perfect but was good enough, he gave up a single in the second, a single in the third, a single and a walk in the fourth, a walk in the fifth, and then a home run to Jeff Fiorentino in the sixth.  Savickas left after six, having allowed two runs, six hits, two walks and recording but one strikeout.

The Fishers Cats had a couple of chances to tie, Chip Cannon doubled with one out in the seventh but couldn't score, and Aaron Mathews and Cannon singled with two outs in the ninth but David Smith struck out.  Robinzon Diaz, again, Mathews and Cannon had two hits each.

Dunedin 6  Palm Beach 2

Kristian Bell made his first start of 2007 and it was a good one, five shutout innings with two hits, two walks and two strikeouts, and both walks were in the fifth, Bell's last inning.  Palm Beach starter Tyler Norrick ran into trouble in the second, Josh Kreuzer singled, Anthony Hatch singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, David Corrente RBI single, Brian Jeroloman walked, Anthony Garibaldi HBP to load the bases, Luke Hetherington RBI walk to make it 2-0.

In the fourth Jeroloman walked again, Garibaldi singled and with two outs Eric Nielsen doubled them both home.  In the seventh Kreuzer doubled with one out, Jacob Butler was hit by a pitch, Anthony Hatch had an RBI single and tghe sixth run scored on an error.  Kreuzer was 3-5 with 2 runs scored; Hatch was 2-3 with 2 walks and a ribbie; Butler and Corrente each had two hits.

Lansing 3  South Bend 11

This game was tight until the wheels came off the wagon in the eighth when South Bend put up a very crooked eight spot.  Nathan Starner started for Lansing and pitched well except for one inning, the third, where he allowed three runs on five hits.  In his other five innings he gave up only two hits, his final tally was six innings, seven hits, one walk, three runs and eleven strikeouts.  Lansing scored a run in the sixth, Scott Campbell walked, Yuber Rodriguez doubled him to third and a Travis Snider single plated the run.  In the seventh Jonathan Jaspe homered, Chris Emanuele singled and scored on a Josh Bell double to tie the game.  But then the fateful eighth with those eight runs allowed including a couple of Lansing errors, off Julio Pinto and Chris Reddout.  Emanuele was the only Lugnut with two hits.

3 star selection

3rd star - Russell Savickas
2nd star - Kristian Bell
1st star - Josh Kreuzer

Pitchers Surprising | 33 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Forbes - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#167973) #
It's pretty cool that Thigpen played 2nd, as most everyone knows, his favorite player was a former catcher who later became a second basemen.
China fan - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#167975) #
   Does it possibly foretell of a permanent shift to 2B for Thigpen?  He seems to have a major-league bat, but he's been having problems with the defensive aspects of catching, especially in throwing out runners trying to steal.   Is it possible that the Jays think he might just not be able to handle the major-league catching role and he'd be better if he can make the switch to 2B?  Which, in turn, might foretell an Aaron Hill switch to SS or 3B?
Marc Hulet - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#167977) #
New Hampshire right-hander Jesse Litsch just received word that he will be called up to start Tuesday night against the Orioles. I just received an email from his dad.
Rickster - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#167978) #
Why can't this organization simply leave prospects in the minors to develop rather than bringing them to the majors because they've had a few lights-out weeks? I sure hope they are going to handle Litsch (who looks like a budding star) better than they handled McGowan.
Pistol - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#167980) #
he's been having problems with the defensive aspects of catching, especially in throwing out runners trying to steal.

His defense was highly regarded last year in NH.  BA ranked him as the best defensive catcher last year in the Eastern League.
Maldoff - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#167981) #

I agree with Rickster. With not needing a 5th starter again until the 25th of May against the Twins, why not just put Josh Towers back in there for the one start, rather than bringing up a rookie who is not going to be ready?

Plus, with addition of Litsch to the 40 man, that means that someone (Ryan Houston, looking at you) will need to be dropped.

Mike Forbes - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#167982) #

Horrible, promoting Litsch to AAA would've been great, bringing him up the the Majors already? Bad idea.

