Jayson Stark throws a glass of cold numerical water in the faces of the optimists:
• The Blue Jays, Padres and Rockies won't want to hear that only 10 of 152 playoff teams since 1982 finished April more than three games under .500. And just one team since 1935 -- the 1979 Pirates -- was more than three games under after April and won the World Series.
• The Mariners and Dodgers won't want to hear that of the 126 teams that finished in first place over the last 25 full seasons, 99 of them (or 79 percent) were no worse than 2½ games out of first by the end of April.
• And the Indians, Tigers and Braves won't want to hear that in the wild-card era (1995 on), just 20 of 104 playoff teams (19 percent) were under .500 -- yep, even one game under -- at the end of April.
May does not appear to be a "soft" month for the Jays at first glance. There is a 4-game home set with the Royals and a series against the Angels, a very good team the Jays have run roughshod over for years, but some stiffer opposition from the White Sox, Rays, Tribe, Twins, Phillies, and A's. Everyone's hoping for a nice long winning streak to square us at .500 by this time next week, but I would be surprised if we were at that point by the end of the month given the quality of the opposition we're about to face. And yes, I will high five you if if it turns out I was totally wrong.
Totally plagarizing from Cathal Kelly, here are the matchups for the upcoming weekender with the pale-hosers:
Your morning routine wouldn't be complete without a cup of Joe and some bat-shit craziness from Dick Griffin, but the big guy kind of lets us down with a fairly even keel piece on how we should be guardedly optimistic after last night's showing. He does go a little loopy inserting himself in the story with his final quote:
"Richard, so far May's a good month," Gibbons said before anyone could ask him a question, with a wide smile that showed he was happy to head home."
Frankly, if this is a new literary device to be incorporated into his Jays reportage, I'm fully supportive. A potential sample from tomorrow's paper:
"It was a dark and stormy night outside the Rogers Centre as I took the long slow walk into the Jays club house. I took one look at the lineup card, shook my head, then sought out the Jays skipper.
'Gibby, why in the name of Ron Leflore don't you use John McDonald as your leadoff man? He does all the little things the right way! Zut Alors!'
The Gruff Texan responded curtly, 'go fornicate yourself with a pop can, Griffin, you toothless hack. I'm fully aware that your 'front office' experience with the Expos involved little more than writing cookie cutter press releases. Now piss off!'
Jays 5-White Sox 2."
William Houston weighs in the old blogs v. mainstreamers debate in today's Globe if you're interested.
Wilner checks in on the bizarre balk call on BJ Ryan in the 9th, noting that he used the same motion for pretty much every pitch he threw in the inning. I should stop linking Wilner, really. We're redundant if you're reading The Oracle on a daily basis.
Wilner did pour cold water on a caller's suggestion that the Jays sign Raffy Furcal to play short for us in 2009. Rightly so. MLBTR figures he's in line for for 5 years at $75 million. I humbly remind you that we've suggested trading for Khalil Greene, an unhappy Padre who has alarming home-road splits (Petco is just killing the guy).
Those who were on the "bring in Barry Bonds" bandwagon will probably find a pair of lefty sluggers in Cincy, Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey II, who are available as mid-season acquisitions appealing alternatives. Unless Adam Lind fulfills the loftier expectations of guys like us.
* Yankees wunderbar Phil Hughes was a boo-boo on his right side and will likely be out until July. He'll be replaced in an already shaky rotation by Darrell Rasner, a Josh Towers-esque shit leopard in the making.
* We were spared any news on the Roger Clemens adultery front. Tomorrow's new rumoured paramour? Roseanne Barr?
-- Johnny Was