The Toronto Blue Jays finished off a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in style, blasting the visitors 9-0 at Rogers Centre on Thursday.
The Blue Birds are now 9-0 in their last nine against the Twinkies, who dropped to 1 1/2 games behind the idle Chicago White Sox.
And this begs the question: Why can't Toronto be in the same division as Minnesota? Why not just move the Jays to the Central? Better yet, how about just play 162 games against the boys from the Twin Cities?
But isn’t it great to see for once, the offense come through and the starting pitcher throw a shutout? A complete-game effort at that? Perfect kind of ball game.
And credit manager Cito Gaston for allowing his starter, no not Roy Halladay, to go all the way.
It was rookie 1B/OF/DH Travis Snider and No. 5 starter Jesse Litsch who delivered in this one.
Snider, who collected three hits a night earlier, went 3-for-4 with his first big-league home run—and the kid is playing in only his fourth major league game.
And how about Litsch, who earlier in the year was sent down to the minors? Since his recall on August 14th, the righty has a 0.94 ERA in four starts.
While the score suggested the Twins were totally outclassed in this one, the fact was they were in it for quite a while. It was Snider’s hits that seemed critical entering the latter innings.
Snider, whose three hits came in his first three at-bats, hit his dinger off Kevin Slowey (11-9) leading off the fifth to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.
The 20-year-old rookie then added an RBI single the very next inning as the Jays went up 3-0.
Even Vernon Wells got the job done too. Wells, who hit a sacrifice fly in the first, added a solo homer in the seventh to give Toronto a 4-0 lead before the Jays came alive with five more in the eighth.
Give manager Cito Gaston credit; the skipper sent Litsch (10-8) back out to complete the shutout even with the big lead.
The right-hander didn’t disappoint, as he retired three straight Twins pinch-hitters to close out the four-hitter.
And by the way, the Blue Birds out hit the Twinkies 17-4. Yikes.
The Blue Jays don’t have much time to enjoy their current five-game winning streak; they’ll entertain the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays this weekend at Rogers Centre before embarking on a tough road trip to Chicago (AL Central leaders) and Boston (AL Wild Card leaders).
Perhaps the Jays should petition for the junior circuit to move them to the Central, where they’ll get to beat up on the Twins on a more regular basis.
Heck, move them to the NL West, where their current 73-66 mark would be good enough to lead the division.
Realistically, even though youngsters like Adam Lind (.302), Snider, Litsch, and Shaun Marcum (just recalled this week) have been pleasant contributors, the Blue Jays are stuck in a tough division.
The Yankees will be better because they’ll open up the vault in the offseason. The Red Sox will be there. The Rays will likely contend again in 2009.
The Blue Jays will have to once again be playing to stay out of last place in the East.