As any Joe Fafafel in downtown Baghdad will tell you, there are winners and losers when one hated regime crumbles in favour of a soon-to-be equally loathed successor. Nine games under Cito really isn't a large enough sample size to come to any major conclusions, but admit that there is a very subjective air of improvement surrounding the club since the beloved, Morgan Freeman classy ex-skipper retook the helm. We can revisit this in October, but so far who's winning and who's losing under the new regime?
The Offence as a whole: averaging 5.2 runs per game since Cito took over, which is more than the pitching staff should need to win a good chunk of games in the second half. Now, there were two shutouts in there and yesterday's one-run victory, but it's heartening to see extra base hits after a general three month hiatus for slugging. I share Twitchy's view that there wasn't anything philosophically wrong with the Denbo Approach, it just did not resonate with the personnel JP has assembled here. It's not you, it's us, Gary.
Adam Lind: he's up, he's playing and he's here for good. The young favourite of gay photogs everywhere has rewarded Cito for his vote of confidence by socking a pair of dingers and driving in 5 since his recall. Put a fork in Shannon Stewart cos he's done!
Starters with macho attitudes: back in the pre-stike era, it was pretty much a daily occurance to see the manager do his cowboy saunter up to the mound to ask his pitcher if he felt man enough to finish the inning. That's how it worked in the olden days when nobody cared about pitch counts. Expect to see starters go deeper into games when they're going well compared to the John Gibbons era. AJ Burnett will like this, McGowan too might do with a bit of mental toughening that accompanies this ritual even if it runs the risk of blowing out his arm. Will Doc throw 10 complete games in the second half?
As an aside, I've long wondered how many 200-pitch starts Nolan Ryan had. That's right, I'm absolutely convinced he touched 200 on more than one occasion.
Tony LaCava: see JP Ricciardi below. LaCava is the Jays director of player personnel and is a rumoured GM candidate in pretty much every town where there's an opening. He may well end up wearing the captain's hat in TO a few months down the road.
JP Ricciardi: It appears to all that the Jays' ass clown GM is just running down the clock before an inevitable firing at the end of the season. I outlined the case against JP earlier this month and RicciarDunngate has only made him look worse since. He's embarassed himself in public (not good), and more importantly, failed to win with cash to play with for three years in a row.
Brandon League: I don't make accusations of racism lightly, but it's tough not to come to the conclusion that Cito is indeed racist against fire-balling Hawaiian relievers. Why hasn't he pitched since his recall? Are we afraid of Ks and ludicris ground ball percentages? Eh?
Brad Wilkerson: he was JP's guy, not Cito's, and is now relegated to back up OF and pinch hitting duties from here on out. Rejoice!
Brian Butterfield: he didn't get canned, which must've made Mrs. Butterfield quite happy, but now has a more established, politically-secure boss than John Gibbons. If he aspires to manage (as I'm sure he does) that opportunity is probably farther off in the distance than it was a month ago. I certainly don't think Cito is here to finish the season then ride off into the sunset: expect him to stick at the helm in 2009.
I've been promised a gameday report from Seattle from Jay K. and my brother, Mattius, who join us here at The Southpaw as live West Coast correspondents for the Jays-Mariners series. Like peyote-scarfing Mexican lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Jay is also "too weird to live, too unique to die", so prepare yourself for some hilarity.
-- Johnny Was