Covering the Bases: Game 15

Wells420.jpgFIRST: That Vernon Wells fellow is on a nice little hot streak.

In the Jays’ 4-3 win over the Royals, Mr. Dub went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored and one RBI. The homer went off the facing of the third deck in left (!) and his first double jump-started a late rally in the seventh inning.

As of this writing, Wells was tied for the Major League lead with seven homers and ranked numero uno in the bigs with 47 total bases. We can still stick with the “it’s only April 20” mindset here, but the Jays continue to be extremely encouraged by the production of their cleanup man.

It’s been written before, but Wells and manager Cito Gaston are quick to point out that the roots of the center fielder’s current streak rest in the final days of Spring Training. That’s when hitting coach Dwayne Murphy talked with Wells about making a slight change with his hands. He’s generating more load, leading to more power. It’s helped with timing and pitch recognition up to this point.

“Murph and I have worked hard,” Wells said. “We worked hard in Spring Training and I continue to do it. If he sees something, he tells me and I try to make an adjustment. It’s been a good working relationship so far and we’ll continue to keep working at it.”

SECOND: Shawn Camp has already established himself as a valuable member of the Blue Jays’ bullpen. And so far, this season has been no exception. Gaston is quick to say that Camp is very underrated, and I have to say that I agree. He can eat up innings if needed, and has been especially effective this year and last.

In Tuesday’s win, Camp entered with a runner on second base and one out in the sixth inning. He created two quick flyouts to escape the jam. Camp then slipped into a two-out, two-on situation in the seventh and got out of it with a groundout. So far this year, Camp’s thrown 10 innings, posted a 0.90 and has eight strikeouts against two walks.

His work on Tuesday was quietly a big part of the win.

“He just comes to pitch,” Gaston said. “It was big for him to do that. He got us through 1 2/3 innings and that was big.”

THIRD: Eveland did not have his best stuff on Tuesday night, but he still lasted into the sixth inning for the Jays. Again, considering he’s the fifth starter, the Jays have to be thrilled with his work up to this point. Through three outings, Eveland has done exactly what the Jays need, provide innings and keep the team in the contest.

Eveland did that against the Royals and the Jays did what they’ve been doing often this year — they rallied late. Toronto has five comeback wins through 15 games. Last year, they had 32 comeback wins all year.

“We’ve got plenty of power in this lineup,” Eveland said. “I feel like as a starter, going six innings and giving up a couple runs — three or four runs — you’ve still got a good chance of winning a ballgame.”

HOME: Overbay has now shown improvement in two straight games. On Monday, he went 2-for-2 with two walks and reched base five times. On Tuesday, he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a crucial double to deep center field (though Rick Ankiel said he should have been able to make the catch). Baby steps…

“He’s been battling through the struggles and he’s kept working,” Wells said. “It’ll pay off for him.”


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