For the Blue Jays (27-22), the western road trip marked a bit of a fall back down to earth. After a terrific start by Brett Cecil to open the L.A. series, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow could not build on the momentum. Just like the Arizona series, the team got behind early and failed to come all the way back despite late rallies.
The rise of Cecil
Despite the hot start, the Jays’ rotation has been in a state of flux since Spring Training, as evidenced by the demotion of Dana Eveland on Monday. Beyond Romero (his rough start against the Angels aside) and Shaun Marcum, the 3-4-5 spots have endured some ups and downs. Well, that turmoil may now be lessened by the growth of Cecil, who threw 7.1 innings of two-hit ball en route to the Jays’ 6-0 win on Monday. At 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA, Cecil has settled comfortably into his No. 4 slot and won’t be heading back to the minors anytime soon.
At least they’re consistent!
Not to beat a dead horse with this point, but the Jays continue to baffle with their ability to manufacture runs without tons of hits. Even having played two more games than all but one major league team (the Angels), Toronto ranks just 19th in hits and 25th in team average (.242). They do, however, continue to sit first in home runs, RBI and total bases. In three games against the Angels, the Jays scored 14 runs on just 16 hits.
Hill and Lind – cornerstone players?
Up until now, the struggles of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind have been largely shrugged off or glossed over, both because their hitting woes have been made more palatable by the performance of the rest of the team and because many are prepared to invoke the clichéd qualifier of “it’s still early”. But now we are heading into June, and it simply isn’t that early anymore. Currently hitting a paltry .154 on the season, Hill sits last among regular second baseman in the majors this year. Lind, meanwhile, has been healthy all year but is still only hitting .228. Against the Angels, Hill and Lind combined to hit .130 (3-23).
Who’s No. 5?
After Eveland was designated, it created an opening for a fifth starter to join the rotation. The problem is, no one seems to be stepping up to claim the role. David Purcey has been re-deployed with the team as a reliever, and Brian Tallet and Jesse Litsch have struggled at Triple A Las Vegas while attempting to return to Toronto. Expect a decision by Friday, as Cito Gaston and Alex Anthopolous will need to find someone to make the Tuesday start. Maybe Brad Mills is ready to get the call?
The Jays open a nine-game homestand against AL East foes starting with the Orioles (15-32), whom they swept earlier this season. In the opener, Marcum will head to the mound for Toronto against the O’s Kevin Millwood. Check back here for recaps from my colleague, Sean Melo.
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Written by Ben Fisher