Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Worn Out

Blue Jays 5, Twins 3

This game was great example of how working counts leads to victory. Both starting pitchers went 5.2 IP. Kevin Slowey needed 107 pitches to get there. Jays starter Litsch needed just 70! The Blue Jays relentlessly battled Slowey until he made mistakes. Both of the walks he allowed came on full counts. Several ABs lasted more than 5 pitches, capped by Scott Rolen's 15-pitch marathon that took Slowey over 100 pitches and set up the 2-out HR by Matt Stairs. Overall, Slowey did a nice job, throwing 2/3 of his pitches for strikes, and coming just 1 out short of a Quality Start.

The grinding continued when the bullpen took over, as the Jays forced 37 pitches from Matt Guerrier in 1.1 IP. The only efficient pitcher was Dennys Reyes, who threw just 3 pitches to 2 batters. Unfortunately, both batters got hits, and he finally allowed his first ER of the season. Brian Bass did a pretty good job in his 2 IP, allowing only 2 BB.

The offense couldn't sustain any rallies tonight. It didn't help that Monroe and Young didn't hit. Monroe's 3 K night may finally bring everyone back to reality regarding his likely effectiveness vs. RHP. What a thrill to see Jason Kubel get a pinch-hit HR! Is he ready to break out? The Twins need him hitting the way he did in the 2nd half last year if they're to have any hope of staying in the Central Race.

Span vs. Gomez

2-4 with a HR seems like a pretty good night for Gomez, but his 2 outs were both Ks, bringing his season total to 39. He also uncorked his 5th error when he needlessly sent a throw on a one-out single into the dugout. Still, his line for the season is now .277/.306/.418 for a .724 OPS. As Nick pointed out earlier, since his benching in Oakland, he's hit .345/.390/.582, with a 13/3 K/BB ratio, and 7 SB in 9 attempts, but he's made 4 errors. Still, clearly an improvement.

Yet I'm amazed again to check the Rochester box score and see that Denard Span is performing even better. Tonight he went 2-3 with a HR, BB, Sac bunt, and SB. His AAA line is now .338/.440/.468 for a .906 OPS(!) Since Gomez' benching in Oakland, Span's combined numbers are .348/.451/.493, with a 16/13 K/BB ratio, 10 SB in 12 attempts, and just 1 error. How much longer can he be denied a spot somewhere in the Major Leagues? If you want to argue that Gomez is still playing better, you certainly can't deny that Span is outplaying Delmon Young.

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