12:30 PM Eastern

It was a back-and-forth battle between the Jays and White Sox tonight, a punchers’ night at a packed Rogers Centre, with each team fighting back several times from body blow after body blow.

Andruw Jones hits a two-run homer?  John Buck hits a two-run homer.

Jones Charlie Browns Brian Tallet in his next at-bat to put the Sox up by two?  Adam Lind smacks a two-run single.

Vernon Wells hits a two-run homer?  Jones goes deep again, then Mark Teahen begins his hit parade with an RBI single.

Then Edwin Encarnacion leads off the bottom of the 6th with a double, and the Blue Jays stop hitting.

Encarnacion wound up scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Lind, but the Jays didn’t get a hit after his double.  Twenty-two Blue Jays hitters went to the plate after that two-bagger, and not a single one managed to get a hit.

Blame Jason Frasor if you want, and he’s worthy of blame as Teahen took him deep to lead off the 9th, but 22 Blue Jays came to the plate without getting a hit from the 6th inning on.

Some Home Opener thoughts:

-I thought the crowd was reasonably well-behaved.  I don’t get the paper airplane thing, really I don’t, but I only saw one occasion where a whole section got up to watch what looked like a couple of drunken idiots who were fighting.  That happened down in the left-field corner on the 100  level.  Of course, I can’t see the 500 level from where I’m sitting, I just hope things were OK up there.  The last couple of home openers have been really embarrassing, fan-wise.  I did see a kid take a foul pop off the jaw behind home plate, though.

-Who would have thought that Vernon Wells would be serenaded by fans chanting his name in non-sarcastic fashion?  Hopefully the vitriol of last year is a memory, Wells didn’t deserve to be treated like that.

-The reception for Alex Rios was as expected, but he wound up 3-for-5 with a stolen base.  You might not want to give him any extra motivation (or wake him up).

-I don’t know why Brian Tallet was allowed to finish the 6th.  I get why he was allowed to start it, he’d thrown a pretty strong 4th and 5th (allowing just a broken-bat single) and after Andruw Jones, it was a lefty and then the bottom of the line-up, but he absolutely shouldn’t have been allowed to stay in beyond A.J. Pierzynski after giving up the second homer to Jones.  There’s a strong, deep, rested crew of longish relievers.  Use them.

-Something has to be up with Jason Frasor.  It was another night of failing to throw with his usual velocity and another night of struggles.  He’s not going to close tomorrow night if the opportunity arises, Cito has already said as much, but they should be taking a good, hard look at that right arm of his.  If he feels like he’s throwing 94 and it’s coming out at 91, there’s an issue.

-I’m not upset with riding Alex Gonzalez’ hot bat and keeping him near the top of the line-up while he continues to hit well, but it should be a very temporary position, because when he stops hitting (and he will), he may not hit for a while.  Mike McCoy is going to get four or five games, at least, on this homestand with Aaron Hill having gone on the DL, and I firmly believe that McCoy is this team’s best option in the lead-off spot. I’d love to see him get that opportunity.

Finally, it was great to see a huge crowd at the ol’ ballpark tonight, and the atmosphere was wonderful.  It was also great to see the 13 Olympic medallists who made the trip to celebrate their achievements, especially my old buddy, bobsleigh bronze medallist Lyndon Rush.  He really wanted to come on The JaysTalk, but his beautiful four year-old daughter, Olivia, was out of gas by 6:00 PM. I figured there was no way she was going to last long enough, and she didn’t.  Hopefully, the next time Lyndon is in town (though tonight’s was the first major-league game he’d ever attended), we’ll get him on.

Speaking of The JaysTalk – why, here it is, for your listening pleasure:

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Ricky Romero and Gavin Floyd hook up for Game Two of this series, and the White Sox will try to get their second win in their last dozen games in Toronto.  Join us at 7:00 PM Eastern, won’t you?

