Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A lot can happen in a meaningless game

Maybe it will make us look as tone deaf and overly earnest as a Rattle and Hum era Bono, but we wore out the floorboards, pacing through last night's thriller of an 8-7 win over the Red Sox.

Yeah, yeah. We should have perfected our disaffected pose by now, and we should have signed off on the season long ago. But when you check out and declare that you've given up on the team, you might just miss something special.

Like a troika of homers from Adam Lind. And José Bautista still killing it. And Kevin Millar turning a 6-5-3 double play. And six total homers for the good guys. And the bullpen handing back the lead. And Jonathan Papelbon reconfirming what an unmitigated douche he is. ("My bad", my ass!) And the Sausage King locking down the win and getting Kevin Youkilis on a called third strike that umpires would usually give to any Sox player in Fenway.

Some people get too wrapped up in whether if the game they are watching is "meaningful". (Ultimately, aren't they all kinda meaningless?)

But the great thing about baseball is that every day, there's a new game. It's always something new, and it's the greatest game there is. That might not mean anything to you, but it means something to us.

The Crux of our Tweets
We've been getting exceedingly argumentative over on the Twitter lately. Not sure what's up with that. But suddenly, we find ourselves unable to avoid engaging in verbal parries and thrusts, 140 characters at a time.

Here's the gist of what we were bitching about last night:
  • We like José Bautista. Especially as a super sub who's the 24th or 25th guy on the roster. And we don't discount his seven homers and 15 RsBI and .932 OPS just because it's September. With regular playing time, he's gotten better.
  • We think Adam Lind deserves some consideration for the MVP. Not ahead of Joe Mauer or anything, but maybe further down the ballot. But with his offensive explosion last night, Lind's offensive numbers are on par with Kendry Morales, who's been third or fourth on our ballot for the past few months.
  • You don't hit a guy just to hit a guy back. Who do you think you are? Gary Roberts or some other jerk-off fake tough guy? You've got a one-run lead. You gotta protect that. Because moral victories come and go, but actual victories stay in the Win column forever.

If you're interested in watching us go on with this while Polyannaish routine and argue with people for the sake of it, follow us over at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jays seed the clouds with home run balls

Yeah yeah yeah, we know. We shouldn't get too excited over beating up on a bunch of minor league arms in Boston.

(And on that note: Were we the only ones who were relieved that this Michael Bowden cat is still in Boston's system and wasn't part of a Halladay trade? Seriously, all those internet based scouting analysts really don't know nuthin' 'bout nuthin' in the end, do they?)

But come on. Isn't it a stitch to watch Aaron Hill and José Bautista and Rod Barajas send dingers into Boston's night time skyline? Why must people try to ruin this for us?

Praise the rain
Thankfully for Jays fans, the rains came pouring down exactly at the point where Casey Janssen had begun to hand the game back to the Red Sox. Watching Janssen walk two and give up a double to that little rat-faced elf Dustin Pedroia, we could feel a big BoSox turnaround coming on like a freight train (even with the six-run lead.)

Given Cito's dubious handling of the bullpen, we could have seen him leaving Janssen in to burnish his .940 OPS against. Yikes.

Everybody loves Janssen because he's plucky as all get out, but dude needs to be far away from the Jays' pitching staff next season if they are going to have a shot at...well...nevermind.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Some of you we'll see in April...others, not so much

At the very least, the Jays' final home series provided a bit of upbeat entertainment to wrap up baseball for the year in Toronto. A walkoff win on Saturday and a come from behind win on Sunday, and the Jays head out for one last jaunt.

And then, finally, it's over. The most miserable season since 1995 is mercifully going to end. We're going to be miserable all winter waiting for pitchers and catchers to report, but at this point, we're just anxious for this brutal campaign to conclude so that we can start talking about the important things.

Like what the hell they're going to do to fix this mess. And who the hell "they" are.

J.P. says stuff, virginal media is shocked
For a bunch of drunken syphilitic ne'er do wells, the media contingent in Toronto sure does get their pristine white cotton knickers in twist whenever J.P. Ricciardi says anything interesting.

J.P.'s interview last week with CP's Shi Davidi, wherein he pretty much stated the obvious problem of being stuck in the AL East:

"It doesn't matter if J.P. Ricciardi is the GM, or Joe Blow is the GM. Two years from now, five years from now, seven years from now, the reality that we face in Toronto is the division is not going to change. The Red Sox and Yankees are not going away. If the Yankees want to, they can take their payroll to $300 million."

That seems fair enough to us. He wasn't saying it was impossible, but just that it is never going to be easy to put together a winning team in Toronto. But this demonstration of sentience sent the collection of 13 year-old girls in Toronto sportswriter circles into fits of scandalized giggling.

"OMG, youuuuu guyyyyyssss! J.P. is soooooo, like, a hippo crit! because he totally sed sumthin different 8yrs agooooo!!"

"whatev! jp.'s totally a 5year plannnnnerrr! He came from Aukland. Moneyballlllssss! Only he said he didn't neeeeeed $$. Or ballsss!"

"JP shud be fiiiiiiiiredd! How come he says stuff? he shud just say nice stuff, like GOOO JAYS!"

"The Tampa Bays totally did good stuff one time! So how comes the J's cant? J-P's todally a loser. he's prolly gotta go."

That was fun.

The bottom line for us is this: J.P.'s knows he's getting canned, and he basically said what is completely obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in the game. Whether if that is exactly the same thing that J.P. stated on his way in is not an indication of some level of hypocrisy, but rather an indication of the changing nature of the game and the amount that he has grown into the job.

Remember, this was Ricciardi's first GM gig, and if he hadn't learned a thing over the past eight years and was still talking the same shit now that he was back then, well then we'd wonder about him.

You see, J.P. has learned something from his missteps. The field manager would do wonders for the team if he could do the same.

If you don't care, then fine. But shut the fuck up about it, okay?
You know what? When we see Vernon Wells hit a game tying home run and generally play better in the field and at the plate, we're probably going to be happy. That's the thing about us: Sometimes, we revel in the positive for the nanoseconds that it presents itself to us.

So if you want to think that nothing matters because this is September and Vernon is performing when it doesn't count and only against marginal minor leaguers like Felix Hernandez, then fine.

Think that way if you must. Go listen to Muse and cut yourself and dye your hair into three shades of raven plumage. Watch a marathon of Hostel movies. Have another drink. Read the latest copy of InterACTRA, and get your inner trade unionist riled up.

