I was at the Rogers Centre for the first game against the Yankees this season. I had expected not to see too many empty blue seats but the attendance was only 28000+. I guess because it was a Tuesday night.
I was kind of embarrassed when a NY fan and a Toronto fan started brawling in the 100 seats. I mean who does that at a baseball game on a Tuesday night? That was probably the most interesting that happened Tuesday night unfortunately.
The only highlight was Jose Bautista’s 2-run double.
But no doubt, Cecil’s a bit of a disaster right now. It isn’t a ‘slow start’. His ERA is over 10! Even my inexperienced eyes can tell that he’s moving more slowly than last year. He seems off balance after the pitch is released. I think it’s because he’s gained at least 10 lbs. And he wasn’t that slim to begin with. Maybe he can take a lesson from Aaron Sanchez. Get in shape and it’ll all come together.
Tulowitzki, Colabello and Martin are all hitting below 0.150. One might say, ok it’s early, but neither Boston’s or the Yankees roster stats looks like that. They’re digging themselves pretty deep holes to hit themselves out of. The Jays have the 2nd worst batting average right now.
Hitting against that Yankees bullpen didn’t help one bit. I have to admit, they’re pretty scary and will be scarier once Aroldis Chapman returns. The Blue Jays’ bats and bullpen need to get it together…and quick.
Thank you Marco Estrada! The quiet, humble, understated, under the radar Marco Estrada came out big on this frosty Sunday afternoon final game of the 2016 home opener series against the Boston Red Sox. After losing the first 2 games of the series pretty BADLY (I mean, any loss would have been bad), most of us felt we needed to win. John Gibbons said after the game that there really isn’t such a thing as a MUST WIN so early in the season, but as a bandwagon fan, it certainly felt that way didn’t it? We needed some confirmation that we weren’t out of minds. That the team wasn’t just great on paper. That all the hype wasn’t just hype and that we were in fact headed for a disappointing season. Afraid that despite being good, the rivals were better.
The Jays hadn’t been swept since May 2015 in Houston. The Jays hadn’t lost 3 straight at home since August 2014. Thanks to Marco Estrada, they still haven’t.
Estrada had 8 strikeouts in 91 pitches over 7 innings pitched. To put it in Gibby’s words, he was ‘vintage Estrada’. Smooth. On target. Quietly understated finesse. Estrada in his subtle fashion shut Boston down and the Jays took home the win 3-0.
Thankfully the defense found their groove, like they had to give Estrada everything he needed to quiet the naysayers. Dustin Pedroia almost got home but the defense came alive with power throws by Bautista and Goins and a perfect tag by Russell Martin.
Oh, and Donaldson got his 4th homer of the season. At first I thought I was watching a replay, that perfect Josh Donaldson homerun swing.
And don’t you just love watching Osuna run out to the mound to save the game? Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout.
Jose Bautista, who walked twice, has reached base in 20 consecutive games (including post-season), dating to Oct.3, 2015.
The Rogers Centre has had 15 straight sellouts going back to last season. And I think that’s going to continue for a while. I mean, everyone including me, is just hanging off every detail about this team. The expectations are extraordinary. Who knows what’s going to happen but it sure is going to be a fun ride.
Reading this post you’ll sense my ennui. The Blue Jays lost their 4th straight game on Saturday for the first time since last May. Actually, they lost 5-in-a-low that time. This time losing the 2nd game of the home opening series to Boston. Today the feel around the city of Toronto felt down…subdued. Still they say, don’t worry, it’s early.
Despite 2 awesome 2-run homeruns by Jose Bautista, those 4 runs gained were negated a bit by a crazy bounce in right field on a line drive over the head of Jose which had him turning around and chasing it to the wall. This allowed 2 runs and left a runner on 3rd who eventually crossed homeplate as well.
A rare error on a missed throw by Dickey to 2nd base actually started the free fall. Dickey’s knuckleball however was looking quite amazing, which of course meant a few misses at home plate by Josh Thole. These cost a few bases as well.
Ok, I’ll be patient. Hoping for a win Sunday.
First, the good.
I love, love, love seeing Russell Martin throw out a base stealer. It’s such a perfect way to end an inning. He had a 44% Caught Stealing % for 2015!
And how about Justin Smoak stealing second (while getting beaned in the helmet)? I didn’t know he could steal bases! He hasn’t stolen a base since 2012 and this was only his 3rd time in his career.
And Michael Saunders has been really solid so far. I loved seeing him push hard to run to first which they called safe on the field, but the hit was overturned on review.