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

56 Responses to “A Tough Way To Open At Home”
  1. 1.

    I hope Cito doesn’t wait until June to make KG the closer.

    - RobK
  2. 2.

    You have talked about the jays depth at SS in the minors. There has been debate if Pastronicky move ahead ahead of Jackson. I think he has moved ahead of Jackson. Or else how would you explain Pastronicky starting at SS and leading off for Dunedin while Jackson plays 2B and batting down the order.

    Do you think Jackson is done as a SS? Could this be his last year to make an impression? because i don’t expect to see him start his 4th season profesionally (next year) in A ball again.

    MW: It’s tough to play a 4th year at A-ball, though it wouldn’t be the same level of A-ball. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Jackson was rushed, so he is going to be given a good opportunity to get back on track this year. Clearly, though, both he and Pastornicky are behind Adeiny Hechevarria.

    - Vivek
  3. 3.

    2010 version of the Win Vulture is Casey Janssen!

    - RobK
  4. 4.

    I was only 3 years old when the Jays won the world series so I wouldn’t know how Cito managed those teams. I’ve heard you mention a bunch of times that Cito didn’t get the credit he deserved and now I see why. The dude is just a terrible in-game manager. You can be the greatest player manager (which apparently he isn’t according to some Jays) but it all comes down to the field. Now I know the Jays should have gotten some offense after the 6th but the fact is, they wouldn’t have needed them if Cito didin’t insist on keeping Tallet in the game. The White Sox were barely missing balls all night long and he was clearly fooling no one. Just a terrible decision and it sure wasn’t the first one all year. If he keeps on with his loyalty ….. i’m afraid we are gonna see many more Tallet and Frasor blowups. Not to mention Overbay getting out every AB.

    MW: Now why did you have to throw in that shot at Overbay? That was totally unfair.

    - Ram
  5. 5.

    From a production POV lasts night opener SUCKED. The Roger Centre might not be the best place for baseball, but it definitely is a great place to put on a special show once a year. A great HD screen, video boards, the ability to dark the place and light it up; I was let down. I havent missed an opener for as long as i can remember but theyre always better than that!

    ANYWAYS

    M-Dub,
    Kevin Gregg time.

    MW: I was too busy with the pre-game broadcast stuff to pay attention, but it doesn’t seem as though I missed much.

    - slobberface
  6. 6.

    Hey Mike,
    I was up in the 500s (I really don’t like sitting up there, but I generally go every year with a big group, and that’s where the group wants to sit) and I saw 3 ‘fights’ break out. I was on the 3rd base side. There was one that lasted about 5 minutes or so when Downs was pitching (just prior to the paper airplane, from about the same section) and involved a chant of ‘THROW THE SHOE’…?
    Anyway… Now for baseball…
    Based on the screen in the outfield that shows the speed of the pitch, it looked like Frasor was hitting 92/93… I never saw 94. From what you saw was he not even hitting 92/93…? I did see a 99mph fastball from Brian Tallet at one point, so it couldn’t have been working properly. On a similar note, why aren’t they displaying what pitch was thrown along with the speed as they did last year?
    PS – Try to get the fan or rogers to develop a mobile app or something so that we can listen to your lovely voice (and jerry and alan’s) during the game. I know back in the day you used to see people bringing ‘walkmans’ to the game, and I’m sure there wasn’t a 2-3 minute delay like there is now with the MLB At Bat app.

    MW: If you think I can do that, you think I hold FAR more sway than I do. As for the “throw the shoe” chant – I was wondering what they were saying. I’m still wondering why.

    - Steve
  7. 7.

    Hi Mike,

    I have a question for you. I was working till about 7 and hoped into the car to hear them announcing the starting lineup. I could not hear Jerry and Alan at all. I got home, I pvr’d the game and started watching it and the starting lineup. It was really quite almost embarrassingly so.
    My question was it loud at the dome or not? I was very impressed with the noise I heard on the radio but man it was very sad when I watched it on TV.

    Go Jays!

