Monday, April 30, 2007

King of the Hill

How good was Aaron Hill this April? Take a look at the stats to see where he ranks among AL second basemen:
  1. 1st in hits (29)

  2. 3rd in RBIs (17)

  3. 2nd in runs (16)

  4. 3rd in home runs (5)

  5. 4th in batting average (.312)

  6. 1st in doubles (5)
Update: Yesterday Aaron Hill was named co-winner (along with Roy Halladay) of the Player of the Month Award for the Jays.

So long, April

With tonight's Halladay masterpiece (ho-hum), Jays finish the month of April 13-12, in second in the AL East, 3.5 games back. Which, all things considered - lost closer, lost leadoff hitter, manager who has occasionally lost his mind - isn't all bad.

Another One Bites The Dust

Sportsnet reported tonight that Gustavo "The Machine" Chacin has been placed on the 15 day disabled list and will miss his next start in Cleveland. Thank god Josh Towers will be well rested to take his place. Now there's a guy that deserves an injury.

UPDATE: According to the Toronto Star, Towers will not be Chacin's replacement. Dustin McGowan is a possibility and was called up yesterday. But nobody's saying nuttin.

Jays Win! Jays Win! Jays Win!

What a performance by Leroy "Doc" Halladay tonight! After giving up a run in the first inning, Halladay got downright nasty striking out 8 Rangers while allowing only five hits and no runs. All this in just a shade over two hours. If he stays healthy, the voters will have a hard time ignoring him at Cy Young voting time.

Too bad only 19,000 people saw this game at the Rogers Centre tonight.

Free Matt Roney!

J.P. Ricciardi has gone all Judge Joe Brown on Matt Roney, insisting that his 50 game aren't punishment enough for indulging in those drugs of abuse (which according to this article include "cocaine, LSD, opiates, Ecstasy, GHB and PCP".)

"We're looking into what we can do," (Ricciardi) said. "It's hard for me to feel sorry for anybody who does something and gets caught. If you're close to being a big league player and you get involved in anything, shame on you."
OH REEEEEALLLY? Well then, Mr. J.P., can you explain why this guy deserves 50 games plus a few purple nurples and pink bellies, while a certain bespectacled "Machine" keeps getting run out to the mound every five days, in spite of blowing twice the legal blood alcohol limit while driving around Dunedin at 4 am the night before he was scheduled to start a spring training game?

And moreover, would anyone even care if Roney had done all of those drug of abuse all at once on the mound? If he could do that and still get guys out, we'd take him any day over some of the crucifix-kissing chuck-and-duckers in the Jays bullpen.

Drug of Abuse Defined

Matt Roney Update: According to Wikipedia (Michael Scott's favourite source of information), drugs of abuse as defined by Major League Baseball's drug policy includes marijuana, cocaine, ecstacy, LSD, heroin, opium, GHB, PCP, and Ephedra. No confirmation yet as to what drug is Roney's favourite.

Scratch one potential call-up off the list

The AP is reporting (see the story posted here on that Matt Roney, one of the pitchers whose praises we sang (or at least hummed) in our Armchair GM post on Saturday, has been sent away for 50 games to feel shame for testing positive "for a drug of abuse". (Which sounds like a bit of a doubletalkish way of saying a drug that's not a performance enhancer, but we certainly can't confirm that.)

Tonight's pitching matchup - Doc vs. The Enigma

There's always a bit of a sigh of relief when we look at the probable pitchers, and see Roy Halladay's name there. It seriously stunts the growth of our ulcers, if only temporarily.

Toeing the rubber for the Rangers is Vincente Padilla, an enigmatic Nicaraguan fireballer who was of some interest to the Jays late last year. Though his numbers this year leave something to be desired (0-3, 5.79 ERA, 10 Ks/16 BBs and a 1.57 WHIP), his last visit to the Centre Formerly Known as SkyDome was an impressive 7 innings of 2 hit, 2 run ball in a 5-2 Rangers win last July 18. He also struck out 10 Jays in a 9-3 win on July 5.

Halladay's lone start against Texas last year was 7 2/3 innings of scorless ball in a 3-2 victory on July 4 (a win that was almost coughed up by B.J. Ryan...remember that guy?)

