Game #107: Jays at Rays pregame

Toronto (53-53) at Tampa Bay (40-66)
at 3:10 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Reed Johnson, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Alex Rios, RF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Vernon Wells, CF
Matt Stairs, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Curtis Thigpen, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Josh Towers (5-7, 5.08 ERA)

DEVIL RAYS
Akinori Iwamura, 3B
Carl Crawford, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Delmon Young, RF
Brendan Harris, 2B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Dioner Navarro, C
Josh Wilson, SS

PITCHING: RHP Jason Hammel (1-1, 5.33 ERA)

NOTES: Towers is making his first start since he made critical comments about manager John Gibbons, the coaching staff and his teammates. … Gibbons gave Thomas a second straight day off. Thomas said he asked for the day off on Tuesday, because his timing has been a little off at the plate. In Chicago, Thomas complained of feeling some general soreness for the first time this season, but the Big Hurt said Wednesday that isn’t behind his taking two days off here in St. Pete. … RHP A.J. Burnett threw 61 pitches in a four-inning simulated game at 11 a.m. at the Trop. Toronto hasn’t decided if he’ll need a Minor League rehab. If he does, it will be on Monday. … Gibbons may want to rethink using Hill as a leadoff man again. In four starts as the leadoff man, including on Tuesday, Hill has gone 0-for-18 at the plate.

AL EAST STANDINGS
entering Wednesday
1. Boston 64-42 (–)
2. New York 57-49 (7)
3. Toronto 53-53 (11)
4. Baltimore 50-55 (13.5)
5. Tampa Bay 40-66 (24)

AL WILD CARD RACE
entering Wednesday
1. Cleveland 60-46 (–)
2. Seattle 58-47 (1.5)
3. New York 57-49 (3)
4. Minnesota 55-51 (5)
5. Toronto 53-53 (7)

63 Comments

Yeah, Hill just isn’t a leadoff hitter appearently.

That’s why if they trade Reed to open up left field for Lind they better make sure that they get ****/2B who can be a table-setter.

wow. overbay stole a base! and helped put us in the lead no less. rios kinda screwed up getting caught stealing third though. i mean he is already in scoring position there is no need to take third

I’m wondering whether Rios took off on his own, or was the steal called by the coaches. Why these guys continually try to steal 3rd base is beyond me-it seems to work only 1 of 10 times and they keep trying it.

wonder if Towers will get upset if he’s pulled now

might as well give them a single to complete the cycle in 1 inning.

Anyone want to reconsider sending Litsch down instead of towers when Burnett comes back…man he succked. And the line up tonight cant hit worth crapp to…Vernon is terrible…I say put him in lead off…he was fantastic there…maybe its a mental thing but he was…and as soon as they took him out on every occassion he was terrible again.

Its TAMPA BAY, COME ON!!!!!!

I think this time Towers knows why he got pulled. If anything he’ll be upset with himself since I believe he is fighting for his position as the fifth starter…and he sealed the deal.

How can any pitcher feel good going out and pitchen for a team that cant hit a pitcher who is 1 and 7 lifetime and a bullpen that puts the ball on a tee,Clayton is just plain no good anymore.

please don’t knock Towers put the blame where the blame belongs.

Next year is going to stink with this slow nothing offence, The way this team is set up makes no sense at all,What good is the long ball if no one is on base thats when they hit the long ball.

hemgold Just read your post yes leave chacin in AAA ball for awhile Jessie has to stay up Towers in the pen for long man long man in the pen??? goes down.

Put Towers on waivers if he clears “lol” try to trade him somwhere for a prospect maybe to a team looking for a #5 starter just to get by.

Well guys another great road trip.

This one can’t be blamed on Towers (the offense is napping or drinking or both), but at the same time he just pitched himself out of a job. I do feel for the guy, but unless he had pitched an absolute gem today, Towers’ is looking more and more like the odd man out.

No matter what, it’ll be interesting to see what JP decides to do with him. I hope he doesn’t just outright release him, especially considering Philly was at least offering a half-decent prospect in return….

And gosh darn it (no swearing on this blog), what’s with Crawford single-handedly destroying the Jays every time they play him? I just read he hadn’t homered in over 40 games until hitting two against the Jays this series….

