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The Jays are off to their best start in eight years after ruining the Indians home opener with a 13-7 win Friday night at Progressive Energy Field.

Heading into this series, the Jays had dropped 15 of their last 17 games to the Tribe.  That's what The Score Ticker told me when I was having lunch with the missus at East Side Mario's in Barrie.  We were greeted by this very attractive hostess.  I had the Mariboli Wrap which was quite good!  Also enjoyed a Caesar salad.  The missus was happy we were sitting near a Vancouver Canucks pennant.  I thought it looked like a pissed off whale and that Mats Sundin looked quite silly wearing it.  I think that was the real reason trophy wrecker Trevor Linden retired.  I didn't tell her this because I would've worn her meal on my new suit from Korry's Clothiers, 569 Danforth Avenue.

Scott Richmond got off to a rocky start as Travis Hafner hit a two run double in the first and followed up with a solo blast in the third to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.  The Jays fought back in the fourth when Vernon Wells singled and Adam Lind homered to left off Indians starter Scott Lewis.   Lewis still couldn't get away scot-free (this stuff just writes itself, doesn't it?) as Scott Rolen followed with a double and he was driven home by a Kevin Millar single for his first RBI as a Jay.  However, Millar tried to go to second on the play and he was tagged out.  That wouldn't be the last time he had an adventure on the basepaths but more on that later.  The next inning, the good guys grabbed the lead on Marco Scutaro's solo shot off Lewis in the fifth.  Then the rains came down and the teams had to wait out a nearly four hour rain delay.

When the game resumed, Brian Tallet was brought in for Richmond to start the fifth and he struck out the side in order.  In the top of the sixth, Lind doubled in the top of the sixth and he was brought home on a double play ball off the bat of Millar.  The Tribe got that one back when Shin-Soo "not to be confused with shihtzu" Choo took Tallet deep to cut the Jays lead to 5-4.  However, Toronto responded with two runs in the seventh on a two-run two bagger by Alex Rios.

 That lead went in the toilet after stretch time when Cleveland scored three times to tie it up at 7-7.  Victor Martinez launched a two run dinger to chase Tallet from the game.  Jesse Carlson took over and like Tallet, he walked the first batter he faced.  Carlson then got a groundball to short and it appeared the Jays would escape with a one run lead but Aaron Hill had trouble getting the throw over to first so they couldn't complete the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.  Carlson wound up walking another hitter and Brandon League's control deserted him like Billy Bob Thornton's musical talent.  League walked the first man he faced and plunked Ben Francisco in the posterior to force in the tying run.

The Jays would take the lead for good in the eighth when they got a huge break.  Rolen led off with a single and Millar hit a grounder deep to short.  A diving Jhonny Peralta got to the ball but couldn't get it in time to second for the forceout.  Asdrubal Cabrera had a chance to cowboy up and throw over to first to get Millar because he had stumbled out of the batter's box.  Instead, Ryan Garko couldn't hang on to Cabrera's short hop throw to first and Millar, in spite of himself, was safe.  A beautiful sac bunt by Jose Bautista moved the runners up and Michael Barrett was given an intentional pass.  Scutaro then followed with a bloop single to score Rolen and pinch-runner John McDonald.  Rios and Lind went on to smack a two-run double each to complete the six run uprising.

Shawn Camp finished up with two shutout innings, allowing just one walk while striking out two.  He also got three groundball outs.  However, the victory went to League who got the win to improve to 1-0.   Richmond gave up three runs on five hits and two walks over four innings.  He did strike out four but his groundout/flyout mark was 2-6.

The Jays had four RBI and three hit nights from Lind and Rios while Scutaro had a three hit night and scored three times.  Everyone had a multi-hit against except for Barrett and Bautista but Barrett did get an intentional walk and Bautista contributed with a sac bunt and a nice running grab on a liner to left to end the seventh.  In all, they collected 17 hits and were 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position.  Lots of candidates for the Batter's Box Jay of the Game but let's go with Marco Scutaro because he had the winning RBI.

This afternoon, it's a showdown between the Cy Young award winner of 2008 and the runner-up.  It's Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay at 1:05 p.m. EDT at the Field formerly known as Jacobs.


In other TDIB notes....

*  In the game of the day - the Brewers rallied to beat the Cubs 4-3 in their home opener at Miller Park.  Rickie Weeks scored the winning touchdown, er, run!  

