Jays Watch: That's 42 different lineups
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
|Toronto Blue Jays Yunel Escobar celebrates his home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning of their Interleague MLB baseball game in Toronto, May 21, 2011. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
For Toronto's 48th game Tuesday, manager John Farrell wrote out his 42nd different lineup.
This one had Yunel Escobar back at leadoff, Rajai Davis back in the 8-hole, Juan Rivera at cleanup and J.P. Arencibia at No. 5 for only the second time this year.
"The way Juan and J.P. have been swinging, I wanted them a little higher in the order," said Farrell.
The Davis move came after a night in which Davis, batting leadoff, unwisely tried a steal of second with Jose Bautista at the plate, taking the bat out of the slugger's hands.
"With Rajai getting on base with Jose soon to follow, I put him in a bad spot as far as being undecided when to run and when not to run," said Farrell.
"We want to take full advantage of his abilities when he gets on base but I want to eliminate the indecision on his part if that situation arises again."
Brett Cecil won Monday for the fifth time since going to Las Vegas and Farrell is encouraged that he is now throwing with a bit more velocity and using his fastball more effectively.
"He was solid," said Farrell. "He pitched mostly 88-89 and attacked the zone as we have asked him to do. Our people who were there to see the game feel there's been improvement made.
"He's throwing about 70% fastballs down there, whereas it was not even 50% here. The approach is still to disrupt timing but you have to establish the bar with a fastball at some level."
Having said that, Farrell confirmed that Carlos Villanueva will make his second start on Saturday against the White Sox.
THE ELUSIVE W
Jo-Jo Reyes is poised to tie a record of futility that neither he nor the Jays want any part of. If he doesn't win Wednesday at Yankee Stadium he will tie former Oakland A Matt Keough for the longest stretch of winless starts -- 28 -- since the 1920s.
Reyes has certainly pitched well enough to win, especially in his last start when he left in the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead, only to have the bullpen blow the win.