Soaked in Cleveland

I gotta tell you, when my plane landed in Cleveland and I saw what the weather looked like, I thought for sure a rain delay was imminent. When I got to my hotel and relaxed for a few hours while the rain poured down outside, I thought a rain out might be on deck. But when I got to Jacobs Field, and the rain let up ever so slightly, they decided to play on. I guess it’s late August in Cleveland — rain happens. You just have to deal with it.

I was still surprised, though, that the game’s nine innings played through without a single delay. When the Indians took the lead in the fifth — making the game official — I had flashbacks to the April game in Chicago when the White Sox "won" the game after it was called after five frames. A repeat didn’t happen, though.

The game might as well have been called. Toronto didn’t produce much offense after the fifth — not enough to overcome the six runs the Indians got anyway. A.J. Burnett didn’t look sharp, but after the game, he wouldn’t blame the rain at all. He said he wanted to look at film of his start to see what went wrong. Personally, I think he might look at the film and just realize the rain did play a role in his control issues. Cleveland starter Paul Byrd didn’t look very sharp when the rain was coming down its hardest, either.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND NOTES:

– If any of you read Jeff Blair’s blog on the Globe and Mail Web site (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/baseball), you will have read that Ted Lilly was claimed off waiver by Boston, but Toronto couldnt work out a trade and eventually pulled him back. A team can pull a player back once during the waiver period — that’s called revocable waivers. My opinion on the whole thing? I don’t think it’s that big of news. Sure, if I found it out, I would’ve reported it, too, but teams place all kinds of players on waivers during a season. I’m sure many of those players have claims put on them, only to have a trade not happen and the team then pulls the player back. This happens a lot — it’s just not something that you’ll read  alot about because teams don’t announce who they’ve placed on waivers.

–Alex Rios is in a terrible slump right now. Earlier in the season, you’d have the feeling he was going to do something big every time he stepped up to the plate. Now, it just doesn’t have that same feeling. His timing is off, his mechanics are out of whack, and there haven’t been a whole lot of signs of improvement. He’s hit .192 since coming off the DL in late July and his season average has dropped to .293 from .330 in the process. He homered recently, but hitting coach Mickey Brantley said that only furthered Rios’ skid. Brantley said it seems like Rios has tried to jump right back to where he left off before getting a staph infection in his left leg, but the right fielder lacks the strength and the timing to do so. During his swing, Brantley noted that Rios is leaning back — a problem he ran into at times last season.

–Toronto could’ve considered giving Rios a game or two off, but right now the club is playing with 24 guys. Outfielder Frank Catalanotto went home to be with his wife, who gave birth to a daughter on Monday, and will miss the entire Cleveland series. The baby girl is the Catalanotto’s third child and they named her Karson Riley. Congrats to the Cats. Jays manager John Gibbons noted that being without Catalanotto — though he is a great hitter — might not be a huge deal, considering the Indians will start lefties on Tuesday and Wednesday. Cat is supposed to rejoin the Jays in Boston on Thursday.

–If Ryan Roberts never gets another shot in the Majors, he would have a good Cup of Coffee story. His only hit in the big leagues up to this point is a homer that landed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. I’m sure he’ll get another call at some point — just not likely this season.

–With Roberts back at Triple-A, Toronto recalled infielder Russ Adams. He was with the team on Monday and started and played second base, giving Aaron Hill a night off. This is Adams third stint in the Majors this year after beginning this year as the projected starting shortstop. With a month left, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares. I think it’s important for him to finish on a strong note. I doubt John McDonald will be the starting shortstop when Spring Training breaks next season and that means the double-play combo could be Hill at SS and Adams at 2B if Toronto doesn’t acquire another middle infielder in the offseason. Personally, I have been very impressed with Hill at second and think that’s where he belongs.

–Reliever Justin Speier still says he’s on pace to come off the DL by Sept.6-8 or somewhere around there. He plans on throwing in a bullpen session either in Cleveland or in Boston. It’ll be his first since injuring his forearm.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It’s not our fastest lineup, but it’s a good one." –Gibbons, on having catchers Bengie Molina, Gregg Zaun and Jason Phillips all in the starting lineup on Sunday

When Molina heard that Gibbons said that, he burst out laughing and could only reply with, "It’s true. It’s true."

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Why would Carl Pavano not tell the Yankees he hurt two of his ribs in a car accident? Not a good move.

Well, sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. Now that I’m on the road — and in lovely Cleveland for that matter — I’m sure I’ll be posting almost daily. It’s when I’m home in Toronto, balancing life at work with the Jays and life at home with my wife, that I tend to slack some on the blog. My apologies. I hope this ties you all over until tomorrow. Until then, stay tuned for more…

3 Comments

Personally I don’t know how A.J. can comment that the rain wasn’t a factor – he kept going to the rosin bag during the game and his curve wasn’t breaking as it normally does (persumably because he didn’t have the grip he needed). Just goes to show that even the best athletes need coaches.

This start doesn’t mean much and he should be back into form for the next game.

personally i like the way johnny mac has been playing. he has had 4 or 5 web gems a week since he got the job, and he isnt hitting that bad for a 9 hole hitter. i also think it would be a mistake to put hill back at short.

p.s. for the poll recently posted about single game performances, how about vernon’s 4 for 5 night including a walk-off homer against the yankees, off rivera no less?

Chacin going out with a hand cramp was not a good sign, especially since he had seemingly recovered his control after working out of a jam. One wonders how the game would have turned out if he hadn’t gotten injured. Hope he’s not headed for another stint on the DL.
I agree that Johnny Mac has been great defensively at SS, but I don’t think the Jays can pass up a chance to add someone like Julio Lugo if he fits in their budget. Add him, keep Wells, and either get a dedicated DH or even re-sign Cat and slot him in there when he’s not in the outfield, and you’re talking murderer’s row. Then again, if you did that you might not have budget space for more pitching.

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