Game 107: New York at Toronto

Ryan2.jpgHis image still graces a large panel of windows on the south side of Rogers Centre. And, why not? The Blue Jays are still on the hook to pay the rest of the roughly $15 million that B.J. Ryan is owed through next season.

Since the spring, Ryan struggled with his pitch velocity and his pitch command. He dropped out of the World Baseball Classic over concerns with his mechanics. He lost his closer’s role due to his persistent problems.

At the beginning of July, Ryan was issuing walks at an increasingly alarming rate and he told the media he felt his sporadic use played a role in his inconsistent results. A few days later, the Blue Jays released Ryan.

All this after the man saved 38 games and had a 1.37 ERA just three years earlier.

Ryan quickly found a job with the Cubs, who took him on with a Minor League contract hoping to revive his career and have a veteran left-handed option in the process. In five games with Triple-A Iowa, Ryan walked five batters in 5 2/3 innings.

On Wednesday, Chicago released Ryan. The reason?


FLAT-LINING? After the Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday, Roy Halladay was asked what the team’s goal should be over the final two months. His response: “Win. That’s the reason you’re here. I don’t think at any point you can pack it in and work on things. You have to come out every day to try and win. That’s what it comes down to.”

On Wednesday, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was subsequently asked if he feels his team may be going a little flat, considering its place in the standings. Gaston didn’t believe that to be the case.

“I dont think so,” Gaston said. “I think last night, I think the guys put up a pretty good battle in the end, trying to come back and tie the ballgame or win the ballgame for Doc. So, I don’t feel that. If I do, I think I’d have to have a couple meetings…”

Gaston then smiled and turned to radio man Jerry Howarth, who was seated next to him on the bench in the dugout.

“…and invite Jerry in and throw him around the room a little bit,” Gaston joked. “Show them what I’d do to them.”

Gaston did say that the very end of the season can be tough for players who are not on contending teams.

“I think the toughest time is the last week of the season for guys, if you’re not in the running. Even if you’re trying to stay out of last place, a lot of guys are starting to think about going home — no matter what you do or try to say.”

ON MITRE: I’m not to the stage of my baseball writing career where I can say, “Way back when…” too often. Today, though, seeing Sergio Mitre starting for the Yankees brings back some memories of my days with the Lansing State Journal. I covered the Class A Lansing Lugnuts in ’04 (Cubs) and ’05 (Jays). In the spring of 2004, I convinced the paper to get me credentials to the Cubs spring training in order to write some features on a few former Lugnut players. Mitre was one player I wrote about — one of the first baseball stories of my career. Click here to read the article (or, to see the web site I designed and created while at Michigan State to serve as my active resume. Man, I should probably update that site!).

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (64-42)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, DH
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
9. Jose Molina, C

Starter: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.90)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (51-55)
Fourth place AL East, 13.0 GB

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

Starter: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-2, 3.25)

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian



  1. gsjays

    A decent outing from Rzepczynski, but one that also should give Cito/Arnsberg a huge warning sign, and I’m sure it did..
    Although, he was only at 93 pitches, it was his 121st inning if the year and imo, he’s starting to run out of steam. Cito knew it too, after the game, you can tell from watching his press conference.
    We can’t expect these young arms to go as far as Halladay or a veteran pitcher, particularly when they go against a power packed lineup line the Yanks.
    It’s going to be a stretch to get all these kids to September when others can be called up. I just hope none of them get injured in the meantime.
    The other one who worries me is Tallet, who’s now thrown more innings than he has in any two years combined in his career. It might be, we should put him on the shelf for the rest of the year and call up someone to replace him.

  2. gsjays

    Well, there’s good news and bad news on Purcey’s start tonight in Vegas. Good news is he only gave up 4 hits, while walking 4.
    The bad news, is it all happened in the first inning and he gave up 5 runs, and was yanked after the first.
    Snider went 1 for 4 with a double, Dopirak went 1 for 4 with a single and Arencibia hit his 12 home run of the year.

  3. welikeroywelikeroy

    You had me excited on Purcey for a second there … good flip. I’m liking what I see from Rzepcynski too, but he definately couldn’t go 7 in that game. Looked like Roenicke got a little bit rattled after that bloop hit by Matsui that Inglett played terribly.

  4. yerouttaheah

    The good news for the young pitchers is that they get a lot of days off in August, so they should be able to stretch it out until September callup time. Cito has said that he is aware of the problem and might have to go to a six man rotation. And you don’t get to pitch 200+ innings a year by not pitching. You have to go as far as you can for as long as you can in order to strengthen your arm. In the Japanese leagues, it is not uncommon for young pitchers to throw 160+ pitches per game, and they don’t have any more or less injuries than North American pitchers do. What it comes down to is mechanics, and developing a repeatable delivery that doesn’t hurt your arm, and then repeating it enough times that you can repeat it even when you are at the end of your rope.

  5. yerouttaheah

    Does anybody know what happened to Michael Barrett? The last I heard, he was optioned to Las Vegas to continue his rehab, but I can’t find him on the roster of any of our minor league clubs.

  6. peemiccee

    Looking at the 40-man… Mills will probably make a couple starts in September (provided he is healthy) because the clock has already been started. Also possible Perez might make a couple starts because it wouldn’t start the clock on him but I would say that isn’t really a lock; probably a long shot. Marcum might be back to fill in for a couple starts. Wouldn’t mind seeing Marcum make a couple starts if he is healthy so he can go to spring training next year not worrying about the injury.
    Barrett is still on a rehab assignment. The fact he is not playing or on the AAA roster probably means he had a set back and got shut down.
    I’m interested why Zach Stewart is being used as a reliever especially if that is not the long-term plan.

