It’s been a while, but Crashburn Alley and Drunk Jays Fans have finally joined forces again to give you a… uh… well… a mediocre preview of the upcoming Phillies-Jays series. It was about 13 months ago when I had my first DJF experience and I haven’t been the same since, what with the Rush references and whatnot.
I asked Andrew Stoeten a few Jays-related questions and he was kind enough to provide his insight (blurry and unstable as it is). Enjoy.
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1. Roy Halladay’s groin injury: season over? What are you going to include in your suicide note? More importantly, who is going to replace Halladay in the rotation?
They’re saying it’s mild, so that’s good, but yes, if Halladay goes down, that’s it– but I guess it’s better to burn out than to fade away (that one’s for the suicide note). And even though it would have meant your team losing, Phillies fans– or, I should say, baseball fans in Philadelphia– should be upset that they’re not going to get a chance to see him pitch. This guy isn’t just a very good pitcher. He’s absolutely the best there is.
Replacing Halladay– as if such a thing were possible– would probably be Brett Cecil, a 2007 draft pick who jumped from high-A to AAA last year, and they think is going to be the number two around here for a long time. But he won’t be needed until after the series with the Phillies, because the Jays haven’t used their fifth starter, Scott Richmond, for a while, and he’ll take Halladay’s turn on Wednesday.
2. The Jays’ offense has surprised the hell out of me, as I’m sure it has other people. In a lineup where Vernon Wells and Alex Rios have disappointed, how have the Jays been hitting so well?
The whole lineup has been (had been?) picking up our struggling three and four hitters, really. Marco Scutaro has been getting on base like crazy, Adam Lind has been producing, Aaron Hill doesn’t walk much but had been hitting everything until a couple weeks ago. Lyle Overbay absolutely kills right-handers, and Scott Rolen is still a great hitter despite losing his power stroke. We marvel at what it must have been like to watch him play third every day when he could hit 25, 30 homers too.
3. What substances do the Jays feed their young pitchers? Seems like every year they bring up a couple starters and a couple relievers and enjoy a lot of success. Then they get injured. See: Marcum, Shaun; Litsch, Jesse.
A lot of folks are starting to believe that it’s a heavy dose of cutters that’s doing all the damage, but whatever it is that’s blowing out arms, it’s also turning minor league pitchers into guys who can compete and win in the AL East. When I’m willing to look at these guys as nothing more than chattel, absolutely I’ll take a couple seasons of 3.67 ERA from a 24th round pick like Jesse Litsch before his arm blows up and he’s never the same again. It seems like there will always be a guy to take his place. Of course, it sucks for the pitchers to be sent on a collision course with Dr. James Andrews, but a lot of these guys seem like they’d be fringe big leaguers– sometimes at best– if not for what the Jays are doing to them anyway. So… I don’t know… I guess I’ve bought the fact that there seems to be a bit of a trade-off here.
4. What do you see the Jays doing leading up to the trading deadline?
Honestly? Nothing. Ricciardi seems content to grab rejects from the waiver wire– see: Dellucci, David, or Mencherson, Brevin (our nickname for the awfulness that was Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson). He’s never really gone out and picked up an impact player at the deadline, and I don’t expect that to change. Their main need is a left-handed hitting DH, so that we don’t have to keep running (ugh) Kevin Millar out there against righties. Dellucci is going to get a chance to be that guy, and it’s a bit of an unfortunate situation for Jays fans. If Dellucci does well, they definitely won’t make a move and we’ll be stuck with him. If he doesn’t, we get to watch a month– or more– of David Dellucci as a black hole in the lineup. I guess we just have to hope that he makes it clear, one way or the other, as quickly as possible. Giving 300 plate appearances to Mencherson last year was ugly. They finished nine games back of the wild card, so it probably wasn’t going to do much good anyway, but imagine if those at bats had gone to someone, you know, good.
5. Over/under on the amount of innings in which you are sober during the three-game series: 10.
Monday is the fifteenth, which means its payday for me, so after spending the last few days with little more than dust in the ol’ bank account, I’m taking a strong over on that one. Take it to the bank.
BONUS: Predict the outcome of the series. Who wins each game? This is your chance to prove to the world that you can, in fact, see into the future.
The Jays have a knack for playing to the level of their competition, so I think they actually manage to get to Hamels in this one. Ricky Romero is starting to find his form after injuring his oblique muscle sneezing, and something tells me the Jays somehow pull through here.
The Jays cannot hit a junkballer like Moyer. Flat out, simple, easy. Richmond probably pitches six good innings and one truly awful one, while Moyer will make the Jays hitters look like overmatched children– his types always seem to.
I genuinely think that Joe Blanton sucks, despite what the recent starts will tell you– and I’ve had him in a keeper pool for four years, so it’s not like I haven’t been watching. That said, Casey Janssen seems like he cannot miss a bat right now, and at Citizen’s Bank Park, I don’t think that’s going to go over so well. He’ll take another loss, and Joe Blanton will keep fooling people into thinking he’s not terrible.
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It’s going to be hard for the DJF crew to deal with both hangovers and the depression that comes with a series sweep at the hands of the Phillies. But that’s what you get for being from America’s hat.