Rolen returns with new swing

ST. PETERSBURG — Strolled into the clubhouse today at the Trop and spied Scott Rolen in a closed-door meeting with manager Cito Gaston. That big glass window was sure helpful. Rolen was discussing his recovering left shoulder with the manager and filling Cito in on the new swing he’s using.

While on the disabled list, Rolen retreated here to Florida and worked with his long-time trainer on figuring out a way to work through his fatigued shoulder. The fact that the injury cropped up again this year had Rolen doubting his future in the game — seriously. But, after letting down his guard and agreeing to retool the swing he’s used for 15 years, Rolen is confident he can continue.

Gaston’s going to give him every opportunity, too. Rolen won’t be in the lineup tonight and probably not tomorrow, but Gaston said he’ll be the regular third baseman with no built in days off down the stretch. That is, unless Rolen says he needs some time off, which is doubtful, knowing him.

Rolen has lowered his hands some and shortened his load and he says it helps take some stress off his left shoulder. He’s been hitting a lot recent and he’s confident he can catch up to pitches again — an issue before he was DL’d. Here’s hoping, considering he’s under contract for the next two seasons.

Now, the big question seems to be why bring in Jose Bautista if Rolen is already back? Well, as insurance, first of all. But, Gaston said Bautista will still be used, and it sounds like he’ll be used similarly to Kevin Mench. Bautista will mainly be used against left-handers and he could see some time at third, DH, second, the outfield or even first base.

On another note, reliever Jeremy Accardo is done for the year. And he’s scheduled to go visit…uh oh…Dr. James Andrews. Now, Shaun Marcum saw Dr. Andrews and came back without a need for surgery, so that development doesn’t always mean impending doom for a pitcher. The Jays want Accardo to have his ailing right forearm examined again. Earlier this year, Accardo tried to work through the injury to avoid Tommy John surgery. So, to be continued…

Today’s lineups:

TORONTO (66-62) at TAMPE BAY (79-50)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field

JAYS
Joe Inglett, 2B
Marco Scutaro, 3B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Matt Stairs, DH
Rod Barajas, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay (15-9, 2.68)

RAYS
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Cliff Floyd, DH
Willy Aybar, 3B
Eric Hinske, LF
Dioner Navarro, C
Gabe Gross, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS

PITCHING: RHP James Shields (11-7, 3.68)

24 Comments

I really hope that Accardo gets some good news. He can be a valuable piece to the team next year.
I know that from here on out Barajas is the starting catcher but I think Zaun should be starting a few more his numbers the last few years have been decent enough to warrant a start here and there.

That Accardo news is really a concern. If he goes under the knife now, we might lose him until spring 2010.

Jordan,

Are you still getting ready for your marathon? Running around St. Pete and the cool weather we’re having should get you in shape quick. lol.

Clutch hit by Vernon. If you look at year he’s having, he’d be on pace for a near .300 avg, 26 HR’s 120 RBI’s, if he had just over 600 AB’s, which is conservative number of AB’s for an injury free year. Not to mention his glove.

Let’s hope he stays healthy next year.

Did anyone see the beauty catch on the Barajas dinger?!?! Barely spilt a drop on the barehanded LINER!

I decided to do some research after Plus had mentioned that RISP stats fluctuate greatly. I thought the same thing, it made sense in my mind and here is what I found….

Vernon Wells

2008: .298 avg. .351 OBP
2007: .278 avg .360 OBP
2006: .302 avg .358 OBP a healthy year

Lyle Overbay

2008: .223 avg .409 OBP
2007: .209 avg .286 OBP
2006: .286 avg .382 OBP the year before his hand injury

Alex Rios

2008: .277 avg .319 OBP
2007: .283 avg .326 OBP
2006: .366 avg .396 OBP

Scott Rolen

2008: .217 avg .356 OBP
2007: .255 avg .336 OBP
2006: .280 avg .351 OBP

Aaron Hill

2008: .255 avg .291 OBP
2007: .351 avg .354 OBP
2006: .273 avg .368 OBP

I also did a couple of my favourite players out of curiosity

David Ortiz

2008: .352 avg .451 OBP
2007: .362 avg .490 OBP
2006: .288 avg .429 OBP A year he had 137 RBI

Alex Rodriguez

2008: .250 avg .405 OBP
2007: .333 avg .460 OBP
2006: .302 avg .431 OBP

Derek Jeter

2008: .315 avg .369 OBP
2007: .354 avg .426 OBP
2006: .381 avg .482 OBP

I hope I did the spacing right otherwise this will be an eye-sore.

