After a rough sweep at the hands of the Orange County Angels of Anaheim which is a suburb of Los Angeles in the State of California, the Jays found themselves in the welcoming presence of the Kansas City Royals, and used the opportunity to pound on them a bit.
On the Mound:
Brandon Morrow was only missing by a little in his first start this season, but he was missing by a lot in his second. I mentioned after yesterday's game that tonight was a great opportunity against a relatively poor lineup to get back on track and he was fantastic. Morrow walked the leadoff hitter on 4 (close) pitches, but settled down big time after that. Brandon went 7 strong, giving up just 3 singles and 2 walks, and struck out 8. He didn't use many pitches to do that, either, throwing an efficient 91. He likely could have gone another inning but coming off a couple of rocky starts, I see the argument for letting him leave on a strong note. I thought about starting an internet rumor that he was related to the guy from Northern Exposure, but decided not to. Perhaps most encouraging of all, when Royals did hit the ball, Morrow was getting them to hit them on the ground, and it seemed to be by design, as he was working pretty well in the lower part of the strike zone.
At the Plate:
The two big stories today were Jose Bautista, who rocked 2 big home runs (he also walked) and doubled his RBI total for the season (now 10), and Lyle Overbay, who showed signs of life with a 2-2 (2 walks) day with a double (not to mention reached on catcher's interference). But those weren't the only stories. Royals starter Brian Bannister was having trouble locating and the Jays took advantage. Travis Snider jacked a huge home run to right and also hit a bunch of hard-hit balls, Vernon Wells doubled, walked, and hit some other pitches hard, and Mike McCoy was a sparkplug at the bottom of the lineup with 3 hits (2 singles and a double) and 2 steals. Booing players who are slumping is kind of silly, I mean, everyone slumps, it's just that for some players the fans ignore it and for others, they don't. But I digress.
From the Pen:
Shawn Camp and Casey Janssen entered with a big lead and marching orders not to give away free bases, and they did their work quietly and effectively. Camp gave up a double and Janssen a cue-shot single, but they closed out the game with little fanfare and their usual collective knack for inducing ground balls. I would've rather seen Accardo and Valdez out there and not used Janssen and Camp, who have been useful pitchers so far this season, but I guess coming off a sweep Cito didn't want to mess around with guys who have been struggling. If you can't get an inning out of one of them in a 7-run game against the Royals, though, when can you?
In the Field:
I like what McCoy brings at second. He's not flashy but he seems to have solid range and steady footwork. Molina appeared to work very effectively with Morrow and I wonder whether the Jays might try to give Brandon and Jose more starts together. I didn't like some of the pitches Buck was calling in Morrow's first start, although that's not a knock on Buck - it's understandable given it was the first real game in which they were working together and it's not like they had a lot of chances to sync up this spring. Fred Lewis looks pretty good in left field.
All in all, nice to see the azure corvids bounce back after a tough weekend. Jays of the Day: Morrow, Bautista, and McCoy, with honourable mention to Overbay and Moonraker. Post title courtesy of "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones.