Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Opening Day Thoughts: Dickey, Reyes and Errors

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"Great, here we go again." I think that's the first sentiment that ran through a lot of people's minds after the Rays defeated the Blue Jays 9-2 on Opening Day. Not exactly the way the team wanted to kick off the 2014 season.

While the results from that one game were a little disheartening, Blue Jays fans can seek solace in knowing that there are 161 games left in the schedule. That's 99.382% of the season left to play.

After the Blue Jays slow start last season, I know people hate to hear the excuse "it's still early", but it's still early.

And despite the poor results on the field for the Blue Jays, it simply felt good to have baseball back and on TV and the radio. It was definitely a long six month stretch without access to Blue Jays baseball.

Dickey's Dome of Horrors


Suffice it to say it was a second consecutive Opening Day for R.A. Dickey. He gave up as many walks as he did runs (six) and only managed to make it through five innings before handing things over to the bullpen.

While I didn't catch the full game, by the sounds of things he left a lot of pitches over the heart of the plate, which the Rays subsequently attacked. I think there were either three or four balls that were hit all the way to the wall for extra bases.

Normally, Dickey has excelled within the confines of a domed stadium, especially Tropicana Field. In five previous starts. R.A. Dickey had 2.79 ERA while striking out 37 and holding opponents to a .253 average.

The major concern yesterday (as it was most of last season) was the overall velocity of Dickey's knuckleball. Yesterday, it averaged around 75.4 MPH and topped out at only 78.6 MPH. At one point, his knuckleball velocity even dipped down to 63 MPH.

Here's a velocity chart of all his pitches (including fastballs, knucklers and sinkers) courtesy of the fine folks at Brooks Baseball.


Jose Reyes to the DL


Well, that didn't take very long; Jose Reyes lasted just one at bat before being taken out of the game. It was later revealed that Reyes suffered a mild hamstring strain and he's now been placed on the disabled list.

In retrospect, the Blue Jays probably should have placed Jose Reyes on the DL in the first place. And I don't know how much if any the series in Montreal affected his hamstring. But I think this situation may have been handled differently.

While it's a huge blow to lose your All-Star shortstop just one game into the season, it's certainly not a death sentence for the Blue Jays. They survived alright when Jose Reyes missed two months and posted a 34-32 record while going 40-56 when he was healthy.

The Blue Jays will miss their spark plug in Reyes at the top of their lineup, but better to take precautions now and put him on the DL rather than let it linger for weeks and have it potentially get much, much worse.

A Comedy of Errors




For a brief moment during yesterday's game, it looked like the Blue Jays had reverted back to their 2013 selves. In this play above, Wil Myers enjoyed a little league home run courtesy of not just one, but two comical errors by the Blue Jays.

Truth be told, Jeremy Jeffress had no business fielding that ball in the first place. And Jose Bautista may have one of the best outfield arms in the game, but he would have been better served just throwing the ball back to the infield.

I'm just hoping the Blue Jays wanted to get their comedy of errors out of the way during the first game of the season and now it's out of their system.

Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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