CaramonLS - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#167983) #
Tell Jesse not to challenge Jay Gibbons, and he should be fine.

(But yes I agree with Rickster), Thomson or Towers would be much better options to bring up for a spot start.

timpinder - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#167984) #

I was checking the Batter's Box archives for scouting reports and stories on Litsch.  On two separate occasions writers here mentioned that he had a great sinker and slider (does he have a 3rd pitch?), and that he had good command and really attacked hitters.  All of his peripherals throughout the minors were great, except his H9.  Prior to this season, both of the writers here suggested that if Litsch could get his H9 rate down he could be a solid major league starter.  Well, in 6 starts in AA he's only allowed 22 hits in 37.2 innings.  He only has 28 K's, but based on his stats, since I've never seen him pitch live, he seems like a League or Wang type of pitcher relying on groundball outs more than strikeouts.  I'll take it!  I look forward to seeing this surprisingly young prospect pitch on Tuesday!

So, who comes off the 40-man roster?

Jim - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#167985) #
Ryan Houston, looking at you

I have posted this a half dozen times over the past two seasons, but yet he endurs.
ayjackson - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#167986) #

I don't mind the Litsch call-up.  If he gets a little exposure to the Bigs - even from AA - it's not going to ruin him.  The concern I have with prospects is moving them up and down and rotation to relieving too much.  But one promotion for a taste of the Bigs is not something I have a problem with.

You can argue that the Tuesday start should have been skipped or that there were better candidates - fair play.  I guess maybe Gibby/JP decided that they didn't want to skip the start for whatever reason, and decided that Litsch was their best option in AAA or AA.

ayjackson - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#167987) #
Thomson is on the DL with blisters - he wasn't an option.
Gerry - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#167988) #

It's a gamble to bring up a young pitcher from AA.  Litsch is a bulldog on the mound so he should survive even if he is hit around.  Generally teams call up pitchers from AA when they have excellent "stuff" where the pitches can compensate for mistakes.  Litsch is more in the Marcum, Vermilyea, Janssen mode where he needs to hit his spots to be successful.  It is a big gamble.

How do you think Josh Banks feels today, he has pitched well and gets passed over again?

ayjackson - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#167989) #

It's a gamble to bring up a young pitcher from AA.

It's a gamble from the perspective of success (winning), but what's at stake?  I'm quite certain that all of our options are long-shots for success.

I think it'll be beneficial to the pitcher as he'll get an idea of how good he's gotta become to make it.

timpinder - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#167990) #

And Jesse Litsch may have been their best option.  Taubenheim hasn't been good so far this year, Banks' fly-ball tendencies could hurt him at Roger's Center, and Purcey has had a command problem that I think he has to prove is behind him. 

Who knows, Litsch may be great and stay up!  It's a probably a bit too optimistic, but with all the bad news this season, we're overdue for a pleasant surprise. 

timpinder - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#167991) #

Wang might be a better comparison for Litsch than Marcum or Janssen.  Wang and Litsch have very similar minor league numbers and a similar pitching style from what I've heard of Litsch.  Wang was two years older when he played AA though, as Litsch just turned 22 in March. 

Gerry - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#167992) #

Andrew Good has been signed by Syracuse and starts today.  Good pitched in AAA for New Orleans last season and has 35 games of major league experience.  With all the injuries at the major league level the Jays needed reinforcements.

Curtis Thigpen is back at 2B today, Russ Adams is at shortstop with Rey Olmedo getting the day off.

tstaddon - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#167993) #
With Taubenheim struggling, Thomson fighting blisters and Towers clearly not in the team's plans after 2007, it basically came down to Banks or Litsch. And apparently the brass feels the latter's a better fit at Rogers Centre against Baltimore. With the Jays not needing a 5th starter for a while, it's reasonable to think that Lydon could be called up for a cup of coffee on Wednesday. Anyone else think it's possible?

