Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The Roundup

AJ Burnett took a shit in his hat and called it a start last night. Josh Towers, God rest his soul, has been there and done that many, many times, and was likely looking down sympathetically from his cloud up there in heaven. There's really very little more worth saying, except that this is what it looks like for the New Burnett who pitches to contact in the absence of his curveball.

Ok, fine a few words: you can't really fault Gibby for going to Accardo in the 9th. It's called progressive closer usage. I'm sure some second-guessers would note that there was a slew of lefties coming up and Downs might've been a better option then--I was thinking it at the time--and that Accardo isn't quite a real closer yet (that sounds harsh, unintentionally so, but still...) After trying to talk the masses back on to the AJ Burnett bandwagon, Wilner questions the curious decision to pinch hit Stew for Zaun in the 8th when in fact Zaun is actually a pretty solid hitter from the right side. You'd think his manager would know this, wouldn't you?

We face lefty starters tonight and tomorrow, so there remains a good opportunity to take 2 of 3. Now, if Gibby goes back to Eckstein leadoff followed by Stew in the two-hole rather than the red-hot Aaron Hill (who also smokes lefties), I will not be so kind tomorrow and the next day.

Is it just me or is Blair encroaching on Griffin-esque Jays-hating territory?

The outcome of last night's game was somewhat ironic in a non-baseball related sense for yours truly. Since my current work contract ends at the end of the month and I face the real prospect of a summer of eating Dollarama hot dogs coooked over the engine block of my 1999 Ford Escort station wagon, I got this crazy idea that I should end my 15-year moratorium on Proline betting and fulfill my responsibility as primary breadwinner by gambling on baseball. It worked out swimmingly for America's sweetheart Pete Rose, right?

I thought I had a John McCain gold standard conservative ticket: AJ and the Jays at home over the Harden-less A's, Erik Bedard and the Mariners over the Rays, and Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers over the Diamondbacks. Five bucks becomes 20, easy money. The first two games seemed like slam dunks (thanks, AJ, for fucking that one up), and Billingsley (who also lost pretty spectacularly) had fantastic career numbers at Chase. Ouch.

Well, I never actually did end up placing the bet because the little nagging voice in my head kept reminding me why I gave Proline up when I was 13. I suppose I'm better off having listened to it, but I now have to re-evaluate my summer revenue stream projections as a result. Is there a market for jars of clean urine on eBay? Anyone know?

Bastian's latest mailbag addresses the issue of AJ's opt out, which we've all discussed to death. One questioner asks whether we could renegotiate with him should he chose to opt out, which Bastian doesn't discount, citing A-Rod as precedence. It won't happen, though, folks, and you should feel fine about that. One of the early pieces I wrote here was about how pretty much every pitcher on AJ's most similar by age list at totally fell off a cliff in his early 30s. A quick synopsis: we will end up on top if he chooses to leave after this season.

I had planned some comments on Adam Lind and Shannon Stewart, but The Mockingbird hit that one before I got a chance. I press on nevertheless.

Riddle me this: if Stewart needs a defensive caddy for the late innings and is still hitting feebly (there's no other way to describe his spring and first week fo the season) while Lind rips shit up in Syracuse, does Stew finish the year with the Jays? Frankly, I would not be shocked to see him DFA'd sometime mid-summer. It would be nice to have a right-handed OF bat (that can hit) on the bench in place of Buck Coats, I'm sure that type will come available soon enough.

Jose Canseco went on the annoying TSN program Off the Record to tell its annoying host, Michael Landsberg, that 19 other Jays from the 1998 team were on the juice. Since Jose doesn't provide any names, I will libelously pull a few out of my ass:

* Craig Grebek (hey, Howie Clark was named in the Mitchell Report)
* Ed Sprague (married to a cheater, suspicious power spike)
* Alex Gonzalez
* Jose Cruz (he just looked like a cheater)
* Shawn Green (accidentally)
* Mike Stanley (just to be cool)
* Felipe Crespo
* Kevin Brown
* Juan Samuel (hanging on for dear life at the end of his career)
* Tony Phillips (hanging on for dear life at the end of his career)
* Benito Santiago (hanging on for dear life at the end of his career)
* Patrick Lennon
* Roger Clemens (documented user)
* Juan Guzman (documented douchebag)
* Kelvim Escobar (no longer a Jay, can be slandered)
* Erik Hanson
* Robert Person
* Bill Risley
* Nerio Rodriguez (guilty-sounding name)

Oh, and Woody Williams, Steve Sinclair and Mark Dalesandro were also gay. Doesn't it feel good to make stuff up?

I guess one might care a bit about the Canseco allegations because this club's 88 wins still stands as the high-water mark for the post-World Series years, but I'm still not particularly bothered by it. Move on, folks!


* The young Matt Garza of the Rays is headed to the DL with a nerve injury, but never fear, I'm sure they'll still finish ahead of the Orioles when the dust settles. (Notice I said Orioles, not Jays).

-- Johnny Was


jwjays said...

SS Eckstein
2B Hill
RF Rios
CF Wells
DH Thomas
1B Overbay
3B Rolen
LF Lind
C Zaun

I'd hate to lump all the guys who hit RHP well into 6-9, maybe bat Lind or Overbay second?

C Barajas
2B/SS/3B McDonald
LF/RF/1B/DH Stairs
2B/SS/3B/LF Scutaro

Scutaro becomes the right-handed left fielder off the bench. It's going to be hard enough giving Scoot and Mac playing time when Rolen gets back.

The Southpaw said...

Last year I really liked the idea of Overbay in the two hole against righties. I really, really liked it because it would sort of be like an upgrade on 2006 replacing Cat with a guy who hit for Cat average and had power. It didn't work out so well in practice, though, and he has much better numbers hitting in the middle of the order.

Since Rolen is a guy with no discernable splits, I think I'd like to have him hitting between Rios and Wells. It's as good an option as having a lefty bat to break up the righties.

It's all kind of confusing now, but with all hands healthy at the end of the month I think I'd probably opt for just dropping Eckstein way down in the lineup and going something like:


That kind of contradicts me advocating Hill as the no. 2 hitter, doesn't it? And it all depends on who's hot, too.

I figure there's a much better chance they go with your lineup, because it'd get the job done, too.


jwjays said...

I think it will depend a lot on how Overbay comes back this season. He's hitting at a decent pace so far, but the strikeouts concern me along with the lack of walks.

I do have no problem with batting Eckstein ninth, though. I would like to see Hill get a few more walks before seeing him leading off, though.

I think the good thing with this lineup is that it's fairly balanced in its approach, with only two sort of weak hitters (Zaun and Eck) who get on base well enough to keep the lineup moving anyways. It should be pretty hard for Gibbons to screw up, but perhaps I'm underestimating his creativity.

The Southpaw said...


If Wells can have an 03/06 type year (and the way he's hitting, he just might), he deserves to be the 3. Rios just seems so perfect to give us that Sizemore/Granderson type leadoff hitter. Plus, Rios has been...walking. They'll never put him there, but ever since 06 I've believed Rios is the catalyst of this team. It always seems like he's starting the rallies by getting on base. Hill still fits in the #2 perfectly, and Thomas is looking solid for clean up. Overbay before Rolen just to split up the RH bats, and Lind can bat 7th...Zaun & Eck are just flipped for RH/LH balance.

I'm crazy like that.