Just don't send us your thoughts. We're in a happy place, at least for a moment. Don't ruin it.

And don't call us a twat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Quick-hitter

Not sure how I missed this nugget - though it could have something to do with the 80 hour work week I'm pulling - but this from the Globe's Bobby MacLeod:

Ricciardi also said that he believes that Scott Downs and Jason Frasor could wind up sharing the closer's duties next year and that pitcher Dustin McGowan, who has missed all season after shoulder surgery, is progressing well.

“He’s letting it fly," Ricciardi said of McGowan, who has been throwing on flat ground.

Ricciardi said McGowan is pain free and will start throwing off a mound next week and appears to be in tremendous physical condition.

I'm going to try containing my excitement regarding a McGowan comeback, because we know all too well what a bad shoulder means for a flamethrower like Dusty.....but, uh, holy shit. McGowan is a good guy to root for, having overcome a bum elbow, diabetes, and now the shoulder.

Think the Jays could use his arm next season?

A two sentence post on....walkoffs!

Apart from assholes and psychopaths, who doesn't love a good walkoff?

Adam Lind: straight raker.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vintage, classic, epic, etc

Loathe as I am to admit it, I've always been an "expect the worst/hope for the best" kind of guy (I'm sure you couldn't tell). It's a crippling affliction that has no doubt caused me immeasurable & unnecessary stress as I prepare myself for the worst.

Such was the case as I sat down to watch what could have been, perhaps, the last appearance of Doc in the powder blues. Nobody wears it better. Nobody will ever wear it better.

Halladay's last home start of the year was a hallmark Halladay effort - scattering baserunners but slamming the door when necessary, and ultimately earning the ol' CGSO. I mean, holy shit, is there anyone else in the organization even capable of doing that?

As I've mentioned in the past, I kinda sorta maybe think the Jays might actually spend a little this offseason in the hopes the fanbase will forget the shitshow that is 2009. But here's the thing, friends: would Doc even sign an extension at this point? Would you?

It was back to the cliche train in the post-game comments:

"I would think what every player would want is to win where you came up and to win where you spent all your time," Halladay said. "I think that would be the ultimate. Places like this become a part of you the longer you're here and that would always be the ultimate."

Well, at least he's not locking the door. Maybe Pat Gillick can kick it right down. What?

Special bonus post-game quote
"It was nice to have more than 10,000 people in the stands today," Hill said.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A man defeated?

"The biggest thing that people forget is that when Toronto won the World Series, they had the highest payroll in baseball. There's a direct equivalent to that. If we're going to play in the big man's division, and we're not going to spend that money, it's going to be really hard for us to compete with those teams."

So says the much maligned - and unfairly, I would add - Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi this week. I'd made a personal pledge to stop reading into every utterance from Jays management, but this is too easy. Ricciardi sounds frustrated - frustrated at the lack of direction he's been given, frustrated at the "payroll flexibility" mandate, and frustrated that the promising team he'd assembled has now gone straight to shit (how's that for grammar? FAIL). In short, he sounds like us.

He also sounds like a man with one foot out the door, whether by his own desire or someone else's. Evidently, he's not part of "The Plan" (TM). So whaddya got for us, Beeston? I sure hope it's a little more than offering up Ricciardi as a sacrificial lamb. Tell me there's more to it than that, Beest. Because unless you're simply aiming to please the typical asshat JaysTalk caller, that's not going to be enough.

Blogger seeks assistance in locating missing slugger
Has anyone seen Randy Ruiz? He can be described as follows:
  • May or may not be a part of the 2010 Blue Jays baseball club. Insufficient evidence to evaluate at this time.
  • Currently sporting an .878 OPS with 7 HR in 95 AB at the Major League Level.
  • Portly, but in a fun way.
  • Was the organization's AAA player of the year.
  • Has only seen 8 at-bats in the last week.
  • Ostensibly sits behind Jose Bautista and Kevin Millar on the depth chart.

If you have any information as to this man's whereabouts, please pass along any and all tips to Cito Gaston. Evidently, he can't find him either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Celebrate. Good Times.

So Aaron Hill drives in his 100th run of the year to lead the Jays to a walkoff win against the Orioles. More importantly, the Jays' win clinches fourth place in the AL East. No basement dwelling for this Blue Jays team!

The Jays now have two 30-100 guys for the first time in years, and we're just doing backflips and handsprings and hooting and wooting it up.

Sometimes, you've just got to savour the small victories.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Morning Link Dump

Because this morning, we don't think that we could offer up anything better than our blog colleague, we offer up bucket trucks full of links.


Blair on the Blue Jays: Now that he's a high-falutin' general sports columnist, we don't always get the chance to hear Jeff Blair's thoughts, feelings and impressions of the Jays. But in this morning's edition of Canada's National Bird Cage Liner, Blair lays it down for the Jays: "Change must be complete. It can’t be half-assed. The Flashback Fridays stuff? A generation doesn’t care any more. Sorry, that’s just the way it is." (Also, he uses the word "mollify". "Half-assed" and "mollify" in the same article? That's Blair. Awesome.)

A true meeting of the minds: Rather than watch the game last night, we listened to the Drunk Jays Fans podcast encounter with Toronto Star Chief Baseball Bloviator Richard Griffin. Griff tried his best to be a good sport, but towards the end, you could hear his angry old man thoughts come through. Then the boys took turns criticizing each other for not being hard enough on Dick. And there are cymbals struck throughout the show. Good stuff.

More rosterbation: We always like it when other blogs name-check us, especially when they do it in the first paragraph of a post in a flattering way. So how could we not link to Drew/Lloyd's post at Ghostrunner on First as he reconsiders his Adrian Beltre-J.J. Hardy strategy for Jays salvation? In short, we can't not. So here's the link. (Also, we comment on the post, and it's the best thing we've written in weeks.)

Milton Bradley, redux: Ian at Blue Jay Hunter has a fully elucidated argument about the mercurial Milton and his potential place on the Blue Jays. It is longer but more smarter than ours. So read it.

Travis Snider's Dad and his D: Mop Up Duty's Kman took apart Travis Snider's defensive abilities way back when, and Snider's dad didn't care for it. Kman insists that after further evidence, he is right about the Rosy-Cheeked Hope's glovework. We think that people just forget what it's like to have league average fielders.

Aaron Hill ain't all that: Newish blog Jays in Seven rates the second basemen in the AL East, and finds the Jays' elfish dinger-machine lacking. Then again, he likes the Fake Umpires, so he may not be in possession of all his faculties.

