Covering the Bases: Game 69

Litsch.jpgFIRST: Ask me, and I’ll say we should probably wait until Jesse Litsch squares off against some of the elite teams in the American League before announcing that “He’s back!”

That said, what Litsch did on Saturday against the Giants is definitely an encouraging sign for the Blue Jays, especially considering how his last start went.

On Sunday against the Rockies, Litsch allowed seven runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and one walk in 2 1/3 innings. On Saturday against the Giants, he logged seven shutout innings, scattering three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Will the real Litsch please stand up?

At least on Saturday, Litsch looked — approach wise — more like the pitcher we saw down the stretch in 2008. He mixed his pitches better and did not rely heavily on his cutter. Against the Rockies, Litsch admittedly was a bit “cutter happy.” If you remember, when Litsch was sent down midway through ’08, it was to work on a four-seamer to take away emphasis on the cutter.

Beyond that, Litsch boasted an effective changeup and he mixed in his breaking pitched well against San Francisco. Said Giants leadoff man Adres Torres: “He was throwing a lot of sliders and sinkers. He was moving the ball everywhere. At the beginning it was tough [to pick up the ball], I wasn’t seeing it good. He pitched well.”

SECOND: Two 1-2-3 innings in a row for closer Kevin Gregg? If that seemed odd it’s because that’s the first time the Blue Jays have had that this season from the big righty. Taking it a step further, this was not simply in back-to-back games, but in consecutive days for Gregg.

Prior to Saturday, Gregg only received save chances on consecutive days three times this season, and he blew the Day 2 opportunity each time (May 7 at Chicago; May 20 at Seattle; June 1 vs Tampa Bay). So what’s gotten into Gregg these days? Manager Cito Gaston thinks it’s the rest he has received.

Consider that over the past 19 days, Gregg has only worked in five games. Over that span, he’s notched four saves in four chances with. In the previous 26 days, Gregg appeared in 11 games and blew three saves, picked up two losses and had a 9.90 ERA.

THIRD: It’s not the hottest streak we’ve ever seen from Aaron Hill, but the second baseman is starting to at least shown signs of offensive life in spurts lately. Over his past six games, he’s hit .269 (Hey, he’s hitting .194 on the year. Stay with me on this one) with a handful of clutch hits. Consider that Hill’s two-run, eighth inning homer on Saturday came with two outs. In San Diego earlier in the week, Hill had a pair of two-out, RBI hits in the same game — something he hadn’t done since Aug. 1 of last year. The guy hitting behind him, Adam Lind, had two hits in Saturday’s win, marking his first multi-hit game since May 24.

HOME: Wins always make the clubhouse more fun. Following Saturday’s game, Vernon Wells and Hill were giving Fred Lewis a hard time about the outfielder’s capris pants. “Come on, Fred. Let me see them,” yelled Wells from across the room. Lewis, sitting down: “I’m the hardest man you’ll ever meet wearing capris.” Hill: “I’m going to stop calling you Fast Fred. I haven’t seen you steal a base this month!” Lewis then ripped Hill’s lack of a tan and offered to loan him some tanning spray. After it all died down, Shaun Marcum walked in, spotted Lewis, and said, “Are you wearing capris?!” And the whole clubhouse erupted with laughter.

NOTE: Apologies for the lack of blogging lately. Sometimes, life simply gets in the way. I’ll try to be a little more consistent with the postgame blog entries as the season goes on. When I’m not blogging, though, make sure you’re reading bluejays.com and following me on Twitter (@MLBastian) for full Blue Jays coverage.

~JB

3 Comments

Nice to see you back, Jordan. When you have a young one, sleep sometimes becomes a memory, but I really enjoy the behind the scenes stuff you post here. Your hard work is appreciated.

Nice to see you back, Jordan. When you have a young one, sleep sometimes becomes a memory, but I really enjoy the behind the scenes stuff you post here. Your extra work is appreciated.

JB, enjoyed your reporting of the clubhouse antics, shows the guys are loose. Keep up the great work.

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