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Litsch to DL, out 4-6 months

Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday and is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip next week. Litsch is expected to miss four to six months following the operation.

The Blue Jays recalled left-hander Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Litsch’s spot in the rotation.

–JB

Buck placed on 15-day DL with hand injury

Blue Jays catcher John Buck exited Wednesday’s game against the Yankees in the fifth inning after being struck on the right hand by a foul ball off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.

With no outs and runners on first and third base in the fifth, Rodriguez fouled off a 3-1 pitch from Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. The ball struck Buck’s hand and the catcher immediately began walking around the field in obvious pain.

After being checked out by Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston and head trainer George Poulis, Buck left the field and headed to the clubhouse. Backup catcher Jose Molina replaced Buck behind the plate.

In 84 games with the Blue Jays this season, Buck has hit .277 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs. He was named to his first career All-Star team last month.

No word yet on the extent of the injury.

UPDATE: The Blue Jays are describing Buck’s injury as a “right thumb laceration” and X-rays on his hand came back negative for any broken bones. Buck is considered day-to-day right now. Thursday’s off-day is coming at a good time for the catcher.

UPDATE: The Blue Jays placed Buck on the 15-day disabled list following their 5-1 loss to the Yankees. He required three stiches on his right thumb. No word yet on who will get the call to replace Buck on the roster, but there’s a good chance it will be top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia. All he’s done is hit .303 with 31 homers, 32 doubles, 71 runs and 79 RBIs through 95 games for Triple-A Las Vegas.

UPDATE: It will indeed be JPA coming up for Toronto.

–JB

Game 108 lineups: Jays at Yankees

TORONTO AT NEW YORK
at 1:05 p.m. ET, Yankee Stadium

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (56-51, 11.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Travis Snider, LF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. John Buck, C
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
9. John McDonald, SS

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (10-4, 3.24)

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (66-40, 1.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Lance Berkman, DH
8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Brett Gardner, LF

Pitching: Phil Hughes (12-4, 4.07)

–JB

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Game 107 lineups: Jays at Yankees

TORONTO AT NEW YORK
at 7:05 p.m. ET, Yankee Stadium

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (55-51, 11.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, DH
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. John Buck, C
8. Travis Snider, LF
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Ricky Romero (8-7, 3.46)

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (66-39, – GB AL EAST)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Marcus Thames, DH
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Brett Gardner, CF

Pitching: Dustin Moseley (1-0, 3.24)

–JB

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Chess Match: Game 106

Breaking down a key moment in Monday’s 8-6 win over the Yankees…

The situation: The Blue Jays are leading 8-5 and the Yankees have a runner on first base with one out in the sixth inning. Curtis Granderson is in the on-deck circle and Toronto starter Brandon Morrow has reached 99 pitches, showing signs of inconsistent velocity all evening.

The decision: Manager Cito Gaston turned to lefty reliever Scott Downs.

The outcome: Yankees manager Joe Girardi counters by calling upon Marcus Thames as a pinch hitter. Thames gets an odd single, sending a pitch off Downs’ foot and into no-man’s land. Downs stays in, buckles down and gets the two outs he needs to escape unscathed.

The analysis: It seemed like an odd move at first — considering the inning — but this was a case of Gaston realizing this point was critical to secure the win. Downs is his late-inning specialist and protecting a three-run lead was extremely important at this juncture.

Downs had not worked this early in a game since Sept. 12, 2007 and had not pitched in the sixth inning at all since Aug. 2, 2008. That doesn’t matter. This was akin to a save situation and Downs made the most sense.

The comments:

You want to win this first game. You have to do everything you can to keep it that way. It just matched up pretty good that way at the time. [Downs] is somebody normally I try to save until the eighth or ninth inning, but tonight it was one of those situations where I just thought it was the right time for him. It worked out pretty good for us.” — Gaston

“Sometimes the game will dictate how things are going to go. They had started putting something together. For some reason, sometimes you have a hunch the way things are going to go. There was a feeling there that I thought maybe [I might come in the game]. So mentally I was ready and I got out of the inning and was able to kind of stop the bleeding.” — Downs

My verdict: Gaston made the right move, especially given the recent performance of lefty David Purcey out of the bullpen. The Jays now have a pair of formidable left-handers who can handle pressure situations late in the game. Gaston went with the more experienced Downs in the sixth and the lefty logged 1 2/3 innings. The manager later turned to Purcey with two men on and two outs in the eighth (Downs’ usual spot) and the first-year reliever delivered a crucial strikeout against pinch-hitter Austin Kearns.

