Game 87: Toronto at Tampa Bay pregame

scutarocard.jpgBlue Jays manager Cito Gaston admitted that it was hard to not include Marco Scutaro or Scott Rolen in the starting lineup for Thursday’s tilt against the Rays.

Scutaro has hit .323 in his last seven games and has been a catalyst all season for the offense. Rolen is riding a career-best 25-game hitting streak. And the Jays are in a slump, losing 10 of their past 13.

“It’s real tough, especially when you’ve got one of your better pitchers going,” said Gaston, referring to ace Roy Halladay. “I just kind of gave [bench coach Brian]Butterfield the lineup and said, ‘Hey, go get ‘em Doc.’”

The bottom line was that Rolen had been receiving days off on day games after night games frequently this season to help keep him fresh. Scutaro — a part-time player throughout his career — had started every single one of Toronto’s 86 games before Thursday.

“We talked about it earlier in the week that I was going to give him today off,” Gaston said of Scutaro. “It’s well deserved. I think after the All-Star break, I’m going to try to get him and [second baseman Aaron] Hill out of there maybe once a week and give [John McDonald] some more playing time — just rest those guys a little bit.”

Gaston said he hasn’t seen any signs of Scutaro tiring due to the increased work load.

“Not really,” Gaston said. “This kid goes and plays hard every day no matter what. I do know that he probably needs a rest here and there every once in a while and I think that’s what we’re going to do. What’d he get? Two hits last night? When guys are dragging, they don’t swing the bat like that.”

ON TALLET: Following the lemon he turned in on Wednesday night, Blue Jays lefty Brian Tallet described his outing as “horrible” and said that it seems like when he goes bad, he goes REALLY bad this season. It’s true, considering three blowups really skew his performance as a starter.

Here are Tallet’s worst three starts:

July 8 at Tampa Bay: 3 IP, 8 R, 11 H
June 14 vs. Florida: 3.1 IP, 8 R, 10 H
April 29 at Kansas City: 4 IP, 10 R, 11 H

In those three outings: 0-2 with a 22.65 ERA (10.1 IP/26 ER)

In Tallet’s other 14 starts: 5-4 with a 2.72 ERA (86 IP/26 ER)

“That’s the problem,” Tallet said. “It’s the game where I don’t get out of the fourth inning or I don’t get out of the third inning and I give up eight or 10 runs. I’ve got to find a way to get rid of those, because those are unnaceptable at this level — at any level. If I’m doing that in A ball, I’m getting released. I’ve got to figure out what’s going wrong when I’m going bad and not allow it to happen.”

STEPPING AWAY: Gaston will not be heading with the Blue Jays to Baltimore following today’s game in St. Pete. Last Thursday, Cito’s sister, Mattie Clarke, passed away and Toronto’s manager is heading to San Antonio to attend her funeral services this weekend. He hopes to rejoin the Jays on Sunday. Butterfield will serve as temporary manager until Gaston’s return.

HEADING HOME: I will not be making the trip to lovely Baltimore, either. I’m heading back to Toronto for a few days off. I am also not heading to St. Louis this week for the All-Star Game, so bluejays.com will be in someone else’s hands and I’ll be blogging a bit less until the second half resumes. I’ll probably roll out my First Half Award Winners during the break.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (43-43)
Fourth place AL East, 9.0 GB

1. Jose Bautista, 3B
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Kevin Millar, DH
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. John McDonald, SS

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (10-2, 2.79)

Thumbnail image for Rays.jpgTAMPA BAY RAYS (46-39)
Third place AL East, 5.5 GB

1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Pat Burrell, DH
7. Gabe Gross, RF
8. Jason Bartlett, SS
9. Michel Hernandez, C

Starter: LHP David Price (2-3, 5.21)

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian

~JB

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1 Comment

I have thought that jMac has hit the ball hard this year; he is just hitting it right at someone. His swing seems nice and level, and he seems to have good bat speed. The home run should be enough to buy him another start with Cito, and who knows, if he plays a couple of times a week, he may be able to turn that swing into some good at bats.

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