April 2009

Game 9: Toronto at Minnesota pregame

As noted in the previous post, Jesse Litsch landed on the disabled list today with a right elbow/forearm injury. He will be shut down for the next two weeks before resuming on a throwing program. Toronto won’t say, but that makes it seem like Litsch will miss at least a month, likely more.

Litsch said he first felt the pain in his arm after striking out Justin Morneau with a four-seam fastball to end the first inning on Monday. Litsch stayed in the game and didn’t alert the team that he was hurting until the fourth inning.

Up from Triple-A is Bill “Dropkick” Murphy — I just gave him that nickname, hoping it sticks. He’ll move into the bullpen and lefty Brian Tallet moves into the rotation. Tallet will start on Saturday and will probably get a few turns in the rotation.

Why not Brett Cecil, whose next turn falls on Saturday, or spring wonder Brad Mills? The Minor League season just started and the Blue Jays don’t feel they’re ready for the call just yet. Maybe one of them comes up later this month. We’ll see.

Manager Cito Gaston opted to sit Travis Snider today against lefty Glen Perkins, even though Lunchbox crushed two homers yesterday. “Shoulda hit three,” I joked when Snider walked by today. “Yeah, already heard that one today,” he said with a smile.

I’m sure plenty of you Jays fans would like to see Snider in there, but Gaston wants to hand playing time to his bench guys like Jose Bautista and Kevin Millar (the latter in at first for Lyle Overbay today, too). It’s not a strict lefty/righty platoon situation, according to Gaston.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (6-2)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Jose Bautista, LF

Starter: LHP Ricky Romero (1-0)

Twins.jpgMINNESOTA TWINS (3-5)

1. Denard Span, RF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, DH
5. Joe Crede, 3B
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Mike Redmond, C
8. Nick Punto, SS
9. Carlos Gomez, CF

Starter: LHP Glen Perkins (0-1)

~JB

Litsch to DL, Murphy Recalled

The Jays placed Jesse Litsch (right forearm and elbow soreness) on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon and have recalled lefty Bill Murphy from Triple-A Las Vegas. Seeing as Murphy is a reliever, likely here to help the taxed bullpen, Toronto still needs a starter for Saturday.

One thing to note is that lefty prospect Brett Cecil’s next scheduled turn to pitch falls on Saturday. Just saying. Just got here to the Metrodome a little while ago, so we haven’t had a chance to talk with manager Cito Gaston.

UPDATE: For those following me on twitter (@MLBastian), this won’t be new, but Brian Tallet is slated to start on Saturday. Jays feel guys like Cecil and Brad Mills need more time.

More later…

~JB

Game 8: Toronto at Minnesota pregame

On Saturday, I tried to talk to Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg after Toronto’s 5-4 win over Cleveland, following another rough outing by closer B.J. Ryan. Arnsberg didn’t want to discuss Ryan’s ongoing issues, saying “I need to let it all sink in first.”

Fair enough.

Today, us scribes approached Arnsberg again to try to find out a little more about what’s going on with Ryan. Sure, his velocity is back up and his stuff has shown improvement, but Toronto’s stopper isn’t throwing strikes. Arnsberg defended Ryan, and spoke out against what he has perceived to be negative coverage, but ultimately the pitching coach admitted that he can’t really explain what’s going on.

“I don’t know why he’s not throwing the ball over the plate,” Arnsberg said. “I know he’s got a heart the size of Texas. I know he’s busting his [rear] to thrill all the fans in Toronto — make everybody turn their backs on the B.J. Ryan saga. That’s all we’re doing. Again, one foot in front of the other and that’s it. I don’t have the answers.”

Manager Cito Gaston and Arnsberg both said the only option right now is to keep running Ryan out there. If he continues to struggle and it begins to really hurt the team, Gaston said he will have to consider making a change — that goes for any player who is battling persistent problems, not just Ryan.

So, if a save situation comes up again today, expect Ryan to head out to the hill in the ninth here at the Metrodome. It’s early in the season and Ryan has only made two appearances. That being the case, his struggles will obviously be magnified in light of his bloated numbers. Even so, his woes date back to the spring and the Jays can ill-afford to have their bullpen, especially the late-inning arms, become a liability.

On a side note, I picked up Pearl Jam’s remastered version of their debut album Ten this afternoon. After listening to just a few songs, I was blown away by the changes. It was like hearing the songs for the first time. Eddie Vedder’s vocals are more crisp, and the music has more bite to it. If any of you are P.J. fans, I highly reccommend picking up the CD. It’s quality.