    MW: It was very loud here last night. Generally I don’t have any trouble at all hearing Jerry and Alan, but last night it was a struggle a lot of the time.

    - Edward
  8. 8.

    I agree with your take on Frasor. Cito has a bullpen full of capable relievers and If one struggles he should just change roles. Gregg probably now moves in to Frasor’s role with Janssen moving into Gregg’s role.

    How did Accardo look to you last night? After his first inning where he got lucky that a hard hit ball turned into 2 outs, i was hoping Cito went to Valdez as Accardo didn’t look great.

    MW: Accardo didn’t look great, but he didn’t look awful. And he hadn’t pitched in almost a week and a half. When you get into extra innings, you have to stretch your relievers a bit, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see Accardo back out for the 11th.

    - PeeWee
  9. 9.

    Now that looked more like a ball park down at the Rogers Center with a full house and the new turf. Felt great to be a part of it.

    I’m with you Mike as to scratching my head over the Tallet situation in the 6th! Cito has a bullpen that has seen limited action so far this season and there was just no excuse for not using them earlier. I would even question throwing JA in there for his first outing of the season in a one run game and a full house on opening night. Frasor should have had a comfy 3 run cushion to work with in the 9th.

    Nothing from the offence from the 6th inning on was mostly due to some great relief pitching by the Chicago BP – that is after the first guy!

    I know I am going to sound like a Cito basher this season as no doubt I will bring it up whenever I think he blows a close game for the Jays. So far in my book, he has blown two games – season openers in Texas and Toronto. I respect the man but not his in game managing. He tries too hard at being a “players buddy” and it is going to cost the Jays this season.

    One need only look over at the vistors dugout last night to see how quickly a manager reacts to in-game decisions e.g. poor pitching from his first reliever. Obviously Ozzie is not there to make friends!

    A loss is one thing – but not giving your team the best opportunity to win is just plain dumb! Watching Cito sitting so laid back in the dugout makes me just shake my head. Hopefully he is waiting on a bus to take him out of town. Beeston has made it tough on himself and AA by keeping Cito this one last season – especially if they have to remove him.

    Thanks Mike – keep on doing what you do best.

    - Bob (Burlington)
  10. 10.

    I don’t get Cito leaving Tallet out so long when the pitcher clearly barely had enough in the tank to get through five. There were fresh arms in the pen.
    Just a dumb decision.

    MW: Tallet didn’t have “barely enough in the tank” to get through five. He pitched very well in the 4th and 5th and should have been sent back out to start the 6th, but with a very short leash given the pitch count and the game situation.

    - marc
  11. 11.

    I was so frustrated by Gaston leaving Tallett in. What possible reason would Gaston have for doing that? Anyone could see the “handwriting on the wall”.My wife and I have been baseball fans for over 60 years. We appreciate your radio show and blog.

    MW: Why thank you!

    - Bob Forth
  12. 12.

    Hey Mike,
    I was sitting in 533 with my father last night for our annual Opening Day pilgrimage. A good, presumably-clean night of father-son time. There were at least 3 within a section of us, and I even had the misfortune of seeing a young woman get popped in the head. But the really scary thing was the signs from that great ‘Welcome Back Buck Martinez’ were being folded up and tossed, only to take a dip, and go hurtling downwards to the 100-level.

    Every time I saw that (and there was a lot of ammo to go around), my dad and I both cringed and hoped against hope that no one was hurt.

    What boggled my mind was that security was virtually non-existent for the entire game.

    Last opening day, I had the pleasure of sitting in the LF level right below where the guys in the 200s were throwing baseballs and batteries at Matt Anderson.

    I’m all for animosity at games, as I relished the hatred rained down on Rios (save for the ‘#### You Rios’ chant…again, originating from the 500s), but really, how much of a drunken idiot can delude yourself into becoming at $10 for a “large beer”.

    Someone’s gotta get the message in the front office and think of something a little more effective than curbing alcohol sales the day after these embarrassments.