I didn’t have the impression that Sanchez was at his best. He certainly made some beautiful pitches and he didn’t seem to be physically struggling throwing the ball but didn’t look too comfortable – maybe it was all mental. His mom and step dad were in the audience. Certainly his stepdad looked crazy nervous. If my son were a pro athlete I’d be super nervous too!
Then, the bad.
It was surprising to see Pillar miss one. Could he be a bit stunned from yesterday’s smash in the head? We’ve gotten so used to him catching impossible plays that’s it’s unnerving to see him miss one.
Shocking that Tulo missed one too but when I saw the replay, he actually had it, but the ball had busted through that ratty old glove. The same one where the ball got stuck in the webbing the other night. That glove cost us 2 plays, but how many plays has it saved?
Another surprise was Brett Cecil who hit Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch, Kiermaier representing the tying run, and who seems to be an aggressive baserunner. Cecil looks like he’s put on a few pounds. He also gave up a HR to Forsythe and broke his 38 game runless streak.
The Jays seemed to have many chances to run away the runs but somehow struggled to cash in with the 9 hits, the team RISP 2-for-12 and LOB of 11, UNTIL the top of the 9th.
OMG I got a headache. I don’t even know what to say, just like Gibby who’s mad as hell. Of course, I am referring to the last play of the game. Goins and Donaldson single and Jose walks. Edwin Encarnacion has bases loaded and the baserunners are ready. Edwin hits a ground ball to Evan Longoria who throws to Forsythe at 2nd getting out Jose Bautista who then made a legal slide BUT caressed Forsythe’s ankle with his hand which may or may not have resulted in the overthrow to first, thus disrupting the double play. The on field call was that Edwin was safe and that the 2 runs that came in gave the Jays a 4-3 lead. On review, they overturned the call…
Under new Rule 6.01(j), which has been added to the existing Rule 6.01 on “Interference, Obstruction, and Catcher Collisions,” slides on potential double plays will require runners to make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base. Runners may still initiate contact with the fielder as a consequence of an otherwise permissible slide. A runner will be specifically prohibited from changing his pathway to the base or utilizing a “roll block” for the purpose of initiating contact with the fielder. Potential violations of Rule 6.01(j) will be reviewable using instant replay. Also reviewable will be “neighborhood play” calls, which previously were exempted from replay review.
Here is the text of the new rule (the ‘j’ is the new amendment):
RULE 6.01(j) — SLIDING TO BASES ON DOUBLE PLAY ATTEMPTS
If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01. A “bona fide slide” for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner:
(1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
(2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
(3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and
(4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.
To me, not being a player from the ‘old days’, don’t disagree with the league and the players association trying to prevent the bad injuries that have happened. But I think the call by New York Tuesday night, did not represent the intent of the new rule. And even if we followed the letter of the law, Jose fulfilled ALL 4 criteria and the announcement clearly states that ‘Runners may still initiate contact with the fielder as a consequence of an otherwise permissible slide.’ What a bad way to ruin an amazing comeback play, an ugly way to end a game. Now that does not represent the spirit of the game. First of all, Cash (the Tampa Bay manager) shouldn’t have asked for a review in the spirit of the game seeing as his player was not at risk of getting hurt. Second, should the reviewers not be looking for good evidence to overturn? If you watched Sportsnet, Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler thought there was no way it would get overturned. However, if you watched the Tampa Bay network, they thought for sure he should get called out. So either, they are more informed than Buck and Taby, or, your team bias determines how you see it. Anyone else feel that there’s a bias against the Canadian team sometimes?
Is it weird that I have so much angst over the Jays? The 16-1 trouncing that they gave to the Tigers was so classic Jays. And so awesome to see Tulo again, showing us what he’s really made of with his 3-run homer, 4th of Spring training, and 5 RBIs.
As a fan, I just want to win now. This does not seem to be management’s mentality. They’re thinking the next 2-3 years? But without Jose and Edwin, that beautiful lineup will fall apart. And if they aren’t willing to pay big bucks to keep 2 of the biggest hitters in the biz, one can’t imagine that they will find replacements to fill the big shoes that will be left behind. I think Jose thinks like a businessman and will go where the $$ are. Edwin though makes me sad. He’s so sweet and quiet and yeah, he wants to get paid. But he’s hurt that he gives himself to the team, but the new bosses feel no bond. I agree it’s a business, but I think there are contracts that would make sense. Make these guys a fair offer! You owe them that even if you don’t owe them more for nostalgia. If you get beat out then fine. I think Cleveland, I mean, Blue Jays management needs to take some communication courses. Changes like the one made to Gibby’s contract, while it makes sense, the way things are done makes fans, and I’m sure Gibby, feel like they want a way out. I think they could be a lot smoother.