Back to baseball…

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (5-2)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Jesse Litch (0-1)


Twins.jpgMINNESOTA TWINS (3-4)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Brian Buscher, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Jose Morales, C
9. Nick Punto, SS

Starter: RHP Kevin Slowey (1-0)

~JB

Game 7: Toronto at Cleveland pregame

Happy Easter from Progressive Field everyone. It seems funny that, being a pastor’s kid, I’d wind up in a job that has me work on Sundays, and Easter Sundays at that. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

Jays manager Cito Gaston went back with his Opening Day lineup today, adding the left-handed swinging Lyle Overbay and Travis Snider back to the mix. They were out the past two days with Cleveland throwing southpaws at the Jays. Cito stacked his lineup with righties — minues Adam Lind — in those games.

Gaston believes that Lind handles lefties a little better than Snider right now, but that doesn’t mean young Travis won’t be getting starts against left-handed pitchers — it’s not a platoon. Gaston intends on having Snider face lefties as the season goes along.

“I want him to,” Gaston said. “He’s going to have to do that if he’s goign to be part of the future here. But right now, [Jose] Bautista needs to play to keep him sharp.

“[Lind] has a little better idea of the strike zone up there than Snider does right now. But, like I said about Snider the other day, he’s smart and he learns quick.”

Jays looking to improve to 6-1 for the first time since 1994 today. They’ve rolled out to that record twice in franchise history — 92 and 94. Also, Mr. Lind — with his three homers and 12 RBIs — leads the Majors in RBIs and ranks second with 12 hits. He also is the first Toronto player in team history to have 12 RBIs in the club’s first six games.

Also, Jays’ .318 team average and 27 extra-base hits lead the Majors. The Jays are also the only team to have two players with at least 10 hits (Lind, 12; Marco Scutaro, 10). Toronto’s 42 runs — also first in baseball — are the most the team has scored in its first six games since plating 47 runs in the first six games of the 2001 season. Jays are tied for 1st in the AL with nin homers, and didn’t have that many until Game #13 last year.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (5-1)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: LHP David Purcey

Indians.jpgCLEVELAND INDIANS (0-5)

1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Mark DeRosa, 3B
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
6. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
7. Ryan Garko, 1B
8. Trevor Crowe, LF
9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

Starter: RHP Anthony Reyes

~JB

Game 6: Toronto at Cleveland pregame

Some more on Adam “A Mighty” Lind after yesterday’s performance against the Tribe:

Since RBIs were first recorded in 1920, only four players have launched at least three home runs and knocked in at least 10 runs in their team’s first five games. The list includes Bobby Doerr (1941), Lou Brock (1967), Kal Daniels (1988) and Larry Walker (1997), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Now, those four have some new peers. Adam Lind has three homers and 11 RBIs through the first five Jays games and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera  has three homers and 10 RBIs through five for the Tiggers. Lind also happens to lead baseball in RBIs right now and he ranks second with 10 hits.

The last Blue Jays player to have three homers in the club’s first five games is Carlos Delgado, who accomplished the feat in 2001 — he had five in that span. Also, Lind didn’t have 10 hits last year until his 14th game, needing 45 at-bats to achieve that many knocks.

Speaking of 2001, the Jays are off to their best start since that season, when the team opened the year 5-1. Toronto hasn’t been much of an April team over recent seasons. In ’01, they finished the month 16-9. In the seasons since, they never ended the first month more than one game over .500.

Asked manager Cito Gaston today if he thought the Jays and Indians should’ve tried to play through the rest of the fifth inning last night to make the game official in the books. He replied with a stern, “Absolutely.” The game was called in the top of the fifth with Toronto up 4-3 and then sat through a 3:47 rain delay — the longest in team history.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (4-1)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Jose Bautista, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay

Indians.jpgCLEVELAND INDIANS (0-4)

1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Mark DeRosa, 3B
3. Victor Martinez, 1B
4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
6. Ryan Garko, DH
7. Kelly Shoppach, C
8. Ben Francisco, LF
9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

Starter: LHP Cliff Lee

~JB

Game 5: Toronto at Cleveland pregame

A slightly new look for the Blue Jays’ lineup this afternoon here at The Jak…er, Progressive Field. With lefty Scott Lewis on the mound, Toronto skip Cito Gaston decided to give a day off to left-handed hitters Travis Snider and Lyle Overbay.

In the lineup instead are Jose Bautista (left) and Kevin Millar (first). Gaston said it wasn’t strictly due to the left-hander on the mound, though the manager did say he feels Adam Lind handles southpaws a tad better than Snider right now.

“This is a team where I’m very seldom going to pinch-hit for anybody,” Gaston explained. “So the other guys will just be sitting here if you don’t play them once in a while.”

Michael Barrett is also behind the plate for a second game in a row. Gaston said that’s partly due to the fact that he wants Rod Barajas to catch Doc on Saturday and Rod will also be behind the plate on Sunday. It also is because, as Gaston said all spring, Barajas will likely play 4-5 times per week, with the backup taking the other starts.

