The previous start Brandon Morrow made had his fastball looking very flat, his velocity was mediocre based on his previous performances, and he was missing his spots on a continuous basis. Not so in this latest start versus Kansas City, as had movement, great velocity, and hit his spots the majority of the time.
Morrow only threw 90 pitches to finish his 7 innings, making this start a very efficient one. 64 of his 90 pitches were for strikes (71%), and he only allowed 3 hits and 2 walks in the game. Due to his 1 and only ER, Morrow was able to reduce his massive ERA to 7.31 and also earned the confidence of the coaching staff, which may have wondered whether he would find his form before other alternatives pushed their way into the rotation. If the Jays can get performances like this on a steady basis from Morrow, and already have impressive starts from Eveland, Romero, and Marcum, the rotation is looking very strong indeed.
All of these effective starts are ensuring the Jays pen is fresh and that is a major asset for them as the season progresses. There will be a time when the pen is called on frequently, so keeping them fresh gives Cito Gaston assurance that he won’t burn anyone out.
The shots hit by Jose Bautista (2) and Travis Snider were refreshing and gave the lineup some oomph it was lacking at the bottom of the lineup. Jose Molina looked lost at the plate as usual (hasn’t anyone ever taught him how to hit? Or did they just settle on the fact that he is a great catcher? Seems to me that if he was taught patience and other fundamentals, he could hit as many HRs as his brother Benjie).
The catalyst for the Jays was my main man Mike McCoy who was a pest in every way. He played great D, and also went 3 for 4 with 2 stolen bases including one that allowed the Jays to score the first run of the game against an effective Brian Bannister. The lineup looked great, in my opinion, and I loved the fact that it turned over with McCoy followed by Fred Lewis. If we substitute Molina for John Buck or JP Arencibia, the lineup looks strong and actually has speed when those 2 are included, something I can’t recall having much of in Toronto.
Speaking of Brian, he was cruising along fairly nicely until Alex Gonzalez forced him to throw 10 pitches in one AB – a trait that Alex is learning to use to his advantage. Even though he struck out in that AB, that, to me, was the turning point of the entire game, as Bannister seemed to tire as the inning went along and had a hard time hitting his spots from that point on. McCoy scored on a wild pitch in that inning, but it was the next inning when a more tired Bannister allowed a HR to Travis Snider in the first AB of the inning.
I’m not sure that would have happened without the AB by Alex Gonzalez in the 3rd inning. I was very impressed with his patience and its obvious that he has the hand-eye coordination and quick-twitch muscles to make contact and protect the plate, so hopefully he continues to do this effectively. Whenever I notice the Jays taking a ton of pitches, I always tend to see positive results. When you play a team like KC that has an awful pen, getting passed the starter by wearing him down is key to winning.
Lyle Overbay is coming out of his slump. He went 2 for 2 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored, and hopefully this continues for him because Brett Wallace (.302) is showing his stuff in AAA as he went 2 for 5 Monday and hit his 5th HR of the season, power the Jays could use in the 5th hole.
The Jays get 2 more against KC and should do well against Kyle Davies (1-0, 4.26) tonight as he takes on Dana Eveland (2-0, 1.35).