Game 147 lineups: Jays at Red Sox

After an unexpected absence, I’ve finally returned to the Jays beat. While home for my son’s first birthday party, my Grandma Bastian, Maggie, was rushed to the hospital and was in a coma for more than a week. I stayed home to be with family and at her side.

My “Grammy” — never called her Grandma or Gram — passed away on Sunday at the age of 94. She lived a long and amazing life. Her death wasn’t necessarily unexpected, but it did not make the past couple weeks any easier. It was good to be home.

But, it is also good to be back working.

Grandma Bastian did manage to do e-mail — she had a small machine strictly for text — but she never got the hang of using the internet. That was a shame, because she was a big baseball fan and couldn’t get to my stories online. She loved reading the sports section of the Chicago Tribune on a daily basis, though.

Sometimes she’d cut out newspaper clips and mail them to me. A few times, I’d print out some of my stories and mail them her way so she could see what I had been up to as well. She remembered Babe Ruth and loved telling me tales of listening to Cubs games on the radio in the 1930s.

Her stories always had me in awe and were a big reason why I wanted to be surrounded by baseball for a living. That’s why it’s nice to be back at the ballpark today.

Here are the lineups…

—————————————–

TORONTO AT TAMPA BAY
at 7:10 p.m. ET, Fenway Park

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (69-63, 13.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Adam Lind, DH
8. John Buck, C
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Brett Cecil (12-7, 4.12)


Thumbnail image for RedSox.gifRED SOX (82-64, 6.5 GB AL EAST)

1. Marco Scutaro, 2B
2. Darnell McDonald, RF
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Mike Lowell, 1B
7. Jed Lowrie, SS
8. Bill Hall, LF
9. Ryan Kalish, CF

Pitching: John Lackey (12-10, 4.45)

–JB

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Game 133: September callups, lineups & notes

RC10.jpgOne year ago today, the only September callup I cared about was bursting onto the scene far away from any ballpark.

My wife and I expanded our roster by one, welcoming our son Hayden into the world. Man, time sure does fly. We’ve got a big birthday bash planned for this weekend back home, so you’ll have to forgive me for not making the trek to Yankee Stadium.

In the photo here, that’s Hayden and I hanging out in the Blue Jays’ dugout during the last homestand in Toronto.

As for the actual September callups…

Catcher J.P. Arencibia was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas and lefty David Purcey was activated from the disabled list, as expected, prior to Wednesday’s game against the Rays. More callups will likely follow on Tuesday.

Other updates…

Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay, who has been battling concussion-like symptoms sans concussion, felt “exhausted” after batting practice on Tuesday, according to manager Cito Gaston. That said, Gaston kept Overbay out of the lineup on Wednesday and was not sure if the first baseman would be cleared to play Friday or Saturday. There’s no need to rush Overbay back on the field right now.

Gaston added that shortstop Yunel Escobar was still experiencing some tightness in his back when swinging. That being the case, the Jays manager was not sure Escobar would be able to make it back into the lineup on Friday, either. Escobar remains day-to-day, but might play this weekend at some point.

And, from the hard-hitting journalism department, Arencibia rejoined the Jays without the long locks he was sporting last time around. Turns out one of his biggest fans didn’t like JPA’s look when he got all that national attention after his monster Major League debut.

“My [9-year-old] niece told me I looked ugly,” Arencibia said with a laugh. “She saw the stuff on ESPN and she didn’t care about anything that I did, which is great. She just told me I looked ugly with my hair, so I cut it.”

—————————————–

TORONTO AT TAMPA BAY
at 7:10 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (69-63, 13.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. John McDonald, 3B
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, 1B
6. John Buck, C
7. Aaron Hill, 2B
8. J.P. Arencibia, DH
9. Mike McCoy, SS

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (11-7, 3.61)

Thumbnail image for Rays2.pngRAYS (81-51, 1.0 GB AL EAST)
1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Desmond Jennings, RF
3. Carl Crawford, LF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Brad Hawpe, DH
8. Dioner Navarro, C
9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Pitching: David Price (15-6, 3.01)

–JB

Game 132: Lineups and notes

Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay was back with the club on Tuesday, sporting a black eye from his collision with pitcher Brian Tallet a week ago. Turns out Overbay has been out with concussion-like symptoms. But, he did not suffer a concussion.

Overbay discussed how he has been feeling with second baseman Aaron Hill, who missed most of the ’08 season with a concussion. Overbay did not have dizziness or headaches, but the first baseman felt overly tired and had nausea.

“He mentioned that heavy head being there all day,” Overbay said on Tuesday. “For me, it hasnt been all day. It’s back and forth. Today I feel better.”

Overbay felt good enough to take part in batting practice with the Jays prior to their game at the Trop against the Rays. If Overbay came out of that without any issues, he could return to the lineup within the next few games. Manager Cito Gaston was not sure Wednesday would be the day, though.

