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Jays shut down by Armando Galarrage!?!

It seemed like just a week ago that I was wrote about the Jays having little success against inexperienced pitchers.

TDIB 22 April 2008: Groundhog Day | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
katman - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 02:04 AM EDT (#183229) #

The problems are deeper than young starters. Another bad day for Shannon Stewart, now hitting .211 with a .263 SLG. He's either going to turn this up several notches, or I don't see him finishing the year with this team. I had worried about this, but didn't think it would be this bad. Scutaro under .200 isn't helpful either - if Inglett keeps hitting, it will create the need for another decision because even a backup needs to produce more than that.

Nice to see 2 hits from Overbay tonight, but it's at the point where either Adam Lind comes up and produces, or we're in serious trouble this season. That's a bad place to be.

I really wish we had kept Reed. We could have Inglett filling in at 3rd while Scutaro sat, Reed in left, and Lind getting primed to start getting playing time beside Reed, with either one available as DHs if Stairs sits or his injury flares.

Da Box had talked about the importance of depth. Da Box was right.
Anders - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 02:41 AM EDT (#183230) #
Funny story from today's game which I happened to catch by accident from some first hand observation.

During the 6th when Clay Rapada got pulled in favour of Aquilino Lopez, Maggio decides to go sit in the Tigers bullpen in right while Lopez warms up. The guy who shuts the door closes it with Maggs inside, and Maggs has to come back out when play resumes. Anyway, the inning ends, and Tigers come up to bat. Second or third guy up, I think it was Cabrera, hits a long lined shot to the wall in right field, and Inglett makes a nice running catch in front of the door to the Tigers bullpen... and pushes open the door.  He had kind of pulled up as he was getting there so he didnt hit it full on and it only swung open by about a foot or so, but he was a little startled to be sure. One of the staff inside made sure it was shut after that, but that's something I haven't seen before.

John Northey - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#183233) #
Oy vey.  Just saw on the Star an article title of "Bonds wouldn't cure what ails the Jays' with the first line shown going " It's amazing. The Jays just dumped Frank Thomas, a future hall of fame hitter..." and I went 'what the?!?!?' wondering if the Jays actually went out and signed him or if they were in talks with Bonds.

Then I read it.  Sigh.  Another Richard Griffen article based on (this time) blogs.  He said there is a 'groundswell' of fans wanting the Jays to sign Bonds.  He then goes on to say how Bonds was with teams that won just 73 wins a year for the past 3 years (yeah, it was Bonds, not the pure crap in the other 7 hitter slots in the order) and that "
Thomas is a better human being and younger than Bonds".  Better human being?  Based on what, ability to say 'yes' to an interview?

What is sad is that there is a statement to be made about the Jays timing with Thomas, their mistake in not having a ready backup in LF (more due to Stewart being hurt and Lind being hurt at AAA) and in if Bonds would or would not be a good signing right now.  But Griffen just can't write anymore it seems.  Sad really, that a major newspaper has to rely on rumours that aren't even MLB ones but fan based ones now to get readers.
greenfrog - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 08:19 AM EDT (#183234) #
IMO the problem isn't that the Jays aren't playing well. The problem--both defensive and offensive--is that 5/9 of the lineup consists of Eckstein, Stewart, Zaun, Scutaro and Inglett. The Jays were actually lucky to split the four-game series with the Tigers, who were without two of their best players (Placido Polanco and Curtis Granderson).

Shane - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#183235) #

The problem--both defensive and offensive--is that 5/9 of the lineup consists of Eckstein, Stewart, Zaun, Scutaro and Inglett.

...And Overbay, who has hit for zero power all season. Very thankfully, he's been walking at a great clip, so he's on base a lot.. Eckstein stats wise is looking better now, hiting 270/357/351. It's not very pretty or authoritative to watch him swing the bat, but I guess he doing what he has always done. Stewart's been practically useless. Zaun seems to be coming around the last week or so, so hopefully he's finally into the groove.