The only way to stop Crawford is to trade for him offer Towers”lol”Lind Wolf an two minor league players with some value “OH” but I forgot JP likes this team the way it is.

Rays are not going to trade Crawford guys. They might when he is entering his walk year but not now.

THE REALITY IS:

Jays will not trade for Crawford. And why would they?

We do not need outfielders-we have the best-so why trade for less!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only reason I said to trade for Crawford was to stop him from killing us,But we all know what is killing us “NO OFFENCE” and lately no defence,

Can anyone tell me why JP thinks this team will hit better next year because I sure can’t see it.

LOOK NO TRADES MOM.

Atlanta strikes gold with Teixeira HR 1 RBI 4 not bad.

The giants are on SNETE tonight maybe just maybe,I’m one of those guys that says prove me guilty or shut up.

GO BARRY.

For the record, I’d take Crawford in LF over Johnson or Lind any day. And of course there’s no way the Jays are trading for him — they’d have to offer half their team for a franchise player like that….

And in other news, am I not the only one who’s going to shoot himself in the face if he hears Thomas repeat once again that his “timing is a little off lately”? Considering his numbers this year, has his timing EVER been ON this year?

Give me a frickin’ break! Thomas’ numbers have been better lately, but they’re still a far cry from what was expected….

How right you are I like johnson but Crawford is better. We need at least two players who can steal bases and have a high OBP we have room at short for one and room at third for one.

How long can glaus play with the bone spur in his heel.

What about Johnson and his back will it hold.

I think JP missed the boat and should have traded these two guys but only time will tell.

Thomas’ falloff from last year is ridiculous. Nobody gets that old that fast. The rest of our guys who are struggling are hardly past their prime, which makes their poor numbers hard to explain. I thought Wells might have been affected by whatever caused his flu-like symptoms at the start of May, but it’s been three months. What did he have, Mono? (It’s not like the club would tell us.) We all love Johnny Mac’s defense, but Clayton clearly had the better offensive July, and if Wells wasn’t a hitting machine when leading off I’d consider Clayton in that slot. Overbay should be up there too, since he’s not hitting for power lately but he has worked more than his share of walks. Johnson just hasn’t been getting it done up top. He needs to get moved down. Speaking of moving Johnson, it’s not like he’s tall or heavyset. (He’s lighter and shorter than Hill.) Can we move him to short next year? This is only worthwhile if he finds his OBP mojo again and if Lind can be a major league hitter. Neither of these is guaranteed.

Iwas going to comment on Thomas myself but my timing was off lol.well we are still only 7 behind in the wild card but soon we will be chasing the yankees why does that sound familiar.

Torgen: Johnson at short is an interesting idea, but I think it would be really difficult to make that big of a position change this late in his career. If he was one less back surgery and a couple of years younger, maybe, but for now his place is in LF.

Wells really is a mystery. Maybe in the off-season we’ll find out he’s been playing injured all year? I dunno — I think he’s just really psyched himself out and maybe screwed up his basic mechanics. I think once the year’s over, he’ll have to go back to the drawing board and take “Batting Stance 101″ or something….

I’m also starting to think it’s not worth juggling the lineup much any more. Just stick with what they’ve got and hopefully things will work out. All the previous lineup changes and shake-ups don’t seem to have done much good….

I would say Johnson at short is not a bad idea but how long will it take him to learn how to play there and the big question is will his back take it remember shortstop is one of the hardest spots to play.
If the jays entertained that thought I think Lind can handle left field on a daily basis.

Apparently re-herniation of a disc after corrective surgery only occurs in 5% of cases, so I wouldn’t be too worried about Johnson’s back whether we leave him where he is or move him to short.

This just in: the Jays are (finally!) designating Clayton for assignment! Check it out:
http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/242499

Wonder who they’ll bring up? Olmedo’s playing well, plays multiple positions, has great defensive skills, and has some Major League experience. I guess Santos is an option, too, but his glove needs some MAJOR work….

