September 30, 2008
September 26, 2008
Yesterday, I sang the praises of A.J. Burnett and how wonderful he was against the Red Sox and Yankees this season. Now, it's time to lavish praise on his brother in arms in the fight against the evil empires, Roy Halladay.
September 25, 2008
It's official: Cito's staying. And I couldn't be happier. We're in for two more years, at least, of The Gastonian one, and I'm saying it now: he will lead us to the
promised land playoffs.
If that was A.J. Burnett's final start with the Toronto Blue Jays, he went out in style, throwing another gem against the detested, the hated, the loathed New York Yankees.
September 23, 2008
September 21, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 19, 2008
September 16, 2008
September 15, 2008
First of all, fuck you, Dustin Pedroia.
Look at that smug little grin on his face. What an asshole. I'm off Pedroia. Huge.
My apologies, but I had to get that out of the way.
Well, it's all over for the 2008 edition of
September 13, 2008
Last night didn't go so well. Eighty-five year old shitballer Tim Wakefield had his knuckleball dancing; dancing right around the Jays' bats. We're on the ropes, my friends.
September 12, 2008
That's right folks, we're playing 'em.
I decided last night that the cut off line to determine whether a team is still in the race on September 12th is 7.5 games. If you're trailing by more than 7.5, say goodnight. The Jays are 6.5 games back, and in Boston for four. In other words, it's a race, bitches.
This is what we asked for at the start of the season. This is why me and the boys bought a 20-game flex pack six games into the campaign. This is why we back-ended the flex pack. Because we believed. And the Toronto Blue Jays have rewarded our faith.
Proof that the Gastonian one and company believe this series is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of the playoffs for the Jays can be found in the fact that Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Jesse Litsch will all be pitching on three days rest this weekend.
You know what else that means? That Burnett and Halladay will face the Red Sox when they're in town next week. You're damned right it's crunch time.
The Jays have 16 games left on their schedule, seven against the BoSox. To reach 95 wins, the Jays need to win all their remaining 16 games. Like The Ack said in the comments section over at The Tao of Stieb, the Jays have nothing to lose. We were written off months ago. The pressure is on the Red Sox.
Is it possible that the Jays will clear the table the rest of the way? Sure, but the odds are heavily stacked against them. But if I'd have told you that the Jays would win 10 in a row, and 11 out of 12, against the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox in late August and early September, you wouldn't have believed me. That's baseball, baby. You never know what you're going to get.
In an hour and a half David Purcey will take the mound against knuckleballing douchebag Tim Wakefield in the biggest series the Blue Jays have played in recent memory. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself.
I've been a believer since April 1. Ain't no point in stopping now. Go Jays. Let's do the impossible.
September 10, 2008
Because I must be dreaming. It's 10 in a row for the Jays after yesterday's douple dip.
I've got to thank Ghostrunner on First's Lloyd the Barber for his fine live-bloggage of yesterday's matinee. His service to humanity was definitely appreciated over here.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Jays are on their finest win steak this century, and are one win away from tying the franchise best 11-game run the 1998 Jays pulled off.
You're no doubt hearing the haters chime in with the "who cares, it's too late" garbage, but, no, it's not too late. Remember the 2007 Mets? Yeah, those guys. Pretty good team they had down in Queens.
The Jays are seven games behind the Red Sox in the wild card race and, lo and behold, have seven more dates with said Red Sox. Quite convenient. Quite.
Doc Halladay will be on the mound tonight vs. Mark Buehrle. The game will likely be over in an hour and a half with those two on the mound. Doc's going for win number 19, and looking to extend the streak. In Doc I trust. There's no better pitcher in baseball. Nope, not even Cliff Lee.
Here's another solid breakdown showing why Doc is more deserving of the Cy Young award, courtesy of the thullards at DJF.
But, really, fuck the Cy Young. We all know the only thing Doc wants is a playoff birth. If he wins tonight, look for him to start on three days rest over the weekend. It's crunch time, mes amis.
Say what you want about the Jays and their late season run, there's no way you can argue that they aren't making the final month of the season more interesting and more exciting. They're doing they're damndest to give us meaningful baseball in September and for that, I salute them. In fact, I'm actually kind of proud of them.
And if you're looking for more ammunition against the haters, and especially the J.P. Ricciardi haters, here: the Jays sport a 30-26 against opponents in the AL East, the best division in baseball, and are undefeated against the two best teams in the AL Central, the White Sox and Twins.
Believe, damn it. Believe.
And don't forget to please vote for Tom Cheek.
September 08, 2008
Thanks for owning the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays (again), and for the free pizza, David Purcey. You are a rudey.
That's eight victories in a row for our Blue Jays, my friends. We're in Chicago for four, beginning tonight. A.J. Burnett will be on the mound for the good guys.
Toronto is now 10 games over the .500 mark. Since the Gastonian one took over behind the wheel, the Jays are 41-27. That's .600 baseball, mes amis.
Speaking of Cito, he deserves some props for leaving Purcey in the game in yesterday's 8th inning. Purcey made his own mess, loading the bases up with two outs, and Gaston let him clean it up. Just another reason why Cito is the man. It's pitching in situations like that that will go a long way in Purcey becoming a full-time major leaguer.
During the Jays' super excellent 6-0 homestand last week, they hit 11 home runs. Eleven home runs. By the 2008 Toronto Blue Jays. In six games. Crazy.
When John McDonald, the Prime Minister of Defence, plays, the Blue Jays win. The Jays are 27-18 when Johnny Mac gets the start at shortstop.
