Covering the Bases: Game 9
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.