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Headin' north

  • Mets: The Mets just suffered through what was actually a pretty disappointing homestand. Their bats (well, everyone but David Wright's) were shut up in 3 games against the Orioles and they were held in check by Bronson Arroyo the first game of the Cincy series. They captured the next one, but Alpaca Boy blew the save on Wednesday when Stache heroics had all but guaranteed a win, backed by Jose Reyes' cycle. Pedro and David Wright did their menace thing, though, and combined to drive in 4 runs and whiff 8 Reds on Thursday in a 6-2 win in which ChadBrad notched his second save. The series with the Jays is important, as the Jays are a hot squad who is among the best hitting teams in the show. It's also a homecoming for former Jay legend Chris Woodward. And, um, Carlos Delgado.

  • Toronto pitching was supposed to be improved over the offseason with the high-priced additions of B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett. BJ has 20 saves and an ERA of 0.49. A.J. Burnett has made three starts. 0-1, 5.06 ERA. The Blue Jay ace, as usual, is the frequently injured but dominant Roy Halladay. The Cy Young winner is 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA and WHIP barely above 1. Their second-best starter, Gustavo Chacin, is injured, which makes me sad. His glasses and awful skin made him a focal point of my amusement. Oh well. The rotation has had some surprises, most notably the fact that Josh Towers is the early frontrunner for the Jose Lima award of worst major league pitcher. He's 1-8 with an 8.76 ERA, but that doesn't seem to make him unhappy in his team photo. Rookie Casey Janssen has been average in his spot, epitomizing averageness with a 5-5 record and 4.50 ERA. He had pitched pretty well on the season before melting down in his last two starts, to the tune of 7 runs in 3 innings against the Marlins and 5 runs in 3.1 innings against the Orioles. Ted Lilly has pitched decently on the year, with a 7-7 record and 4.17 ERA. Ty Taubenheim made a couple starts as well, but he now toils in the pen. The Blue Jays bullpen has been a tale of both good and bad. Ryan and Justin Speier have been a nasty setup man/closer tandem. Everyone else has been terrible, including my personal hero and lefty specialist Scott Schoeneweis. The motley crew of Brian Tallet, Scott Downs, ex-Met Pete Walker and Jason Frasor has been awful on the year. The Blue Jays' strength obviously does not lie in their pitching.

  • Toronto hitting is how this team makes their living. Their offense is not at all imposing, lacking a star presence besides Vernon Wells. Troy Glaus and Alexis Rios are nice players, but they are far from great. But this year, as those bandbox graphics on SNY during the Philly road trip showed, this park is small. Vernon Wells is overrated. It's true. Harold Reynolds devotes hours to talking about how underrated he is. He's a good ballplayer. He's not Willie Mays. Alex Rios has been phenomenal this year after showing far less power in his first two seasons. He's hitting .319 on the year with 15 HR and 50 RBI, nice numbers for the right fielder. Acquisition Troy Glaus has thumped, hitting 21 HR and driving in 53 runs despite a batting average of only .253. First baseman Lyle Overbay has performed pretty well, with a .290 average and a .370 OBP. Catcher Bengie Molina is hitting .298, while DH Shea Hillenbrand is batting .318. Reed Johnson has also hit very well, with a .379 average and .466 OBP. Frank Catalanotto is also hitting for average at a nice clip of .325. The Toronto hitters are basically all tablesetters with the exception of Glaus, Wells and Rios, their right-handed big three.

    Starters: (complete with freaky Canadian start times)
    Game 1: Friday, 7:07
    Tom Glavine, LHP (10-2, 3.48 ERA) @ Casey Janssen, RHP (5-5, 4.50 ERA)
    Edge: Glavine

    Game 2: Saturday, 4:07
    Orlando Hernandez, RHP (4-6, 5.23 ERA) @ Roy Halladay, RHP (8-2, 2.94 ERA)
    Edge: Halladay

    Game 3: Thursday, 1:05
    Steve Trachsel, RHP (5-4, 4.67 ERA) @ Josh Towers, RHP (1-8, 8.76 ERA)
    Edge: Trachsel

    Players to Watch for:
    TOR: Lyle Overbay. Good left-handed hitter who is in better position than the righties to tee off against El Duque and Trachsel.

    NYM: Carlos Delgado. Rested yesterday, his homecoming is today. Let's see if he can christen Rogers Centre (Skydome) with some moonshots.

    Player of the Series: Carlos Delgado

    NYM record: 45-27, 1st place
    TOR record: 40-32, 3rd place, 3.0 GB

    Picks: Sweep for the Metsies. Even against the nastiest of the nasty, Doc Halladay.
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