 *  In the emotional game of the night, Angels beat the BoSox 6-3 in their first game after the Nick Adenhart tragedy, in which charges have been laid.

*  The second place Orioles, trailing your Toronto Blue Jays by a half-a-game in the AL East, holds off Tampa 5-4 at Camden Yards

*  Yankees won again unfortunately, beating the Royals 4-1.  KC gets more bad news as Jose Guillen goes on the DL.

*  Tigers destroy the Rangers 15-2 at Comerica Park

*  Rockies drill the Phils 10-3 at Coors Field.

*  Other winners were the Twins, M's, Marlins, Braves, Cards, Snakes, and Friars.  Pittsburgh and Cincy were postponed due to rain.

*  Your schedule and probable starters for today.


A Good Friday For Lind, Rios & "Scoo-Scoo" Scutaro! | 38 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Nolan - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#198174) #
Barrett did get an international walk

This has to be one of the more enjoyable spell checker corrections I've seen. 

On another note, this team has been quite encouraging so far.  I've given up hope each time they've been down more than three runs, but the team has fought back two of the three instances.  If I recall correctly, the Jays didn't have a come from behind - like they did against the Tigers - until June or July last year.
scottt - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#198175) #
Feels good to read about "the Blue Jays' potent lineup" in the Associated Press preview.

Maldoff - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#198176) #
I watched the game yesterday until the rain-out hit. The biggest thing that jumped at me is that Richmond was throwing "biscuits" all day. His missed up and over the plate a lot, and his pitches didn't seem to have much movement. A lot of the outs he got were one hard hit balls, but just at the fielders. He is the type of pitcher, like Josh Towers, who will need to be bailed out by his offense quite frequently to be successful.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#198178) #
The 4-1 start hides two major lapses in judgement by Cito.  The first is having a reliever pitch more than two innings this early in the seaon.  You must let your long relievers work up to it, when they can and when you can.  The second, a lot of people are commenting on.  Give a struggling closer a game or two in a no-risk game - Litsch's start or Richmond's start.  Let him get comfortable with his stuff.  I realize Cito had 5 innings to fill, just choose better.
Gerry - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#198179) #
Richmond had difficulties early in the game in throwing anything but his fastball for strikes.  Richmond's fastball is not good enough to let him be successful without mixing his pitches.  Richmond's slider looked good to me and he has a big breaking curve ball but he needs to be able to throw them all for strikes.  If Richmond can get his other pitches working he can get by.
92-93 - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#198180) #
Precisely Gerry. Once Richmond was able to throw the off-speed stuff for strikes he was a little more successful. If he's living off his fastball he doesn't stand a chance because it lacks life and is straight as an arrow. He's a nice arm to have in your organization as a 6th-8th starter, and with our defense may be able to get by with respectability, but I really look forward to when that 5th spot is also filled with someone with potential like #s 2-4.
jmoney - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#198181) #
Seems these days whenever I see B.J. pitch he's terrible. I think its time to stick a fork in him.
China fan - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#198182) #
It's the ultimate humiliation for BJ Ryan:  replaced by Jason Frasor with two out in the 9th.    I assume this is the end of Ryan's closer career.
LouisvilleJayFan - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#198183) #
It's time for them to tell B.J., "Viva, Las Vegas!" for a while.

China fan - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#198184) #

Ladies and gentlemen, your league-leading Toronto Blue Jays.  

westcoast dude - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#198185) #
Well, at least Ryan wasn't credited with the win, this time. if Ryan was in denial about how bad his stuff was before, there can be no doubt now. Jason Frasor was the closer before Ryan, I hope Cito sees the wisdom of making him closer again.
NDG - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#198186) #
I'm sure everyone who watched the ninth will agree. BJ was horrible. Not at all unlucky (actually quite lucky as he got two outs out of the one ball not hit well).

Nothing was near the plate unless it was right over the middle with no movement (and at 89 mph). While making decisions on one outing is usually a bad idea, if you watched this inning I don't know how you can allow Ryan to pitch in any close games until he figures out what he's doing.
C Snoy - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#198187) #
I'd trade him for a piece of bubble gum. Frasor and Accardo can share work
Gerry - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#198188) #
This could be a very difficult situation for the Jays.  If BJ is willing to go to Las Vegas and work on his arm and his pitches things might work out OK.  But if he wants to stay in the major leagues he might have to go on the DL or have his role changed to long relief.  That could be very stressful for the team.
OBG - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#198189) #
It's getting to the point where I basically can't watch The Beej pitch... where have you gone, Darren Hall? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
electric carrot - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#198190) #
This season so far is making me realize just how difficult it was to be a fan of the jays last year where they would  lose so many 1 run games and hit into so many inning killer double plays.  Not sure if it's true but it felt like they were really unlucky a lot.  This team is far more charismatic but also so far seems to get lucky too.  Like how about Millar scoring only after Martinez failed to hold onto the ball in what was otherwise a bone-headed play by the jays.  (did anyone notice if Millar was waved on that play?)

