Friday, July 10, 2009

Breaking out the brooms for the Blue Jays

In a way, I pity the Toronto Blue Jays.  They swiftly broke out of the gate in the horse race that is the AL East, took a good lead, and were beginning to look like serious competitors.  However, a 10 game stretch against the Rays and the New York Yankees seems to have brought them down to earth.  Over the last 10 games, the Jays have had a 4 game series sandwiched between to 3-game sets against the Rays.  In those 10 games, they're 2-8.  Roy Halladay, their ace, pitched in 3 of those games and didn't win any of them.  The AL East part of the schedule has finally caught them, and the results aren't too pretty and they're firmly in 4th place at .500.   

To make matters worse for the Jays, check out their August schedule.  It's brutal. If I'm Halladay, I definitely want out of town before the trade deadline.

Enough Jays talk, here are some things I noticed in the Rays 3-2 victory over the Jays:

  • Price vs Halladay.  If Halladay stays with the Blue Jays, it's easy to see these guys facing off many more times over the next few years. Price really matched Halladay pitch for pitch yesterday, only giving up 1 earned run.  As Joe Maddon will tell you, the only way to beat Halladay is by getting good starting pitching.
  • Catching King David. Kevin Kennedy and Dewayne Staats were giving plenty of props to the Greatness that is Michel Hernandez for his game calling.  One point that made plenty of sense is Hernandez's familarity with catching young pitchers.  Before this year, Michel was a AAA journeyman, so he's caught plenty of up-and-comers.  He's the Rays Crash Davis.
  • Bullpen dominance. It's no coincidence that the Rays are starting to win some 1 run games.  The bullpen is doing a great job of keeping them in close games.  Joe Nelson had a rough patch yesterday, but Grant Balfour cleaned up his mess.  This, the day after the rest of the bullpen had to pick up Balfour.  But, the real hero is Dan Wheeler who is quietly putting it all together.  The last time he gave up a run? June 6th. Not too shabby.
  • Power outtage at the Trop.  Yes, the power went out at the Trop and delayed the game. No, the electric company didn't cut the Rays off for not paying their bill.  There was, in fact, a big storm over St. Pete at the time.  Summer storms in the Bay area involve lots of lightning. So, your jokes aren't that funny.
  • Carlos Pena misses out on the All-Star game. To be honest, I really didn't expect 'Los to win the fan vote. He's been slumping lately and he didn't really have the numbers to justify a trip.  I understand the Rays wanting to promote their player, but I thought they went a little overboard, especially Staats and Kennedy.  A mention or two would've been fine, but pulling out stats that the average fan doesn't understand is no way to justify his inclusion.  The fact is, if he were playing well right now he may have had a better shot. But, his slump killed him. I do, however, tip my cap to Pena for knocking in a couple of runs to win the  game.
  • Beating the A's.  No excuses for the Rays this series.  They need to beat the A's and they need to beat them badly.  The A's are not an elite AL East team, but they've had the Rays number this year.  No let downs.


Bud Light said...

Kennedy has caught a lot of slack...for his no no-holds-barred reporting...but I think he points out things the regular fan is not going to see...
Example...M. Hernandez, to me is an excellent catcher and is hitting better than Navarro..and he express those type of matter what others could think!

Anonymous said...

David Price did a good job. He even earned a mentioned on twitter by Sports Analyst & Rays fan Skip Bayless. I'm sorry to tell you that The Devil aka Skip Bayless is a Rays fan. :-)


Michael_Rays Rev said...

I like Kennedy. I was just watching the 2003 All-star game on MLB network and he was doing the AL "dugout" reporting. To me, he does a good job. The only issue I had yesterday was the over-the-top pimping of the vote 'los campaign.

Bud Light said...

Amen...Car(LOS) finished where he belonged
4th of 5...You think FANS "really" don't know?

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