Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Cito Gaston Brand Ball Clubs - Making believers in the AL East?

Notes on a baseball game from the notepad beside my score card.

Oakland Athletics 3 - Toronto Blue Jays 9
Sunday May 2nd 2010 - 1:07 PM
Game time weather, 21 C, 70 F wind 0km/h.
Dome: Open (holy-crack-in-the-sky Batman!)

Jays won three out of four over the Oakland Athletics with some good pitching, and some not so good pitching by the them.

Thursday 3-6
Friday 2-10
Saturday 4-3
Sunday 3-9

After about a month into the season it's time for a step back - long view of the sit-it-ation.

The Jays have been gifted with some surprises this spring.

In a year that saw the departure of Roy Halladay and was seen by most as the beginning of a rebuilding phase, the Jays are unexpectedly getting production from spots in the line up they've been working on getting production from for years. The fact that Cito Gaston is back in town, might have something to do with it.

Here's Cito's line-up from today's game - J McDonald substituted for Travis Snider at the last minute (flu).

F Lewis LF32131022.250.298.423
A Hill 2B42321015.205.352.409
A Lind DH50000116.260.330.440
V Wells CF41210010.330.385.690
L Overbay 1B40100014.184.287.345
A Gonzalez SS41120222.276.303.619
J Bautista RF40000114.206.301.402
J Buck C41300120.243.289.529
J McDonald 3B42210014.229.229.400

Several defensive position choices made by the Jays in the off season have worked out great - not just defensively - but also offensively. Also, position players who've been on the roster for a while are playing up to their billing early on this year:

  1. SS Alex Gonzalez played for Boston Red Sox last year and is tearing it up with power numbers and average and as always great defense. He has extraordinary range, he's in a league of his own that way. And this year so far he's that hitting Alex Gonzalez that the Jays have always wanted. Or you could say he's the Tony Fernandez returned to bury the ghost of Tony Fernandez. (Do YOU believe it's him?)
  2. C John Buck after losing his starting job in Kansas City to Jason Kendall looks like the catcher the Jays have been looking for since Pat Borders. He is a 6' 3'' 230 lbs. monster of a man who can do it all defensively and is currently batting near .290.
  3. LF Fred Lewis who came to the Jays from The San Fransisco Giants in the middle of April (he'd fallen out of favour in Giant-ville - they're in chaos over there after losing the franchise Mr. Bonds to the juiced ball scandal [imho] - could turn out to be a Great deal).
  4. CF Vernon Wells is finally over some injuries that have made him look less than average over the past several seasons. He is back, so far, to the gold glove, 4th hitting, Hall of Fame-r of the future type player again.
  5. Aron Hill is just coming back into form right now after a few injury filled seasons. He's hitting the ball hard and you can see when he takes a pitch, he's seeing the ball extremely well. He still a consummate 2nd baseman defensively in my opinion - he reminds me of the greats at that position, Ryne Sandberg for example.
  6. When Cito Gaston puts him out there, utility infielder John McDonald plays great (2 for 4 today, triple and a double, and 2 runs scored). Cito seems to know how to manage tandems better than other managers and that goes for how he's managing John Buck and José Molina at the catcher position.
  7. Cito Gaston does what he does quietly and I think I'm starting to see the Cito brand on this team. He gets the most out of the players he's got; Cito Gaston, surprise - surprise, knows how to manage a team. Go figure.

Thanks to ESPN's Blue Jays Clubhouse for all the stats and the table and the screen shots of the box score and the standings.


No comments:

Post a Comment