They Are Circling

Despite the team's win yesterday, Jays' skipper John Gibbons has to realize that he has spilled some blood in the shark pool. We at Tao of Stieb have been calling for a mangerial change for some time, but now the mainstream press are joining in. It's not that Gibbons is a bad guy or incompetent. He suited the team in the past. It's that as of this year, JP Riccardi has put together a team good enough to compete with the best in the league. What has stopped the team this year seems to be lack of focus and purpose in games against the slugs of the league. It is the job of the manager to create that focus and motivation. It is hard to motivate your players though when you hide in your office after a tough loss.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Highlights & Lowlights From Today's Game

Jays starter Tomo Ohka threw seven strong innings today to stop the confoundedly strong Texas Rangers in their tracks. Other highlights:
  • Aaron Hill continued his strong start going 3 for 4 and driving in 2 runs.
  • Scott Downs threw a scoreless eighth inning.
  • Alex Rios' pinch hit home run.
  • The roof at Rogers Centre was open for the first time this season.
  • Jason "Should be nailed to the bench" Phillips managed to go 3 for 4 with an RBI.


  • Shawn Marcum gave up another blast in the ninth. The Jays need a legit closer.
  • Josh Towers is still on the roster.

Ohka throws cheese

What a lovely way to enjoy the first outdoor home game of the season.

A timely, outstanding outing for Ohka this afternoon. Given how deeply they had gone into their pen over the weekend, the 7 IP, 5 hit, 1 earnie outing was exactly what the Jays needed to help reset themselves.

Ohka had lots of movement on his pitches, and got ahead of the Rangers more often than not. He still walked 3 versus 2 Ks, but really, why would we want to whinge?

We'll even let Gibby's starting Matt Stairs a pass, especially since Rios cranked his fourth dinger of the season as soon as he came into the game.

By the way, does anyone know a stats service where we can find the number of inherited runs allowed? We ask because seeing everyone marvel at Scott Downs and his 0.00 ERA makes us suspicious. We've only been able to find the leaderboard on Stats Inc. Oh, and your AL leader in this category, having stranded all 12 runners he has inherited? Justin Speier. Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Armchair GM - Looking for pitching from within

Some helpful advice for J.P..

The Jays are not in a position to go get a Major League arm for either the bullpen nor the rotation, and it remains to be seen if shifting Towers to the pen and starting Zambrano will help.

With this in mind, let's take a look at who could possibly be ready this year to step in from the system.

Brian Wolfe, AAA, RHP, 26 years old - 11.0 IP, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11 Ks/3 BBs
Matt Roney, AAA, RHP, 27 years old - 10.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12 Ks/3 BBs
Jordan De Jong, AA, RHP, 28 years old - 11.2 IP, 0.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 16 Ks/5 BBs
Jo Matumoto, AA, LHP, 36 years old - 10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 8 Ks/4 BBs
Lee Gronkiewicz, AA, RHP, 28 years old - 10.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 12 Ks/2 BBs, 3 Saves
Connor Falkenbach, A, RHP. 25 years old - 9.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 8 Ks/1 BBs, 6 saves

Dustin McGowan, AAA, RHP, 25 years old - 22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 29 Ks/9 BBs
Geremi Gonzalez, AAA, RHP, 32 years old - 16.2 IP, 3.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 20 Ks/8 BBs
David Purcey, AA, LHP, 25 years old - 25.2 IP, 2.81 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 28 Ks/4 BBs
Jesse Litsch, AA, RHP, 22 years old - 17.1 IP, 1.56 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13 Ks/5 BBs
Michael MacDonald, AA, RHP, 26 years old - 24.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 10 Ks/4 BBs

Now, obviously these stats are from a very small sample size, and these numbers would not translate to major league performance. But there are clearly some arms in the Jays system that may warrant a look, especially give what has happened late in games all season long.

So what should the Jays do?
-Give a good look at
Gronkiewicz, who has closed successfully at AAA.
-Roney has MLB experience (with Oakland last year and with the 2003 Tigers), and might be a reasonable extra arm should Towers flame out.
-McGowan likely needs a few more starts at AAA, but he will need to be ready to pitch for the big club within the next 12 months, so why not now? It's not like rushing young prospect to Show, since McGowan has pitched in the bigs before, and is likely mentally ready for the challenge.
-Purcey might have to wait until next year, but should be moved to AAA soon to challenge him.

Now, we're not experts. We just know that we can't continue to watch the Jays saunter out to the mound in late innings, gas cans in hand.

Do you not WANT to win, Gibby?

Well, that's a tough one to lose.

But why, oh why, would John Gibbons wait to bring in Brian Tallet in the ninth when the Jays had two outs and a lefty coming to the plate? It seems to us that Tallet versus Wilkerson would have been a much stronger matchup.

We get that Frasor is the putative capital-C "closer"...except that everybody know that he's really just the temp. The save is really a stupid stat, and managing your bullpen to make sure that the guy with the big scarlet C on his chest gets that stat shows that Gibby isn't particularly interested in the team stat that really counts: Wins.

What a roller-coaster of a game...Lind continues to rake, making us forget all about what-his-name who started the season in left, Thomas awakens from his slumber, and all seems well at the plate.

