Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blow Jay Ryan to return; not as closer

The impending return of closer B.J. Ryan could occur on this current home stand, but there are very few people that are meeting it with optimism. In fact, most would just assume keep him off the ball club. Before being shelved with tightness in his shoulder, the big lefty blew two saves in four chances, pretty much hurting the team before he went to the disabled list (I still think his "injury" was just the team's excuse to give him a break until he worked out his mechanical issues.)

J.P. Ricciardi has gone on record as saying Scott Downs will remain in his current role as the closer when Ryan returns. It's hard to argue with Downs' success, as he's locked down all three save situations since being handed the job. Though the club has said all the right things about B.J., particularly how he's a great teammate and will accept his demotion of sorts, I have to wonder if this will become a problem in the clubhouse. From what I gather, it won't be, but if Downs blows a couple of saves, yet still maintains the job as the stopper, there could be some controversy brewing.

Just what will be Ryan's role in the bullpen? Will he be the setup guy? Used sparingly in the 7th inning? I can't see him being a long reliever, especially with his jello arm the last couple of seasons. I'd imagine they will start him off slowly, perhaps in the 7th frame, and then see if he can be trusted in the setup role over time.

In three rehab assignments, Ryan has performed well, allowing one run and throwing two strikeouts in three innings of work with the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Halladay takes down Burnett!

In the epic battle between Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett, the Jays came out on top with a fantastic victory! The hype leading up to the game certainly was justified, as the Rogers Centre was buzzing throughout the evening. This victory was probably the most important of the season, at least in the court of public opinion, since many fans still aren't believing that this Jays squad is for real.

Halladay made quick work of the Yankees, allowing just 5 hits and one run while throwing his first complete game of the season. For much of the contest, he was unhittable. Burnett flinched first in the battle of wills. The Jays got to him in the 4th inning, scoring 3 runs, and the Doc took it from there, securing his 7th win of the campaign.

It's only May, and the Yankees are not playing their best baseball, but this victory is a huge boon to the ball club. If Toronto had lost this game, with Halladay on the hill no less, there would have been whispers and suggestions that the great start to the season was a mirage.!!!