Game #156: Jays at Yankes pregame

Toronto (78-77) at New York (90-65)
at 1:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Reed Johnson, LF
Matt Stairs, RF
Alex Rios, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Gregg Zaun, C
Curtis Thigpen, 1B
Hector Luna, 3B
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Jesse Litsch (6-9, 4.16 ERA)

YANKEES
Johnny Damon, DH
Derek Jeter, SS
Bobby Abreu, RF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Hideki Matsui, LF
Jorge Posada, C
Robinson Cano, 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B
Melky Cabrera, CF

PITCHING: RHP Andy Pettitte (14-8, 3.79 ERA)

NOTES: A few hours before the game, the Jays announced that Litsch was starting instead of RHP A.J. Burnett, who had to take care of some family business. Burnett should be fine to start on Tuesday in Baltimore. … Toronto manager John Gibbons said that RHP Josh Banks, who is from Baltimore, could get the nod for the start on Thursday. RHP Shaun Marcum (torn right meniscus) was due to start, but he’s having surgery on Wednesday. … CF Vernon Wells (left shoulder) and 1B Lyle Overbay (right hand) are both scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday. … In the bullpen, Gibbons said LHPs Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Joe Kennedy and RHP Brandon League weren’t available on Monday.

BREAKING EVEN…Toronto needs to post a 4-3 record over its final seven games to finish the season above .500.

A DAY AT THE RACES:

AL EAST
entering Monday
1. Boston 92-64 (–)
2. New York 90-65 (1.5)

AL WILD CARD
entering Monday
1. New York 90-65 (–)
2. Detroit 85-71 (5.5)

AL BEST RECORD
entering Monday
1. Cleveland 92-63 (–)
2. Boston 92-64 (0.5)
2. Los Angeles 92-64 (0.5)
4. New York 90-65 (1.5)

46 comments

  1. Jordan

    The blog will go year-round. So, I’ll be blogging from the playoffs (wherever I end up going) and then throughout the winter as I deem updates necessary. So don’t disappear when the Jays do.

  2. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    Thank you Jordan.
    How long do you think you will be a reporter for the Jays I hope for a long time and can you update us on Burnett.

  3. indigo_t@hotmail.com

    Thanks Jordan for the reply about training . I was sure with the kind of money spent on players, the Jays had to have something in place for the off season. I certainly understand why they can’t check-in, with players coming from all over the world.

  4. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    All teams must have a training program but it’s not much good if the players don’t follow it and you can bet not all of them will.

  5. enigma_d17@hotmail.com

    I tuned on the tv (after i got home from work) in the 4th. I thought uh oh something happened to Burnett, thankfully he was just shuffled though. The way the rotation is now who gets to pitch the last game ? I have tickets to that one, and obviously i’m hoping to see A.J. or Halladay. Wouldn’t mind Banks either but isn’t happening.

  6. Jordan

    If Josh Banks ends up starting on Thursday, I may have played a role. I was the one who reminded Gibby that Banks is from Baltimore “Is that right?” Gibbons responded.

    GARRYGUY: Not sure how long I’ll be north of the border. As you all probably are aware, I’m originally from the states. So, as much as I love living and working in Toronto, which i do, my ultimate goal is to get back closer to home eventually.

    As for Burnett, all we’re being told is that he went home for some family business. He should be on the mound tomorrow.

  7. enigma_d17@hotmail.com

    Having said that I do hope his family is ok. Just finding that out now as well.

    Jordan, just curious do you have a preference as to which team you’d like to cover for the playoffs?

  8. indigo_t@hotmail.com

    garry , I think they could or should be fined if they come back from the off season in poor shape. They are paid to be the best ball player they can be and they know to do that, they have to condition themselves. I think most players have a pretty rigid conditioning program and in some cases (League) go overboard.

  9. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    indigo when JP signed Molina he was 40 pounds overweight this year when he went to SF he lost that weight and look at the year he is having,most players when they are going to be free agents have no program so they have to go it alone and I think most players have their own programs no matter what,Roger Clemens has his own program that I know for sure.
    And yes they should be fined and the fine should be large.

  10. Jordan

    Sure, I’d love to cover the Cubbies for the playoffs, but I’ll be in the AL, since two East teams will be in and I know the Yanks and BoSox quite well. Just not sure if I’ll be sent to the Bronx or Beantown yet.

  11. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    The way the yanks are playing a split is great and if we can do it with a lot of AAA players maybe we can do it next year even with an Abner handicap.

  12. gsumner@rogers.com

    Garry

    Well, I think we just saw the finest outing by a Jays starter all year. As a 22 year old kid to pitch in Yankee stadium on a day he wasn’t expecting to pitch and hold the best offensive team in baseball to 5 hits and 1 run over 7 2/3 innings is a remarkable achievement.

    Maybe Jessie is a big game pitcher. lol

    Congratulations Jessie!!!

  13. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    no gsumner today a lot of people must have to work poor people.lol.

    I can’t believe it but even bosox must have a job but who would hire him.ROTFLOL.

  14. thegarryguy@shaw.ca

    The team is starting to look good the bullpen will be stronger next year our starters will be great,the young starters will be in better shape next year.

  15. gsumner@rogers.com

    You know, I think if anyone had said we’d sweep the Sox and then take 2 of 4 from the Yanks in their Stadium, we’d probably called them nuts.

    5 of 7 from those two teams is an achievement

  16. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    The no name kid does the Yankees in ( not bad for a batboy ) I love those Toronto Blue Jays!!!!!!!!

    If the Sox lose the division now, they stink!!!

    They’re 2 games ahead in the loss column, with 6 left.

    I still wonder about the Red Sox chances though.