China fan - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#198192) #
I actually have confidence that Cito possesses the toughness to handle the Ryan situation.  He has been clearly nudging Ryan out of the closer role anyway.  In six games, he has given Ryan only two appearances.  That's fewer appearances than Downs, League, Carlson or Tallet -- and the same number of appearances as Frasor and Camp.   In fact, Cito has commented publicly that the closer role would sometimes be given to other Jays, since Ryan still won't be allowed to pitch back-to-back games this year (which was supposed to be just a temporary injury-recovery rule in 2008).    Even in today's game, he allowed Ryan to stay in the game as long as it was 5-1, but he yanked Ryan as soon as it became a close game.  I really don't think Cito will allow this situation to fester much longer.
andrewkw - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#198193) #
I think Ryan has sucked as much as the next guy, but what are the alternatives other then letting him work out of it?  Eating 20 million dollars?  I don't think you want to keep him around as a 10 million dollar loogy when Carlson can do it for 400k.  If you count spring he's been bad for 2 months.  I think they're going to have to keep riding him out at least for a little while longer.  Unless of course he's willing to go to the minors.  He's only good for one inning they apparently don't want to throw him back to back days so pretty useless as a mop up man.  You don't want him coming in with runners on base as a middle reliever and they already have the already mentioned Carlson as a specialist.
scottt - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#198194) #
Once again only 1 left bat in the lineup  and once again it paid off.

Ryan got the no pressure save everybody wanted and now there is a problem.

I'd take Wolfe over Ryan right now. I'm just glad Halladay got the win.

CeeBee - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#198195) #
So is the headline on the Jays wrapup tomorrow going to be "Saving Private Ryan"?
slitheringslider - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#198196) #
I don't think stuff is an issue, his fastball and slider looks the same at least on gameday as it did before. But his command is horrible. His delivery looks off. Not that he ever represented textbook perfection with his delivery, but his delivery looks even more awkward and off balance than normal. If it is a mechanical issue, hopefully Arnsberg can help him work through it. In the meantime, lets put Downs in the closer spot (I have personal interest vested into this cause I drafted downs as an insurance:)
brent - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#198197) #
If this team is legit, should the Jays drop some money now on Pedro? I think it might be handier than having to trade for an arm later. It would take him a little while to get ready, but having an extra veteran arm might make a big difference later.
Mike Green - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#198198) #
After 5 days, you'd have to say that the lengthy time off for Aaron Hill may have been just the ticket.  I acknowledge a bias here; I've been a big fan of Hill's since the day he was drafted.
Magpie - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#198199) #
I don't think stuff is an issue, his fastball and slider looks the same at least on gameday as it did before. But his command is horrible.

I think this is absolutely correct (I was watching on the television myself.) And despite his bravado (which is something of a job requirement) I think he's having some confidence issues as well. He looks like he's aiming the ball, which generally never works.
Magpie - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#198200) #
If this team is legit, should the Jays drop some money now on Pedro?

If? If? Oh ye of little faith! Trust me on this.

