The worst thing about following a rebuilding team is the uncertainty that comes from starting over. Gone or on their way out are the players that you know can be successful, and in their place are young kids, or even worse, stop-gaps. It isn't until you finally start to see those young players together as a group having success that the uncertainty starts to lift a bit; now there's something to add pieces to, instead of a formless roster made up of cast-offs and guys playing out the string. I think we're finally starting to see something take shape with this team, or at least the possibilities. With the addition of Carlos Santana and the return of Matt LaPorta, there's now a group of 4 or 5 position players in the lineup that will be here 3 years from now. Sure, there's still some placeholders in the lineup, but it's easier to imagine a couple holes being filled than 6 or 7.
Aaron Laffey made his second start of the season, and he played the free-swinging Toronto lineup like a quality string instrument, getting swings and misses with 88-mph fastballs and weak-hit outs with 83-mph changeups. Maybe the speed gun was off at the ballpark, or perhaps it was by design, but Laffey didn't have his normal velocity tonight. He did have his location, though. He rarely missed on the plate, instead hitting corners or coming close to them. It also helped that behind him were two good middle infielders, a luxury not many Indians pitchers had had this season.
Laffey ran out of gas in the seventh, allowing two singles to open the inning, and Frank Herrmann was brought in to keep the game 2-0. He couldn't quite do that, as the Jays got on the board on an infield single, but he struck the next two batters out, the last the result of a great battle with Fred Lewis. With Kerry Wood sitting tonight (he had thrown the previous three games), Acta needed someone from the soft underbelly of the bullpen to get through the eighth, and Joe Smith was up to it. After his horrid outing in Cincinnati, Smith has in his last two appearances settled in. He broke a couple Jays bats in his inning, a good sign. Chris Perez, who will eventually be closing games on a full-time basis, made short work of Toronto in the ninth.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Aaron Laffey||.176||Jhonny Peralta||-.104|
|Frank Herrmann||.169||Trevor Crowe||-.073|
|Shin-Soo Choo||.125||Anderson Hernandez||-.066|