Jays' Davis has 'game-changing ability'
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
|The Blue Jays' Rajai Davis congratulates J.P Arencibia after Arencibia hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rogers Centre, Thursday, May 19, 2011. (Mark O'Neill/QMI Agency)
Rajai Davis got the start in centre field Wednesday despite a horrible June offensively. In the last 28 days, Davis was 9-for-70 (.129) with a microscopic OPS of .339.
Davis’s approach at the plate has been scattered, at best but Tuesday he responded with a pair of doubles, his first two-hit game since June 4 and a boost for his sagging confidence. His second hit set up the go-ahead run for Toronto in the seventh inning.
“We’re stressing with him to stay with a simplified plan but he’s been in a rough patch, there’s no denying it,” said manager John Farrell before the game. “We’ve got to find ways to build some confidence for him, more so than is currently there. More than anything, we’ve got to quiet his mind and get him to trust his ability.”
Davis inability to get on base has muted the effect of his considerable speed on the base paths. Davis stole 50 bases last year with Oakland and was expected to steal even more this year as Toronto’s leadoff man but his anemic bat has limited him to just 18 thefts as a Jay.
“When he does get on base, he has game-changing ability,” said Farrell.
Davis’s struggles have left the Jays with only Corey Patterson as an alternative in centre and he’s been struggling defensively.
On several occasions recently, catchable balls have fallen in because of lack of communication between Patterson and the players in left or in right.
Farrell hopes American League manager Ron Washington will overlook Ricky Romero’s won/lost record (he’s 7-7) when making his selections for the All-Star pitching staff.
Romero is seventh in the league in ERA, eighth in innings, and 10th in strikeouts.
“If Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young last year, you look at the things (Romero) has control over and his numbers stack up with the best in the game,” said Farrell.
Farrell’s son Jeremy, a Pittsburgh farmhand, was named Wednesday to the Eastern League mid-season All-Star team. Farrell is hitting .285 with 17 doubles, five home runs and 33 RBI in his first Double A season with the Altoona Curve.