Check bluejays.com a bit later for more.

Other notes…

–Gaston also noted that shortstop Yunel Escobar (sore back) will remain out of the lineup until at least Friday.

–On Wednesday, rosters expand to a maximum of 40 players. Gaston said the Jays plan on recalling catcher J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A and will likely activate lefty David Purcey (right foot) from the disabled list.

–Gaston said there could be four or five addition September callups next week, following the conclusion of the Minor League season.

—————————————–

TORONTO AT TAMPA BAY
at 7:10 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (68-63, 13.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, DH
2. DeWayne Wise, RF
3. Jose Bautista, 3B
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, 1B
6. John Buck, C
7. Aaron Hill, 2B
8. Travis Snider, LF
9. John McDonald, SS

Pitching: Ricky Romero (10-8, 3.54)

Thumbnail image for Rays2.pngRAYS (81-50, – GB AL EAST)
1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Jason Bartlett, SS
3. Carl Crawford, LF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Kelly Shoppach, C
8. Ben Zobrist, RF
9. Dan Johnson, DH

Pitching: Jeff Niemann (10-4, 3.67)

—————————————–

For you fantasy football enthusiasts out there, I’m in a 14-team league with other MLB.com beat writers this year. We had our live draft this morning and I got stuck with the 13th pick in Round 1, the second pick in Round 2, and so on.

Here’s how my team, The Hurt Lachers, shaped up:

Round 1 (13) — QB Schaub, HOU. Round 2 (16) — RB McCoy, PHI. Round 3 (41) — WR Colston, NO. Round 4 (44) — TE Davis, SF. Round 5 (69) — RB Jones, DAL. Round 6 (72) — WR Knox, CHI. Round 7 (97) — WR Britt, TEN. Round 8 (100) — Baltimore’s defense. Round 9 (125) — QB Sanchez, NYJ. Round 10 (128) — RB Tomlinson, NYJ. Round 11 (153) — D Allen, MIN. Round 12 (156) — WR Berrian, MIN. Round 13 (181) — RB Taylor, CHI. Round 14 (184) — K Gould, CHI. Round 15 (209) — WR Robinson, STL. Round 16 (212) — QB Moore, CAR.

Thoughts?

–JB

 

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Game 131: Lineups and notes

First baseman Lyle Overbay remained away from the Blue Jays on Monday night and the club did not provide any more clarity about what is ailing him right now. Overbay has been “under the weather” since Friday and that is still the case here in Florida.

“He’s just back at the hotel,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston before opening up this three-game set with the Rays. “We don’t know anything yet. He’s just not feeling well. They’ve been running some tests on him to see what’s what. That’s all I know. He is here.”

Overbay did not travel with the team, but was was feeling well enough to catch a flight down to Florida on Monday morning. With him still out of the lineup, Adam Lind got another start at first base for Toronto.

Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was not in the lineup for the second straight game due to a sore back. Gaston said he had no plans of using Escobar off the bench, but he hopes the shortstop would be able to play again on Tuesday.

Center fielder Vernon Wells was also out of the lineup, but that was simply a day off. “I just got benched,” Wells joked. “Nothing’s wrong.”

Injured Blue Jays pitchers Jesse Litsch and Dustin McGowan both stopped by the visitors’ clubhouse this afternoon. Check bluejays.com later for more/

———————————————————-

TORONTO AT TAMPA BAY
at 7:10 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (68-62, 12.0 GB AL EAST)

1. Fred Lewis, DH
2. Mike McCoy, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. John Buck, C
5. Adam Lind, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. DeWayne Wise, CF
8. John McDonald, 3B
9. Travis Snider, LF

Pitching: Brett Cecil (11-6, 3.80)


Thumbnail image for Rays2.pngRAYS (80-50, – GB AL EAST)

1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Jason Bartlett, SS
3. Carl Crawford, LF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Ben Zobrist, RF
8. Willy Aybar, DH
9. Kelly Shoppach, C

Pitching: Wade Davis (10-9, 4.41)

–JB

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Game 128: Buck talks future, plus lineups

BuckFives.jpgJohn Buck did not expect to still be with the Blue Jays by this point in the season. Given that he signed a one-year contract, and Toronto has top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia waiting in the wings, Buck believed he would have been dealt to another team by now.

He is happy to still be around.

“To be honest, as I sit back and look back at it now,” Buck said on Friday, “I thought, ‘I know
they have this young guy. I probably won’t be there. I’ll probably get traded away.’
They’ve thought enough of me to keep me around, whether it be to help the pitchers
or whatever it may be.

“I’m here now and I didn’t think I would be,” he added. “The game
of baseball, it’s so funny. You can’t predict it. I’m just grateful that I’m here. I’ll
continue to play my hardest.”