Let's discuss J.P.: MLB Trade Rumors opened up a discussion of J.P. Ricciardi, which opened up the digital floor to all sorts of JaysTalk callers, armchair GMs and people with a tenuous grasp of the rules of punctuation and capitalization. (Excuse us, but we're sticklers for language skills. If you can't write coherently, you probably can't think coherently. Grammar is the foundation of logic.)

There you go...that's enough for this morning. If you want more of our precious thoughts, then check us out on the Twitter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A thought before you pencil Milton Bradley in the 2010 lineup

It was entirely expected that, as soon as Milton Bradley was given the heave-ho for the rest of the season (and likely forever) by the Chicago Cubs, Jays fans would start sizing him up.

After all, Bradley was the object of the affections of more than a few Jays fans in the off-season (including yours truly, with some caveats.) And the idea that there may be a franchise out there who is desperate enough to take on Vernon Wells' ridiculous contract in exchange for Bradley's merely goofy contract seems almost too attractive.

But don't think that the Jays would be doing themselves any sort of favour if they took on Bradley. While it would be great for the Jays to rid themselves of those long term commitments to Wells, Bradley is a physically brittle and emotionally delicate player who would only provide further surplus at the corner outfield and DH positions.

It's been four years since Milton Bradley played any sort of meaningful time in centre, and bringing him to Toronto in exchange for Wells would leave a glaring hole at that position. Moreover, having Bradley play the field on the Rogers Centre turf (even the new field covering that's been promised) would be a recipe for extended DH or DL stints.

Then again, maybe we're looking at the all wrong. If Milton has two years and $23.666 million left on his deal and Vernon has in excess of $104 million left owing to him between now and 2014, maybe you take the nuisance and send him off to tea parties with B.J. Ryan while lifting the financial anchor that Paul Godfrey left as his legacy.

It still doesn't seem like much of a plan to us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hints, allegations, and....

Heyo! Late to the party, as usual, but much like Vernon Wells jogging into a basebrawl, better late than never, right? Right.

(Incidentally, the Tao wasn't too far off with his reports on my whereabouts. File that under "....things left unsaid". See what I did there?)

If the shittacular collapse of the Jays has done anything, it's provided me with the closure necessary to speculate and dream of better days in 2010. I mean, things couldn't possibly be worse, could they? Wait - don't answer that....because I'm thinking that they could get worse, theoretically. Maybe. But unlikely. Yeah. Let's go with "unlikely".

Here's the deal, though - to my way of thinking, a further drop in the standings means the team is starting from scratch and tearing the fucker down. That's one way of doing it. It would be painful....but at least it would be a direction.

These days, though, I'm kinda sorta maybe leaning towards the train of thought that says the boys upstairs at the 'Rog plan on sinking some cash into the team and taking a run at being competitive again. That's another way of doing it.

Here's what's pushing me towards curtain #2:
  • Nadir Mohamed, top dog of the parent co, is actually talking about the team. And talking about the team in terms of putting a winner on the field. And you know what? My bullshit detector hasn't been ringing in my ears. To slash payroll down to the $60M range, at this point, would be suicide by attendance.
  • I don't have the link (because I'm lazy), but the well documented PTS roundtable in which McCown, Blair, and Brunt discussed the potential of a $120M payroll figure "being on the table" is a marked turn in tone from those who cover the team. McCown has hinted at a payroll increase in the past - but this conversation really put it out there.
  • Why would Beeston be pimping "THE PLAN" so hard if it meant more heartache and disappointment for the fans? Why would you do that? We like to talk about how the Jays are run as a business first.....and businesses typically set conservative expectations or risk destroying shareholder confidence when those expectations aren't met. Record low crowds = no more wiggle room.

So, yeah. Maybe I'm setting myself up for epic disappointment. But you know what? Even the aforementioned "rebuild" would mean something. I guess that's a plan. It's Big Macs instead of a T-Bone....but at least we wouldn't be starving.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Rock Out - Rilo Kiley "Silver Lining"

Because when things are going lousy, sometimes we just need a little bit of Jenny Lewis in our life. It does a man good.

The Ack is scheduled to be in over the weekend, but unconfirmed reports indicate that he may be drunk and incoherent, and possibly under heavy medication. If you see him anywhere in the Prairies this weekend, be sure to call the number on his collar and send him home safely.

Here's to a series win against the Rays. Cheers.

Dreaming impossible dreams of third place

Who says the Jays aren't playing meaningful games in September?

Trailing the third place Tampa by a mere 7.5 games, the Jays have the opportunity this weekend to make up more than half of that margin with a sweep of their four game series against the once-mighty Rays. And we're only being about 86% facetious when we say that.

Sure, this season has descended from tragedy into farce in recent weeks, with Cito Gaston's stubborn and steadfast refusal to either field the best team he can or play the prospects (aging or not) who could make the roster next year. But can't a man relish the notion that we could crap all over the Tampanians and make a mockery of the notion that the Rays were competing in the AL East?

Seriously, if the Jays were able to leave Tampa with the Rays sitting below .500, the schadenfreude would be so delightful. How sweet would it be to shove it in the face of all the jackanapes like Roger Lajoie, who trotted out the Rays as proof positive that it was possible to hang with the Yanks and Sox on a shoestring with a bit of ingenuity?

Third place: It never sounded so sweet. Let's go Blue Jays, chasing another ghost of a chance.

Prime Linkage
Speaking of Ghosts, Drew/LtB from that fine blog has a good piece on the folly of signing Jason Bay or Chone Figgins next year, while pimping Adrian Beltre and J.J. Hardy as possible solutions. We're not sure that we necessarily agree, but it's a compelling argument nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Big League Stew looks back at the year that wasn't for the Jays as part of their Walk Towards the Light feature on all the also-rans this season. Have a read and relive your pain!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scott Downs can't run without hurting himself

It might not have been his worst sin of the evening - that would have been hanging a curve ball to Hideki Matsui - but Scott Downs once again proved that while he is a decent pitcher, he's barely an athlete.

After coughing up the gopher ball to Matsui to relinquish the lead in the eighth, Downs was forced to cover first on a ground ball. This proved to be such an arduous task that Downs once again came up limping and clutching at his leg.

Maybe Downs is in lousy shape, or maybe he just doesn't like pitching after he's been hit around. Whatever the case, it has become an all-too-common sight to see Downs walking off the field with George Poulos this year.

