Thursday, May 31, 2007

1 hour, 50 minutes

That's how long it took Roy Halladay to beat Mark Buehrle 2-0 tonight for his 100th career win. Which means the good folks at Sportsnet Connected are freaking right now.

Halladay (7 IP, 7 Ks, 0 BBs) not only went to the mound tonight without his appendix, but he also traded in his rugged beard for a A.J. Burnett Signature Model Junior Goatee.

Doc also threw a cutter that Our Pal Sal Fasano helped fix, which begs the question: when Gregg Zaun comes back next week, do they send Fasano to Syracuse, or do they leave Jason Phillips at the curb?

Bonus Coverage: Yes Network - the State Broadcaster of the Evil Empire - has posted a postgame interview with A-Rod after last night's douchetacular display. They don't allow the videos to be embedded (EVIL!), but you can catch the Rodriguez in all his douchey glory right here.

Maybe he was preoccupied with thoughts of muscular, she-male types.


The Jays were down 7-5 to the Yankees in the top of the ninth -- A-Rod at first and Matsui at third --two out. Posada lifted an infield fly between 3rd base and second as callup Howie Clark (3B) and SS John MacDonald eased towards the ball to make the easy play. But they didn't. The ball dropped between them. Why? As the replys clearly show and as the Jays' infielders will tell you, somebody (aka Alex Rodriguez) other than Clark or MacDonald yelled "Mine!" causing each player to think that the other was going to field the ball. How clever. Something that we want young kids to emulate. The equivalent of an office worker forging a letter to get a coworker fired. Of draining the brake fluid on an adversary's car. Troy Glaus put it best -- Not since I think 'Major League II,' the movie; I think that's the only time I've ever seen it on the field," Glaus said. "I've never heard of someone doing it and I've never seen anybody do it. That's not proper. That's not the right thing to do."
What did A-Rod have to say about it? "I could care less," Rodriguez said. "We're looking not to be swept. It really doesn't make a difference; we won. Those guys have their opinions, our guys have ours. I'm fine with that."

He's an "A-1" Jackass.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A-Rod Seeks Answers to Yankees' Woes At Brass Rail

That bastian of serious journalism, the NY Post reported today that Alex Rodriguez was spotted in Toronto hanging with a blonde who is not his wife. To add to the intrigue, the unnamed witness also saw the pair have dinner together and slip in to the infamous Brass Rail strip club on Yonge Street. Almost as wise a move as playing the bunt that was obviously going foul in last night's game.

Jays Steal One From Yanks

A certain columnist from a certain newspaper in Toronto has long been bemoaning the Jays reliance on the home run instead of small ball tactics (He'd be happier if they were an NL team in general. Especially if they relocated to a city other than Toronto.). Well he should be pleased with the past few games. Last night's in particular.
Since the juggernaut offence has not been working as advertised, John Gibbons has been forced to rely on a bag of NL tricks to get runs. Bunts, steals, sac flies, pitching matchups, and stellar defense were keys to last night's victory. Aaron Hill's thrilling steal of home on Pettite in particular was the ultimate small ball play.
But while that style can be very exciting, doubles and home runs are better from a winning standpoint in the AL where most teams can really rake. It was lucky for the Jays that the Yankees are slumping badly. Otherwise we may be talking about a spirited 7-3 loss. So, we are glad that the approach worked out in the past couple of games, but we need to see the big lumber come out of its slumber.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's Official. Jays Back on CBC.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Blue Jays announced a formal two year deal that will see the public broadcaster carry 8 games this year and 20 to 30 next year. The CBC was the original broadcaster of Blue Jays games back in 1977, but hasn't carried a game since 2002. As a condition of the contract, the Jays must act 35% more Canadian. In order to pull this off the Jays will institute long waiting lists for access to medical staff and relocate the team to Fort McMurray.

The Wolfe-Man cometh

The Jays recalled Brian Wolfe from Syracuse last night, sending Ryan Roberts back to the Chiefs.

Wolfe (21.1 IP, 0.84 ERA, 20Ks, 4 BBs) is third pitcher from our very hand and obviously helpful Armchair GM post last month to get the call. (Unfortunately, Matt Roney will not likely see any action for the Jays.)

We’re hopeful that Wolfe can provide some added depth to the bullpen, and will help preserve the Janssen-Downs-Accardo troika that has performed so well lately.

But with this move, the Jays will now be carrying 13(!) pitchers, two of whom (Gas Can Towers and Jamie Vermilyea) have contributed less than the bat boys over the past two weeks.

Vermilyea hasn’t pitched since tossing three innings on May 10 against the BoSox, while Towers' last two appearances were on May 9 (3 IPs and 3ERs vs. Boston) and May 19 (1 IP, 0 ERs vs. Philly.)

Maybe those pitchers don't necessarily deserve any real-time access to a Major League pitching mound, but if J.P. shortens the bench to this extent, ostensibly because he can't figure out what to do with those two pitchers, it demonstrates just how shallow the Jays are in MLB-calibre position players.

But hey, we hear Shea Hillenbrand might be available!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Yankees Lose! Theeeee-eeeeeee-eee YANKEES! LOSE!

With all due deference to John Sterling, maybe he should change his to signature call to reflect the times.

And full credit is due to Dustin McGowan, not only for his ostentatiously stupid looking facial hair, but for pulling together 7 and 2/3rds of excellent ball against a lineup that can still rake. This was by far his best outing of the season.

Also: Lyle Overbay looks like he's found his stroke again. After tonight's 3 for 5 showing with a homer and two RsBi, he's now hit safely in five straight, with five extra base hits.

