Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Boys Are Back in Town....

Some random musings about the issues I see with the Jays after their first game last night, in no particular order:

J.P. Arencibia is not a very good defensive catcher, even when the pitcher throws straight fastballs. Last night he was charged with "only" three passed balls (a wild pitch was inexplicably charged to R.A. Dickey as well) but I'd have had to remove my shoes to count the number of pitches he flat-out missed on all of my digits. It was discomfiting, to say the least.

The "new-look Jays" had quite a few "old-look problems", but one manifested itself very early as Jose Reyes reached base on a walk leading off the first inning and promptly made a Little League level baserunning error. He took off for second on a line drive by Melky Cabrera which was hit right at the shortstop and was **easily** doubled off of first base. Any runner worth his salt knows you freeze or take a step back to the bag on a line drive through the infield. Since the next two batters reached base as well, this was very costly.

I don't understand why Maicer Izturis started at 3B last night over Mark DeRosa, who had a fantastic Spring. That bothered me at the time the lineups were introduced and it bothered me a lot more when Izturis made an error and had another line drive go off the end of his glove, scoring the second Cleveland run. And it bothered me more still when he looked awful at the plate.

Jose Bautista is already whining at the umps. He dropped his bat and started running for first base on a close pitch that was called a strike. He certainly paid for that as the game went on, as far as I could tell, and after a called strikeout later on he had a bit of a hissy fit. I hope Gibbons reins that behaviour in very quickly, unlike Farrell the past couple of seasons. It's worn very thin from where I sit.

But the biggest issue I see on this team is far and away the middle of the order and it's certainly not a new problem. Adam Lind does not belong on a team with post-season aspirations. Period. He was the DH last night, meaning they don't even trust him to play infield any more, and he hit fifth in the order. How bad was he? Well, twice through the batting order the top four hitters reached base six times in eight plate appearances. They scored exactly one run, that coming on a double-play ground ball Lind hit with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third inning. His first time up he struck out with two men on base. For those scoring at home, this means that on Lind's first two plate appearances this season he came up with five runners on base total and managed to strike out and hit into a double play. That's pathetic at the best of times; when this man is only in the lineup to hit it's absolutely unacceptable. I can't see Edwin Encarnacion, batting right before Lind, getting a single pitch to hit this year.

He wasn't alone in his futility. The bottom five batters only reached base twice between them, including a completely meaningless two-out double by Arencibia in the 9th inning. Colby Rasmus—or "Boomhauer", as my buddy Alex likes to call him—batted seventh, striking out three times and walking once, meaning he didn't put a single ball in play. Really, the Jays only had two innings out of the nine where anyone in the crowd was interested in what they were doing. I know, I know, it's only one game but my alarm bells are already starting to go off. I've seen this movie before—more than once—and I've never liked the ending. If the Leafs happen to make the playoffs this year, the Jays may have a battle on their hands for fan support unless they step it up right away.

It wasn't all bad. Brett Cecil looked fantastic in his relief appearance, which is a great surprise. Sergio Santos, closer-in-waiting, came in and gave up a sharp single on his very first pitch but then proceeded to blow away the rest of the hitters. I think he reached 98 on the radar gun on one pitch. Impressive. Dickey himself settled down immediately after the homer and looked amazing the rest of the (short) way. I think he'll be just fine. Cabrera can really hit, although I think he's far too slow to be in the number two spot. Maybe Brett Lawrie can move there when he gets back and Cabrera can hit fifth. And Lind can hit in Japan.

Anyhow, those are the things I noticed from my perch about 200 feet above the right-field line. And, despite all of my worries (and I do have a lot of them), it was pretty darned nice to be back at the Dome in the middle of a packed house.

Now let's see if they can keep it that way.


  1. If the Blue Jays are back, can summer be far behind? Sounds like you had fun, going to the ol' ball game.

    1. Oh, I sure did. I don't follow the NHL any more so the Jays are going to have to shoulder a lot more of the load than they usually do. :)


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