Also, good on Gibbons getting Stairs and Roberts in there today. Seems like an appropriate time to get both guys a game.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#167999) #
Calling up Litsch may also be an ego thing for Ricciardi. JP has taken a lot of heat lately and may want to showcase one of his sleeper picks.
Sherrystar - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#168002) #

The good: Marcum was excellent. He can be really effective when he keeps the ball low in the zone

The bad: Frasor... why is he still here? As soon as he came in, I knew he was going to serve one up. He's got nothing and should be given his walking papers.

The very bad: Tallet. Not covering 1st is simply not acceptable at this level. (Not to mention, how has he stayed up here? Just cause he's a lefty? His numbers are horrible!)

ayjackson - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#168005) #

I'm not placing any blame on Frasor.  I would like to know where the Jays got there scouting report on Pena.  Every pitch of the series was away.  I thought he demonstrated his plate coverage adequately Saturday, when he took high, outside heat from MacGowan and pulled it 440ft!!  But they kept going there.  It may be that Pena has realized everybody is pounding him away and crept up on the plate - if that's so, the Jays should have looked at film last night, or their advance scouts should have picked it up.  I'm at a loss to understand what they were trying to do.

The two homers off MacGowan and the one off Frasor, were all pitches to the area called - it's scouting or game-calling that resulted in the homers.  These kind of mistakes can be very damaging to young pitchers careers.

JayFan0912 - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#168013) #
There are some other advantages litsch has over banks. AAA is generally scouted better than AA, so the orioles would probably get a better scouting report on banks, and, banks has spent a few years in AAA, whereas litsch has been in A and only for a year.

These auditions are a very good idea IMO, at the trade deadline, with many teams desperate for pitching, we might be able to fetch a useful piece for 2008 -- using the depth of the system to compensate for the lack of decent middle infielders.
slitheringslider - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#168015) #
Jumping from AA straight to the majors is not uncommon. When Dave Bush first came up a couple years ago, he was called up from AA and had success in the Jays' rotation, and he was not considered a 'stuff' guy.
timpinder - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#168018) #

Does anybody know what's going on in Syracuse with Adams and Thigpen?  Are they going to try Thigpen out at 2B?  His career minor league numbers aren't much better than Adams', and I thought his value was as a catcher.  Besides, the Jays already tried Russ at SS, why are they going there again?  Finally, if Thigpen is switching to a new position, who else do the Jays have in line at C?  This doesn't make much sense to me.  If anybody has any insight on the matter I'd love to hear about it.

Squiggy - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#168020) #
In terms of the experience, I also don't have a huge problem bringing up Litsch to pitch the one game. Even if he does get lit up it is probably not going to scar him for life or anything. On the other hand, doesn't this start his service time clock (for arbitration etc.) and start burning up options? That would be more of a long-term concern perhaps, and a reason to throw Towers in there for the start, especially if Litsch goes right back to AAA after the game, win or lose.
Mylegacy - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 08:06 PM EDT (#168023) #

Jessie Litsch is a VERY well respected pitcher.

To me he's like a bigger Marcum or a smaller Janssen with four pitches he throws for strikes. By today's standards I put him as having "back of rotation" stuff. HOWEVER, he is an over achiever. The biggest knock on him I have is that he is the YOUNGEST pitching prospect the Jay's have... born 13/09/85 he's just 22. Since contol guys can't overpower they've got to be more mature than the power guys when they come up. I'm curious, I'm looking forward to seeing him, BUT I'll be really surprised if he's ready for the AL East. Oh,I hope I'm wrong.

rotorose - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#168024) #
A post on the Twinkietown blog today reported that Mike Venafro has been traded to Toronto. The 33 year old lefty pitcher has been in the minors this year, and is not on the Twins 40 man roster, so he can't have cost the Jays much in a trade. Does anybody know anything about this trade? Has Brian Tallet failed to cover his last base for the Jays? Or is this just a rumour?
CaramonLS - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#168025) #
Roto, according to Minorleaguebaseball he pitched 2 innings today for Syracuse.

So yes, he'd be ours.

