10:50 PM Eastern
It’s amazing what the Blue Jays can accomplish when they’re not playing a team that’s in a playoff race. Stack the Jays up against another second-division team and wondrousness occurs. With the only goal remaining in this season being to avoid 90 losses, the Jays improved to 26-18 against the current under-.500s of the American League. Hey – that works out to 96 wins over 162 games. Yee-ha.
Randy Ruiz was MIA again today – Cito Gaston said over the weekend that Adam Lind’s shin is still sore from being hit by a pitch in the first game of the just-concluded nine-game road trip, so Lind can’t play the outfield, which means Ruiz can’t play. I’m not sure about the whole Snider-as-the-left-fielder thing anymore, since he played right field in T-Bay on Saturday night.
I just think it’s incumbent upon the Jays to get as long a look as possible at Ruiz while they have the chance in a series of meaningless games from now to the end of the season. How can you know he can’t do the job when he’s never shown he can’t do the job? I get that Jose Bautista has a really good arm and stuff – he does, and he’s a ton of fun to watch in right field, but a team with aspirations to contend for a championship does not have Jose Bautista playing right field every day. I have my doubts that he’s even tendered a contract this winter.
It’s too bad that Ruiz doesn’t play shortstop or the outfield, what with Marco Scutaro and Joe Inglett both likely shelved for the rest of the season – Inglett with an oblique thing and Scoot with an exploded heel.
David Purcey looked terrific tonight, holding down an Orioles team that’s even more dead in the water than the Blue Jays are. He clearly ran out of gas with two outs in the 8th when he walked Cesar Izturis – a man to whom I think even I would have a hard time issuing a base on balls. To me, that was it, but Cito gave him two more hitters, then yanked him before he had a chance to take the loss should the game have gotten away. Congrats to Purcey for win number one on the season – he’s definitely in the running for a spot in the rotation next year.
Kyle Phillips showed something as well tonight. After getting nailed in the family jewels in the first inning and living to tell about it, Phillips made a terrific throw to get the extremely quick Izturis trying to steal second in the third. If he can hit – and early indications seem to be that he can – maybe the Jays have something here.
Travis Snider’s two-run single in the 8th was big for him, and for those of you who feel that Vernon Wells doesn’t show enough emotion on the field – check out his reaction when Brian O’Nora called him out at first on a throw that he beat. Not enough to get him tossed again, but something for those of you who want something.
Here’s tonight’s MNF-shortened edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!