Covering the Bases: Game 10
FIRST: How about that Dana Eveland?
Not many people had him in the Blue Jays rotation when Spring Training opened and here he is with a 2-0 record and a 1.35 ERA through two outings. Sure, it’s early. But Eveland looks similarly good all spring, so there has been plenty for the Blue Jays to be pleased with in terms of the results.
A strong season from Eveland would benefit the Blue Jays in two ways. One, it gives them a more than reliable option for the fifth spot on the staff. Two, a full season from him means Toronto did not need to rush one of its prospects to the bigs ahead of schedule. Eveland was acquired for cash and this deal has paid off so far.
It will be interesting to see how long Eveland can keep this strong run going, though. Up to this point, he has thrived on keeping the hitters guessing. It was changeups and fastballs against the O’s. It was first-pitch curves against the Sox. He mixes things up, changes speeds and tries to keep lineup’s confused.
“It helps,” Eveland said. “They can’t go back and really look at my last start and go, ‘Oh, he’s going to do this,’ because I’m going to be a little different every time you see me — I hope. That’s my goal.”
So far, so good…
SECOND: Now, for some bad.
Entering Thursday’s 7-3 win, the Blue Jays led the Majors with 75 strikeouts. This is the offense I’m talking about here. Against the Sox, Toronto hitters whiffed 15 times. From the fifth through ninth innings, the Jays had a stretch of nine outs in a row on strikeouts and 10 of 11. The posterboy in the latest fanning? First baseman Lyle Overbay, who finished with four strikeouts in an 0-for-5 showing. Overbay’s average has dropped to .077 and he slipped to 0-for-12 against left-handed pitching. Next lefty on the schedule is Joe Saunders for the Angels on Saturday. Let’s see if Lyle gets a day off…
THIRD: Back to the good…
Travis Snider snapped out of an 0-for-14 funk in a big way, slamming a 2-1 pitch from Sox starter Freddy Garcia for a second-inning home run. Snider didn’t look like he even got all of it, and the baseball crashed well into the second deck in right. Snider went 2-for-4, raising his average to .129. He also drew an important leadoff walk in the fourth inning. It’s a start. At least that’s what the Jays are praying.
HOME: I only have one category left here, so I’m not going to waste it on the “awesome double play” (Eveland’s words) that happened in the sixth inning. Let’s just say that you’re supposed to touch third base again if you run beyond it and need to head back to second base on a flyout to center field. Got it, Juan?
I’ll use this last section on Mr. Alex Gonzalez, who went something like 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs to raise his average to .349 in Thursday’s win. This begs the question… with Overbay struggling out of the fifth hole, and Aaron Hill due back next week from the DL, and Gonzalez doing so well out of Hill’s two spot, might there me some lineup rearranging upon Hill’s return? For example, now I’m just throwing this out there, but maybe Gonzalez second, Hill third and Lind in the five hole? I mean, it’s just a thought.
Cito was asked if Gonzalez might still have a home in the two hole when Hill comes back…
“He’s done a great job for us in that No. 2 spot,” Gaston said of Gonzalez. “But I guess when Hill shows up we’ll find somewhere else for him to hit.”
If you were lining things up, what’s your order when Hill returns?