    MW: Sorry to hear about your night.

    - Andrew
  13. 13.

    Mike,

    A few points.

    1) You have no need to apologize for the lack of bloggage.

    2) I was at the game, in the 500 level, and the crowd was fairly well behaved. A few minor incidents, drunkeness (the three clowns right behind me – sometimes humourous, mostly obnoxious) and a couple of toss-outs, but all-in-all a good time.

    3) It WAS really nice to hear some cheers for Vernon – now that he’s completely healthy, he’s showing what he can do (as in 2006)

    4) I was saying the exact same thing about Rios – don’t wake him up, but 46,000+ didn’t listen to me. It was kind of like mob mentality – a few start it up and then everyone else picks up on it

    5) I was thinking after the blown save from Frasor that today we were going to hear that he is going on the DL – I agree it seems like something is not right

    Anyway, good to have you back.

    MW: 1 – I get a significant amount of complaints when the blogs aren’t posted quickly enough for the liking of some, and as much as I’d like to say “you don’t feel you’re getting your money’s worth?” I think that might be inappropriate. 5 – No indication of that yet.

    - Wayne in Scarborough
  14. 14.

    Sup Mike, I was at the game yesterday and noticed about three fights in the 500 level, but thank God not in my section. I thought Tallet should not have been out there for for the sixth and after Frasor blew the save, Gregg would have been the next guy to pitch.
    I have one question, was Accardo throwing only fastballs? I noticed a bunch of 91-94 mph pitches and a FEW 81 mph pitches.

    MW: Accardo threw fastballs for the vast majority of his pitches, but he did sneak in the odd change-up and slider.

    - Shakeel
  15. 15.

    Mike,

    I was at the game last night and aside from the outcome I would say it was a very entertaining game. I would like to give you my Good, the Bad and the Ugly list from last night:

    The Good
    - The Heart and Hustle video during the intro
    - No gimmicky promos or in game presentations
    - The Attendance
    - Vernon Wells not getting bood
    - Randy Ruiz gets an at bat
    The Bad
    - Jason Frasor unable to spot his pitches
    - Cito leaving Accordo in way too long
    - The ushers allowing people to walk up and down the aisles during play
    - The ushers making people sit down instead of cheering standing up (I guess the Bottom of the 11th was not exciting enough to stand)
    - Booing Rios while he was in the outfield…do people not realize the Jays were batting and that may be distracting (Rios was just standing there)
    The Ugly
    - The fans that cared more about the extracurricular in the stands rather than the game
    - The fans who thought the games ended after 9 innings and all filed out during a TIE ball game (or the ones who only stayed for 4 innings)
    - The “Rios Sucks” chant in the Top of the 11th. Not a good practice to teach children. I can handle to boos, but that was too much. After all he doesn’t suck, I think he just lacks effort.

    - Ian from Hamilton
  16. 16.

    This was the first Home Opener in 5 years that I didn’t go to. My friends and I are so sick of the rowdy home opener crowds in recent years. We are going tonight instead. The Jays need to address this problem because it’s driving real baseball fans like myself away.

    MW: Here’s the problem – the Jays (and every other professional sports franchise) don’t have to care about real baseball fans. As you’re showing, you’ll be here anyway and they’ll always be able to sell out the opener without you. It’s no fun, but it’s reality.

    - Paul H
  17. 17.

    Mike, the Jays would be 7-0 if not for two blown saves by Frasor. Any chance the club might aggressively move to acquire a closer on the belief that the hot start is more than just an early season fluke?

    MW: No, but they still have Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg. But why do Frasor’s blown saves count, but not the ones by Frank Francisco and Mike Gonzalez?

    - Paul McDougall
  18. 18.

    I, Unfortunately, am calling Edwin Encarnacion 5-hole now.

    My question for you today is…Who do you think will be the Jays’ next manager?

    MW: I have no clue. We don’t even know who the field of available candidates will include, but I’d still love to see Brian Butterfield get a shot.