Barry Bonnell - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#168028) #
All of a sudden it seems we have a plethora of arms in the minors to choose from. It's such a nice feeling. I remember the dog days when we had guys like John Wasdin, Chris Michalek (sp?) and Juan Acevedo.
Rob - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#168033) #
Jumping from AA straight to the majors is not uncommon. When Dave Bush first came up a couple years ago, he was called up from AA

You missed an A at the end there. Bush pitched for Syracuse for all of 2004 before his major-league debut after a half-season the previous year in AA New Haven. Recent pitchers in the Jays' organization who have skipped AAA include Adam Peterson, Brandon League, and Gustavo Chacin (basically), who had varying degrees of success.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#168036) #
Can any BP subscribers give a report on the latest 'Under the Knife' article? It covers the latest injuries to Halladay and Glaus.
Jim - Monday, May 14 2007 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#168050) #

latest 'Under the Knife'

Carroll infers it's more then the appendix that was causing Roy to struggle.

He says Glaus is having an MRI on the heel spurs and they will decide if he needs surgery.

actionjackson - Monday, May 14 2007 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#168076) #
Sherrystar, Huh? Frasor should be given his walking papers and Tallet's got to go too eh? So who's going to pitch in the spot when the big three (Accardo, Janssen, and Downs) have been used up in previous games and there's no lead to protect? Vermilyea? Towers? Towers has been downright awful as a reliever, and I don't hold it against him because he should be a starter. So, let's throw the rookie Vermilyea to the wolves after 2 successful extremely low leverage situations. Then there's the need to call-up two pitchers from the minor leagues to replace these two "horrible" pitchers. Let's see: Jason Scobie, Ryan Houston, Brian Wolfe, Jordan De Jong, and Mike Venafro. Hmm, no thanks I'll take Frasor and Tallet. Frasor absolutely should've been in there yesterday and the choice in my mind was between Tallet and Vermilyea for the other job. Gibbons chose to give it to Tallet probably because it would've been Vermilyea's 3rd major league appearance. You've got to give him a chance to get his feet under him and build up his confidence slowly in situations where the game isn't on the line. If he has 2 or 3 more solid appearances, you start to push him a little more by using him in more important situations to see if he can handle it, but you've got to build him up slowly. He's in the position Accardo started in and look where Jeremy is now. Obviously, Accardo has more experience under his belt, but it does show that Gibbons is able to adjust bullpen usage depending on what relievers are going well.

4 starting pitchers (Halladay, Burnett, Zambrano, Thomson) are sidelined right now as well as 3 relief pitchers (Ryan, League, and Davis Romero). That's why Brian Tallet is here and Jason Frasor would be here regardless of injuries as he's the 4th best reliever on the current roster and perhaps better when he's not struggling like he is now. I find the statement that you knew he would serve one up to be preposterous as he'd only given up 1 HR all year coming into his appearance yesterday. Now, if you'd said "I knew he was going to walk a bunch of people", that would've been reasonable because he's had a rough time in the walk department this year. I thought he pitched really well. Unfortuanately, he gave up the hit that: a) broke off the no-hitter b) broke the shutout and c) put the Jays behind. But, he came right back and struck out a tough young hitter in Delmon Young and that's a good sign. He's going bad right now, but so was Shaun Marcum before yesterday's start. Be honest now, did you feel that Shaun Marcum should've been "given his walking papers" before yesterday's start? Marcum had been pitching even worse out of the bullpen than Frasor and a lot of fans wanted to see him sent back to Syracuse to "figure it out". Guess they were wrong huh? Frasor will be alright, but he should not be the closer again. He has trouble putting away hitters when he has two strikes on them. He's just in a slump right now and he'll come out on the other side of it, maybe not as dramatically as Marcum, but he will. The Jays need everyone that's still standing. They can't afford to give up on guys due to a couple of bad weeks, otherwise they should probably ship the whole team off to Syracuse. Also absent from your post was any mention of the once again AWOL offense. It's tough to pitch when your offense is smelling like a skunk.
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