My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
It’s amusing to me how much Jays fans dislike Edwin Encarnacion. In last night’s game, he made a throwing error in the third inning and fans seemed to blame him for the six runs that followed. No. 1, Encarnacion’s throw was one that Lyle Overbay would have scooped up for an out last season. No. 2, Encarnacion didn’t throw a series of five or six fat pitches to the ensuing Rangers hitters. No. 3, Encarnacion didn’t surrender Mike Napoli’s double off the base of the centre field wall that Jays outfielder Corey Patterson appeared to give up on.
Congratulations to Rene Tosoni (Toronto, Ont.) who has been called up by the Minnesota Twins. The left-handed hitting outfielder was batting .286 in 19 games with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in Rochester. Scott Crawford of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame points out that Tosoni is the 19th Canuck to play in the majors this year.
In hitting safely in each of his six games since returning from a rib injury, Trail, B.C. native Jason Bay is quietly winning back New York Mets fans. Among Bay’s nine hits this season are two doubles and a home run.
Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.,) pitched seven strong innings last night for the Mariners to record his first big league win since June 7, 2009. Prior to last night, it had been a rough return for the Canuck southpaw, who missed all of 2010 with arm troubles. He had lost each of his four previous starts this season.
For Jays fans condemning Juan Rivera (.210, 2 homers, 6 RBIs) this year, Vernon Wells, dealt to the Angels in the deal that brought Rivera to Toronto, is hitting .178 with 1 home run and five RBIs in 24 games.
Is there a better middle reliever in baseball right now than Jays right-hander Carlos Villanueva? With his 3-1/3 innings of scoreless relief last night, Villanueva has allowed just four hits in 14-2/3 innings and fashions a 1.84 ERA this season.
As expected Russell Martin (East York, Ont.) has adapted well to life in the Big Apple. The Montreal-raised catcher has already belted six home runs this season. Last year, he hit five homers in 97 games.
Congratulations to Mike Nickeas (Vancouver, B.C.) who hit his first big league homer in the Mets’ 9-1 romp over the Houston Astros on April 21.
It’s clear that the book on Jays outfielder Travis Snider is to throw him breaking pitches. Wouldn’t he see more fastballs if he was hitting ahead of Jose Bautista? Why not try an order that features Snider hitting third, Bautista fourth and Lind fifth?
Don’t look now but Brett Wallace, the player the Jays traded for centre field prospect Anthony Gose last season, is hitting .367 in 23 games for the Houston Astros this season.
Another ex-Jay update: The frustrating but talented David Purcey has pitched 4-1/3 innings with Oakland and has yet to allow a hit.