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: .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.”
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
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.