Monday, 10 March 2008

Morning Roundup

Even though I'm pretty much openly rooting against Jesse Litsch to win the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, I can still admit that it's kind of cute to see that he's trying so hard. We were all so caught up with JP's left field shenanigans that this one sort of fell to the back burner.

Gibby more or less threw down the gauntlet for both Litschy and Janssen yesterday in the tone of a man who was on his last can of Diet Coke and needed to get to the supermarket to buy more RIGHT AWAY:

"We know what the veterans can do," Gibbons said shortly after the Blue Jays' arrival at the Bright House Field for yesterday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies...

"Now it's time for these young kids to start showing what they've got," Gibbons said yesterday. "Now it's time — they've got everything working.

"Veterans you can count on, they have track records. The young kids, they don't. They've got to perform."

Litsch did perform well yesterday against the Phillies, surrendering only one run and two hits over four innings. With six Ks! Jesse Litsch? Yep, six Ks. Ryan Howard did go deep, as he is prone to do from time to time.

Still, as well as Litsch pitches over the next three weeks the fact remains that this should be Casey Janssen's job to lose.

Some credit must go to Alan Ryan for extracting some comments that allow Litsch's inner Einstein to shine through:

"You can't be anybody different than who you are," said the philosopher. "I just go out and be the same dude.

"You go out with the same mentality and let things happen. You go out there with pressure on your back ... well, that's where bad stuff happens."

Ok, so far so good.

"You've also got to come out wanting it," he said, elaborating on his mental approach. "You know, wanting it every day.

"You've got to want things. If you go out wanting things, they come easier than just putting them on a shelf."

The things I want, come easier, shelving? It's not quite "you can stuff your sorries in a sack!" but you get the idea. Generally.

agrees that Casey Janssen is the better candidate for fifth starter because Litsch still has much to learn (and was really crappy against lefties last year). He also expresses a hearty skepticism of walk machine John Parrish. My head hurts from nodding in agreement so much.

Also, Gibby is planning on holding Dustin McGowan back from his next scheduled start against the Yankees in favour of Gustavo Chacin. He wants New York to see as little of his young ace-in-the-making as possible now, so he's opted for someone who has no chance of throwing serious innings for the club this year. B'dum tish!

Zaunnie thinks AJ Burnett is making the best of a bad situation regarding his nail by learning to pitch to contact and getting hitters out with a fastball-sinker-changeup combo. And apparently the dude is working on a slider, too. Zaunnie in his own words:

"The fact he's not throwing curves all spring is actually going to save some wear and tear on the arm. More than that, it's going to make him a better pitcher because he's leaning on the other pitches right now, polishing those up, so that when he does start throwing his breaking ball he'll be able to get some quick outs on sinkers and changeups and not have to go three, four, five pitches deep in the count and strike everybody out to get his outs. He'll be able to do it quickly."

Blair weighs in on Barry Bonds. He calls the Rays a young, exciting, Expo-ish club (not sure that that's a compliment, but still) that'll make some noise in '09. But they're not ready now and their offseason has been all about clearing out the bad apples, so BB doesn't make sense. Not so the Mets, Chisox and Cubs, one of whom he figures will bite on the Sultan of Steroids. Ok, fair enough.


The Bosox are cautiously optimistic that bbq pork enthusiast Josh Beckett isn't in serious trouble after his recent bout of back spasms. For you medical buffs:

According to Francona, the Sox have deemed Beckett’s injury “muscular” in nature, meaning the club has ruled out much bigger problems, like ruptured or herniated disks.

Nevertheless, the club is to depart for its season-opening series in Japan in just nine days and it's unclear if Beckett will be able to make the 17-hour flight. Seriously, flying to Asia sucks. It's pretty far away... So, probably no Beckett or Matsuzaka for their season opener. I feel for those Japanese fans who are paying 4 billion yen for tickets to a game Tim Wakefield is starting.

-- Johnny Was

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