Covering the Bases: Game 9

RClow.jpgFIRST: Thanks as usual to the fantastic photography stylings of John Lott of the National Post.

What you see there is an unfortunately sparse crowd that attended Wednesday’s 11-1 routing by the White Sox. Three days into the home schedule, though, it was record-breakingly sparse.

The announced attendance of 10,610 was the smallest in Rogers Centre history, breaking the 11,159 that attended a Sept. 9 games against the Twins last year. With expectations lowered, a drop in attendance is to be expected and, unfortunately, in this year of “building”, we may still see smaller crowds yet.

For those curious, it was not the lowest attended game in team history, though. That record was set on April 17, 1979 at the old Exhibition Stadium in an early-season contest against… the White Sox. I guess Chicago just doesn’t really bring them out — even if it gives fans a chance to boo Alex Rios some more.

SECOND: For the second outing in a row, Brandon Morrow wasn’t sharp. He looked decent enough through the first four innings, but things fell apart for the right-hander in the fifth. In that frame, Morrow went: walk, single, hit batter, and then the dagger, grand slam. He then allowed a double and was pulled from the game.

As for that grand slam from Quentin?

“He hit that pitch like he knew it was coming,” Morrow said.

So through two appearances, Morrow has allowed 12 runs on 12 hits with eight strikeouts, six walks and three homers surrendered in nine innings. Could Morrow be feeling the effects of missing nearly two weeks with a right shoulder issue in the middle of the spring?

“I don’t know,” Morrow said. “I couldn’t say.”


“He didn’t pitch a lot. He’s still kind of having his Spring Training right now,” said the manager.

I say give it a little more time before calling for Brett Cecil. Morrow has shown flashes of that overpowering stuff that helped convince the Jays to trade for him over the winter. He’s also had a pair of really ugly innings that put loads of pressure on Toronto’s offense. One more rough performance, and I’d think the Jays might start weighing their alternatives…

THIRD: In the end, it was a play that meant little considering the final score. In the fourth inning, though, the “stolen base” by Alex Rios helped give the White Sox a 3-0 lead, which seemed like a much larger margin given the way Sox lefty John Danks was pitching. With two outs, Rios was ruled safe by ump Adrian Johnson, even though it seemed pretty clear that Rios was tagged on the arm by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Instead of the inning’s final out, Rios moved into scoring position, quickly scoring on a single from A.J. Pierzynski.

At least it was Pierzynski fooling the umps this time…

HOME: Gaston decided to sit the left-handed-hitting Snider against Danks on Wednesday, allowing veteran Lyle Overbay to remain in the lineup against the Sox southpaw. Overbay then went 0-for-3 against Danks, increasing the first baseman’s drought to 0-for-11 vs. left-handed pitching this season. Overbay hit .190 against lefties last year. Gaston handed Overbay a full-time job instead of platooning him this year, giving the first baseman a chance to cash in during a contract year. So far, Overbay has not taken advantage and one has to wonder how long Cito will let it go before considering trying Randy Ruiz in a platoon situation at first. For now, Overbay’s defense — far superior to that of Ruiz — might keep him in the lineup on a regular basis for a while longer. 



  1. cusejaysfan

    Love your writing and how closely you’re following the Jays…but, PLEASE STOP coddling these guys! If I read another article that talks about “lowered expectations”, “growing pains”, or “rebuilding”, I may just hurl.
    These guys are professional athletes! Let’s stop giving up on the season not only two weeks into it. If all the casual fans keep reading is about how poor this team is going to be, how can you expect them to show up at the ballpark?
    Do I expect the Jays to finish ahead of the Yankees or Red Sox this year? No. Do I expect that most years? No. But, never have I seen a towel thrown in on a season so early. That’s why they play the games!
    I know its early, but, Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum could be All-Star quality pitchers this year. Wells could be comeback player of the year. Lind seems like he’ll keep improving. Hill is on the DL!
    When a professional athlete on the Blue Jays underperforms, please call it like it is. He doesn’t play poorly because the expectations were low.


