Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow Sharp, Jays Pen Not So Much
By Mat Germain
Jose Bautista should be the story of this game with 2 more HRs in this game, including one that may never have gotten higher than 25 feet off the ground as it was crushed to left field. If David Price can’t get Bautista out, who can in the entire AL? The Beast of the East is eating up pitching of late and making anything over the middle and in an easy target for his lethal bat. One year wonder? Ha! Think again, because it’s now evident that Jose will be mashing and leading the Jays at the plate for quite a few years. He’s looking every little bit the super star Alex Anthopoulos made him out to be, and to all of the doubters, I stick out my tongue in sheer happiness. He currently leads the majors with a 1.9 WAR, slightly ahead of Ryan Braun (1.7) and Jered Weaver (1.7).
But, Jays fans who pay attention already knew Bautista would produce. What every fan wanted to see in this game was whether or not Brandon Morrow‘s performance would be reminiscent of the early struggles he had in 2010, or his dominant performances at the end of the season. Thankfully for Jays fans, after an early game hiccup, Morrow looked absolutely sharp. Pitches were moving, his velocity was outstanding, and he once again looked to be the dominant pitcher all of us know he can be. Morrow wound up striking out 10 in just over 5 innings of work and only walked 2 and was taken out of the game only due to a strict pitch count after throwing 93 pitches.
Carlos Villanueva looked flat for the first time this season. I’m not sure that it can be explained, but he just couldn’t get the ball over the plate. Watching the game, it didn’t see that he threw 9 of his 17 pitches for strikes since he threw so many balls when he first took to the mound. He allowed a big shot to Ben Zobrist which made the score 5-2 and the Rays never looked back despite a small charge by the Jays later on in the game which made it 6-4. Overall, Villanueva allowed 2 hits and 1 walk in only 0.2 IP and had 2 ER to his credit while also allowing an ER charged to Morrow. Casey Janssen followed him and did better, but also allowed 1 ER. He also didn’t seem very comfortable out there and looked to be working particularly slowly.
If it were not for the pen’s demise, the Jays could have pulled this one off despite a hard start to the game for Morrow. We can’t really complain after all of the close wins the Jays have brought us of late, but this would have been a nice beginning to a winning streak of some sort.
Of note in this one was that Casey Janssen nailed Sean Rodriguez in the knee. At the time, Janssen was up 0-2 in the count, begging the question: was he hit on purpose? Well, after watching Rodriguez crush Jayson Nix‘s ankle, I would have to lean towards “perhaps”, but we’ll never really know now, will we. What I can say is that Rodriguez has now been hit in 2 consecutive games, once by Jo-Jo Reyes and once by Janssen, each time after the questionable slide. The Jays may very well be showing some solidarity in this case, something that can go a long way to bringing cohesion to the group and making this group a close knit bunch that can support each other well in tough times. That bodes well for such a long and gruelling season that will surely be filled with times when such support is needed.
Nix was placed on the 15-day DL with what’s being called a “deep knee bruise” and has been told to stay off the leg for 7 days at a minimum.
The Jays sat Edwin Encarnacion who is once again having left wrist issues. I’m really hoping it’s nothing serious and do believe that he may have to be like Albert Pujols (who has elbow issues and chips in it) and suck it up with pain until he has surgery on it once again to get it cleaned up.
Please put Aaron Hill on the DL and have him come back healthy would be my message to the Jays at this point. Yes, we’d all love to see Hill in the lineup, mashing and playing strong D, but not if it comes at the detriment of his overall performance due to lingering injuries. Sit him, get him healthy and move on thereafter. The Jays have to make the decision regarding Hill and the 15-day DL today, so we’ll see how it plays out. With the way Mike McCoy played at 2B and his great AB vs Price, I see no reason to rush Hill back into the fold.
Other Injury Notes:
- Scott Podsednik was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk for the Dunedin Blue Jays and may not be far from making his Jays debut (hopefully replacing Rivera in the lineup)
- Dewayne Wise was 0 for 3 with 2 strike outs in the same game, hitting 2nd behind Podsednik
- Rajai Davis didn’t play yesterday in his rehab due to a rained out game for New Hampshire
In any case, you can see that the Jays are close to having some OF help, which is much needed with the performances the Jays have received from the OF aside from Bautista.
With Ricky Romero taking to the mound today, I truly hope the Jays can get someone, anyone, to swing a hot bat along with Bautista. Someone needs to break through soon…right?
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