And, sadly, no thanks on Pedro. I rather think he'd be well advised to stay in the Other League.
ANationalAcrobat - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#198201) #
Damn the Royals for starting Sir Sydney and Horacio Ramirez against the Yankees.
christaylor - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#198202) #
I don't think Ryan stuff is as I remember it at all; not only is the velocity not there but the movement is gone. Not only is he aiming as Magpie points out, the "violence" from his delivery is gone, for good or for ill. I know people have blamed his arm issues on his former motion, but I think a video comparison would show major differences in the 2009 Ryan and the 2006 Ryan -- I know it is a tough sell going back to something thought to have caused arm issues, but if it worked, it worked. As it stands I want him no where near high-leverage innings.
brent - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#198203) #
The Jays have already secured the series win on the road. It really takes the pressure off for the next game. I'm sure Cleveland will be pressing. Does anyone know a site where it can figure out predicted wins for the season that changes after each game played?
Ski - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#198204) #
Does anyone know a site where it can figure out predicted wins for the season that changes after each game played? is my favorite....
Mylegacy - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#198205) #
Think about this - we're 5 and 1, we've got Roy and the Gang That Can't Shoot Straight for starters, we've got half the offense hitting .500 or near to - and we're beefing about Ryan. Enjoy the 5 - 1 record. Ryan appears to be our ONLY problem...we're in first guys...FIRST!!! ENJOY!!!
John Northey - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#198206) #
Don't forget, Cito is the guy who took Tom Henke out of close situtations back in the early 90's for awhile, who had very public arguments with David Wells on the mound, and so on.  He has no fear of players or ruffling feathers if he feels it is needed.  If Ryan isn't the guy for closing games (and right now he isn't) then Cito will not hesitate to use Frasor or whoever is ready, willing, and able.
VBF - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#198208) #
the "violence" from his delivery is gone, for good or for ill.

Perhaps this is intentional. His previous violent delivery would certainly have caused injury again, and probably more serious. A change in delivery would certainly yield a temporary loss of control and even speed until the kinks had been worked out.

BJ Ryan aside from the Inge AB, looked quite good on Tuesday. In Spring Training he was consistently pitching high, and slow. I think he has improved since then. If the problem is not something that can be worked out, I really don't see the point of him going to Dunedin where he's not going to be facing any hitters anyways.

The bullpen is good. Put him in low leverage late inning situations that are close to a save situation and in a worst case scenario, you have a pretty decent reliever you can go to and get the job done.

As for anyone saying that his career as a closer is done...well that's crap. So was Lidge's.
greenfrog - Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#198209) #
"The bullpen is good. Put him in low leverage late inning situations that are close to a save situation and in a worst case scenario, you have a pretty decent reliever you can go to and get the job done."

This is sensible, although it could be difficult to implement in practice. For example, let's say the Jays are heading into the 9th leading 4-1 against Boston or New York. Who do you bring in? BJ? Downs? Frasor? Bullpen by committee? (I actually think the latter could work out OK, given the strength of the team's 'pen.) If he goes with Ryan, and he issues walks to the first two batters, does Cito automatically crank up the pen, or live and die with the Beej? One advantage to having a rock-solid closer like Lidge is that you don't have to think about this stuff. Save situation? You just go to your closer. Things are more complicated for the Jays at the moment.

Ultimately, I think the ideal approach is to use your best relievers in the most important situations. I think it's fair to see how things with BJ play out, but if he continues to struggle, Cito will definitely have to make some adjustments. Personally, I would try to insert BJ in nonsave situations for a while (say, with a 4+ run lead) to see how his stuff and control shape up.
brent - Sunday, April 12 2009 @ 01:22 AM EDT (#198210) #
Thanks, Ski. Here it is for everyone.
Dave Till - Sunday, April 12 2009 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#198212) #
It's way too early to give up on Ryan yet. It's only been two outings. If he's got his velocity back, hopefully he will get his control back too.

Besides, when the hitters are pounding out seven runs a game, who needs a closer?

Mike Green - Sunday, April 12 2009 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#198213) #
Ah, pitchers.  They'll drive you nuts.  If someone had suggested in 2006 that Scott Downs would be a better pitcher in 2009 than B.J. Ryan, he/she would have been laughed out of the room.   That is the way it has turned out.  Nonetheless, it may be that Ryan can still contribute some value assuming that he can return to the 2008 level of performance.  The ideal situation for him is working the save situations, but with a lower leverage than Downs and League.  That may be realistically impossible.  The mythology of the closer leads to sub-optimal efficiency. 

Yesterday's outing was in a non-save situation, to give Ryan work.   Managers earn their pay by finessing situations like this one. 

Flex - Sunday, April 12 2009 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#198216) #
I haven't looked at coolstandings before. What does it tell us that the Jays have a 57.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, best in the league, yet Seattle at 4-2 has a 20% chance, and Baltimore at 4-1 has only an 8.3 % chance.

What I'm asking is, is this a purely mathematical assessment of current performance, or are they making subjective judgments using past performance as well?
ANationalAcrobat - Sunday, April 12 2009 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#198219) #
Here is a PECOTA adjusted playoff odds chart. As I recall, PECOTA is extremely pessimistic with regard to the Jays' offense.
A Good Friday For Lind, Rios & "Scoo-Scoo" Scutaro! | 38 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.