If the Jays headed into Monday’s game against Houston looking at their starters and wondering who was going to be the ace, as well as who might fit into the 5th starter role, they got some pretty decent answers during the game. The Astros couldn’t muster much against the 4 Jays pitchers who threw in the game, and it all began with a gem of a performance by Ricky Romero. His stuff was consistent, was down in the zone, and it was downright filthy. Romero was quoted after the game as saying “It felt good to get through three innings and I’m a groundball machine all of a sudden.” The credit for the fact that he got 7 groundouts during the game and no pop outs can go directly to an awesome sinker that refused to allow hitters to get underneath it. He apparently took on Doc’s off season work regimen and is getting the payoff now. Hopefully he can pass on the same to Chad Jenkins and Kyle Drabek in order to continue the Doc legacy. If this start is any indication to how well Ricky will do this season, Jays fans are in for a treat.Ex-pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said of Romero “It’s a god-blessed arm and a tremendous work ethic and just a tremendous kid.” It bodes well for our search for a #1 starter for 2010. Take the reins Ricky, they’re all yours!
As for the #5 role, I have to say that thus far I am very impressed with Dana Eveland, who has done nothing but throw strikes. He also threw3 innings yesterday and actually outperformed Ricky in terms of hits allowed, allowing only 1 and strike out 2 while not allowing any walks. In my opinion, should Eveland continue to roll as he has, there’s no way that the Jays can slot Brian Tallet in ahead of him. I’m not sure when the Jays will need their 5th starter for the first time, but Eveland certainly could solidify the rotation with performances like this.
The only walk allowed in the game was by given up by rookie Chad Jenkins, who also allowed Houston’s only run over his 2 innings. He is also impressing this spring and has shown poise and polish beyond his years and experience, but will definitely begin the year in the lower end of the minors. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s likely that he could reach AA by the end of 2010 and make the Jays at some point in 2011. He’s that talented.
Zach Stewart finished the game off with good inning, allowing 1 hit, no walks, and striking out one. The interesting part where Stewart is concerned is that the Jays haven’t stretched him out at all. He pitched 1 inning twice, indicating that they may either way for his to stretch out in AAA, or that they are in fact going to keep him in the pen. With the number of starters competing for rotation spot, which could push guys like Brett Cecil down to AAA, I don’t blame them one bit. Stewart has the ability to become a closer if they keep him in the pen, and with the Cubs apparently knocking on the door for Jason Frasor‘s services, he could be required in the Jays pen very soon. We’ll see if they do give him some 2 inning blocks soon, if not, this could be one reliever to watch!
The Jays made it 5 in a row, and although when you take a peak at the scoreboard you wonder where all of the offense went, you have to look at the fact that the Jays got 14 hits to know that the offense continued their hot streak. Lyle Overbay, Brian Dopirak, John McDonald, and Jorge Padilla all got 2 hits a piece and J. P. Arencibia continued t show his awesome power with his 3rd HR of the spring. I still say he’s extremely under rated at this point and will definitely have an impact for the Jays in 2010. I own him in all of my fantasy leagues for exactly this reason. He has 20+ HR potential as a rookie, who knows how much thereafter. John Buck should definitely be looking over his shoulder, as he’ll need to hit in order to keep the Jays from calling JP up, especially if Shaun Marcum likes to throw as much as he does to Jose Molina, which could make Buck expendable before the deadline. Whatever the case, the Jays made it 59 hits in their last 4 games and are definitely on a roll.
The Jays have the day off on Tuesday. If you’re like me, you’ll be glued to the Washington vs Detroit game in order to watch Stephen Strasburg pitch. The Jays take on the Phillies for the second time this spring on Wednesday.
Quick Jays hits:
- Ex-Jay Alex Rios hit his first HR of the spring. Kenny Williams, the White Sox GM, said recently that he doesn’t think Rios will hit a ton of HRs, but that he does believe he can steal 30+ bases. I hope so Kenny, because you’re paying through the nose for those 30+ SBs. Enjoy!
- The Cubs looking into Jason Frasor bodes well for a trade, but it’s unknown what Jason’s value is or what the expected returns are from the Jays brass. Alex Anthopoulos has completed more complicated deals than this, which makes me think a deal can get done. My personal feeling is that the Jays want to expand the deal in order to acquire Starlin Castro, while the Cubs are saying no way. The Jays may be able to nab Hak-Ju Lee in my opinion and may be just as well off for it. He’s 6-2, 170 lbs, hit .330 in Boise with 2 HRs and 25 SBs in 2009. He has big upside and could be ready by 2012.
There are still 26 days left before opening day and lots can happen before then. But the more I see the Jays play, the more I like what I see for 2010.