Despite completing a sweep of the lowly Minnesota Twins this weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays found themselves eliminated from the division race that they were supposed to have won when John Farrell's Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 13-9 on Saturday. But of course, we have known that the A.L. East pennant was achievable for a while now, even though mathematics had made us wait until September 7 to seal the deal.
September 7 is the earliest date the Blue Jays were officially eliminated since 2009 when they were eliminated on the same date. Last year, the Jays hung around (mathematically, at least) until September 19. One has to look back to 2004, the first year John Gibbons was named manager in his first tenure, for an earlier elimination date, and it happened on September 4. The earliest the Blue Jays have been eliminated from the division was August 19, back in 1979 when the club went 53-109 en route to their worst record in franchise history.
A common lament among Blue Jays fans is that Toronto has not seen "meaningful" September baseball since 1993, but of course that is not quite true. In 2000, the Blue Jays were in second place (to the Yankees) as late as September 27 (their last home game of the season) and were not eliminated until the next day when they lost 23-1 against the Orioles. In that game, Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay combined to give up 13 runs in 3.2 innings. The Blue Jays made a legitimate playoff push that September, but they just had a bit too much ground to gain.
The Blue Jays are still mathematically in the running for the Wild Card, with their elimination number sitting at 9.
On to the links!
Blue Jays Related
Note that there are a couple of upcoming changes to the schedule for the Blue Jays. First, this Saturday's game against the Orioles has been moved from 1:07 pm to 4:07 pm Eastern. Also, the Blue Jays will travel to Chicago to play a single makeup game with the White Sox on Monday, September 23. The game will begin at 8:10 pm Eastern. The makeup game is to replace he rained-out game on June 12, one game after the start of what was an 11-game winning streak for Toronto. The Blue Jays were going to send Esmil Rogers to face Chris Sale that game--if Mother Nature hadn't intervened, would that winning streak have happened?
Inside ‘Tommy John’ surgery - Toronto Star
Brendan Kennedy went to observe a Tommy John surgery and gives us this fantastic story about the famed surgery that has saved many pitchers' careers. Warning: there are some pictures of blood and surgery and stuff so if you're not into that you might want to skip this piece or view it in text-only mode.
Blue Jays dress up like Elmo, pin Twins, retain EOB title - CBSSports.com
First of, hat tip to RedonRed who posted this link on yesterday's game recap post. Dayn Perry and CBS Sport's Eye on Baseball blog started a fun "Heavyweight Championship belt" this season. In essence, the San Francisco Giants started with the belt this season as last year's World Champions, and every time a team won a series against a belt holder, they gain the belt. So when the St. Louis Cardinals won two of the three games in their first series against the GIants, they captured the belt. The belt was passed around the league and is now being held by your Toronto Blue Jays, who first took it from the Kansas City Royals.
Goins the answer for Jays at second base? - Sportsnet.ca
Mike Wilner writes that the Ryan Goins has made a great impression in his first month in the big leagues, but cautions that he is really a glove-first, bottom-of-the-order guy. I think that the Blue Jays should do their best to try to find a better second baseman, but hey Goins and Maicer Izturis can't do worse in 2014 than the Emilio Bonifacio - Izturis combo of 2013, right?
Related, Bonifacio is batting .314/.381/.395 with five doubles, a triple, and 13 stolen bases in 24 games. In 94 games with the Blue Jays, he hit .218/.258/.321 with 16 doubles, a triple, and 12 steals. Laughing about it (and the usual small sample size warning) makes the pain go away.
Ricky Romero to pitch out of Blue Jays bullpen - CBC Sports
In case you missed it (like I did), John Gibbons told MLB Network Radio on Friday that Ricky Romero will only be coming in as a reliever unless the team needed him as a starter. We saw Romero warm up on Saturday night, but Gibbons decided to hand the ball over to Jeremy Jeffress instead. Readers of this blog were pretty much 50:50 when asked whether the Jays should've called Romero up.
I had always been on the side of "why not?", thinking that these "meaningless" September games would be a perfect time to slide Romero into the rotation in place to evaluate him against big leaguers. Now, knowing how the Blue Jays planned to use him, I am less sure. Romero last pitched, for the Bisons, on September 1. Since today's an off day, the earliest he could pitch is the 10th against the Angels. I'm not sure how effective he would be after such a long layoff, but I know that it isn't fair to have him sit there rotting in the bullpen and then expect him to perform. The only other September to have yet to see game action is catcher Mike Nickeas. I wonder if he'll be come 2013's Brian Jeroloman.
Down on the Farm
One Game. For All The Marbles. - Vancouver Canadians News
The Vancouver Canadians won game 2 of the three-game Northwest League championship series over the Boise Hawks to tie the series up 1-1 in their quest to win back-to-back-to-back Northwest League championships. No team has won three straight since Boise (1993-1995). The winner-takes-all game will take place at Nat Bailey Stadium tonight, with first pitch coming at 7:05 pm Pacific (10:05 pm Eastern). You can tune into the game online for free at canadiansbaseball.com. We will have a Playoffs GameThread up about 30 minutes before game time.
10 Photos — Vancouver vs. Everett Game 1 2013 Playoffs - Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
#2JBrumfield (great screen name, even though I will always remember Jacob Brumfield wearing #5 from his first stint as a Blue Jay) of Batter's Box posted ten photos from the Vancouver Canadians' game against the Everett AquaSox, including a shot of Tom Robson, who is slated to start tonight's championship game.
Bisons stayed in playoff race until the end - The Buffalo News
Amy Mortiz recaps the end of the Buffalo Bisons' playoff run and has a few quotes from general manager Mike Buczkowski and manger Marty Brown. Great to see that the Bisons are installing a brand new, state-of-the-art sound system for next season's home opener, which will happen on April 3, 2014. Mark your calendars!
Tournament 12 - bluejays.com
The Blue Jays will be out of town on the weekend of September 20, but there will be baseball played at the Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays Baseball Academy and Roberto Alomar will host Tournament 12, a national amateur baseball showcase. The tournament is designed to showcase players to scouts and schools but if you're interested in amateur baseball in Canada, you can attend the games for $17 a day or $37 for the whole tournament. I would have attended but unfortunately I will be out of town.
NWL Finals game 2, Recap (and other thoughts) Canadians 4 Hawks 2 - Bluebird Banter
When I was doing the links I somehow missed expos&nordiques4ever's game recap of game 2 of the NWL Championships!
Minimalist Baseball Stadiums – Part 3 - S. Preston
Graphics designer S. Preston has released part 3 o of his "Minimalist Baseball Stadium" posters, which includes the Rogers Centre. Neat stuff.
32 things you didn't know about baseball - Yahoo! Sports
Jeff Passan's fact dump of 32 things you didn't know about baseball. Actually 31, since I already knew that Maicer Izturis was all kinds of crappy.
A Jays-Related Montreal Announcement? - Drunk Jays Fans
Andrew Stoeten was tipped off to a Radio-Canada story about an announcement about a special Major League Baseball event at Olympic Stadium that will be happening tomorrow at 1 pm. The speculation is that the Blue Jays will be playing an exhibition game there next year, probably at the end of Spring Training.