June 2010

Game 79 lineups: Jays at Indians

TORONTO AT CLEVELAND
at 7:05 p.m. ET, Progressive Field


Thumbnail image for BlueJaysRetro.gifBLUE JAYS (40-38, 8.0 GB AL EAST)

1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. John Buck, C
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Aaron Hill, DH
8. Nick Green, 2B
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Jesse Litsch (0-2, 8.78)


IndiansRetro.gifINDIANS (29-47, 12.5 GB NL WEST)

1. Trevor Crowe, CF
2. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
3. Carlos Santana, C
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Austin Kearns, LF
6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Anderson Hernandez, 2B
9. Jason Donald, SS

Pitching: Aaron Laffey (0-2, 6.37)

~JB

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Stat of the Day: 3.16

BauHit.jpgJays 3.16: For the Jays so loved the power, they gave their all-or-nothing swings and believed that the offense would not perish, but have eternal life…

…or something.

My point is this, the Blue Jays have average a paltry 3.16 runs over the course of June. It has been an offensive lull that has put an enormous amount of pressure on the pitching staff.

The sudden vanishing act by Toronto’s bats comes after the club launched a club-record 54 homers in May, scoring 164 runs (5.7 per game) en route to a 19-10 record last month.

This month, there have been just 26 homers (one per 31.2 at-bats compared to one per 18.5 in May) and 37 doubles (Jays had 64 two-base hits last month). The team hit .194 in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Indians, dropping Toronto’s average to .222 in June.

The lack of offense — giving Toronto’s starting pitchers little to work with — has resulted in a 9-16 record in June. It’s not as if the rotation hasn’t been carrying its weight, either. The Jays’ starting staff has posted a respectable 3.94 ERA in June. Within that, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Shaun Marcum have combined for a 2.77 ERA.

What do they have to show for it? The rotation has gone 6-12. In those 12 losses, the offense has provided all of 23 runs (less than two per game on average). For all their work, Romero, Morrow and Marcum have combined to go 4-6 this month. Now, the bullpen hasn’t helped matters any with a 5.06 ERA in June.

What does it all mean? It means that the Blue Jays would benefit from a more balanced offensive attack. When the power goes out, the offense is exposed in a bad way right now. Just like low-average, high-power hitters are prone to extreme hot streaks and ugly cold spells, so is an entire offense when it’s built the same way.

For the most part, this is the offense that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos inherited when he took over. In talking with Anthopoulos, his long-term goal is to build a lineup that includes more speed to go along with power. He uses the Rays, Twins and Angels as examples. Toronto has a ways to go to reach that point.

~JB

EXTRAS: A closer look at Lind

LindGaston.jpgAaron Hill and Adam Lind were a dynamic one-two punch for the Blue Jays a year ago, thriving in the heart of the order and cruising to Silver Sluggers awards.

This season, they’ve been more of a one-two punch to the gut for Toronto’s all-or-nothing offense. With the Jays still exceeding expectations as the All-Star break nears, it makes one wonder where the team would be with even average production from the pair of struggling sluggers.

Talking to Hill, he has said throughout this season that it is best for him to just keep going with his same routine, avoiding messing with the type of consistent approach that helped him to such a great season last year.

Asked about his issues at the plate, Lind is quick to say that sometimes it feels like he is trying something new every day. That is a big contrast to Hill’s reply, and manager Cito Gaston was asked which approach — staying consistent or trying a bunch of different things — offered the better chances of turning things around.

Gaston answered by discussing Lind’s current state of mind…

“He’s got to figure that out for himself,” Gaston said. “Sure, he probably feels that way. I’ve talked to him more about the mental part of the game — not much about [mechanics]. One thing I will talk to him about is getting ready, and I still don’t think he’s getting ready on time. But, once again, he’s got to feel it.

“I think that’s why you have super, super stars and guys that are just stars, or whatever. The super star gets it back right away. They don’t lose it that long. With Lind, he’s probably listening to [hitting coach Dwayne Murphy] and he’s listening to everybody and he’s listening to me.”

Entering Tuesday’s game in Cleveland, Lind was hitting .204 with a .265 on-base percentage and a .344 slugging percentage. The left-handed hitter was averaging one strikeout per 5.3 at-bats, compared to one every 3.7 at-bats on average in 2009. Lind had a .169 average with two strikes, a .213 mark with runners in scoring position and had only managed to work to a 3-1 count 13 times this year, going 0-for-7 in those situations.

