Jays starters stepping up
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - It is no coincidence that the Blue Jays have won 14 of their last 20 games entering play Wednesday at a time when the team’s starting pitching has been more consistent than at any time this season.
Only twice in that stretch has a Toronto starter not pitched at least five innings. In half those games, the starter has pitched seven or more innings.
“For the most part we’ve done a good job in pitching ahead in the count and being able to dictate what happens rather than to fight back into the count,” manager John Farrell said.
“We’ve also made some key pitches in critical spots. There’s always going to be three or four pitches through the course of a game that a pitcher has to make to prevent a crooked number going up on the board and in this run, we’ve been able to do that.”
Bucking the trend
When Tampa Bay catcher Kelly Shoppach threw out Rajai Davis at third base in Tuesday’s game, it snapped a string of 25 successful steals of third base by Davis.
Steals of third generally are more risky than those at second and the unwritten rule has always been never to make the third out at third base.
But the Jays feel that the combination of Davis’s speed and studying other teams’ tendencies makes it less of a gamble, as long as the circumstances are right.
“The running game has changed over the last two or three years where so many teams will opt not to throw to third base for fear of an errant throw that leads to a run, which we’ve seen when Rajai steals third base,” Farrell said.
Dustin McGowan, Jesse Carlson and Brian Tallet, all recovering from injury at the Jays spring training complex in nearby Dunedin, dropped by the visiting team clubhouse at Tropicana Field to catch up with their big-league teammates Wednesday.
McGowan will make a start for the Dunedin Blue Jays on Friday, then move up to complete his rehab with double-A New Hampshire.