Not entirely, of course, but with the first six of well reported 13 game showdown between the Yankees and Jays now in the books, it's an opportune time to catch our breath and take stock. As you might guess, my intent was to post this entry on Monday but as is so often the case lately, life got in my way o a regular basis. Now we've put two more games behind us but, ya know, oh well.
That does give me the chance to point out something that I don't think any of the mainstream writers have pointed out. A lot of what was said over the course of last weekend made reference to the Yankees having "3 games in hand" (that is, that they had played three fewer games than the Blue Jays). The presumption, of course, being the Yankees might win all three and so they had a bigger advantage that the 1.5 games they left Toronto with Sunday night. But now, four days later, the Yankees have burned 2 out of those 3 and are still only 1.5 games ahead. Having 1 more or less game played from here on out becomes pretty irrelevant. That's a sort of unseen win for the Jays this week. Meanwhile, while rooting for the pitching-rich Indians to dominate the Yanks this weekend, I do worry that we still have to play that Cleveland bunch before the end of the month.
Also, am I the only one who notices how well Marcus Stroman's re-hab schedule is aligned to Drew Hutchison's turn in the rotation? I don't think that's a co-incidence. Even with Hutch coming off two good starts, it sure looks like a lack-of-confidence issue on the part of the team. Stroman is going to get three chances through his re-had to prove himself and then he'll line up with the Sept 9 start, that would normally fall to Hutch, at Boston. This also happens to be the next Hutch start that falls on a road game. Hmmm. It would not be too conspiratorial to suppose that Hutch's two home start (Detroit, and Baltimore) serve as a sort of audition for the Boston game. And that game, in turn, an audition for the rest of the season (potentially 4 more starts).
That assumes, of course, that they don't skip Hutch on 9/3, but if they do that he'll have a start in New York instead of one at home against the Orioles (and it's just as crucial to beat the O's at this point too). One would assume that's not the outcome they'd want. Speaking of skipping turns, Ben Ennis was grumbling a bit on the air today about not getting maximum usage out of David Price because of the off days and not keeping him on 4 days rest. But I think he's missing the boat. In his first start, the Blue Jays pushed him back a day so that not only would he open against the Twins, whom the Blue Jays were chasing for the wild card at the time, but he would start twice versus the Yankees rather than one against NY and one against Oakland. Which is a GOOD thing. But as I noted at the time, once he started that second time vs. NY (also on 5 days) that guaranteed the Jays would only get 12 starts from him, rather than 13. From tat point onward, even if he goes every 5 days instead of every 5 games, it doesn't help. So on that front, there's no motivation to skip Hutch to get more price - rather it's just about match-ups.
Here's a trivia for you: Josh Donaldson, with 1/4 of the seasons left, is already sporting the 8th highest season WAR in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. He's still on pace for #1 on that list. A the moment, he's just passed Colby Rasmus (who had 3 times as many PA and if he hits the 8.8 he's on pace for, he'd pass Joe Carter - who had more than 6 times as many PA in the uniform as Donaldson is on pace to have.
Finally, regrading Alex Anthopoulos' future. Having heard a plethora of conversations on the subject, here's what I think should happen. I'd promote Alex to president of Baseball Operations, and hire a business focused executive to be president of all the non-baseball matters. Which of them is superior to the other wouldn't be all the important to me, but if the business guy is technically Alex's superior, he wouldn't have the last word on the baseball personnel decisions. The latest rumor, of course, is Shapiro from Cleveland. And I respect his baseball acumen and in my scenario, I'd be glad to add another mind to the decision making process but Alex would have the ultimate authority. He's shown himself to be an incredibly prepared and intelligent executive with an uncanny instinct for making the right decisions (not to say perfect but no one is). While I don't think he has the experience to carry out the duties of the president on the business side, I for one don't want anyone between him and ownership anymore.