Covering the Bases: Game 20

Scorecard.jpgFIRST: What was the main thing we learned tonight? How about the fact that the Blue Jays’ bullpen needs some help.

Jeremy Accardo has been struggling. Merkin Valdez has been rarely used, and struggled when he has found work. Jason Frasor has been off. Casey Janssen hasn’t looked sharp recently. Scott Downs and Shawn Camp have taken their lumps, too.

Well, the Jays did something about it after Monday’s 13-12 mess at Rogers Centre.

Accardo (8.10 ERA to go along with all six of his inherited runners scoring) has been optioned to Triple-A Vegas and Valdez (20.25 ERA in two outings) has been designated for assignment. Josh Roenicke (0.00 ERA in 8 2/3 innings) has been recalled from Vegas and Rommie Lewis (2.35 ERA in seven games) had his contract purchased from Triple-A as well.

Over the past three games — all losses — the Jays’ bullpen has yielded 17 runs on 20 hits over nine innings. It has not been pretty and a three-inning performance from starter Dana Eveland only made matters worse on Monday.

Jays sure could use a complete game right about now. Paging, Mr. Marcum.

SECOND: The offense at least looked good (or was Boston’s pitching that bad?).

Eight Jays had hits. Five had more than one hit. Three had three hits. Seven Jays scored at least one run. Five drove in at least one. Toronto churned out a season-high 12 runs on 16 hits and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position. An RBI single from Aaron Hill in the third actually snapped an 0-for-22 for the team with RISP.

And that third?

Try 10 hitters, six runs, six hits, one walk, two singles, two double, one triple and one home run — a monster of a three-run blast from Jose Bautista. That gave the Jays a 6-5 lead after Eveland dug a 5-0 hole. That one-run advantage proved to be short-lived in light of the bullpen’s woes, though.

THIRD: Leading the way for the Jays was none other than first baseman Lyle Overbay. He went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. How bad has his month been going? Overbay had five RBIs in the first 19 games and his big night upped his average to .183. He’s showing signs of life, though.

Overbay had an RBI double on Friday. He had a homer and two hits on Saturday. And then, after a day off on Sunday, Overbay collected three hits in Toronto’s loss to Boston. Baby steps. The Jays are hoping this is a sign that Overbay is pulling himself out of his month-long slump.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said it would be nice to have another solid lefty in the lineup beyond just Adam Lind.

HOME: That brings us to Travis Snider. He’s the third lefty in the lineup, but his performance on Monday has him hitting .133 right now. Gaston insists that Snider looks improved at the plate right now than he was at this point a year ago. That said, the young outfielder went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Monday’s loss. Every other Blue Jay had a hit.

Play GM for a minute and discuss…

Is it better to keep running Snider — still just 22 years old and a big part of the team’s future — out there every day with the hope that he turns this around? Or would he be better served going back to Triple-A like he did in May of last year during a similar slump? 



  1. gsjays

    Snider is improving every day and sees more pitches in each at bat than virtually anyone else. In addition he is hitting the ball hard, unfortunately right at someone. Sending him down to AAA will only slow down his ultimate break out and possible put him back in development.

    However, switching him back between left and right field and not batting him against lefties does not help the process. He’s got to be stabilized at one spot or the other and he’s got to be in the lineup each day. The more we run him out there, the faster he progresses and frankly any talk of sending him down does him no good whatsoever.
    If he is going to be our future then lets treat him like he is or trade him to someone who’s prepared to continually work with him as he progresses and keep him in one position.
    Maybe those two guys from ESPN were right.


    Keep Snider in the bigs… there is nothing left for him to prove in Vegas. He is getting many at-bats and he is hitting the ball very ball – he’s had some bad breaks, but Travis needs some on the job training. If he fails, then at least he failed trying to be developed in Toronto. The kid is only 22, we have to be patient with him – even if he sucks the rest of the year, lets see what next years coaching staff will do.

  3. gsjays

    rickishi38-Please he’s only had 6 at bats against lefties. Are you going to send Wells, Overbay and Lind down because they’re not hitting against lefties, because they’re worse than Snider is in that regard? Why do you think it’ll help his self confidence, in fact it would do the reverse. If we want to evolve Snider into what he can become we simply need to keep running him out there. He is hitting the ball hard, and everyone on this team is striking out too much, not just Snider, he’s actually having better at bats than most guys on this team.

    brother-Is Lewis an integral part of this team going forward-I think not, so why would you want to keep him instead of Snider?


    I’d definitely send him down. It seems that 99% of Blue Jays fans want him to stay up because of his “potential”. I’d say he has a few weeks at most to get his average heading the right way, or he’s off to Vegas. Unfortunately, it seems he was rushed to the majors, and he has probably stuck around for this long because of PR reasons. Expectations are simply too high for him, and it isn’t fair. When EE is off the disabled list, I think they’ll keep Lewis in as a full-time outfielder and send Travis to the minors.

