Game 20: Toronto at Chicago pregame

Cito Gaston is well aware of how his batters have fared against particular pitchers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Jays manager is going to alter his lineup, especially not the way it’s performing right now.

For example, Kevin Millar — a right-handed bat off the bench who typically starts at first base against left-handers — has great numbers against Sox righty Jose Contreras, who is starting today. In his career, Millar has hit .429 (9-for-21) with two homers, two doubles and five RBIs against Contreras.

Is Millar in the lineup? Nope.

Similarly, in the last series against Texas, Millar had fantastic totals against righty Kevin Millwood — .390 (16-for-41) with a homer and four doubles. Was he in the lineup that day? No, left-handed hitters Adam Lind (DH), Travis Snider (LF) and Lyle Overbay (1B) were starting in both games.

“I could show you some stats from the last couple of days,” Gaston said. “When we were playing against Texas, you should see the stats that Kevin has against him. I could let Kevin go in there and maybe DH and take Lind out of there, but I’m just going to play it the way we’ve been playing it and see what happens.

“So, it is a decision and I’m aware of those things, too.”

It’s similar to how Gaston treats the pinch hitting scenarios with his club. Late in games, he has been letting his batters stay in the batter’s box, even in situations when it might make sense to play the matchup and go with another hitter. This early in the year, Gaston wants to stick with his players to hopefully build their confidence.

“I haven’t really pinch hit for many guys, if you really think about it,” Gaston said. “I know that all these guys have to stay sharp and they need to be in their hitting. I know that, as a player, if you’re looking over your shoulder you kind of lose confidence in yourself.

“What I want these guys to do — not to say that I won’t [pinch hit ever] — but what I want them to do is feel like every time they come off that field and their at-bat comes up they’re going to get a chance to hit.”

As far as in-game matchups, Gaston prefers for a batter to have at least 20 career at-bats against a pitcher to decide whether it might be beneficial to use him as a pinch hitter. Gaston said his philosophy could change as the year goes on. He also noted that, with so many right-handers coming up, some of the right-handed bats will likely get some starts to stay fresh.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (13-6)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (3-1)

Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (9-8)

1. Brent Lillibridge, 2B
2. Josh Fields, 3B
3. Carlos Quentin, LF
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jermaine Dye, RF
6. Paul Konerko, 1B
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Brian Anderson, CF
9. Alexei Ramirez, SS

Starter: RHP Jose Contreras (0-3)

~JB

12 Comments

All great managers had their own way of managing a team and game situations. Maybe it’s time for the pundits to just accept Cito’s way and not continually suggest his game situation management is wrong.

Considering his record since he took over, has anyone ever thought maybe Cito’s way is the right way. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, what I do know is he’s managed this team to the best record in baseball since he took over, so whatever he’s doing is working.
And I say, if it isn’t broke don’t go around trying to fix it.

Guys whats wrong with Doc?
he just doesn’t look himself in the past few games, i hope he isn’t having arm trouble…or a fatigued shoulder/whatever he had before…

Naw Harry, this is Doc’s first win in that stadium; I expect he thinks a bit about it.

Great win for the Jays.

It’s hard to argue with something that’s working!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

The real story behind Romero’s injury-( from Sportsnet.)

Romero’s injury is poorly timed, especially with Jesse Litsch having already joined Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen in the infirmary. The lesson to be learned here is that rap music is nothing to sneeze at.
Before his start last week in Minnesota, while listening to some hip-hop (Young Sneezy perhaps?) to relax, Ricky ah-chooed and pulled an oblique muscle. He pitched through the discomfort, with the Jays winning both of his starts but the pain was becoming unbearable and they decided to shut him down for a couple of weeks.

