Game 47: Toronto at Atlanta pregame

A major weak spot in the Blue Jays’ lineup all season has been the heart of their order — Alex Rios and Vernon Wells in the third and fourth spots. Manager Cito Gaston has kept them in those spots all year and even as their struggles persist deep into this month, he has no plans to alter the lineup.

“To me, you leave them where they are,” Gaston said. “Moving them around is not going to help anything. Moving them around is only going to maybe break their confidence. It’s a long season — guys are going to be up and down at certain times. Right now, they’re on the downside.”

One thing you can say about Gaston is he’s consistent. He’s been saying the same thing all season and he’s been staying true to his philosophy.

On this road trip, during which the Jays are now 0-5, Rios and Wells have combined to go 10-for-43 at the plate. Over the last two games in Atlanta, the pair has combined to go 0-for-16. Wells has no homers or RBIs since May 6, Rios has no homers since May 17 and no RBIs since the 18th.

In fact, take a look at how eerily similar Rios’ and Wells’ numbers have been this year.

On this trip:

Wells 5-for-21
Rios 5-for-22

Overall:

Wells: .257 (49-191)/.313/.403, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 77 TB, 11 2B, 16 BB, 46 games
Rios: .260 (50-192)/.316/.411, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 79 TB, 10 2B, 14 BB, 46 games

While there is no doubt Wells and Rios are scuffling, Gaston said he doesn’t see who else could step into those spots int he lineup. Toronto doesn’t have a legitimate cleanup hitter, Gaston likes Adam Lind in the five hole, and the manager would hate to move Wells’ and Rios’ speed down in the order.

“Who do you put up there?” Gaston said. “You’re taking two guys that have some speed and can steal some bases and moving them down in the lineup — that doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’re going to have ups and downs. We just have to ride it out and hope they come out of it today or tomorrow or some time soon.”

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (27-19)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, LF
6. Jose Bautista, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. Scott Richmond, P

Braves.jpgATLANTA BRAVES (22-20)

1 Kelly Johnson, 2B
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Garret Anderson, LF
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Martin Prado, 3B
6. Jeff Francoeur, RF
7. Diory Hernandez, SS
8. Jordan Schafer, CF
9. Jair Jurrjens, P

NOTE: I will not be making the trip to Baltimore. Catch you from the next homestand.

~JB

7 Comments

Cito, get that chewing gum going and change the line-up…I think Wells or Rios should be leading off….they have a hard time bringing men in once on base….more base-stealing sure would help….stealers are safe more
than they are out, and a missed ball that ends up in the outfield means a run….change the pitcher after issuing two(2) walks.

They’ll win tomorrow but da*n this streak has been tough to watch. It’s reminding me of last year. Just when my expectations rise they fall.

This streak is sort of like our “major economic downturn” – you have no way of knowing when it will be over. The pitching is still strong and that is a plus, but the hits are no longer “timely”. Time to watch some Cito Magic or start crying in my Blue.

slap in the face to Ryan. If that doesn’t say “you’re not the closer anymore” I don’t know what does.
This game’s been tough to watch, I felt for Carlson.
I’m using up all my all-star votes via internet on Hill.

It’s easy to say this now but League should be in the game instead of Wolfe.

I hope that after today, one of Wolfe or Camp is sent down and they have Accardo up.

I have been reading that Cito and many others are commenting that the home runs are not happening. That is true and it is a problem but it is not THE problem. The problem as I see it is that the batters are concentrating on the home run and failing.
It seems to me that Cito had claimed that the team this year would play more ‘small ball’, and it is the small ball that is missing. Why is there not more bunting, hitting just over the infielders when the field is playing deep and hitting long when the fielders move in? Where are the steals, double steals, squeeze plays, keep the line moving type of play. Play more for average than for power and we will win games like we can, like we were.

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