When’s the last time Shawn Camp pitched in a game ? It’s not so much that I want to see him out there but I haven’t liked how Cito uses his best relievers (i.e. Ryan, Downs) in low leverage situations. Could Shawn not have been used in the 9th instead ? I am off for now goodnight to everyone.

Great game the team came through for Halladay #16 looks like another good year for him

BOSOX: I’m pretty deep in the marathon training, actually. Two Sundays ago, I logged my first 20-mile run. Bought some new running shoes today actually down here in Florida since my old ones have 400+ miles on them. I’m currently dealing with a minor left foot injury, though, so it’s slow going for a little while. So far, though, I’m all go for launch. Ran this morning here in St. Pete and at 9 am it was already almost too hot/humid for a long run.
~JB

Jordan,

Good to here your dedication to the Chicago Marathon. I don’t know how you can do that, mighty impressive. Florida in the summer jump at it early if not wait until it is almost dark. Wayyy too muggy/humid as you say. Good luck with the 26.2 miles!! I hope the conditions in Chicago are better this year than last year. A very rare 95 degree day in October.

I have read the sometimes vitriolic debate about J.P. on this blog with interest. There are some valid points made by both camps. It seems that many arguments for/against some of J.P.’s move center around the stat of RISP.

After reading books like MoneyBall and Baseball Prospectus’ Baseball Between the Numbers, I wonder if the reliance on RISP might be misleading. Has any of the posters who rely so heavily on this stat done any research into its validity. Statistical analysis has shown that many numerical stats can be misleading (ERA, AVG, etc). Likewise the Moneyballers’ simplistic reliance on OBP is often misguided (as demonstrated by this years Jays).

I would love to see some backing research/literature to support the reliance on RISP. How reliable is this. How many wins can it account for, how variable is it, how susceptible to statistical variation is it.

This may be a more productive discussion topic than calling each other ********.

Bosox as posted on the previous thread,
I’ve notice Dice-K as being a very manipulative pitcher over the past couple of years. He gets ahead of you and then he won’t give a hitter anything good to hit. He is also not afraid of walking hitters, to get them to chase.

Being that type of pitcher, you will always have high pitch counts and you will have lots of walks.

Typically, pitchers with great command have higher pitch counts, because their stuff is not good enough to be over the plate consistently.

As a pitcher, Dice-K has great plate coverage and works the corners very well. He is able to live with his breaking stuff down and away, where it should be. This is what I mean by command, and statistics are usually not a good indicator of it.

Weliker….

This day and age that is not a good thing. It is all about pitch counts. 100 pitchers after 5 or 6 innings is not a good thing. With Dice-K it is the norm. If the Red Sox make the playoffs, Dice-K will have too be more efficient if he isn’t he’ll get into big trouble. Throw strikes, work fast and change speeds. Something he knows very little about. He is a bullpen killer. He needs to be more efficient, 100 pitchers after 7 innings not 5 innings. That is why I love watching Roy Halladay. The guy is a horse!!!

Stats can paint a picture but its only black and white. If you want to see it in colour you have to watch the player play and see what he does on a daily basis. I agree with jmspratt too many stats are misleading, I think too many people will look at a box score and decide if a player had a good or bad game by the numbers. That doesnt say that a player went 3 for 4 with 3 soft bloops, or a player went 0 for 4 with 3 hard line outs. That sort of stuff evens out over a season and a career but still tread carefully when judging a player solely on their stats. If the player is talented then the stats will reflect that, but that doesnt mean that talented players dont have bad weeks, months, or years.

I think part of the problem is that many fans think of baseball in the same terms as sports (basketball, hockey, football, etc) with shorter seasons and more playoff spots available. I’m always amazed when people jump all over a player for having a lousy May or some other month. You’ve got fans calling for the player’s head, the GM’s head, and anyone who might support that player. Meanwhile, if a player’s having a hot month, he’s “untouchable”, “gritty”, and a “winner”. Next month, though, when the roles reverse, suddenly these players have extraordinarily different perceptions from the fans.

I guess my point is that baseball is an unusual sport in that it involves a lot of patience — not only with the game itself, but with the long season as well. That’s why the Red Sox and the Cubs continue to play in front of packed houses, despite the lack of a World Series ring for decades.

Just my two cents….