**When Romero comes back, Cito should ban him from hip-hop music, we need him too bad. lol

I have mentioned a few times now that Doc is not pitching like he once did. Who knows why, but he may be a victim of his own success. Unfortunately, you cannot listen to a Rogers’ broadcast without one (or both) of the announcers stating that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in all of baseball. Moreover, the same announcers spend huge amounts of time talking about the example he sets for the young pitchers and how he “takes them under his wing!” This is a lot of pressure to live up to and, in my opinion, it is pressure that Halladay does not want. If you watch the close-ups of Halladay on tv, if you are careful, you will have noted that Halladay is doing a lot more cursing and giving a lot more death stares when calls do not go his way. He seems extremely impatient at times with the umpires, and gets quite upset when hitters simply outperform him and make good on tough pitches. Also, I have heard him tell the media that he does not want to be a mentor to the young pitchers. He wants to go out and pitch his game and suggests that they do the same. The truth is, Halladay’s skill set is going to diminish from this point on, not increase. The question is how rapidly do those skills decrease. With some aging pitchers the drop-off can be fast and brutal, with others, they find ways to adapt (e.g., by making heavy use of a very good change-up to speed up their (slowing) fastball. The biggest mistake this team could make is signing Halladay to a Vernon-like contract. We will not (cannot) get our money’s worth. It may be best to consider trading him after this season for a young, proven starter and some more offensive help. Unfortunately, I do not think that we will be able to count on Rolen, Millar, and some of these other veterans that have made such an important contribution. In this economic climate, the key to survival is adaption. The ability to re-tool and head in a new direction in a hurry. Even GM and Chrysler are finally learning this lesson. Let’s hope that JP (or whoever) is able to make the right call at the right time to get this “young” team set up for the next couple of years.

[Quote:] Guys whats wrong with Doc?

I think I know what’s wrong with Doc. There has been a rumor floating around for some time now that he’s actually human. Based on his last couple of starts, I am starting to believe it. Being human, he is probably in a low physical or mental cycle, which caused him to allow 3 runs over 7 innings today. I expect that as he comes out of this low physical or mental state, that his outings will improve.

gsjays, I tend to agree with you on re-signing Doc. He will be 33 at the end of his contract, and while I think, being the horse he is, that he can probably make it to 40, he will be on the down side of his career. He will command more (60-80 million over 5 years?) as a free agent than the Jays would be prepared to pay, so we should be prepared to move on. We are knee deep in arms, and while we may not have a 20 game winner yet, we do have a LOT of potential 15 game winners.
I like what Tampa did with Longoria–a long term contract while he is still controllable that gives him good up front cash, and takes into account the potential for injury, etc., over the long term. You get an all-star quality player for a long time at below market value.

OK. I’ll bite and join the Halladay debate, once again.

1) There’s nothing wrong with Halladay folks. If anything, he’s right on track for Cy Young contention, once again. He’s on pace for 29 Wins and 267 IP (both career highs). His WHIP is currently 1.08, which is much lower than his 1.21 career WHIP. His ERA is a little higher than usual, but come on, he’s 5 starts into the season. Remove that 3-run HR in the first Detroit game (where he was left in one inning too long as you may recall), and his ERA is right at 3.00, which is where it should be.
2) I think it’s well documented that Halladay is an abnormally fierce competitor. It’s not that he’s frustrated or whatever, it’s that he wants to win, and he does a good job at that. As for the mentor situation, he doesn’t have time for hands-on mentoring. He’s always busy getting ready for his next start. I’m pretty sure having a bunch of young eyes watching Doc throw pitches, and watching his work ethic doesn’t hurt. Heck, the Jays keep turning young pitchers with OK stuff, into pretty good pitchers, so who knows if Halladay has a part in that.
3) The thing with Halladay that makes him more valuable than others is his ability to eat up so many innings while pitching very well. He’s so efficient that he almost always gets into the 7th, 8th, 9th inning without throwing an excessive number of pitches. And he does this while limiting the number of ER’s to 2 or 3 usually. This also provides a break to the bullpen. If you think about, where most good pitchers can throw up to 200 IP, that means the Jays pretty much have 1.25 aces in having Halladay.
3) There is no sign yet that Halladay’s skill set is diminishing, in my opinion. If signs start showing up (real signs, not him getting upset at calls) between now and the end of next season, yeah I’d be weary to sign him to a long term contract. Otherwise, if he keeps throwing 240 IP over 3.00 ERA, why not sign him for 4 years. Sure there’s an injury risk, as there would be with any pitcher. I just don’t see it yet with Doc. His strong work ethic and workout regime will probably help him stay really good until he’s 37 and beyond. If they were to sign him to a 4-year contract, which would take him to age 37, I think they could sign him to 1-2 year contracts from that point on, if they still want to keep him.
4) Remember that the money has to be spent somewhere. If the Jays want to up their payroll to 120 million (or even 100 million) to continue to compete beyond 2010, where do you suggest they spend money. Wells, Rios, Hill are all under contract for a while. Snider, Lind, Arencibia, McGowan, Marcum, Purcey, Janssen, Cecil, Mills, etc. are all controlable for several years beyond 2010. I personally don’t see Halladay as a bad investment into the future. Now, if the Jays have to carry a 70-80 million payroll, well of course you can’t tie a big portion of that in Halladay. Now that’s beyond the GM’s control anyway.

