BALTIMORE — So, this is it. The fat lady is warming up, while the Blue Jays get ready to play out Game No. 162 to complete this 2008 campaign. It’s been an interesting season — stellar pitching, subpar hitting, a managerial change and a fourth place finish for Toronto.
There were some silver linings: Doc Halladay doing what he does best, A.J. Burnett having a career year, B.J. Ryan coming back from Tommy John, the bullpen performing as baseball’s best, the promotion of Travis Snider, the emergence of Joe Inglett and Jesse Carlson, the versatility of Marco Scutaro and the return of Cito Gaston.
There were some forgettable items: Aaron Hill being knocked out for the year with a concussion, Alex Rios struggling to clear the fence, Vernon Wells landing on the shelf twice due to freak injuries, Scott Rolen battling a shoulder injury — again, the losses of Dustin McGowan until next year, the loss of Shaun Marcum until 2010, the canning of John Gibbons, and that mild war of words between J.P. Ricciardi and Adam Dunn.
Now comes the offseason: Jays trying to convince Burnett to stay, maybe going after a designated hitter or a shortstop, the possible resignation of president and CEO Paul Godfrey, and Toronto trying to avoid a bleak forecast for its rotation.
As for me, I’ll be following the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the playoffs and then running the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. I’ll be blogging throughout the winter and will be back at it again in 2009. Coming this week, I’ll dish out the 2008 Bastian Awards, providing my picks for the annual season-end awards.
And, one last time this year, here are:
TORONTO (85-76) at BALTIMORE (68-92)
at 1:35 p.m. ET at Camden Yards
Joe Inglett, 2B
Marco Scutaro, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Gregg Zaun, C
Travis Snider, LF
PITCHING: RHP Jesse Litsch (12-9, 3.67)
Brian Roberts, 2B
Nick Markakis, RF
Melvin Mora, 3B
Aubrey Huff, DH
Adam Jones, CF
Luke Scott, LF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Kevin Millar, 1B
Brandon Fahey, SS
PITCHING: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-11, 3.57)