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Message #13 of 17  *NEW*
To:  All
Subject:  Luck, Pitching, and Jason Giambi
Date:  6/20/06, 6:26pm
So, what can I rant about? The Jays are not worth talking about! They have sucked! Truly. They just got swept by the Marlins; the Tigers took two out of three against them. The Marlins though made the Jays look bad. For the three game series, the Jays scored a combined total of 4 runs. 4 RUNS!!! Thats terrible. That is, for the Blue Jays, the lowest total runs scored for any three game set this season. The next lowest three game total is 7 runs, and all of them came against the Colorado Rockies, who also swept the Jays. I think there are two main factors at play here all six of those games took place @ National League stadiums, meaning no DH, and that means no Shea Hillenbrand (hitting .320 as of May 20) or sometimes no Glaus or no Overbay, or, as has been the case this last series, no Aaron Hill (whos hitting about .371 his last 30 games), and in their place is the worst hitter you could imagine, an American League Pitcher. Now, the Jays live and die by their offense, its magnificence is the only reason they are above five-hundred. Certainly their pitching has not been their strong suit so far. Now, along with the replacement of one of their best hitters by an automatic-out, factor in some incredibly bad luck: the Jays faced a very hot Colorado Rockies team, and faced some very good pitchers in that series: Aaron Cook, with a 3.66 era (it was 3.27 at the time they faced him), Jeff Francis, with a 4.13 era (it was 3.26 when they faced him), and Josh Fogg, with a 4.94 era (it was 4.30 when they faced him). Obviously, all of their eras have gone up since the series against the Jays. Their record after the series against the Jays was 25-19, six games over five-hundred. Currently the Rockies are 35-35. Again, we see a decline. The Jays were quite unlucky there. In the other sweep they suffered, The Marlins threw a very good pitching staff at the Jays, and entered the series on a five game win-streak. The Jays managed to face Brian Moehler, who, although he has a 6.00 era, in his last 10 games has given up only 3 earned runs twice, and a mere 2 earned runs 6 times (the other two times he got socked, giving up a total of 15 earned runs). The Jays also faced an excelling rookie, Josh Johnson, who possesses a 2.01 era. The third pitcher the Jays faced was Scott Olsen, who was streaking coming into the game, with a 2.23 era over his last three games, or 20.2 innings. Perhaps this sounds like a complaint oh poor blue jays, they are so unlucky, wah wah wah but its not a complaint. I know this is the way the game goes. All I am pointing out is the luck factor of baseball (who would have thought the liquidated Marlins and the perennial loser Rockies would bring trouble for the revamped Blue Jays? I certainly didnt).
The Jays hit something like 2-28 with runners in scoring position during that series against the Marlins. Ouch.
Id just like to note the season Jason Giambi is putting together. In the AL, Paul Konerko is having the better season I would say, but Giambis OBP is a lofty .442, and he has 19 HR, and 54 RBI, 52 BB. Now, its the OBP that Im interested in, which obviously comes from the 52 BB he has received. Hes third in the AL in BB, behind Travis Hafner and Manny Ramirez. But, what makes his walks more telling is that hes getting those walks with the reigning AL MVP behind him, Alex Rodriguez. Add in his .617 slugging percentage, and hes looking pretty good this year.
Now now now the Jays pitching is of interest!
Josh Towers is pitching as I speak. He is back from AAA, and he is pitching well against the Braves. The fact that he did not give up 5 runs in the first two innings was the best news Ive heard all year. At this point, hes pitched 5 innings, given up 3 hits, 1 BB, and 1 ER. Hes worked in and out of trouble, and looked solid. This is great; the Jays desperately, desperately need pitching, after losing Gustavo Chacin for six weeks. I will make no assumptions about Towers future, but he pitched well in AAA, and a return to last years form is plausible.
Also, AJ Burnett is coming back! Thursday I think. Im pretty excited. The Jays need him Roy Halladay is shouldering too much of the weight on that pitching staff, and Burnett is meant to be an integral part of this teams playoff plans. And hes looked good in his minor league starts: in his first rehab start he allowed no hits through five innings while striking out seven, and in his second rehab start he pitched six innings, giving up two hits, and striking out nine! Woot! Please to God let him bring some of that to the big leagues.

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Message #14 of 17  *NEW*
To:  Paulgeebert
Subject:  Re: Luck, Pitching, and Jason Giambi
Date:  6/20/06, 7:04pm
Just to close the book on Towers. His final line is 5.1 innings pitched, 4 ER, 6 hits. He didn't pitch as bad as the numbers show - his bullpen let him down: Scott Downs came in with runners on first and second, 1 out, and promptly throws a wild pitch so the runners can advance, removing the possibility of a double blay, and the runners are of course one bag closer to scoring. Next hit is a potential double play ball but only gets one out because runners advanced on the WP, and then Downs allows a line drive to a rookie who had no hits in the Major Leagues, so both runners score.
Also, reed Johnson should again be mentioned. He's only got 149 AB, but he's scored 42 runs, got 55 hits, 11 doubles, 4 home runs; only 16 rbis, but he's the leadoff hitter. He could be a better base-stealer as well, but the Jays do not steal often as a policy. Still, great season Reed Johnson, keep the party going.

[of course, as I am writing this Vernon Wells steals a base, wait, two bases, mind blowing ... but for the season, the Jays as a team have only 31 stolen bases, and the potential to have far more than that Rios, Wells, Johnson, and a lot of the others of perfectly capable of stealing a base when need be - I've seen Bengie Molina do it, and that means anyone can do it.]

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