Russ Adams: Red Sox Killer
I can’t say I was all that surprised to see ol’ Russell come out on top in the eighth inning against Jonathan Papelbon here tonight. If you take a little stroll down memory lane, you’ll recall that it was Adams who ended the scoreless streak Pap carried into May last season.
The only downer on Wednesday night was the fact that John McDonald didn’t enter the game. He won’t be able to qualify for the fielding percentage title this year now, and he would’ve been tied for the MLB lead had he appeared in the final 11 games. I thought for sure he’d come in in the ninth with Toronto up, 6-1.
Even so, what a series for the Blue Jays, huh? A little late, but still quite the effort by the pitching staff over the past three days to sweep Boston. Dustin McGowan’s slider was unbelievable on Monday, A.J. Burnett’s curve was just plain sick on Tuesday and on Wednesday Litsch found that changeup he’s been missing. Combined, that trio went 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA.
I gotta say, I like the way Toronto’s rotation is stacking up. With Roy Halladay at the top, Burnett and McGowan both being solid No. 2 guys and Shaun Marcum a sound option behind them, that’s a tough group to match up against. I’m sure Toronto would take its chances with a Halladay-Burnett-McGowan lineup in a playoff series. Of course, there’s that whole reaching the playoffs thing…
The pitching should be fine next year, but maybe having us scribes write that is the kiss of death. Along with the team, it was us who — hey, understandably at the time — were pumping up the Jays offense going into this year. I’m not completely sold that this O can return to its 2006 form. I’ll believe it when I see it. Injuries certainly played a role, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the wounded can all rebound in ’08.
To finish above .500, the Jays need to go just 5-5 down the stretch. The Yankees are rolling right now, so heading to the Bronx for a four-game set will be tough. Honestly, escaping with a split would be a success. Toronto should take two of three in Baltimore, and you would hope two of three against the Rays, so that’d be a 6-4 finish.
Would 83 wins make this season a success under the circumstances?
I’ll be flying out to New York tomorrow and I’ll be in Baltimore after that. I may even be bringing some postseason coverage to the blog come October. Stay tuned…