And in other good news: Gregg Zaun will start his rehab stint this week, and could be back as soon as next week. (And not a moment too soon...God love Jason Phillips, we're getting sick of seeing him catch every night.)

And that's not all: Doc's back on Thursday. As if.

Heavens to Betsy! McGowan Gets Out of the Fifth Unharmed!

Nuff said...

A visit from the Evil Empire ain't what it used to be

After getting swept by the Angels this weekend, the Yankees limp into T.O. six games under .500, sitting in fourth place, a half-game back of the Jays and 12.5 back of the Red Sox.

It looks really good on them.

Seeing the names of the pitchers who'll toe the rubber for the Yanks in this series - Matt DeSalvo (1-1, 5.29) and Tyler Clippard (1-1, 3.60) , sandwiched around the aging Andy Pettitte (3-3, 2.66) - it gives a modicum of hope to us here.

That is, until we remember that Mickey Brantley is still the Jays' hitting coach.

Rumor Mill: Bedard a Jay?

Sportsnet's Jamie Campbell reports in his "blog" that an executive from the Orioles believes that Erik Bedard will make a run for the border when his current contract is up. In 2010. While we would love to see this happen, we find it pretty hard to get excited about a rumour that (a) is only supposed to happen three years from now (what could change in three years), and (b) was probably based on smalltalk from an exec who knew that Cambpell, like Bedard, is from Canada. Kind of a change of pace from the normal, "You're from Canada? Do you know ...[insert name here]."

One thing that has always bothered us as Jays fans is the dearth of actual insider info about the team. The blame is probably evenly shared by the secretive management of the Jays in conjunction with the Toronto baseball press. Let's just say that if the Jays played in Boston or New York, we'd know why John Gibbons keeps benching Alex Rios.

Cold As Ice

Vernon Wells has still not emerged from the slump brought on by the sniffles last month. After yesterday's loss to the Twins, he said all of the usual things that a batter in a slump says (ie. getting better swings) but we don't see the results. All we know is that this team ain't going anywhere near .500 until V-Dubya starts knocking in runs.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Marathon Men: Jays Win In Thirteen Innings

Before last night's game, we discussed Tomo Ohka's return to the rotation and how he had hoped to get real run support when he signed with the Jays. Well, he got it last night. By the time he left in the eighth, the Jays had scored 7 runs on 3 HRs leaving the rock solid bullpen combo of Janssen/Accardo with a Cadillac Comfortable 7-2 lead. Happy ending for Ohka right?

Add bullpen meltdown as a tag to the right hand column. Janssen came in and got jacked by Michael Cuddyer for two runs in the eighth. In the ninth Jeremy Accardo had his run-free innings streak snapped big time by a Twins team that put on a batting clinic resulting in a tie game. And the marathon began.

Brian Tallet was the pitching star last night. The gangly left hander pitched 2.2 innings of no hit baseball to allow the Jays offense the time to squeeze out the victory in the 13th on an RBI single by Lyle Overbay.


  • "Is it safe?" The play of the night was our pal Sal Fasano's blocking of the plate to get Michael Cuddyer out at home in the fifth. He forced Cuddyer to slide past the plate without tagging and then darted towards him once he had stopped to get the out.

  • Homer Dome indeed. The Jays (Overbay, Stairs, Clayton, and Rios) slugged 4 HRs in last nights game. Highest total this year.

  • Manny? Matt Stairs' play in left field reminds us of another guy who often gets little respect for his defense. Like Manny, his arm sometimes makes up for his lack of agility. For the second time this week, Stairs recovered from fumbling the ball by nailing a baserunner trying to take advantage of the situation. We'd like to think that he does that on purpose.

  • Rios and Stairs are red hot right now. Take note of that Gibby. No more riding the pine for Rios.

  • Hard as Ohka. Tomo Ohka pitched a gutsy game last night and gave the team every opportunity to win. He was cheated.
  • Defense with a capital D. John MacDonald's stellar double play at 3rd base in the late innings yesterday made our collective jaws drop. He can stick around.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ohka Returns To Rotation Versus The Twins

Tomo Ohka (aka Bobby Bitterman) returns to the Jays rotation in Game 2 of the series versus the Twins tonight. Look for him to be a bit rusty after a long layoff after the arrival of young Jesse Litsch. He came to the Jays because he thought that he would get the run support that he never had with the Expos/Nationals. Hopefully the Jays finally deliver on that.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Coming Soon! Tao of Stieb Tees

OK. We're going commercial. Coming soon to a web browser near you will be a Tao of Stieb shop where you will be able to buy, amongst other things, nifty Tao of Stieb t-shirts.

Examining Gibby's Rationale

In the Star's game story from last night, Gibby's states his rationale for sitting Rios is that he wanted to get as many lefty bats in the lineup as possible against the right-handed Jeremy Guthrie.

Except that in Rios slugs 115 points higher against righties than Lind (.519 to .404), and has exactly twice as many homers (8 to 4) and RsBI (18 to 9) as Lind versus righties in just 28 more ABs.

Maybe the Jays want to find comfortable situations to insert Lind into the lineup, but given his precipitous slide in the past few weeks (along with Matt Stairs' sudden emergence), the time may be right to send Lind back to Syrcuse for a little more seasoning.

A hat tip to Neate at Out of Left Field, who quite rightly compares a Gibby-Sam Perlozzo managing showdown to the Jeopardy sketches on SNL. (Although we would have referenced the much funnier "Half Wits" sketches from SCTV, which SNL clearly ripped off.)

