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FIDDLER'S FACTS: Blue Jays have had a disastrous first half

 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Monday, July 8, 2019.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Monday, July 8, 2019. - Gregory Shamus
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

I don’t expect the Toronto Blue Jays to scare anybody any time soon, certainly not this year.

After a poor first half, the report card on the club is not encouraging. The Blue Jays have little quality pitching, especially in the starting rotation, and at least two in their everyday line-up, most notably Teoscar Hernandez and Brandon Drury, have struggled with the breaking ball.
Highly regarded and bulky third baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr. has been so-so in the field and at the plate and has trouble with gas middle of the plate in.
The front office of Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have assembled a very poor club, but I am not surprised since I had no faith in these two when they arrived from Cleveland and even less faith today.
I liked manager Charlie Montoyo but I’m beginning to have serious doubts whether he can develop into a winning field manager.

P.E.I. Junior Islanders second baseman Connor McGregor fields a ground ball July 6 at Memorial Field.
P.E.I. Junior Islanders second baseman Connor McGregor fields a ground ball July 6 at Memorial Field.

A month ago, when Toronto fans were clamouring to see Guerrero, and with one of the biggest Sunday crowds of the season, he decided to rest the player the fans came to see. His line-up for the last month or so has Guerrero batting second, a poor place for a slow runner and a questionable hitter at this stage in his career. In a game last weekend, the Blue Jays trailed 8-1 at home and with two outs in the top of the last innings when Charlie decided to make a pitching change. This would be similar to a head coach in hockey making a goalie change with two minutes left in the game and down 8-1.
The most exciting baseball news for me is the possible re-location of Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal where, with a new location, Expos fans will return in force. Let’s go Expos.
Dave MacIsaac’s P.E.I. Junior Islanders (9-5) may have had the Cavendish Beach Music Festival on their minds July 6 when they dropped a twin bill here.  
MacIsaac was not happy with his club so I’d expect a complete reversal of last week’s form when they host the Saint John Alpines (9-6) again today at Memorial Field in a doubleheader starting at noon. The Islanders have four of the league’s top hitters: John Savidant, Connor McGregor, Ryne MacIsaac and Gabe Penalver and a solid pitching staff, so I’d expect better results today.
The Doug Hines-coached Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders introduced their two newest members to their New Brunswick Senior Baseball League club on Tuesday night. Both looked great in an extra inning 3-2 loss to Moncton. Kody Matthews had two hits and made some nice plays at shortstop while outfielder-pitcher Jack Kraft impressed in right field. Once slugger Dillon Doucette gets a few more games under his belt, the Islanders will be a tough opponent. The senior squad is on the road today in Saint John, N.B.

Golf
The Novus Celebrity Golf Tournament, a three-day event supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, runs Sunday to Tuesday at Mill River. The Rough in the Tough goes Monday with the celebrity dinner Monday night at Credit Union Place in Summerside.

Curtis Hall won the men's division of the Cooke Insurance P.E.I. Amateur Sunday at Eagles Glenn of Cavendish. Photo courtesy Prince Edward Island Golf Association.
Curtis Hall won the men's division of the Cooke Insurance P.E.I. Amateur Sunday at Eagles Glenn of Cavendish. Photo courtesy Prince Edward Island Golf Association.

Last week, Curtis Hall shot an opening round 68 at Eagles Glenn and stayed on top throughout, winning the Cooke Insurance P.E.I. Amateur by three strokes over Tyler Hashmi, who was one of two golfers – Connor Shea was the other – to post a sub-par round Sunday with a 71 on a windy day in Cavendish. Tim Yorke, Saul Lanigan and Steve Gamester finished in the top five.
Warm weather and sunny skies greeted golfers at the Islanders baseball fundraiser Thursday at Avondale. Larry Gallant’s team captured first place at 12-under par, with Yousef Hashmi and George Halliwell’s foursome in the runner-up spot at 10-under. Serge Savard Jr.’s long straight drives put his dad’s team in great shape but his foursome, which included Ray Murphy and The Prophet, had no luck on the greens and finished fifth overall.

Harness racing
The $25,000 Governor’s Plate goes tonight in Summerside and with top horses like Rose Run Quest, Czar Seelster and Euchred from Posts 6, 7 and 8, respectively, this sets up for a thrilling race.
Veteran horseman Walter Simmonds, who was an owner when Summerside Raceway opened in 1953, owns Bugsy Mcguire from Post 2 and he is a legitimate contender and the sentimental favorite.
Also tonight, the Meadowlands Pace goes at the Big M with outstanding colts like Captain Crunch from the rail, Bettors Wish has Post 4 and Workin Ona Mystery Post 9. This race should be a dandy.
It’s a great card at The Meadowlands with Atlanta, just off a brilliant 1:49:1 track-record outing, against a top field. Also Lather Up, who was outstanding in his world record 1:46 victory, looks like the best in the $425,000 William Haughton Memorial.
At Mohawk July 6, The Amazingsando was raging with pace for James MacDonald, flying home in 26:3 to be second in 1:54 in his Ontario gold $108,000 debut. It was the colt’s first start for his Ontario owners since being purchased from Huber (Sock) MacDonald and Jamie Smith.


Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

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