September 05, 2008

Who Said Playing Spoiler Isn't Fun?

The Blue Jays are relishing the role of spoiler. They completed a sweep of the Minnesota Twins last night, giving the Twinkies' playoff aspirations a big "fuck you" in the process.

It was a most entertaining series. On Tuesday, the Jays rallied from behind, erased a 5-1 deficit and won the game 7-5. And you know how they did it? By hitting home runs. Three of them. In the same game. Back-to-back jacks from Alex Rios and Jose Bautista (his was a two-run shot), and a two-run bomb from Lyle Overbay. As the cherry on top of my home run sundae, B.J. Ryan pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning for the save. Unbelievable, I know. When I woke up on Wednesday, I kid you not, it felt like Christmas morning. It just felt great to be alive.

On Wednesday night, A.J. Burnett pitched well enough to win, but the bullpen couldn't hold the 3-0 lead. In a 3-3 game in the 9th inning, The Beej allowed the Twins to plate their fourth run. Once again, however, the Jays refused to go quietly into the night. And they were led by the young phenom - the savior, the franchise - Travis Snider. Snider tied up the game in the bottom of the 9th with a clutch base hit, his third of the game, off uber closer Joe Nathan, who entered the game with a nasty 1.11 ERA and 36 saves. It was an inspiring plate appearance from the 20-year-old, especially considering he fell behind in the count.

In the 11th inning, John McDonald provided the dramatics, walk-off style, and the Jays were once again victorious. The Tao of Stieb put it best: "Oh, and don't forget Johnny McDonald driving in the winning run. That's always good for the soul." You're damn right it is, Tao.

Last night, Jesse Litsch was unhittable, going the distance on a four-hitter. Whatever Litsch worked on when he was sent down to the 'Cuse, it's working. In 28 and 2/3 innings since his recall, he's allowed only 3 earned runs. That's pretty damn impressive. Hopefully my boy Shaun Marcum can parlay his demotion into similar results.

I mentioned Travis Snider's performance on Wednesday, but he was even better yesterday. He clocked his first career big league home run, to deep centre field no less, and finished 3-for-3 on the night with 2 RsBI and a walk. I know, it's only been four games, but the kid is batting .467. If he's not causing your cock to stir a little bit in your pants, you might need one of those blue pills.

Some housekeeping:

Vernon Wells hit home run number 16 last night, in game number 86. He hit 16 home runs in 149 games in 2007. I think it's safe to say that his shoulder really was fucked up last season, hence the dramatic drop in power. It's looking more and more likely that he will reach the 20 home run mark this season, and that's impressive because of all the time he's missed. It will also help me to sleep better at night, knowing that at least one Blue Jay finished with 20 or more jacks.

Over the long weekend, David Eckstein played his final game for the Toronto Blue Jays, as he was traded to the land of the rising sun. I never got to say goodbye, so I thought I'd take a moment. I don't think Eck got a fair shake in Toronto once The Gastonian one arrived. Not that I blame Cito, who is, like the rest of us, clearly a Johnny Mac fan. But Eckstein never complained about his diminished playing time or his role on the team. As Mike Wilner was kind enough to point out, Eck put up numbers almost idential to his career stats. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. So there's no hard feelings. He was a gamer and, by all accounts, one of the classier guys around. Cheers, Eck. Stay scrappy.

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