Game Day Six-Pack: “Right now, he’s playing at one speed – full throttle.”


Jim Thome! Joe Blanton!

This stretch of interleague games has turned the formerly scorned into our world’s mightiest heroes.  Winning two in a row is no small task for a AAAA ball club being consistently let down by its starting pitching, so let’s take solace in the fact that the journey through AL ballparks in which we seem to have at least minor success continues, with a stop in Toronto to re-live some of our most painful childhood memories.

Ian Hunter has stepped in from Blue Jay Hunter to by our steward through this corridor of nightmares.

How often do Blue Jays fans think about the 1993 World Series? Because I think about it, like, every day. Like right now, I’m thinking about it. I’ll drive to a secluded park, sit on a picnic table, drink a forty out of a paper bag, and think about it. Meanwhile, my kids are sitting outside the school, waiting to be picked up. But yeah, how often?

I’d say the 1993 World Series is pretty prevalent in my mind at least on a weekly basis. I can only imagine what it must’ve felt like for Phillies fans, though. I remember there was a sign spotted at Blue Jays/Phillies Interleague game back in 2007 which said “Joe Carter Ruined My Childhood”.

That’s not to say the Blue Jays didn’t experience some heartache as well. In 1985, they were up 3-0 to the Kansas City Royals and 1 game away from the World Series, and then lost 4 straight games in a heartbreaking fashion. The Blue Jays also lost the AL East Division Title on the last day of the season in 1987.

So Blue Jays fans can definitely sympathize with what happened to the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. Though, I’m sure the World Series win in 2008 probably exorcised the demons brought on by Mitch Williams.

The Phillies signed Jim Thome pretty much to be their DH in this stretch of away interleague match-ups. Until now, he’s been pretty useless, but how alarming is it to see him coming toward you, now that he is fulfilling his duty? And how much of a joke is that question to a man whose team has Jose Bautista on it?

Even though Jim Thome may be 41 years old, he can still mash taters. I was actually wondering just the other day what happened with Thome, because I hadn’t heard very much about him. Then low and behold, he homers in back to back games against the Twins.

Interleague games in AL ballparks is really where Thome will get his chance to shine, so don’t be surprised if he mashes a tater or two in Toronto.

And to answer your question about Bautista, I’d still love to see a straight up home run derby between Jim Thome and Jose Bautista. First one to 50 jacks wins.

How apt are the comparisons of Brett Lawrie to Bryce Harper? They may not be close in actual talent, but the levels of “rawness” and “firey-ness” and “plays the game right way-ness” in them seem to be similar, according to all analysts. Is this something you want in your young talent? Is this the mark of a leader?

I actually noticed some Lawrie/Harper similarities when the Blue Jays played them earlier this week. Even on the basepaths, both guys seem very willing to take risks and push the envelope.

After Brett Lawrie was suspended for the helmet throwing incident, some wondered whether the coaches should try to “rein in” Lawrie a little bit and get him to settle down. But I think that’s the best part about Lawrie, is that he plays with the energy of a case of Red Bull.

I think as Lawrie continues to mature and gain more experience at the Major League level, his temperament might ease off naturally. But right now, he’s playing at one speed – full throttle.

A Toronto Sun article recently displayed this encouraging sentiment after the Jays were swept by the Nationals: “The sad fact is they aren’t so much a team that is falling apart as one that is finding its level.” Were the injuries to Morrow and Drabek so detrimental that the Blue Jays’ season is all for naught at this point? Or are these verbal theatrics merely trying to get a reaction?

Losing Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek were definitely two huge blows to the team. It seemed like Morrow was finally getting in a groove, and while Drabek has had his struggles this season, he’s still a mainstay in the starting rotation.

At this point, I wouldn’t say the Blue Jays season is over. They still have a tremendous amount of pitching depth in the minor leagues, and the injuries to Morrow and Drabek just means that we’ll get to see some of those arms sooner than expected.

The main problem is that the Blue Jays bats need to pick up their starting pitchers. Right now, the rotation is going into survival mode, and yet the offense hasn’t quite ramped things up to compensate. If the Blue Jays can get the bats going, then I think that might be able to compensate for the pitching injuries.

How serious was that Vlad Guerrero experiment? Were people like, “Vlad will save us!” or were they all like, “I hate Vlad and everything sucks and I’m cold because we’re in Canada, remember.” Which of only those two reactions did people have?

It really was just that … an experiment. At the time of the signing, I wasn’t even really sure if Vlad would even make the team. Once the Blue Jays demoted Adam Lind, at that point it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that Guerrero would be on the roster.

I don’t think the Blue Jays anticipated David Cooper to play as well as he did, so now the team really doesn’t need the offensive reinforcement from Vlad. It sounded like it was essentially a handshake agreement that if the Blue Jays felt Vlad was ready, they’d call him up. And obviously that wasn’t the case.

Would the Blue Jays begin slipping minor league talent into the lineup to fill some holes? Or is this season not worth it for them to start putting pressure on young players to make them into a contender?

As the weeks progress, I think you’ll continue to see more and more talent from AAA and AA infiltrate the Blue Jays roster. The team has shown they aren’t afraid of starting the service time clock on guys like Drew Hutchison, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled up another starter from AA to fill the void if need be.