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The Series Rewind: So that’s why they’re called the O’s!
Posted By Ben Fisher On Jul 29 2010 @ 1:01 pm In Toronto Blue Jays | No Comments
When they won the first three it was a hot start. When they won six in a row, it was a quirky coincidence. Now that the Blue Jays (53-49) have won all 12 games against Baltimore this season, it’s an historic level of ownership. The Jays had never won the first 10 games of a season against the same opponent, but have now won 12 thanks to a 22-run output over the three-game set and a trio of strong starts.
Mills’ impressive one-and-done
A perfect game last night would not have kept Brad Mills up with the big club after his spot start for a club needing a live arm and looking to recall Travis Snider. While he didn’t offer up perfection, Mills came awfully close, throwing seven innings of two-hit ball to get the win in the Jays’ series-closing 5-0 shutout. Mills now returns to Triple-A Las Vegas knowing that he hasn’t seen the last of the majors and could even get the call later this season. Meanwhile, the rotation returns to order after being thrown off due to Sunday’s doubleheader and Snider will look to carry his hot bat from the minors up to the big leagues and contribute in Toronto right away.
It can’t be a total coincidence that public opinion seems to have turned firmly towards holding onto Jose Bautista at a time when he hit three more long balls against the Orioles to reach 30 home runs before August. Bautista, who also has 75 RBI for Toronto, proved that he isn’t one-dimensional by going 8-12 in the series with three doubles and adding some solid defence, gunning down Nick Markakis at third as he tried to tag up from second in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game. Of course, Bautista’s defensive effort was dwarfed by the gem turned in by Yunel Escobar in the same game, as nabbed a hard grounder up the middle and made a behind-the-back flip to second with his glove for the out in the fifth.
It seems to be one of the on-going themes for the season – Brandon Morrow continues to enjoy a quietly productive season while flying under the radar for the Jays. Morrow, who is still being eased into the role of starter after spending much of his Mariners tenure as a reliever, had skipped a turn in the rotation in an effort to curb his season-long innings total. Concerns that he would come out flat proved unfounded, as he scattered two runs and five hits over six innings of work for his seventh win of the season. While his 4.62 ERA remains unimpressive, Morrow has endured just two outings of four or more earned runs in his last 11, providing a reliable arm in the middle of the rotation and a key element to the pitching staff moving forward.
Speaking of overlooked Jays, Fred Lewis seems to have secured his lead-off spot with the team thanks to unassuming, consistent play that has him ranked first on the team in batting average (.280) and second in on-base percentage (.343) to Bautista. He and Escobar have formed a consistent ‘set the table’ combo atop the order for the 3-4-5 power bats. As things are currently set among the team’s position players, it appears that Lewis will join Escobar, Bautista, Vernon Wells, Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Snider and possibly Edwin Encarnacion among the starters carrying over to next season. J.P. Arencibia and Brett Wallace could join them in time for 2011. As for Lewis, not bad for a guy picked up for some cash.
After an off day, the Jays homestand continues against another bottom feeder in the AL Central-worst Indians. The Tribe, who dealt Jhonny Peralta to the Tigers yesterday, will send Justin Masterson to the mound on Friday to face Shaun Marcum.
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