Again...wouldn't Justin Speier have looked good in the ninth? (Not to pick old scabs...)

Tomorrow, it's Tomo Ohka (1-2, 6.23), vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-3, 9.00).

Friday, April 27, 2007

This Tower Did Fall

Josh Towers, riding a wave of positive energy, was electrifying through two innings tonight. He struck out the side to start the game and was just as effective in the next inning. But then Josh Towers circa 2006 showed up to pitch the third. Three home runs on lollipop pitches were surrendered leaving the Jays in a 5-0 hole. Those three pitches were hanging like grapes over the plate where a juice fiend like Sammy Sosa could mash. A finesse guy like Towers cannot afford to make those mistakes.

The Jays offense, kept off balance by Rangers' starter Robinson Tejeda all night, managed to narrow the gap to 5-3 by the seventh, but fell short as the Texas Rangers managed to shut them down in the eighth and ninth innings. This is an all too familiar story for the Jays. They kill the giants of the league, and fold like chairs to second tier teams like Texas. This is not the sign of a playoff team.

In terms of pitching, perhaps at this point we should have a look at Dustin McGowan or David Purcey sooner rather than later this year. Zambrano's miracle seems to have fizzled as predicted and Towers is still and extremely unpredictable.

Catch the mist, catch the myth, catch the mystery, catch the drift

The AOLSportsblog has tipped off the rest of the baseball world to what observant Jays fans have been hip to for a while: Rush lead singer and bassist extraordinaire Geddy Lee is a huge Jays fan, and he can be seen on TV in the premium seats right behind home plate at most home games.

And while we're not huge Rush fans, we'll give the man credit for staying off the goddamn phone and not waving to his friends watching at home. Also, for limiting the length of his his cheering solos to under five minutes.

It May Suck, But It's Ours

Here's a link to the Randy Newmanesque ditty by "The Batboys" that got burned in our brains in the mid 80's.

Two Sweeps* in a Row!!

Yep, the brooms were out in the Big Apple last night as the Jays took the one game series from the Yankees. We'll take what we can after the horrendous play this past weekend. In any case, here are some highlights:

- AJ Burnett! AJ Burnett! AJ Burnett! Burnett's curveball was nasty last night which meant that he could really laser in some fastballs. The result was a 4 hit 7 innings of shutout ball against the Yanks. Good on you AJ. Now, do that 20 more times.

- John Gibbons for quietly continuing to allow the Jays to be aggressive on the basepaths. Vernon Wells has done as much damage on the basepaths in the past week as he has with his bat or glove. The pressure on the Yankees defence last night was obvious.

- The bullpen combo of Jeremy Accardo and Scott Downs shut things down in the last two innings.

The lowlights:

-The umpiring in Yankee Stadium continued to be convenient for the Yanks. Even the heavily biased YES broadcast team admitted that a couple of key calls were clearly wrong. "Looked like a strike to me" Leiter was forced to admit after seeing a replay on a pitch that Burnett badly needed to stop a Yankee rally.

- Watching the YES broadcast was annoying to say the least. Al Leiter seems to have forgotten that he was a Jay at one time (when he wasn't nursing blisters for 3 years) and takes every opportunity to crap on them. He was highly critical of AJ Burnett (a former teammate in Florida) last night in ways that are unnecessary and ultimately embarrassing given the outcome.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

If You Have Rogers Digital Cable...

...the game is being carried on the sports preview channel tonight.

Sportsnet: You are forgiven

Guerre nucléaire has been averted.

We received a very thoughtful email from the folks who run the Inbox segment on Sportsnet Connected, who explained that their snub last Friday was due to the first day jitters by a new segment producer. Apparently, Ryerson ain't what it used to be.

As such, we have decided to call back the ICBMs, and lock up the launch codes. There will be peace in our time.

As a result of this new pax being struck, we had to find someone else to add to the old On Notice Board:

We have added the Devil Rays screamer, for being an annoying douchebag, for cheering for the Devil Rays, and for not updating his blog in more than a year. Heckler: You're on notice!

Rocky Mountain News Power Rankings - Jays are #1*!

The Rocky Mountain News website has a feature called Readers' MLB rankings, and looky-looky who's on top!

There are a few theories as to why the Jays (who, lets be honest, sucked last week) are ruling the roost.

a) Because of the retro logo that the RMN is using, people assumed they were voting for the 1997 Blue Jays.
b) A crazed Blue Jays fan had a lot of time on their hands
c) Someone is messing with the whole concept of the fan's rankings, and wanted to prove a point that this is a bit of a bogus exercise.

Regardless, we kinda dig the idea that the Jays are at the top of the heap. So, we encourage all of you in the Tao of Stieb Nation (TM) to spend at least 30 minutes a day voting for the Jays. Let's see if we can keep our boys in first all year!