And, ouch, here’s a scathing article about what the Jays “did” to Chacin:
http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/242349

hem.gold

Finally we’re through with Clayton. It will be interesting to see who they move up. Santos is already on the 40 man roster-and just got moved up to Syracuse. Probably because his bat has been hot the last 10 games. He needs work with the glove, has a rocket arm and pop in his bat-with 17 hr’s this year.

Olmedo’s better with the glove, hits for higher average-but no pop. He isn’t currently on the 40 man roster.

Either one is a better option than Clayton; but personally I’d vote for Santos.

Word on the “unofficial” Blue Jay blogs is that Olmedo’s coming up and Santos is getting another shot at AAA. I think that’s a solid move if the Jays are even going to pretend like they’re still in the wild card race — no need to break in a raw rookie with defensive problems and a knack for striking out.

The nice thing about Olmedo is that he’s a switch-hitter, has some speed, and he’s seen time at 3B, SS, 2B, and even the OF.

they both have advantages and disadvantages.

It looks like they both need work with the glove-Santos has 18 errors and Olmedo has 16. Olmedo is more flexible in positions played. But, Santos has the power with 17 HR’s hit. He’s also been hot lately batting .317 in the last 10 games, wereas Olmedo is hitting .258 in his last 10 games. Santos is 24, Olmedo is 26.

Both guys need help and will get good coaching here from Butterfield, Macdonald and Hill. I expect either one of them will improve dramatically with that coaching.

So, I guess the decision will likley be based upon what they want to do. Olmedo looks like a supersub, whereas Santos is a dedicated ss.

What I always come back to on Santos is the power. He’s the “new breed” of ss, whereas Olemdo is a tradional one.

Which ever way they go, though,is better than Clayton.

Santos does have power — there’s no doubt of that. But considering that the Jays’ lineup is already overrun with HR hitters, I think your more “traditional” shortstop would be a better fit on this current team. Someone who gets on base, has some speed, and who will score a bunch of runs. Olmedo’s probably not the answer, but it’ll be interesting to see what the Jays do with Santos.

But you’re definitely right about one thing — either way, Santos or Olmedo are definitely better options than the seemingly uninterested journeyman, Royce Clayton….

Hey, they might surprise both of us and call them both up-and send Howie Clark back down.

Olmeda gives us the same flexibility as Clark, and Clark has struggled here and isn’t playing much.

Clayton just to old and to slow this team is better of without him.

Clark should be gone to but is he a friend of a friend.

Now is the time to bring up Santos and Olmeda,Olmeda can give Glaus a break I think he needs one.

gsummer.is right Butterfield Hill Glaus and Johnny Mac can help these kids a lot and they will help the team with some speed.

torgen.Thanks for the back info.

Seven back in the wild card is not the end of the world but chasing the Yanks is.

I guess Towers is the odd man out.

How many of you think Burnett needs a rehab start I for one do,I think he needs to build up his arm strength or he may break down again.

If Burnett breaks down again it will be open house for bosoxbrian “lol”.

Talk about a breakdown. Did anyone see the line score form the NY-White Sox game. 16 runs scored in the second inning-8 by each team.

Clements went an astounding 1.2 innings and gave up 8 runs.

Clements is now 3-6. He’s likely got 10 more starts in the year-so if he keeps up the current pace will be 6-12. Seems to me each win costs the Yanks over $3 million.

Ouch-George must be pleased with that signing.

Garry

I agree Burnett should have at least 1 minor league start.

Burnett definitely needs a couple of rehab starts in the minors. If there’s one thing that’s for sure about Burnett, it’s that you’ve got to baby that arm or else he’ll hurt it faster than it takes Vernon Wells to pop out with runners in scoring position.

And do you folks think that once he returns to the Jays, he’ll actually last the rest of the season without hitting the DL again? I really hope so, but 10 trips to the DL in 9 seasons really isn’t too promising….

Clemens got ripped apart today but a bad White Sox team. perhaps his age is showing. All hype with Clemens and he doesn’t even have a winning record. Jays have a chance to catch the Yankees.

gsumner You got clements mixed up with clemens.no big deal.

bosox.

Do you think Burnett neds a rehab start or 2.

By the way Clements went nuts in the dugout last night must be the water.

