Series Preview in Blog: Toronto Blue Jays (Round 3)

<span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>I apologize for not getting something together for the Angels series, our cats dumped a vase of flowers on our keyboard and the bottom row stopped working for a couple of days.  Being that ‘Los A_geles’, ‘A_ahei_’, and ‘A_gels’ all required use of the ‘n’ or ‘m’ key, I decided to pass on that for the moment.  However I could have possibly posted something about ‘typewriters’ or ‘stewaredesses’, or maybe ‘polkas’, but it just didn’t seem right.  Anyway, we’re back, new keyboard in hand, with the Toro_to _lue Jays.</span><br /><br /><div style=”text-align:center;”><span style=”font-size:130%;”><span style=”font-weight:bold;font-family:times new roman;”>Minnesota Twins (51-47) @ Toronto Blue Jays (48-50)</span></span> </div> <span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><br />The Twins finished up a 6-4 homestand by winning two of three from the Angels.  They now head out on the road for six games against the Jays and the Indians.  The Blue Jays won two of three from Seattle this past weekend in Toronto and finish up their homestand with these three games against the Twins.  Toronto is in third place in the AL East, 11 games behind the Red Sox, far enough out of the races that it may be time to </span><a href=””>give up on this season</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> for the Jays front office.  The Blue Jays have been a very different team in Canada, where they are 28-20 (as opposed to the US where they are 20-30).  The Twins haven’t played a game north of the border, but they are an even 23-23 on the road.  The Twins won 4 of the 7 games played by these two teams in Minnesota.</span> <br /><br /><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><strong>Toronto Blue Jays Inspired Trivia:</strong>  The Blue Jays are one of four franchises in the Major Leagues which have not officially retired a jersey number (excepting Jackie Robinson’s 42).  Can you name the other three?  (Hint: at least one of the answers is a franchise over 15 years old).  You can cross off the Yankees and the Nationals from your potential answers, as they have not only retired numbers, they’ve retired the same number twice (NY – #8, WAS – #10).<br /><br />Here’s the midseason </span><a href=”″>report card on the Blue Jays offense</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>.  Alex Rios gets high marks, but no mention is made of his penchant for </span><a href=””>very loud shirts</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>.  There were quite a few comments on how inconsistent the Jays offense has been this season.  But, when you </span><a href=””>crunch the numbers</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>, Toronto fans have got nothing on Twins fans in that department.  Of course, there are  other ways to annoy your fan base.  </span><a href=””>Losing on a balk</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> is certainly right up there.</span>  <span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><br /><br />Report cards on the </span><a href=”″>starters</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> and the </span><a href=”″>relievers</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> were also filled out, with the bullpen getting high marks.  The Twins will face a trio of young Toronto starters in this series, while missing Roy Halladay (</span><a href=””>Nick Punto breathes a sigh of relief</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>).  The Blue Jays have been blessed with some strong performances from their young pitchers, which is naturally </span><a href=””>a bad thing</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>.  While I can’t really agree that good equals bad for the Jays, it will be interesting to see how the rotation changes in the remainder of this season and in to the next.</span><br /><br /><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>On Monday Johan Santana pitches against Shaun Marcum (13 starts, 3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .219 BAA, 2.9 BB/9).  Marcum has hit a rough patch recently, posting a 8.22 ERA over his last 3 starts.  He has received the </span><a href=””>lowest amount of run support</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> from the offense as well.  In his previous outing against the Twins he held them to one run in 8 innings in a no-decision.</span>  <span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><br /><br />Tuesday brings Scott Baker and Dustin McGowan (14 starts, 4.84 ERA, .248 BAA, 3.5 BB/9).  McGowan has alternated good and bad outings over the last 7 starts (2,6,0,5,0,6,2 runs allowed) and he’s due for a bad outing.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the battle of the sideburns, </span><a href=””>McGowan</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> versus </span><a href=””>Mauer</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>.  While his facial hair choices have </span><a href=””>drawn some criticism</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>, Marcum </span><a href=”″>says</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> “My wife is the only one who likes them, and she’s the only one that counts.”  For more on facial hair, there are a couple of links in </span><a href=””>this entry</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> to the best beards and mustaches in baseball.  Sal Fasano is understandably featured in those lists, Fasano is currently in the Toronto farm system, and he has endeared himself to Toronto fans to the point where they have taken up the cause that the </span><a href=””>American League could have used him</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> in the All-Star game.  That’s a hard pill to swallow, but what’s undeniable is that Fasano has been the best Jays catcher with respect to </span><a href=”″>throwing out baserunners</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>, something the Jays have struggled with all year.</span>  <span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><br /><br />In the finale, it’s Carlos Silva against Jesse Litsch (7 starts, 4.54 ERA, .317 BAA, 3.8 BB/9).  All these Toronto pitchers seem to have control issues.  In his start against the Twins, the rookie Litsch required a lot of pitches (89) to go only 4.3 innings, and gave up 8 hits and 3 runs.</span>  <span style=”font-family:times new roman;”><br /><br />Finally, this is the last series against the Blue Jays, so it’s my last chance to mention </span><a href=””>The Batter’s Box</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> Hall of Names.  A roster is assembled following a theme, and they’ve had a lot of great entries in the series.  My favorites are </span><a href=”″>Latin themed names</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>, the </span><a href=”″>last player standing</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> from each birth year, a series on </span><a href=”″>players with the same first and last initials</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”>, and, of course, the </span><a href=”″>Harry Potter</a><span style=”font-family:times new roman;”> themed roster.</span>

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