Top O the Mornin'

BRADENTON, Fla. – Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone. The Pirates are currently running through some bunt drills down on the field, wearing bright green hats in honor of today’s holiday.

Had a fun drive here this morning. When I got to the huge Sunshine Skyway Bridge and saw the "Last exit before toll bridge" sign, I realized I didn’t have any cash on me and only 75 cents in the cupholder. So, I had to exit and after about 4-5 miles of crawling through schools zones at 15 mph, I finally spotted a gas station where I could hit up the ATM.

So, I arrived at lovely McKechnie Field about 45 minutes behind when I would’ve been here otherwise. No worries, though, the Blue Jays team bus got here the same time I did — I had to stop to let Vernon Wells and Rod Barajas cross the street. Before I head down to the clubhouse for the beginning of the daily grind, here are…

Today’s lineups:

TORONTO (7-11) at PITTSBURGH (6-12)
at 1:05 p.m. ET at McKechnie Field

BLUE JAYS
David Eckstein, SS
Alex RIos, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Scott Rolen, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Shannon Stewart, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Gregg Zaun, C

PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett, LHP B.J. Ryan, RHP Brandon League, RHP Jeremy Accardo, RHP Lance Carter

PIRATES
Nate McLouth, CF
Jack Wilson, SS
Freddy Sanchez, DH
Jason Bay, LF
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Xavier Nady, RF
Ronny Paulino, C
Jose Bautista, 3B
Luis Rivas, 3B

PITCHING: LHP Zach Duke

There’s that same Toronto lineup that Gibbons used the other day. The only difference is that Stewart is in the six hole instead of Matt Stairs. Could this be the vs. LHP lineup? I think this is the order Gibby is leaning toward using. We’ll see come Opening Day.

10 Comments

I will be having a green beer or two tonight that’s for sure!!!

I will honestly be shocked if Stewart takes Johnsons job away from him. What is the feelings around camp of who the front runner is? You have to think that Johnson is healthy after an off season dedicated to rehab and hopefully he is back to his 06 numbers. Saying that if he isn’t the same Reed it’s Stewarts job to win.

My opinion is, if Reed is healthy enough to play part time he should be the lefty portion of the platoon considering he is much much better on D than Stewart could dream of.

I like that lineup. It provides a good lot of speed at the top, and I like Rolen at 4th because he likely won’t have a characteristic slow start like Thomas. The only thing I don’t like is Aaron Hill so late in the order, but if he continues his good pace, Gibby can always switch him for, say, 6th.

Happy St. Patricks Day!!!

Personally, I would rather take Stewart. He’s more suited for a platoon in this stage of his career then Reed is. Although, I am a bit indifferent to the whole thing though as I would rather see Matt Stairs play every day in left over platooning him with either of those guys. He’s not bad on D, and he was arguably our best hitter last year over the entire season. (I know Rios was an all-star but check the numbers). Stewart is also supposed to make less $$ this year too which frees up more cap space for another starter as we could still use another quality number 5 starter in our division. On top of that, having a guy we only expect to be around for another year or 2 wouldn’t be so bad for us with all the depth we have waiting in the minors at OF (Lind, Snider, and even Coats)

I got a fever…….and the only prescription is MORE MATT STAIRS!!!!!

I totally agree with tower_1980, No way Hill should be hitting 8th!! I would put him 6th, move Zaun up to 8th, and put either Reed or Stewart (whomever we take) in the 9th spot as a second leadoff as they both have decent wheels.

Interesting point by rockyourself – maybe it would be worthwhile to have a second leadoff a la Tony LaRussa. Who can argue with him…oh wait.

It’s looking more and more like Stewart will be the right-handed hitting half of the left field platoon. It’s too bad because I really like Reed and what he can bring. Having said that I do understand that after a season of little offense, why the jays would go with the guy that has generally had better offensive numbers in their career. On the field though it does leave potentially 2 weak spots on defense with Eckstein, Stewart or Stairs. If i’m one of the jays’ pitchers i’d prefer the defense. I don’t know how seriously people will take this but appearantly J.p. has said that if they are ever up by a run or 3 in the 9th that Eckstein will still be the shortstop. Sounds like a stupid strategy to me.

I like the look of that lineup, there is alot more speed at the top than in previous years. The top 4 hitters are all good baserunners and capable of stealing a few.
Personally, I don’t think Hill has proven he can be a top of the order hitter yet. That could change quickly this year, but what a good problem it is to have so many solid hitters Hill may end up 6th or 7th in the lineup.

Hey Bass:

What daily grind are you talking about? Watching and reporting baseball everyday, drinking fresh orange and grapefruit juice daily, is pure heaven and don’t you ever forget that — count your blessings before it’s too late…

PINETARMAN: My blessings are counted daily. Always take my “daily grind” comments as sarcastic remarks :) I can count the clouds in the sky today.
~JB

I have always wondered why Hill does not hit 9th instead of the catcher, I have always liked having extra speed at the bottom of the order so when the top comes around they have Hill on base instead of the catcher

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