Sal's a monster with the bases empty

Now that Sal Fasano is up with the big club, we can only hope that the Jays actually make some use of him and keep Jason Phillips nailed to the bench.

And here's a wacky stat for you: Fasano was tied for the team lead in Syracuse with 5 HRs. But every one of them was a solo shot. Fasano's RBI totals in his 12 games? 5 RBIs.

Go figure.

Cuts Like a Knife posted a story today stating that Greg Zaun underwent surgery yesterday and will be out 6-8 weeks. The Jays may use the remaining budget dollars not blown on middling pitchers Ted Lilly and Gil Meche on a MASH unit. That way they can do surgery right on the field and send the boys right back to the front line.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where are Drs. Scholls and Martin When You Need Them?

File this one under truth is stranger than fiction. It seems that Troy Glaus' foot injury was caused by wearing the proper sized shoe. According to Jays GM JP Riccardi, Glaus traditionally wears shoes that are half a size too small. This year he tried wearing his proper size and got a bone spur in his heel as a result. If the shoe fits...

Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

Jays-Yankees game was called due to rain. Sportsnet is carrying the BoSox-Orioles game in its place. Seems to be more Red Sox fans than Orioles supporters in Camden Yards tonight. We'll keep you up to date on any food/beverage hurling incidents.

Baseball Night in Canada? CBC and Jays Close to a Deal

The Globe and Mail reports today that CBC and the Jays are close to inking a deal that will see baseball return to the public broadcaster for the first time in a number of years. Now if they will only bring back those orange blazers from the 70's....

Bad news, good news on injuries

The Bad News: According to, Greg Zaun is on his way to the 15 day DL with the hand injury suffered last night.

The Good News: Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome to Toronto, Sal Fasano.

We're all about to become Sal's Pals.

In Case You Missed It...

Here are ESPN's video highlights from last night's game. (The link is dead now...but we'll always have the memories.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug

"Keep yer eyes on the bahl, Wily Mo!"

Wow. Now there's a tonic for what ails the Blue Jays fan's gullet. So where do I order my playoff tickets?

Great news pretty much all around tonight, although Zaun's early departure with the owwie on his hand is worrisome. We couldn't stomach game after game of Jason Phillips.

But how can we worry about those sorts of things when we we're still giggling about that crazy throw Manny (sort of) uncorked.

We loved watching Doc with a 7 run lead go out and mow hitters down. If he really wanted to, we're sure he could strike out 200 per year, but he's a much smarter pitcher than that.

How yah like them ahpples!: For all the abuse we heaped on Red Sox fans over the past week - and really, that was a wicked pissah of a video - let's take a second and tip our caps to all of the drunken Fitzys and Sullys for their extended version of Sweet Caroline, which continued well beyond the 7th inning stretch. A Toronto crowd would have been out of there before the Ace and the creepy Pizza Pizza mascot finished their OK Blue Jays choreography. (Actually, wouldn't that be the civilized thing to do?)

So, to recap: Jays SWEEP Boston (we don't care...we're calling it a sweep even if it is two games), Manny being Manny, Yankees lose their fifth straight...can life be this good?

Good Analysis of Recent Bad Behaviour by Red Sox Nation

Here's a good recap of the recent bad behaviour by BoSox fans by Mike Freeman at CBS Sportsline. Oh yeah, and they also reference the Tao of Stieb.

Bring the Focus Back on the Players

With all of the bad behaviour on the part of baseball fans in this blog and others recently, we thought that it was time to revisit some bad behaviour by players over the years.

I found this article containing the top ten mound charges here (including a video of our own George Bell, but not the one of the karate kick on Bruce Kison).

Check out some more nasty incidents at RBI Baseball's Hall of Shame.

Power Surge in Boston

After mailing in the series against Baltimore on the weekend, the bats came alive in Beantown last night. Frank Thomas blasted one with authority for his 3rd of the year while Aaron Hill kept up his torrid pace (when compared to last year) by hitting his fourth in 18 games. Now let us pray that this article won't jinx any potential momentum.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jays Win! All Is Forgiven!

The Jays score runs! Bullpen holds lead! It's sunshine, lollipops and group hugs! Everybody!

It took until the second turn around the lineup before it appeared as though they had a good approach in their at bats, but that can probably be written off to facing the knuckler. Once they got into the bullpen, they looked like the team that's supposed to score five or more runs per game.

I'd be sick to my stomach too...

Jeff Blair's reporting in the Globe and Mail baseball blog that Lyle Overbay will miss tonight's game because of a stomach flu.

And now that limits of your gag-threshold have been tested...Jason Phillips will play 1B tonight.

I think I'm going to watch Heroes.

