Give it time: Scout

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

Which is worse?

A team that can't hit at all?

Or one that can't hit with men in scoring position?

"Well neither is a good spot for a club to be lacking -- especially in the American League," a scout said this week.

"If I had to choose between not a lot of hitting for average but having the ability to come through with men in scoring position ... or the ability to hit and not produce with men on base, I'd take the latter.

"Least with the second one, there is hope the team might straighten itself out."

Teams that don't hit also aren't going to get many opportunities to come to the plate with men in scoring position.

The Jays are hitting .257 as a team, which puts them 18th out of 30 major-league clubs.

Yet, when it's second and third, man on third, whatever ... hitters try to squeeze sawdust out of the bat, hack for the five-run homer and swing out of their cleats.

DEAD LAST

Going into last night's opener against the Kansas City Royals, the Jays were dead last amongst 30 teams hitting with men in scoring position at .226.

While Toronto had 24 wins, the Oakland Athletics had a winning record with 25 wins.

The Athletics put a dent in the wise man's theory. Oakland ranks 23rd with a .252 average.

But put some runners on and they get the job done, hitting at a .282 clip, fifth-best. And a week ago it was above .300.

It's not easy coming up with the exact reason why teams like the Jays do not hit when it matters. Trying too hard? Stepping outside the normal game plan? Expanding the strike zone? Trying to do too much?

You know that saying: "Hitting is contagious?"

Well, so is a lack of ... and the Jays, in desperate need of a hit with men on, don't care that the sentence ends in a preposition.


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