The Toronto Blue Jays have been in the news for the last couple of days for all the wrong reasons.
On a completely different note, the most interesting piece of news following the Jays at this point is Ricky Romero, and seeing if he can turn this losing streak around that is now a franchise-high 13 straight.
Let us begin by discussing Yunel.
Yunel Escobar Suspended for 3 Games
The Blue Jays have suspended Escobar for three games without pay for his actions last Saturday. Moreover, his salary for the three games (roughly $92,000) will be directed by the Blue Jays to You Can Play (an organization focused on equality and respect for athletes regardless of their sexual orientation), and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation according to ESPN.
I believe this is an excellent touch by the Blue Jays brass and they hope to completely squash this incident. Even Bud Selig agrees with me: "Major League Baseball supports today's decision by the Blue Jays to discipline Yunel Escobar and commends them for handling this situation appropriately and promptly,"
So does this completely end the issue? I don't think so, as Escobar's reputation will take a hit. As mentioned by my colleague Adam Wells in his piece stating that Escobar should be released, many view this as a very punishable crime.
This led many to reassess Yunel's character, which was questioned upon his arrival to Toronto as it traded him for a much older, less talented shortshop in Alex Gonzalez.
The problem I have with this is that Escobar has been a great teammate and locker-room presence for the Blue Jays throughout his tenure. Sure, he made some mistakes in the Braves organization, but things have clicked here (not necessarily at the plate, but as a professional) and this was an error in judgement that he regrets.
Escobar has vehemently apologized (although he mentions that the phrase is commonly used by Latino players, another issue in and of itself), and even his manager (granted, this might be toeing the organization's lines) spoke about how surprised he was by this event as it is "out of character" for Escobar.
I believe that this was a stupid move by Escobar, and I completely agree with the way the Blue Jays have handled the situation. Let us now focus on baseball and the Blue Jays' game against the Yankees. Speaking of which...
Romero Due to Start; Ratings Will Increase
The Blue Jays will play a doubleheader against the Yankees today with Romero starting the evening tilt. I believe this is another smart move by the Blue Jays as perhaps Romero can pound the strike zone against an older, more tired Yankee bunch in the second game.
However, things don't bode well for Ricky coming into this start. He holds a career ERA of 5.00 against the Yankees and has given up 10 earned runs in five innings in September against two weaker opponents (Tampa Bay and Seattle).
Call me mayb.... I mean crazy, but I think Romero pitches well tonight. He knows that his rotation spot is barely guaranteed for next season and that he has become the butt of many jokes.
He is a fierce competition, and I have a feeling that this will pull him through tonight in the second game of the doubleheader.
Romero goes up against the young right-hander David Phelps. I am a big fan of Phelps and think he has electric stuff with great strikeout potential, he just needs to keep the ball in the yard. There could be a lot of teams who play in a much more friendly ballpark (or division) that could really make him a stud, but boy is it tough in the AL East.
Both the Yankees and Jays had the Monday off, so both have had an unexpected break since last playing on Sunday. How the teams will react in the first game could easily tell the tale for the second (after nearly 70 hours off then playing for roughly six of the next nine).
We can sit here and predict all we want, but it will be fun to watch for most Blue Jay fans.
For argument's sake, I call a 5-3 Blue Jays win with Romero going six innings and giving up three.
For a full analysis of what is plaguing Romero, consult my previous piece which discusses how his eight wins were a mirage and that his struggles began on Day 1.
Get at me on Twitter @the__ste (double underscore) for fantasy advice, fantasy articles, Jays news and discussion, as well as anything else I find awesome.