    - Jake Roth
  19. 19.

    I don’t blame Frasor for the ninth. I blame Cito for the sixth. It’s one thing to allow a Marcum or Romero to continue when they are scuffling, while it’s another to put Brian Tallet in a situation where the game is running late and is on the line. Frankly, watching Tallet pitch, he is simply a gamer with next to no action on his stuff. Anyway, Cito’s inflexiblity, unwillingnes to stray from his doctrine and make an adjustemnt, cost the Jays this one.

    MW: And the fact that the Jays got one hit over the last six innings of the game, don’t forget that part.

    - Will, Oshawa
  20. 20.

    Cito’s MO is the same as last year, too little and too late. He is a player’s manager in that he allows the players to learn and get better rather than take the player out early. So I am not surprised by his decision not to take out Tallet or to not bat Ruiz until extra innings last night.

    Though last night’s game was a loss, the fact is that the Jays offence fell asleep after the sixth inning which is uncharacteristic of them this year and may speak volumes to the ChiSox bullpen. All of the games this season have been close ones, with the Jays in a save situation (3 runs or less) in every game coming in to pitch in the last inning. The Jays have come from behind in three of their five wins (which is why Janssen is 3-0). So, the fact that Frasor and Gregg have had to hold every one of these seven games and end up losing two of them at the start of the season is tolerable. It’s great to see Downs, Gregg, and Camp be very effective.

    Offensively, the Jays need to see Overbay and Snider become more productive, a very slow start for them. It’s great to see Wells (finally) and Gonzales hitting well. I hope that Wells’ home/away batting stat differential doesn’t materialize this year.

    McCoy is doing well in Hill’s absence and it’s good to see Johnny Mac in action. I’d like to see Ruiz play more but he really is the odd man out with the outfield set with Bautista, Wells and Snider, Lind as the DH, and 1B set to Overbay.

    - Tim
  21. 21.

    Tough loss last night. From my couch it did look like a great atmosphere at the Rogers Centre though. Frasor definitely looks out of sync, and if its a velocity issues hopefully that gets investigated sooner rather than later.

    Another nice night from Wells. Great to see him doing well. Glad Cito gave Ruiz a shot late, hopefully he gets some playing time (full games) going forward.

    - WDM
  22. 22.

    Hey Mike, on the TV it indicated Frasor was hitting 93 mph on a regular basis…although why he threw Teahen a 0-2 fastball catching most of the plate I will never know. You would think he would try to get him to chase something in the dirt or something like that. It is a shame Ruiz is left to rot on the bench. Overbay and Snider look pathetic at the plate. Do you think we will see Ruiz in any capacity this year?

    MW: Well, we did see Ruiz in the capacity of pinch-hitter last night, so yes. No other gun I saw had Frasor at 93.

    - Ken
  23. 23.

    Your stanch defence of Overbay is stagering..

    You completly dismiss all his shortcomings and focus on his OBP..It is totally mindboggling and I think you do it just for kicks..

    Is that why your personal wonderboy Riccardi brought him here for?..Did he sign him to a 4yr 24 million contract to get on base?? Or was it to hit 20HR and 90+ RBI like he did in his first season here?

    Like I have said before, what difference does it make if you get on base and don’t freakin score?..He had 57 runs last year good for 81st overall..His best season was 83 runs in Milwaukee and thats good for 31st overall in MLB..

    But that was Citos fault..Well then you can blame Gibbons as well..Because both of them had him batting 5th..

    The guy is a slug on the basepads and his career OPS is .809 which isn’t considered very good..Not horrible but not great at all..Any rebuff on that?

    If Riccardi brought him over here for OBP then he is more foolish then I thought..

    Overbay came to Toronto as a potential 20+hr 90+ RBI guy and he has failed miserably and isn’t worth 24 million..

    He is an underacheiver any way you slice the cake..

