Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If The Blue Jays Win the A.L. East, I Will Eat a Cockroach

You will be wasting your time if you save a roach for me to eat, people.

The Jays--while a fine Canadian organization with good fans--are about as likely to win the AL East as the Mets are to win the NL East. It's called pitching, and the Jays and Mets don't have enough of it to go around.

After 8 games, however, the Roy Halladay-less Blue Jays have been tearing the cover off the ball with odd contributions from a power-hitting Alex Gonzalez (with 4 dingers in a week) and a hot Vernon Wells. They are 6-2. Enjoy the fall from the top, kids-in-the-skymall or whatever the hell that place is called.

Our beloved Red Sox are playing .500 ball and currently sitting above the Baltimore Orioles in 4th place. It means about as much as having a wrinkled grandpa Steven Tyler belch out "God Bless America" at Fenway on opening night. I don't want to disparage Aerosmith's contribution to 1970's hard rock, but at this point, he can't sing worth a damn. Go back to Lynn and endorse Kelly's Roast Beef or something. That dude looks more and more like an old lady with every passing season.

It's early to make any definitive arguments about the Red Sox, but some of the concerns I had are increasingly becoming evident. Mike Cameron has a long hill to climb before he gets my support. I want contact hitters, not chase and miss guys. His defense is nice, but Ellsbury should not have lost his job after the plays he made and his contribution at the top of the lineup.

Call it "defense" when you want to save some coin with the Cameron signing. I can live with the savings as long as V-Mart is locked up and everything in their power is done to get Adrian Gonzalez at the trade deadline.

Sox could have signed Jermaine Dye, kept Ellsbury in center and had another big bat in the lineup. Probably could have had Dye on a nice one year deal. Offense matters in close games too, but as long as that money is put to good use elsewhere I can scream at the tv and Mike Cameron for a year I guess.

Beltre and Hermida are looking like good fits (and I expect Hermida to get more playing time). Beltre could take a few more pitches too for walks, but hard to complain when he has been hitting. He's hitting .375 with 6 RBIs and no walks in 24 at bats.

Scutaro has been decent too at the plate, but his glove and arm are not impressing me yet. I hope that changes.

Ortiz looks lost again early, especially against fastballs, but he has had a few opposite field hits (both against Twins), so patience is key. I said it last year after guys like Bill Simmons said his career was over: He can still hit. He will hit. Get off his large Dominican back.

He's not the same guy since Manny took the chronic train to Chavez Ravine. He's not the same guy since the wrist injury. And about the roids (aka "vitamins and supplements"): he did them at one point, but he showed real resilience last year. He finished as one of the hottest hitters in the league by the end. Without him, Sox do not make the playoffs last year. Basta. Enough. The man will hit.

The most surprising thing to see so far is the Sox pitching. It's all over the place. Lackey has looked good, but Beckett and Lester have not been particularly solid. And the bullpen? Not sure what is happening there. Bard and Papelbon need to get their other pitches working because guys are sitting fastball all day long. It has hurt them a little already.

So now what? More Twins at Target Field tomorrow and then 4 against the Rays at Fenway which should be tough. Rays are a very talented team.

Also, the Yankees are still the best team in baseball. I don't like admitting that, but they have a lot of balance. I don't envy a pitcher who has to face that lineup from top to bottom.

Go Sox.