Yeah, nice weekend, lovely wedding, and checking the old scoreboard for the past few days and... what in the...? And then my reaction shifts to acceptance, followed by steps 5-9 of the Blue Jays Anonymous 12 step guide to recovery.
Back in 2006 and 2007, we used to bemoan the fact that the Jays never seemed to be able to get on a nice long winning streak (because of Josh Towers), but took some comfort knowing that we never went on long losing skids (because of Roy Halladay) either. Back in the offseason I was looking forward to an even keel 2008 club that went 10-12 games over in the first half and did likewise-ish in the second to at least be in the mix in September.
But like so many other elements of the playbook from recent years--like mashing lefties, socking dingers, etc.--non-streakiness has definitely fallen by the wayside in 2008. This year the Jays have had winning streaks of 3, 3, 3, 5, 4, 5, and 3 games, very nice. And then there have been the extendo losing streaks of 3, 6, 4, and 4 games. What in the hell does this mean?
What makes a team streaky? I'm guessing that being deficient in one area of game and highly proficient in the other (runs scoring vs run prevention) is the primary culprit. This "soft" June I spoke of is not off to a particularly impressive start, but it's highly likely the Jays will run off a string of victories in the coming weeks. The question that remains is whether there'll be enough of them to keep the club in this thing. Your guess is good as mine.
I think Twitch nailed it yesterday on Benitez. Short recap: bringing in a guy with 289 career saves for the minimum in the hopes of restablishing his value and spinning him mid-season is clever, very much so even, especially when you don't HAVE TO use him in high leverage situations because you have so many other good arms in the bully. DFA-ing him based on one godawful outing because you're feeling emotional and are as disgusted with him as the average JaysTalk caller just smacks of panic, desperation and "not having a plan", or at least not sticking to the outline of your preseason strategy.
And a team with a $100 million payroll that leaves Adam Lind and his sexy .333/.389/.537 triple slash to rot in AAA just to save a few thousand bucks 3 years down the road on arbitration wages is being cheaper than your average Giant Tiger shopper. Sense of urgency... that's not coming from the top down the way that I see it..
I'm just mentioning this all again because I want to remind you all that I am and have been on the fire JP/Gibby train for much of this season. It had to go perfectly right both on and off the field for things to work out (read: playoffs) this year. As much as I admire the players for keeping their chins up after losing key cogs Scott Rolen and Vernon Wells for a month each, I disadmire management for it's cheapness, shortsightedness, and just plain weirdness when it comes to roster management.
On that note, the Seattle Mariners, owners of the worst record in baseball saunter into town for a 3-game set. Their unique brand of suck features a low-scoring offense, shitty pitching, and IIIIIII-chiiiiiiiii-roooooo! The pitching matchups are all favourable and looking ahead a little further it's nice to see that AJ Burnett gets to follow up his "fuck you, Jays fans" hat tip (thanks be to Mr. Hale for posting the YouTube clip) with a Flashback Friday start against what should be a boisterous crowd (60% made up of Cubs fans). I'm guessing that more than half of greater Jaysdom has an ignorant view of Burnett, so it's hardly surprising to see him reciprocate. What, you expected maturity from a guy whose warm up music is "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids on the Block?
One of my air conditioners died, so I best be off to Walmart to get a new one before I turn into a puddle here.
Chins up, lads!
-- Johnny Was