Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A week's worth of baseball in one night

It's hard to even figure out how much you can discuss after a game like last night's 18-10 slugfest win over the Rangers last night. It was a night so filled with both positives and negatives that Rod Barajas can hit two homers and drive in five and still be a footnote.

Mostly, though, it was yet another coming out party for Adam Lind. After last night's eight-RBI explosion, Lind has now driven in more runs this season than he had in the previous two seasons combined. Given some extra playing time and some latitude to face lefthanders (against whom he's put up a respectable .816 OPS), Lind has gone from a position of being a worrisome diminishing prospect to becoming a bona fide slugger.

With so much to gripe about this season, it's important that we recognize what we have in Toronto in Lind and Aaron Hill. While casual fans might question whether if this team has the offense to compete in the coming years, it's worthwhile to look at Lind's peers amongst the statistical leaders around the Mjaors. Lind is putting up numbers comparable to Evan Longoria, Jason Bay, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, and Justin Morneau. And if the Jays season hadn't been subsumed by pitching injuries and poor use of the active roster, then maybe Lind's name even starts to be whispered as a long shot for MVP.

It's impossible to know whether if we'll get the same level of production out of Lind and Hill next season, but their performance this season augurs well for them being able to provide production at the heart of the lineup. If only the Jays can fill in the lineup spots around them.

The upside of Downs
Last night's 1.2 innings of relief from Scott Downs were the best we've seen from the oft-injured lefty since shortly before he took over the closer role. While he was bailed out with an outstanding catch in centre by an apparition vaguely resembling the Ghost of Vernon Wells, Downs was locked in for the most part, and pitched what turned out to be the most important inning of the game in the eighth.

With the score still 11-10 for the Blue Jays, Downs put up a 1-2-3 inning against (arguably) the Rangers' three best hitters. That might get lost, what with the bat-around ninth, but Downs stepped into a high leverage situation and locked it down. Given what's happened over the past two months, such a performance is a bit of a novelty these days.

Double happiness today
The Jays and Rangers play two today, so we'll have to find something for the wife to do while we dig in for six-to-seven hours of baseball goodness this evening.

On the plus side for the Jays, they managed to make the Rangers dig deep into their bullpen yesterday, so they may have to stick with their starters longer than they'd like. Of course, the Jays used the same number of pitchers...so it likely evens out.

Hey, we're just hoping we don't have to see Jesse Carlson today. Is that too much to ask?


The Ack said...

It's like the baseball gods welcomed you back to the fold with something positive to discuss....

Rough weekend around here. The readership was getting restless.

eyebleaf said...

...bona fide slugger.


Last night was fantastic. Lind; Rod the Bod (give him a contract!); Vernon!!1; and, of course, Scotty.

Tao of Stieb said...

Like Rod the Bod, but I'd almost be tempted to see if you can get Miguel Olivo on a Millar-type one-year deal.

Got a feeling that there will be options at catcher, and that Rod will sit out there for a while.

eyebleaf said...

I'm really torn on what the team should do at catcher.

I want to put together a list of the combined OPS's of catchers in the American League, by team. It's too bad I'm lazy as fuck, and have this whole "job" thing to deal with.

Ian H. said...

In Rod We Trust:

6 HR, 14 RBI and a 1.136 OPS since August 18th. This guy is definitely playing for a new contract.

The Ack said...

Inglett, Wolfe, and Hayhurst recalled.

No Accardo? The situation with him has become totally ridiculous.

At the risk of going way over the top here.....the Jays aren't even trying to win games, at this point.