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The Jays continue their struggles at home; despite receiving a fine outing from Roy Halladay the offense could only manage 1 run and the good doctor took the loss.

The Rangers scored four runs against Halladay, who valiantly pitched nine innings to spare the Jays pen. Vincente Padilla meanwhile pitched a comparable seven innings but with a little luck got the win. Halladay put up a line of 9 IP 11 H 4 R 4 ER 1 BB and 4 K's, but this really understates his effectiveness - I thought he was pretty good, if a little too hittable and a little unlucky.

To Recap: The Rangers got their first run in the second on a cheesy hit by Milton Bradley, a groundout and a double down the third base line from David Murphy that with a little luck gets caught by Inglett manning third. In the third, a flare by Kinsler, a stolen base and a Cat fliner into centre made it 2-0 Rangers. The third Texas run scored in the 7h, as Doc got two outs and gave up David Murphy's second double of the day, another slash the opposite way down the third base line. Gerald Laird promptly took a good pitch and knocked it into CF, making it 3-0 Rangers. Zaun doubled in the bottom half of the 7th, and a groundout and an Eckstein infield hit drove him in. The Rangers got the run back in the 9th, as Murphy hit his third double, which was also pretty much the only ball hit hard into the outfield off Doc. Laird again singled him in but Vernon's throw was taken by Zaun who threw a strike to second and nailed Laird advancing. On the whole, Doc pitched rather well, and like any 'off' Doc start simply let hitters put the ball in play against him a little too hard.

The Jays offense, by contrast, was not good. They got a runner on base in every inning, hit into two double plays, and stranded two runners twice. The worst part was how bad Thomas looked all game. Rance and Jamie even started getting into it - all Padilla would throw Thomas were fastballs outside, and Thomas simply could not do anything with them. He ended up whiffing twice, grounding out to the pitcher and hitting a little flare that Kinsler handled at second easily. On the plus side, the top of the order is really coming together - Eck/Hill/Rios/Wells went 6/16 with a walk. The rest of the team was 2/17 with 3 walks. Eckstein is quietly hitting .290/.380/.323 - he is not the problem with the team at the moment.

All and all its been a frustrating couple of days being a Jays fan. At least it wasn't as frustrating as...

ROCKIES 1+??, PADRES 1+??? in 20+??? Innings.
We're heading into the top of the 20th as I write this - I won't say what time it is... Jake Peavy and Jeff Francis combined to throw 15 scoreless innings, allowing 7 hits, 4 walks and striking out 18... and they haven't pitched in 10 innings. Colorado scored the first run of the game in the top of the 14th as Brad Hawpe walked in a run, but the Rockies could get no more. San Diego countered in the bottom half of the inning by loading the bases and singling in a run, but they also couldnt score the winner. Willie Taveras has led the charge - he is 3 for 8 with one of only two runs scored, and Holliday is 2 for 4 with 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. The two teams have combined for 21 hits in 36 innings, so that should be a surprise.

Other fun facts:
  • As far as I can tell, pitchers have now hit for themselves or pinch hit 4 times... and Randy Wolf singled. Wither Micah Owings...
  • The two teams have (so far) combined to use 13 pitchers who have whiffed 33 batters.
  • This is the longest game in Rockies history.
  • It is now (at 20 innings) the longest ML game since 2003.
  • Tony Clark is 0 for 7 with a walk and four strikeouts.
  • Wilfredo Ledezma has pitched 5 scoreless innings in relief and allowed 3 hits and two walks while k'ing 3 - 80 pitches.
  • Paul McNulty got thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple... with no outs in the bottom of the 13th in a 0-0 game. He then failed to drive in a run with the bases loaded next inning. So, uh, that should be a fun ride back to the team hotel.

Other than that, I've been following the Rockies game for the last hour hoping for a conclusion, so, uh, talk amongst yourselves, I am going to bed. Check out htis WPA chart though!!!! (!!!!)

TDIB 18 April 2008 | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 08:06 AM EDT (#182905) #
Rockies ended up winning in 22 innings
Just imagine if the Jays game the night before last went an extra 8 innings.  Wonder who would've come out next after AJ?  Would've we seen a hitter pitching and if so who?

James W - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#182906) #

The Sportsnet broadcasters had mentioned that Shaun Marcum was trying on different shoes, in case he was needed to go in at an Infield position.  No mention on which fielder would have ended up pitching however.

