Jays Get Key Win Before Tough Stretch


The Jays have 1 more game versus the Giants, a day off, and then kick off what may be the deciding portion of their season in terms of success as they face:

  • Albert Pujols and his NL Central leading St-Louis Cardinals (.552 winning %) for 3 games;
  • Roy Halladay and the NL East powerhouse that is the Philadelphia Phillies (.538 winning %) for 3 games;
  • Fausto Carmona and the Cleveland Indians (.394 winning %) – a breather for 4 games;
  • Mark Texeira and the Evil Empire that is the New York Yankees (.618 winning %) for 3 games;
  • A day off
  • Justin Morneau and his AL Central leading Minnesota Twins (.567 winning %) for 3 games; and finally
  • Kevin Youkilis and the Boston Red Sox (.594 winning %) for 3 games.
  • Then it’s off the 12th of July, All Star Game the 13th, off the 14th and 15th.

Talk about a tough stretch of games. If the Jays can come out of it at or above .500 for that period of games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex Anthopolous add a significant piece to see how far this team can go.

Today’s win was Jesse Litsch‘s, even if it didn’t show up that way in a box score. Not only did he go from Zero to Hero by supplementing his last disaster with an outstanding outing, he just seemed to be the Jesse Litsch of old who has no fear, knows what he needs to do to be successful, and locates everything exactly where he needs to all game long. Jesse only gave up 3 hits (albeit to the worst looking offensive team I’ve seen that still has a winning % above .500 – thank goodness for Giants pitching!) and got 3 Ks. He had a pretty even number of ground-outs  (9) to pop-outs (8) and threw a 94 pitches, which is key for him as he builds strength.

After thinking that his lackluster performances were something to expect since he hadn’t shown anything to make us believe differently, Jesse has really turned things around and has allowed the Jays to keep Marc Rzepczynski in AAA a little longer yet – a very good thing because Marc hasn’t looked too sharp there either. We’ll see who remains in the rotation once the trade deadline passes, but I can tell you that there are a ton of teams looking for pitching and that once Roy Oswalt, Brett Myers, and Cliff Lee are dealt, many teams may come knocking at the Jays door.

The Jays know 2 things: that their 2011 rotation will probably include at least 1 of Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart, and that the 6 pitchers they currently have in the rotation and in AAA (including Rzepczynski) are all too good to remain in AAA for long without feeling disgruntled. I wouldn’t be surprised if 1 arm – most likely Jesse Litsch – is moved at or before the deadline. So long as he stays healthy and pitches close to the performance he gave us today, Jesse could bring back a pretty nice prospect and more if packaged appropriately. But hey, if the Jays keep him and can keep all of their arms happy – even those in AAA – then I’m all for it, because we can never have enough arms!

Tags: Jesse Litsch Kyle Drabek Marc Rzepczynski Zach Stewart

  • Matt-ttaM

    I don’t know if Zep is in the tier immediately below Oswalt and Cliff Lee, as players like Bretty Myers and Zambrano are more intruiguing and talented but have aggravating factors like being demoted to bullpen, history of inconsistency.
    .
    A trade involving Jays players like Zep or Litsch will be on the pretense of using them as a fifth starter for stretch run to the playoffs, or it will be with a non-playoff team whose long term (and short term) needs include pitching depth. The returns on a position player would be dependent on their ceiling and because Litsch or Zep don’t have #1 or #2 stuff, their best case is #3 and therefore are most likely to end up as #4 or #5′s the return would be would be either for a really unproven kid with some serious potential, an older kid with not as high as a ceiling or lastly a “change of scenery” prospect candidate like Brandon Wood.