Covering the Bases: Game 24
Didn’t think so.
Gonzalez has had decent power totals over the course of his career (23 in 2004, 18 in ’03, even 16 as recent as ’07), but the 33-year-old shortstop had knee issues in recent seasons and launched all of eight homers over 112 games a year ago.
Gone-zo hit two homers in Friday’s 10-2 win over the A’s, giving him seven on the year.
The Blue Jays even billed the one-year signing of Gonzalez as a way to bring in a Gold Glove-caliber defender. Any kind of offense would be a bonus. Well, consider this first month — a club record for home runs by a Jays shortstop – a major bonus for Toronto.
SECOND: Vernon Wells was quick to say that what Gonzalez is doing right now is unbelievable: “I just look at him and shake my head sometimes.” While discussing Gonzalez, Wells broke into a smile and laughed.
“He tells me to look out, because he’s right behind me,” Wells said.
“That’s what I told him in the dugout,” he said, grinning. “I said, ‘I’m coming behind you. Watch out.’ It’s just, you make it fun during the game.”
Obviously, Gonzalez is having fun with this while it lasts, too.
Wells launched a two-run homer in Friday’s win over Oakland, picking up career blast No. 200. After the game, Jays manager Cito Gaston presented Wells with the baseball that was hit for the milestone shot. Wells’ two RBIs also moved him past Geroge Bell for second on the club’s all-time list.
Wells said he’ll appreciate such moments after his career is over.
“When I’m done, it’ll be neat,” he said.
THIRD: Let’s step away from the long balls for a moment, shall we?
Gonzalez and Wells got all the postgame love, and will surely be the focus in all the Toronto papers (and on bluejays.com), but right-hander Brandon Morrow also turned in a solid outing for Toronto. Morrow worked six innings, struck out nine and limited the damage to two runs after allowing seven hits and two walks.
A few starts ago, pitching coach Bruce Walton worked with Morrow on lowering his arm slot. It’s still a work in progress, but Morrow is getting more comfortable with the change and has looked better over his past three outings.
“My arm’s been feeling really good,” Morrow said. “Those little tweaks we made a few starts ago, I’m starting to get more comfortable with it. My release point has been really good out of the stretch. It’s getting there out of the windup, getting more consistent. And my slider’s been great.”
HOME: OK, back to the home runs to wrap this up. The Blue Jays have belted a Major League-high 35 homers, producing 53 runs in the process. That accounts for 48.2 percent of the runs Toronto has scored this season. The team average is down, as are the walks and on-base percentage, while the strikeouts are aplenty.
Basically, the Jays are what the are — a team based on power. All-er-nothin’.
Wells had this to say about it…
“It’ll be difficult to keep this pace up. We need to start scoring runs in some different ways.”