11:50 PM Eastern
The amazing series in Texas continued – the Jays are playing with house money after skunking the Rangers by the same 9-0 score that’s recorded when a team forfeits.
Brian Tallet was fantastic – getting through his first-inning jitters by retiring the side in order, and winding up throwing seven innings of two-hitter. Perhaps more importantly, Tallet only walked two. The tall lefty has been nothing short of a revelation since being forced into the rotation by injuries to, well, everybody. Jesse Litsch joined that crew today – he’s going to have Tommy John surgery on Friday and may not be back until the 2011 season.
But back to tonight. Vernon Wells kick-started the offense with a lead-off triple in the second. Adam Lind scored him with a grounder to short and the Jays went on to score four in the inning, thanks in large part to Elvis Andrus booting what would have been a very easy inning-ending double play ball. Lind later homered (he’s 20 for his last 50!), as did Aaron Hill, and Scott Rolen had his second straight three-hit night.
It’s as though the switch has turned back on for the offense, which I guess is to be expected when you go to Texas, but you wouldn’t expect that the switch would be turned off for the Rangers, who came into this series tied with the Yankees for the best record in the American League, but have been outscored 15-3 over the two games.
Their ace, Kevin Millwood, takes the mound tomorrow against Ricky Romero as they try to turn things around. If the Jays can win that game, they’ll move to within half a game of second in the divison, behind either Boston or the Yankees, unless it rains in New York (in which case they’ll move to within a game of both of them).
The Jays could get an offensive boost in the near future – they’re in talks to bring in David Dellucci, recently released by the Indians, to replace Millingltista as either the left fielder or DH against righties. Dellucci brings a nice three-true-outcome bat, and while he would certainly be no saviour, and there will be better options available at the trade deadline, he would definitely be an improvement over what the Jays are running out there right now. We should know in the next couple of days where Looch will wind up – he’ll get a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum wherever he signs, with the Indians on the hook for the rest of his salary.
I understand that Looch will draw comparisons to Brad Wilkerson – and he is as far removed from his best years as Wilkerson was. One simply hopes that if he comes here and doesn’t work out, the Jays will be quicker to pull the plug on the experiment than they were last year.
It was draft day today – at least the first three rounds worth, anyway, and the Blue Jays did pretty much exactly what they wanted to do. They got Kennesaw State (GA) University righty Chad Jenkins, with whose agent they’d been in conversation all day, then grabbed Canadians with their next two picks – B.C. lefty James Paxton with the compensation pick for losing A.J. Burnett, and Newmarket high school lefty Jake Eliopoulos with their second-rounder.
They love Jenkins – a big guy at 6’4″, 225 who the scouts say throws a heavy fastball with late sink that touches 95. He has a good slider and a better change-up, and he throws strikes.
Paxton is a power lefty who may be headed for the bullpen because he doesn’t have a great third pitch. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s and he’s hit 98 on the gun, and he also has a terrific slider. He has some issues with his command, but he’s Canadian! He’s a Scott Boras client, but the Jays have said they’ll go over slot – and he’s Canadian!
So is Eliopoulos, who plays for the Brantford Red Sox and the Canadian National Junior Team. His fastball is in the high 80s, he’s got a promising curveball and a feel for the change-up. He just turned 18 last month, though, so he’s a long way away, as is the Jays’ first third-rounder, Jake Barrett.
Barrett is a big kid out of Desert Ridge High School in Arizona, and doesn’t turn 18 until next month. Scouts rave about the 6’4″, 230-pound righty, who lights up the gun at 94 miles an hour and also throws a power curve and a big splitter.
The Jays stayed in high school for their final pick of Day 1, grabbing outfielder Jacob Marisnick of Riverside Poly High School in California five picks after Barrett, with the other compensation pick for A.J. Apparently a fantastic defensive centrefielder, he hit .495 last year (high school alert!) with power and speed, and was ranked 11th among high schoolers on the MaxPreps Baseball Top 100 list – some even projected him as a first-rounder.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Join us tomorrow night, we’re on at 7:00 PM Eastern here on the website and on The Fan590 for a pre-pre-game show, hooking up with the rest of the country at 7:30 for an 8:05 first pitch. Make sure you tune us in!
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!