Tagged: Red Sox

Wang Clears Waivers – Heads to triple-A

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has cleared waivers and accepted a minor league assignment instead of testing his hand as a free agent.  Wang, 33, compiled a 2.61 ERA and 10 K’s in 20.2 innings during his first three starts with the Blue Jays.  Then, in his next two outings very the hard hitter Red Sox and Tigers, Wang allowed 13 earned runs in just 3.1 innings.  Over 5 starts, his ERA ballooned to 7.13.

In triple-A this season with the Yankees affiliate, Wang posted a 2.33 ERA in 58 innings.

Yes, Wang was roughed up badly in his last two starts and yes, Todd Redmond pitched well yesterday.  However, I still like the Wang signing – the Jays took a shot on guy with previous AL East success.  I haven’t given up in Wang and still think he’s a better option than Redmond.  At the very least, he provides a veteran arm in triple-A for depth.

@IHRTBJs

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Recent Road Trip, Upcoming Series, and Breaking Down the Injury Bug

For a team that needs to play over .600 to have a shot at the playoffs, going 3-4 on its most recent road trip just isn’t going to cut it.  It’s tough, though, when the rotation is in tatters.  But injuries or not, the Blue Jays need to win games.

Tomorrow the Jays return home for 3 vs. the Rangers.  We have to go 2-1 which means we either need to beat Yu Darvish on Saturday (Mark Buehrle might just do it) or we need Esmil Rogers to step up big time in tomorrow’s series opener.  While R.A. Dickey has been far from a lock so far this season, coming off a classic performance yesterday, I feel that the Jays should have a definite advantage when Dickey toes the rubber to close out the series on Sunday.

To win 90 games which would give the Jays roughly an 80% shot at the postseason, they have to go 65-38 the rest of the way (.631 baseball).  Yikes.

Although a friend of mine reminded me that the A’s were under .500 at the allstar break last season and went on to win the AL West.  Not an easy task.  So it’s possible for the Jays to make a run.

I also saw an interesting stat in Sportsnet magazine.  Every team has injuries, so it’s hard for fans, coaches, and players to use injuries as an excuse for the Blue Jays situation.  But here is the stat: at May 10th (when the article was published), the Blue Jays had 10 players on the DL.  To put that into some perspective, the Red Sox had 4, the Orioles 6, the Rays 3, and the Yankees a whopping 11.  So the Jays can’t complain, right?  The Yankees have just as many injuries, are still performing, and well into a divisional race.

WRONG!  Of the Yankees on the DL, only 36% are pitchers.  In fact, no team in the MLB has a higher percentage of pitchers on the DL if you take the DL’ed pitchers divided by the total players DL’ed on a team.  The Jays are at 90%!  Also, no team has more than 7 pitches on the DL other than the Jays (9 pitchers on the DL).  Of the 11 Yankees on the DL, only 4 are pitchers (which is 2nd most in the AL East after Toronto).

We all know pitching is the key to success.  And right now, the Jays pitching staff is hurting.  Getting Josh Johnson back healthy is huge.  Having Dickey pitch healthy is huge.  Now we just need Brandon Morrow and J.A Happ to come back and we’ll be set to make a run.  With the rotation healing, I’m not counting out a Blue Jays run just yet.

@IHRTBJs

Last Night’s loss – May 2, 2013

I’m tired of losing.  Even more so, I’m tired of losing to John Farrell’s Red Sox.  

Last night the Blue Jays dropped another game to lower their record to 10 – 19.  That’s the 27th of 30 MLB teams.  Only the Houston Astros are worse in the American League.  

I never expect to win a game when our starting pitcher walks 7 batters.  It rarely happens.  But with all the walks (10 in total) allowed to Red Sox hitters, the Jays only surrendered 3 runs and definitely had a chance to win.  

Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.  He’s been making solid contact for the past two weeks and really hitting it hard every time he puts it in play.  On a 2-0 pitch, he rolled over on a slider and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.  

Adam Lind came to the plate with two out and the bases loaded later in the game.  He has been seeing the ball as well as any Blue Jay lately (11 walks in his past 9 games).  He worked the count full and then struck out on a fastball at the letters.  

So the offence had its chance.  Bad start for J.A. Happ?  Definitely.  He couldn’t command anything.  But the staff gave us a chance to win last night and the offence, yet again, let us down.  

