Thursday, July 20, 2006

Coulda Used That Sweep

One of the themes of this season, to this point, has been, “I'll take two out of three.” And, normally, taking two out of three is a desirable season outcome; that's a 108-win season. But when you're going for a sweep and lose a winnable game, well, that's just not acceptable, no matter what the circumstances.

Things just weren't clicking from the beginning. Text messages flowed to my phone, all along the lines of, “dude, Gilgameche is no-hitting the Yanks!” Having the game on MLB Radio, I knew what was going on, but I was fairly confident the Yanks would get to him sooner or later. They're too patient a team to be no-hit at this point. Just a few mistakes, and you have guys batting with hitter's counts who aren't afraid to take a walk. And that's where the flood gates supposedly open.

I'm going to table my complaining, though, after the gift of a game we got Tuesday night. Mike Reilly certainly made some suspect decisions, and I can't blame Mariners fans for wanting five minutes alone with him.

Not much else to say about the series. Wish we could have swept, disappointed we lost a winnable game to complete said sweep, but given Tuesday night's circumstances, I'll take the two games and focus my attention to Toronto, who scare the bejeezus out of me.

Right off the bat we've got the marquee pitching matchup, Mussina v. Halladay. Moose had better bring his A-game, because Halladay had a nifty record against the Yanks lifetime – 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA. He's 12-2 with a 3.06 ERA this season.

Here's the thing about Roy: his strikeout totals are way down. This is in combination with a slight rise in walk rate and equally slight rise in innings per start. Really, his peripherals do not match the outcome, and normally I would expect regression. But this is Roy freakin' Halladay. He's scary whether he's striking out batters or inducing weak grounders off the end of the bat.

After Halladay, it's A.J. Burnett vs. Jaret Wright on Friday, Chien-Ming Wang vs. our old buddy Ted Lilly on Saturday, and caps off with a Sir Sidney/Shaun Marcum Sunday. Just looking at the pitching matchups, I'd predict a split. I'd also predict a split because it's the easiest prediction in the book...

But flip over to the offensive side. Everyone talks about the war-torn Yankees, but the Blue Jays are in equally sad shape right now. Not that he's a bad player or anything, but you know you're in a little doo-doo when Gregg Zaun is DHing. This is what happens when your breakout star goes down with a worse-than-initially-thought leg infection, and your All-Star third baseman is day to day – and your normal DH has been DFA'd.

(Note: There is no possible way Shea Hillenbrand goes to the Yankees. Period. Not that I'd particularly want him here. Just saying.)

I wish there was more I could say about the Blue Jays, but I'm kind of afraid. They're nipping at our heels, and if they take three of four, they're in real good shape. However, we're not the Red Sox, so we don't flail like little girls against the Canadians.

If there's a trade rumor today, you'll be sure to see it here. Check back.