AL East Roundup: 4/13/09 through 4/19/09

Fan Confidence Poll: April 20th, 2009
Yanks' talks with Cuban prospect hit snag

Toronto Blue Jays

None of the Jays replacements we’ve contacted have come through, so you’re going to have to deal with ol’ Joe’s recap of the Blue Jays week. It’s a shame none of their bloggers stepped up, because they’re off to a remarkable start. They sit atop the AL East which, while it likely won’t last long, has to be music to Jays fans’ ears. With all the talk about the Sox, Yanks, and Rays, it must be nice looking down at them.

The week started off rough, with Jesse Litsch getting roughed up for four runs over three innings on Monday. Worse, he’s now on the 15-day DL with a right forearm strain, never a good omen. He won’t even throw a baseball for two weeks, and his return is currently set at four to six weeks, but that might be optimistic. Still, they came back and won it for Litsch. Travis Snider went deep for the second time in the game and gave the Jays an 8-6 win. After taking three of four from Minnesota, the Jays stomped the A’s for two out of three over the weekend. It could have been a sweep, but Brandon League blew Friday’s game in the eighth, allowing three runs for an 8-5 A’s comeback.

Week’s record: 5-2

Season record: 10-4

Injuries: RHP Jesse Litsch (15-day DL, forearm strain)

This week: Tue – Thu TEXAS; Fri – Sun @Chicago

OriolesDempsey’s Army

The Orioles averaged six runs a game this week and were only able to parlay that production into a 2-4 record. Such is the state of the rotation and the bullpen. Every member of the Oriole rotation took at least one beating this week even when the team won. Only Koji Uehara turned in a performance that could be considered even acceptable as he threw a gem against the Red Sox on Sunday, giving up only 2 runs over 7.0 innings and striking out five. Unfortunately, Jon Lester gave up no runs and struck out 9 over the same span.

Only Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara begin to give the Orioles a chance to compete when they take the mound. Adam Eaton has been beyond terrible (11.25 ERA) and Mark Hendrickson has been much worse than his 3.00 ERA would indicate (2.11 WHIP) and Alfredo Simon was getting lit up like a pinball machine before his elbow landed him on the DL.

The Orioles have decided to call up 23 year old RHP Brad Bergesen to take Simon’s spot in the rotation and he will start against the White Sox in Baltimore on Tuesday. Bergesen has gone 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA with 9 Ks and 3 BB over two starts in AAA Norfolk. I’m not entirely sure that he is ready for the big leagues but he will fare no worse than his peers in the back of the rotation.

Speaking of Norfolk, I saw them take on the Gwinnett Braves here in metro Atlanta today. Uber-prospect C Matt Wieters tweaked a hammy Friday night so he did not play. However, OF Nolan Reimold went 1-3 with an RBI against Atlanta’s own uber-prospect, 22 year old RHP Tommy Hanson. Hanson had wicked stuff but was a bit wild as Norfolk prevailed 4-2. Former Red Sox prospect RHP David Pauley looked very good for Norfolk. Even if he is just a AAAA guy, I can see why he would keep getting long looks from the Oriole front office if other opportunities present themselves.

3B Melvin Mora landed on the DL giving Ty Wigginton an opportunity to play at third. UT Ryan Freel is unhappy that he is not getting much playing time at the moment and is grumbling mildly to the press and GM Andy MacPhail. I guess that’s what happens when you are a mediocre player on a bad team for all those years; you get an inflated sense of self-worth.

The team finishes with Boston, then gets the White Sox and Rangers at home. The most interesting thing to watch this week will be Bergesen’s debut and possibly Uehara’s start to see if he can build on his success in Boston.

Notes: CF Adam Jones is a one man wrecking ball slugging .714 on the young season….Jones also left Sunday’s game with a sore right hamstring. If Jones goes on the DL (God forbid) look for Felix Pie to shift to center and for OF Lou Montanez to be recalled from Norfolk…RF Nick Markakis has cooled a bit at the plate but has a modest 6-game hitting streak after Sunday…The formerly free-swinging Orioles are 2nd in the AL in OBP this season…

Week’s record: 2-4

Season record: 6-6

Injuries: RHP Alfredo Simon – Elbow (Out until June), 3B Melvin Mora – Strained hamstring (out until early May), LHP Rich Hill – Elbow (Out until mid-May)

This week: Mon @Boston; Tue – Thu CHICAGO; Fri – Sun TEXAS

Red SoxSurviving Grady

A bizarre second week of action for the Sox, they’re beginning to become a bigger puzzle than the reason for Rob Schneider’s acting career. After getting taken behind the woodshed by Dallas Braden and the A’s, the Sox lost a nut-buster in 12 the next night which also sent Dice-K to the DL after one horrendous inning pitched. Then from the ashes came an unlikely hero in Tim Wakefield. He took a no-hitter into the eighth, finishing the game with an 8-2 win. The victory not only stopped an ugly skid of losses, it gave the bullpen a much-needed rest. A rest they would need for the 10-8 slugfest with the Orioles two nights later.

