The Blue Jays have Monday off as they get a chance to catch their breath during a brutally tough stretch in the schedule. Over the weekend, the Jays took two of three from the Yankees and nearly pulled off the sweep. But thanks to another less than impressive showing from the 'pen, the Jays had to settle for splitting their six home games with the Rays and Yankees.
The Jays will get another shot at the first-place Rays with a three game set down in Tampa Bay. Checkout the pitching pairings for the series here. With the night off, here are a few non-draft related notes to hold you over until tomorrow night:
Fred Lewis' Vanishing Walk Rate
Since coming over from the Giants, Lewis has put together a good offensive season so far. He's bounced back nicely from last year's disappointing showing in which he hit just .258 and saw his isolated power drop to a pedestrian .132. This year, he's got some pop in his bat with a .192 ISO to go along with his .291 batting average. Already, he's gone deep four times in 195 plate appearances after hitting only four bombs last season in 336 plate appearances.
The only glaring deficiency has been his 4.6 percent walk rate, well below his career mark of 9.3 percent. That has held his on-base percentage to a slightly below average .325. Lewis' struggles could largely be attributed to his chasing of pitches outside the strike zone. Last year he offered at just 19.1 percent of pitches outside the zone, well below the league average of 25.1. This year he's offered at a staggering 30.9 percent of out of zone pitches, almost one out of every three.
The Brandon Morrow Experience
The bullpen's collapse on Sunday cast a shadow over Morrow's outstanding outing against the Yankees. That outing, combined with his previous start against Tampa Bay, were his best two back to back starts this year—against two of the best teams in the league no less. Combined he went 14 innings, allowing just seven hits and two earned runs. He went seven innings in each start, the first time he's lasted for seven innings or longer in two consecutive outings this year.
It also marked his third straight start without yielding a home run. Most importantly for Morrow, he only walked three batters across the two starts. And after getting just one strikeout against the Rays, he bounced back and set down eight Yankees by way of the K.
His ERA still sits at 5.48, but he's kept his FIP (3.68) in check. The FIP has remained low despite walking 4.92 batters per nine innings thanks to his .70 HR/9 IN. The 74 strikeouts in 64 innings has helped as well. He might never be a control pitcher but if he can keep striking out a batter or more an inning and keep the homers to less than one per nine innings he will be successful.
Pumping the Brakes on Brett Wallace
Don't worry, Brett Wallace is good and is most likely going to continue to be good. But he's cooled off lately for Triple-A Las Vegas as he has seen his batting average drop down to .270. According to StatCorner.com , his 99 wOBA+ puts him as just a league average hitter in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. His non-adjusted wOBA has dropped from .378 last year with Sacramento to .357 in 2010.
It isn't all bad for Wallace though. After hitting 20 homers in 532 at-bats last year he has 11 already in just 222 trips to the plate. His walk rate and isolated power have also increased over last year's numbers.
This isn't a big cause for concern in the long run for the Jays or Wallace but it is reason enough to give him some more time at Triple-A. The best case scenario would be to wait for him to heat up before being recalled. The more confidence the young man has upon his promotion the better.
Be sure to check back to Bleacher Report tomorrow to see Jeff Wahl's initial thoughts on the Blue Jays' early round draft selections. The Jays have several picks in the first couple rounds of new GM Alex Anthopoulos' first draft experience.