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Sunday Morning Bantering: Cito, The DH and Encarnacion.

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Happy Sunday, hope you are all enjoying your Victoria Day long weekend. It has been kind of cold in my little part of the world and wet in areas around here. Not a fun camping weekend. Fortunately I've gotten past the age where I think sleeping on the ground in a tent is something I want to do. Too many mornings of climbing out of the tent looking at all the snow that fell over night and trying not to freeze to death ended that part of my life. Now I think roughing it is a hotel without room service. Or perhaps a hotel in a police state. 

A few little bits this morning, nothing that I feel like padding out to make a full post out of it:

  • Some folks are getting on Cito for taking Vernon Wells, Alex Gonzalez and Jose Bautista out of the lineup yesterday when we were down by 7 runs. I can see their point, we are a team that seems to be able to come back from anything, but, as noted in this Fangraphs post, Cito doesn't rest his regulars very often. I'll admit I think that saying Cito has "gotten an early start on retirement" shows the writer hasn't paid much attention to Cito's career. Complaining about Cito doesn't use his bench is like complaining that the sun keeps coming up in the east. He picks the horses he likes and rides them till they drop and sometimes even after they drop. So getting on his case when he does give a guy a couple of innings off, I can't find it in my heart to get on him about it. It was too bad that John McDonald was up in the 9th instead of someone that might have had more chance to get on base, but then Mac did lead off the 8th with a single. 
  • Edwin Encarnacion is on the strangest little hot streak. Since coming off the DL he's had 5 hits in 15 at bats, all homers. Other than the home runs, he's had 1 walk, 1 sac fly and just 2 strikeouts. It isn't that he's just hit home runs either, he's crushing the ball, hitting it a mile. Not that it would be a bad thing to see some singles and doubles mixed in, it has been fun watching him. No one will complain about a .333/.353/.1.333 line. He's also looked pretty good in the field, hasn't made an error since his return (yeah I know, just mentioning that means he'll make 3 today) and has made some nice plays. There was the unfortunate mixup that he and Fred Lewis had the other day, but those things will happen to anyone.
  • I almost expected to wake up to find Dana Eveland had been released. Cito said he would 'discuss with Alex Anthopoulos' whether Dana would be skipped next start or not. That is a conversation I'd love to listen into. As much patience as Cito has with a struggling batter, he is much the opposite with pitchers. I have a hard time imagining we'll see him start again.
  • Among the many players hitting better than we had any right to hope, Alex Gonzalez has a quiet little 9 game hitting streak going. Amazingly enough, he hasn't had a home run in that stretch. He has been a much better pickup than we thought, it might not be a bad thing if he continues to keep the shortstop position warm for Hechavarria for another year.
  • Jordan Bastian has a little piece quoting Cito as saying the DH should be used in all interleague games:

"I don't want to be the guy that says he doesn't like it," said Gaston, when asked about Interleague Play. "I think it's great, I just think they need to change the rules a little bit. I can't figure out how it can be fair to come [to an NL park] and not use my DH when [NL teams] come to our place and get to use one of their pinch-hitters that needs some at-bats anyway.

When baseball people say the AL is at a disadvantage, it always kind of bugs me. You don't think the NL teams are at a disadvantage in the AL parks? The AL teams pay someone to be DL, the NL teams come in and give a few at bats to someone that doesn't play that much. 

To me, the nice thing about the games in the NL park is it forces Cito to give a guy a day off. As much as it is tough, when the likely candidates for an off day are all hitting well, the season is a long one and players tend to wilt at the end, if they don't get a rest now and then. Bill James explained it this way: 'Have you ever come home on a Friday afternoon and just collapsed. In baseball it can be a long time between friday afternoons'.

  • The nice part, if there is a nice part, of having our starters come of the game early a couple of games in a row, is that we get to see some of the guys in the back of the pen. Rommie Lewis has looked really good, he could work himself into a more important role in the bullpen. He's only had one really bad outing, he gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in 1.2 innings on May 2. Other than that, he's given up 1 run twice in 9 appearances. Casey Janssen pitched good inning yesterday as well. Josh Roenicke? I'm having a hard time warming up to him. He does throw hard but he's walked 9 in 9 innings in May and he's given up his share of hits too. He'll be 28 in August, if he is going to become a useful part of the pen, he should do it soon.
  • Oh, and I'm still pissed off that the Jays haven't replied to repeated emails about the series moving to Philly. Looks like the odds that I'll be driving up to Philadelphia are dropping. Maybe we can find a bar outside of the police state area of Toronto and meet with whatever Bluebird Banterers would like to join us for at least one of the games. 

It is a late afternoon game today, 4:00 Eastern. Shawn Marcum will put an end to our 3 game losing streak. Join us in the thread.