Easing back away from the ledge

Cheers to those who helped to put this weekend debacle in perspective.

Neate Sager - a prince of a guy, and the overlord over at Out of Left Field - points out a few other slow starts in Blue Jays past. Most notably, the 1989 Jays, who started off 12-24, only to finish off 89-73, good enough to win the division (only to get their keysters handed to them by the Bash Brothers era Oakland A's).

And what was the turning point that season? Firing Jimy Williams.

We're just sayin'.

The Bandwagon Has a Few Openings

After a strong first two weeks of the season, there was a lot of excitement around the Jays Nest. The weekend sweep by the dysfunctional Orioles should have cleared the bandwagon and started the calls for manager John Gibbons head. Expectations are high for this team after 5 years of JP Riccardi's "plan" and two years of big spending. Rightly or wrongly, someone will have to answer if the team comes out of mid-May with a losing record. I somehow think it won't be the GM.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


That's five in a row.

The Jays vaunted offense (which, to be fair, is without Glaus and Johnson) has on seven occasions this year scored three or fewer runs. Moreover, their approach seems willy-nilly at the plate, chasing lousy pitches for weak pop-ups, and letting good pitches in hitters' counts go by without so much as the wave of a bat.

And the Jays failures on offense put the pitchers in a bad spot, because they are forced to pitch perfectly and cautiously to keep their team in the game. Meanwhile, the bullpen is without the two pitchers who were supposed to hold tight onto the back end of games. (But is there anyone aside from J.P. Ricciardi who really thought that Brandon League looked ready to assume the set-up role this year? Regardless of what sort of idiotic off-season routine he put himself through?)

John Gibbons has jerked his players up and down and all around the lineup at this point, and seems to be managing to make friends with the scrubs on his bench.

There's also lots of talk of how Frank Thomas is hitting the ball solidly, but making outs on "at 'em balls". Well, that's as may be, but remember that when power hitters start to get old, the bat speed slows and homers turn into warning track outs, and doubles turn into lazy fly outs. (Thomas hit .190 last April as well, so maybe the warm weather will help. It had better.)

It's only the first few weeks of the season, but with the Jays headed to Fenway and Yankee Stadium this week looking lost at the plate and weak in the bullpen, it's going to get late awful early out there.

So yeah, the sky is falling.

As an aside, what's Ken Macha up to these days?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Turn up the good, turn down the suck!

That's four in a row.


Not that we're jumping off the bandwagon. We're just barfing over the side.

Another nighttime showdown in Baltimore

Oh yeah, and Jays-O's too. Mos def.

The Jays run Josh Towers (1-1, 2.03) out against Canadian lefty Adam Loewen (1-0, 3.95 ERA). And let's be honest - if there the Jays had a choice of which Canadian lefty they'd want to face in this series, I'm sure it would be Loewen over Erik Bedard.

Even if Towers continues to pitch well, the real key will be what happens in the later innings when the Jays go into a bullpen that's already been overused just a few short weeks into the season.

Any guesses on what Maestro Gibbons will pull out of his cap for a lineup tonight? Stairs in CF? Overbay at SS? Halladay behind the plate?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Getting Jobbed by Sportsnet

Alright, we'll confess. We're completely drunk on the attention that Sully and his girl Fitzy and their beer throwing tomfoolery brought to The Tao of Stieb, our little hoedown on the web.

So, when Sportsnet props up their anchorthingy in front of their 108,000 foot plasma, and she says"Hey kids, check out what Deadspin posted!", we've gotta say, it's a bit of a kick in the nuts.

(And by the way, what sort of segment is the Inbox anyhow? This isn't the first time that they've ripped something off Deadspin to fill two minutes of dead air.)

And so, The Tao of Stieb declares guerre nucleaire on Sportsnet. Only Martine Gaillard will be spared. Your idiotic peachfuzz mustaches won't save you now.

We're coming for Jim Lang first.

Guard your grills, and knuckle up Sportsnet. It's on.

"I just want to get as many lefty bats in there as possible"

This is John Gibbons' reason for keeping Vernon Wells (Vernon Effing Wells!) on the bench.

Doesn't this seem just a little too frickin' random?

If you're gonna spend $95 million on player salaries, shouldn't you have someone marshaling those troops with something more than old wives tales and homespun remedies as his guide?

(And then, as I'm writing this, V-Dub comes in and drives in two runs. As if to prove my point.)

The Gibbons Watch is on. In full effect.

Blue Jay Cameos

Today's post at Uni Watch has laid down the gauntlet:
A really interesting subject came up in yesterday’s comments section: uniform cameos, meaning players who made very brief and easily overlooked appearances with a given team. It’s a great topic, and one that really shows the power of a uniform. Take Pete Rose, for example: It’s one thing to remember that he briefly played with the Expos in 1984, but actually seeing him in a Montreal uniform is pretty jarring.