Bosox,
I definately agree that in today’s day and age you have to be efficient to be effective. You also need the stuff to back it up. Roy Halladay is a perfect example of a complete pitcher that has all those abilities, and is succeeding in today’s game.

As for Dice-K, I think that he has had a lot of luck this season, the stats will even back that up. He is sure not the absolutely dominant pitcher that Boston thought they getting when they signed him. I’ve noticed a decline in the velocity and the movement of his pitches. We will see what the future holds for him, but this may very well be his best season in the majors. I expect to see him losing a lot more games down the road. For your sake, hopefully that doesn’t happen should Boston rely on him more in the playoffs.

Welik,

I have said this before and I guess I’ll say it again. As of right now he is a #3 starter and has the potential ( scary word ) to be a #1 or #1a. If he ever learns to be efficient on the mound, he’ll be just fine. A big if of course. If he continues this trend of 100 pitches thrown after 5 or 6 innings, he’ll be average for sure. He has had lots and lots of luck this year, no doubt. Personally if the Red Sox made the playoffs, I would rather see Byrd take the hill over Dice-K. Walks in the playoffs will kill you!!! One thing I don’t think is lucky is the opposition is 0 for 14 against Dice-K with the bases loaded this year. He was a member of the rotation that won the world series last year. I guess that must count for something. Who knows if the velocity is up or down. What radar gun is accurate and which one isn’t? Everyone gets caught up in radar gun reading’s anyway. Halladay doesn’t throw the hardest among starters but he is the best in the game and that is what matters anyway. Location location location.

Let’s go Jays!!! Pretend your playing Boston or N.Y. lol. Pretty sad nobody even cares about the Rays. That must be disheartning to the players/coaches etc. Alot of blue seats showing last night. A non arriving crowd!!! lol.

Jordan,

Your take on the Rays crowd or lack their of?

Young Purcey gets no breaks tonight he goes against Garza who has had our number,Let’s hope the bats come alive for Purcey tonight and he pitches well.

I don’t think we will make the playoffs this year but maybe if the Jays make a couple of good deals this winter we can make them next year.

I think they should try to replace Rolen at third and get a good DH that can hit at least 38 or more home runs,I don’t realy know what else they can do, J.Mac I would keep at short for next year, What I don’t understand is what JP is keeping Eskstein around for why not trade him to another club so he can at least play.

Garry,

I agree with you when you say if the Jays make some good deals they could make the playoffs. Also Wells needs to hit the way he has been. Also they need Rios to have a solid year. One player who has really tanked it the last season or so is Overbay. He had a great year his first year but got hurt and has dissapeared. Jays pitching is so good and that is a great start right there.

Bosox when Toronto plays Boston or New York both of those teams bring their fans with them so we get big crowds,Tampa on the other hand has no teams close to them to bring their fans and 10 years with a losing record it will take a long time to fill the seats but give it time ,they look like they may be a contender for a long time,Maybe New York and Boston will have to take a back seat for a while lol.

Bosox I hope JP can make a deal with Burnett I don’t think he will flop next year,he has had a taste of success this year and I think he likes it also I think Halladay and Cito will have a lot if influence in his decision,As for Overbay I think he is coming around, What do you think of keeping J.Mac at shortstop all year next year, and Wells is makin hay since he came of the DL.

Bosox,
I wonder how many times Dice-K has thrown a breaking ball down low and away on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. I don’t know where I would find that? It would not suprise though, if he has done that frequently.

The book on Dice-K’s fastball is that it is 90-95 range. Now it seems like he tops out at 90. I would say that movement matters more than velocity, if we are taking about the stuff a pitcher brings to the table. Not only does Halladay locate his pitches with precision, he can sink and cut a fastball (sometimes both) with great movement. His curve sweeps harder than most pitchers and he is very good at locating it. Halladay is just disgustingly good, I love talking about him.

Back to Dice-K, I don’t value him as much as you might, but then again, im not a Red Sox fan. You can tell that he is a crafty pitcher, and he does have a very large arsenal of pitches. That will always keep hitters off balance somewhat. He is 28, I thought he was older, but he has lots of experience being a 9 year pro, between MLB and the Japanese league. Who knows? He might not have reached his potential yet? He has definately improved his stats since last year, so your probably right about that.

What is scary for Boston, this season, is that I don’t think that they will be able to count on Josh Beckett for their playoff run (who was automatic last year). He has really struggled. Matsuzaka will have to pick up the load, if they are going to have a good shot at repeating. Is he up to it? Preseason I predicted they would, but I might have to take that back now.

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