Rob - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#182907) #
Rockies ended up winning in 22 innings

And both teams still used fewer pitchers than the Jays did on Wednesday.
Pistol - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#182908) #
Isn't Scutaro the emergency pitcher?

The Jays are getting a .641 OPS out of LF right now and .669 OPS out of DH.  They have to get Lind up and in the lineup quickly - he's probably better than all of Stairs, Stewart and Thomas.

FisherCat - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#182909) #

OK, a concerned Blue Jays' fan here, so forgive me ;).

Considering that the Jays have had recent struggles going against young inexperienced LH starters.  Isn't it only fair to expect the Baseball Gods to bless us with a solid 6-inning, 5-hit, 2 BB, 1 run performance by Purcey tonight?  I mean if he gets wacked around and gives us less than 4-innings against a team that up until this week couldn't buy a break, then what can we make of this Jays team?  At home no less...

OK deep breath I know, but it's little things like this that will frustrate me till no end.

timpinder - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#182911) #
Pistol, I couldn't agree more.  Platoon Stairs and Thomas at DH and give Lind the call to start in LF.  Thomas has an OPS of .661 against RHP, and that simply will not cut it for a DH who Gibbons insists on plopping into the middle of the order.  Even last year his OPS was only .796 against RHP.  He's killing the team and every rally started ahead of him.  I also don't think I could stomach watching Thomas twirl around and flail at hittable fastballs for another season, and at a cost of $10 million, mind you.  I know the argument is that after killing the team for the first two months, he'll come around.  If that's the case, Thomas should at least be moved near the bottom of the order until that day comes (if it does).  Right now, Thomas, Stairs and Stewart combined are slugging .975.  Lind is slugging .640 alone in AAA, with a 1.121 OPS.  Games in April do count, and I hope the Jays' brass don't wait too long to realize that Lind might just be a lot better than their old veterans, and that Stairs hits RHP better than Thomas.
Jimbag - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#182912) #
Personally, I blame Rance Mullijinx for the two losses.
greenfrog - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#182913) #
A few notes, now that we're 1/10 of the way through the season:

- The hard part about assessing our DH situation is that Thomas could get it going. There's just no way of knowing for sure. Last year he did (eventually), but at some point he's no longer going to be productive

- I think the team's record is indicative of its performance so far. They really have played like a .500 club. Subjectively, I feel as though the Jays have missed some key opportunities to amass a better record, but I guess that applies to most teams. In any event, it's still early

- Things will likely get better when Rolen returns. But there are no guarantees. Like Thomas, Stairs, Stewart and Zaun, Rolen is an unknown quantity at this stage of his career

- I wouldn't mind seeing Lind called up, but it would have a domino effect on the roster, as some or all of Stewart, Thomas and Stairs will lose substantial playing time. Is this a good or bad thing? I think JP will try to ride out the current roster for at least 2 or 3 more weeks to see (1) whether his veterans start to hit, (2) whether the team starts to play better, (3) how things look when Rolen returns, (4) whether Lind sustains his level of play (still a small sample size, like Inglett's AAA performance) and looks ready to start again in the majors

Jimbag - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#182919) #
Thomas has been a slow starter for most of his career, and at least he's been producing some RBIs, so I'm not quite ready to light a torch and grab a pitchfork just yet. It's been unfortunate that the timeliness of his hits (and ribbies) haven't come at the most opportune times, but such is the fickle finger of fate.

Inglett has been a pleasant surprise. Rolen should hopefully be an upgrade, but since we haven't seen him yet, you can't assume anything. His rehab certainly seems to be going well, which (to me) indicates that he's anxious to come in and contribute to his new team. Overall, he's got a little more pop in his bat than his replacements, but it's not the long ball that's been getting the job done for the Jays yet. It's still early, and Rios only has one dinger so far....the bats will play a large part in how the season goes, guaranteed. Thomas, Rolen, Wells, Stairs, et al will get their chance to contribute a few souvenirs to fans out in the bleachers.