    MW: You speak as though it’s Overbay’s fault that he doesn’t score more often, which is really perplexing, because I thought you were smarter than that. If a guy is on base but the people behind him can’t hit, he’s not going to score very many runs, even if he does have good speed. It’s not Overbay’s fault that he’s been asked to hit in a position in the batting order that doesn’t suit his game. He’s a platoon player who is a fantastic table-setter, with gap power, and he plays great defense. There’s a lot of utility there, if he’s used correctly.

    - ray b
  24. 24.

    Mike,I was at the game, and I don’t quite understand the booing of Rios, I just hope they don’t boo him in 5 years, the same way the Raptor fans still boo Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady which I don’t understand as well. It seems Toronto sports fans have long memories, I don’t get it. Yet I’m sure they won’t boo Roy Halladay when the Phillies are in town later this season.

    Peter, St.Catharines

    MW: I hope that if Carter and McGrady come back to Toronto even after they’ve retired that they get booed. They both deserve it, absolutely. Rios doesn’t – not to the extent that he got booed.

    - Peter
  25. 25.

    Can we not agree that Accardo should be closing for the Jays ?

    The guy has been successful doing it before and he has the right make up to be a closer at least on a interim basis….Frasor does not,he’s a set up man/mid reliever at best…what he did in 09 doesnt matter cuz it was for nothing and meant nothing…

    He isnt a closer he doesnt go after hitters the way a closer should….

    We’d be 7-0 without his mistakes lol…

    MW: Again, the Jays would be 5-2 had every closer gotten his job done so far this season – why should Frasor’s blown saves count more than the opponents’? I don’t know why Accardo should be closing with Downs, Gregg and even Janssen down there.

    - Emeyekayee
  26. 26.

    Hi Mike,

    I am starting to understand the discontent feeling last years club was having. Randy Ruiz sitting on the bench night after night is insane when Lyle is struggling. I understand that his glove and OBP is very valuable but how does Ruiz not face Thornton in the 10th? I was in the 500 level at the opener, was a bit rowdy but nothing big. The crowed saying F U Rios was a little much for me.

    - Adam
  27. 27.

    Although the crowd was better than in years past, it still was embarrassing. I was in the 500 section, down the left field line and at least 4 times, people would stand up to see a skirmish or heated argument with staff or patrons. Each time, the only people still sitting in their seats, watching the game were my girlfriend and myself. Quite ridiculous actually. I guess it goes to show that people would rather watch “hockey brawl” than a close and exciting ball game.

    MW: Well, if a fight breaks out in the stands at a hockey game, everyone will turn and watch, too.

    - KC
  28. 28.

    1) Just wanted to say I appreciated the “Kids in the Hall” reference in the title of your previous blog. Best blog title since “Shark Sandwich”. Kudos.

    2) Also, I think Teahen could be Ted Lilly’s long lost little brother (as in, they resemble each other a li’l bit).

    3) Oh yeah! One last thing.. did you catch Cito’s comments on the “mutiny” last year on the pre-game dealie? He basically said that it was only a few guys that started it and that those guys weren’t around anymore. So who do you think he was referring to? Barajas? Scutaro? Halladay?(!!)

    MW: 1 – Thanks. 3 – I didn’t catch those comments – I’m not sure to whom he was referring, but certainly not everyone who was very upset with Cito is gone.

    - Scott B
  29. 29.

    In hindsight I was wondering why,in the top of the ninth, with two left handed hitters coming up and Scott Downs just having finished pitching in the eighth he wasn’t allowed to face those two batters.
    Then, when a right handed hitter comes up to hit, bring in the closer to finish the game.
    Wasn’t Downs the closer with the Jays at one time?

    MW: Never the “capital-C” Closer. Downs didn’t pitch well last night, he shouldn’t have come back for the 9th.

    - dugger
  30. 30.

