SEATTLE — I’m always on the lookout for signs of the apocalypse. Buying t-shirts on CNN.com with your favorite headlines comes to mind. Check out this beauty to the right.
Another sign that we might be nearing the end is the cheeseburger-in-a-plastic-bag meal offered to me on my Continental flight from Toronto to Seattle. Talk about yuck. Nooooo thank you. I sat out and opted to buy some fruit when I landed in the land of Starbucks. The dude sitting next to me wolfed down two of those suckers, stinking up my row in the process.
But I digress…I’m here and so are the Blue Jays and we’re all in one of the greatest cities in the U.S. of A. As far as road cities go (and I exclude Chicago because that’s where I be from), Seattle is in a dogfight with San Francisco for my second favorite stop. Boston is my favorite hands down. New York is New York, but for my tastes, it slides in at No. 4.
Speaking of New York (I’m just chalk full of tangents today — must be the jetlag), Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston would love for his club to reach the .500 mark by the time the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium rolls around. So, that means Toronto needs an 8-4 record over the next 12 to meet that goal.
With three here against last-place Seattle and another three against Baltimore, mixed between series against the first-place Angels and the resurgent Yankees, an 8-4 record might — might — be attainable. Honestly, I don’t think the Jays will do it, seeing as that’s the equivalent of winning each of the next four series. We’ll see.
I also think it’s a bit early to start heralding Cito and his boys as the team saviors. So far, the Jays have gone 5-4 under Gaston, flashing a much-improved offense against three National League opponents. I want to see if the offense we’ve been seeing more of lately holds up against teams like the Angels of the AL East.
Gaston downplayed the fact that his team has faced lesser opponents so far.
“All these teams have Major League Baseball players. To me, any given night you can be beat by anyone. Any given day you can be beaten. I know that [the American League is] supposed to be better than Cincinnati and better than the Braves, but I just think they’re all big-league teams. You’ve got to take them one by one and it can happen, teams go through bad times. After the All-Star break, it’s a new day too. I don’t see it [as facing lighter competition], I just see them as Major League players — all of them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. There are tougher teams [ahead], but we’ll just take it one day at a time.”
TORONTO (37-42) at SEATTLE (31-50)
at 10:10 p.m. ET at lovely Safeco Field
David Eckstein, SS
Marco Scutaro, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Matt Stairs, DH
Scott Rolen, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Brad Wilkerson, LF
PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay (8-6, 3.12)
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Jose Lopez, 2B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Reed, CF
Richie Sexson, 1B
Jeff Clement, DH
Kenji Johjima, C
Willie Bloomquist, SS
PITCHING: RHP R.A. Dickey (2-3, 4.79)