While it would have been nice for the Jays to build a bit of a cushion early (especially since the Sox have had their struggles), I'm not at all worried about this team. This is going to be a big series with Detroit, and I'd love to see them take 3 of 4 - but it's far too early to start parsing the lineup and looking for replacements (a-la Lind). For now, the team has enough of a new look to still be forming chemistry in the lockerroom..they're hanging around the .500 mark and should hopefully turn on the jets a little bit soon. We all remember the O's from 86 (87?) when they got off to a great start in April and spent the next few months executing a gorgeous swan dive. I'd rather see the Jays slowly build momentum over the course of the season and be hot in October than have them launch in April and fizzle in September.

HollywoodHartman - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#182920) #
After exactly 6 games played the Rays have signed Evan Longoria to a 9 year deal. First 6 cover the arby years, then there's a 1 year club option, then a 2 year option. If he's around for all 9 years he'll make $44 million. He'll also still be in his early 30s and set up for another (potentially) enormous contract. Ballsy move by the Rays, but I think it's a terrific one with the way salaries have been skyrocketing.
Mike Green - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#182921) #
Less than two weeks after his arrival in the big-leagues, Evan Longoria signs a long-term contract. It's no wonder that the Yankees are so hot on getting into China first, as the free-agent market is likely to be less appealing in 5-10 years.
timpinder - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#182922) #
I understand that Thomas "could" get it going.  But even last year after he started hitting reasonably well he padded his stats against LHP and didn't hit particularly well against RHP.  I just don't think that there's any good argument for having Thomas bat in a critical spot of the order while the Jays wait until he hopefully comes around.  Let him figure it out hitting 7th or 8th, or at least put him between Stairs and Overbay, splitting up the righties and lefties while offer Wells a little protection.  When teams are pitching around a player who has never hit more than 33 homeruns, to get to the DH so that they can blow a steady diet of fastballs by him, well, that's a very bad sign.  In the meantime, Thomas keeps accumulating those at-bats and getting closer to 376.  If he reaches that number the Jays will have a tough time doing much with roster next year and may be stuck with a lot of expensive dead weight.
Jimbag - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#182924) #
It is unfortunate that decisions have to be made in light of contracts. I'd be perfectly happy to let Thomas get his cuts, but yeah, the idea of being saddled with a $10M contract next year for a guy that is one year closer to the glue factory is something to consider.

Thomas will get his option, though, unless he's on the DL for a large part of the season. It'd be nearly impossible to limit his PAs enough to avoid that - and frankly, is it worth the potential damage done (in the clubhouse) to sit him that much? JP signed on, and the implication when the ink was still wet was that Thomas wouldn't be sitting when he could be helping the team win. I understand the idea of sitting him out for financial reasons, but we're not just talking about a cipher with a contract - this is a man who has enough competitive spirit to have not only made the bigs, but has been successful there for years. If you sit him, you run the risk of alienating half the clubhouse ("well, if that's the way they treat Frank, what should I expect?")

Then you have to factor in Stairs' health. Can he manage 4 PAs a night for an extended period of time? He's not exactly pink cheeked, himself. And LInd - I want to see him succeed so much - but is it not yet time to admit that he's never going to set the world on fire? His defensive shortcomings troubled me the past two years (though he has improved, somewhat) - but last season he wasn't getting it done at the plate, either. I really think Thomas is the Jays best bet at DH - at least given the alternatives that are available in the organization. If Lind is tearing the cover off in June, and Stairs is maintaining his output, then you have a decision to make. But for now, let the big man take his cuts.

Hurt 'em, Frank :)

TamRa - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#182926) #
Not saying Frank doesn't have work to do but - perspective:

Thomas is 4 (singles) for 27 with the bases empty.

OTOH, he has an .895 OPS with runners on and an .854 w/RISP . . . compare that to .583 and .598 from Lyle Overbay, or .581 and .325 (in only 9 PA) for Matt Stairs.

Hell, Rios is at .558 w/RISP

I'm gonna refrain from throwing Big Frank under the bus until younger men have there crap together.

John Northey - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#182929) #
Wow.  A 9 year deal to a guy just called up?  6 guaranteed for $17.5 million?  Gusty move on the Rays part, to put it mildly.  Also on Evan's part as he could be tossing away tens of millions over the life of this contract.

Still, for a kid just called up it would be hard to resist.  You know you are set for life and will have a shot at a megabucks deal ($100+ million) if you are a star player once it runs out.  What does this mean for other teams though?  Do you risk lots of money on a kid early on or risk getting hit with crazy bills later?  Wells worked out here, Hinske didn't, Halladay didn't (the Jays started paying millions a year earlier than they had to, could've got a much better deal a year later), Hill and Rios are unknown at this stage.