  2. yerouttaheah

    Well, if you have to give up a bunch of runs, it’s better if they are all in one game. They still only get one L, and they are tied for the division lead. This team is playing really good baseball right now, but I guess Toronto would rather sit on the couch and watch Smackdown Hockey than come out to the ball game.

  3. gsjays

    In all fairness to Morrow, he missed at least 3 starts in spring training, so I didn’t expect a gem. I’d work with him on his change up and give him at least a couple more starts before making any decisions on him. He certainly has the arm, so he’s well worth being patient with.

    Sooner or later Cito’s going to comprehend he’s actually hurting Overbay’s chances for next year, not helping them. Overbay’s numbers against left handers has been declining for a while and the longer Cito refuses to platoon him, the worse it is for Overby and the team….

    Must have been a Doc prospect night, D’Arnaud goes 4 for 6 in Dunedin and Wallace goes 3 for 4 in Vegas with his 3rd home run in 6 games…Travis D’Arnaud is now hitting .423/.429/.731 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 rbi’s in 6 games while Wallace is now at .346/.414/.731 with 1 double, 3 hr.’s and 3 rbi’s in 7 games.

  4. jaysfan12345

    Jordan, I read your blog every day, and really enjoy your take on the Jays, I’m am a BIG Jays fan and will stick with em this year regardless of the outcome, but there are still things that Cito needs to do to prevent the Rebuild feeling in the stadium. The attendance issue I think is simple, raise prices even a bit for a team that isn’t suppose to go anywhere this year, and last night becomes the result. Perhaps they should look at other cities for the price points, I know the Twins new park has about 15 different Price points, and most are more reasonable than Rogers Center.

    Keep writing and I will keep reading!

  5. yerouttaheah

    gsjays, there are a whole bunch of guys that are off to a slow start this year, Mark Texiera and David Ortiz among them, but nobody is yelling for them to sit down. You seem to have such an infatuation for Randy Ruiz that you are blind to the fact that Lyle Overbay is playing absolutely stellar defense, something that is a great help to our young and developing pitching staff. When it comes to glove work, Ruiz can’t hold a candle to Overbay.

    What Overbay is in right now is called a 9 game slump, and the way you get out of slumps its to hit your way out. Plus, Randy Ruiz has no future with the Jays, either as a first baseman or a DH, because if Overbay is still struggling in July, you give Brett Wallace a try. And Lind kind of blocks his way at DH, so his only hope of sticking is as a pinch hitter or a spot starter off the bench.

  6. gsjays

    yeroutaheah-I knew when I posted that piece about Overbay that you would jump on to support him. I don’t have an infatuation with Ruiz, but clearly you have an infatuation with Overbay…

    True, Ruiz has a limited future-but Overbay has none, understand, zero, none. It’s not a 9 game slump he hasn’t hit left handers for years-last year was .190.

    Why do you support him, makes no sense? The best way of getting him out of a slump is to bench him against left handers and let him focus at what he’s good at. You never continually put players in a position to fail and that is exactly what playing him against left handers does. See the point i,s unlike yourself, Overbay knows damn well he can’t hit left handers, maybe you should figure that out as well.

  7. portobello

    Overbay is out of here at some point this year so it helps no one to play him against lefties , only lowers his average and his trade value and will hurt his chances when it comes to getting a good contract for next year..

    As for Ruiz it would make sense to give him an extended run in the team ,either at 1st or at DH or a combination to see if he can hit major league pitching over the course of a season. If he continues to hit in the majors as he has hit everywhere he has played he could be a great option at DH for the next 3 or 4 years if Lind can play in left.
    Play Lind in left and see if he can improve his defense.
    An outfield of Lind,Wells and Snider may be the way forward , let Snider and Lind play the corners for the season and see how it works out. Bautista is not the answer , low average and on base over his career indicate he should be on the bench.

  8. inception

    Exactly. But the type of moves you are suggesting must come from Antho. I know that I bash Cito a fair bit, but in reality, it is Antho that should be taking the heat. Cito answers to Antho, and Antho should be directing him with regards to what the organization expects to accomplish this year with regards to Ruiz, Lind, Snider, etc. This may very well turn out to be a wasted developmental year if Antho does not put some pressure on Cito.

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