gnorman
I think TB got the idea from our signing of Hill to a similar contract. I believe the guy who came up with the idea of this style of contract was Alex Anthopoulos, Jays VP and assistant GM. I’d expect we see others with Lind, Snider and others that look like they could blossom into stars.

In fairness to Halladay, he’s always struggled in Chicago-this is his first win there and he gave us 7 innings, gave up 3 runs and won the game. Halladay has had times when he struggled against Boston, as well; every pitcher has hitters and or teams that hammer them.
However, Halladay is tied for most wins in baseball at 4, so I don’t think I’d worry too much.

At the start of the year, I was very much in favor of trading Halladay now, but that’s before these guys went 14-6. That was also before Rolen and Overbay both proved they’re healthy and Hill showed just how much he enjoys hitting 2nd. That was before seeing Lind drive in 6 runs in a game and Moonraker hit two monster shots in Minnesota that both went over 450 feet.
That was also before seeing TB collapse (trail us by 6.5 games) along with Yank pitching in the first 20 games.
Right now if all the Jays do for the balance of the season is go .500, they end up with 85 wins. I said a couple of days ago that the next 20 games tell the tale on this team and I still stand by that.
If they go 14-6 over the next 20 games and get to a 28-12 record, then that .500 performance to year end equates to 89 wins-which means we might play games in late September than mean something.

What we do know is we have the best pen in baseball again, and stronger now with Downs closing. We also have the strongest balanced attack offense in baseball and frankly, I don’t really see that slowing down all that much.

With Romero coming back soon and Richmond figuring out how to get lefties out, we have 3 strong starters and I think Purcey will come around for the 4th. So from Janssen, Mills, Litsch, Cecil and now Castro, we need one to step up and take that other spot. I like our chances of that happening.

So to make a long post short, I’d hold Halladay for now. Let’s see where we are in 20-30 games from now, one never knows. Cito has brought magic to this city before, and this is now Cito’s team, maybe it turns into another Cito year. Who knows.

It simply blows my mind when I see people on here say they should trade Halladay. What do you think they are going to get in return for the guy? It is highly unlikely they get close to equal value. The guys they could potentially get back are going to be prospects, which are hit and miss. Just look at the Johan Santana deal. Who got the better end of that one? Not. Even. Close. By trading Halladay, they would basically be conceding 2010, when they are set up to have a really good team. The only way he is traded, as JP has said, is if payroll has to go below 60 million. Unlikely. Rogers would be really, really stupid to not offer Doc whatever he wanted to stay. He will certainly be effective into his late 30s because of his great conditioning and his tremendous arsenal of pitches. Giving him a 5 year deal is not going to cripple the franchise. I just can’t understand why people like Burt want him traded so bad. And to the people that say he is not like the old Doc anymore, and he is not pitching that well this year, look at his 8:1 K/BB ratio, and his WHIP of 1.08. The only issue is he has left a few balls elevated which have led to a few home runs and a slightly human ERA of 3.72. An ERA of 3.72!!!!! Oh my god, he needs Tommy John, he’s got a torn labrum, he’s never gonna be the same!!!!!! Trade him now JP!!!!

plus263.
You forgot to say dear after JP.

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