The dismantling of the Yankee empire

YES Network is the MVP of Steinbrenner’s business empire, and it’s for sale, report Fortune’s Jon Birger and Tim Arango. Will the team end up on the block too?

We’re testing the waters with a limited universe of quality buyers,” says Cardinale. “We would consider selling only if we receive a full and fair price.”

And what might a “full and fair” price be? Try a cool $3 billion to $3.5 billion. At that price, one could argue that the true gem of the Yankees business empire isn’t the team itself but YES.

Indeed, selling YES could well be part of a long-term plan to keep the Yankees in the Steinbrenner family. The windfall from YES, of which the Yanks own 36 percent, would provide a cushion to pay off any future estate taxes as well as provide the money needed to sign expensive free agents, pay draft picks and otherwise run a business heavy on fixed costs.

“The reason they’re cashing out is in very large part so they’ll have enough cash to continue to own the team,” says one source.

Even so, there remains speculation among the Yankees limited partners and other baseball insiders that Hal is simply echoing the wishes of an ailing father – that the Steinbrenners do not intend on keeping the team long term.

The topic of a sale “comes up all the time” in conversations with the other partners, says Yanks minority owner Edward Rosenthal, a retired steel executive. Adds another Yankees limited partner: “If I were handicapping it, I think we’re looking at a sale of the team within three or four years.”

Were the Yankees to be auctioned off, the price tag for the team alone (in other words, not including the Yanks’ stake in YES) could easily soar past $1 billion, given the global reach of the Yankees brand, the benchmark that will be set by the upcoming sale of the Chicago Cubs (for a sum that could approach $1 billion), the untapped revenue sources (a Yankees hotel or restaurant chain?), and the fact that many if not most of Wall Street’s heavy hitters are Yankees fans (or have children who are).

“My golden retriever could sell the Yankees,” jokes one sports banker. “It would be the greatest bidding war in the history of bidding wars.”

Chacin is off to a better start tonight in Syracuse. First 3 innings and he’s given up 4 hits and allowed 1 run.

Interesting that neither Santos or Olmedo are playing.

There isn’t really any such thing as an ability to score runs. There’s an ability to get on base, a useful but not mandatory ability to get yourself into scoring position (either by stealing a base or by getting an extra base hit), and an amount of slugging behind you in the lineup that you have no control over. Anybody with a half decent OBA would be a good run-scoring guy with, e.g., A-Rod hitting behind him. Base stealing is nice and all, but a single and a stolen base isn’t as good as a double.

Chacin finished 4 innings, gave up four hits, 1 run and threw 64 pitches.

That is much better than his first two rehab starts.

gsumner: I never knew you wrote for CNN. If you are going to cut and past vertatim from CNN’s online article you should give Jon Birger and Tim Arango of Fortune some credit.

The link is: http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/01/news/companies/yes_sale.fortune/?postversion=2007080206

ms-

What are you talking about-their names are prominently mentioned in the first two to three lines.

Did you miss that or are you just being contrary?

torgen:

I totally agree that there’s no such thing as the “ability to score runs”. But there’s definitely a difference between a guy who drives runs in and a guy who scores them. Reed Johnson, for example, is a guy who’s going to score a lot more runs than drive them in, no matter where he is in the lineup. OBP does have a lot to do with it, but a guy who scores a lot of runs also has to be a smart base runner — gets good jumps, knows when to take an extra base, and will steal a bag or two when the need arises.

And I’m really not sure that a double is necessarily better than a single and a stolen base. A base stealer has the added bonus of rattling a pitcher. I’m not sure if you caught the recent game with the D-Rays when Accardo blew a save, but Accardo openly admitted after the game that he didn’t pitch well because he was so distracted by Crawford. Crawford steals second, advance to third, and then scores the tying run. Crawford or Chone Figgins on second is definitely more rattling than Frank Thomas who might get there by a double. You know Figgins or Crawford will score on a single into the outfield, but Thomas? No way….the pitcher can concentrate on the guy at the plate more.

I dunno…in a perfect world you’d have guys like Rios who can potentially do both — hit for extra bases AND steal a base or two. Then again, there’s still a market for singles hitters out there like Johnny Mac and Luis Castillo….

gsumner:

I’m also thinking MS is trying to get your goat a bit, but it also wouldn’t hurt to post a link every now and then.

