Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
It all started like this. Aaron writes a fabulous baseball blog. He slices and dices major league players, and sometimes minor league coverage of major leaguers by the fifth estate. He rates prospects. And he loves Joe Mauer, not in a Jessica Alba kind of way, but just the same. And me, I'm a casual observer of baseball, with a special interest in the Jay minor league system.
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In his two-year career with the Blue Jays, he's 17-5, with an ERA comfortably in the low 4.00s. He has, at times, been the team's most reliable starter this year, at a fraction of the price of his rotation mates. So why not pencil in Josh Towers right now for the 4th spot in the Blue Jays rotation next year? Possibly because Josh, who takes the mound tonight as the Jays try to win this series against Boston, is actually pitching pretty close to the edge.
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Reader Brian W has some excellent thoughts and research on Canada's preponderance of lefthanded hitting talent.
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Reader Kieran Roy would like the readers' input on a new relief statistic. Take it away, Kieran!

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Words are hard to find
The only cheques I've left unsigned
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A stirring, dramatic 1-0 win for Australia versus Japan in the other semifinal (I watched much of the first seven innings on TV before leaving for work; Chris Oxspring was marvelous) sets up Canada's semifinal against Cuba, who beat Canada 5-2 in round-robin play (after losing to Canada 9-1 in the pre-Olympic warmup tournament in Italy two weeks ago).

Shawn Hill will get the start for Canada. Canada will have to beat tough Cuban lefty Adiel Palma. In the Olympic qualifying tournament last year, Palma ran through Canada's lefty-dominated lineup like a hot knife through butter. He pitched seven innings of three-hit ball in pool play, then eight innings of a two-hit shutout in the final. Canada has been in tough against lefties so far; they have a very tough road ahead of them. Palma's your typical veteran lefty -- everything he throws has lots of movement. His out pitch is a curve and he also throws a tailing fastball and a diving forkball, and his prototypically Cuban mechanics allow him to come from unexpected and ever-changing arm angles.
John Gibbons benched Orlando Hudson against knuckler Tim Wakefield last week in Boston, fearing that the flutterball would mess up the O-Dog's timing and halt his hitting streak. No such fears tonight, as Hudson bats second against Wakefield while the Jays try to continue their sudden run of success against the AL East. Miguel Batista won't have his A-game defence behind him, as Vernon Wells sits down to rest his ailing calf muscle. Reed Johnson plays center, and Gabe Gross takes over in left; that's still a better outfield than many previous alignments this season in which the name "Berg" appeared. Frank Menechino slides into the DH position and the 5th spot; against Wakefield, the more veteran hitters the better. Chris Gomez picks up what has become a rare start at shortstop.
A cornered Moscow Rat fought off the Toronto Walrus for a victory, but the 6-5-1 margin couldn’t propel him any higher in the standings. The Rats remain outside the consolation bracket, hungrily eyeing the Shore Birds and Magicians just ahead of him. The Walrus still holds first but lost ground on his three closest opponents, all of whom had decisive victories.
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bird droppings dropped a tantalizing hint that he and the mighty O-Drum would make an appearance in the Boston series. What better time to fire up the troops with some noise than right after a road trip sweep of the Orioles?
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Last Thursday night, plate umpire Joe West called an illegal pitch (and consequently ball four) on a 3-2 pitch from Pirates starter Oliver Perez to Reggie Sanders of the Cardinals, leading off the second inning. Lloyd McClendon did his Interminable Argument Dance, even though Perez and the bench had earlier been warned about the illegal delivery. The Pirates played the rest of the game under protest; they won 3-2, making the protest moot. The aftereffects of the call, though, remain.
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Spineless movement
And a wild attack
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They've tantalized us before, these Blue Jays have. Mired in the depths of a very disappointing season, from time to time they've stood up to reel off several wins in a row, making their fans think that the slump is over and the real Fighting Jays are about to emerge. Alas, opposition sweeps and losing streaks have invariably followed instead, until it became clear to even the most ardent fans that this isn't just a bad stretch or series of stretches, it's a bad season from what has been, on balance, a pretty bad team. So is there any reason to think that the current winning streak will be any different?
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Two nights of double digit scoring does wonders for the soul. 4th place is now within striking distance.
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me
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And I'm still standing here, and you're miles away
And I'm wonderin' why you left
And there's a storm that's raging through my frozen heart tonight

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