Elliott on baseball

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

As recently as a week ago, it looked as if we would see a repeat of the 2000 World Series.

The New York Yankees would meet the New York Mets in a Subway Series. You could book it.

Now, both the Yanks and the Mets need a dependable post-season arm the way Terrell Owens needs a new P.R. person.

It is a jump-ball time this post-season and of the eight invites only the Yanks and the San Diego Padres and likely the St. Louis Cardinals will have a repeat trip to the post-season.

The Mets' Pedro Martinez went down the other night in Atlanta with a torn a tendon in his left calf, end his season.

Yankees lefty Randy Johnson, 43, has a herniated disc in his lower back, which could prevent him from pitching in the post-season.

The post-season action begins Tuesday and a winner will be declared by Oct. 27 --if not earlier.

And the award winners are: We'll start with our 10-man ballot in the American League.

We've been accused of waving the flag once in a while, so let's run this up the flag pole and see who salutes this name for MVP: Justin Morneau.

The former North Delta Blue Jay from New Westminster, B.C., and Team Canada star has been one of the reasons, along with Johan Santana and Joe Mauer, for the Twins coming back from the grave.

Morneau is hitting .320 with 34 homers and 129 RBIs

Not bad, but consider on June 8, he was hitting .236 with 38 RBIs and the Twins owned a 25-33 record.

Since then, Morneau has hit .369 with 91 RBIs as the Twins went 68-30 to clinch a playoff berth.

The other top contender -- and three weeks ago he was our winner -- is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

The smooth-fielding shortstop produced as the Yankees lost Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield to the disabled list and Alex Rodriguez to the Twilight Zone this season. Jeter was hitting .341 with 14 homers and 96 RBIs going into yesterday's game against the Blue Jays.

Jeter obviously saves more runs with his glove than Morneau. Jeter is the best player on the best team. But could the Yanks win without Jeter? Could the Twins win without Morneau?

Here we go.

MVP

1. Morneau, 2. Jeter, 3. Frank Thomas, A's; 4. David Ortiz, Red Sox; 5. Jermaine Dye, White Sox; 6. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; 7. Johan Santana, Twins; 8. Travis Hafner, Indians; 9. Alex Rodriguez, Yanks; 10. Robinson Cano, Yanks.

Cy Young

1. Santana, 2. Roy Halladay, Jays; 3. Chien-Ming Wang, Yanks.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers; 2. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox; 3. Jered Weaver, Angels.

MANAGER

1. Jim Leyland, Tigers; 2. Ron Gardenhire, Twins; 3. Ken Macha, Twins.

And in the NL: We don't usually vote for teams that don't make the post-season -- but then we don't usually see a player drive in 78 runs after the all-star break.

Writers don't have to file their ballots until all 162 games are played. Right now we'll take Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, who had such a hot second half.

Of Howard's 58 home runs, 28 tied the game or gave his Phillies a lead.

THE REST OF THE BALLOT

2. Albert Pujols, Cards, 3. Lance Berkman, Astros; 4. Carlos Beltran, Mets; 5. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins; 6. Andruw Jones, Braves; 7. Jose Reyes, Mets; 8. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals; 9. Billy Wagner, Mets; 10. Garrett Adkins, Rockies.

CY YOUNG VOTING

1. Chris Carpenter, Cards; 2. Trevor Hoffman, Padres; 3. Roy Oswalt, Astros.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, 2. Dan Uggla, Marlins; 3. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins.

MANAGER

1. Joe Girardi, Marlins, 2. Willie Randolph, Mets, 3. Grady Little, Dodgers.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Isn't it about time for the Jays to give manager John Gibbons an extension or else he goes into 2007, the final year of his contract, as a lame-duck manager? ... Has any offence done so little for so long for a pitcher who has pitched so well as the Astros' run-scoring machine has done for Roger Clemens? ... How many East York players will be suspended for their parking lot brawl with New Brunswick players after the medal presentation in Brandon, Man.? New Brunswick won gold, Ontario bronze, after losing 4-3 to the Maritimers in the semi-final.

WHAT DOES SECOND MEAN?

Well, the Jays will receive post-season shares. Each one of the Red Sox were given $17,004.06 US each for finishing second in 2005. Not a lot when the average Jays salary hovers at just under $3 million.

BRIEFLY

Blue Jays win title. No kidding. The release reads that way so it must be true. Oh, wait a sec, the Nippon Blue Jays beat the Sao Paulo 7-1 to win the the 59th Brazilian junior championship ... Outfielder Peter Bourjos -- son of Chris Bourjos, a former Jays scout who along with Bus Campbell, signed Roy Halladay -- had a fine first season at rookie-Class Orem (Angels). He hit .292 with five homers and 28 RBIs.

TOP DAWG

Brett Lawrie of Team Canada is the front runner to be No. 1 Canadian selected in the 2008 draft. Lawrie of Langley, B.C., made the world junior all-star team as Canada won bronze this week. He hit .415 with two homers and seven RBIs. Vancouver centre fielder Chase Larsson also made the all-star team, hitting .350. Mississauga's Jordan Wideman hit .358 with five RBIs, Etobicoke's Kyle Gilligan batted .292. Whitby's Jon Waltenbury hit .250 with five RBIs. Scarborough's Leslie Williams and Guelph's Mike Goemans each had 3.60 ERAs in five innings.

EVEN BRIEFER

Mississauga righty Jamie Richmond, selected pitcher of the year in the rookie-class Appalachian League, was ranked the fifth best prospect by Baseball America. Richmond, 19, pitched for Danville (Braves) and was 7-1 with a 1.21 ERA. He had 52 strikeouts and four walks in 67 innings. Jays' No. 1 pick outfielder Travis Snider was named the top prospect.

NEXT

Trey Hillman, the former Yankees coach who instituted the tandem relay the A's liked so much -- where Jeter was up the first-base line to shovel pass to nip a standing Jeremy Giambi in post-season play -- has been mentioned as a candidate in Florida.

However, he might have second thoughts. He is managing the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.

Hillman lifted the Ham Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura, with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. His starter had a three-run lead and was an out away from earning his 10th victory.

Kanemura said after the game he'd "never forgive" his manager for costing him the win and said "I don't even want to see his face."

Management fined Kanemura 2-million yen and suspending him for the playoffs.

We imagine Hillman won't find the same kind of second guessing from Marlins arms.

In fact, Gibbons would like that too.

Ted Lilly didn't even get fined for his mound explosion.


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