Who would you sign to a 9 year deal who isn't up yet?  Snider certainly is a consideration.  Lind could become one for a 5 year deal if he comes up and pounds the crap out of the ball later this year.  What about McGowan and Litsch and Marcum though?

Mike Green - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#182931) #
The big item for the club, of course, are the club options.  Suppose Wells and Hinske had signed similar contracts to this one after year 1, but with 3 years of club options.  The Jays would have declined the Hinske option and taken on the Wells option, and saved themselves a bucketload of cash. Personally, I think that Longoria is likely to be closer in value to Wells than to Hinske (well, actually, I think that he will end up being more valuable than Wells),  and that the Rays have themselves a first class bargain on the order of the Pujols deal at a lower level of course (less money, less value).
owen - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#182932) #
The Longoria is definitely interesting.  The question becomes whether or not this sort of deal will become a trend-setter.

In the world of hockey, we saw the New York Islanders challenge the paradigm with their mega-length deal with Rick DiPietro a few years back.  Since then we have seen a number of other extraordinarily long contracts in the the NHL as teams lock up young talent in an effort to save costs down the road (Ovechkin and Richards stand out).  NHL GMs operate in a different environment with the hard cap, but the premise for the deals is really the same - building through youth, retaining your young talent, controlling your costs.

Up until now, cash-strapped baseball teams have followed a model whereby you build through the draft, let your talent mature, then let it leave via free-agency, using compensatory draft-picks to start over again.  Whenever possible, you aggressively trade your talent when it is still a hot commodity in order to replenish your farm.  This has been used fairly successfully by the Marlins, Twins and A's, among others.  But it stands to reason that it will gradually become a less effective model now that big money teams like Detroit, Boston and New York are putting so many resources into the draft.  The 'smart' small-market franchises no longer have a monopoly on building through youth.

So small-market teams need a new strategy.  This one is risky, but the rewards are obvious.

owen - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#182933) #
My above post contains a typo in the first sentence.  I meant to say "The Longoria deal."  But I think there is a pun to be had somewhere in there.  Since it really is a "Long"oria deal.  (I didn't say that there is a 'good' pun to be had.)
John Northey - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#182934) #
Good question on the trend aspect.  I think we can already call it one though with the contracts for Pujols, Tulowitzki, Hill, and Rios.  All deals coming early in a career.  Longoria is a new record for earliest but the principle is the same.  This is also what was done by Cleveland back in the 90's to both a bigger and lesser degree (more players, fewer years). 

There are big benefits to MLB out of this though as it helps keep talent in the same place for as long as possible.  Longoria, Pujols, Tulowitzki, Hill, and Rios will all be with their respective teams for years now which allows the fans to build a connection.  The A's have been winners on the field but losers off of it (or at least not as big winners) and I suspect the rotating players has been a big part of that.  I know back in the 80's I cheered big time for the guys I saw come up and become stars - Bell, Moseby, Barfield, Garcia, Fernandez, Upshaw, Stieb, Key, Henke, Ward, Whitt all meant more to me than the rent a player guys for the world series years (Cone, Morris, Stewart, Henderson, Winfield) and I felt more of a fan in the 80's than the early 90's despite the World Series years. 

Should be interesting in 5 years to see how well things go.  
Wildrose - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#182936) #
I understand that Thomas "could" get it going.  But even last year after he started hitting reasonably well he padded his stats against LHP and didn't hit particularly well against RHP.  I just don't think that there's any good argument for having Thomas bat in a critical spot of the order while the Jays wait until he hopefully comes around

Well this debate is being followed on another blog in Blue Jay  country. "Winerites"  Absolutely a brilliant phrase. The best I've heard since Matthew E coined the term "Ricciardista"
Rob - Friday, April 18 2008 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#182938) #
Dave Cameron has the best line I've seen about the Longoria signing:

Longoria now has more guaranteed years of pay than hits in the big leagues.

Regardless of his lack of experience, it a smart move by the Rays, and there's something I don't think I've said before. This and the Shields signing are good for the team, if not for the players' wallets.
TDIB 18 April 2008 | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.