A little bit of smallball and Bullpen Report v.6

Friday, June 24 2005 @ 08:04 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mike Green

That was a sweet win. Doc was good, but not at his overpowering best. And the Jays were not particularly lucky. How many times exactly did they line a ball hard and directly at a defender with runners on base?

But, today, I want to talk a little bit about one play. Here's the scene. 6th inning, one out, 2-1 good guys. Aaron Hill on 2nd, Eric Hinske on 1st, Alex Rios at the plate. Sal Fasano catching for the Os with Ponson on the mound. Gibbons starts the runners, Gomez covers third, and Rios grounds one into left field to score Hill, with Hinske stopping at second. If the runners had not been started, it could very well have been an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP. Orlando Hudson followed with a 2 run double, and that pretty much salted the game away.

Starting both runners is a fairly unusual strategy. In the particular situation, what a manager most fears is a lack of contact and the runner being thrown out at third. Rios does swing and miss fairly often, and has failed to make contact on the hit-and-run a number of times this season. However, Fasano is not known for his arm, and throwing over Rios would not be particularly easy. Hill runs well, and the element of surprise ensures that he'd have a fair shot of stealing the bag even if Rios did not make contact.

So, yes, let's admit it. This was a game where small ball played an important role. I still prefer the 3 run homer every time, but 6 runs on offence is a good day any way you slice it.

On to the bullpen report for the last 2 weeks. With Pete Walker moving to the rotation on Wednesday, John Gibbons now has a 6 man pen. One would think that this would lead to somewhat longer stints on average for the relief staff. Batista's outing of 1.2 innings on Wednesday might be the first of many.

Here's the chart:

(entrance inning/batters faced/opp. GPA)

date Batista Speier   Frasor   Downs     Schoen      Chulk      Walker
Ju 10     							 6.0/8
Ju 11 8.2/2            7.0/4              8.0/3       6.0/6
      .350             .175               .425        .433
Ju 12        7.0/2
Ju 13 -----------------another Doc complete game----------

Ju 14 8.0/6  6.0/4              4.1/6     8.0/3
      .517   .175               .200      .000
Ju 15 8.0/3            7.1/2              7.1/1       7.0/4
      .000             .375               .450        .525
Ju 16 -----------------day off----------------------------

Ju 17                  7.0/5              6.2/2       5.1/4      2.1/11
                       .090               .225        .113       .234
Ju 18 8/0/4  6.0/7
      .363   .200
Ju 19                  8.0/6              7.0/4       5.1/6
                       .150               .113        .275
Ju 20        7.0/6
Ju 21 8.0/3            7.0/5    5.0/4                 5.1/7
      .000             .430     .775 (!)              .200
Ju 22 7.1/5  7.0/2     5.1/5              6.2/1
      .000   .475      .140               .000
Ju 23                                                 8.0/3

Interestingly, Batista struggled in a couple of appearances early last week, but has been excellent over the last 8 days. With the ace reliever role seemingly well taken care of, the rest of the pen has fallen into place as well. Scott Downs appeared in only 2 games over the 2 week period, but figures to see much more work, now that Walker is in the rotation.