It sure is a good time to be a Jays fan, isn’t it? The Jays have shown over their last 2 series against the top 2 teams in all of MLB that they can play. The scary part is that they’re only going to get better as they get more experienced.
First things first, the newest fan favorite on the Jays roster: JP Arencibia. If you’ve read my blog for a while you already know how much I like the way JP plays and love his power potential as a catcher. When everyone was down on him for having a bad year while playing through injuries, I stood pat. He had, and is going to continue to add power in this already power loaded lineup and will be a game changer. His catching will improve and I saw him watching every single thing Jose Molina did during his first “uniformed” game. To have such an excellent defensive catcher there to teach you the ropes when you get to The Show is a huge asset. I’m sure he helped keep JP calm.
I’m not sure how the Jays will be able to justify sending JP down if he continues to hit before John Buck gets healthy, but they may already be working the phones to see what interest is out there for Buck. Time will tell, but I’d hate to see him head back down to AAA with the way he’s swinging the bat. I’m not certain how his playing time in 2010 will affect his arbitration clock, but that could be a factor if the Jays don’t find the right deal.
I’d also like to add my 2 cents about what I loved about the HR barrage that was their 17-11 win on Saturday. When you combine it with the 1-0 win the Jays earned Sunday, it shows that they are able to win games in many different ways. Against the Yankees, it was the hitting and the pen – along with some pretty awesome SP – that got the job done. Saturday’s game was all bat, Sunday’s game was all arm – Morrow’s arm that is.
That leads me to the seconds. I was absolutely hating the fact that Brandon Morrow, a reliever in 2009, was allowed to stand there and throw 130+ pitches. Not because I blame Cito for doing it, but more because he had no choice in the matter and the repercussions could be extremely severe. I could dig up stats on the subject, but I’ll let Morrow’s future performances do the talking. There’s no REAL rule about pitch counts. However, there are statistics that show how “abuse” of pitch counts can lead to a greater chance of facing a future surgery of some kind.
The performance itself was a thing of beauty. I had stuff to do and didn’t plan on watching the entire game, but when the no-hitter got to the 6th inning I didn’t really have a choice. Morrow’s performance was Doc like and deserves all of the praise you can throw at it. If Aaron Hill had made the tough play at 2B, we’d be looking at the 2nd no-hitter in Jays history.Everything was cutting, rising, or sliding – nothing was straight. If it was, it was 94+ MPH. He dropped so many sinkers that fell off the table and made guys look helpless that I had to keep looking at the back of the Jersey to make sure Doc hadn’t been traded back to the Jays. The biggest thing I loved about his performance today is the aggressiveness and trust in his stuff that Brandon had with each pitch. He threw and dared hitters to hit it. That’s a real breakthrough and a major stepping point for a reliever turned starter.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I sponsored the Baseball Reference page for Brandon Morrow when the Jays acquired him, that’s how much I love this kid. I don’t plan on stopping that sponsorship any time soon and hope he continues to do what he’s doing. Thank Alex Anthopolous for dealing a reliever and a prospect for this kid. What a deal. I believe he’s a #2 at a minimum, with the potential of becoming a #1 with a little more consistency.
As each win against the Yankees and against the Rays comes in, you see a new sort of pride in the eyes of Jays players. Listening to the fans oooh, ahhh, and booo with every pitch over the last 2 games, you get the sense that the pride is seeping into the stands. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish, what these Jays have done. The Jays have spent $78,689,357 this year on player contracts according to Cot’s. Over $16,000,000 of that is going to players who are no longer with the club (B.J. Ryan, Roy Halladay, and Randy Ruiz), therefore, the Jays salaries of players on the club total approximately $62,000,000. When you compare that to Yankees who spent over $213,000,000 and the Red Sox who spent $168,000,00, you get to know where that pride comes from. Talk about David fighting Goliaths.
The Jays will be able to add a ton of contracts this off season and may even benefit from teams who can’t afford their player’s raise or need to cut salary (as the Rays will apparently do). The players under contract are mostly young guns, cheap, and under control for quite a while. They get along, love the situation they’re in with the Jays, and all want to stick around because they know what’s about to come. Many seasons of winning, some spending, and possibly some championships as a result.
With Chris Bosh out of town, the Leafs forever rebuilding, and Soccer having a hard time getting to prime time, the Jays have a major opportunity to show fans all over Canada that they’re worth cheering for. They already won over a lot of hearts when they won 2 championships years ago, and that same electricity seems to be seeping back into the stands, dome, and players. Blue Jays pride is flowing again. I never thought I’d see it this quickly, but the Jays winning decade of the 2010s is under way with a bang, and I expect it will take many by surprise and will frustrate many of the big spenders in the division.
Thanks for bringing Blue Jays back to Toronto Alex “The Great” Anthopolous. It’s a whole lot of fun to watch.