Last Night's Offensive Sparkplug, Joe Inglett
The Jays emphatically took the rubber game of their series with the Yankees behind an explosive offensive showing and yet another stellar performance by Doc Halladay.
The Jays jumped on the board early, scoring a run in the first on an Alex Rios single and a run in the second on a sac fly by the Captain. They then exploded for 11 runs in the next three innings. Marco Scutaro (4-6 with a 3-run HR) and Joe Inglett (4-5 with a walk and 3 runs scored) had big days, and Alex Rios and Adam Lind also had 3 hits apiece. Matt Stairs added a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double, and Mac also got in on the action with a 2-hit night and a 2-run single. Only Vernon Wells didn't have a hit, and he walked and scored a run.
While the onslaught was going on, Doc pitched brilliantly. Again. He took a shutout into the 7th when Hideki Matsui broke it up with a 3-run HR. I was actually relieved when Matsui hit the dinger because it allowed Cito to take Doc out of the laugher and so he had a bit of an easy day (94 pitches). When the Jays took a huge lead but Doc couldn't come out b/c of the shutout, I was starting to get scared about a freak injury. Doc finished with 9 Ks in his 7 innings, walking 2 and yielding 5 hits. His 15th win was well-earned.
Scott Downs and Brandon League pitched the last two innings, since neither had been used in a bit. Downs' ankle was immobilized laterally by some kind of brace and he looked pretty good I thought. League was a groundball machine, getting 3 easy groundball outs around a groundball single.
So the Jays host Boston for three games, the first of which will feature a Shaun Marcum v. Paul Byrd matchup tonight. It was weird to see the Jays look totally offensively dead for 2 games against the Yankees and then absolutely explode last night. Let's hope it's that Jays offense that welcomes the Red Sox.
One new face for the game tonight will be newly acquired right-handed hitter Jose Bautista. The Jays will open a roster spot for Bautista, and certainly it won't be Inglett who is sent down, so it will likely be Mench or Wilkerson. Normally I would think Mench, since he's also a righthander, but I think something might be up with Wilkerson, since Mench was used as a defensive replacement for Lind the other day and Wilkerson is clearly the better defensive outfielder. So we'll see.
I have to admit, this response from Richard Griffin when asked what he would do if he were GM is actually kind of awesome:
A-As I always like to point out, GM Ed Wade of the Astros and GM Ned Coletti of the Dodgers were both former public relations guys in baseball – Wade with the Phillies, Pirates and Astros, Coletti with the Cubs – which makes me just as qualified as 6.7-percent of all major league GMs. My application is ready should anything open up locally. One of my first moves would be to find every former major-league player living in Canada and put them on the Jays payroll as consultants, scouts and ambassadors. Then, I would increase funding to Greg Hamilton’s Baseball Canada program and take a more hands-on approach to our team in the World Baseball Classic. I would sign free agent Carlos Delgado as a DH for one year until Travis Snider is ready and have him influence immature Puerto Rican star Alex Rios into maximizing his skills and focusing every day. I would sign Orlando Hudson and move Aaron Hill over to shortstop. I would hope A.J. Burnett walks. I would trade for a young ready-for-prime time No. 2 or 3 starter and not be afraid to give up some premium prospects. I would promote young J.P. Arencibia as the catcher of the future and re-sign Gregg Zaun (with full knowledge of his role) to tutor him and give him a crash-course in the Jays pitching staff. I would hire an experienced senior advisor and some veteran scouts and actually listen to their advice. I would go across the street from the Rogers Centre to St. Louis Bar and Grill for my weekly radio show, "Wednesdays with R.G." and allow drunken Jays fans a chance to offer opinion without being condescending in return. I would stay in Toronto all winter.
Not because I agree with any of Griffin's suggestions (I could see not wanting to invest the money and years it will take to keep AJ, but hoping that he walks?) but just for its (likely unintentional) comedic value. Who are these "premium prospects" the Jays are giving up for this "young, ready for prime-time No. 2 or 3 starter," since Snider and Arencibia appear to be off-limits? I do like the idea of resigning Delgado to DH, particularly if the Jays can get him on a one-year deal, but I don't think that's likely or that he'll even be available (if he wants a one-year, he and the Mets have a mutual option they're likely to pick up. And if he wants more than one year, well, he'll probably get it). Anyway, nice job, Griffin.
Speaking of prospects, congrats to Travis Snider and Scott Campbell for making the Eastern League all-star team!