Buck’s situation has not changed. Arencibia is still at Triple-A Las Vegas and might be given a shot at Toronto’s No. 1 catching job next season. Buck’s one-year deal expires at the end of the season and there is no contractual option for the 2011 season. Buck would love to remain with the Blue Jays, but he also wants to remain the starter behind the plate.

“Obviously, if they want [Arencibia] to start and they think they can win with him,” Buck said, “then
that’s the direction they want to go. That’s another thing that’s out of
my control. What I can control is, if they choose me, I know I can help them win
here. That’s the main reason I want to come back here, because I feel this team is
going to win.”

Check bluejays.com later for more.

———————————

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

Tigers.gifTIGERS (64-64, 9.0 GB AL CENTRAL)
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Will Rhymes, 2B
3. Johnny Damon, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Brennan Boesch, RF
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Don Kelly, LF
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
9. Alex Avila, C

Pitching: Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.65)

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (66-60, 12.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Travis Snider, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. John Buck, C
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Aaron Hill, 2B
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (11-7, 3.70)

~JB

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Game 126: Yanks at Jays lineups & notes

HillBat.jpgBlue Jays manager Cito Gaston decided it was time for another lineup change, considering the prolonged struggles of second baseman Aaron Hill. On Wednesday, Gaston dropped Hill down to the eighth spot of the order.

“I’m just trying to get him somewhere comfortable,” Gaston said. “I’ve been watching the last week, two weeks, three weeks and he’s come up in those spots that have really been sometimes crucial spots.

“That might be tough on him right now, because he’s struggling really bad as far as trying to find his swing and getting back to where he was before. I thought I’d move him down.”

Entering Wednesday, Hill was hitting .151 over his past 14 games with no home runs and just three RBIs for the Jays. That showing comes after a 22-game stretch during which he began to show signs of life, hitting .302 with seven homers and 15 RBIs.

Hill is currently stuck in an 0-for-20 skid in the batter’s box.

Gaston opted to move All-Star catcher John Buck to the sixth spot, which had been occupied by Hill since June 24. Hill opened the year as Toronto’s No. 2 hitter. Batting out of that spot last season, the second baseman hit .286 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs for the Jays.

Hill entered Wednesday batting .206 with 18 homers and 48 RBIs this year.

Gaston did not believe the move to the eighth hole would negatively affect Hill’s confidence.

“No, I don’t think so,” Gaston said. “I’m just hoping that will help him relax a little bit and not put too much pressure on himself.”

————————————————————–

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

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (78-48, – GB AL EAST)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Marcus Thames, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
*7. Austin Kearns, RF
8. Brett Gardner, LF
9. Eduardo Nunez, 3B

Pitching: Phil Hughes (15-5, 3.90)

Tlogo.gifBLUE JAYS (65-60, 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. John Buck, C
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Aaron Hill, 2B
9. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

Pitching: Brett Cecil (10-6, 3.90)

*Yankees RF Nick Swisher was a late scratch due to a swollen left knee. He fouled a pitch off his leg during Tuesday’s game in Toronto.

~JB

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Game 125 lineups: Yankees at Jays

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

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (77-48, – GB AL EAST)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Marcus Thames, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Eduardo Nunez, 3B

Pitching: Dustin Moseley (3-2, 4.76)

Tlogo.gifBLUE JAYS (65-59, 11.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Travis Snider, 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: Marc Rzepczynski (1-1, 4.76)

~JB

Questioning Bautista


BauFist2.jpgAll the recent talk about Jose Bautista’s incredible power surge, and the questions people should be asking, got me thinking: Why don’t I post what we asked the Blue Jays slugger following his two-homer outburst in Monday’s 3-2 win over the Yankees? So, here is the postgame Q&A with the Majors’ leading home run hitter…

Reporter: How many more you got in you?

Bautista: I have no idea. I’m going to keep going out there and do the same thing that I’ve been doing all year, just look for good pitches and try to hit them hard.

Reporter: Did you know immediately on both of them tonight?

Bautista: Yeah. I got those pretty good.

Reporter: What was going through your head after that pitch that Nova threw?

Bautista: Well, instinctively, I was kind of upset. I was just trying to see what kind of reaction I was going to get from him. I was surprised to see he was pretty defiant. He was walking up towards me and flashing his hands up and started yelling. That’s when I felt that the pitch was intentional.

Reporter: Did it surprise you, considering it was his first Major League start?

Bautista: That doesn’t matter. I don’t think that’s a part of the game that you really want to go through. If he would’ve thrown at my foot, or my leg, or my back or something it’d be a totally different attitude from my side. The pitch was right at my head and got me pretty upset.

Reporter: What was he yelling?

Bautista: I’d rather keep that between the lines. I think that’s part of the game that you have to respect.

Reporter: It looked like Molina had his hands wrapped around you. What was he saying to you?

