First, A big UGH to the Jays main page: “Jays won’t be mousing around?” “Disney too small a world for Litsch?” Is this what I missed in journalism school?? If hurting disney puns are what bring you back to reading about the Jays, I don’t think this was going to work out anyway…
There will be no pitch f/x while the Jays play in the minor-league postage stamp of a stadium that is Champion Field, but I don’t think you need a fancy system to know that Jesse Litsch was getting rocked on floating curveballs tonight. Is anyone worried about young Jesse yet? Despite coming into the game with a record of 2-0, he has been ridiculously hittable (Hitters have an OBA of .411 against him this season.) so far this season, and isn’t even racking up the ground balls. I’m of the mind that you can only work out of so many jams (*cough* Chacin *cough*) and his extremely-fortunate numbers stretching back to last season are finally catching up to him.
The brightest spot fof the night for the Jays was Jesse Carlson continuing to impress. He struck out the side in his first inning by throwing one slider after the other (did anyone find it strange that Rance and Jamie talked about his delivery, his movement, anything but the obvious pitch selection?), before finally hanging one to Hinske, who promptly deposited it in the stands. Still, he’s not a fluke- that’s a great pitch against both right and left handed batters as long as he can continue to control it.
Hinske went on to have a huge night, falling a single short of the cycle (although who really cares about the cycle, anyway?) and raising his OPS to 1.157. Will that last? Of course it’s not going to last. (The Mildly-Buzzed-Jays-Fans are properly dismissive of his short term performance in their half at the Q&A at Drays Bay).
Of course he also made one of the worst baseball plays I have ever seen when he bobbled a potential double-play ball, and then flipped it backhand nowhere near the pitcher covering first, giving Overbay a chance to come home (that he managed to stall on long enough to be nailed as the first out of the inning at the plate if the pitcher had hung onto the ball). The infield seemed a little wonky all night- at one point the Rays runner at second called time to replace a divot, and Lyle was eaten up on bad hops all night. Add to that Inglett making a mockery of right field, and this was an ugly game to watch.
As for the offence, pretty much what you might expect from a weakened lineup going against a damn good starter that has kept the Jays to a .192 batting average over his career. I’m sure Wilner is fending off people calling for Gibby’s head for not giving Rios a chance to improve on his 1-for-9, 5K numbers against Shields, but he looked worse against him than probably any other pitcher last year. Fortunately, Rolen is on his way back either this Friday or at the latest in time for the Boston series. And Lind should be called up now that he’s healthy enough to play- he went 2-4 tonight, and is now hitting .379/.431/.621 in AAA. On Buster Olney’s blog, he has the following to say about the return of his swing:
The call will eventually come because Lind seems to have moved past his lackluster 2007 showing. Lind got 290 at-bats for the Jays last year and batted .238 with a .278 on-base percentage. He never felt right the whole year and could never quite put his finger on the reason why. Lind returned to his Indiana home in the offseason, and while working out with former big leaguer Jermaine Allensworth, in a batting cage housed in a barn, Lind figured out the problem: The left-handed hitting Lind didn’t have enough weight loaded onto his back leg as he prepared to swing. “It took one swing,” said Lind. “It’s made a world of difference. Now it feels good, back to normal.”
There now- doesn’t that make you feel better? Just look at his swing- it’s a matter of time…