Jays Ride A-Train To Victory

Going into last night's game, the Jays hadn't won a game this season when trailing after six innings. But solid pitching by the bullpen, a highlight reel throw to home by Matt Stairs, and home runs by Frank Thomas and Matt Stairs kept the team in the game. But it was the spark of Alex Rios bat coming off the bench (WTF?) in the eighth inning that really made the difference. His RBI single in the eighth and go-ahead home run in the tenth did the trick. Jeremy Accardo continued his amazing seasson by shutting the Orioles down in the bottom of the tenth to get the save.
But back to Rios. What is going on with him being benched so regularly? Is he injured? Is Gibbons insane? With no answers forthcoming, we are free to speculate wildly. We'd love to have our readers' input on this.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When you're struggling offensively...'s a really good idea to leave your best bat on the bench.


We can't wait to not hear Gibby's reasons for sitting Rios this time.

Update: Hey, look who just got a base hit in the eighth! It's almost as though he belonged in the lineup!

Another Update: Hey, look who just hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th!

No offense...but where’s the offense?

In the leadup to this season, there were some pundits who figured that the Jays’ lineup would be among the most potent in the Majors.

Well, so much for that.

As we’ve passed the one-quarter mark of the season, the Jays currently have four players with an OPS over .800, two of whom (Troy Glaus and Matt Stairs) don’t even have enough PAs to qualify for the batting title.

Vernon Wells, Frank Thomas and Lyle Overbay are all below the .800 mark. Jason Phillips, Royce Clayton, and Adam Lind all sit below .700.

Maybe the return of Zaun – and eventually, Reed Johnson – will provide a spark that the rest of the lineup appears to need. And maybe Frank Thomas will rip it up like he did last year, when he drove in 68 runs after the All Star break. (Then again, Vernon got off to a great start last year, and tailed off in the later months.)

Moreover, there doesn't seem to be much help available in Syracuse, as John-Ford Griffin is in the midst of a prolonged slide and hasn't hit a homer in close to a month, and catcher Curtis Thigpen is the only regular with an OPS above .800.

These are not the best of times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fire Mickey Brantley

We're not sure if we were the ones who started the Fire Mickey Brantley movement that Neate at Out of Let Field speaks of, but we certainly wouldn't oppose it at this point.

We're just saying.

So, Adam Lind, dude...

Is there any chance you plan on getting more than one hit per week between now and the end of the season?

A less than stellar showing tonight...but let's be honest: we were out having drinks and kvetching about life the universe and everything tonight. And when we left the game, it was 1-1, and everything was peachy. And we can't be held responsible for what the Jays do in our absence.

But, our rough analysis is as follows - McGowan: Yay! Sorta!. Downs: Boo! But keep up the good work in general! Thomas: For what purpose precisely did we sign you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jason Phillips. Mad Masher.

When that goggle-eyed bastard Jason Phillips went deep, we knew we were in for an interesting night.

A.J.'s line (6.2 innings, 4 earned, 6 hits, 8Ks, 2 BBs) in tonight's 6-4 win over Baltimore probably flatters him, as he came close to unraveling in the fifth. But we'll give the Jays' Interim Ace credit for getting his stuff together and pulling through an efficient sixth, and passing the game over to the suddenly steady bullpen.

Baltimore's revamped and high-priced bullpen will offer an interesting contrast to the Jays' make-shift band of brigands in this series. From the 7th inning on, the Jays pitching staff ranks second in ERA (3.02), while Baltimore sports a 5.25 ERA in the late innings.

And this is fun: Jeremy Accardo still hasn't given up a run. (And Shea Hillenbrand? One home run, 13 RsBI and a .534 OPS.)

The Alternative Level of Excellence – Junior Felix

The Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence features a number of laudable honorees, who made a significant impact on baseball in Toronto, and who are worthy of the place of honor that they now occupy on the concrete facing of the Rogers SkyDomey Centre.

We at the Tao of Stieb don’t wish to dispute the names that are thus far missing from the Level of Excellence (*cough cough * Jimmy Key *cough*). Instead, we propose the Alternative Level of Excellence, which will honor those who will likely never be formally enshrined. These are the former Blue Jays whose names will inevitably elicit a smile, a laugh, a knowing nod, or a prolonged groan from the true fan.

Today’s inaugural honoree: Junior Felix. Number 54 (or 47) in your programs. Number 1 in your hearts.

Felix debuted on May 3rd, 1989 as a defensive replacement for George Bell. The next day, he started as the Jays DH, hitting out of the nine hole. In the first pitch of his first at bat, he hit a home run off of the pride of Kapuskasing, Kirk McCaskill. (Try saying "Kirk McCaskill from Kapuskasing" five times fast. Yikes.)

Felix’s birthdate is listed as October 3rd, 1967, which would have made him 21 on his debut. However, it soon became an open secret that he may have been significantly older. Some suggested as much as a decade older than he claimed. (The Jays signed him as a free agent in 1985, so clearly, something was amiss with those dates. Unless they were given to signing pre-teens to contracts back then.)

Junior played 237 games with the Jays between 1989 and 1990, hitting 24 homers, stealing 31 bases and driving in 111. He played four more years for the Angels, Marlins, and Tigers, before retiring to collect his old age pension in 1994.

His greatest contribution to the cause was likely the return the Jays received when they rolled his allegedly old bones out the door in a deal at the Winter Meetings in December of 1990. Coming back to the Jays in the multiplayer deal: Devon White.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join us in welcoming to the Tao of Stieb's Alternative Level of Excellence, Junior Felix.