This is a topic we love as a Blue Jays fan. The Jays have been a few really interesting cameos over the years, although I'm having some trouble tracking down photographic evidence. It's easy to forget that Phil Niekro, Lee Mazzilli, Dave Parker, Jeff Kent, and Frank Viola all suited up as Jays for a handful of games over the years. I know I have pictures of a couple of them somewhere, but if you have any, feel free to pass them along.

There are some that we have managed to track down. Obviously, Jays fans will have a hard time forgetting Rickey Henderson's time as a Jay, both because of the World Series that he helped win, and for the burns that he suffered by leaving an ice pack on his leg for too long.

Here's Tom Candiotti, who started 19 games for the Jays in 1991.

Another pitcher who started all of three games for the Jays was Bud Black, the current Padres manager.

And, on a sadder note, here's our patron saint, in his brief stint as a Chicago White Sox.

Any more? Pass 'em on!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have...

Well, that makes for an interesting day.

The Good: Getting name-checked by Deadspin (Thanks, Will!), Doc going 7 1/3 strong, the Big Hurt finally hitting something with a bat, and Rios and Wells continuing to hit for extra bases.
The Bad: Marcum and Frasor spitting the bit, another SkyDome/Rogers Centre Manny Mash, the Jays being held to three runs by Edward James Olomos Julian Tavarez (WTF!), Adam Lind stranding three runners and Aaron Hill stranding four, slipping into a third place tie with the Orioles.

If nothing else, I learned a new word today: Massholes!

Day Game Blues

Trying to track what is happening during the game this afternoon on GameDay - while maintaining some vague sense of professional decorum - really sucks.

Although this being a Halladay start, I probably could have taken an extended lunch and caught the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Classy Boston Fans Enjoy 2-1 Loss Last Night

And the moral of the story is, if you see a member of Red Sox Nation return from the concessions stand with a full beer, slice of pizza, corn dog, nachos, cracker jacks, ice cream, cheese steak, or anything else...DUCK!

(Update: Welcome Deadspin!)

Preview of Tonight's Game

Tonight we will see Boston's ageless knuckleballer Tim Wakefield face the Japanese version of Rodney Dangerfield, Tomo Ohka. Wakefield has been stingy so far this year posting a 1.38 ERA, while Ohka has been in a far more generous mood resulting in a 7.84 mark. Look for the tables to turn however as Wakefield is beatable at the Rogers Centre (4.75 career ERA there) and Ohka is due a good outing.

Update: No more predictions. Ohka was strong through the first 5 innings but gave up some rather long singles en route to a 4-1 loss. More analysis to come.

.156 AVG, .312 OPS, 0 HRs, 1 RBI

Shea Hillenbrand, your ship is sinking, and your trailer park is under water.

Which is louder?

Alex Rios' shirt, or the hotel room curtains?

(Yeah, we know the photo is two years old. But still. Much respect to On the DL.)

Don't be afraid to stand alone. In our eyes, you're a hero, Tony Fernandez.

BP's Jay Jaffe picks up on an ESPN Desportes poll asking who is the greatest Latin shortstop of all time. The choices: Luis Aparicio, Dave Concepcion, and Omar Vizquel.

Jaffe, applying his own analytical system called JAWS (Jaffe WARP Score) hashes it out, and notes the glaring omission of Toronto's hit king, Tony Fernandez.
Tony Fernandez, who logged just four votes in his first and only year of eligibility this year, scores better than Aparicio and Vizquel both as a hitter AND as a fielder. Couple that with his status as the major leagues’ first great shortstop from the Dominican Republic, and it’s puzzling that he was excluded from the poll.
After Fernandez left Toronto for the second time in 1993, he was used sparingly as a shortstop, and logged only 10 games at the position in his final four seasons. Nevertheless, he was amongst the elite at his position from 1985 through 1990, and likely deserved more than the four Gold Gloves that he won in that period.

Of course, he's no Eddie Zosky.

Observant Gamblers Love The Machine This Morning

The Jays were heavy underdogs going in to last night's game. There was money to be made.

"The Machine" Battles Japan's Biggest Star...And Triumphs!