Then pitching became fashionable again over the weekend. With the exception of the proverbial “one bad inning” Josh Beckett shut the birds down on Saturday night as the offense continued to improve, finishing with a 6-4 win. On Sunday, Jon Lester pitched the way we hoped he would – and now need him to – blanking Baltimore through seven to scratch out a 2-1 win. With Lowrie on the DL and Julio Lugo hopefully lost in a time warp, Nick Green has inherited the shortstop position and handled it quite well so far. He’s batting .278 with 3 RBI in his 6 starts and playing steady defense.

RIP Mark Fidrych.

Week’s record: 4-2

Season record: 6-6

Injuries: Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-day DL, shoulder); Jed Lowrie (15-day DL, wrist)

This week: Mon BALTIMORE; Tue – Wed MINNESOTA; Fri – Sun NEW YORK

Tampa Bay RaysRays of Light

This certainly isn’t how the Rays envisioned opening up defense of the American League Championship. But that’s what happens when you pitch to an ERA over 5-and-a-quarter and you have an offense that only pads one stat – the strikeout. This week was supposed to be real special for the Rays; opening up at home against the Yankees and then inviting the White Sox in for an ALDS rematch. Instead, every single weakness on this team was exposed over the course of the week. The offense is desperately dependent on the longball right now. The Gabe-Every-Day right-field platoon has been anything but impressive. Troy Percival is still Troy Percival. You name it, it went wrong this week.

If a Rays fan is looking for a silver lining, B.J. Upton showed some of that all-world talent this week in making two Willie Mays-esque catches in center. Ben Zobrist is mashing like there’s no tomorrow. Carlos Pena is on pace for about 70 home runs and has hit in 12 straight games. Joe Nelson has been a welcome addition to the bullpen. That doesn’t wash the beer-that’s-been-sitting-out-for-12-days taste out of a Rays’ fan mouth, but at least it gives him hope that Monday’s off-day will rejuvenate the team and allow it to get back to basics on the West Coast this week.

Week’s record: 2-5

Season record: 5-8

Injuries: B.J. Upton (sore quad) – day-to-day, Shawn Riggans (shoulder tendonitis) – 15-day-DL

This week: Tue – Thur @Seattle; Fri – Sun @Oakland

Fan Confidence Poll: April 20th, 2009
Yanks' talks with Cuban prospect hit snag
  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    “…they’re beginning to become a bigger puzzle than the reason for Rob Schneider’s acting career”

    I lol’ed.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “After getting taken behind the woodshed by Dallas Braden and the A’s, the Sox lost a nut-buster in 12 the next night which also sent Dice-K to the DL after one horrendous inning pitched.”

    True story: In college, when Nas/Ghost/Raekwon dropped the track “Verbal Intercourse”, one of my friends started calling everyone in the crew ridiculously outlandish joke pseudonyms (like “Mental Fellatio” and “Psychological Cunnilingus”).

    He called our crew the “Metaphysical Nutbusters” for like a good three/four months. I shit you not.

    • Double-J

      IETC, mental fellatio.

    • http://smackawhiteboy DredScott

      nas’s verse on “verbal intercourse” = one of the greatest verses ever on one of the greatest albums ever made…

      i miss those good ol’ days.

  • Tom

    This roundup is a great feature. Although I still get a little nauseous reading something written by a Red Sox fan, it makes it easier to swallow that their deal with the devil is starting to run out.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “With Lowrie on the DL and Julio Lugo hopefully lost in a time warp, Nick Green has inherited the shortstop position and handled it quite well so far. He’s batting .278 with 3 RBI in his 6 starts and playing steady defense.”

    Let a Yankee fan who remembers Nick Green in pinstripes in 2006 give you a helpful hint here: it’s not going to last.

    This will end badly.

    • whozat

      Frustrating that he’s not cody-ransoming it, though.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Well, Green >>>>>>> Ransom, but that doesn’t change the fact that Actual MLB Player >>>>>>>>> Green.

    • A.D.

      Red Sox should just go and trade for Jack Wilson/Bobby Crosby now, and get it over with

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I saw that Peter Gammons mentioned that the Sox would start looking into Crosby in the wake of Lowrie’s injury.

        He also said “Crosby may not be a shortstop anymore, though.”

