June 25, 2008

Welcome Home, Cito

Holy shit, that did actually happen last night. I thought I might wake up this morning and realize the Blue Jays' three home runs, 22 hits, and 14-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds yesterday was all one awesome wet dream.

The Jays hitters did their part in the return of Cito Gaston to the home dugout here in Toronto by tearing the fucking seams off the baseball in the first two innings against Bronson Arroyo.

The atmosphere in Toronto was electric thanks to Gaston's return, and the Jays made sure not to spoil it. Actually, Arroyo made sure not to spoil it. He channelled his inner Josh Towers and made sure everything was right over the heart of the plate, ready to be knocked around like a cheap hooker. The Jays batted around in each of the first two innings and plated 11 runs in the process, along with three home runs, one each from Scott Rolen, Gregg Zaun and Alex Rios.

That's right. Three home runs. In one game. Hell, in two fucking innings. We're back, bitches.

The offensive explosion was long, long, long overdue. It sure looks like the release of Gary Denbo and the back-to-basics (read: pull the fucking ball) approach from Gaston and Gene Tenace has the hitters, to a man, way more relaxed.

Scutaro had four hits last night, Inglett two, Rios four, Wells two, Rolen two, Overbay three, Zaun two, and Lind two. It was like everyone was making up for lost time.

Just because it's so deliciously horrible, here's the line on Arroyo's work last night:

One inning pitched, 11 hits allowed, 10 earned runs allowed, one walk, one strikeout, and three home runs allowed. Yikes. That might even make Towers himself squirm.

The 11-1 lead after the second inning was enough even for A.J. Burnett to work with. He threw eight solid innings and is back at the .500 mark on the season at 7-7.

Speaking of that .500 mark, baseball is a funny game. Just about two weeks ago, I wrote about how disappointed I was that the Jays were at the .500 mark, unable to go on a run and establish themselves in the playoff race. Fast forward thirteen days and we've got a new (old?) manager and a new hitting coach, and .500 is the target come All-Star break in July. Sitting at 37-41 with 17 games to go before the midsummer classic, it's going to happen.

Cito is already doing the right things, such as making Adam Lind the everyday left-fielder, much to the delight of the team at The Southpaw, and recalling Brandon League. But it's not going to be easy. The Jays will be without Shaun Marcum until likely after the All-Star break (let's be thankful he doesn't need Tommy John surgery), and Aaron Hill has suffered another setback in trying to overcome a concussion.

I still believe in these guys, though. I still believe in this team. The reset button was pressed on the season last Friday night in Pittsburgh, and we're 2-2 so far, with 25 runs scored in the past three games.

Roy Halladay takes the mound tonight.

Remember, in Cito Gaston I trust.