Bautista: He was just trying to calm me down. He knew the at-bat was going to go on and he was trying to get me focused for the next pitch.

Reporter: It looked like you enjoyed that second home run. Was 40 special? Or was it the emotions of the game?

Bautista: I don’t think it was because of No. 40. It’s a tie game, pretty late. I knew that if we took the lead we needed three outs to win it. Given what transpired earlier, I enjoyed it pretty good.

Reporter: Did you get the ball?

Bautista: Not yet. We’ll see if it shows up.

Reporter: I think you’re aware of the article that was written over the weekend kind of tying your success to the whole performance-enhancing thing. I was curious what your reaction is to seeing your season get tied into something like that.

Bautista: I could care less. I’m part of the program just like any other ballplayer is. We’re subject to testing all the time. I don’t know where this guy is coming from with his allegations.

Reporter: What was your reaction when you saw someone write an article like that.

Bautista: I didn’t see it until somebody brought it up. I mean, I could care less. The guy is paid to write something and he did. It’s unfortunate. I don’t know if he’s trying to stir something up, but when you talk without base, without any, I’m trying to think of the word…

Reporter: Evidence?

Bautista: Not evidence. He’s just got no base to be talking. I don’t know why my name was tied up to it and I haven’t even read the article. All I know is because you guys mentioned it earlier today.

Reporter: Do you feel more of a leadership role right now than at any time during the season? All three RBIs, plus that incident, plus everything else that goes with what you’ve been doing…

Bautista: No, I don’t think anything changes. I’ve always been the same guy. Even when I was a rookie I always talked to a lot of my teammates. I’m not saying I was a leader early on, but I haven’t changed. I’m not trying to become a leader. I’m just going out there and doing the same thing I’ve been doing since Day 1.

Reporter: Did you get a chance to talk to Yunel about what his beef was with the home-plate umpire?

Bautista: All I know is the umpire tossed him out of the game.

Reporter: They had words didn’t they?

Bautista: I don’t know. You’ve got to ask Yunel.

Reporter: When you ran by the mound after flying out in the sixth, did you think something might happen?

Bautista: No, that’s the same route I take every other time. There’s no need to change.

Reporter: Two umpires seemed to think differently…

Bautista: They’re supposed to keep the game under control. That’s what they were trying to do. There was no intention on my behalf to get anything started.

Reporter: As long as you didn’t go over the mound…

Bautista: That’s true [laughing].

–JB 

Game 124 lineups: Yankees at Blue Jays

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

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgYANKEES (77-47, – GB AL EAST)
1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Jorge Posada, DH
6. Curtis Granderson, CF
7. Eduardo Nunez, SS
8. Ramiro Pena, 3B
9. Francisco Cervelli, C

Pitching: Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00)

Tlogo.gifBLUE JAYS (64-59, 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. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
9. Jose Molina, C

Pitching: Brandon Morrow (9-6, 4.45)

~JB

Chess Match: Game 122


Snider821.jpgBreaking down a key moment in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Red Sox…

The situation: With the score caught in a 4-4 deadlock, Travis Snider opens the 10th inning with an infield single and he takes second base on an error on the play. Fred Lewis follows by hitting a hard grounder to Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.

The decision: Snider sprints toward third base.

The outcome: Scutaro gloves the ground and quickly fires the ball to third baseman Adrian Beltre, catching Snider in a costly run down. Snider attempts to hustle back to second base, but he is easily thrown out on the play. One batter later, Yunel Escobar grounds into an inning-ending double play. Boston wins it in the 11th with a homer from Jed Lowrie. 

The analysis: At first glance, it’s hard to blame Snider for running to third base. The ball was hit to his left and, as we were all taught in Little League, you run on that type of play. This was a slightly different case, though.

Scutaro was playing behind Snider at second base, trying to hold him as close to the base as possible, considering Beltre was protecting against a potential bunt down the third-base line. The ball was also hit hard by Lewis, giving Scutaro plenty of time to get the ball quickly and retire Snider at third base.

The comments:

“You hold on that ball. You don’t go there. He’s the potential winning run. You want to get three shots at it. He just made a mistake. I know he feels as bas as anyone else here tonight. Hopefully he learns from it.” — Gaston

“I take full responsibility for what happened in that inning. … I was too aggressive. It was a mistake on my part, not being aware of where Scutaro was playing and understanding that’s not a ball you can advance on, especially as well as Freddy hit that. It’s something to put in the memory bank and learn from and hopefully I’ll build off of it.” — Snider

My verdict: Again, at first, it was hard to fault Snider for what essentially is a reactionary decision — one made with only a split second to choose between retreating and advancing. After talking the play over with Gaston, Snider and third base coach Brian Butterfield after the game, it became clear that Snider should have immediately sprinted back to second base, and not to third.

–JB

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