Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Morning Roundup

I was going to move the laptop to the living room this afternoon so's I could watch the Jays-Yankees (1 p.m. Sportsnet), but my enthusiasm has dampened since I remembered that it's going to be drunk old Gustavo Chacin in place of Dustin McGowan.

Speaking of Sportsnet, I don't want to alarm you with some monumentally good news, but I feel a duty to inform young and old that Jamie Campbell is back up and blogging with reckless abandon once again. What does Socrates have to say? The sports autograph industry can be good and sometimes bad, 200 words based on a corny pun, and let's ask a moron about his preseason predictions.

Stay classy, Toronto!

The Jays were bad to awful in clutch hitting stats across the board last year and Vernon Wells is aware that he was one of the worst offenders. Nice work, son. First thing is to locate the offending odour. Step two is to remove it.

Brandon League is making a very strong case to go North at the end of the month and this is very pleasing to JP Ricciardi, who's going to have to make some tough roster decision relatively soon. His velocity is back up to 96-97 mph, just a hair off where it was before his injury in the 2006 offseason, and more importantly, he's inducing groundballs like mad. Here's the surfer dude in his own words:

"Don't consider myself a power pitcher," said League, odd for a guy that can throw that hard.

And why not?

"Because they're putting the ball in play," he said after whiffing one and getting groundballs out of six of his other seven Astros.

Two of those went for infield singles and, eventually, the 4-3 winner – but only because third baseman Hector Luna couldn't handle a perfect peg from Barajas and nail the lead runner on a double steal.

Had Luna latched on, League would have had a runless five innings on the books. As is, of his 21 total batters faced, three fanned, 15 hit groundballs.

"Strikeouts are nice but, when they're swinging early (in the count) at the sinker and I'm getting groundballs, I can't complain," said League.

Sorry, I'm still salivating over the thought of a power-armed reliever who has a ground ball rate of 70%+. JP's playing coy as usual, but I would have to figure League has the inside track on one of the final BP spots up for grabs.

Wilner, too is very impressed with League's return to form and speculates who he might displace in the pen:

I have been really, really impressed by League this spring, in case I haven’t mentioned it. The power sinker is working to perfection, and he’s been a ground ball machine... If League has found himself again, he could be a real factor at the back end of the Jays’ bullpen this season, maybe even moreso than Jeremy Accardo. The question is, if League makes the team, who doesn’t?

The answer would have to be one of Jason Frasor or Brian Wolfe. I can’t see the Jays not taking two lefties other than B.J. Ryan as part of their seven-man (what a waste) bullpen. That means that Downs and one of Brian Tallet and John Parrish will have a job. If Ryan is healthy, that leaves four spots for Accardo, Janssen, Frasor, League and Wolfe. If Ryan isn’t healthy, all five of them are in the bullpen. Assuming Ryan starts the season with the big club, I’m thinking that League makes the team over one of Frasor or Wolfe and John Gibbons has said that Frasor is a lock to be on the team.

There’s also the possibility that everyone is safe, and Jesse Litsch goes down to AAA with Janssen moving to the rotation, but I’m starting to think now that with the limitations being placed on Ryan early in the season, and Gibby loving Janssen in the bullpen, we may be more likely to see Litsch in the rotation and Janssen in the ‘pen, at least to start the season, which is either bad news for Wolfe or means a trade is coming.

Arrg, I don't really like that last bit.

Mike Rutsey of the Sun notes "Brandon League has the best set of teeth this side of Silken Laumann." Woah, your editor thought that was funny, huh? Ok, if you want another brutally honest observation, how about this: the Sun is a trashy tabloid whose readership is 90% semi-literate chronic masturbators. There, I said it.


Josh Beckett update - he's having trouble sleeping because of back pain and was “a lot more optimistic yesterday than I am today [about his health].” We'll keep you posted.

Bosox SS Julio Lugo is also having some back troubles of his own and has missed eight straight games. The club's less worried about him, since he's not as vital a puzzle piece as Beckett. Coco Crisp is ailing, too. And Mike Timlin says he's gonna hang up his cleats at the end of this season.

-- Johnny Was


Jay K. said...

Timlin hagning them up? Why now? Why not after 2004?

The Southpaw said...

$11.5 mil in salary from 2004-2008 buys a whole lot of chew and JD shots.