Looking ahead …

We’ve said it here before, but Scott Richmond is no ordinary rookie. He’s been around the block in professional baseball, and there’s a certain mental toughness and baseball IQ he’s gained during the grind from independent ball to the big leagues.

scott_richmondThat certainly helped him in his early success in 2009, as the 29-year-old right-hander went 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in his first five starts en route to earning American League rookie-of-the-month honours for April.

And it appears that maturity will also help Richmond in his attempts to rebound from back-to-back poor starts, the latter a forgettable outing last night in which he surrendered five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees in an eventual 8-2 Blue Jays loss.

In fact, Richmond offered up the simplest, yet most profound statement following last night’s defeat. 

“I have positive starts behind me, but I can’t live in the past,” the right-hander said.

“I can’t live in the past.” That should be the motto for the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays. It will have to be if they hope to remain competitive all year in the AL East.

A perfect example was offered up last night at the Rogers Centre. Just 24 hours after the Jays won 5-1 in the opener of this three-game set with the Yanks, they quickly found the series evened up at one game apiece. No matter how loud and raucous the 43,737 fans were on Tuesday night for the highly-anticipated A.J. Burnett-Roy Halladay matchup, Wednesday’s game was just as important.

That’s the reality in the major leagues. Win or lose, tomorrow is always a brand new day — just as important as the last (and as the next). The last time we checked, you don’t get an extra win for beating an old teammate in a packed house.

So Brian Tallet will take the mound tonight coming off a spectacular outing against the Oakland A’s in which he allowed just one run on two hits while striking out seven over 7.0 full innings for the win. But that means little when it comes to his matchup tonight against C.C. Sabathia. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Offensively, the Blue Jays enter action Thursday night leading the American League in batting average (.291), runs (211), hits (280), RBI (201) and total bases (604). That has helped them post an AL-best 23-13 record thus far, one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox for the division lead.

But like Richmond says, that’s all in the past. Tonight is a brand new ball game. The Jays will look to Tallet to win the series – their first against a top AL East foe tonight at 7:07 p.m. …

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