–JB

Game 106 lineup: Jays at Yankees

TORONTO AT NEW YORK
at 7:05 p.m. ET, Yankee Stadium

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (54-51, 12.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, DH
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Travis Snider, LF
8. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
9. Jose Molina, C

Pitching: Brandon Morrow (7-6, 4.62)


Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (66-38, – GB AL EAST)

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Lance Berkman, DH
8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Brett Gardner, LF

Pitching: A.J. Burnett (9-8, 4.52)

–JB

Deadline Day lineups: Tribe at Jays

CLEVELAND AT TORONTO
at 1:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre


Thumbnail image for IndiansClogo.gifINDIANS (42-61, 16.5 GB AL CENTRAL)

1. Trevor Crowe, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Matt LaPorta, 1B
6. Shelley Duncan, DH
7. Jayson Nix, 3B
8. Jason Donald, 2B
9. Chris Gimenez, C

Pitching: Josh Tomlin (1-0, 1.29)


Thumbnail image for Tlogo.gifBLUE JAYS (54-49, 11.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
9. Jose Molina, C

Pitching: Brett Cecil (8-5, 3.89)

–JB

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Game 103 lineups: Indians at Jays

CLEVELAND AT TORONTO
at 7:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre


Thumbnail image for IndiansRetro.gifINDIANS (42-60, 15.5 GB AL CENTRAL)

1. Trevor Crowe, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Austin Kearns, LF
6. Matt LaPorta, 1B
7. Shelley Duncan, DH
8. Jayson Nix, 3B
9. Jason Donald, 2B

Pitching: Justin Masterson (3-9, 5.19)


Thumbnail image for BlueJaysRetro.gifBLUE JAYS (53-49, 12.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (9-4, 3.36)

–JB

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Owning the OrioLLLLLLLLLLLLes

JonesJump.jpgThe Blue Jays have some kind of streak going against the Orioles right now. Wednesday’s 5-0 win improved Toronto’s record against Baltimore to 12-0 this season. That is the longest such run to open a season against any team for the Jays.

“You can’t explain it,” Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay said. “You don’t know what we’re doing, but I know we definitely feel confident up there.”

Let’s break it down, shall we?

THE SEASON SERIES

April 6 at Baltimore: 7-6
April 7 at Baltimore: 3-0
April 8 at Baltimore: 5-2

May 28 vs. Baltimore: 5-0
May 29 vs. Baltimore: 5-2
May 30 vs. Baltimore: 6-1

July 16 at Baltimore: 4-2
July 17 at Baltimore: 3-2
July 18 at Baltimore: 10-1

July 26 vs. Baltimore: 9-5
July 27 vs. Baltimore: 8-2
July 28 vs. Baltimore: 5-0

  • Consider that the Orioles (31-70) are now 21.5 games behind the Blue Jays (53-49) for fourth place in the American League East. There is only one team facing a larger deficit for the first in their division: Arizona is 22 games out of the National League West’s top spot.
  • The Jays’ 12-0 record to open the year against the Orioles marks the first time since 1999 that a team won 12 in a row against one team to begin a season. That year, the Rangers accomplished the feat against the Twins.
  • The 12-game winning streak against the Orioles is the second-longest run in team history against one club for the Jays. Toronto previously had 13-game streaks against the Orioles (1999-2000) and against the Indians (1991-92).
  • The Blue Jays have six sweeps overall this season. Four have been against the Orioles. If you removed the games against Baltimore — which include three of Toronto’s eight shutouts this year — the Blue Jays would be eight games under .500.

THE STATS

Blue Jays: 70 runs (5.8 per game)
Orioles: 23 runs (1.9 per games)

Blue Jays: 24 home runs & 59 extra-base hits
Jose Bautista: 6 home runs & 13 extra-base hits
Orioles: 4 home runs & 20 extra-base hits

Blue Jays: 12-0 with a 1.75 ERA
Ricky Romero: 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA
Orioles: 0-12 with a 5.65 ERA

Blue Jays: .292 (121-for-414) average
Orioles: .228 (89-for-390) average

“You don’t expect it,” said Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells, referring to his club’s undefeated record against the Orioles. “We’ve seemed to get the breaks when we’ve needed them against them.”

Six games to go…

–JB

Game 102 lineups: Orioles at Jays

BALTIMORE AT TORONTO
at 7:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre

Thumbnail image for Orioles.gifORIOLES (31-69, 32.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Migue Tejada, 3B
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Luke Scott, DH
5. Ty Wigginton, 1B
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Jake Fox, C
8. Corey Patterson, LF
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching: Jeremy Guthrie (4-10, 4.46)

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (52-49, 12.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Brad Mills (Season debut)

–JB

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