(BTW, if you'd like to nominate any former Jays for the Alternative Level of Excellence, hit us with them here.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Doc is in...sooner rather than later

TSN is reporting that Roy Halladay threw 40 pitches in the bullpen today, and could be back by May 31.

Given how Marcum has picked up the slack, the Jays could have a better rotation come June 1st than they did on April 1st. (Maybe that's faint praise, but it's enough to make us smile.)

(A tip of the chapeau to our pal who emailed the TSN story. Yeah, buddy!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In third place again, naturally

In spite of their anemic performance against Nolan Ryan Adam Eaton today, and a 1-2 record against the Howardless Phillies, the Jays end the weekend in third place, one half game behind the Orioles, and likely 11 back of the Red Sox. Incredibly, the Jays will be just eight games out of the wild card, in spite of their 19-24 record. UPDATE: Oops...a Yanks win and the Jays are back in fourth. How in hell are we supposed to find the rainbows amongst all of these goddamn rainclouds?

Another less than stellar day at the plate, in spite of the three eighth inning homers. Those 2-1 wins last week masked just how lost the Jays have been at the plate. (Is anyone ready to pick up the Fire Mickey Brantley blog and run with it?)

Jesse Litsch didn't pitch terribly, but will likely get to enjoy much of the rest of his summer in New Hampshire or Syracuse.

Other notes: The Sun's Ken Fidlin says Halladay is already throwing, and expects to be back in early June...Both the OC Register and the LA Times envision Troy Glaus coming home, either as a Dodger or back with the Angels, although the number of hurdles standing in the way. Among them, a no trade contract, and the possibility of being on the hook for $24 million over the next two years.

Who Put The Weight of The World On Their Shoulders?

Hopefully last night's laugher was the start of a trend. For too many weeks now the much ballyhooed Jays offense has been anemic. One has to think that the lack of run support from the big hitters (most noteably Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas) put a major weight on the pitching and put in play the major overhaul of the starting rotation and bullpen. Would we have seen Jesse Litsch in May if the Jays had been consistently scoring runs as designed? Something tells us that Ohka and Towers would still be plugging away giving up 4.5 runs a game but winning while the young arms would be developing outside of the pressure of The Show.

Young starter Sean Marcum summed the situation of getting run support up nicely after last night's game --"It's huge. You've got a little bit more room for error. If you do miss a spot, they can't hit a six-run homer to tie the game. It's nice to have that comfort."
Time for Gibby to stop f-ing around with the lineup. Whatever it was last night worked. Period. Leave that scab alone!

Lil' Litschy - The Next Episode

Lil' Jesse Litsch, call-up extraordinaire and shaving cream pie target par excellence, gets a second kick at the can versus the Phils today.

Our favorite description of Litsch (and his performance) came from Joanna over at Hum and Chuck: Pink. Round. Efficient.


Interleague Tomfoolery

Our pal Neate has gone off on a bit of a rant about interleague play, complete with gratuitous Chumbawumba references.

As for us, we still kinda dig interleague play. Maybe it's just the novelty of seeing different parks and different teams - one can only watch Ty Wiggington so many times in calendar year - but there's something about interleague that gets us at least 6% more interested in the games.

The worst part about interleague play for Jays fans is the loss of Montreal as a natural rival. Those series provided some pretty memorable moments, including Jeff Juden's Canada Day gem against Roger Clemens in 1997, or Orlando Cabrera's 2001 walk-off at the Big O off Paul Quantrill. (Wait a second...why are we only remembering Blue Jays losses?)

And after watching the Jays hand the Phils their asses last night, we think they should be playing the NL East all year long.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Game Update: Jays Bats Thunder Under Cloudy Skies in Philly

Blasts from Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay have driven Jamie Moyer from the game after 3.1 innings. Sean Marcum has not surrendered a hit so far making it 9 straight innings for him without allowing a hit. More to come...
Update: Marcum just gave up a hit in the fifth. HR for Chase Utley. What a bum.
Update 2: Fredericton native Matt Stairs put the cherry on top with his 10th career grand salami to put the Jays ahead by 11 runs. Marcum gets the win.

We have nothing to say about last night's fifth inning


Except that we really hope that Dustin McGowan is the savior we want him to be. Because it didn't look that way last night.

Jays Fall To Philly Foes 5-3

Perennial top prospect Dustin McGowan tossed a no-no until the fifth inning last night when all hell broken loose. This is the problem with depending too much on young starters. They can be lights out one inning and lit up the next. We remember young Halladay and Carpenter going through the same growing pains. So the fact that 3/5 of the Jays' rotation is sporting peach fuzz means that we will all have to get used to these Jeckel and Hyde performances.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jeff Blair is reading our minds...

...and we're a little freaked out about it.

Our favorite Jays beat writer reached all the way from Philly into the part of our brain where we keep our incomplete thoughts, and stole this little nugget, which was to be our next post:

Is it just me or would Eric Hinske look pretty good on the Blue Jays' bench right about now? Here's the video of Hinske's one-man show Thursday night.

An athletic left-handed hitter who can play the corner outfield and infield positions? Hmmm, yeah I might find a spot for him on my bench ...

Damn you Blair! Get out of our heads! You magnificent sardonic bastard!

