It was a very well pitched and managed game that displayed the relentless dedication to winning that both teams have this season. The Jays didn’t get much from the top of their lineup until the winning hit was driven in for the win in the 14th inning, but that in itself is worthwhile. Instead, it was the middle of the lineup (Wells, Gonzalez, and Overbay) that produced most of the offense for the Jays. It was enough to ensure Ricky Romero‘s great efforts in the game – going 8 strong innings with only 1 mistake, a 2-run shot given up to Derek Jeter – were not wasted. Following his efforts, the pen took over and aside from a hiccup from Kevin Gregg, they were simply outstanding on this day.
Cito Gaston gave the ball to the right guy each time, passing over Jason Frasor who pitched the 9th in yesterdays game – the right call that I’m actually surprised he made. When your bull pen comes up and throws 6 innings of shut out ball, and only gives up 3 hits and 1 walk to a team like the Yankees, you know you have a great bunch of guys who in there who know how to get the job done. This win will go a long way to building Ricky Romero‘s confidence, the confidence and resilience of the pen, and in teaching the Jays that they may want to play small ball once in a while to eek out some wins. Without the sacrifice in the 14th inning made by Fred Lewis, the Jays and Yankees could have gone to the 15th inning and more. Cito needed to recognize the time was right to make that call and I’m glad he did. Having said that, I do believe he could have pinch run for Lyle Overbay 2 innings earlier in order to give someone a chance to steal second and get into scoring position.Still, it was a well managed game overall.
Aaron Hill and Adam Lind both looked horrible for most of the game and were “out-strategized” by the Yanks. I saw Lind take the 1st pitch right down the middle 4 times in a row, saw him swing t a breaking pitch inside for the second pitch 4 times, and saw him get struck out by a pitch that wasn’t a strike (2 were out and away, 2 were from another breaking pitch way inside). You would think that by the 4th time up Adam would be swinging at the 1st pitch he saw – but no, he watched it go right down Broadway. That, my friends, is the sign a hitter that is not nearly aggressive at the plate. Jose Bautista, on the other hand, hacks away in the beginning of his ABs and works the count from that point forward. Why? Because he has confidence in his ability to fight off some pitches in order to get the count back into his favor. It’s a very well known fact that pitchers love to be 0-1 or 0-2 in the count, so why would you sit there and take those pitches? The Yankees are schooling Lind and he needs to learn from it. Swing Adam swing, and good things will happen.
Before the 3 series versus the Rays and Yankees started, most fans would have been happy with a split of 5 and 4. Well, it’s looking more and more like that could be close to the truth as they are currently 3 and 2 for the 9 games versus their division rivals. They’ll go for the sweep tomorrow with Brandon Morrow trying top emulate the great starts the Jays got from their other 2 youngsters. With so many arms used today, Cito will be crossing his fingers that Brandon can go 7 or 8 innings. He does have Jason Frasor and David Purcey fresh and ready to go, as well as Scott Downs who only threw 1 inning, so the pen should be ready to go if needed.
- The Jays signed Dewayne Wise to a minor league deal. Not only does Dewayne have a good amount of MLB experience to provide the Jays with good depth in the OF, but he also would provide some great defensive capabilities for the club that they could dearly use late in games. The career UZR of 9.2 in the outfield is outstanding and he does have enough speed to steal some bases when needed or to pinch run.
- I don’t believe the Jays have signed Dewayne Wise to a contract as a prelude to a trade. Instead, I think they just want Jeremy Reed to get regular playing time while they can use Wise on the bench more effectively. It makes perfect sense in that Wise could give the Jays a defensive boost late in games while giving Vernon Wells a chance to rest simultaneously.
- While I don’t think the Wise acquisition was a prelude to a trade, I still expect one to happen sometime before or after the draft. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the Jays do in the draft and what they land in terms of talent. My draft projections will be out tomorrow for all to see! Hopefully I get at least 10% of the picks right….