Game 27: Baltimore at Toronto pregame
For the first time this season, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston pulled one of his regulars off the field and pinch-hit for him based on the situation. It happened in the eighth inning on Saturday, with an Orioles lefty on the mound and Lyle Overbay at the plate with bases loaded and two outs.
Overbay was mired in a 1-for-20 funk at the plate, while Millar was batting more than .300 with one grand slam already this season. So, going against his typical trend, Gaston sent Millar to the plate and called Overbay back to the dugout. Millar flew out to end the inning.
“He’s struggling right now,” Gaston said of Overbay. “I haven’t done that all year, but I just felt like he’s struggling and Millar, I don’t think he’s struggling, so I thought we’d give it a shot. It didn’t work out for us, but if Millar is struggling and we get in that situation, and Overbay is swinging the bat really well, then I’ll pinch-hit for him, too.
“There’s very few people that you will pinch hit for on this team.”
It marked only the third time that Gaston used a pinch-hitter this season — the second-fewest in the Majors, trailing only the Indians (twice). The only other times Gaston pinch-hit for someone came during a blowout (John McDonald on April 25 and Travis Snider on April 15).
What the latest situation did show, as Gaston has said all along, is that he is willing to change things every now and then, even though he feels very strongly about certain philosophies.
Along those same lines, Gaston is very hesitant to change his lineup. That’s why someone like the struggling Alex Rios remains in the No. 3 hole game in and game out. Gaston has no plans on pulling Rios out of that spot right now, either.
“In order for us to win, he will have to hit and he certainly has to be a part of this team,” Gaston said. “So why knock him down by moving him and taking away some of his confidence? So, you know what? I might get criticized for not moving him, but we’ll see what happens in the end.”
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
5. Melvin Mora, 3B
6. Luke Scott, DH
7. Chad Moeller, C
8. Felix Pie, LF
9. Cesar Izturis, SS
Starter: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-1)
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 Scott Richmond (3-0)