We're nothing if not a beacon towards positivity, right?
(And those of you who know really me are probably trying to figure out if that's a laugh line or not...Although we'd point out that in the cynical, angry world of sports blogdom, we're pretty happy, sunshiney and positive. Or at least we look that way in comparison to others.)
So, if we were to be something less than positive, we'd point out that in two key series this week, the Jays walked away having not made up any ground, and find themselves tied with the resurgent Red Sox. So there's the missed opportunities.
But since we're eliminating the negative and latching onto the affirmative here, let us point out that our boys hung tough in every game against the two best teams in the league, and were in a position to win each and every one of them. And with some bullpen work that was a little more assertive or better orchestrated, they may well have done it.
All of which augurs well for the last three games of this nine-game stretch, which was supposed to tell us something of something about this team. Maybe it's telling us that they're worth watching, and that they're not that far from actually carrying this sort of performance through the entire season.
And now, a few quick hits...
Wilner's unplanned vacation
We were as shocked as anyone when we heard that the Fan 590 bounced Mike Wilner out of his seat for the weekend, ostensibly to remind him to play nicer with The Manager. We have no doubt that Wilner can abrasive to some, and his confidence in his arguments can be read as arrogance by some. But the "suspension" or spanking and or whatever this is makes us wonder what they are thinking at the Fan.
They should probably understand what they have in Wilner, and why his stubborn dedication to reason and his unwillingness to buy into mawkish cliché is precisely his appeal. Tamping that fire down in order to keep The Manager happy is a recipe for boring, awkward radio.
(Which supposes that this was a Fan 590 call, and not from somewhere above. We'd love to hear Handsome Tony explain this as all a part of his master plan.)
(Also, check Neate Sager's take over on Out of Left Field, which is a nicely nuanced analysis of the situation.)
On book reviews
If you are planning on buying any particular books that we're perhaps reviewed around here, and you'd like to hold us to account for our overly generous estimations of a particular tome, we'd suggest that you perhaps take a read through this post. We pretty much put all of our cards on the table, and fessed up to being an entirely unreliable critic. So don't come looking for an explanation for our bad taste in athlete memoirs.
On the rotation (which is awesome) and the bullpen (which is less so, we think)
Before the season, some folks wanted to tear down the Jays' post-Doc rotation as a bunch of no name chuck-and-duckers, which might have been more of a reaction to the lack of a certifiable ace than the actual talent available to the Jays.
But after watching the Jays' top four hurlers shine against two of the best offenses in the game, we'll have to admit to getting way ahead of ourselves in considering the possibilities in the coming years. Marcum, Romero, Cecil and Morrow are all young, and may well have their best years ahead of them. And when we rattle the names off in our head, and consider the possibility of adding another quality arm to that list (Drabek? Rzep? Mills?), we'll confess to getting ahead of ourselves, and envisioning their names being pored over across the continent as a playoff team's probable pitchers.
(And really, Shaun Marcum was born to pitch in the playoffs, wasn't he?)
It's really to bad that we end up crashing back to earth when considering the performance of the bullpen. It's not that they've been awful: Kevin Gregg's actually been pretty good, notwithstanding his game of footsie with the strike zone against Tampa the other night, and we've officially come around on Shawn Camp. But Scott Downs continues to look as though his best days are behind him, and Jason Frasor hasn't yet shown the velocity or movement that made him a success last season.
Meanwhile, The Manager continues to mismanage his assets, and treats his seven man relief corps as though he has only four arms out there. Rommie Lewis, David Purcey and Casey Janssen are given as much rest as most of the starters while the other four relievers are run into the ground.
Even with the economical performances put on by the starters, that sort of wear and tear on the pen is going to catch up with this team, if it hasn't already.
We'd totally forgotten that the MLB draft kicks off tonight. In previous years, we may have spent the whole afternoon poring over names and the possibilities for the Jays' four early picks. But given that player development is a gruesomely tiresome and long process, we'll just sit back and let the names of the prospects wash over us this evening, while we consider the progress of Kevin Ahrens.