I’m also going to go ahead and say that if B.J. Ryan or Scott Downs have any issues this series, the team might want to consider their pregame clubhouse routine.

Ryan was playing a Golden Tee arcade game and Downs was handling a plastic shotgun, taking out some deer on another hunting arcade game. I’m surprised more pitchers don’t injure their arms here in Cleveland. Might be a strategy by the Tribe.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (3-1)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Jose Bautista, LF
9. Michael Barrett, C

Starter: RHP Scott Richmond


Indians.jpgCLEVELAND INDIANS (0-3)

1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Mark DeRosa, 3B
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
6. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
7. Ryan Garko, 1B
8. Ben Francisco, LF
9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

Starter: LHP Scott Lewis

~JB

Game 4: Detroit at Toronto pregame

Really sad news this morning about Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. He was killed last night in a car accident out in California after making his season debut for the Halos. Adenhart was only 22 years old.

Everything else today seems meaningless after hearing about that.

But, I’m writing up something on Lyle Overbay and Scott Richmond today, so check bluejays.com later. You can also follow me throughout the game on twitter. You can find me under @MLBastian.

Today’s lineups:

Tigers.gifDETROIT TIGERS (1-2)

1. Cutis Granderson, CF
2. Marcus Thames, LF
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, DH
6. Brandon Inge, 3B
7. Matt Treanor, C
8. Ramon Santiago, 2B
9. Adam Everett, SS

Starter: Rick Porcello (MLB debut)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (2-1)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Jose Bautista, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Michael Barrett, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: Ricky Romero (MLB debut)

~JB

Game 3: Detroit at Toronto pregame

B.J. Ryan is the Blue Jays’ closer. That much is not going to change right now. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston isn’t sure how often he will use the stopper in consecutive games this season, though.

Gaston said he’ll try to avoid doing that as much as possible, handing some save chances to relievers Scott Downs and Brandon League. As for Ryan’s outing on Tuesday — he allowed a game-tying homer to blow a save in the ninth — Gaston doesn’t think it’s the type of thing that will hurt the closer’s confidence.

“I don’t think so,” Gaston said. “He’s been in the big leagues a long time and he’s been out there on that mound in wars all the time, so I’d be very surprised if that bugged him like that.”

Some other items: Michael Barrett will likely be behind the plate for Ricky Romero’s big league debut on Thursday afternoon. … Romero and Detroit’s Rick Porcello will both be making their debuts. It’s the first time in MLB history that two first-round picks are facing each other in their respective debuts. … Gaston said hitting coach Gene Tenace is working with right fielder Alex Rios on adopting a more balanced stance, getting off his back side during his swing. Gaston said this should help generate more power. … Gaston also decided to stick with the same starting nine in Game 3. Why not? 17 runs in the first two games is never a bad thing.

Today’s lineups:

Tigers.gifDETROIT TIGERS (0-2)

1. Cutis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, LF
6. Gerald Laird, C
7. Brandon Inge, 3B
8. Ramon Santiago, SS
9. Josh Anderson, RF

Starter: Zach Miner

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (2-0)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: Jesse Litsch

~JB

Game 2: Detroit at Toronto pregame

Due to some past problems here at the Dome, the Rogers Centre’s alcohol liscense has been revoked for tonight’s game. So no booze Bird fans. That, combined with the usual drop-off between Opening Day and Game No. 2 attendance, should make for a sparse crowd tonight.

“It’s a little different today,” Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “We’ll miss the other 30,000 people.”

The fans weren’t the only ones affected by the beer issue today, either.

“They took it all out of the clubhouse,” Gaston said. “I haven’t opened my fridge yet to see if there’s any in there.”

After Monday’s 12-run, 15-hit outburst from his lineup, Gaston opted to stick with the same starting nine. I say if Travis Snider keeps swinging like he did this spring and how he hit last night it’ll be tough to keep him in that ninth hole.

Also, Detroit’s Brandon Inge had some nice things to say about Toronto ace Roy Halladay, especially the cut fastball Doc was featuring on Monday night.

“That’s the best cutter I’ve seen, including Mariano Rivera. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Today’s lineups:

Tigers.gifDETROIT TIGERS

1. Cutis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, LF
6. Gerald Laird, C
7. Marcus Thames, DH
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
9. Adam Everett, SS

Starter: Edwin Jackson

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: David Purcey

~JB

Opening Day Lineups: Detroit at Toronto


Tigers.gifDETROIT TIGERS

1. Cutis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, DH
6. Gerald Laird, C
7. Brandon Inge, 3B
8. Adam Everett, SS
9. Josh Anderson, LF

Starter: Justin Verlander


Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: Roy Halladay

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.