Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Home Opener Aftermath


By
Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures
The Blue Jays Home Opener is a magical time of year. It's the culmination of months of anticipation and excitement. But judging by the mood of the crowd, you would never think that.

I still believe the Home Opener is all those things, but a deflating loss at the hand of the Boston Red Sox certainly left the fans with a bad taste in their mouth. And it didn't help that the meltdown was at the hands of their new closer, Sergio Santos.

Depending on whether the Blue Jays win or lose their Home Opener, the mood along the neighbouring streets along the Rogers Centre is notably different. In past years, it was boisterous and full of excitement. This year, the tone was sombre and one of disappointment.

It might have felt like the Blue Jays lost Game 7 of the World Series, but in actuality it was only game four of the 2012 season. There is a lot of baseball left to play ... after all, we're only 2.5% of the way through the season. A lot can happen in the next 158 games.

I know there were a lot of fans at the Rogers Centre last night who attended their very first Blue Jays game last night. Unfortunately,  you only get one chance to make a first impression ... and the way that game ended, I'm afraid the Blue Jays didn't start off on the right foot.

The casual baseball fan probably heard ad nauseum about the bullpen woes from last season; 25 blown saves, and and endless parade of closers who couldn't get the job done. And if the Blue Jays cut that blown save in total by just half, then they might have had a chance at the playoffs.

Then Alex Anthopoulos rebuilds the bullpen in the offseason, with the crowning jewel being a new closer in the form of Sergio Santos. And then he starts off the season by blowing his first two save opportunities, and suddenly we're back to the same closer conundrum from last year.

Sergio Santos isn't going anywhere; he's under contract through 2014, and up to 2017 if the Blue Jays exercise all his options. Santos probably going to be the closer no matter what until his contract is up.

So for those who might think that the sky is falling and that Francisco Cordero needs to usurp Sergio Santos as the Blue Jays closer, I urge you to step back from that ledge, my friend. It's only four games into the season.

Not to mention, combined with Sergio Santos' wild ninth inning, it's not as if the offense provided a lot of run support for the pitchers to work with. On an ordinary night, two runs on five hits is not enough to beat the Boston Red Sox.

In fact, the Blue Jays offense has averaged only 3 runs in their first four games (not including runs scored in extra innings). So it appears as though the starting lineup has some work to do, as well.

Dustin Pedroia took advantage of couple of fastballs up in the zone (in nearly the same location) and that was the difference maker. The margin for error was very slim, and Santos simply could not stop the bleeding once Pedroia led off the ninth with a double.

Despite the deflating end to the ballgame, I thought the Blue Jays Home Opener was exciting nonetheless. It was great to have baseball back in the city of Toronto, but it's just unfortunate the game had to end the way it did.

11 comments:

  1. People need to keep in mind as well, Sergio became a pitcher two years ago. He is a power arm, that is not yet refined. He will be fine. I agree with you, it is way to early jump from the ledge.

    As for that bats, generally pitchers are ahead of hitters coming out of spring training. The amount of low scoring games from the past week will help attest to this. The bats will come. It's nice to see Rasmus both hustling and starting to hit the ball.

    I agree Ian, it was an exciting game. Lots of baseball left to play.

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    1. Good point - I hadn't thought about that. Pitchers definitely do have the edge out of camp, and then once the hitters get acclimatized, that's when they start to get the edge. Also, Colby looked great last night. I think Toronto is back in love with him again.

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  2. I personally fell victim to the massive hype surrounding the Blue Jays this season, but after last night's game I've come back down to earth.

    We need to remember that this teams starting pitching and offense is just not good enough yet and this year should be used to determine what the teams greatest needs are:

    - Does Adam Lind really suck?
    - Can JP Arencibia improve upon his OBP and defence?
    - Will the real Colby Rasmus stand up?
    - Will Morrow's results ever match his talent?
    - Do the Jays have a 3rd, 4th or 5th starter?
    - What should we really expect from Brett Lawrie, and can he respond to adjustment pitchers make after seeing him a few times
    - Do the Jays have a left fielder worth starting every day
    - etc.

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    1. Peter, don't give up hope just yet! It's tough because overall expectations for the Blue Jays aren't that they'll make the postseason, but in the city of Toronto I think they now bare all the weight for playoff hopes.

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  3. In non baseball related opening day hijinx.

    - Vegas made a lot of money by the first real visible fight being in the 100s
    - The kids combo (Hot dog, chips, and drink) is STILL the best value concession wise at the dome
    - There was almost a brew-ha-ha in my section, but this is a TMZ style story as it involved Dallas Green, Leah Miller and friends vs. Guy with vuvuzela.

    Overall the crowd was pretty well behaved. We didn't have to hear the usual "STOP THROWING SHIT ON THE FIELD" message we usually hear every opener.

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    1. Do they still have the combo available? I remember they used to have an adult combo with pop, hot dog and fries and it was only like $8 or $9 dollars. I used to get it all the time, but haven't seen it in years.

      And I thought I saw on Twitter somewhere that Dallas Green was at the game. Sounds like an interesting story!

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    2. Actually, I just heard Dallas Green on the FAN ... he was talking about his Home Opener experience. And he mirrored everything you just said.

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  4. Our old friend Brandon League had an absolutely horrendous week in May last year where he blew 3 saves and had 4 losses in 4 straight appearances for the Mariners. Even with all that, he didn't lose his closer job and finished the season with 37 saves, 2.79 ERA and an all-star appearance.

    I think Santos can turn it around as well.

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  5. I was definitely disappointed but I don't think this is a bad omen. I'm so excited for this season! I haven't been to your blog in a while - love the new header.

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    1. Thanks Amber! This year should definitely be entertaining, that's for sure.

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  6. Since the early 90's the overwhelming talent we had back then is the opposite of what we have now not with regards with talent but with youth. The early 90's team competed with veteran players which make today's blue jays that more talented. I truly believe if not now or the near future the blue jays will not only contend but dominate based on the existing talent we have on our 25 man roster and of course our incredible double A and triple A minor leave system.

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