SAN FRANCISCO -- It's not hard to spot Blue Jays reliever Brian Tallet, whether it's by his ever-changing facial hair or his retro stirrup socks. That hasn't stopped Tallet's performance this year from being virtually unnoticed.Most of the focus surrounding the success of Toronto's bullpen -- which ranked third in the Majors with a 3.27 ERA as of Monday -- has fallen on pitchers Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen and Scott Downs. Tallet may not be garnering as much attention, but he's proving to be a key cog in the relief corps, too. Entering Tuesday's game against the Giants, Tallet had a 1.67 ERA through 17 appearances for the Jays. On Monday, the left-hander turned in two shutout frames against San Francisco and allowed just one baserunner, courtesy of an intentional walk to slugger Barry Bonds. "The most amazing thing about him is he never would ask for a day off," Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said. "Even after one inning two nights ago and going two innings last night, he expects to pitch tonight. That's the kind of kid he is. That's probably the one thing that I respect the most." The two innings Tallet notched on Monday upped his career-best scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings, covering his last eight games. The 29-year-old, who is in his second season with the Jays, has given up just one earned run in his last 12 outings, which is good enough for an 0.42 ERA over that span. Tallet has even defied the percentages by limiting right-handed hitters to a .103 batting average. Left-handed batters haven't had much luck, either, posting a .229 average. Arnsberg said the lefty's impressive changeup has helped lead to his recent success, but Tallet has also added a new weapon to his arsenal. "He's kind of learned how to cut the ball a little bit -- back door to right-handed hitters," Arnsberg said. "He's never really done that. He's even featuring it once in a while against lefties. He starts it at them and then cuts it over the front side of the plate. That's really been a catalyst for him." Leading off: Toronto manager John Gibbons decided to post a new-look lineup for Tuesday night's tilt against the Giants. For the first time this season, shortstop Royce Clayton was slotted into the leadoff spot, and right fielder Alex Rios, who leads the Jays with 14 home runs, was bumped from leadoff to the second slot. "That way you don't have the pitcher hitting ahead of Rios," Gibbons said. "We might be able to get an extra guy on base for him this way."
On the mound: Toronto has set its rotation for its upcoming weekend series at home against Washington. After the off-day on Thursday, the Blue Jays will start Roy Halladay on Friday, followed by Shaun Marcum and A.J. Burnett in the remaining two Interleague games against the Nationals.After an additional off-day on Monday, Toronto right-hander Dustin McGowan is slated to take the mound at home against the Dodgers. Jays right-hander Josh Towers, who Gibbons indicated is still the fifth starter, won't be required to start again until Saturday, June 23, against the Rockies. Inked: The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that they had signed 12 players who were selected in this year's First-Year Player Draft. Sixth-round pick Michael McDade -- a catcher out of Silverado High School in Nevada -- was the highest draft selection to sign. Snubbed: In the most recent online American League All-Star balloting update, Toronto had no players who ranked in the top five at catcher, first base, second base, shortstop or third base. The Jays also had no outfielders among the top 15 vote-getters. Did you know? Among AL second basemen, Toronto's Aaron Hill entered Tuesday's game tied for first in doubles (18), tied for first in RBIs (37), second in total bases (108), third in home runs (eight), tied for fourth in hits (64) and fourth in runs (35). Coming up: McGowan (2-2, 5.02 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays in the finale of a three-game Interleague set against the Giants at 3:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday at AT&T Park. San Francisco will counter with righty Tim Lincecum (2-0, 4.26).
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.