This is the first time in a while that the Jays lose the first game of a series. Maybe that’s a good thing since they’ve also gone on to lose the remainder of the series after winning the first game, so a flip of that scenario would have the Jays winning the rest of the games vs the Rays in this series. It was evident that the Jays missed Jose Bautista‘s bat in the lineup, or JBeasta as I like to call him, and a couple of 2011 Jays additions had a hard time taking up the slack.
Although Cooper was able to work in some very nice ABs and took many pitches, these 3 players accounted for 9 base runners left on base and were 0 for 12 with no walks. As they were spread through the lineup, it was hard for the Jays to get any kind of rally going.
Edwin Encarnacion may have missed a chance to throw out a runner on a play that had him handcuffed at 3B, but he, Adam Lind, and Corey Patterson were the lone highlights of the team offensively. Encarnacion was able to hit 2 very strong doubles including 1 on a pitch that had the announcers stating that only he and Vladimir Guerrero could hit a pitch that low so far over the center fielder’s head. Lind is still amongst the RBI leaders in the AL with 23 to his credit after driving in one of the 2 Jays runs on Tuesday.
If you read my comments throughout the pre-season and up to today, you know that I’m not the biggest Reyes supporter. I will be honest, however, in saying that last night was the very first time that I saw enough movement and zip on his pitches to believe that he could eek out as a plausible 4th-5th starter. He didn’t have outstanding stuff, but it was good and impressed me quite a but after watching how flat his pitches were through most of his initial starts. Apparently, Reyes has been working on a cutter (who hasn’t?) and integrated it into his arsenal last night in order to give hitters more looks to be aware of. Well, it seemed to work and he was particularly impressive in striking out Evan Longoria on one occasion with some pretty nasty looking pitches.
I really want to pull for Reyes. Knowing that he probably earned himself one more look, it provides him with at least one more chance to get his 1st win after not obtaining 1 win in his last 24 starts made in MLB. An incredible stat to say the least.
The pen was looking great as usual, and I must admit that due to other priorities, I didn’t watch the 9th inning, beliving the game was in the books. Well, was I ever wrong. Jon Rauch allowed his first blown save of the season and now has a 4.09 ERA on the year. I didn’t see the sequence of events, but I do know that he allowed a soft single to Ben Zobrist (who is very hot of late) after getting into a full count, and allowed the HR to Upton after being up 0-1 in the count. The worst part for Rauch is that it comes at a time when Frank Francisco is finding himself pitching well and more importantly is now healthy.
We’ll see how well the Jays do during the remainder of the series. If they can take the next two, it will definitely help us forget all about this ugly win, although Jo-Jo Reyes may never forget it. Just a few big hits from Rivera, Davis, or Cooper could have given him a much needed, and earned, W.
OTHER JAYS NOTES
I was Tweeting during the game and couldn’t get over just how many Jays fans are extremely down on Anthony Gose. This all came to a head after Brett Wallace, who was traded to HOU in return for Gose, was reported as having hit his 2nd HR of the season and is now hitting .383 on the year. Listen, I’ve always been a big Wallace fan, but how can you knock the move after seeing how well Adam Lind has adjusted to 1B? How would Wallace have fit in with the Jays? Would he be a great DH long term? I personally don’t see it, and I do believe that the Jays will be much better off with Gose in center field. He has a cannon of an arm, is just beginning to get hot at the plate (.275/.341 in last 10 games with 6 SBs) and this at only 20 years old while in AA.
To his doubters, I preach patience, as I firmly believe he’ll win gold gloves in the future in CF and will provide the Jays with the best lead off hitter they’ve had since Ricky Henderson.
Most of you probably know that Hill is scheduled to make a return within the next week (Monday of next week has been rumored). That will be a great addition to the lineup if he is 100% healthy and let’s hope that all of his leg issues are behind him now. The Jays need to see what he can do as a healthy player in order to make the required assessment of just how many of his options they should pick up post 2011.
I was able to gather from Gregor Chisholm during last night’s game, through Twitter, that Bautista didn’t hurt his neck pitching or hitting. Instead, Gregor indicated that he simply slept on it wrong and it was worse during the second day. There have been no indications that anything is structurally wrong with his neck, so it rest and time are all that can help him at this point in hopes that it sinply goes away. He will, at a minimum, miss the entire series vs the Rays.
I’m sure that I’m not the only Jays fan currently holding his breath…. However, if he is out for any length of time, it could force the Jays hand in recalling Travis Snider from AAA as soon as he is eligible (May 9th or 10th). He has hit .538/.684/.615 with 1 double, 6 walks, 2 strike outs and 1 SB over his 4 games in Las Vegas, clearly indicating that he is much too good of a hitter for the level.
What his demotion has done, however, is to give him what must be much needed confidence and some positive feeling that he can take with him to Toronto when he does get recalled. It’s no surprise that he’s doing so well so far in LV, as he is notoriously a great hitter in the month of May, which is why I questioned the timing – but understood the reason – of the demotion when it happened.
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