May 2007

Free Falling

The Longest Losing Streaks in Blue Jays history:

12 — May 31-Aug. 10, 1981 (strike year)
11 — Aug. 26-Sept. 6, 1977
10 — June 18-28, 1994
9 — July 17-30, 1977
9 — June 4-14, 1978
9 — April 24-May 3, 2002
9 — May 1-10, 2007 (ongoing)

The current drought matches the fourth-worst losing streak in team history. It also is one loss shy of tying the club’s worst skid to begin a month. During the 12-game losing streak in ’81, Toronto lost 10 games to begin August. The Jays have dropped all nine of their ongoing slump in May.

ON DECK: Toronto’s A.J. Burnett will look to right the ship against Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir, who is 2-3 with a 3.17 ERA in nine starts against the Blue Jays. He’s 2-2 with a 4.94 in four career outings at the Rogers Centre. Burnett, on the other hand, is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA in nine career outings against the Rays. Burnett is 7-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 12 career starts in Toronto.

Game #34: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Getting interactive again: It never fails in the life of a journalist. You go to bed one night, expecting it to be a normal day the next time you head to the park, and then you’re bombarded with news. Today, we learned Toronto closer B.J. Ryan will be out for the year. I’ll be writing something on it before tonight’s game, but I still plan on fielding some questions from Blue Jays Nation throughout the contest. Again, these can be about the game in progress or general inquiries about the club. So join me in the comment field after the first pitch. Talk to you soon…

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Boston (22-10) at Toronto (13-20)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

RED SOX
Julio Lugo, SS
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Coco Crisp, CF
Doug Mirabelli, C
Alex Cora, 2B

PITCHING: RHP Tim Wakefield

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Sal Fasano, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay

NOTES: Ryan is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Best-case scenario, he’s ready by Spring Training 2008. … RHP Victor Zambrano was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right forearm. … Toronto recalled RHP Jamie Vermilyea and added him to the bullpen. … RHP Shaun Marcum will start Sunday against the Devil Rays. … Thomas was moved into the No. 5 spot for the second time this season. He has made 28 starts as the cleanup hitter. … With Ryan out for the year, Toronto will "play the hot hand" for the closer role, according to GM J.P. Ricciardi. RHP Jeremy Accardo was the first pitcher named as a potential candidate by both Ricciardi and manager John Gibbons, but neither wanted to commit to one player for that job.

B.J. Ryan Out for the Year

His back is fine, but his elbow is far from it. Toronto’s All-Star closer underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in Cincinnati on Thursday morning. Dr. Timothy Kremcheck, who performed the operation, told the Blue Jays that Ryan should be available by next spring.

Originally, the Jays said Ryan would miss 4-6 weeks after meeting with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews recommended four weeks of rest, and after three weeks, Ryan was put through a physical test in Texas. When the pain in his elbow, which has been there since the spring it turns out, wasn’t gone, Toronto discussed things over with the doctors and decided surgery was the best option. It’s the first such operation of Ryan’s career.

So, how who’s Toronto’s closer? Jason Frasor has been inconsistent and Jeremy Accardo could see some more time in the role. With Ryan out for the year, will Toronto look elsewhere for a temporary closer? They have Ryan under contract for three more years, so it’s have to be a one-year solution. I’m sure we’ll have a few more answers later today. Stay tuned…

Still sliding…

The Longest Losing Streaks in Blue Jays history:

12 — May 31-Aug. 10, 1981 (strike year)
11 — Aug. 26-Sept. 6, 1977
10 — June 18-28, 1994
9 — July 17-30, 1977
9 — June 4-14, 1978
9 — April 24-May 3, 2002
8 — May 1-9, 2007 (ongoing)

During the club-worst 12-game slide, Toronto dropped the first 10 games in August. The eight-game losing streak to start this May is the longest slump to begin a month since that 1981 stumble.

ON DECK: Toronto ace Roy Halladay will try to apply the tourniquet on Thursday in the finale of a three-game set against the Red Sox. And as a heads up for you fans, I’ll once again field questions during the game on the blog. So feel free to come on the site here during the contest tomorrow to send me Q’s about the game in progress or the team in general. I decided to do it at the last minute on Wednesday, but I’m giving a days’ worth of advance notice this time around.

Stay tuned for more…

Game #33: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Getting interactive: I may be setting a dangerous precedent here in the sense that I won’t be able to do this that often, but what the heck. I’m at the Boston-Toronto game tonight at the Rogers Centre, but have the day off from writing. So, to pass the time here in the pressbox, I’ll agree to field some in-game questions from Blue Jays Nation. Just post a question in the comment field below this post, and I’ll try to get to it during the game. I may not get to all of them, so the better your inquiries, the more likely I’ll be to single it out. These can be questions about the game in progress, or about the team in general. Talk to you soon…

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Boston (21-10) at Toronto (13-19)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

RED SOX
Julio Lugo, SS
Coco Crisp, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Eric Hinske, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B

PITCHING: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka of Tokyo, Japan

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Troy Glaus, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Sal Fasano, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Tomo Ohka of Kyoto, Japan

NOTES: It looks like RHP Victor Zambrano won’t be making another start for the Blue Jays, but Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi wouldn’t clarify who might start on Sunday, saying only, "We’ll have something on that later in the week." One option could be RHP Casey Janssen, who is currently in the bullpen. … Ricciardi said LHP Gustavo Chacin (sore shoulder) is feeling better and he’s scheduled to play catch again on Saturday. Chacin, who will need a few Minor League rehab starts, is eligible to be activated from the DL on May 14, but it’s more likely he’s out until closer to the end of the month. … RHP John Thomson has a blister on a finger on his throwing hand, according to Ricciardi, and that will delay his rehab with Triple-A Syracuse by 10 days. That means Toronto won’t have to make a decision on Thomson until around the first week of June.