    I will give the Jays alot of credit, playing tough down the stretch. They had every excuse to mail it in. With all there injuries to the lineup. Credit should be given to Gibbons. I know some of you will throw up on that but it is true. If you rip on Gibbons, you should give him credit when he does something good. In my opinion you can’t pick and choose. The Jays are ready to play down the stretch and Gibbons is getting the boys ready.

  17. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    The no name kid does the Yankees in ( not bad for a batboy ) I love those Toronto Blue Jays!!!!!!!!

    If the Sox lose the division now, they stink!!!

    They’re 2 games ahead in the loss column, with 6 left.

    I still wonder about the Red Sox chances in October.

    I will give the Jays alot of credit, playing tough down the stretch. They had every excuse to mail it in. With all there injuries to the lineup. Credit should be given to Gibbons. I know some of you will throw up on that but it is true. If you rip on Gibbons, you should give him credit when he does something good. In my opinion you can’t pick and choose. The Jays are ready to play down the stretch and Gibbons is getting the boys ready. Like him or not, they are playing hard for him.

  18. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    I was so excited that the Yankees lost, I posted it twice.

    Hey Jordan,

    How about the Spartans…

    4-0 and conference play is ready to go…..

  19. Jordan

    Yeah, but MSU always starts out 4-0 or 3-1 and then finished the season with five or six wins. It’s a tough conference and that’s a pretty hard opener with ‘Sconsin. If you allow 14 points to ND, you better score more than 31 against those pesky Badgers.

    Oh, yeah, and what an outing by Jesse Litsch. Any conspiracy theorists out there think the Jays opted to have Litsch start over Burnett because of the rook’s ability to attack the strike zone? Previous two games = 18 Yankee walks turned into 12 runs. Monday = no walks.

  20. gsumner@rogers.com

    Bosox

    I agree with you, Abner does deserve credit for how our guys have played over the last 7 games.

    Although, I still think he should have pulled McGowan at the end of the 4th yesterday-my hat is off to Abner-he did get these guys to play their hearts out.

    Now about your Sox. If I was you, I’d be really worried about their chances in the playoffs the way Dice k and Wakefield are going. It sort of looks like Beckett and hope for 4 days of rain. lol

  21. gsumner@rogers.com

    Jordan

    Well, I’m not sure about conspiracy, but it does go to show, no walks and little runs.

    You had to be impressed with Da Kids poise today-pitched with a lot of heart.

  22. gsumner@rogers.com

    Jordan

    Talking about mailing it in, I’m concerned about Johnson.

    He’s now gone 2 for the last 23 and only got 2 walks in that same 5 games. I stated noticing it yesterday; he doesn’t seem to be working th e count, just wacking at the first strike.

    That isn’t like him, I’m wondering if that non comment from the Jays on his position bothered him.

  23. gsumner@rogers.com

    Or maybe he’s still hurting, I dunno. I just checked Johnson’s stats since he came back and they are nasty.

    August-BA-.219, OBP-.279, 6 bb

    Sept.. BA-.185, OBP-.267, 3 bb

    I never expected him to put up a year again like he did last year, but under the circumstances assuming we want to win, it likely makes sense to bench him and play Lind, with Stairs playing 1st.

    Maybe Adams with that very nice OBP of .370 is an alternative lead off guy, I don’t know, but it can’t be worse than what it is at the moment.

  24. m.tichy@rogers.com

    Looking forward to 2008 with a healthy and well-rested team. Been a Jays fan since day 1 and happy to make my first post on this blog. JOEFAN

  25. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    gsumner,

    I’m not too happy with the way the Red Sox are playing. They need to have a 3rd starter step up and reveal who it is. Dice K hasn’t looked good in a while. He was o.k. the other night but didn’t finish the inning and to me that is disappointing.

    No team scares me in either league. If I would take a guess right now I would lean towards the Angels. Right now being the key word. We’ll see how the Red Sox play this week against 2 poor teams.

  26. gsumner@rogers.com

    bosox

    My guess would be The Angels as well, but I gotta tell you that Yank team is tough.

    With Mussina rounding into shape their rotation is starting to look solid-not specacular-but solid. And the kids they’ve added in the pen are stepping up.

  27. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    Angels play the Yankees, Angels will knock them out again. 2002 and 2005 they did.

    Angels will have the home field advantage against the Yankees and that will be the difference. Angels play a different style of baseball and there running game will give teams fits.

  28. gsumner@rogers.com

    Bosox

    I’d be really concerned about Dice-k too, if I were you. I’m sure some of his difficulty is weariness, but I’m also starting to think, he’s been around the league enough now that he no longer holds any mistery to the hitters and they’re getting to him.

    You just gotta hope Beckett continues, Shilling survives and Dice-K somehow picks it up. The other guy that’s surprising me is Wakefield who has looked really poor latey. What’s up with him?

    All in all, a very weak rotation.

  29. gsumner@rogers.com

    But if the Yanks catch you, do they still play the Angels?

    I’m not sure it’s a given yet that you gys take the division.

  30. bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com

    The Big 10 is one of the more over-rated confrences in the nation. To me it all goes in cycles and the Big 10 is down.

    Wisconsin is the best team in the conference and they barely beat Iowa at home in a prime time matchup. The top Big 10 teams are not explosive and that keeps teams in the game.

  31. gsumner@rogers.com

    Well it looks like we’re not the only team that has trouble with specific umpires.

    Check out the San Diego story.

  32. hem.gold@hotmail.com

    Word on the Interweb is that Frank Thomas is going to be doing some announcing for TBS during the playoffs.

    I have no idea what Thomas will be like in the booth, but it’s still kind of interesting. At least one Jays will be in the vicinity of the playoffs….

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