The Jays can't score, this everyone knows. Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay et al are having horrific years. This everyone assumes, but isn't exactly true. This team is victim if its own horrible, self-created circumstances.
The Toronto Blue Jays are 26th in runs out of 30 teams. But they are 17th in hits, 10th in On Base Percentage. So why the discrepancy? Where did all the runs go? Who or what is this black hole, absorbing all the base runners with its immense gravitational field? The number two spot in the order sucks up all the outs with the best hitters still on the edge of the event horizon.
How is this for a slash line for the number 2 hole: .224/.284/.312/.596? ATROCIOUS is how that is. A .596 OPS? How is that possible?? A .284 on base (following a .317 OBP of the lead off men) means the number three guy (Rios, Rolen, Wells on occasion) are coming up with 2 out nearly 70% of the time. Highly paid or not, that is a lot of pressure to put on a team not built for power. The Jays don't need to score a lot of runs to win, but if they are to fully adopt a small(er)ball style, the need for production from this spot is crucial.
Consider the Minnesota Twins. They have hit even fewer home runs than the Jays, yet have scored almost 60 more runs. Their #2 hitter? The world renowned Alex Casilla. Currently trucking along at a healthy .298/.350/.421/.771 clip, he's driven in only 24 runs. What he isn't doing, however, is compounding his teams flaws by making outs at an insane rate. While Rios/Wells/Rolen aren't Mauer/Morneau/Cuddyer, they are all good bats. Perhaps, as the Tao suggests, they are good 6, 7, 8th spot bats only. Production still shouldn't be THIS much of an issue.
Were I in Cito's cit; I'd do two things:
- Depressingly, lead off with Davey Eckstein. Only while the offense struggles, but right now he seems to be the only one able to get on base with any regularity.
- I'd play Joe Inglett every day until Aaron Hill returns. His splits are damn impressive, so long as he steers clear of lefties. I'd go ahead and hit Inglett second as well. Marco Scutaro has been exposed as a utility guy that can't do it every day.
The Jays don't have a stud like Roccopolous or Chase Utley to hit second; so until Aaron Hill is healthy (soon please) and as consistent as his Beantown doppelgänger, this spot will be trouble. Paging Doctor Joe Inglett?
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