Thursday, April 4, 2013

And So It Begins

Well the unthinkable happened, as you are all well aware. Rick and I were at the game and felt the energy and excitement that happens with each season opener. However, this year is different; the expectations are almost astronomical, ok not almost.

The mighty Jays fell in their first game – and now the second – to the Indians. The Indians just played better. Masterson was masterful in game one.

It appears the Jays were just too tight and anxious before the crowd of 50,000+ at the Rogers Centre Tuesday.  I guess that’s to be expected, as there are twelve new names on the roster – like the ’93 Jays- and five new starters for this game. Each of these players’ also know there are great expectations.

The weather was perfect. No snow, no wind and the mound was manicured to perfection. It would have been a rough night at Exhibition Stadium. However, RA Dickey and the flutter ball did not fool many. When it did, it really did. But the magic did not happen often. When the first hit was made, I said to Rick, “There goes the no-hitter.” He reminded me that knuckleballers never have a perfect game. Hopefully it was just the nerves kicking in and RA will control the speed a bit better next time out. Some of the fast knuckleballs sure looked more like slow fastballs.

JP Arencibia really did have a tough time behind the plate. A tougher time then he should have. I think officially there were three passed balls but several others got away; too many. As the starting catcher, he had the expectation and, I guess, the right to play the opener, but he had trouble. I just heard that John Gibbons will have Henry Blanco take RA’s next start. A good idea. Give JP a chance to settle. He needs more practice at this knuckleball thing and he cannot catch all the games anyway. Have Blanco do what he does best. We want games in the win column.

José Reyes was spectacular at short, with great catches and speedy throws to first. The crowd will come to love his energizing level of play. Already forgotten is the other guy.

The other José was pushing too hard. Just as he did last year – when he did finally settled down all was well. Then the injury happened, ending his great expectations and allowing Edwin Encarnacion go get the accolades. Bautista has a big ego.  For the most part that is good. But he cannot always be grousing on the umpire on every call. His bat-tossing incident on a perceived ball was in bad form. He has done this before to not only his detriment but also the team’s. Wins are what count, not his BA. It is a fine line between a legitimate complaint and that of showing up the ump. You cannot toss the bat before the ump makes the call. John Gibbon’s hands off approach may not work with Bautista.
If he continues in that vein he should be benched. Last night’s HR should help to settle the ego some.

That all being said, the home plate officiating by Jeff Nelson was awful. The strike zone appeared to be all over the place. From where I sat, the same pitch got different calls for no apparent reason.  That, too, must be improved. The zone looked to be a parallelogram. Not exactly a square. I hope it was better on TV, but I doubt it.

I hope against hope that the new look Jays will show up with the bats. Brandon Morrow’s fine showing last night should not suffer from DSS – Dave Stieb Syndrome, ie: no lumber.

By the way, Sergio Santos served up my favorite pitch last night, a Tomahawk, to the strikeout king, Mark Reynolds. Reynolds tore the cover off that one. Reggie Jackson would be proud.

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