Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Wake me up, I must be dreaming

It's only one game, but I think Cito & Tenace have already made a big impact on the team. It's been mentioned before that their goal was to get this team to be more aggressive earlier in the count, and get back to doing whatever it was that got them to the majors - pulling the ball, hitting to all fields - and sticking to that game plan.

The scouting report on the Jays as a team was obviously to get ahead in the count, knowing the Jays would take some pitches, and once ahead expand the zone and take advantage of a pitchers count. But tonight, when Arroyo through fastball after fastball down the middle, the Jays jumped on it and crushed everything Arroyo threw at them.

Alex Rios hit a HR for what seemed like the first time since 2006. I'm really hoping that he's starting to find his groove, rather than him just taking advantage of a ridiculously bad Arroyo. Rolen and Zaun also joined in on the HR fun, and it was nice to see Rolen show some power. As I mentioned earlier, he had a 100 AB streak where he was basically a good singles hitter with discipline.

Adam Lind only went 2-5 last night, driving in a run and boosting his average to 185. He's hitting 500/556/875 since his return to the majors, in a grand total of 8 AB's. If we can call him a bust after 19 at bats, then we should give him an MVP award based on 8 AB's too.

Edit: I forgot to add that I'm really hoping that this offensive outburst has more to do with the Jays being aggressive, and not because Bronson Arroyo sucks.

Lost in the offensive outburst was the return to form of AJ Burnett. He pitched 8 dominant innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 ER, 3BB and 7K's. Tallet was pretty good in the 9th as well, allowing no hits, no walks & striking out one. I still feel a little nervous when he's pitching, but you have to admire the depth of the Jays bullpen that with a 13 run lead, the Jays can trot out a pitcher with a 2.17 ERA heading into the game (now 2.10).

Considering the struggles of virtually every bullpen in the game, it would be wise for the Jays to trade a couple of relievers for prospects or even in a package to help them acquire an upgrade in the lineup. Tallet, Frasor and Wolfe could all be moved, and considering the market for relievers the Jays could expect a decent piece in return. Well, not for Frasor, but for a lefty with a 2.10 ERA who can get RH batters out, and a young, cheap RH reliever in Wolfe, they should be able to get a return.

If any of the names I mentioned are traded, the Jays will not have to go out and find a new reliever. They have several options in AAA, most notably Davis Romero.

The big question on my mind is where do the Jays go from here? The best case scenario is that the offense starts performing to pre-season expectations, and is a middle of the pack AL lineup. Not a great one, but with this pitching staff, enough to have a very competitive season. The other scenario, one we've seen too many times over the past 4-5 years, is that after a big win like this the Jays lose the next two games 2-1 and 6-3. I think tonights game of Halladay vs Harang (who up to this year had been one of the most underrated starters in the NL) will go a long way too showing us if the Jays are for real or not.



sp said...

According to the following post at FanGraphs, this was more about Arroyo being awful than the Jays being awesome.

The Southpaw said...

Yeah I read that earlier. By the same token, it's not like this is the first pitcher to pitch poorly against the Jays. There have been other times when the Jays have faced pitchers with control problems and couldn't do anything with it.

The other thing is it's not like the Jays stopped scoring runs after Arroyo left the game. They still scored another 4 runs over the remaining 7-8 innings.

In fairness, the Reds' pitching staff is pretty brutal. But the Jays offense hasn't been that great either. So it could be a one time thing as the article suggest. I'd like to be optimistic about it, and hope that they can start scoring at least 4.5-4.75 runs per game. I'm not asking for much - 4.58 is the average runs per game in the AL.