An early-afternoon look at tonight's Canadian visit. (Both NHL playoff series are off Monday night, so they've got nothing better to watch up there.)
First Pitch: 6:07pm Central
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Bluebird Banter
If you haven't been watching the standings, you might assume that the Jays are the fourth team in a three-horse Eastern race. That's what I thought - and I was, of course, completely wrong. While Boston flounders, Toronto has stormed into the AL East discussion; they're 23-16 and have won four games in a row. While this puts them four back of the red-hot Rays, the Blue Jays are just two back of New York - and they've accumulated the same number of wins as the Twins.
The long ball is Toronto's weapon of choice; they've hit 60 home runs, an astonishing eleven more than any other American League team, and 25 more than the "powerful" Twins team we've all been gushing about. The team's batting just .238, doesn't have a single hitter batting above .300, has a .311 on-base percentage that's third-worst in the AL - but has scored more runs than any other American League team save New York, all because it's smashing the ball out of the park at every opportunity. Three Jays - CF Vernon Wells, SS Alex Gonzalez, and 3B Jose Bautista - are already in double digits, with ten homers apiece.
|2010 - Dana Eveland||3-2||7||7||0||0||0||0||39.1||40||22||21||3||21||18||4.81||1.55|
Eveland is a bit of a soft-tossing lefthander (the MLB site calls him a "finesse" pitcher, euphemistically). He's also a bit feast-or-famine on the mound; he's given up just two earned runs in his three wins, but also gave up six runs once and seven runs once.
He won't strike out many - just 18 in 39 innings - but he's got all four pitches, and will mix them all in. His fastball is in the low 80s, and he tends to go to the curve as an out pitch.
|2010 - Kevin Slowey||4-3||7||7||0||0||0||0||39.0||49||20||20||6||12||31||4.62||1.56|
Slowey has a winning record, but hasn't exactly been dialed in. Evidence? A few facts:
- He's pitched into the seventh inning just once, and has left in the sixth five times in seven starts.
- His walk rate has nearly doubled from last season (when he walked just 15 in 16 starts.)
- The league is hitting .308 against him. (Another bad sign: in his career, Toronto is hitting .500 against him.)
His last start, Slowey gave up just two hits in four innings to the White Sox - then got shellacked in the fifth, giving up five consecutive two-out hits (including a pair of two-run doubles) before departing in shame. Given the way Toronto's been swinging the bat, this is worrisome.