Gaston a model of consistency

Steady as she goes.

That seems to be Cito Gaston’s mantra. Get swept by the Red Sox at Fenway? No need to panic. Lose six in a row? No reason to make any lineup changes. Come back from the worst road trip – nine consecutive losses – in franchise history? We’ll just get ‘em next time.

Gaston is a model of consistency. That can be seen by simply reading his lineup card on a daily basis. There are seldom any changes.

In fact, including Saturday’s game against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre, Marco Scutaro, Aaron Hill and Vernon Wells had batted first, second and fourth, respectively, in each of the Jays’ first 53 games this year. Alex Rios, meanwhile, has only batted out of the No. 3 spot (52 games), while Adam Lind has batted fifth in 50 of his 51 games played this year (he moved up to third once when Rios was given a day off).

GastonGaston was routinely pressed with questions during the recent road trip concerning whether or not the mounting losses would prompt him to alter the lineup.

“We could turn the lineup upside down, but I’m not much one for that,” Gaston said.

No lineup changes. No desperation team meetings. In fact, Toronto’s manager even said he didn’t plan on giving any of his hitters a day off. Why not? Because they were hitting, Gaston said.

And, aside from Lind, who batted an anemic .114 (4-35) during the nine-game stretch, Gaston was right. The other four hitters at the top of the order were still hitting. Rios batted .250 (9-36) – nothing to write home about, but far from horrible. Wells, meanwhile, hit .316 (12-38), and Scutaro and Hill each batted .317 (13-41).

“We’re getting hits,” Gaston said. “We’re just not getting hits when we need them.”

Wasn’t that the truth. To be more specific, the Jays hit just .185 (15-for-81) with runners in scoring position during the nine-game skid.

Since returning though, Toronto has not only continued hitting, but they’ve started to hit again when they really ‘need the hits.’ They pounded out another 14 on Saturday afternoon, going 4-for-10 with RISP en route to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox — the second straight against their AL East rival.

In their familiar spots in the batting order, Scutaro, Hill, Rios, Wells and Lind combined for 11 of Toronto’s 14 hits, batting an impressive .524 (11-21) for the afternoon. In the process, Rios had a season-high 4 hits, Hill extended his current hit streak to 13 games, Scutaro raised his average over .300 (.301) for the first time since April 18, and Lind hit his first home run in two weeks.

It’s the same lineup that propelled the Jays to a 27-14 start through 41 games, matching a franchise record in the process. And it was the same lineup that promptly hit the road and endured the worst trip in franchise history – nine losses in a row.

And now? Two straight wins and a chance for a series sweep of the Boston Red Sox at home.

Steady as she goes.

One Response to “Gaston a model of consistency”

  1. eyebleaf Says:

    The Cito Effect.

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