Tagged: Yankees

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.


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.


Blue Jays need a win today

After winning four in a row backed by a red hot offence that bats have gone cold in Yankee Stadium – and the Blue Jays can’t find a way to win at Yankee Stadium.

Friday night, Hiroki Kuroda was virtually unhittable.  Not much you can do when a top line pitcher throws like that.

But yesterday’s loss was one that got away.  The Jays managed to make David Phelps look like a Cy Young candidate.  A rally killing pick off of Jose Bautista to end the 1st inning was very telling of how this game would play out.  The Jays went 1-9 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on bases in total.

And Brandon Morrow, making his first start in a couple weeks, looked sharp.  He’s line didn’t reflect how well he threw.  He had a live fastball and excellent command.  Really the difference in this game was Robinson Cano – with his two homers he moved into first place tie in the American League home run race with 12.

But there are issues in the Jays line up.  J.P. Arencibia is ice cold.  He is that sort of player.  When he is hot, he’s on fire.  When he’s cold, they need to bat him 8th in the line up.  And right now he is ice.

I mentioned it before and I know that the Jays did win 4 straight with the new-look line up of Melky Cabrera, Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion batting 1, 2, 3, but I’m still not a huge fan.  In the last 6 games with this line up, Emilio Bonifacio (who has finally been given consistent playing time – it’s about time) has hit .304.  He should be leading off.  Period.

Cabrera is the hottest hitter on the team.  You have to have someone hitting in front of him with a chance to get on base.  Cabrera has been raking doubles lately and you have to wonder how many would score Bonifacio from firstbase.  Probably any of them if he was on.

Today we have R.A. Dickey vs. CC Sabathia.  This one could go either way, but we really need a win.  Lose today and we’re 11 back in the division – ouch.  With a win, we can crawl back to Toronto down 9 with the next 7 games vs. AL East opponents.  Let’s hope the knuckleball is doing its thing today.

Lefties are only hitting .195 vs. Sabathia so look for a righty heavy line up today.

For the record, for the 90 win season we need to go 73-46 in the remaining 119 games (play .613 ball the rest of the way).  This is still possible, but it’s becoming much less probable with every series loss – especially vs. AL East opponents.

The hope is with Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes on the mend, the Jays can hang in long enough to get the stars back and they play like stars.  That’s all we can hope for at this point.


Morrow pushed back yet again, Ortiz gets start today

How rusty will Brandon Morrow be when he pitches again for the Blue Jays?  Will he avoid a trip to the DL?  These are the questions fans have to be asking now that Morrow has been pushed back a third consecutive time due to neck/back spasms.  While he was supposed to take the mound today to end the 2-game mini series vs. the Giants, the Jays are now hoping he can pitch this weekend  on Saturday vs. the division leading Yankees.

Pros and cons – the Jays have a better chance winning with Morrow on the mound today and it would be nice to head to New York with 4 straight wins and a bit of momentum vs. the red hot Yankees.  On the other hand, it will be nice having Morrow throw in the Yankee series assuming he’s not too rusty and is able to go.

Nothing against Ramon Ortiz, who will fill in for Morrow for the second straight time.  He is the best internal option right now.  But he is a triple-A depth player at this point in his career and the Jays bats will have to continue to produce should they hope to win tonight.

Even though the results have been there over the last three games, I can’t say I’m a fan of the new line up with everyone bumped up a slot (Melky Cabrera leading off, Jose Bautista second, Edwin Encarnacion third, etc.)  I’d rather see Emilio Bonifacio lead off since he is starting to hit up and have the bulky bats hitting behind some obp and speed.  That would mean starting Bonifacio on a regular basis – something I’ve been saying they need to do for weeks now.

With the rotation battered, yesterday and Thursday’s off days couldn’t have come at a better time.  Let’s hope Morrow can go this weekend in New York and take a game from the Yanks.