  5. gsjays

    This is a rebuilding year and Snider is probably one of the most important parts to the process along with Romero, Rzep, Wallace and Arencibia.

    The question all fans should ask if Snider is sent back down, is what is the Jays commitment to rebuilding…If indeed there is such a commitment, then no one would even consider sending Snider down, since everyone agress he has nothing left to prove in AAA.
    On the other hand, they Jays would also keep him in one outfield spot and bat him against lefties, righties, every single day and that isn’t happening.


    He’s not hitting the ball hard! He’s swinging and missing…especially against left handers where he’s struck out half the time he’s faced one.
    I agree that he has nothing left to prove in the Minors, but at least going down would help his self confidence!

  7. portobello

    “especially against left handers where he’s struck out half the time he’s faced one”.
    He has had 6 at bats Vs left handers so to pick on that stat. to prove your point is a little lame. To show how little stats mean with such a small sample size , he now has higher avg, OBP and SLG against LHP as opposed to RHP

    I agree with gsjays , he needs to play everyday.
    Cito Gaston said “”We would not have brought him here with us if we thought that we were going to platoon him,” . “That’s just not the way. We’d send him out [to the Minors] before that happens.”
    If only Gaston was as good as his word and played him everyday not only this season but last then I think he would be further along in his development.
    Last season he started off real well but after his two homer night Vs the Twins he hardly played for the next few weeks as he was sat against all LHP .That started his slump.


    gsjays – I don’t think it’s a question of who’s more important in the long term – it’s Snider over Lewis. It comes down to where he needs to go to develop. I’ve read many people say, including on this thread that “Snider has nothing to prove in the minors”. Is that true? Many players do extremely well in the minors, come to the bigs, then get sent back down. It happens all the time. I’m not sure why Snider is somehow an exception that he has to learn everything in the bigs not in AAA. I’d love to see his average improve and stick it out for the entire year. But I don’t think you keep him with the big club for much longer if he doesn’t start hitting the ball. He’s young, has options, and you can send him down to improve in all aspects of the game.

  9. gsjays

    “you can send him down to improve in all aspects of the game.”..I would agree with that if I felt sending him down would actually improve him, but I don’t think it will, in fact I think it’d do the reverse.
    All players need adjustment time going from AAA to MLB, albeit them pitchers or position players, some more than others. There are few kids that come up here from AAA and rake it right away because the caliber of pitching is a lot better than in the minors. Snider is not going to see MLB caliber pitching in AAA, he’s going to see AAA level pitching which he’s already mastered.
    Check out Brandon Wood of the LA Angels, a high ceiling prospect in a similar situation as Snider. and you’ll note they’re doing the same thing with Woods as we are with Snider. There is absolutely no discussion about sending Woods back down for the same reason, he’s already mastered AAA.

    Snider has improved a huge amount from last year. He’s much more patient at the plate, working the count and his strike out ratio has improved dramatically from last year and is better than a lot of guys on this team including Lind, Overbay, Buck, Gonzalez, Encarnacion, Ruiz and Lewis. Point is Snider isn’t striking out any more tan others and he has dramatically improved, his hits just aren’t dropping in…If in fact his k ratio had risen from last year, I might agree with you, but that’s not the case, its improved.

  10. dt005

    I would give Snider another month. I think alot of it is in his head right now, I guess you could argue that farming him out would maybe relieve the pressure and let him relax a bit. But I feel that he is going to figure it out in the bigs, and when he does its going to be awesome! I dont know what is going to happen when Encarnacion comes back because I like Fred Lewis in the leadoff and Jose Bautista is doing pretty well right now. If Snider doesn’t pick it up soon he could unfourtunatly become the odd man out.

  11. gsjays

    I think when Encarnacion comes back it will be either Ruiz, Lewis or McCoy going down, not Snider. My take is probably Ruiz and if not Ruiz then Lewis..

    Point is Encarnacion, Lewis and Ruiz will not be part of our contending team in 2012, Snider will be and McCoy could be a good piece as well.

  12. inception

    Snider is only 22. Lind did not start pounding the ball until he turned 24. What’s the rush? Let Snider continue to develop at the major-league level. One thing that we can all agree upon is that Snider is not going to learn how to consistently hit major-league hitting at AAA. It can’t happen. Therefore, he needs to stay put. As for a guy like Wallace, it makes sense to keep him at AAA until he learns how to consistently rake AAA pitchers. Once accomplished, he needs to follow the same development path as Snider at the major-league level. Remember, the Rays had a number of loosing seasons and it was not all the result of poor pitching. They allowed their potential laden hitters to struggle at the major-league level until they learned how to hit the pitchers in the American league. Our guys are going to struggle, too. There are very few AAA players who come up and do not struggle. It is a different game at the major-league level where each night you are facing the best in the world. Once Snider finds his stroke, he will have the confidence that he needs because he will know that he belongs. Sending him to AAA only tell him that he does not belong among the 700 major-league players.

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