But keep the articles coming — I, for one, think you post some interesting stuff….

GS: Love the articles, but ya gotta post a linkback.

Good News From New Hampshire

Rickie Romero, our number 1 draft pick in 2005 looks like he’s finally back from a trip to the DL earlier this year.

Rickie went 7.1 innings tonight, gave up 3 hits, no runs and struck out 8.

Well well well the way these pitchers are comeing around with Chacin looking good and Romero looking good this team is going to be heavy with good young starters AINT that great.

Toronto has been looking for good pitchen for years but every time one came up being a small market team with a small payroll we were outbid everytime.

Can you just imagine JPs delight when Burnett was on the market he jumped at the chance to bring him to Toronto with his fingers crossed,So far Burnett has not been a good fit “But we still have 3-1/2 years on his contract lets hope we now get what we paid for.

With a guy on first, a double gets you at least two guys in scoring position, and possibly a guy in scoring position and a guy scored. A base stealer who hits a single with a guy on first can’t steal second unless the guy on second can steal third. (Or made it to third on the single, in which case the single + stolen base wasn’t better than a double.)

Torgen:

But picture this scenario: you’ve got a speedy guy on first with another speedy, contact hitting guy at the plate. The first basemen has to hold the runner on, therefore opening up a hole between first and second. The guy at the plate pokes a base hit between first and second, the runner advances to third. Now you’ve got first and third, with the possibility of stealing second AND opening up that gap again because you’ve got to hold the runner at first again….

Not too shabby, but I guess we could argue this until the hackneyed cows come home. Looks like your a power person, while I like the speed and the hit and runs. We should manage teams in the AL and NL respectively and then meet in the World Series. It’s really the only way we can settle this for good….

What’s frustrating about Burnett is that if he finally has the healthy, awesome year we’ve been waiting for next season, he might just opt out of his contract and jump ship to another team once the year’s over. That would be brutal. Just imagine him in Yankee pinstripes….

hem.gold

Looks like it’s Olmedo who’s name has suddenly disappeared from the Syracuse roster.

And magically just appeared on the 40 man roster.

Good luck to him

gsumner:

Yup, according to the Toronto Star, Olmedo’s in:

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/242714

gsumner:

What’s interesting, too, is that from what I’ve read Santos wasn’t even considered an option to be called up. That really surprised me. But what’s surprised me even more is that Russ Adams likely had a better chance of coming up than Santos.

Weird. I’d forgotten all about Adams and his defensive meltdowns. Although he seems to be improving in AAA, his numbers really aren’t too impressive….

Hem.Gold

It seems like Riccardi’s response on Adams was an answer to a question. The last time I checked Admas was leading Syracuse in errors, so I don’t think he’s improved all that much. As a former first rounder though, they likely will not give up on him.

Olmedo deserved the shot-he’s played well for us in Syracuse. I think Santos will get a shot-likely in September. There’s really no sense in having him here and limiting his play.

I expect they want to try both of them out before the end of the year to see if they can go with 1 of them next year-along with Johnny Mac.

Hem.gold

The other thing about Adams is, he’s playing 2nd base. Personally, I would not like to see Hill moved from 2nd to ss and Adams take over 2nd. Hill plays like an all-star at 2nd and I’d like to see him stay there.

I also think his range is much better than Adams, and we need to keep that strength up the middle.

gsumner:

I completely agree that moving Hill to short is a ridiculous move. Why mess with what’s working well? To tell you the truth, I can’t believe people are still floating the idea out there — it’s hardly fair to Hill who’s really worked hard on his defense at that position.

As far as Adams goes, I’m hoping he gets another shot at the big leagues some time. Unfortunately, I don’t think that shot will come with the Jays as long as Hill’s around. He might be a useful part of a trade some time in the future….

With a runner at first, there’s a hole away from the line, but with nobody at first and the first baseman straight up, there’s a hole down the line you can hit a double into.

Torgen:

Another great point, my friend….you’re tenacious!

So what are your general thoughts on the stolen base? An overrated stat? And I’m assuming you think the Jays’ lineup is not in need of a speedy lead-off hitter?

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