One night after a rather dreadful effort by both the pitching and the offense, everything looks to be back in order. A Jays win and a Red Sox loss (finally), and our boy are back on top. Where they belong.
Scott Richmond will make a believer out of you yet
With a standard caveat that it is early in the season, it is David Lynch weird to look at the Jays leaders in ERA and to see Scott Richmond placed ahead of Roy Halladay, more than a full run better (2.70 to 3.75). We're not about to lose our heads with Richmond and suppose that he'll post a sub-3.00 ERA for the full season, but he has looked efficient and capable thus far.
Richmond has gone at least six innings in his last three starts, giving up just four earned runs over that period. By all rights, he should be no better than the team's fifth starter, but if he has to pick up some of the slack while Jesse Litsch and Ricky Romero convalesce, at least he seems capable.
Aaron Hill is still awesome
We figured that last year would be Aaron Hill's big breakout season until a certain unnamed gritty gamer showed a little too much heart and determination and wacked him upside his head.
Thankfully, Hill is making up for lost time this year. He has reached base in all but one game this year, and has hits in 20 of the team's 22 games. He leads the Majors in hits with 36, and sits tied for sixth in the bigs for RsBI along with (interestingly enough) Ian Kinsler and Chase Utley.
Marco Scutaro is a leadoff hitter
Some people get too wrapped up in their notions of what a leadoff hitter is supposed to be. If you were to have asked before the season, there were plenty of people who would have preferred a scrappy slap hitter with speed...not unlike the useless starting shortstop and leadoff man with whom the Jays began their season last year.
But full marks go out to Scoots, who has fully embraced his table-setting role so far this season. He is currently in second place in the big leagues with 21 walks, one behind Jason Bay. (And one ahead of Adam Dunn, who dislikes baseball so much that he refuses to take his bat off his shoulder.) Scutaro's walk rate thus far is way out of line with anything he's done before, although we'd like to think that is an indication of his embracing the new role at the top of the lineup.
We're not about to lose our head here and call Scutaro the MVP of the team like some did last year, but he's been exactly the sort of offensive catalyst that you need at the top of your lineup and a key to the Jays' good fortunes thus far.
Travis Snider has been grounding out a lot over the past week or so, and his early season numbers are coming back to Earth. But if we have to find some solace in this recent spate of groundouts, it's probably the fact that we're impressed with how quickly Snider gets down the line for a big strapping lad. There have been a few plays where we actually for a quarter-second thought that Snider had a shot at beating a play out, and we're sure that he will before the season is out.
And dare we say it? Snider looks like he runs as well as the former Gold Glover to his left in the outfield.