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#183236) #
Yesterday's lineup was the result of inopportune timing, and sub-optimal bench planning. When Rolen returns and Lind arrives, the bench ought to be reconfigured.  Having Stairs as your DH against left-handed pitching is not ideal, while Scutaro and McDonald split time as reserves and you have a 12 man staff.
jmoney - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#183239) #
This team just isn't gelling. Its the sort of thing that coaches get fired for whether its their fault or not.

Unfortunately, by the time Jays get it together. Boston will have run away with the division.

Jdog - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#183244) #
I dont understand giving Wells and Rios each a day off this early in the season. Right now without Rolen and without a decent LF there should be no reason to sit Vernon or Rios. If you dont want them to play 162 games, wait at least until Rolen and Lind get going before you give one of our top players a day off.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#183245) #
I wouldn't worry too much yet.  I figured April and May would be tough on the Jays with the rare off days and it has been.  Didn't see Inglett and Scutaro starting regular though (gulp) and Stewart hitting at the Mendoza line and Thomas being released with a 75 OPS+.

Still, the Wild Card lead is held by either Oakland or LAA depending on tie breakers for division lead with the Jays just 2 games back and just 3 1/2 behind Boston in a tie with the Yankees.  The Jays still have the lowest number of runs allowed in the AL East and only Boston has outscored them (plus Tampa if you go on a per game basis).  The Jays run difference is +14 which is better than all the other AL East teams and beats all but the surprising ChiSox and A's (who'd have thunk?) in the AL.

Given we have yet to see our starting third baseman, have just 3 IP out of our closer and a 9 ERA out of our backup closer, a 75 OPS+ from our DH, a 63 OPS+ from our primary LF (Stewart), and a 68 from Scutaro at third things could be a lot worse.

Of course, we know Inglett won't stay as a 138 OPS+ guy, Jesse Carlson won't have a 371 ERA+ at seasons end, and odds are we won't have 3 guys in the rotation with a 120+ ERA+ (Halladay/McGowan/Marcum).  Still, this is a good start without too many going nuts either hitting or pitching while a few went right into the toilet.  I look forward to Lind in LF, Stairs as DH, and praying few left handers show up at the park to pitch against the Jays :)
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#183250) #
John, I agree with your post's general theme, but am going to build on a couple of items.

Still, the Wild Card lead is held by either Oakland or LAA depending on tie breakers for division lead with the Jays just 2 games back and just 3 1/2 behind Boston in a tie with the Yankees.

I look at things slightly differently, but it comes to a similar conclusion.  As you spend the most of your post on, I think the most important thing is the team's performance, which in the aggregate has been solid. 

However, instead of standings, at this stage, I look at how the team tracks to 95 wins.  That's likely what it'll take for a playoff spot in the AL East, and I think it's a more relevant target than trailing / leading.  To track to 95, I watch how the team performs in 17-game chunks throughout the season.  If you win 10 games of every 17 that sets you up for making getting 95 (while an awkward size, it's the closest reasonably-sized fraction I've found to a 95-win pace).  We missed our first 17 game portion (8-9) and our 2 games back of that pace right now.

While it seems early in the season, you've only got 9 of those 17 game stretches in a season, so if you fall behind a few games, it really puts the onus on a team putting some big runs together - and 11-6 or 12-5 runs are what are required to counterbalance 8-9's.  The Jays have never seemed to be a team that's good at getting those runs, so I don't think we can afford too many more "unlucky" 8-9's.

and odds are we won't have 3 guys in the rotation with a 120+ ERA+ (Halladay/McGowan/Marcum)

I'll be more optimistic here - we had 3 with 117+ last year (Halladay, Burnett, and Litsch) and aside from Litsch, the peripherals weren't too out of line with those results.  I think this year, you'll have Halladay, Burnett, and McGowan put up ratios that are close to a 120+ ERA+ and with that it won't take much luck (and our solid defense) for some combination of 3 of our 5 starters to at least be very close to 120 or higher.
jgadfly - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#183253) #
Jdog... "I dont understand giving Wells ... a day off" ... I too was wondering why they would give Wells the day off ... after releasing Thomas because of the proverbial "lack of bat" the previous day, Gibbons then sits his "best bat" against a team which they will possibly be fighting for the wild card and using Stewart with the sore groin to replace him in the lineup... I just don't get it unless Stewart and Inglett were auditioning for the RH DH/ backup OF position which doesn't make sense either... will someone hide the panic button and give Gibby some of Purcey's Ridalin?
uglyone - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#183256) #