  7. gsjays

    Barret has definitely been shut down, he’s on the Jays 15 day DL. Pretty sure the reason Stewart is being used as a reliever versus a starter is innings limitations. I seem to remember reading that on one of the Cinnci sites.

  8. peemiccee

    I think the hold up is that Barrett hurt his shoulder and ribs but they didn’t know how bad the ribs were at first. They thought it was just bruising but I think it ended up being microfractures. I seem to remember something like that…

  9. gsjays

    Sounds like Barrett’s done for the year. Interesting tidbit on Arrencibia. He now leads AAA in home runs (12) by a catcher and there’s only 2 catchers ahead of him in ops, both of which are from much cooler places to play.
    It might be Arrencibia is doing much better than his BA/OBP shows. He’s catching virtually every game and most of the time, game time temperature is over 105. That has to have impact, I’m not sure I could even walk in that temperature, never mind catch a ball game every day wearing that equipment.
    I hope he gets called up in September and gets time here with Cito/Tennace. My take is they could get him over any rough edges he still has faster than anyone else and possibly get him ready for 2010.

  10. yerouttaheah

    It would be great to see Arencibia here in 2010, but it would also be great if they could re-sign Barahas and Chavez, or at least one of them.


    Hopefully Arencibia can step up next year. As GS has said he is hitting the ball better lately, I doubt he can be much worse next year than Rod has been this year (numbers wise). I’m all out of excitement for this team, i’m looking forward to September callups most notably, Snider, Marcum, Arencibia and Dropirak (should he come up)


    Marcum might be back sooner from what I hear though =D, Also forgot to include any Romero/Halladay start.

  13. gsjays

    Actually, I’m a bit concerned about Marcum. His last rehab start was on July 26th and he only went two innings and hasn’t pitched since, in what is now 11 days. There’s something wrong with that timing. I just hope he’s ok and they didn’t try to rush him back too soon and injure him again.

    And as usual, Jays club office is mum-not a dickie boo about what’s going on with him.

  14. yerouttaheah

    The last I heard of Marcum, he had joined the club on their West coast swing to get some treatment for some back spasms. It didn’t sound major, but they likely backed him off onto a throwing program again. I doubt they are rushing him back, gs. It’s not like they are in a playoff race or anything.

  15. yerouttaheah

    It looks as if BJ is really finished. At least he seems to think so. I look at it 2 ways: First, when he came back from Tommy John, he was a LOT slimmer than the Man Mountain of 2006 dominance. Maybe without chemical enhancement, there is not a lot left to give. The flip side is that the Jays still owe him $10 mil for next year. Why not see if he would spend some time in Dunedin, get him the best medical testing, physiotherapy, and coaching there is, start from square one, and see if there really is nothing left in the pot. After all, a few thousand more won’t make much difference compared to $10 mil.

  16. gsjays

    Well, I don’t feel so bad about how the Yanks treated us after they hammered Boston tonight 13-6, including 8 runs in the 4th inning. Looks like that John Smoltz experiment isn’t working out all that well for the Bosox.

  17. gsjays

    I listened to the Vegas/Omaha game last night. So everyone knows all their games are broadcast over internet radio which can be located under the multimedia button on the Vegas web site. The announcers are very knowledgeable and provide good insight on some of our guys. Jamie Campbell should listen and pick up some good broadcast points from these guys.
    A few interesting things from the announcers. First, Fabio Castro’s fastball appears to range from 88 to 90 mph (on the Omaha gun anyway) and he has a wicked breaking ball, but he survives on good control and changing speeds.
    Second, Arrencibia hit 2 balls last night that could have been double and home run but got robbed on both. One was a dead center-“line drive smash” that was caught but the cf who leaped and took away a home run at the wall at 405 feet. The second was another “line drive smash” that was hit so hard, the center fielder tripped, fell down while running backwards and caught the ball lying on his back at 395 feet. The “line drive smash” was the announcers description, by the way.
    The announcers went on to say Arrencibia has hammered the ball hard all series, (and every time, it could have been over the fence with more elevation,) but right at someone each time and has nothing to show for it.
    In one of the late innings, a Omaha runner on first got a huge lead off of Fabio and went for 2nd base. Arrencibia made the throw to 2nd base “on his knees” and although the runner got a huge jump, made the play close because of how he threw the ball.
    Again, sometimes stats can be misleading. I can not remember if we’ve ever had a catcher here throw to 2nd base while still on his knees. Gotta like that.

  18. peemiccee

    ‘Many teams are believed to have struck deals with their top picks. So why haven’t we heard about them? Teams will announce over-slot deals at the last minute so it seems like they’re respecting the commissioner’s recommended bonuses.’
    So the commissioner is essentially screwing young players from getting started this year? He should be focused on fixing the entry level system not band-aid solutions.

  19. gsjays

    Hopeful, we’ve struck deals as well. The nonsense of this, though is these kids will all lose one year of development. Smart commissioner.

    Talking about draftees, we have two kids in Auburn SS that are off to a great start. Ryan M Goins, a short stop, drafted in the 4th round (7th player picked) and Sean P Ochinko, a catcher, drafted in the 11th round.

    Goins: .373/.417/.478 for an ops of .894
    Ochinko: .330/.385/.553 for an ops of .938

    Ochniko has 12 doubles and 3 home runs and no errors in 28 games, not too shabby.

  20. peemiccee

    Rios has been claimed on waivers…
    Personally, it wouldn’t take THAT much for me to trade him with the claiming team. Probably wouldn’t give him away for free though.

  21. inception

    Speculation is that it is one of Boston, Chicago, or the Giants. I have no doubt that Rios will turn things around on whatever team he goes to. However, I am also convinced that he will not do it with Toronto. His attitude alone should be enough of a cause for JP to try and work something out with whoever claimed him. A couple of decent arms at AA should do the trick.

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