Catch the Rays!
With their loss last night, the Tampa Rays slipped back to .500 at 73-73. Would it be too much of a pipe dream to expect the Jays to take a last run at the Rays to try to make up the six games between them with two weeks left in the season?'s something, isn't it? The Futile Drive for Third Place is on! Who's with us?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rumble in the Bronx

Jorge Posada is a certifiable douche.

Seriously, Jorge, you're a catcher. And if at this point in your career you aren't comfortable with the fact that teams are going to throw at you after you've called the pitches that land in the back or face of the opposition, then you should probably just get yourself an outfielder's glove and get out of from behind the plate. Suck it up, buttercup.

Posada's weak cheap shot at Jesse Carlson emptied the benches, and for half a second there, there was some joy in Jaysland as we watched Rod Barajas mix it up with all comers and Cito Gaston attempt to take on some young whippersnapper who was inexplicably yanking at Barajas' gear as he was on the ground.

That was kinda fun.

It probably doesn't make a ton of sense that we're a complete pacifist when it comes to the game of hockey, but we like to see a pitcher put one in a guy's ribs and the benches clear in baseball. Maybe it's because baseball is a sensible sport, in which teams don't make use of scraps as some sort of nightly kabuki theatre to demonstrate what a bunch of manly men with grit and heart they are. (Still hating you, Gary Roberts.)

Travis Snider has decided to pull the ball
Just days after Travis Snider indicated that he needed to get to inside pitches and pull the ball more, he sent two no-doubt-about-'er's into the second deck of Yankee Stadium (so, you know, still a home run in most other parks). Finding reasons to hold on hope is awesome.

The long decline of Deadspin continues
We realize that we suck the fun out of everything and get on our high horse sometimes, so take this as you will.

We were incensed when we opened up Deadspin this morning and read the follow recap from some fuckhead named Barry Petchesky: "Pitcher Jesse Carlson suffered a pretty nasty head wound, making this the worst day of casualties in the history of Canadian wars."

We seriously doubt that Barry wants any sort of history lesson or edification on Canada's role in the World Wars (we were there when your soldiers were still at home giving each other the clap), or how cowboy American bomber pilots killed Canadian soldiers because they were too fucking horny to kill something to realize that they were firing on friendlies, or how the 130th Canadian was killed in Afghanistan this week.

We're pretty sure that Barry is way too interested in staring at his own navel (and being fascinated by the sight of it) to give a shit. He'll probably have a laugh over PBR's with his douche friends about how sensitive Canadians are and how easy it is to get a rise out of them.

But remember: Canada is sharing some of the burden of the shit storm that the U.S. helped create over the past 40 years, so the least you can do you little fucking hipster douche sisterfucker is to show a little goddamned respect.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scoots boots the game away

For much of the season, Marco Scutaro has been a revelation. He's drawn walks, hit for some power, and fielded his position with the best of them. So maybe it isn't fair play to heap scorn on him at this point of a lost season.

But how frustrating was it to see Scutaro botch two very makeable plays, handing a victory to the Tigers that the Jays should have had locked up? On both plays, it looked as though Scoots offered up about a half-measure of effort, playing the ball off to the side of his body rather than getting in front of it.

Maybe it doesn't matter at this point, seeing as how the manager can't be arsed to think about sending out his strongest lineup every night. Still, it's a kick in the crotch for the handful of Jays fans left to see a tiny flame of hope for a win and maybe a 75 win season snuffed out.

Maybe it has something to do with the ball that Marco took off his noggin a few weeks back, but he hasn't been the same player over the past month. Plays in the field aren't being made, and he's posted a .614 OPS for the month of September so far.

As Lloyd/Drew tweeted last night, we need for Scutaro to pull it together to reach Type A Free Agent status if we're going to get some compensatory draft picks out of him.

For those of you holding out hope...don't.
With last night's loss, the Jays are officially eliminated from the playoffs. So...2010!!!1(?)

A Cito excuse that doesn't fly
Here's what some of the kids say in defense of Cito Gaston and his asstastic craptacular lineups: "Well, what's he supposed to do with a crappy team like this?"

You know what? Fuck that. In the end, Cito's going to have a lineup with two 30 homer 100 RBI guys...and he hasn't even considered using them in a constructive manner until next year. If Cito had three 30 homer 100 RBI guys, he'd still screw it up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Catchers Market, or All the Familiar Facemasks

It's the darnedest thing about finding a catcher. Everybody's always sure that there's a more productive catcher on the market, or that they've got one on the way that's sure to be an improvement on the fat, slow bum with marginal offensive abilities that they've already got.

But take a look around the free agent market for catchers this offseason, and you realize that there's not a lot out there that you haven't already seen before.

With Cito essentially stating that Rod Barajas has already punched his ticket out of town, and the Jays demonstrating their disappointment with the performances of J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, the spot behind the plate is up for open auditions.

So who's going to come in to improve on Rod the Bod's 18 homers, 64 RsBI, .704 OPS?

A glance through MLB Trade Rumo(u)rs' list of available catchers shows that there's not a lot to choose from out there that we haven't already seen and run out of town. The two best options for the Jays might be Gregg Zaun (6 HR, 23 RBI, .752 OPS) or Bengie Molina (17/70/.710), neither of whom would provide a lot more than Rod. (Although Zaun is probably the strongest OBP catcher on the market.)

We've been a big proponent of Miguel Olivo before, but again, he's going to bring the same low OBP (.279) that people have identified as a problem with Barajas. Brian Schneider used to be a guy that we'd favour, but he's rocking a .602 OPS this year and generally making Raul Chavez (.664) look like a viable full-time option.

Ramon Hernandez is hurt. Josh Bard might be an upside play, but not a major improvement. Ivan Rodriguez is mostly getting by on reputation these days.

Then, there's Jason Varitek, who may be too washed up to continue on in Boston, but who could bring his flattop haircut and bag full of intangibles to another AL East team and provide some significant knowledge of the teams in the only division that really matters for the Jays. However, his relatively strong .731 OPS is bolstered by his home numbers in the only stadium that could make Jim Rice a Hall of Famer. (Varitek's road OPS is .611. Yikes.)

