Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Wednesday -- Jays 6, Sawx 1: Nice job, boys — now lay down for the Yankees this weekend just to twist the knife on the Massholes (not just the ones residing in New England) a little more.

Boston using Jonathan Papelbon to keep it a one-run game and Russ Freakin' Adams belting a grand slam? Too perfect. It was half-shocking that Jamie Campbell didn't fall out of the broadcast booth, he was so excited.

Now the Sawx lead is 1 1/2 games over the Yankees, who by the way, will pay setup man Luis Vizcaino about half as much this season as the Boston is shelling out for two months of Éric Gagné.

Tuesday -- Jays 4, Sawx 3: Remember who said it first that it was only proper to pity the Red Sox for feeling it was necessary to guarantee Gagné $3.5 million in bonuses as a rental player.

The Jays are going nowhere, but the joke on the Massholes is worth it after Gagné channeled Calvin Schiraldi for about five hitters and gift-wrapped a win for the Jays. Clay Buchholz could have done that for a much lower salary.

Monday -- Jays 6, Sawx 2: With three homers, Frank Thomas passed Mel Ott (pictured) on the career list, but first things first.

The debate over John Gibbons returning as manager is at a stalemate. Some people (wrongly) believe "oh, he's not that bad" and the rest of us are resigned to the gut feeling that he's J.P. Ricciardi's man.

There is an argument for keeping Gibbons that holds that since Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, John McDonald, et al., re-signed without testing the free-agent market it's worth keeping him since players like the relaxed tone in the clubhouse. Fair enough, but one person's relaxed atmosphere is another's let-it-all-go-to-hell. (With Halladay, it's hard to buy that his re-signing was really about working under Gibbons; see below.*)

Judging by the Jays' long streaks over the past three years, it might be more the latter. This will be the third year in a row the club fails to have a win streak that lasts longer than the season's worst losing skid.

No, the Jays aren't the only team one can say that about. They are in a Hard Luck Five of American League clubs, but the other four are Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Here's each team's winning percentage since the start of the '05 season:

Toronto: .510
Seattle: .472
Baltimore: .440
Tampa Bay: .403
Kansas City: .385

Granted, this is all provisional, there's luck involved and the American League is so competitive that 10-game win streaks don't just happen -- there hasn't even been one in the league this season. Still, as anyone who's passed Cliches 101 knows, you make your own luck. What does it say that the Jays have been as chronically unable to get on a big roll -- or avoid a protacted slide -- as teams that aren't within a couple postal codes of being in their neighbourhood (in terms of payroll or winning percentage) across the past three seasons?

By the way, each of those regal clubs have changed its manager at least once since Gibbons was put in charge of the Jays. It's not as simple as saying, "OK, let's turf Gibbons since that's what Peter Angelos would do," but it does bring it home. There is a standard expectation that a manager will create a setting that leads to a team having a hot spell once in a while and being able to nip the cold spells in the bud. With the Jays, that hasn't happened.

* (Obviously, this doesn't apply to Doc. He's a competition junkie and that type of athlete can play for almost any coach or manager... nothing can get in the way of competing.)

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


Pete Toms said...

Dice K isn't pitching tonite, I read it is Buchholz. Francona is setting up his rotation for October.

sager said...