This next comment might sound a bit like I’m just bitter and looking for excuses for the Jays – I’m not.  They have played horrible baseball and deserve their record.  I really think they will go on a run, but they deserve to be 10 – 19 with the way they’ve played so far.  So keeping in mind this is not an excuse….what the hell was up with home plate umpire Gary Darling last night?  His strike zone was inconsistent to say the least.  He gave Ryan Dempster so many pitches off the outside corner, which I’m totally fine with if it was going both ways – but it wasn’t, and poor Happ couldn’t get a call when he was on the plate.  It was downright ridiculous.  Now, this umpiring did not lose the Jays the game.  The lack of clutch hitting lost them the game.  But you have to wonder if all the previous whining about balls and strikes over the past couple seasons is catching up with the Jays with umpires around the league.  

On a positive note, only Brett Lawrie complained last night.  Usually it’s Lawrie, Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia, and the list goes on.  I’m happy Bautista has shut his trap the last couple games.  You have to think John Gibbons had a private conversation with him about it.  

This is going to sound weird to some since the offence sucked again last night, but I think they are really close to breaking out.  The at bats are getting much better.  It was rare that they chased and it really looks like most guys are starting to see the ball well.  The only two that looked lost at the plate were Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio.  Cabrera is in a funk and Gibbons has now moved him back to the 2-hole where he is certain to see pitches while hitting in front of Bautista – thank you Gibbons (you should have never moved him).  And Bonifacio just isn’t getting enough consistent at bats, so it’s tough.  He should be starting nearly every night and Munenori Kawasaki should be on the bench to spell Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis when they need a night off or to come in for Bonifacio as a defensive replacement late in a game if the Jays have the lead.  How many times do I need to say this?  

And Gibbons, I really do like you as a manager and don’t want to see you go (despite what some of the fan base is saying), but how can you not pinch hit for Kawasaki in the bottom of the 9th when he represents the tying run at the plate?  Really?  Mark DeRosa was available.  Hell, even Maicer Izturis has more pop than Kawasaki.  Just a bizarre decision to pinch hit for Bonifacio with Rajai Davis and not pinch hit for Kawasaki when he represented the tying run.

I realize it sounds like I really don’t like Kawasaki but I actually do.  I just don’t like him as a starter or at the plate representing the tying run in the 9th inning.  

Let’s hope Ricky Romero’s new mechanics can hold up tonight vs. Felix Hernandez.  And let’s hope the bats come alive.

@IHRTBJs

Johnson to DL, Romero Back with Big Club

Only a couple hours after posting that both R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson were on track to make their next scheduled starts on Friday and Saturday, the Blue Jays have place Johnson on the 15-day DL due to persistent triceps inflammation.  Johnson has undergone an MRI which shows no structural damage, but after throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday, the Jays appear to be taking the cautious route with the soon-to-be free agent and shutting him down temporary.

Johnson’s DL stint is retroactive to his last big league appearance so there is a change he only misses one more start.  However, after skipping two starts, you have to wonder if the Jays will want him to do a minor league rehab assignment.  Sergio Santos hit the DL earlier this season with a similar injury to his triceps and it was originally thought he would be ready to come back as soon as his stint was over.  Well, it was over last week and he still isn’t back.

Ricky Romero has been called up for the Jays to pitch tomorrow in Johnson’s place.  This is an interesting move since Romero only has one start in single-A this year after numerous bullpen sessions to work on his new throwing mechanics.  I think the Jays are rushing Ricky back, but I guess they feel he is the best available option.  With a 10-18 start and needing to play close to .600 baseball for the remainder of the season to have a shot at the playoffs, I suppose they don’t have much of a choice.

Unfortunately for Romero, in his return to Toronto he draws Felix Hernandez of the Mariners to pitch opposite him.  King Felix is 3-2 with a 1.90 ERA so far this season.  Let’s hope he has confidence in his new mechanics.

The silver lining in today’s news seems to be that Dickey also underwent an MRI this week and looks good to go for his start on Saturday.  He is still suffering for a sore back and neck but said it didn’t feel as bad as it has after his latest side session.  The MRI reveal slight inflammation but no serious injury.  Dickey plans to continue to pitch through the pain.

I really thought Johnson would be one of the best, if not the best pitcher on the Jays staff this season.  He still has a chance to be since the season is only about 15% complete, but he’ll have to come back quickly and then avoid the DL.  In a contract year, he’ll be itching to prove his health and value, so look for good things when he comes back.  If injuries persist, the Jays might be able to sign him to an extension for a year at a discount so he can prove his health and value next season before hitting the free agent market.

I keep telling a co-worker that starting with the win on Tuesday, the Jays will play .600 ball for the remainder of the season.  It would be a good start by taking the series tonight (Happ vs. Dempster) and grabbing 2 of three this weekend vs. the Mariners.

@IHRTBJs