The Big Lead - Gibby'll be first to go

The Big Lead has assessed the job security of several embattled managers. Guess who they peg as most likely to walk the plank?
John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays - 5:1
Ready for the injuries that have caused these guys to start 17-22 out of the gate? Roy Halladay, BJ Ryan (out for the season), Gregg Zaun, Victor Zambrano and Reed Johnson. There are more, but you get the picture. Still, Gibbons is the guy who essentially chased Ted Lilly out of town, and it doesn’t help that he’s enjoying success with the Cubs. Won’t make it to July 1.
(With a tip of the casquette to Neate at Out of Left Field.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Updating our eight point plan

Since the Art Martone of the Providence Journal's SoxBlog brought it up, we figured we'd take a second look at the progress that has been made on our eight point plan for salvaging the Jays season.

  1. Fire Gibbons: Given that the Jays have pulled themselves out of their absolute freefall, it doesn't look like we'll see any progress on this item. And we'll give Gibby credit for pulling Litsch a few nights back, because it was the right decision, even if it was unpopular. Still, we're not backing down on this. Status: Incomplete.
  2. Send Zambrano to Syracuse, or even Dunedin: Zambrano has been DLed, and will likely get the chance to properly ramp up through a reconditioning stint somewhere in the minors. Status: Check this one off as complete.
  3. Designate Josh Towers: Towers is still on the roster, but hasn't pitched in a week. So, good for the Jays for keeping him off the mound, but he's still taking up a roster spot. Time to make a decision. Status: Incomplete.
  4. Move Janssen and Marcum into the rotation: Marcum's in, and pitched well enough to win on Sunday. As for Janssen, we actually buy into the idea that he's of more use in the bullpen, so we're willing to admit that we were partially wrong on this one. Status: Complete, and an extra gold star for ignoring us when we were wrong.
  5. Play Jason Smith, or return him: It looks as though they've done both. Smith got back to back starts, went 2 for 7 with 3 Ks, and was placed on waivers. (He was picked up by Arizona yesterday, so bully for him.) Status: Complete.
  6. Stop screwing around constantly with the batting order: What can we say? While we are willing to allow for some reasonable movement, Gibby continues to overmanage the lineup. Status: Incomplete, with a big red frowny face.
  7. Scour the wires: Nothing to report yet. Then again, when the best name out there is Jason Davis, maybe it is best to keep your hands in your pockets. Status: Incomplete, but with a legitimate excuse. Maybe.
  8. Hire Ken Macha: In spite of our main man Martone's contention that we're not allowed to have Macha because he's done great work on NESN as an analyst, we still want him. We say, give us Macha, or give us Jerry Remy. The choice is yours, Red Sox Nation. Status: Incomplete.
So, here's where we net out: three items checked off the list, five to go. Not bad...we're hitting .375!

But to J.P., and all of our other fans in the Jays' front office, we say this:

Ok, ramblers. Let's get ramblin'.

"Jesse Who?" Burnett Shows Who's Boss

Not to be outdone by the rookie soon to be known as "D-Litsch-shus", former underachiever AJ Burnett threw a gem of his own last night to complete the Jays sweep of Baltimore. Consider his line:

  • IP - 9
  • H - 3
  • R - 1
  • ER - 1
  • BB - 2
  • K - 10
  • HR - 1

The guy who walked 9 batters in his only career no-hitter actually pitched much better on balance last night.

Burnett's last three starts have been solid with the last two being Ace worthy. His only really bad start this year was in Cleveland where, let's face it, the whole team decided to go in the shitter at once. If Burnett can keep this up and some of the young guns can stick it out,... and the offence finally starts producing as it should,... the Jays may have a chance to at least compete with the Yankees for second in the AL East. If "Ifs and Buts" were candy and nuts...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Litsch it up

Jesse Litsch, everybody's new favorite Blue Jay, gets the start on Sunday in Philadelphia, while Tomo Ohka takes a trip out to the bullpen.

C`mon, get happy!

So here we are, leg wrapped up and iced down, thoroughly disappointed in the quality of the painkillers we've received.

But we're not gonna let it get us down.

When we started this blog, we had notions that it would track our building elation as the Blue Jays rose beyond expectations and into a playoff birth. We had fantasies that we would run to our laptop, soaked with champagne sometime in late October, and send out a missive that the dozens of loyal readers, who would then print it out and have it framed and hung on their walls.

Clearly, we were out of our mind.

But our point here is that we never intended for the Tao of Stieb to be about venting and whingeing and moaning, and getting John Gibbons fired to the exclusion of everything else.

So, starting tonight, we're gonna turn over a new leaf. We're gonna accentuate the positive. We're gonna cheer this team on, stop focusing on all of the negatives.

We're gonna make it a happy place.

(However, we reserve the right to grab the wheel and veer completely back into the negative. If we so please.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The greatest Jesse since Barfield (or maybe the Beachcombers)

Like a young Mauro Gozzo, Jesse Litsch has stepped in to help salvage the back end of the Jays rotation. Litsch's next starts are not all going to go so well, but let's be grateful for this memorable moment, and moreover, for the win.

By the way, I'm not sure if anyone out there watching the game realized it, but Litsch used to be Devil Rays' bat boy. I mean, it was mentioned about 500 times in the innings I saw...but I guess not everyone would have been lucky enough to hear Jamie Campbell go on and on and on and on about this.

Game Update: Kid From Deliverance Pitching Great, Jays Bats Need Help From Jobu

Jesse Litsch has pitched 6 strong innings so far. His only blemish being the run scored on a fielder's choice in the first inning. He has been solid since with a lot of help from Aaron Hill's glove.

Aside from Rios' leadoff homer, the Jays bats have been cold. Help us Jobu!

Update: Daniel Cabrera shook off his catcher and threw a 2-0 fastball to Glaus with predictable results. Glaus powered a single into right field allowing Alex Rios to score from second. Thank-you Jobu!