I think the hitting "woes" are a tad overstated. I mean, after all, we're 2nd in OBP by a healthy margin so far (.360), and we've been bouncing around the 3-5th spots in Run producing since the start of the year.  Obviously, we've had a disturbing power shortage so far, but we've made up for that in some ways.

Both Zaun and Overbay seem to be picking it up, and their overall performances so far (in the .725ish ops range) have upgraded them a clear notch over "black hole" status, IMO.  In fact, with Zaun and Barajas combining for closer to .750ish ops for the catcher position, that's actually pretty decent from that slot.

The only two black holes in the lineup right now are Stewart and Scutaro - and hopefully one of them is replaced in the shortterm by the hot Inglett, and in the mid-to-longterm by Rolen and Lind. Or maybe we should just expect Stewart and Scutaro to come out of these slumps fairly soon and revert back to their career norms.

The pitching seems to be escaping criticism so far, despite similarly mediocre results as the offense.

It's not like the pitching is bailing out the team at all - we're 0-5 when scoring less than 3 runs, and 2-8 when scoring less than 5 runs.




Thomas - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#183259) #
However, instead of standings, at this stage, I look at how the team tracks to 95 wins.

Exactly. That's a great point. With New York and Boston to contend with (along with Cleveland and Detroit, who are both good enough to go on a 10-2 run and erase their bad start), I'd be surprised if the division winner didn't have at least 95 wins and if the Wild Card was not just behind him. In fact, since 2001 the AL East winner and Wild Card have had under 95 wins once. That was the Yankees last year with 94 wins. The other 13 of those 14 teams had at least 95 wins and often had more. It's only worth talking about how far ahead/behind the team is from their competitors in August and September.

For the Jays the target has to be 95 wins. If they finish with 90 wins and in second place in the division it won't matter, because there will be another team occupying the Wild Card spot in the American League.

dan gordon - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#183269) #

I would presume that the lineup vs RHP is going to be Lind, Wells and Rios in the OF, Rolen, Eckstein, Hill and Overbay in the INF, Zaun catching and Stairs DH'ing.  Against LHP, put Stewart in for Stairs, and if you want to platoon Lind, you can use Scutaro as DH and put Stewart in LF.  Is that a good enough lineup to put up enough runs?  I think it is if Rolen is healthy and hits roughly like he did in 2006.  It would certainly help if Overbay started hitting with some power, like in 2006, (I think he will), and if Lind can hit significantly better than he did in 2007.  Burnett needs to pitch better, Ryan needs to stay healthy and be good and it would be a big plus if Accardo can find his 2007 form, or some reasonable facsimile.  Lots of variables.  To early to reach any conclusions yet. 

Pistol - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#183272) #
(while an awkward size, it's the closest reasonably-sized fraction I've found to a 95-win pace)

Winning 6 out of every 10 gets you to 97 wins.  And most standings show the team's record in their last 10 games.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#183273) #
Marco Scutaro as DH against LHP? Hmm.  I really wish that they'd stuck with a bench of Johnson, McDonald, Inglett and Barajas. 

Chuck - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#183274) #
Scutaro as DH smacks too much of Menechino as DH. That type of thing doesn't scream out "take us seriously as a competitive team." Kind of like Dave Berg as a LF. Or Scutaro. Or Inglett.
timpinder - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#183277) #
In my opinion, if the Jays are going to have a platoon DH situation they should get a player who specializes in hitting LHP to compliment Stairs.  Craig Wilson is available and would come very cheap.  Once Rolen and Lind are up, then McDonald, Barajas and Scutaro (4th outfielder) could man the bench, along with one of Stairs or Wilson.  The Jays may be hesitant to release Stewart, though, especially after the Thomas situation.
China fan - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#183280) #