Game #32: Red Sox at Blue Jays pregame

After a handful of days off, I’m back at the ballpark here in Toronto. I got to spend the last few days absorbing hours of The Sopranos. I’m wrapping up Season 1 and also taking in some of Season 4 (which is how far my wife is into the series). I’ve never had much time to really sit down and watch the show, but I gotta say I’m getting addicted. Now, if only the Jays can avoid getting whacked for the seventh game in a row. Here’s today’s pregame blog:

Boston (20-10) at Toronto (13-18)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

RED SOX
Julio Lugo, SS
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B

PITCHING: RHP Josh Beckett

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Troy Glaus, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Jason Phillips, C
Royce Clayton, SS

PITCHING: RHP Victor Zambrano

NOTES: RHP Dustin McGowan is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday and Zambrano is slated for Sunday. RHP A.J. Burnett is scheduled to go on Friday. … After experimenting with Hill in the leadoff spot, Toronto manager John Gibbons opted to put Rios back at the top of the order. … Gibbons was hesitant to name who his go-to pitcher was for the ninth inning.

Game #28: Blue Jays at Indians pregame

Toronto (13-14) at Cleveland (16-8)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Jacobs Field

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, LF
Frank Thomas, DH
Troy Glaus, 3B
Alex Rios, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Jason Phillips, C
Matt Stairs, RF
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Dustin McGowan

INDIANS
Grady Sizemore, CF
David Dellucci, LF
Travis Hafner, DH
Victor Martinez, C
Trot Nixon, RF
Ryan Garko, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Mike Rouse, 3B
Josh Barfield, 2B

PITCHING: LHP Cliff Lee

NOTES: CF Vernon Wells sat out due to flu-like symptoms — the same issue that kept him out of action on Monday in Toronto. He visited a doctor in Cleveland on Thursday. … Toronto manager John Gibbons’ cited Hill’s ability to get on base as the reasoning for putting him into the leadoff spot. It’s the first time Hill has ever started in first slot of the lineup. … Gibbons hasn’t decided who will start for the Jays against the Red Sox on Tuesday — a day after the team’s off-day.

THUMBS UP: This afternoon, I took some time out to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in Cleveland. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, it’s definitely worth a look. The ’90s grunge era is what I grew up on, so the displays that had artifacts from that period were especially sweet for me. Nothing beats seeing old Mother Love Bone concert posters next to a shattered Mike McCready guitar. The special exhibit on The Clash was particularly cool, too. Anyway, check it out sometime if you’re in Cleveland.

UPDATE — 7:19 p.m. ET on Friday, May 4: I didn’t make the trip to Texas. So you’ll have to live without the blog lineups/notes for a few days. I may come back on here and comment on some stuff tomorrow. For now, I’m heading out with my wife to grab some dinner in Toronto.

Game #27: Blue Jays at Indians pregame

Toronto (13-13) at Cleveland (15-8)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Jacobs Field

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Troy Glaus, 3B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Royce Clayton, SS
Sal Fasano, C

PITCHING: RHP Victor Zambrano

INDIANS
Grady Sizemore, CF
David Dellucci, LF
Travis Hafner, DH
Victor Martinez, C
Trot Nixon, RF
Ryan Garko, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Casey Blake, 3B
Josh Barfield, 2B

PITCHING: RHP Jake Westbrook

Game #26: Blue Jays at Indians pregame

Toronto (13-12) at Cleveland (14-8)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Jacobs Field

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Troy Glaus, 3B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Royce Clayton, SS
Adam Lind, LF
Jason Phillips, 1B
Sal Fasano, C

PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett

INDIANS
Grady Sizemore, CF
David Dellucci, LF
Travis Hafner, DH
Victor Zambrano, C
Trot Nixon, RF
Ryan Garko, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Casey Blake, 3B
Josh Barfield, 2B

PITCHING: LHP C.C. Sabathia

NOTES: RHP Dustin McGowan will start on Thursday for the Blue Jays, who plan to recall him from Triple-A Syracuse prior to that outing. McGowan was on hand with the Jays at The Jake on Tuesday. … LHP Gustavo Chacin underwent an MRI exam on his left shoulder in Cleveland on Tuesday and the results revealed no more than a mild strain. … With the left-handed Sabathia on the mound for Cleveland, Toronto manager John Gibbons opted to move lefty Adam Lind down in the lineup, and subsequently bumped Wells, Thomas and Glaus up one spot. 1B Lyle Overbay was given a day off. … Gibbons said the Toronto coaching staff will keep a close eye on RHP Victor Zambrano’s pitch count during his start on Wednesday. Gibbons didn’t have a specific number in mind, but he indicated that he hopes Zambrano can pitch three or four innings — five, if everything goes perfectly.

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