My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
You decide what it says about the quality of the competition in the National League West that the Diamondbacks are going to win the division with three ex-Jays in their infield that Toronto couldn’t get rid of fast enough (Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill and Ryan Roberts). John McDonald, a back-up infielder and fan favourite at the Rogers Centre, has also seen action at shortstop in Arizona.
What does it take for Brian Jeroloman to get into a big league game? The sure-handed catcher was recalled by the Blue Jays on August 23 and has yet to appear in a game. Surely, Jeroloman could’ve spelled Arencibia or Molina for an inning or two in one of the club’s double-digit losses to Boston this month. With Molina heading for free agency, Jeroloman will likely be the Jays’ back-up catcher in 2012.
Congratulations to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who recorded his 602nd career save last night to set a new big league mark. For the record, 48 of those saves were secured against the Blue Jays.
Speaking of relief pitchers, let’s not get too excited about the season Jays right-hander Casey Janssen is having. He might be 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA, but he has allowed 11 of 23 inherited runners to score and batters are hitting .320 off of him with two outs and runners in scoring position. Those numbers are unacceptable for a late-inning reliever.
The cycle recorded by George Kottaras (Scarborough, Ont.) on September 3 was the first by a Canadian since the 19th century. Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers Tip O’Neill (Woodstock, Ont.) and George Wood (Pownal, P.E.I.) both achieved this feat during their careers in the late 19th century.
With Yunel Escobar injured, I’m not sure why the Jays don’t try second baseman Kelly Johnson in the leadoff spot. In 22 games batting first with the D-Backs this season, he recorded a .364 on-base percentage and a .719 slugging percentage.
In a year in which Matt Stairs (Fredericton, N.B.) retired, another great Canadian pinch-hitter has emerged. Since being recalled by the Brewers on August 27, Taylor Green (Comox, B.C.) has four hits in nine at bats as a pinch-hitter.
Curtis Granderson is having an MVP season with the Yankees, but heading into the playoffs the question is, would the pitching-starved Bronx Bombers rather have Granderson or Ian Kennedy? Kennedy, who is 20-4 with the Diamondbacks this season, is one of the players the Yankees parted with in a three-way deal to land Granderson in December 2009.