Frankly, the catcher market is just a mess, so we're not clear on the rationale for sending Rod Barajas on his way when there is little else out there to replace him.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday quick hitter

The briefest of posts for a Sunday in which "real life" is keeping me away from the blogosphere....
  • I've probably seen, oh, 85% of the Jays games, in whole or in part, during this season of shit. Why, oh why, did yesterday's thriller have to be one of the 15%?
  • Speaking of the weekend series in Motown - big ups to Chris from Windsor for his fantastic commentary in the comments section, relaying his first hand experiences. Nails, dude.
  • The fact that the Jays have a legitimate top of the order threat (Scutaro), #2 and 3 hitters both likely to put up 30 HR - 100 RBI seasons, Roy Halladay at the top of the rotation, and a ROY threat falling in behind......and still looking like a second division club is actually quite remarkable. Ugh.
  • Cito was right (though wrong to run his mouth about it) - every tater Barajas puts on the board makes it less likely he'll return. 20 HR catchers who play good defense are a commodity. And not one the Jays are likely to pay for.

If you'll allow me to climb on my soapbox for some non-baseball commentary (and if you won't - fuck off!), today marks the annual Terry Fox Run across the country and in select locations worldwide. We throw out the term "hero" a little too freely, but Terry absolutely fits the profile. If you've never supported the run, you should consider it, and for any of our loyal readers who might not know the legend of Fox, google it.

That's all. Go Jays.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I must confess that I spent a good part of the evening on the couch, taking in the Giants-Dodgers broadcast (relax - it was after the Jays-Tigers) - I know, wild night, right? Annnnyway, MLB network's Clint Hurdle dropped one of those folksy old-school pearls of wisdom over the course of the evening that got me to thinkin'.

Hurdle mentioned that the most important ingredient for a successful ball club was - wait for it - trust. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I kinda sorta bought into it (a little).

Now, hold on. Wait. Stop rolling your eyes. I am not so dense to ignore the fact that the primary - and maybe only - ingredient to a "successful ball club" is, uh.....talented players, maybe? But the statement, right or (probably) wrong, seemed entirely fitting with regards to the state of the Jays, so here we are.

Hurdle's "trust" assertion followed that the players had to have trust within the dugout and with the coaching staff, the staff had to have trust in the front office, and the front office had to have trust in ownership. And by extension (this portion mine), the fans had to trust in it all.

Now do you see where I'm going with this?

Paul Beeston's recent assertion that the team had a plan - to be revealed, of course, "in short order" - holds very little currency with those of us invested in the team (that's right, invested - emotional totally counts!) because any semblance of trust has been completely eroded by the constant state of inactivity by management, and the perceived disinterest of ownership.

So how does the organization get it back? Well, let's start by hearing about "the plan". Thoroughly discussed earlier by the Tao, I suppose at this point we can wait for the offseason to see what's in store - but it had better be something - anything - by design. Sink money into payroll in order to be competitive now, or make a concerted effort at rebuilding and committing to youth; we can debate the prudent action ad nauseam.

The key here is DO SOMETHING. Goddamnit. Something! And stick to it. Fuck all this slugging away (poor choice of words) with retreads and roster fillers just to maintain a lock on fourth place. Why? What's the point? Who wins here? The team 40% of the time? the 11,000 fans showing up to home games? The red ink factory when the financials get printed? No. Nobody is coming out ahead under the current course of action. So fuck this noise.

We have no choice but to wait, friends. Let's see what's in store for the organization come the close of game 162. I think we'd all love to hear that Rogers has decided to roll the dice on a payroll investment, but even a complete rebuild would be an improvement over the current sad state of affairs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Rock Out - The White Stripes' Little Bird

In honour of the man who threw down the cash to renovate a number of ballparks for the kids in southwest Detroit, we offer up a vintage bit of the White Stripes to kick off your weekend.

Enjoy, and hope for the best for our little birds (Tothian!) as they take on...well, whoever the hell the Jays play next.


Paul Beeston has a plan

It's funny, because we'd started writing up this post a few days ago, and Paul Beeston has been kind enough to confirm at least one aspect of our hypothesis.

"We've been working on a plan and in short order that will come out," he told CP's Shi Davidi.

Our notion for a while has been this: The Jays have a plan, and they are holding it back until the end of the season. And as much as we fans and bloggers alike are working ourselves into a lather like a dozen monkeys in a tub full of Mr. Bubble, the Jays brass is banking on the fact that when they roll out - in rapid succession - the new President, GM, a replacement for Cito and a budget number for 2010 through 2013ish, then we'll all prance about singing bold choruses in praise of the dawning of the team's new Aquarian age.

And who's kidding who? We probably will.

On a certain level, it makes sense to do this at the close of the current season. With the season still on, it would be difficult to can J.P. and shift Cito into a advisory role where he can do minimal harm. Moreover, they'll be able to cascade these announcements into one another, building momentum towards next year, hopefully erasing the memory of the dogfuck that was the last two-thirds of this year.

If we were a PR dude, we might even recommend such a strategy. But what they may have missed in taking the longer view is the effect that fielding a subpar lineup for the rest of the season is going to have on the consumers' confidence in the organization.

Sometimes, if you have good news to share, it's better to just get it out there. Because you never know what sort of misery tomorrow brings.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tipping points

For those of us who enjoy numerical symmetry, 9/9/09 seemed like such an auspicious date. But yesterday, the fates of the Jays and their manager seem to have taken a significant turn for the worse.

The point that's going to be reported and discussed everywhere today is the fact that they Jays drew the smallest crowd in the history of the SkyDome/Rogers Centre last night. With lovely weather and Roy Halladay on the mound, the Jays eeked out 11,159 paying spectators last night.

Certainly, there will be people pointing to some of the mitigating factors for the number being so low. Under Paul Godfrey's regime, the attendance numbers were said to be somewhat disingenuous, so it is possible that there have been nights over the past few years where the team has had fewer warm bodies in the stands.

But even with that said, the year over year comparison is a little too stark to write off as merely bookkeeping chicanery. For the first Thursday in September last year, the Jays reported attendance of 25,128 for a game against the same Minnesota Twins. Even factoring in the new manner of eliminating discounts and giveaways, it's hard to conceive of that making up the entirety of the 14,000 tickets not sold.

The attendance for a single game like last night is going to end up being significant talking point from now clear through to next season, and that supposes that there won't be one or two or a dozen nights that end up worse. For those who wish to heap scorn or project the worst for the Blue Jays' fate in Toronto, the perception that will be created out of these record-breaking sparse crowds is going to be something that will stick. It's going to be the enduring image that is left of the Blue Jays in the off-season, and it's going to create the appearance that this is a loser franchise going nowhere.

