On this, the evening of Brad Mill’s second start of the season, I renew my claim that anything can happen in this starting rotation.
A guy named Brett Lawrie also takes his first career at bats this eve.
Seven straight balls from Brad Mills in the third inning. I digress, or not.
If the wind does not blow in Mills’ direction tonight, does Litsch then rejoin the rotation?
Luis Perez is also in the running. Jays management would seem to want to have a look at him in the rotation, or so it has been suggested by the Jays Talk. Since Mills has already thrown a few starts over the past three seasons, he now needs a string of quality starts to stick around.
One out, two on, bottom of three. Blue Birds four, Orange ones two.
If and when he does join the rotation, Luis Perez will have a slightly longer leash than Mills, given that it would be his first opportunity.
One gets the sense that this will be the last best chance for Brad Mills to permanently join the ranks of MLB starters.
If only in shades, does watching Brad Mills pitch remind you of a young Jimmy Key?
He’s out of the third. Two runners left on.
Brett Lawrie to take his second at bat. No longer batting 1000.
Mills survives the fourth.
Alan Ashby and Jerry Howarth speak in ominous tones about Mills’ shaky control, leaving pitches well above and up in the zone. Can he settle in for another few innings?
Three up, three down in the fifth. Mills in position for the win.
Jerry Howarth just called Brad Mills a magician. Alan Ashby corrects himself on having judged Mills too harshly.
It’s clear Alan Ashby does not get a good feeling watching Brad Mills, pitching high with a fastball of 86 mph.
Mills then walks two, loads the bases, and allows another run.
Jays 4, Orioles 3.
In comes Perez to get the Jays out of the sixth.
Jays jump ahead to a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh.
Litsch comes in to get the Jays through the seventh.
It looks like neither Perez or Litsch will fill Villanueva’s rotation spot.
Could it be the second coming of Kyle Drabek? Or the first coming of Henderson Alvarez?
Frank Francisco continues his streak of effectiveness with a clean eighth inning.
Brad Mills will earn the victory on 5.1 IP and 3 ER, 4 BB and 5 SO, if John Rauch can lock it down in the ninth.
Rauch has been our most reliable closer of the season, and that’s not saying much at all.
I look forward to saying goodbye to this man, though not as excruciating as Kevin Gregg, he is less effective and certainly a place holder with a very limited shelf life in Toronto.
He did it. Rauch the save, Mills the win and most likely another whirl (start), despite not pitching nearly as well tonight as he did in his last outing.
He may be one of these guys who can buck the trend. Maybe he can get away with throwing up in the zone, said Ashby.
Ricky Romero – leadership shown, all-star calibre, struggles with Red Sox
Kyle Drabek – demotion to Las Vegas, return to rotation a challenge
Brett Cecil – fastball up to 93 mph again, rotation mainstay rest of way
Jo Jo Reyes – unfocused, #5 spot in starting rotation, on the bubble
Jesse Litsch – rehab stint in Las Vegas, rotation spot in doubt
Brandon Morrow – shades of 2010, momentum, on verge of breakthrough
Carlos Villaneuva – exceeding expectations, #4 starter, trade bait
Sean Camp – Zen master of eliciting ground balls, hittable, 1 blown save
Jason Frasor – sure hand, candidate for closer role, 2 blown saves
John Rauch – hothead, very hittable, 7 saves in 9 tries
Mark Rzepczynski – reliable middle-relief, 3 blown saves, 3 extra base hits allowed
Casey Jannssen – placed on 15-day DL, retroactive to June 15
Octavio Dotel – improved effectiveness, innings eater
Frank Francisco – below average closer, 4 blown saves, unprofessional tendency
Luis Perez – helpful middle relief, unestablished rookie, 2 blown saves
Aaron Hill – too cautious, shell of 2009 self, Blue Jay end near
Adam Lind – dialed in, future batting champion, all-star production
Travis Snider – 3 doubles in MLB return, deserving outfield starter
Jason Nix – below Mendoza line, designated for assignment July 2
Jose Molina – above-average backup catcher, effective place holder
Corey Patterson – horrendous decision-making on base paths + outfield, liability
Jose Bautista – constant development, all-star, MVP candidate
J.P. Arencibia – good rookie production, sunken BA
Rajai Davis – lightning speed, awful slump, too many SO, second half producer
Edwin Encarnacion – natural DH, streaky, on the bubble
Yunel Escobar – all-star calibre statistics, improved power + work ethic