One last comment – I hate that there is fan voting for allstar games but particularly hate how early it starts in baseball.  However, if I have to be honest and say which Jay(s) are deserving of an allstar nod this year based on performance so far in 2013, there is only one guy I would send: Casey Janssen.  He is 10 for 10 in save opportunities and boasts an incredible line: a 0.69 ERA, 0.31 WHIP, .093 opponents batting average to go along with zero walks and 13 K’s in 13 innings.  Wow!  Is there a better closer in the game this season?


Laffey to Start Today in Place of Josh Johnson

Right-hander Josh Johnson will miss today’s scheduled start against the Yankees because of tightness in his right triceps muscle.

The Blue Jays described the move as precautionary, Johnson has not been placed on the 15-day disabled list.  Recently acquired (and familiar face) Aaron Laffey will come in from the bullpen to make the spot start.

Perhaps the tightness in Johnson’s right triceps can help explain some of his issues. The 29-year-old has allowed at least four runs in all but one of his April starts and pitched more than six innings just once.

Laffey was claimed off waivers from the Mets earlier this week. The lefty allowed eight runs in 10 innings this season for New York, while making a pair of starts and appearing in four games.  Last season with the Jays, Laffey threw 100.2 innings and posted a 4-6 record and 4.56 ERA.

Today started as a favourable pitching match up vs. Ivan Nova and now has tilted into the Yankees favour.  With CC Sabathia tomorrow vs. J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey and his ailing back set to pitch on Sunday, the Jays need Laffey to step up and give them some quality innings – and we need the offence to come to life….


Gibbons Did the Right Thing

Gibbons was right and Jeff Kellogg was wrong.  Period.

I’m not talking about whether Ben Francisco was safe on his bunt attempt (I think whether Edwin Encarnacion trapped the ball or not, it was a close enough play to go either way).  I’m referring to rule 9.02 c which states: “If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.”

The Yankees did not appeal the ruling on the field.  The firstbase umpire did not initiate the meeting of umpires to “get it right”.  Therefore, Kellogg broke a rule and Gibbons had ever right to speak his mind about it (leading to his second ejection in as many nights).

I’m not sure if there is an automatic fine for an ejection, but Gibbons shouldn’t have to pay it.  In fact, Jeff Kellogg should have to pay a fine for breaking a rule of the game.

Umpires are the most arrogant of all sports officials.  I don’t mind the missed calls – there are part of the game and umpires are human.  But to break a rule from your own handbook?  When an umpire does that, there should be a fine.  How else can we ensure that umpires are calling a game to the best of their ability?  Every umpire should know the rules – plain and simple.

Fortunately, the rule-breaking play by Kellogg didn’t lead to any runs and didn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game.  Hopefully, it doesn’t have an outcome for Gibbons’ wallet.


Blue Jays Blank Yanks Again; Rasmus Sits with Sore Shoulder

For the second time this spring, the Blue Jays shutout the Yankees on route to a 1-0 win in Florida.  I did not have the opportunity to watch or listen to the game but from what I’ve picked up, here are some highlights:

  • Colby Rasmus was expected to start the game but didn’t make the trip as he’s now listed day-to-day with a sore non-throwing shoulder.  It’s not clear exactly when or how Rasmus injured the shoulder, but it was pretty stiff today so the Jays decided to left him sit and not risk doing serious damage.  As of today, it is not expected to be serious.  Rajai Davis started in Rasmus’ place.
  • Brandon Morrow had a solid start.  He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and recording a strikeout.
  • J.A. Happ, Sergio Santos, Brett Cecil, and Aaron Loup among others were solid in a combined effort to record the shutout.
  • Andy LaRoche, who could become a key depth pick up for the Jays now that David Cooper is out with a serious back injury, hit his second homerun of the season to push the only run across the plate for either side.
  • Jose Reyes stole his first bag of the season.

I know it’s only the spring, but I love beating the Yankees anytime of year.