Rogers has only itself to blame for this. If the notion was that they could mail in a season and look to next year to compete and everything would be rosy, they fundamentally misread the tenuous grasp that they have on the sports fan in Toronto. And while a little bit of effort of a relatively small cash infusion might have been enough to keep hopes on life support through the winter, the neglect shown by Rogers and the front office means that this franchise is going to have to work twice as hard for twice as long to even begin to bring the attendance figures and TV ratings back to where they were midway through this season.

If, as it has been noted elsewhere, Paul Beeston advised against putting money into the payroll this season, then we can only conclude that he has fallen out of touch just like manager Cito Gaston. The Jays are no longer a marquee franchise in the city, and tickets to Jays games are not coveted all around the GTA. The Jays are no longer the focus of a single all-sports network across Canada, and they are no longer the only Canadian franchise in an otherwise American sports league.

Our grandmother always use to say that "a stitch in time saves nine." After the 9/9/09 debacle, the Jays are going to be sewing furiously to keep things from falling apart for years to come.

Other tipping points
With last night's loss to the Twins, Cito Gaston's record in his return to the Jays' manager position slipped a game below .500, to 103-104. And it bears mentioning, a game worse than John Gibbons in his tenure with the Jays.

If there's anyone out there who still sees the ghost of a magician when they look at Cito, we're hoping that this moment sets them straight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sunshine, lollipops and...

...John McDonald home runs. All things that make the kids happy, and make life seem a little brighter.

Of course, in the unbridled elation that follows such a rare occurence, it's easy to find yourself wondering if maybe - just maybe - the Jays shouldn't look to bring back the lovable lug, and let him have a chance to play.

The question that you have to ask yourself when you start to go down that road is: Do you want the Jays to win? Or do you just want to be mildly entertained in the coming year?

It's been fun watching John McDonald and his Prime Minister of Defense routine for the past few years. We hate scrapitude and grittenacity, and we don't often find ourselves rooting for an underdog nearly as much as we have with Johnny Mac. Then again, we can probably appreciate McDonald's work with the glove because it is not the result of intense intangibility, but rather, it is a skill nurtured and developed to the point of excellence. And how can you argue with excellence?

Still, the number of runs that Johnny Mac may have been able to save with his defense over 162 games over what Marco Scutaro saved with his season would not nearly be enough to rationalize having him take up a roster spot going forward.

Then again, we're beyond the point where we can even begin to comprehend what the hell the Jays front is thinking these days.

Statistical curiosities
With his monster 3-for-4 evening, Johnny Mac's OPS has slingshotted ahead of Kevin Millar's. McDonald started the night with a .603 OPS, but with his two-bloops-and-a-blast performance, it now sits at a sterling .679. Meanwhile, Millar keeps plugging away and eroding our will to live with a .654 OPS for the season.

With numbers like that, we fully expect to see McDonald get a few cuts in as the cleanup hitter before that week's end.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Unbearable Meaninglessness of Brian Dopirak's Monster Season

The first thing that struck us as we looked at Brian Dopirak's outstanding numbers in the minor leagues this year is how much they look like J.P. Arencibia's from a year ago. To wit:

In 2008, Arencibia hit 27 homers and drove in 105, posting a .322 OBP and a .527 SLG (.850 OPS) in a season split between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse.

In 2009, Dopirak hit 27 homers and drove in 102, posting a .371 OBP and a .549 SLG (.921 OPS) in a season split between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas.

In spite of the promise that the Jays' (excuse us for saying this) Catcher of the Future showed last season, Arencibia's offense dropped off significantly enough to qualify as a disappointment. Despite the move to alleged offensive haven of the Pacific Coast League, Arencibia's tallies for 2009 fell across the board (21 HRs, 75 RsBI, .282 OBP, .444 SLG, .728 OPS).

It bears mentioning that some reports say that Arencibia has improved his defense, and it is possible that an increased emphasis on his position behind the dish contributed to some drop off at the dish. Also, Arencibia's numbers began to improve over the final stretch (.789 OPS in August, .920 OPS in one week's worth of September), including a red-hot final 10 games (6 homers and 15 RsBI), so maybe there is room to hope.

Dopirak's 2009 season was actually stronger than Arencibia's 2008 given his higher rate stats, and the much higher OBP would give you the impression that those are numbers that will be far easier to replicate in the coming seasons. Still, one great year in the minors isn't any sort of assurance that Dopirak could even reproduce the same numbers in a full season of Triple-A, much less in the Bigs.

We'd love to think that Dopirak could make that step, and become something resembling what Lyle Overbay used to be: A doubles machine and a run producer. But at this point, we just don't feel like we can put all that much stock in what Dopirak's done.

FML Update: Aww, fuck me. Of course the Drunks go down exactly the same road as me on Dopirak on the same day, and get their post up before mine.

Well fuck it: I don't have an infinite amount of time to convince the handful of anonymous jag offs that I don't just copy/paste their posts into my blog. So I'm not going to start from scratch, because chances are that whatever I write next will be covered off somewhere else.

If it bothers you that we're writing about the same fucking things all the time, then just read their blog and leave me alone.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A One-Sentence Post on...Randy Ruiz

This 24 hour period will make for a heck of a tale for Randy Ruiz someday, what with him being named PCL MVP, finally getting a start at first base, having a homer called back by video review and taking a Josh Towers pitch off his pretty face.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

“Right now, it's kind of tough to see how we're going to get better before the end of the season”

These were the words of Cito Gaston earlier this week, just prior to the start of the Yankees series. Little did we know that The Cito planned on doing everything in his power to make good on his word.

Kevin Millar (.220-6 HR-27 RBI-.665 OPS) in the clean-up spot? That's a start. John McDonald, whose value lies entirely in his infield glovework, starting in left field - and batting eighth? Yeah, that'll do it.

Jeez. I am not here to pile on Cito. I swear that I'm not. I admire the man for what he has meant to the organization and what he's accomplished in the past. But these lineup decisions are indefensible. I'm not among the group calling for Cito's automatic dismissal, but I guess you could say that I am solidly in the corner of those that call "bullshit" on the free pass.

Yep, there's an argument to be made that the cupboards are bare of options. A pretty fucking solid argument, actually. But the team's best hitter, Adam Lind, started the game on the bench. His OPS against LHP? 810. Millar's? 743. So there's that. There's also the fact that there's no reason whatsoever that a team that has written off the season is starting a shit pile of veterans who have no shot at returning in 2010. Never mind manning the clean-up spot.

Holy Christ. My head is spinning, friends. It's gonna be a long September. Must....maintain......a shred....of optimism.

Go Jays?