        That Crosby for MVP pick is working out like gangbusters, eh Petey?

        • Reggie C.

          A ballsy call back in the day looks bat-shit insane right now.

          Gammons tried to find the next great SS slugger and missed by an entire league.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I can barely tell Bobby Crosby and Bubba Crosby apart anymore.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Red Sox should just go and trade for Jack Wilson/Bobby Crosby now

        Career #’s:
        Crosby 238/306/379
        Green 242/310/348

        Yeah, I would love for Theo to give up a prospect(s) to make his team worse.

        • A.D.

          As would I, even better would be trading for Nomar

    • whitty

      And… Green just mishandled a routine ground ball.

      • Chris

        but it’s ok because he’s gritty and was trying really hard.

        • Thomas

          Someone told him, “[He] can’t misplay ground balls” and Nick had to prove him wrong.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “Instead, every single weakness on this team was exposed over the course of the week… Troy Percival is still Troy Percival.”

    Heh, the last time Troy Percival was still a good player… Larry Walker and Mike Sweeney were still good players.

  • Mike Pop

    be afraid al east opponents, arod is coming back!!!!

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Joe, your recap of the Blue Jays was supposed to be from the perspective of a Torontonian.

    There’s not nearly enough irrational exuberance that the Jays “might be for real” and that you’ve “got a feeling they’re going to be in this thing to the end” and that B.J. Ryan has “turned a corner”.

    There also was not nearly enough references to Molson Dry, maple syrup, Brian Mulroney, the Loon, having a superior system of socialized medicine, or how you didn’t get a chance to recap the Friday game because you were performing sexual acts on a caribou.

    • Frank

      You mean performing mental fellatio on a caribou.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


  • Frank

    I heart Travis Snider.

    • Mike Pop

      If ya love him so much, why don’t ya marry him.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Outfielders taken before the Jays took Snider with the 14th pick of the 2006 draft:

      #8 Robert Stubbs, CIN
      #13 Tyler Colvin, CHI

      • tarik

        Epic Draft FAIL

        • Jamal G.

          Drew Stubbs is a damn good hitting prospect. He may not be Travis Snider, but I wouldn’t call that “Epic Draft FAIL.”

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            True, can’t be too mad with the Stubbs pick. He’s probably better defensively than Snider, too, who’s only a slight step above Glorified DH territory.

            I was more pointing out the Colvin pick by the Cubs immediately preceeding Snider. If Snider is in their system, I wonder if they sign Fukudome last year, or Bradley this year?

            • tarik

              Sorry, I should have been more clear as to where I was directing my fail comment. The Cubs pick is questionable and hence my comment.

            • A.D.

              Gotta figure almost no way on Bradley this year if they already have Snider, Soriano, Fukudome & Pie.

              Question is if they have Snider would they have just traded him and have Jake Peavy now.

  • andrew

    Loved this post from Rotoworld:

    Mark Melancon pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday to maintain his perfect ERA. It was actually his worst outing so far, since he allowed a hit and struck out just one. Melancon has given up two hits, walked three and struck out 15 in nine innings for the season. He could soon make his major league debut.

    I’m guessing Melancon won’t be up till mid May at the earliest, it gives him time to develop a bit more against AAA hitters and it will give the Yankees a better idea of who will be effective in the bullpen this year and who is expendable.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I predict that our playoff 7-man bullpen will be, in order:


      • A.D.

        Unless Melancon isn’t called up until Sept, I’m guessing his ranking should be higher.

        I think Melancon >> Robertson

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’d agree that eventually, he’ll be higher.

          I think for the majority of 2009, Girardi will call on Albie and D-Rob first for bigger situations. Melancon is nasty, but those two are damn good relievers as well.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        (which means, of course, that of the pitchers left out of that lineup, namely, Edwar, Claggett, SteJax, and Veras, that Veras is the one who needs to be moved ASAP, since we can’t stash him in Scranton like the others.

        Marte and Coke are locks since they’re southpaws. That makes it an 8 man race for the 3 other spots in the pen for righties not named Mo or Bruney. I’d say Albie’s probably got the firmest grip on one of the three, and Veras and Edwar have the other two but D-Rob and Melancon are bound to push them all summer since they probably have better stuff and more consistency.

        • Tom Zig

          When can we expect to see D-Rob in the majors, for good?

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Meh, probably not “for good” this year (unless we trade one of Veras/Edwar/Albaladejo, I guess). His having an option is a blessing for us and a curse for him.

            I’m guessing he locks down a bullpen spot for 2010 based on outpitching Edwar/Veras this year (and the fact that a few of these numerous righty relievers on our 40-man are probably gone one way or another before the start of next season).