Covering the Bases: Game 14
FIRST: Who believes in Lyle O? Well apparently some fans who put up this big banner out in center field. If I’m to believe the twittersphere, then apparently the people who put it up did not have the seats behind the sign, so they weren’t allowed to sit there…
Obviously, I don’t know that for a fact. And as the game went on, a few fans did wander over behind the sign to root on Overbay and the Jays. There were plenty of seats available for this one — roughly 39,000 or so. Toronto set another dubious record with a Rogers Centre-low 10,314 in attendance for the 8-1 romp of the Royals.
But I digress….
About that Overbay fellow. It’s just one game and sample size and all that, but Overbay went 2-for-2 with two walks and he reached on catcher’s interference to round out his five plate appearances. That’s what we call progress, and at this point that’s all the Jays are hoping to see from their starting first baseman.
“It’s good for him,” manager Cito Gaston said. “It’s certainly not going to hurt his confidence at all. First time up, he hit that ball down the line. It’s just got to help. We always talk about what comes first, confidence or success? It’s always success and success breeds confidence, right? So hopefully he’s off and rolling. We could really use him.”
SECOND: Let’s take a closer look at Overbay, Travis Snider, Jose Bautista and Mighty Mike McCoy in this one, shall we?
Coming into Monday’s action, that quartet was hitting a robust .142 (22-for-155) with two homers and 13 RBIs. In Monday’s win, OverSniBauCoy finished 9-for-15 with three homers (two from Bautista) and six RBIs (five from Bautista).
A big issue so far this season has been production beyond just Vernon Wells, Adam Lind and Alex Gonzalez. The Jays can only hope that the effort from the other guys is a sign of better things to come.
THIRD: So that’s the Brandon Morrow the Blue Jays traded for, huh? For a few seasons, I remember covering Bad A.J. and Good A.J. when Mr. Burnett was with Toronto. Here’s hoping we’re not going to see a similar pattern with Mr. Morrow.
One positive from Monday’s seven-inning gem — and it was indeed a gem — was that the outing was the result of a slight mechanical tweak by Morrow. At the urging of pitching coach Bruce Walton, Morrow lowered his arm slot ever so slightly.
“To me, it feels like I’m throwing sidearm,” Morrow said. “But it’s really not much at all.”
Morrow had more movement on his pitches and better command. His curveball was strong, his sinker was heavy, and his fastball and slider were there as usual. The Royals? They looked baffled. So much so that they didn’t record their first hit until one out in the sixth.
it was much better than the Morrow who allowed 12 runs over nine innings in his first two starts of the season…
“That goes without saying,” he said.
HOME: Aaron Hill is due back from the disabled list on Friday. This begs the question: who gets bumped off the roster? The two main choices seem to be McCoy and Randy Ruiz, who each have plenty of options left, so there’s no worrying about exposing them to waivers and all that.
In Monday’s win, all McCoy did was go 3-for-4 with two stolen bases and two runs scored. One of those runs came when McCoy sprinted from second based and scored on a wild pitch in the third inning. He’s fast. He’s versatile. He’s going to be a hard guy to send to the Minors if he has more games like this one.
With Overbay struggling, there’s an argument to be made for keeping Ruiz around. If Overbay starts showing more signs of snapping out of his slump, well… we’ll see. McCoy could wind up being expendible, especially with an extra outfielder (Fred Lewis) and extra infielder (John McDonald) already in the fold.
Then again, it’s Randy Ruiz bobblehead night for Triple-A Vegas on Saturday…