23 July 2007

Series Preview in Blog: Toronto Blue Jays (Round 3)

This post is also published at Stick and Ball Guy's site. Stop by and check out what SBG Nation has to say.

I apologize for not getting something together for the Angels series, our cats dumped a vase of flowers on our keyboard and the bottom row stopped working for a couple of days. Being that 'Los A_geles', 'A_ahei_', and 'A_gels' all required use of the 'n' or 'm' key, I decided to pass on that for the moment. However I could have possibly posted something about 'typewriters' or 'stewaredesses', or maybe 'polkas', but it just didn't seem right. Anyway, we're back, new keyboard in hand, with the Toro_to _lue Jays.

Minnesota Twins (51-47) @ Toronto Blue Jays (48-50)

The Twins finished up a 6-4 homestand by winning two of three from the Angels. They now head out on the road for six games against the Jays and the Indians. The Blue Jays won two of three from Seattle this past weekend in Toronto and finish up their homestand with these three games against the Twins. Toronto is in third place in the AL East, 11 games behind the Red Sox, far enough out of the races that it may be time to
give up on this season for the Jays front office. The Blue Jays have been a very different team in Canada, where they are 28-20 (as opposed to the US where they are 20-30). The Twins haven't played a game north of the border, but they are an even 23-23 on the road. The Twins won 4 of the 7 games played by these two teams in Minnesota.

Toronto Blue Jays Inspired Trivia: The Blue Jays are one of four franchises in the Major Leagues which have not officially retired a jersey number (excepting Jackie Robinson's 42). Can you name the other three? (Hint: at least one of the answers is a franchise over 15 years old). You can cross off the Yankees and the Nationals from your potential answers, as they have not only retired numbers, they've retired the same number twice (NY - #8, WAS - #10).

Here's the midseason
report card on the Blue Jays offense. Alex Rios gets high marks, but no mention is made of his penchant for very loud shirts. There were quite a few comments on how inconsistent the Jays offense has been this season. But, when you crunch the numbers, Toronto fans have got nothing on Twins fans in that department. Of course, there are other ways to annoy your fan base. Losing on a balk is certainly right up there.

Report cards on the
starters and the relievers were also filled out, with the bullpen getting high marks. The Twins will face a trio of young Toronto starters in this series, while missing Roy Halladay (Nick Punto breathes a sigh of relief). The Blue Jays have been blessed with some strong performances from their young pitchers, which is naturally a bad thing. While I can't really agree that good equals bad for the Jays, it will be interesting to see how the rotation changes in the remainder of this season and in to the next.

On Monday Johan Santana pitches against Shaun Marcum (13 starts, 3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .219 BAA, 2.9 BB/9). Marcum has hit a rough patch recently, posting a 8.22 ERA over his last 3 starts. He has received the lowest amount of run support from the offense as well. In his previous outing against the Twins he held them to one run in 8 innings in a no-decision.

Tuesday brings Scott Baker and Dustin McGowan (14 starts, 4.84 ERA, .248 BAA, 3.5 BB/9). McGowan has alternated good and bad outings over the last 7 starts (2,6,0,5,0,6,2 runs allowed) and he’s due for a bad outing. Personally, I'm looking forward to the battle of the sideburns,
McGowan versus Mauer. While his facial hair choices have drawn some criticism, Marcum says "My wife is the only one who likes them, and she’s the only one that counts." For more on facial hair, there are a couple of links in this entry to the best beards and mustaches in baseball. Sal Fasano is understandably featured in those lists, Fasano is currently in the Toronto farm system, and he has endeared himself to Toronto fans to the point where they have taken up the cause that the American League could have used him in the All-Star game. That's a hard pill to swallow, but what's undeniable is that Fasano has been the best Jays catcher with respect to throwing out baserunners, something the Jays have struggled with all year.

In the finale, it's Carlos Silva against Jesse Litsch (7 starts, 4.54 ERA, .317 BAA, 3.8 BB/9). All these Toronto pitchers seem to have control issues. In his start against the Twins, the rookie Litsch required a lot of pitches (89) to go only 4.3 innings, and gave up 8 hits and 3 runs.

Finally, this is the last series against the Blue Jays, so it's my last chance to mention
The Batter's Box Hall of Names. A roster is assembled following a theme, and they've had a lot of great entries in the series. My favorites are Latin themed names, the last player standing from each birth year, a series on players with the same first and last initials, and, of course, the Harry Potter themed roster.

1 comment:

Ray Felix, III said...

Trivia Answer:

Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Devil Rays retired Wade Boggs number 12 and the Marlins retired the number 5 in honor of Carl Barger (executive)

Reference: baseball-almanac.com