We’re a bit off-kilter this morning, hope you don’t mind.
Now, I’m no expert nor do I play one on TV and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night but …
The Blue Jays?
I’ve got ‘em for 89 wins and I don’t imagine that’s enough to make the post-season but it’s sure enough to make things interesting around here for most of the summer and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I was a bit floored by the demotion of Brett Cecil yesterday -- not sure too many saw that coming, even with his spring struggles – and that lays bare the biggest deficiency on this team, in my humble opinion.
I think they’ll score enough runs, I think they’ll catch the ball pretty well (they tell me Eric Thames is far more comfortable in left and that was the true question mark) and I’m okay with the bullpen because I think Casey Janssen morphs into an excellent set up guy and a cab driver in Chicago the last time I was there says Sergio Santos is for real and if cab drivers don’t know, who does?
But can they throw the ball well enough to start games?
There’s no doubting the bonafides of Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow has lights-out stuff but after that? It’s not quite Spahn and Sain and Pray For Rain (a poem penned by a sportswriter, I’ll have you know) but it’s close.
There is every chance Henderson Alvarez is good, he seems impervious to nerves and has some nasty stuff but Kyle Drabek and Joel Carreno? That doesn’t have a Palmer-Cuellar-McNally-Dobson ring to it, does it?
Who knows, maybe Dustin McGowan finds health, maybe Cecil finds location because I don’t know that he’ll find velocity and maybe they’ll win a lot of 8-5 games that are too taxing on the bullpen.
But if they don’t …
But you know what the best thing about this might be?
There’s a legitimate buzz about this team, and a genuine feeling of confidence among the players that’s been absent the last few years.
Sure, every year at this time everybody talks big, they set their sights on the post-season, ooze confidence even if it is unfounded.
Today? This team?
With Hobbs here all year at third, perhaps the best hitter in the game in Bautista and what I think is a very solid DH in Encarnacion, there’s every reason to think they might be able to stay in the hunt for the expanded post-season until the very end and that’s going to create an atmosphere we haven’t seen around here in a very, very long time.
So I’m going with 89 wins and important games in September and, who knows, if things break just right those important games might slide over to October.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Always more in this crazy mixed-up, upside-down blog day.
So this is Why I Love Dave D, Part I.
E-mail arrives about mid-game, he must have been catching up on his reading and he’s not exactly ragging on me about the Canadian music a few days ago – I tell ya, he wants to be one of us; only former Grunt I know who watches CBC on his computer – but he offers this as one of the quintessential Canadian songs.
(The e-mail includes this: I will never talk to Scorcese again for leaving it on the cutting room floor...tell him to stop calling me.)
Anyway … remember these?
Every play counts
You don’t think Dwane Casey doesn’t take every possession seriously?
Less than two seconds left in the first half, team up, Bobcats shooting free throws to wrap up another desultory half in a nothing game against a nondescript opponent on ho-hum night at the end of a tough season.
Ride out the half?
Casey calls timeout in between the free throws ‘cause it’s a teaching moment and they come out with something we haven’t seen all year.
They run what only can be called the Laettner play – and you Dwane’s gonna hate that because it was Duke over Kentucky in what might be the best college basketball game of the last quarter century – and after a couple of cross screens, Andrea takes a three-quarter court pass and gets off a good shot.
Never mind that it didn’t go in, it was a great call at a rather nothing moment that should cement even more the fact the coach is not giving up on this season at all. Ever.
For Bargnani? With the game in the balance down stretch?
Another excellent call, well executed because if there’s one thing we’ve seen from Andrea at times this year, it’s a nice little post game when he’s confident he can get off a shot against whoever’s guarding him.
This time it was Byron Mullens and Bargnani calmly made what was the game-sealing basket. Since the HOTH don’t have a break-down wing, they gotta get big buckets where they can and Bargnani on the block’s as good as anything they could have come up with.
A calming influence
Game’s getting a bit close for comfort in the fourth quarter; things are going sideways, DeMar picks up a technical and you can almost feel the wheels coming off.
Time for some calm leadership, Ben Uzoh’s time is over; Jose and Andrea come back, they get two solid offensive possessions in a row and things get back to quasi-normal.
Kind of what you want from your two most veteran players, no? I get the whole “we have to get young people with amazing athleticism in there” but I want men on my team who know when it’s time for a steadying influence. And that’s what you get with Jose and I know all the detractors out there may not want to hear this but I’m thisclose to anointing him as the best point guard in franchise history.
Why I Love Dave D, Part II
Okay, so my man and I share an affinity for The Band – as well we should, as should you – and I know his Canadian bent because he asked about living in our basement had a US election turned out differently but even I don’t know that I could find this.
(I did get props for the Ian and Sylvia clip)
Tell me, do I know cool people, or what?
Okay, have an early-ish flight to Philly and the plan is to land, check-in and hit the Reading Market for lunch so I’ll see comments when I can.
But I will have some room time in the afternoon so another plea for mail, if you will.
One last point:
Way to go, Baylor.
That’s a helluva year.