You know that Jesse Carlson guy? He's good. In 60 appearances he's sporting a 6-1 record, 1.90 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and an opponents batting average of .197. He's struck out 51 batters in 52 innings, and he picked up his second save of the season yesterday. And he's a 27-year-old rookie. Another rudey on a roster full of 'em.
Don't forget to vote for Tom Cheek. Daily.
September 07, 2008
It's that time of year again, where we must all aspire to do our part to get the legendary voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, Tom Cheek, awarded the Ford C. Frick Award, for "major contributions to baseball." The award is basically the equivalent of a broadcaster being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, and there is no broadcaster more deserving than the late, great, Tom Cheek.
Cheek was the radio voice of the Blue Jays from 1977 to 2004, and he called a remarkable 4,306 straight games. Cheek's ridiculous streak of consecutive games ended on June 3rd, 2004, when he took two games off after the death of his father. Basically, Cal Ripken ain't got nothing on our man Cheek.
It's hard to believe that Tom left this world almost three years ago, on October 14th, 2005. It's our duty, as Jays fans, to make sure he gets this award. We owe him that much, wouldn't you agree? For more "About Tom," and what he meant to The Tao of Stieb's weekend editor The Ack, click here.
Where you really need to click, though, for the rest of the month, is here, to vote for Tom Cheek for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award. It takes a couple of minutes to enter in your personal information once you've picked Tom as your selection but, honestly, take the time. If you're reading this blog, you've obviously got nothing better to do. Tom Cheek, the Blue Jays organization, your fellow Blue Jays fans, and especially Cheek's family, would appreciate it.
Voting for the Frick award will take place throughout the rest of September. You can vote once a day, so I'm encouraging you to please do so. Toronto Blue Jays blogs all across Al Gore's internet are spreading the word and if we all do our part, Tom will surely win. Tell your friends. Let's make it happen, folks. For Tom. He will forever be remembered as the voice of the Blue Jays. After a call like the one below, there's no doubt as to why.
What a ball game. Exactly how the Jays drew it up. Four hours and 15 minutes long, a blown 3-0 lead in the top of the ninth, a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the 13th inning, and a walf-off grand slam by "0-for-in-August" Gregg Zaun.
Yep, exactly how they drew it up.
I don't know about you, but as Zaun's ball headed toward, and eventually over, the fence, I was going about as crazy as Kramer at the off-track betting joint. It was epic.
Was there anyone more deserving on the Toronto roster than Zaunie to stroke the game winning hit? And a grand slam, no less. In the moment, I really felt happy for Zaun. True, unadulterated, joy. You couldn't have bitch-slapped the smile off my face. Zaunie's had such a tough season playing second fiddle to Rod Barajas, and you could see the by the look on his face that he was so happy to contribute; to make a difference.
Zaun's seen his playing time diminish greatly under the Gastonian regime and, unlike a guy like David Eckstein, he let it be known that he wasn't happy about it. I was a little peeved at Zaun's public airing of grievances until a week ago, when a friend of mine made a good point about Zaun: he's a fighter. He's always been a fighter. He's been fighting for a spot, for a chance to play, his whole career. It's all he really knows.
I can't blame Zaun. He's an athlete, and a man. He wants to play. Throughout his entire career, he's heard that he'd never make it, or that he'd never be more than a back-up. But he's battled. He's overcome alcoholism. Eventually, he finally made it.
At the end of the day, Zaunie's good people. Above all else, he wants to win. And I respect that. It was a great moment - one of the highlights of the season, actually - to see him get mobbed by his teammates at home plate in celebration of his most clutch grand slammage. It's been a rough, rough season for Zaun and, as his career with the Blue Jays is likely winding down, it was great to see him stretch the Jays win steak to seven games courtesy of some high drama.
A little lost amongst the drama was the fact that B.J. Ryan blew his fourth save on the season, and his ERA has now crept up over three runs, to 3.12. It's never been a walk in the park in the ninth inning when The Beej has been on the mound this season, and I don't think J.P. Ricciardi would be doing his job if he doesn't consider trade offers for B.J. this coming off-season. There's been some interesting talk about the Jays' bullpen around the blogosphere of late - it is, after all, the deepest and best 'pen in the league - and you can check out a sample courtesy of The Tao of Stieb here.
As for the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays, I don't know about you, but when I saw them in the dugout during the 13th inning sporting the rally caps, all I could think was: these guys are kids. For some reason, the rally caps cried out inexperience and youthful exuberance. The Boston Red Sox wouldn't have been rocking the rally caps. Nor would have the New York Yankees. I think the golden rule is, or at least it should be, that you don't bust out the rally caps until the playoffs.
The DEVIL Rays have lost five of six, and are heading to Boston and then New York after Toronto. I would not be the surprised at all if they suffer a September collapse and end up missing the playoffs. It's time to see what they're made of.
The Jays are eight games behind the Red Sox in race for the wild card. Just saying. And we're undefeated in September. Just saying.
September 05, 2008
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.
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.
September 02, 2008
As I was lying on the beach this past weekend, basking in the glory of some incredible Labour Day long weekend weather, all I could think about was
the hot and scantily clad women all around me Tomas Kaberle.
I found the following big tune while wasting time on Facebook. It is simply phenomenal. Enjoy:
Catchy, eh? I know. I've been singing it for days, while I walk to work, and while in the laundry room in my building. Yep, people have definitely been looking at me funny, but I don't care, "because he's Tomas Kaberleeeee, defenceman for the Maple Leafs."
Kaberle for life.
Training camp is only 16 days away, my friends...