Gustavo Chacin, wearing his trademark specs that some say make him look like a supervillain, defeated the vaunted Dice-K by unleashing that herky jerky delivery on the BoSox. This was a big win for the Jay's number 3 starter as there were certainly no shortage of people crapping on him to start the season. It's as if all of the wins that he accumulated over the past three years was a fluke. As scary as this guy can be to watch, he wins.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jays 2, Sox 1

General Thoughts on the Jays' 2-1 win:

  • Dice-K's 4th inning meltdown was ugly, in a Rick Ankiel sort of way. If only the Jays had someone a little more fearsome than Jason Smith come up with the bases loaded. (Although to be fair to Smith, he has 3 RBIs in 20 ABs, one less than Thomas has in 47 ABs.)
  • The Jays pitching looked fantastic tonight, with Gus Gus (6.2, 6H, 3Ks 0 BBs, 1 ER) looking as sharp as he has in a while, and Janssen and Frasor continue to look strong.
  • Vernon was probably out at first, but we'll take it.
  • Is it too early to be excited about the fact that the Jays leapfrogged the BoSox into first place with a win tonight?
  • Danny Heatley can start scoring any time now. (Sorry, that was the other game we were trying to watch simultaneously).
Game 2 tomorrow - Wakefield (1-1, 1.38) v. Ohka (0-1, 7.84).

Now if you'll excuse us, all this Dice-K talk has us craving a gyro.

Top 3rd, Phone Conversation between Shortwaveboy and Tao of Stieb

ToS: Wily Mo Pena is a bum.
SWB: Seriously. He's physically huge, but he's got a very small brain.
ToS: He's a bit of a dope.

(Pena hits a mammoth blast off Windows Restaurant.)

ToS: I'm gonna shut the fuck up now.

Lidge to TO Rumours

Since his demotion from Astros closer to waterboy, the rumours have been swirling around Brad Lidge's possible trade destinations. As soon as news of BJ Ryan's injury surfaced, Toronto was tacked on to the rumour trail as well. Looks like he is headed to Tampa Bay.

A tear is a sprain is a tear is a sprain

The incomparable Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus breaks down the Jays injury woes in his "Under the Knife" column today.

On Ryan, Carroll says:

Finally, B.J. Ryan has a mild sprain of an elbow ligament. It's safe to assume it's the UCL, though it was never named. Of course, in the same article, they pointed out that it was "sprained not torn." Once again, a sprain is a tear.

Will figures the ETA for the three injured players will be

  • Glaus: Could be any day, but really, who the hell knows?
  • Ryan: June 1
  • Johnson: All-Star Break.

Hazel Mae to wed Blue Jays Minor Leaguer?

Any time the Red Sox come to town, we're reminded of how NESN swooped in stole JayZone host and all-around saucy minx Hazel Mae right from under our noses.

If Canada's preeminent sports regurgitator Marty York is to believed (and why wouldn't you believe a man who's career trajectory has taken him from the Globe and Mail to some a free commuter rag that people throw on the ground immediately after it is handed to them), Hazel recently got engaged to Jays minor leaguer Kevin Barker. Barker managed to get a cup of coffee with the Jays last season, but lets not hold our collective breath that he'll be coming north and bring Ms. Mae with him.

Nothing says "Patriots Day" like hucking a $9 slice of pizza at someone

At the Red Sox annual Patriots Day matinée, the superior douchiness of Red Sox Nation was in full effect.

I'm not sure what's funnier: the slow-mo replays of the flying slice, or Jerry Remy and Joe Orsillo cackling like schoolgirls.

Unbelievably, the Boston Herald has the full story. So, Matt Madore of Presque Isle, Maine, tell us why you launched your full slice at this ersatz Boston Bartmann:

“They had been giving us (expletive) about (having the pizza),” Madore said. “Next thing I know, there’s a fly ball to left field and it goes foul and my buddy says, ‘You want some pizza now?’ And he hits him right in the face. Hey, the guy wasn’t paying attention. When you’re in the stands you’ve got to be ready for anything - a foul ball, a flying slice of pizza, everything.”

Words to live by.

Tumblin' Dice-K

In honour of Daisuke Matsuzaka's first start in Canada, here's a paper from Professor Alan M. Nathan of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the physics of the gyroball.

There are lots of additional links here, all of which essentially point to the fact that no one really knows what the gyroball is, but that it is probably not what everyone else says it is.

Pitching for the Jays is Gus "The Machine" Chacin (see, people really are calling him that name! Wikipedia never lies!) Chacin is 5-0 for his career against the Sox, with a 4.29 ERA, although his secondary numbers in those games (1.60 WHIP, 15 BB versus 11 Ks, .292 BAA) are somewhat less promising. Chacin also got past the 5th inning in just one of his starts against the Sox last year, and David Ortiz went deep on him twice.

Let's hope that Gus made an early night of it last night.

Blue Jays Injuries: Fantasy Fallout

Here's an article from Fox Sports' Roger Rotter (I kid you not) talking about the fantasy impact of Toronto losing three players to the DL.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The first cut is deepest

They're gonna cut open Reed Johnson's back, and make some adjustments so that he stops running like a girl.

Maybe it's his ZZ Top Special Edition Soul Patch that threw him out of alignment.

