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Preview: Red Hot Jays Seek Fifth Straight Over Red Sox

Wait, what’s the other 47%? Anyway…

How about that game last night? Exactly one week after losing 14-1 to the Red Sox at the Skydome – the immediate aftermath of which had many Jays fans leaping head first off of the rickety bandwagon – the Jays returned the favour run-for-run at Fenway.

So many fun things to take from that game – which doesn’t even include Felix Doubront, just a day or two after sounding off on the Sox for not giving him a rotation spot, allowing six earned runs on six hits with two walks and no Ks in 2/3 of that hilarious nine-run sixth inning.

How about Melky Cabrera homering from both sides of the plate (the first Jay to do so since Gregg Zaun) and smashing a windshield on the second one? How about R.A. Dickey striking out ten over seven innings of three-hit ball? How about sending 14 guys to the plate in that sixth inning?

How about Ryan Goins – yes, Ryan Goins – going four for five with four RBI, and raising his average to .212?

Now before we start mapping out the parade route, let’s quickly remember that the Jays have won six of the seven games they’ve played since THEY lost 14-1, so there’s no telling how the Sox will handle such humiliation at home. But we do know that their dugout seems significantly more fragile right now than the Jays’ did last week. But who knows?

Deadline Day – COMIN’ UP!

Couldn’t find a picture of CTV sports anchor Joe Tilley doing the pose, so I’ll stick to the relevant news at hand. Before we touch upon the rumours, let’s stick to the facts:

Apparently missing the Jewish influence that Kevin Pillar provided, the Jays dealt Erik Kratz and Liam Hendricks to the Royals for Hebrew Hammer of the moment, Danny Valencia.

While he’s certainly not the solution to all that ails (pardon the pun) this roster, he does provide the team with something they don’t currently have – a healthy third baseman that can hit left-handed pitching.

In 463 career at-bats against lefties, Valencia has hit .333 with 14 homers and 70 RBI. This season he’s hit .354 with two homers and seven RBI in a decidedly small sample size of 65 at-bats. Still, I’ll take him over any combination of Steve Tolleson, Mune Kawasaki, or Juan Francisco – strictly against lefties.

Why? Because Valencia is a career .227 hitter against right-handed pitching, including just .178 this season. So he’s got a clear role, and that’s not a bad thing.

I was initially a bit irked about losing Kratz, since Navarro’s lack of experience as a full-time catcher (combined with his…”athleticism”?) and the lack of info about who’s behind Kratz on the depth chart troubled me.

But word has it that Kratz was not happy with his limited role (you mean he doesn’t like being a third stringer who’s been yo-yo’d back and forth from Buffalo all season?), and the Royals immediately called him up to their big league roster. So all the best to him.

As for Hendricks… meh. He’s a solid AAA starter, and I’m sure the Bisons will miss him a bit. The Jays? I’m sure they’ll live. Especially given some of the rumours emerging…

Yesterday I mentioned the Red Sox are trying to deal Jon Lester, and apparently, the Jays are poking around. I’m no insider, so I’m not going to speculate. That’s what Twitter is for! But isn’t this fun??

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

1. Jose Reyes SS
2. Melky Cabrera LF
3. Jose Bautista RF
4. Dioner Navarro C
5. Juan Francisco 1B
6. Colby Rasmus DH
7. Munenori Kawasaki 3B
8. Ryan Goins 2B
9. Anthony Gose CF
SP: Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.21 ERA)

Once again, eight of nine hitters are left-handed (including the three switch-hitters) against Rubby De La Rosa, who allowed six runs on nine hits last week in Toronto.

Marcus Stroman, as mentioned yesterday, has a 2.21 ERA as a starter in the majors, and took a no-hitter in the seventh against this very team last week. So you’ve gotta like their chances…

Finally

Rob Rasmussen was awarded for his three strikeouts in two shut down innings last night with a nice, shiny demotion to Buffalo to make room for Valencia. This leaves the team with a six-man bullpen, though they should be pretty fresh after last night.

The reason for this is because the only bench players with options are Gose and Goins, who are valuable pieces, while this gives AA a little extra time to decide what to do with Tolleson, Kawasaki, Dan Johnson, and Nolan Reimold – all of whom would have to clear waivers to be sent down.

Be sure to follow @JaysBalk tonight, as I’ll be live tweeting the game. Easy to call this a winnable game, but as usual, who the heck knows?

For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.

One comment on “Preview: Red Hot Jays Seek Fifth Straight Over Red Sox

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