Ricky Romero takes to the mound this afternoon against Houston and will try to make it 5 wins in a row for the Jays. The team has come out of the gates strong and as anyone who plays sports will tell you, winning is always fun, even if it is spring training. The important points from yesterday’s 8-5 win over the Tigers are as follows:
- Vernon Wells continued his strong start with his first HR of the spring, and is now hitting .600 after 5 games;
- Jose Bautista has done better, hitting .636 from his new home at the top of the lineup, and went 1 for 3 with his 2nd HR of the spring coming off Jeremy Bonderman to lead off the game;
- Randy Ruiz created some seperation between him and Brian Dopirak by crushing a grand slam off of Bonderman and is now hitting .615 on the spring;
- Reserve OF candidates Chris Lubanski and Jeremy Reed doubled and Mike McCoy went 1 for 1 but was caught stealing by Rabelo;
- The Jays managed 13 hits on the day, which gives them a total of 45 hits over the last 3 games. Talk about starting out with the hot bats!
- Brian Tallet, who could be the leading candidate for the 5th spot in the rotation according to this Jordan Bastien piece, struggled during his 2 innings of work. He allowed 4 ER through 4 hits and 2 walks. He still got the win however, and the pen candidates really shut the door behind him, allowing only 1 ER over 7 innings with only 5 hits allowed and no walks. The pen does look great so far!
- If Travis Snider continues to slump at the bottom of the lineup, I have a feeling he’ll be heading to Las Vegas. I’m not sure why he’s struggling so much, but with Jeremy Reed and Chris Lubanski lurking for his spot and with Snider still having options, he needs to get the bat going if he wants to keep his job. Besides, Randy Ruiz is proving all of the power the Jays wanted out of Snider, so if they play Adam Lind in LF they can fit Ruiz in at DH, which gives them a more potent lineup for 2010. Obviously, having an effective Snider is much more important, but he needs to learn to hit to his abilities first. I didn’t think this could or would happen before the spring started, but it’s definitely looking more likely now.
For those who are interested in watching hyped up players and seeing if they are as good as the hype, are you ever in for a treat over the next 2 days! First, we get to watch Aroldis Chapman take to the mound versus Kansas City in the late afternoon today. He will be followed by Stephen Strasburg, who is scheduled to take to the mound Tuesday against Detroit. Both pitchers are worth the look and should be fun to watch when they arrive in 2010, whether it happens at the beginning or middle of the season. It’s pretty rare that the league has two pitchers of this caliber making their starts. Let’s just say I’m glad they’re in the NL and that the Jays won’t have to face them for years to come!
Injuries are starting to pile up league wide which could get the ball rolling for trades. Angel Guzman, a RP with the Cubs they were counting on to set Carlos Marmol up, has gone down this spring and heightens the chances of a deal between them and the Jays. They’ve been interested in Jason Frasor for quite a while. Another team may be on the lookout for a RP however, as Joe Nathan has just been taken to get an MRI on his elbow. Minnesota has some internal options to take a spot in their pen, such as Anthony Slama who has dominated in the minor leagues or Rob Delaney, nut they could be on the lookout for more established and experienced names. When you consider the money they’ve spent to be competitive this season, from just $65 million in 2009 to over $93 million in 2010, you know they’re serious about winning and will deal if they have to in order to plug some early holes. It may be that Nathan will be fine, but Alex may have another trade partner here.
Other players who have gone down to injury across the league include C Russell Martin (to be replaced internally by AJ Hill and Brad Ausmus), and 3B Alex Gordon in Kansas City (to be replaced by Alberto Callaspo).