UPDATE: Buster Onley at ESPN is reporting that BJ Ryan will be out 4 to 6 weeks with a strained ligament, which we assume means that they won't be cutting into his arm. Yet.

Meanwhile, Troy Glaus will hit the 15 day DL with a sore left heel.

We've said before that whatever enthusiasm fans have in March, the outcome of a season is usually determined by a team's ability to field their optimum lineup for the most possible days. But it's only two weeks into a 26 week season, so let's not throw in the towel quite yet.

Chacin "the Machine"?

Confounding lefty Gustavo Chacin is starting the game against Boston tomorrow night. Hopefully we will see the guy who has killed the Bosox the past two years instead of the guy who got pulled over by Florida's finest last month.

Check out the Wikipedia post on this guy. Some of it seems a bit dubious.

"I" before "E", ya big dummy!

This is the post where we share the astounding realization that we have misspelled the name of our blog.

It's "Stieb", not "Steib".


We're about to learn a lot more about Blogger than we would have liked.

Fan from Hell

Imagine having to sit beside this fan the entire game.

Because this is the best hit the Big Hurt has had all year

The unexpurgated Frank Thomas child-smacking ad, for your enjoyment.

Gibbons Watch

Last Thursday night I sat in my favourite armchair to watch the Jays take on the Tigers. I was looking for some redemption for Ohka after his last start. But that was a hardly a realistic expectation given the team fielded that night. Reed Johnson was out on the DL so he was "replaced" by the beer league steals leader Matt Stairs (he is a good hitter though). That was a big enough blow to their chances but Gibby decided to make it worse by putting backup catcher (and personal project) Jason Phillips on first in place of Overbay. Granted, the lefty/lefty issue was some justification for the move, but Phillips is not a good enough hitter to justify losing the defence at First. Phillips bobbled a couple of key plays in what was the sloppiest Jays game that I have seen in some time. Ohka deserved better backing in his first start at home.

More moves like that and the only job Gibby will find himself in at the ballpark is mopping up spilled beer.

Cheers to Brunt

Stephen Brunt is unquestionably our hero. We have a bit of a man crush on him, although it is totally platonic. We just want to have a barbecue with him, that's all.

And praise is due once again to the Brunt, as his Monday column cut through a lot of the self-serving hokum and the teeth-gnashing that surrounded this weekend's celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's colour barrier.

Many have pointed out that the number of African Americans in baseball has been on a steady decline over the past decade, down to around 9% this year. Brunt quite rightly points out that baeball remains strikingly diverse, with visible minorites making up more than 40% of MLB rosters.

(We'll take this sort of well-reasoned insight over Geoff Baker's execrable "White Jays" Toronto Star cover story any day.)

And as a side note, remember that when people are referring to a lack of "blacks" in MLB, players such as Carlos Delgado, Andruw Jones, and others of Caribbean descent don't "qualify"...

Ditch the Black

While we're declaring some basic principles here today, let's get one thing settled straight away: it's time for the Blue Jays to ditch the black.

The black caps. The black jerseys. All black elements in the uniform.

Frankly, if you were to just swap out the black for a dark navy blue, pretty much all would be well with the Jays' uniform.

We know Paul Godfrey seems to think the kids like their black ball caps and their hippity-hop music, but this trend was over years ago, and it makes the Jays look absolutely lame.

Paul Lukas, head honcho of the Uni Watch blog initiated the "Ditch the Black" campaign to encourage the New York Mets to get rid of their eyesore black uni elements. (It has been unsuccessful thus far, but we think that the momentum is building.)

BJ Ryan - Way too much belly itching

So Bo Junior Ryan is on his way to the DL.

Not only that, but he is ominously his way to see Dr. James Andrews to determine whether or not if he'll need surgery to recover from whatever is ailing and causing him to devolve from an All-Star closer to a Jim Acker-level chuck-and-ducker.

Ryan spent the better part of spring training suffering from "the flu", "backaches", and whatever else he could think of to explain his poor performance. What are the chances that all of these were a smokescreen for what was really bothering him?

In the meantime, the Jays will trot out Jason Frasor (18 career saves) to hold down the fort.

And we will spend the next few days with a rosary and a giant pack of Alka-Seltzer.

The post in which we adjust our cup, and get on with this business

Because we need to find a place to whinge and moan, and to allow for a venue to display our unending hope that one day, the Toronto Blue Jays will ascend to their rightful place amongst the elite of Major League Baseball, we have created this blog.

Named for the most underrated pitcher of his generation - a pitcher who manned up and finished what he started by posting a stunning 103 career complete games - we hereby christen our new blog.

Long live the Tao of Steib.

(Note: We mean Stieb. We are stupid. We know.)