Update #2: Jesse Litsch just finished his night with a stellar 8 and 2/3 innings of 1 run 4 hit ball. Accardo is in for the save.

Update #3: Put this one in the win column (2-1). Accardo got the save. More later...

Battle of the Birds Take Two. Jays Win!

A week ago the Jays would have crumbled at the sight of Eric Bedard. Last night however, the Jays played the game like they had some confidence. Despite the fact that Tomo Ohka gave up 3 early runs on HRs to Jay Gibbons and Nick Markakis, the Jays battled back to tie it on RBIs from Jason Phillips and Troy Glaus. The game was put away in the eighth on Troy Glaus' 2 run blast.

Highlights of last night's game:
  • Troy Glaus - The hobbling manboy was back in the lineup and made his presence felt. We have the feeling that his heel will continue to cause him trouble, but we'll take a missed game here and there if we can get clutch performaces like this a couple of times a week.
  • The Bullpen - Downs, Jannsen, and Accardo pitched 4 innings combined allowing two hits, no walks, and no runs. Plus Accardo looked like a real closer last night. Bonus!
  • Honourable Mention, Tomo Ohka - After giving up two early home runs, Ohka hung in there and shut the Orioles down long enough to give the bullpen a reasonable chance to get a win.

We haven't written a post like this in a long time. Kind of lacking in drama, but it feels good.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Are there DL spots for bloggers?

We thought that all of the Blue Jays injuries had reached the point of absurdity.

And then we went out and tore up our knee playing the world's stupidest sport.

We apologize in advance if the blogging is a little sporadic over the next couple of days. We'll do our best to hop over to the computer whenever we can.

Litsch get it on

According to Sean McAdam's big sloppy wet-kiss to J.P. on, the Jays call up AA phenom Jesse Litsch to pitch tomorrow against the Orioles.

The 22 year-old righty is putting up monster numbers in AA (5-1, 0.96 ERA, 28 Ks/7 BBs and a 0.77 WHIP), so we'll be watching with some anticipation to see what he does against an AL East rival.

And no offense to Ty Taubenheim, but we're relieved that we don't have to see him back in a Jays uniform yet.

Also in the McAdam article, J.P. - obviously feeling comfortable yakking it up with a fellow New Englander - lets fly on all of the stupid Jays fans and media who dared question him:
"What bothers me most is the wins and losses and how we play the game. I don't really care what the media thinks of me, especially people who don't know what's going on."
Not that we were really that put out by J.P.'s fibbing, but maybe if he didn't obfuscate on these issues, we'd "know what's going on."

"I've got my reasons.... You don't need to know everything."

Thus spake John Gibbons, describing the rationale that went into nailing Alex Rios to the bench, and pinch hitting John McDonald for Jason Phillips late in Sunday's game.

The Sun's Mike Rutsey has the full rundown of wit and wisdom of Gibby.

(Wouldn't it be so much more efficient for Gibby to walk into the media briefing, tell everyone there to go fuck themselves, and walk out?)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gibby's lineup madness

Once again, Jays Manager-for-the-Moment John Gibbons decided to jerk around with the team's lineup today.

We get that some days, you want to give a guy a day off, especially late in the season. What we can't understand for the life of us is Gibby's insistence on rotating players into the lineup from what is really a pretty weak bench.

At a time when the Jays are struggling to score runs, why sit Alex Rios? He's first on the team in homers, second in RsBI, second in slugging and fourth in OPS. He's a central cog in an offense that has sputtered, and has hit well (2 HRs and a 1.037 OPS) over the past week.

Moreover, his OPS versus righthanders is fifty points higher than Matt Stairs, so don't even try to run that jive past us.

And we'll get on this soapbox again: it is 37 games into the season, and Aaron Hill has hit in six different spots in the order. Alex Rios has hit in five different spots, as has Overbay. Even Wells and Glaus have hit in three different spots in the order.

It's this sort of willy-nilly jerking around with the lineup that makes us wish that someone would bring back Cito.

Jays Lose Heartbreaker

Sean Marcum's brilliant start (6 IP, O H, 3 BB, 7 K, 78 P) was wasted as Jason Frasor gave up a run in the eighth and Brian Tallet coughed up the winner in the ninth. Normally a pitcher would be allowed to finish a potential no hitter, but Marcum was pulled to preserve him for the long term. We can't say we disagree with Gibbons' decision despite how tempting it was to leave him in.

We still wonder where that powerhouse offense is. Jae Seo is hardly a feared presence on the mound. The bats are still slumping when a guy with a 8+ ERA makes them look silly. Wells, Thomas, Overbay, and Hill went hitless in the loss. A less ethical blog might suggest that it's time to get out the bennies. But not us. ;-)

We heart Alan Ashby

Sitting on a patio, sipping a latte, smoking a tasty one and listening to the game on the radio on a lovely Sunday does a world of good.

Even if Gibby decided to sit his hottest hitter.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Get On Up!

Yeehaw!! Get on up back on the bandwagon and let's party all the way to the world seeeries!

After two victories in a row, here are my up to the minute predictions:

AL All-Stars: Jays entire roster
End of year record: 141-21
AL East Champs: Jays
AL Champs: Jays
World Series Champs: Jays
Cy Young: Dustin McGowan
MVP: Adam Lind


Winning Streak!

Two wins against the Rays, and Jays sneak out of the basement.

Accardo looked like an actual living breathing closer today, mowing down Tampa quickly in ninth for his first save as a Jay.

We're ecstatic.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Well, mash my 'taters

It's a win.

Everything's gonna be just fine, right?

Bring out your dead!

Let's get caught up, shall we?