EARLY EVALUATION…

Asked for his thoughts on what he has seen from his team over the first three months, Gaston immediately heaped praise on the Blue Jays’ young rotation. As far as Gaston is concerned, the starting staff is in a position to be one of the game’s elite groups in the next few years.

“What I see is that this organization,” Gaston began, “we’re going to be able to stand up and say, ‘You know what? We have as good of a rotation as any team in baseball.’ That’s what I see happening right here, right now, with these kids that are pitching now. This is just going to get better.

“Now, we need to maybe add some hitters in here, too — some different hitters for next year. I mean, all these guys are not going to be back here for sure. To get better, I think we’re in the right direction as far as the pitching and I think [the hitting] is where you have to get better, and we’ve got to do a little bit in the bullpen, too.”

~JB

Game 77 lineups: Jays at Indians

TORONTO AT CLEVELAND
at 7:05 p.m. ET, Progressive Field

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgBLUE JAYS (40-36, 7.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Ricky Romero (6-3, 2.85)


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Indians.jpgINDIANS (27-47, 13.5 GB NL WEST)

1. Trevor Crowe, CF
2. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
3. Carlos Santana, C
4. Austin Kearns, LF
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Jayson Nix, 2B
9. Anderson Hernandez, SS

Pitching: Jake Westbrook (4-4, 4.90)

~JB

Game 76 lineups: Phillies at Jays

PHILADELPHIA AT TORONTO
at 1:35 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park

PhilliesRetro.jpgPHILLIES (39-33, 3.5 GB NL EAST)
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Chase Utley, 2B
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Shane Victorino, CF
6. Ben Francisco, LF
7. Raul Ibanez, DH
8. Wilson Valdez, SS
9. Dane Sardinha, C

Pitching: Jamie Moyer (8-6, 4.43)

Thumbnail image for BlueJaysRetro.gifBLUE JAYS (40-35, 6.5 GB AL EAST)
1. John McDonald, LF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Jose Molina, C
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Brett Cecil (7-4, 4.06)

–JB

Back home in Toronto…


 
G20.jpg

“It’s really sad. They’re tearing up our home.” — Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston

Game 75 lineups: Phillies at Jays

PHILADELPHIA AT TORONTO
at 4:05 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park*

PhilliesRetro.jpgPHILLIES (39-32, 2.5 GB NL EAST)
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Ross Gload, 1B
8. Brian Schneider, C
9. Juan Castro, 3B

Pitching: Cole Hamels (6-5, 3.75)

Thumbnail image for BlueJaysRetro.gifBLUE JAYS (39-35, 7.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (6-3, 3.24)

*Series moved to Philadelphia due to security concerns about the G20 Summit being held in Toronto this weekend. The Blue Jays will serve as the “home” team, receiving the last at-bat and the use of the designated hitter.

~JB

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Game 74 lineups: Phillies at Jays

PHILADELPHIA AT TORONTO
at 7:05 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park*


PhilliesRetro.jpgPHILLIES (38-32, 2.5 GB NL EAST)

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Shane Victorino, CF
8. Ross Gload, 1B
9. Brian Schneider, C

Pitching: Roy Halladay (8-6, 2.43)


Thumbnail image for BlueJaysRetro.gifBLUE JAYS (39-34, 6.5 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, RF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Jose Bautista, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, LF
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Jesse Litsch (0-1, 6.75)

*Series moved to Philadelphia due to security concerns about the G20 Summit being held in Toronto this weekend. The Blue Jays will serve as the “home” team, receiving the last at-bat and the use of the designated hitter.

~JB

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Catch you from Philly

Thumbnail image for PleaseStandBy.jpgWith my brother in town, and then the G-20, I’ve got a couple days off to finish up this homestand. I will be tweeting and blogging throughout the upcoming tour through Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York. Until then, try to survive without me…

~JB

Game 71 lineups: Cardinals at Jays

ST. LOUIS AT TORONTO
at 7:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre



Cardinals.jpgCARDINALS (38-31, — GB NL CENTRAL)

1. Felipe Lopez, 2B
2. Matt Holliday, LF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Ryan Ludwick, RF
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Nick Stavinoha, DH
7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Randy Winn, CF
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Pitching: Jaime Garcia (6-3, 1.59)


Thumbnail image for Tlogo.gifBLUE JAYS (38-32, 5.0 GB AL EAST)
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Alex Gonzalez, SS
6. Jose Bautista, RF
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. John Buck, C
9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B

Pitching: Brett Cecil (7-3, 3.58)

~JB

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