Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick . . .

It's apparent by now, especially after the Thomas Incident, that the Jays are in a bit of a transitional phase - one that will either redeem the promise of this season, or send the team into a spiral of despair that will send Jays fans into a dark night of the soul for the rest of the season.

It seems to me that there are four approaching events, or potential events, that will have pivotal roles in how this season plays out. Two of them are in the very intimidate future and two others seem to be approaching over the horizon.

1. The recall of Scott Rolen. Rolen started at 3B in Dunedin tonight which is a big sign that The Day is coming. He's 0 for 6 at the plate down there but it's his ability to play in the field that's at issue. He could be back as early as Friday, certainly no later than Monday.

2. The recall of Adam Lind. Lind is apparently over his pillow injury and he played the field tonight for Syracuse, going 2 for 4 at the plate for the second night in a row. There is no logical reason why he has not been added to the Jays major league roster (unless there is some technicality of the rules which has to do with how quickly Diaz can be returned to AAA).

3. The Litsch Switch. Jessie Litsch looked horrible tonight for the second consecutive game. It's one thing to skate out of trouble week after week when it's clear you are getting lucky, it's quite another when your luck runs out. If the Ginger Kid doesn't right his ship in a dramatic fashion in the next couple of weeks, you can bet that Big Dave will be making his way back to the RC.

4. The Gibbons Death Watch. For the second night in a row Gibbons has gone out of his way to invite the criticism of even those Jays fans who have been very slow to criticize him. Benching Rios tonight, like doing so with Wells yesterday, at a time when the Jays are severely shorthanded on offense is beyond nonsensical. Couple that with leaving Rios on the bench late in the game with the jays close enough to call for his services, and his use of the already-overworked Brian Tallet in a game the Jays had little chance of winning on Monday, and it's getting hard for even his defenders to understand what he's thinking.

I expect JP to give Gibby a few weeks with the team at full strength - i.e. with Rolen and Lind in the lineup - but if the Jays have not put some significant distance between themselves and .500 by the closing days of may, Gibby is gonna get the ax. We've already seen that the team is in panic mode and determined to win this year and that fever will certainly lead to the manager's office if the team doesn't catch fire.

Let me be the first to go on record with nominations for a replacement if/when the ax falls: Davy Johnson, or Ken Macha. I'll probably elaborate on my reasons if it becomes apparent that Gibby is a dead man walking.

The times they are a changin'. let's hope some of these changes lights the necessary fire.


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