On the Jays' 40 Man roster, there are currently nine players on the DL, and that's not counting Ol' Gimpy Glaus. Glaus limped off the field tonight, and was brought directly to the rendering plant where he's being melted down into glue as we speak.

Davis Romero. John Thomson. League. Johnson. Ryan. Chacin. Zaun. Zambrano. Halladay.

Maybe we should all look at the positive: if this season is shot anyway, why not unload a couple of salaries, and rebuild as best as you can on the run?

As far as possible replacements for the pitching staff, look for either Josh Banks (4-0, 3.57 ERA, 15 Ks/4 BBs, 1.02 WHIP) or Ty Taubenheim (2-2, 5.34 ERA, 22/12, 1.56) to move up from AAA, as they are already on the 40 man.

Our guess is that Taubenheim gets the call, if only to keep Banks' service time at zero for a little longer.

Oy vey.


If you thought it had all pretty much hit rock bottom yesterday, then you'll really enjoy this:

Roy Halladay is gone for 4-6 weeks. Appendi-fucking-citis.

Where's that goddamned bourbon! Daddy's drinkin' tonight!

What's up, Doc?

Not to add to the generalized feeling of dread, but the last time Roy Halladay had two consecutive bad outings like this was in July of 2004, just before hit went on the shelf for pretty much the rest of the season.

Back in February, Baseball Prospectus injury guru Will Carroll reported that Halladay had been suffering through some muscle tightness in his off-season workouts. But J.P. Ricciardi assured us that Doc wasn't injured, and that it was no big deal.

And would he lie to you?

Having watched both of these eerily similar innings, a couple of things come to mind. First, Halladay has been getting the ground balls he always does, but they are sneaking through the infield. (Is this a matter of the middle infielders being poorly positioned?)

Second, Halladay looks as though he has been labouring when he's had to throw from the stretch for extended periods, and it has slowed down his usually efficient game significantly.

What's it all mean? We shudder to think.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What came first, the Blue Jays or the misery?

Are we miserable because we're watching the Blue Jays, or do we watch the Blue Jays because we're miserable?

In the bottom of the first, when Glaus gets caught napping off first, turning a bases loaded, one out situation into a quick end to the inning, you just had to feel like it wasn't going to go well from then on.

This is what happens to bad teams.

Nine losses. No closer. And no relief in sight.

We're wondering what sort of votes of confidence will be handed out tomorrow amongst the brain trust that put this team together.

And now, he's no longer with us.

Please remove your caps, bow your heads, and observe a moment of silence for B.J. Ryan's season.

Three words: Tommy John surgery.

It's over.

Now everyone please move in an orderly fashion to the emergency counselors who are standing by.

Eight ways to salvage a sinking ship

In honour of the Jays eighth consecutive loss, we humbly offer eight suggestions to help salvage this wretched season, before it's too late
  1. Fire Gibbons - I don't think this requires that much explanation.
  2. Send Zambrano to Syracuse, or even Dunedin - As terrible as he's been, the Jays allowed him to pitch to big league hitters months before he was projected to be ready. He needs to go down and get himself stretched out and build up his arms strength gradually. (We're not even certain if they'd be able to do this without having him pass through waivers, but it's possible that he could go on a rehab assignment.)
  3. Designate Josh Towers - His contract is the only thing keeping him in the Majors. He's a lousy starter and even worse coming out of the bullpen. It's time to cut bait.
  4. Move Janssen and Marcum into the rotation - At the very least, they pitched better last year as starters than three-fifths of the rotation has this year.
  5. Play Jason Smith, or return him - J.P. has a habit of grabbing guys in the Rule 5 draft and holding onto them for dear life, even if they never really pan out. (Corey Thurman? Aquilino Lopez?) Smith had a tremendous Spring, but has been relegated to the role of a pinch hitter as of late, while Matt Stairs is allowed to lumber around right field with impunity.
  6. Stop screwing around constantly with the batting order - Is Aaron Hill hitting first? Seventh? Fifth? Second? Is Overbay second or sixth? What day is it? Gibby (or whoever replaces him) has got to stop jerking guys around the lineup and leave them as much as possible where they are comfortable.
  7. Scour the wires - Yes, you'll be grabbing the scrubs who weren't good enough to play for other teams, but just about any living, breathing biped with major league experience would be an upgrade in the Jays bullpen over Towers or Zambrano.
  8. Hire Ken Macha - He's available. He's won. He's turned Oakland teams that started slowly into playoff teams.
But hey, what the hell do we know?

UPDATE, 4:10 pm: In and amongst all of the sad, sad news of the demise of B.J. Ryan's ulnar collateral ligament, we see that J.P. has managed to check off item number 2 (Zambrano's on his way to the DL, and likely a rehab stint), and half of item 4 (Marcum will take Zambie's spot into the rotation.)

Hey J.P.! If you are reading this - and why wouldn't you? - then how about items number 1 and 8?

Move Along! Nothing To See Here!

After a meeting yesterday between Jays VP Paul Godfrey, JP Riccardi, John Gibbons, and his caoching staff, the Jays strongly announced that despite the seven game losing streak, no one was getting fired. Well, how did you jerks feel last night as another loss was added to the streak? Last night both the offense and defense were to blame. Unispired play all around.

Ohka escaped the game after 4 and 2/3 innings with only giving up three runs. Josh "Gas Can" Towers and the normally solid Scott Downs coughed up three runs each to leave the score at 9-3.