Yeah. Go Jays.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


You see, that is what I am motherfucking talking about. Right there. That.

OK, slow down, take a deep breath, and wash your mouth out with soap, Ack.


Tonight's effort by Roy Halladay was nothing short of pure, vintage, unadulterated Doc. To the core. The Yankees had no chance, man. No chance. Doc can get by working nothing but fastballs - 2-seamers and cutters. That's it. Mix in the effective hook? Not fair. Working location? Forget it. If you're Joe Girardi right now, you don't even feel bad about the loss, because you know you were beaten by a guy who, when he's on his game, is simply not human.

(On the offensive side, six hits from the usual suspects - Scutaro, Hill, Lind - gave the Jays all the offense required. Good thing, since clean-up hitter Kevin Millar gave us a tidy 0-5 with 7 LOB. I don't even have it in me to 'sigh' anymore.)

Yes, these are the performances I'll reference when I'm reminiscing on the Jays twenty years from now. I could launch into my usual "I don't know what I'm gonna do if the Jays trade Doc" tirade, but instead, as the 2009 season slips away, I'm starting to appreciate just how lucky we have been to take in Halladay's greatness in the prime of his career.

Roy Halladay may be under appreciated by most baseball fans, but he sure as hell isn't in my house. Not by a long shot.

A quick note on Ernie Harwell
I know many words have already been written on the news that legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, but I'd be remiss if I didn't write a few of my own.

If Tom Cheek was my baseball announcing daddy, then Ernie Harwell had to be my broadcasting grandfather. I was never a huuuge Tigers fan (Go Jays!), but growing up in a market with a Detroit cable feed gave me plenty of opportunities to appreciate his magic.

I can say without a hint of exaggeration that Ernie Harwell contributed to my growing love for the game as a youth. There was just something about taking in a game covered by Ernie, with old Tiger Stadium as a backdrop, that was irresistible. It didn't matter to me much that I couldn't stand Dan Gladden (irrational, I know), or that Mike Henneman's success confused and annoyed me.......Ernie had a way of just making the game feel right.

They don't make 'em like Ernie Harwell any more, nor should they even try.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Rock Out: Matthew Sweet - "Sick of Myself"

That pretty much covers it.

What can we say. It's been a hella-long season to this point, and as a commenter pointed out yesterday, we've lost it. We're in a bit of a slump. We're waving at the outside junk and getting frozen by anything inside.

Our weight transfer has a hitch in it. We're dropping our hands. We're slow getting to the ball. We're overthinking things up there.

Our footwork's all wrong. We're not reading the ball off the bat. We're not getting down on the ball. We're not following the ball into our glove.

We're opening our shoulder too much. We're elevating the fastball. We've got no control over our breaking stuff. We're nibbling around the edges. We're losing zip on our heater, and our breaking stuff is all flat. We're eminently hittable.

Who knew that watching five-sixths of a season of Blue Jays baseball would provide us with so many perfect analogies to describe the overarching funk in which we find ourselves?

Sorry folks. Next week, we'll be better.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Tao's Wandering Eye: Give us some Figgy pudding, or maybe some Zim

It was mentioned in the comments yesterday that Mike Wilner asked Aaron Hill in a recent interview if the player who had indicated to Lighthouse his interest in playing in Toronto had a name that rhymed with "Phone Higgins".

To be honest, we'd never been much a of Figgins fan in the past, having written him off as a bit of a slap and dash type with marginal fielding skills. Seeing him boot a couple of balls in a playoff game against the Red Sox has probably stuck with us, and we're always a bit wary of guys who put up high averages but mediocre slugging.

But in recent months, we've started to come around on the free-agent-to-be, and we're ready to start visualizing him as Jay next year, if only so that we can be disappointed this offseason.

After a lousy season in 2008 (.685 OPS, 1 HR, 72 runs scored), Figgins has rebounded nicely this year, with 100 runs scored, a .404 OBP and .406 SLG. He still gets thrown out more than we'd like to see (16 times versus 39 steals), but he'd make an ideal top of the lineup option for the Jays in 2010, should they need one.

(Although there's a good argument to be made that Marco Scutaro's numbers are better, and we fully expect our wise and sage-like readers to make that argument in the comments.)

Also, Fangraphs tells us that we shouldn't believe our lying eyes when it comes to Figgins' defense, as he ranks third in the majors amongst third basemen with a 13.0 UZR/150. Only Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman (13.8 and 16.1) rank ahead of him.

Speaking of Zimmerman...
MLB Trade Rumo(u)rs' Tim Dierkes makes the argument that the Nationals should consider putting Zimmerman up for auction in order to replenish a lagging farm system. Zimmerman is in the midst of an outstanding season (.372 OBP, .527 SLG, 27 HRs and 90 RsBI), and is locked up through 2013 at a fairly reasonable rate.

And though it seems as if he's been around forever, Zimmerman is still only 24 years old, which is nearly a full year younger than Brian Dopirak, and just about a year older than J.P. Arencibia.

We're not necessarily thinking that the Nats will offer him up, but if there is a guy who might be worth selling the farm for, it would be Zimmerman.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Since You Asked: Our thoughts on grumpypants Scott Rolen

The Fan's Mike Wilner has stirred the pot quite a bit in the past few days with his revelations that Scott Rolen was particularly unhappy in Toronto and quite vocal about his displeasure.

Considering the fan love the Greatest Blue Jay of All Time had engendered this year, it's a bit of a shock to hear the degree to which Rolen was miserable and the extent to which he shared his feelings amongst his teammates.

Since you asked, here's what we think: If Rolen was unhappy in Toronto for a multitude of reasons (the turf, the city, the country, the organization, the occasional day off, what have you), then it didn't particularly show in his play. Rolen didn't sulk or pout on the field, and went all out in the field and on the basepaths in pretty much every game where he pulled on a Blue Jays jersey.

He dove for balls. He ran out ground balls. He gave up his body on take-out slides. He took the extra base and he kept his head in the game. On that level, we as Jays fans don't have much to complain about.

It's possible that Rolen's grumblings were off-putting in the clubhouse, and players felt as though his complaining led to an erosion of the esprit de corps. We've worked in an office where there are persistent malingerers, and it sucks to have to be around those sorts of people. But given the fact that the team has taken a nose dive since Rolen left, we can't help but feel like his bitching and/or whining wasn't the thing that led to the team's demise.

Rolen carries a reputation as a malcontent, and it shouldn't surprise us that he brought that attitude north of the border. At least we got some players in return (we hope) and freed up some salary.

