The Happy Recap
The Blue Jays stopped the bleeding yesterday, defeating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-1.
You know things are bad when you lose your all-star third baseman and you still consider it a good day. Glaus pulled up lame after hitting a fly ball to the warning track in center field. He limped off the field, was replaced by Jason Smith, and will be checked out today. Apparently he heard something "pop" in his left foot. That doesn't sound like good news - he could be out for a while. I suppose Ryan Roberts will take his place and the squad will go with the Jason Smith-John McDonald platoon again. The only problem is that when this last happened, the two were hot. Not the case now. Smith was 1-3 with an RBI yesterday, but that was his first hit since April 26 and his OPS has plumeted to .540. His strike zone judgment is quite honestly appalling for a major league player. As for McDonald, he is 1 for his last 25. I would seriously consider calling up Russ Adams and moving Aaron Hill back to SS or 3B, just to get a little more offense in.
Anyway, enough moping. Back to the game! The D-Rays went ahead early on an Elijah Dukes HR. However, Burnett settled down, and Jason Phillips gave the Jays a 2-1 lead with a well struck double that scored Lyle Overbay and Aaron Hill.
Burnett didn't have pinpoint control, as he walked 5 in 5 innings, but he was throwing his fastball well and getting good movement on his curve, striking out 10 and only surrendering 5 hits. If this was a more patient lineup he was facing, it might not have been the same game. But not to take away from him, he pitched well and gave the team exactly what it needed.
Tek Janssen relieved AJ in the 7th and got into some trouble in the 8th, putting runners on the corners with no outs. But he managed to get out of it, and even struck out a batter. He only has 4 Ks in 17 innings and will have to improve on that if he is to be a successful pitcher over the long term. His K rates in the minors were decent, so hopefully he can do that.
The Jays added a run in the 6th on an error and 2 in the 7th, one coming on another Alex Rios HR. Rios is seeing the ball well now and leads the team in HRs with 7.
Accardo came out for the 9th and struck out the side. He was getting ahead of hitters with a 95-96 mph fastball and then just putting them away with the nasty splitter. It was awesome. He also has a plus slider. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get a nice long look in the closer role. That would keep Frasor, Janssen, and Downs in the 7th and 8th, which actually would not be bad.
I liked Gibbons moves. He batted Wells second to move Lind down in the order, which was good. Lind has been struggling to make adjustments at the plate, but they will come. As long as Rios is hitting well, he is a good leadoff hitter. Overbay is looking to have gotten back on track and he should be batting higher against righties. With his propensity for reaching base, perhaps he should be moved back into the 3 hole. I also liked using Accardo in the 9th. couldn't afford to blow this one.
Jays of the Day
AJ pitched well. The team will need consistency from him while Doc is out to get the ship righted. Rios and Wells did a nice job of setting the table. Honorable mention to Hill and Overbay for doing a great job of reaching base as well. I still like Hill as the 2 hitter.
Any ideas on who will get the starts in the rotation in Doc's absence? Tek? He was used yesterday, but they probably would've left him in another inning if he was slated to start this week (he only threw 21 pitches). Towers? He has looked horrible since his demotion to the pen. My money would be on John Thomson, but he apparently has some blister issue or something. The candidates in the minors are Josh Banks (4-0 and 3.57 earned-run average at Syracuse), Ty Taubenheim (2-2, 5.34 at Syracuse), Jesse Litsch (5-1, 0.96 at New Hampshire) or David Purcey (3-1, 3.13 at New Hampshire).