Something has to happen. Anything. If management isn't going to change, look for some personnel changes. We think that MacGowan will now get a spot good bad or indifferent. They'll probably move up the plans to put Casey Janssen in the rotation as well. This will be an improvement over the failed Victor Zambrano project. But we know this isn't the answer to get the Jays back in the race. But there isn't anybody willing to part with a good arm at this time of year for a bat. So sit tight and wait...for next year?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Diversion As The Jays Head Towards Their Eighth Straight Loss

Hang the JG, hang the JG, hang the JG

As noted in the comments yesterday, friend of the blog The Great Lakes Knuckleballer has had enough of a certain mumblin', fumblin' Texan, and has launched the Fire Gibbons blog (

The Tao abides.

A little help, please!

When you're searching for any sort of good news, sometimes you wind up appreciating the small mercies more than you should.

Having said that, John Thomson makes his second rehab start for Syracuse this afternoon in Indianapolis, after going 5.2 innings with 2 hits and 1 run on May 3. And if you are willing to shell out $3.95, you can watch the game on

It's amazingly sad how invested we are in the outcome of this game.

UPDATE, 2:47 pm: For reason's we have yet to deduce, Thomson ain't pitching today. Hmm...

Spanked! Seventh Straight Loss.

Just in case the Jays had any delusions about turning things around after a horrific road trip, the Red Sox manhandled the team like they were in a different league. Victor Zambrano erased any chance of a victory by the third inning after he had given up the eighth run. The offence didn't have much luck against Josh Beckett who, apart from Alex Rios' leadoff homer, was locked in en route to his seventh victory of the young season.

Question: Why, if the Jays planned to use Zambrano as a starter after Towers inevitably flamed out, did they not send him to Syracuse to start the season? There he could have gotten some work as a starter. Instead, the guy pitched in dribs and drabs totalling 5 innings before he got the call to take Tower's spot in the rotation. Do you suppose that's why he's only managed 5 innings total in his last two starts? Perhaps someone should ask Gibby what his strategy was in this case.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Would I Lie To You?

JP Riccardi's admission is hardly the first lie in baseball circles. Some other famous fibs:

  1. Jeff Kent - Several years ago Jeff Kent started the season on the DL with an injured wrist. The Lie? He told everybody that he injured his wrist washing his car. The Truth? He hurt his wrist after he wiped out while doing a "wheelie" on his motorcycle.

  2. Tim Johnson - In his tenure as Jays manager, Johnson was tasked with motivating a team with a lot of youth and some ego-maniacal veterans (we're looking at you Jose Canseco). The Lie? Johnson motivated his men by telling them war stories from his tour of duty in Vietnam. The Truth? The closest that Tim Johnson came to being in combat was buying some shorts at Old Navy during a sidewalk sale.

  3. Pete Rose - After a sure thing hall of fame career, Rose helmed his Cinncinati Reds in the mid to late 80's. He soon came under fire as allegations arose that he was a heavy gambler. The Lie? Rose swore that he never bet on baseball. The Truth? Not only did he bet on baseball, he bet on his own team every single game.

  4. Junior Felix - The man who caught the final out in Dave Stieb's no-hitter was a sparkplug in his rookie year. There was a lot of optimism as the young outfielder looked to be a fixture in the Jays lineup for years to come. The Lie? That he was young. The Truth? Felix turned out to be several years older than advertised.

  5. David Wells - So many to choose from. Let's try this one. How about the one concerning the perfect game that he threw for the Yanks. The Lie? Wells wrote in his autobiography that he was "half-drunk" on the mound that day. The Truth? Perhaps he was forced into this, but he retracted his statement about being drunk.

  6. Roger Clemens - The Rocket, after weighing several options, signed with the Yankees for the remainder of the 2007 season. The Lie? Clemens said that signing with the Yanks had nothing to do with the money. The Truth? Clemens had 10 million more reasons to sign with the Bronx Bombers than with the Red Sox.

In Case The Game Goes Bad... are some clips of happier times in Toronto.

Gibbons Watch: Blair Joins In

Getty Images

The Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair just posted an interesting column re: the Jays performance without BJ Ryan (7-12 since he went on the DL). From the quotes offered up by Blair you can tell that Gibby is feeling the heat:

"Look, if there are people who think that this team is underachieving, well, that's the way they can look at it if they want to," Gibbons said Monday from San Antonio, where he spent the off-day with his family after a weekend sweep by the Rangers. "I don't feel that way."

Gibbons said he would be back in Toronto "unless, you know, I get a phone call telling me not to come back." He didn't. But there's not much guarantee beyond that without a couple of quick wins.

Winning the series against the Red Sox would definitely hold off the sharks for a while, but given the pitching matchups, that may be too much to expect.

Get Yer Red Hots! Peanuts! Cracker Jacks! Rectal Exams!

While Brewers many fans had been bending over and taking it at Miller Park until recently, professionals were rarely called in to take a look at the goods. Check out this upcoming promotion. I guess the sausage races were't stimulating enough. Now turn to your right and cough.

If the Doodlebops are the answer...what was the question?

Scary, fluorescent, pseudomusical humanoids the Doodlebops will perform live outside of the Rogers Centre before the Jays May 12 meeting with the Devil Rays.

We get that at some point, you need to sell a bit of the sizzle in order to attract the Scarberian moms and their demon-spawn to the ballpark. But with the Jays mired in a lousy stretch, we can't think of anything more depressing than this spectacle.

Actually, we can. It's having gas can Josh Towers pimp the event in the presser:

"My son can't get enough of the Doodlebops," said Jays pitcher Josh Towers. "The fact that they are both entertaining and family-friendly means I don't have to worry when Ryan wants to watch them."