Sure, Vernon Wells smashed two homers – the second had the sound of a canon when struck – but the real story of the game was the fact that the Jays drew 10 walks, that’s right folks, 10 walks against Rangers pitching. The Jays walked in runs, and they needed to because they only had 5 hits for a .194 average in the game. Snider, Bautista, and Overbay all walked twice, while Wells provided the power needed to get the Jays over the top. Snider’s at bats were all encouraging as he showed a ton of patience at the plate.
Having said that walks were the story of the game, the story of the beginning of the year for the Jays has to be Vernon Wells who’s performances have been outstanding in the first 2 games. If this is truly a sign of things to come, teams will have a lot to worry about then they meet the Jays. Any time you have 3 HRs in 7 ABs, 6 RBI, a .714 average and .778 OBP, you know you’re having a good start to the year. David Ortiz, for example, would be happy to have just 1 hit, never mind 3 HRs.
Brian Tallet threw a good game, good enough to win, but I still don’t get how he does it. I watched the majority of his pitch velocities as the game went along and I still don’t get how guys are not crushing his 85 MPH fastball. To put it in perspective, Stephen Strasburg’s change up is 92 MPH on average. Tallet worked between 76 and 89 MPH, so you would think he’d be getting into more trouble. The reason he seems to have some success is that 2 consecutive pitches are never within the same 2 MPH. He’ll go 89, then 82, then 85, then 78. How do you adjust to that as a hitter? He plays his ranges extremely well. In complete contrast, I also monitored AJ Burnett the night before who was working at 95 MPH, 95, 95, 95, 82 curve, 95, 95, 95, 95…..ect… It might be harder to hit a 95 MPH fastball than one at 85 MPH, but if you know the one at 95 is coming you can be much better prepared to hit it than the one at 85. That’s how Tallet is effective, he keeps hitter guessing.
Finally, Jason Frasor scared the living daylights out of me. Not only do I own him in a couple of fantasy leagues, but I know his importance to the Jays is so high that they can’t afford to have him be ineffective if they’re to stay around .500. When Chris Davis hit that double after Kevin Gregg was so effective, I thought, oh boy, here we go. Everyone will be asking for Gregg to get a chance and the merry-go-round will begin to turn. Thankfully, Frasor turned it around from there big time. The 2 Ks he got after that double were huge and he seemed to gain confidence with each pitch and should now be in a much better place to continue through April. His trade value has been revived a little and he should keep his closing job for a while longer at a minimum.
The Jays have an afternoon game Thursday. If you’re lucky enough to be off work or school and watch it, enjoy! If not, I’ll tell you all about it!