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The Litsch-field Experiment

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The Happy Recap
Jesse Litsch made his first big-league start and it was a great one, and the Blue Jays won their second against Baltimore, 2-1. Litsch allowed only 4 hits and 1 run in 8 2/3 great innings despite walking 3 and striking out only 1.

Litsch was really fantastic, shaking off some early control jitters to settle down to a routine of getting ahead of hitters and getting ground balls. He'll give up his share of hits, but it looks like he can control the zone well. If he can stand up against a team of hackers like the O's, he should be just fine. Asharak noted in a very good diary the other day that Litsch's projections for the year don't look too great, but one should note that those projections don't consider Litsch's new changeup, which he used to very good effect against the O's. He had excellent sinking action on both his fastball (looked a bit like a cutter) and changeup. Surely he will get knocked around a bit at times, but he won't beat himself and I think he can be successful if he can limit the HRs. He looks a bit like Chien-Ming Wang but with a little less sinking action, not as much velocity, and better secondary stuff. 21 ground ball outs is nothing to sneeze at. And because he was stretched out, he didn't suffer the fate of Shaun Marcum.

Daniel Cabrera was also pretty good for the O's, but the Jays got to him just a bit more. Alex Rios led off with a HR, and later walked and scored on a Glaus single to give the Jays the lead. I love how Glaus will just go the other way with a runner in scoring position and two strikes, it is great to see - he did it last night, and again tonight. If more of the Jays made those kind of adjustments...

The Jays failure to add insurance in the 7th when they loaded the bases with one out didn't come back to hurt them, as Accardo came in after Tejada walked in the 9th and, after surrendering a single to Ramon Hernandez, got Aubrey Huff to ground out for his 3rd save.

Waxing/Waning Gibbons
Man, I loved sending out Litsch for the 8th, but I wasn't so sure about the 9th. Gibbons got resoundly booed for taking Litsch out after walking Tejada in the 9th, even though my heart was booing, I gotta say, my head agreed with Gibby.

Jays of the Day
Litsch clearly. It was his day. Aaron Hill was fantastic in the field and contributed at the plate as well. Rios' HR was a thing of beauty and was great for a young pitcher to immediately get picked up. Oh, and we needed the run too! Honorable mention to Overbay, who walked twice and played excellent defense and to Glaus for a very nice piece of hitting to plate Rios for the winning run.

It should be noted that the Jays, for all their problems, will be only 1 or 2 games out of second after tonight (assuming the Yankees and White Sox get their game in).