    Chuck and Mike, I don't quite understand the jabs at Scutaro.  The guy was signed as a back-up infielder, so it's not really fair to complain about his inadequacies as a DH or LF.   If you're complaining about the roster construction of the Jays, can you specify what exactly the team should have done differently?  Scutaro and Inglett have been inserted temporarily at LF because Thomas was released and Stairs had to shift to DH at a time when Lind is injured.   That's not entirely the fault of the Jays management.  Nobody expected that Thomas would fall off the cliff this year.  They tried to bench him, he refused, and the team had to release him before Lind was ready.  Not entirely the team's fault.

    Perhaps you're saying that the team should have built a different roster in the offseason.  But what exactly did they do wrong?  They had to choose between Johnson and Stewart, and most people thought that Stewart was the better offensive player.   Are you completely convinced that Johnson was the right guy to keep, based on his early season performance in a weaker league where his skills are a more natural fit?    The Jays had Lind ready and waiting in the minors as the next outfielder, but he happened to be injured when Thomas was released.  So when Scutaro and Inglett are pressed into duty in LF, isn't this the inevitable result of injuries and bad timing, rather than some terrible strategic mistake by the Jays?   If I'm wrong, please specify what the Jays should have done differently in the off-season to prevent this from happening.

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#183281) #
I was responding to  dangordon's suggestion of Scutaro as a possible RH part of a DH platoon.  My complaint about the Scutaro signing was that he basically duplicates McDonald's role as a right-handed utility infielder.  There is nothing wrong with him as a player, and with an 11 man pitching staff, this team might be able to carry both McDonald and Scutaro. 

At the same time, the club will either have to allow Lind or Stairs face lefties (perhaps on a rotational basis) or else acquire someone other than Scutaro to be the right-handed part of LF and DH platoons. Where is Cliff Johnson when you need him?

MatO - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#183283) #
The ideal guy for a RH DH platoon is Robinzon Diaz who has murdered lefties the last 2 years in the minors.  Besides backing up at catcher he can also play a bit of 3rd and 1st in a pinch (he's done it in the minors), but they've signed both Scutaro and MacDonald for a couple of years so they're no likely to release one of them.
Geoff - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#183286) #
Nobody expected that Thomas would fall off the cliff this year.  They tried to bench him, he refused, and the team had to release him before Lind was ready.  Not entirely the team's fault.

Say what? Thomas wasn't expected to struggle to hit .200 for the first couple of months?

First, it was pretty clear to me at the start of the season that the Jays might not want to award Frank his vesting option for $10M. He was doomed to lose regular playing time if he wasn't producing like an everyday DH and that there wouldn't be a conspiracy to reduce his playing time. I had, and still do, hope that the Jays might pick up Dmitri Young. He's no Barry Bonds (which is good or bad news depending on your perspective) and he can produce as well as any current candidates. But Frank was doomed not to get his at bats.

Second, if Thomas is struggling to hit the Mendoza line through April and May, there's no excuse to bat him in the lineup at all. He might as well take a Roger Clemens hiatus and come play in June. I said that weeks ago and I still think it would have been the only approach to save Frank's season. Come get warmed up in Dunedin in late May. Work on some physical conditioning and don't worry about the daily wear of playing ball. Save yourself for the long haul. It didn't look like he would help the team if he had his historic bad start and he wasn't helping. Another Johnny Mac would have been as useful in the lineup as Thomas was proving himself to be.

But of course not many guys will get $10M for half a season's work.

Even fewer get as much as Frank got for a few weeks' work this year.

If there was any surprise or fault  to management's sake it was how volatile Frank became when told he wasn't going to play everyday. Frank fired back hard and fast against being a bench player and maybe some assumed he would accept a diminished role more meekly.

If I am surprised by anything since the start of the year, it's that the Jays no longer have the services of Thomas and Johnson and have nothing to show for it in return. If the consolation prize is more at bats by Barajas and Scutaro, I'm going to be sick.

TDIB 22 April 2008: Groundhog Day | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.