Ahhh, is there anything better for your club than a nice spring cleaning sweep? I don’t think so. A lot, and I mean a lot, of analysts had the Orioles finishing ahead of the Jays this season – think they want to revise that now? I certainly would if I were them.
Baseball is special for many reasons, one of which is the fact that anybody can be the significant factor once the game starts, anybody. This game was not your typical game in terms of offensive production. John McDonald (3 for 4) was the catalyst, Jose Bautista (1 HR), Edwin Encarnacion (1 HR), and Alex Gonzalez (2 HRs) were the heros. If I listed these 3 as the keys to the game before hand, most people would have thunk I was nuts.As it is, they did their jobs and came through for their team. It seems all Jays players are ready to be the producers when needed and the timing couldn’t be better thus far. If Vernon Wells is hot, he wins some games for the team. If Vernon Wells goes cold, others pick up the slack. The same can be said for almost all Jays hitters, and that’s something they’ll need as the season wears on – and also something that was missing at the end of last season. Today’s game had Wells and Adam Lind going 0 for 6 with 1 walk each. Did it matter? No, because the unusual suspects rose up and took the game from the O’s. Any time your best 2 hitters do nothing and your team still manages to put up 5 runs, it’s a good day. Hopefully the Jays continue to get some help from the unusual suspects.
We can’t talk about this game without mentioning the outstanding effort Shaun Marcum gave, once again, going 6 strong, allowing 8 hits, 1 walk, 2 ER, and 5 Ks in his second outing of the year. He didn’t get the win, but he definitely deserved it. He threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes, and is already in mid-season form. I would say that he’s done more than one could expect in taking over where Doc left off. I’m not comparing the two in terms of caliber, but they were both very effective, and to do what he’s done after surgery and a long layoff speak to the quality of his pitching and character. Speaking of Doc, he only threw a complete game for the Phils who have to love having him on board. Enjoy it Phils fans.
Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, and Kevin Gregg (2nd save of season) followed up his efforts by only allowing 1 hit over their 3 innings and striking out 3 – what a pen! If it’s not Jason Frasor, it’s Gregg. If it’s not Janssen, it’s Downs. Jeremy Accardo and Merkin Valdez must both feel like the ugly guys at a dance, because they’re not getting 1 chance to get out there. They will in time, but I hope they’re getting their work in on the side.
I have to mention this because I found it funny. I watched the AB Encarnacion had before the AB where he hit the HR, and I thought “man, he’s trying to kill that ball. If he just tried to make contact instead of overs winging he may have a better average.” The very next AB he did kill the ball – literally. He crushed that ball so hard think it would have cleared the fence if it was 50-75 yds further back. I see why he swings as he does, it’s a beautiful thing when it works out. But how many pop ups does he get instead of crushers? Tons.
The Jays go 5-1 on the season after this win. They have been very impressive in 2 ways this far: by pulling off late inning wins due to clutch efforts from various players, and in winning the last 4 games without all-star Aaron Hill on board. These kinds of streaks are the exact reason I believe the Jays will end the season at or slightly above .500. They may not be as impressive as some teams, but they get the wins they’re supposed to get – and that counts.
JAYS HOME OPENER!! The Jays take on the White Sox next starting Monday at 7:20 ET, when Brian Tallet takes on Jake Peavy. It should be a dandy as we get to see how the extremely large crowd will react to Alex Rios and how the Jays will play at home. Enjoy!