What's this say about Toronto?
There is something unsettling about the idea that players are looking to get out of Toronto, or avoiding it as a destination.

Long gone are the days when Toronto was the marquee franchise in the league, able to attract the cream of the free agent crop. Because of the lack of profile that the team and the city have south of the 49th parallel, Toronto has slipped backwards into a middle-tier of baseball cities, like Minneapolis, Cleveland, Detroit or Milwaukee. Not places to avoid, but not high on your list of places to be.

Toronto should be up with L.A., Chicago, New York and Boston as one of the most attractive cities, but its diversity and its wealth of cultural offerings are probably somewhat lost on your average American ballplayer with little more than a high school diploma and a sense of entitlement.

Of course, every player who had a list of teams to whom he couldn't be traded over the past decade always included Toronto and Montreal, so this sort of thing isn't new.

Double misery

We probably spent about five hours yesterday listening to portions of the Jays doubleheader against the Rangers. And somewhere in the middle innings of the second game, we tore the ear buds out, turned off the radio and took the rest of the night off.

We needed to find something more cheerful to do with our life, so we flipped through the PVR and found an episode of Intervention to watch, because observing teenagers destroy their lives before the cameras is really a pick-me-up after that much time spent with the Blue Jays.

We keep telling ourselves that we're going to miss baseball in a month's time, and that we're going to be sad once the season is over. But at this rate, with 75 wins turning into a lofty target, we just want to get to the off season and see this organization make some sort of effort to right itself.

They just need to sort everything out: Sort out the presidency. Sort out the front office. Sort out the on-field staff. Sort out the roster.

Sort all that out, and give us a reason to believe that 2010 isn't going to be a season-long march towards mediocrity.

A second thought or two on September callups
It might have been a bit unfair to rip on yesterday's callups in the manner that we did. We didn't realize that the minor league season had another full week to it, so it is possible that the Jays will eventually find room for a few more bodies on the active roster after this weekend.

Let's hope so.

Also, we should note that we're happy to see Dirk Hayhurst get the call. He pitched well while he was here, even though Cito generally used him only sporadically and in blowouts. We'd like to see him back as a bullpen arm next year. Our frustration comes from seeing the return of the marginal pitching stylings of Brian Wolfe, and the insistence that this team has in believing in magical voodoo of Joe Inglett.

We've grown incredibly tired of Inglett and his spunkiness, and we don't believe as many do that he's some sort of José Oquendo Utility Dude. In our view, Inglett's a second baseman and nothing else. He is more than willing to grab a mitt and play anywhere on the diamond, but he's not suited to play anywhere but second. And we've already got a perfectly capable second sacker.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Remember when September call ups were exciting?

There was a time, back when Toronto had something akin to a Major League Baseball franchise, that September call ups were fun.

You'd hear about the next generation of Jays who were chomping at the bit to get some playing time down the stretch, and then in the waning days of another frustrating season, you'd catch a glimps of Shawn Green, Shannon Stewart, Kevin Witt, Josh Phelps, Vernon Wells, Mauro Gozzo or whoever. These were the guys who may have been something somewhere down the road, and there was a sense of anticipation in seeing them get a few PA's or IP's in the last few weeks of the season.

This year, the Jays decided to add to our profound sense of disappointment in this shit-show of a season by calling up three dudes of marginal value and no interest to us as a fan.

Joe Inglett. Brian Wolfe. Dirk Hayhurst.

That's it. That's all.

No Arencibia, or Dopirak, Fabio Castro or Kyle Philllips. And certainly no Jeremy Accardo, apparently because this team would prefer to not make use of the assets at its disposal.

Maybe the Jays will add one of the aforementioned players after the Triple-A season concludes, or maybe they'll give us the chance to see some of the other driftwood that has been amassed on their 40-man roster (Bill Murphy, anyone?)

But Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick...Doesn't anybody within this organization give a shit about this team? Doesn't anybody have half a notion about doing something to help stoke the rapidly cooling embers of the fanbase's enthusiasm for this team? Are we supposed to be thrilled by the fact that J.P. "likes our team" and the assemblage of rag-tag minor leaguers parading as an active roster?

A week's worth of baseball in one night

It's hard to even figure out how much you can discuss after a game like last night's 18-10 slugfest win over the Rangers last night. It was a night so filled with both positives and negatives that Rod Barajas can hit two homers and drive in five and still be a footnote.

Mostly, though, it was yet another coming out party for Adam Lind. After last night's eight-RBI explosion, Lind has now driven in more runs this season than he had in the previous two seasons combined. Given some extra playing time and some latitude to face lefthanders (against whom he's put up a respectable .816 OPS), Lind has gone from a position of being a worrisome diminishing prospect to becoming a bona fide slugger.

With so much to gripe about this season, it's important that we recognize what we have in Toronto in Lind and Aaron Hill. While casual fans might question whether if this team has the offense to compete in the coming years, it's worthwhile to look at Lind's peers amongst the statistical leaders around the Mjaors. Lind is putting up numbers comparable to Evan Longoria, Jason Bay, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, and Justin Morneau. And if the Jays season hadn't been subsumed by pitching injuries and poor use of the active roster, then maybe Lind's name even starts to be whispered as a long shot for MVP.

It's impossible to know whether if we'll get the same level of production out of Lind and Hill next season, but their performance this season augurs well for them being able to provide production at the heart of the lineup. If only the Jays can fill in the lineup spots around them.

The upside of Downs
Last night's 1.2 innings of relief from Scott Downs were the best we've seen from the oft-injured lefty since shortly before he took over the closer role. While he was bailed out with an outstanding catch in centre by an apparition vaguely resembling the Ghost of Vernon Wells, Downs was locked in for the most part, and pitched what turned out to be the most important inning of the game in the eighth.

With the score still 11-10 for the Blue Jays, Downs put up a 1-2-3 inning against (arguably) the Rangers' three best hitters. That might get lost, what with the bat-around ninth, but Downs stepped into a high leverage situation and locked it down. Given what's happened over the past two months, such a performance is a bit of a novelty these days.

Double happiness today
The Jays and Rangers play two today, so we'll have to find something for the wife to do while we dig in for six-to-seven hours of baseball goodness this evening.

On the plus side for the Jays, they managed to make the Rangers dig deep into their bullpen yesterday, so they may have to stick with their starters longer than they'd like. Of course, the Jays used the same number of it likely evens out.

Hey, we're just hoping we don't have to see Jesse Carlson today. Is that too much to ask?