It’s a beautiful time to be a baseball fan and more specifically, a Jays fan, after last night’s 13-3 stomping of the Twins.
The team is in first place (and so what if it’s with a magic number of 161), the new-era Jays showed already in one game that this will be a multi-tiered attack of an offense that can strike in a number of different ways. If one night is enough to make assumptions of it (which of course, it is not), the team gave its fanbase a good glimpse into the fact that the future may not be as far off as we all think.
Here’s some quick thoughts from the opener:
Rajai Davis is awesome. The team hasn’t had a player of his skillset in a long, long time and he should be a ton of fun to watch this year if he can get on base at any kind of reasonable clip.
I was absolutely shocked when he beat out that laser line drive to the shortstop in the first inning. I mean, this was not a slowly hit baseball, the shortstop did not take his time with the throw and still Mr. Davis is standing safely at first. Unreal.
Then he gets picked off (we’ll forget about this minor blip while discussing his awesomeness) and makes it back to first with ease, pretty much giving the middle finger to the Twins’ thoughts that they could ever run him down.
It reminded me of those cocky kids in peewee baseball who would get themselves into rundowns on purpose just so they could prove their awesomeness by easily beating the rundown and getting on to the next base.
J.P. Arencibia looked good defensively. Obviously J.P.’s offensive performance speaks for himself, but what impressed me as a fellow catcher (who will never hit
two any homeruns in a game) was his defensive play. He made some good blocks and also called a good game, as evidenced by Ricky’s seven strikeouts.
Jose Molina is going to play a lot? Really? One of the TV guy’s noted that Jose Molina was scheduled to start today’s game. OK fine, I’m sure that was a decision made in advance and that will likely be held up despite the fact Arencibia mashed the baseball last night. Let’s hope Arencibia at least DH’s.
One of the TV guys also said the Jays plan to have Molina catch two of the starting pitchers and have Arencibia catch three of them. This is NOT GOOD. Is the plan really to have Arencibia catch less than 100 of the team’s games? I can only pray and hope that he is at least going to DH on some of the days he is not catching, but I’m failing to see the value in having Molina catch more than say once a week, or whenever Arencibia needs a day off.
As has been adequately documented, Arencibia’s ceiling is sky high and that’s only going to be achieved by getting him the reps at the major league level.
Molina’s ceiling? He’s 35 years old, you’re looking at it and he probably can’t even jump up to reach it anymore.
If in fact Molina is going to be getting that much playing time, I will be shocked. Every indication I had going into the preseason was that Arencibia was going to be the full-time starting catcher, which would – in my mind – be a larger role than just catching 3/5th’s of the starting rotation.
Also, I think the idea of segregating it by specific pitchers is a bit ridiculous too. Let’s make sure our catcher of the future is familiar with all the SP’s, mmkay? That way when Jose Molina is off retired living the good life that a career .617 OPS in the major leagues affords you, Arencibia doesn’t have a lack of familiarity with a chunk of the pitching rotation.
Limiting Arencibia’s playing time in favour of Jose Molina’s I had hoped was the type of thing that would be gone with Cito Gaston (now that the manager hopefully no longer feels his role is to ensure players can get good contracts with other teams – you’re welcome, John Buck).
Adam Lind versus lefties. I am not convinced. Lind managed a single to RF off of southpaw Dusty Hughes in last night’s game. It was just shortly after the TV guys yammered on about how they thought Lind was going to be much improved over his vomit-inducing .117/.159/.182 line against lefties last season.
Well, the positive thing was that Lind kept his head on a decent pitch and lined it in to right field. The bad news is he was still badly fooled by the pitches that give lefties trouble against lefties – breaking balls away from them.
If you are truly seeing the ball better, even with two strikes, that’s a pitch a hitter will take. If I remember correctly he also waved at one pretty badly earlier in the at bat. Oh well, small sample, I guess we can just bask in his 1.000/1.000/1.000 line against lefties so far.
This team can still bomb. While they likely won’t meet last year’s record-high number of long balls, there’s no reason this team still can’t be up amongst the MLB leaders in homeruns.
Baseball + PVR is awesome. Sure, I would have preferred to watch the home opener live, but there is something quite satisfying about watching baseball on PVR and being able to shorten a game down a good hour or so by not having to sit through commercials.
Ricky Romero’s girlfriend. A highlight in itself. Pat Tabler wins line of the night with “Stay hot Ricky, stay hot.”