Covering the Bases: Game 44

Manager Cito Gaston had a decision to make prior to Friday’s Interleague tilt against the D-backs. With no DH, who would he sit?

Gaston decided to give Adam Lind the day off from the field, putting Fred Lewis in left, Jose Bautista in right, and Edwin Encarnacion at third base.

The most likely alternative would have seen Lind manning left, Lewis shifted over to right and Bautista spelling Encarnacion at third base. Well, the Jays ultimately lost 8-6, but Gaston came out looking smart.

Encarnacion launched three home runs (his four hits since coming back from the DL have each been long balls), Bautista belted his 13th homer of the season, Lewis led off the game with a homer for the first time as a Blue Jays, and, oh yeah, Lind smacked a pinch-hit, solo shot in the ninth.

So, what about Saturday?

“I know. Who do you take out?” Gaston said. “Let me think about that all night. That’s a tough one.”

Gaston said the most likely candidate to sit out on Saturday was Lewis, considering he’s never faced Arizona starter Edwin Jackson. Besides, how do you bench a guy who just had a three homer game? And how do you sit Bautista when he’s hit six homers in his last seven games? And Lind? He’s supposed to be Toronto’s top hitter. How can he sit two days in a row?

Where’s that DH when you really need it?

SECOND: The pitching line for Brandon Morrow was not pretty and it’s a main reason why the Jays can launch six homers and come out with a loss. Morrow went just four innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Look at the bright side (Cito did): Morrow only walked one.

Gaston said Morrow’s fastball was sharp, but he was missing with his breaking pitches. Throw in a ball that should have been caught in the fourth inning and suddenly the night took a different turn for the righty. Was it a good showing? No. But was Morrow as off as he has been in other starts? Definitely not.

THIRD: About that dropped fly ball, err… double. After Upton led off with a double in the fourth, Adam LaRoche sent a pitch from Morrow lofting high into shallow left. Lewis ran in, Encarnacion ran back, and then they ran into each other. The ball dropped to the grass (see above photo) and LaRoche was gift-wrapped a two-base hit.

On that play, Encarnacion has to let Lewis take the ball. Cito?

“Fred’s got the better angle on it, yeah,” said the skip. “I haven’t talked to them [yet]. … I don’t know if Fred was yelling and [Encarnacion] couldn’t hear, or if Freddy didn’t yell or whatever. But that’s pretty much Freddy’s ball there.”

After the gaffe, Morrow allowed a two-run double, a single and then later a two-run double to Dan Haren. Just like that, it’s 6-1 D-backs and the Jays have a big ol’ hole to try to dig out of for the next five innings.

HOME: And here’s the thing, the Jays ALMOST dug out of that hole. Toronto launched six homers, but went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Six homers. Six runs. That marked the most homers in a loss for the Jays in team history and, get this, only the second time since 1920 that a team hit six solo homers to account for all its offense in one game. The other was the A’s in 1991. Encarnacion’s three blasts were the first by a Jays since John Buck belted a trio on April 29. In fact, three of the last four Major Leaguers to go yard three times in one game have been Jays. Adam Lind had three on Sept. 29 last year. The lone exception in there is Mark Teixeira, who had three in a game earlier this season for the Yankees.

Catch you from the park tomorrow.


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