In the words of Mark McGwire, "I'm not here to talk about the past" (three games against the Tampa Ray Rays). Ok, I made that end part up, but I'm still not talking about it.
Scott Rolen will indeed be starting at the hot corner tonight as we kick off a 3-game road set against the Royals, another team that's not quite so lowly as they used to be. There is much talk that no one is expecting him to be the club's saviour, though quietly everyone is indeed expecting him to fill that role. Well, at least I am.
Shit... Dick Griffin writes that Rolen is the answer to the Jays shortcomings, which means that things can only go horribly wrong from here.
Blair is soliciting questions for a mailbag later today, so if you have anything you'd like to ask the old grump, fire it this way.
Adam Lind Watch: speculation grew mid-afternoon that he was on his way to join the Jays when he wasn't in the starting lineup for the Chiefs matinee with Pawtucket yesterday. Sadly, though, the hopes of dozens of like-minded nerds who actually have minor league gamedays open on their desktops were dashed when he came in to pinch hit (hitting a single) late in the game. Lind is now hitting a mere Tony Gwyn-esque .365, falling far short of JP's Ted Williams 1941 expectations for the young slugger.
Gibby responded to allegations that he's "abusing Doc" with a curt "go fuck yourself" (note: not his actual words). Bastian notes that Doc has averaged only 111 pitches over his past 3 starts, all complete games, and there's nothing out of the ordinary in that. I don't mind letting Doc finish games; in fact, when he takes the hill I'm actually expecting him to throw a complete game. It would be quite interesting to see how Cy Young voters would react if he was to put up about 15 CGs this year. How do you even measure the awesomeness of that accomplishment these days? We really should have his DNA sent off to a South Korean lab for human cloning.
Wilner invents the word "pathetictude" to describe the performance of the Jays' bats down in Florida. That's one of the things that I like about Wilner, how he makes up words like "Blue Jayically" and "bloggage". He figures that Lind will be in the lineup tonight, mmhmm... do go on...
Since nobody puts it in perspective better, here's the warm hug that is MW trying to soothe your jangled nerves:
All is not lost because the Blue Jays are actually a good team, all evidence to the contrary. They sit 4th in the league in on-base percentage and 5th in the league in ERA. Eventually all those runners, all those chances, will turn into some scoring. They’re hitting .260 as a team, but .234 with runners in scoring position. Worse still, just .216 with RISP and two out. I mean, that’s Yankee bad! But things even out over the course of 162 games, and by the end of it all, the Jays’ hitting in all situations should be about the same. Which means they’re due. Of course, they’ve been due for a six- or seven-game winning streak for a few years now, but that’s another story.
The power outage is what’s so hard to explain. Tied for last in the league in home runs, 11th in the league in doubles. It’s baffling, but I honestly don’t think there’s any reason to believe it won’t come around. Even without Frank Thomas, the Jays should get enough offense from Hill, Rios, Wells, Stairs, Rolen and Overbay to make them a better-than-decent line-up, and Eckstein, Zaun and (hopefully) Lind are all better-than-average bats at their positions. This is a team that should score, and not just against the Red Sox. And I believe it will.Doesn't that feel better?
Ken Rosenthal concurs with JP's assessment that John Gibbons is an easy target and doesn't deserve to be fired. And yet that still might happen (for both men) if this slow start drags on much longer.
Frank Thomas claims to be quite happy to be back with the A's. I note without commentary that he was 0 for 3 with 2 walks in his re-debut (is that a Wilnerism?) with the Kelly Green and Golders. There you go, guy. An everyday gig. Prove the naysayers wrong.
Marc Hulet of fangraphs takes a look at rookie catcher Robinzon Diaz. We all know he's a bad ball hitter who rarely walks (or strikes out), but I found this interesting:
One other interesting knock on Diaz throughout his career is that he tended to take it easy and never really gave his all. People have said that he is a good player, who could be a very good player if he dedicated himself to the game on an everyday basis. As a result, Diaz could end up being a lot like Florida’s Hanley Ramirez, who has posted much better numbers on the center stage that is Major League Baseball, than he ever did in the minors.
Yes, indeed. If JP could move Barajas this summer to a contender short on catching (hello, Cincinatti), or just outright release him, we'll probably end up seeing more of Diaz in the second half. I prefer Brian Jeroloman in the long run, but we'll likely be going with a rookie catcher to platoon with Zaunner in '09. If Zaunner re-signs, that is.
-- Johnny Was