Juan Rivera – place holder role over, DFA July 3
John McDonald – above Mendoza line again, unsung Toronto hero
Mike McCoy – down + up again, good OBP, useful professional
Eric Thames – spark plug, confident, room for improvement in SO/BB ratio
Kyle Drabek – heart on sleeve, raging bull of emotion on the mound, wild
Brett Cecil – fastball down to 90 mph, 8 HRs allowed in 4 starts before demotion
Jo Jo Reyes – 26-game winless streak snapped, emotions in check, weak pick-off move
Jesse Litsch – fastball + compete-level return, rotation spot deserved when healthy
Brandon Morrow – slow start, potent arsenal, control a work in progress
Carlos Villaneuva – good stuff, reliable from bullpen, exceeding expectations as starter
Sean Camp – ground ball out master, outstanding April/ May, rocky June
Jason Frasor – painstakingly deliberate approach, sure hand, best season pace
John Rauch – shades of K-Gregg, less careful, Jays best closer not saying much
Mark Rzepczynski – odd man out, smooth transition to pen, control issues lately
Casey Jannssen – bullpen stud, return to 2007 form, confident presence
Octavio Dotel – ineffective, innings eater during big losses, oldest man in pen
Frank Francisco – power + unreliability, below average closer
Luis Perez – helpful middle relief, verdict still out, given small sample-size
Aaron Hill – stats split difference between 2009 and 2010 season, too cautious
Adam Lind – back in the saddle again, Indiana boy in perfect spot behind Bautista
Travis Snider – lack of confidence, swing kinks, walk to strikeout ratio improved
Jason Nix – clutch hitting in April, non-existent May, battling Mendoza line
Jose Molina –calm in eye of storm, excellent back-up catcher, hitting well
Corey Patterson – less than smart base running, seeing good pitches
Jose Bautista – BA + OBP + OPS off the charts, home run mastery
J.P. Arencibia – great rookie production, ability + rapport with pitchers improving
Rajai Davis – speed, nice addition, injury riddled, wait and see
Edwin Encarnacion – defensive liability, disappeared home run production
Yunel Escobar – great start overall, occasional odd no-throw decisions
Juan Rivera – horrendous start, rebounded offensively, first base fill-in admirable
John McDonald – decreased production, no fearful demeanour, usual infield brilliance
Mike McCoy – future John McDonald, reliable + energetic uber-utility man
May 20, 2011 (pregame)
It’s still early. Competition is fierce. But the Blue Jays sit just one game out of the wild card spot. When the extent of its injuries and slumps are measured, this club is exceeding expectations overall.
The Yankees reeling over the Jorge Posada soap opera, their core talent aging well out of its prime, such things could develop into real liabilities. An average age of 25.6, the Jays starting rotation, with all its depth and talent, matches up favourably against those of all division rivals, especially that of the grey-beards in pin-stripes. See average age of 32. Each Yankee starter exceeds 30, apart from the 23-year-old Ivan Nova. The match up bodes well for our rivalry levelling out in the future. How close to now is that future?
This could really be the year, the first since 1993, the Jays finish above the Yankees.
The Jays will show marked improvement, if they break even in interleague play this year.
All time- 115-132, 2008- 8-10, 2009- 7-11, and 2010- 7-11
In the world of WHAT IFs, a mere four-game swing last season to 11-7, all (other) things being equal, would have kept the Blue Jays in the fight for the wild last September.
May 20, 2011 (postgame)
Astros 5, Jays 2
UGH. Almost-wins are a tough pill to swallow. Frank Francisco appears to be suffering from the K-Gregg Syndrome, an inability to pitch well in back-to-back games. Rookie manager and de-facto team psychologist (Dr.) John Farrell misdiagnosed his team’s symptoms and did not follow procedure when he brought in the would-be closer in a non-save situation. The powerful yet thus far unreliable Francisco promptly allowed the Astros three runs. Mark Rzepcynski or Sean Camp might have been the more logical choice with the game tied 2-2.
Blue Jay hitting continues to suffer its Achilles Heel with runners in scoring position. While hard luck starter Jo Jo Reyes stepped up, shutting down the Astros over 7 innings and giving his team a chance to win, John Rauch blew the save and a 2-0 lead in the 8th inning. Interleague woes still pain us. Reyes appear infected by chronic winlessitis. Mr. Rauch came into the game with a 2.70 ERA, took a beating, and left it with a 3.57. Ouch.