News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Toronto Blue Jays News

News » Jays crank up juice

Jays crank up juice

Jays crank up juice
Two more pitchers injured?

No problem.

Ricky Romero and B.J. Ryan went on the disabled list yesterday and, with five other pitchers already injured, it's hard to believe that the Blue Jays could keep thriving.

But this determined Jays crew went out last night and won for the 12th time in 17 games.

They did it with more sound pitching from an unproven starter, great relief and more home-run power. Add it all up and a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers was the result before 15,487 spectators at the Rogers Centre.

"If you look at this lineup, it's capable of hitting home runs," Jays manager Cito Gaston said after Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Alex Rios, with his first of the season, all went deep to power Toronto into second place behind Texas in the American League home run race with 28. The Rangers have 29.

Toronto has accomplished five consecutive series wins to open the season. The last two teams to accomplish that feat were the 2003 Giants and the 2001 Mariners. Both of them went on to excellent seasons.

As concern about the starting rotation mounted, Scott Richmond eased some of that anxiety. The Canadian right-hander gave up solo homers to Josh Hamilton and Chris Davis, but that was minimal damage in an otherwise effective outing that saw him improve to 2-0 for the season.

Richmond struck out a career-high eight batters. Just as important was his 103-pitch effort. He worked quickly, facing 26 batters (eight over the minimum for six innings) and kept the Jays in the game, an oft-repeated refrain by players and coaches.

There was also the continued efficiency of the Jays bullpen, as much the glue that's holding this whole first-place thing together as anything else.

Brandon League, Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp struck out four of six batters among them to get the game into the ninth inning where Scott Downs nailed it down as the newly appointed closer in Ryan's absence.

With Richmond dealing strikeouts with his off-speed stuff, the Jays offence got going in the bottom of the second with solo homers by Wells and Overbay.

An eye-opener for the Jays came in the fifth when Rios connected for a two-run homer and a 4-1 lead.

His lack of power through the first 16 games was conspicuous since he had been expected to be a source of home runs this season.

Toronto's somewhat unexpected sprint from the starting gate this season was aided by Adam Lind and Marco Scutaro, great off-the-bench hitting by Kevin Millar and the emergence of Aaron Hill as the club's top hitter and arguably its best player.

If Rios is getting it together again - he had four hits Wednesday night - the home side will have an obviously welcome addition in their fight to hang on to the division lead.

"Gino's (hitting coach Gene Tenace) working with him, trying to getting him off his back side (back foot); hopefully it gets him going," Gaston explained.

Overbay explained the Jays' power outburst matter-of-factly.

"When you have Travis Snider in the ninth hole, he's going to add some homers," Overbay said.

"Scott Rolen kind of found his slot where his hands need to be and that's adding to his numbers. Rios and Vernon Wells will be there and Hill had 17 homers (in 2007). He's in the No.2 hole, so he'll see pitches to hit.

"So we're working well together."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 24, 2009

Toronto Blue Jays Photos
All the latest Toronto Blue Jays Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The most recent photo
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.