    Greetings from the planet krypton. Can u recall a season in which 5 of the first 7 games involved changes of leads in the 8th inning or later? jays opponents have blown two saves…and milwood lost a late lead..Frasor has blown two out of five..and mind you the saves he did get were of the multirun variety while his blown saves were of the single run variety..and we know saves are a joke of a stat..but the real measure of a closer is how he fares in those one run games or in games when they tying run is up at the bat when they come in.

    MW: I can’t ever recall a season starting like this. I’m not sure I even remember a week of games like this ever.

    - General Zod
  31. 31.

    Hey Mike,

    A quick trivia question for you. Do you remember the last team that had a pitcher lead the league in wins, a player to lead the league in hits, a player to lead the league in RBIs, a player to lead the league in infield assists and a Gold Glove winner all in the same year? It’s kind of unreal that this team still missed the playoffs.

    MW: Was it that Jays team in 2003? Halladay, Wells, Delgado and, ummm……….Hudson?

    - Antony
  32. 32.

    Good game, and good to see a competitive team so far.

    Also sort of pleased that Alex Rios did ok, although I wish he’d crank his numbers up in a different town. I have a parent-like fear that any city but Chicago would have been a better fit for him, but maybe Ozzie’s tough love will do him some good. I have my doubts. I’d love to see a day when people in Toronto regret trading him though.

    MW: The Blue Jays didn’t trade him, the White Sox picked him up on waivers. And I wish Rios well, too, but I doubt he’ll ever live up to that contract.

    - Ben
  33. 33.

    Hi Mike; The whole Alex Rios thing makes me sick. I remember before he was called up to the majors some of his fellow players commenting that he had so much more talent than they had the sky was the limit. I watched him and he reminded very much of Dave Winfield. What a waste he became once he got the big contract, I hope the fans down at the Rogers centre dont ignite this guy. Cito may have some innefficiencies but he knows talent and his comments on Rios were hall of fame potential. Great start to the season and all but as we all know the proof will come after we face the big dawgs. I would still love to see Aaron Hill at third but appreciate the allstar second baseman with bonus power but if it comes down to us not having a decent thirdbaseman it is easier to find a second baseman. The arbitration clock starts on June 23rd I believe you mentioned this on prime time. That being the case i feel the first wave of youngsters will be called up then unless of course we are a few games up on the yanks sox and rays or everyone is having allstar seasons.

    MW: There’s no actual date at which the arbitration clock starts, I was just making an educated guess. Why is it easier to find a good second baseman?

    - mickg
  34. 34.

    Hey Mike,
    Jays have looked good but what did you think about the new turf? From a television prespective it was much more eye pleasing. Any word on how the players liked it?

    Thanks

    MW: I think it looks better than the old turf, but it’s still too patchy and seamy to me to look like the real thing. I’ll find out later in the week what the players think, once they’ve had a few games on it.

    - Scott
  35. 35.

    Hi Mike. Couldn’t the Phillies have afforded to keep both Roy Halliday and Cliff Lee, just for 2010? Aside from cost, why wouldn’t you want both?
    Terry

    MW: Yes, they could have, but the Phillies were concerned about not entirely gutting their farm system so they felt they had to replenish the prospects they gave up for Halladay by trading Lee. I would have kept them both, but I would have traded for both last summer.

    - Terry
  36. 36.

    Mike:

    I am trying to follow the Jays’ prospects. Is Scott Campbell still a Jay? If so, where is he playing? I cannot seem to find him on any of their rosters and MILB.com says he is in Las Vegas. Also, if possible, can you tell me where Jake Marisnick, John Roberts and KC Hobson set to play? Thanks and I am looking forward to this year.

    Finally, doesn’t Chris Lubanski look like an intriguing pick up; a former high draft pick and USA Today All-American high school selection?

    DMah

    MW: He does, but he’s just like Bryan Bullington, Jeremy Reed and guys like that before him. I don’t see any of the guys you mention on the rosters of the Jays’ top four farm teams, so I assume they’re all still in extended spring. I’ll check on Campbell, though. I didn’t see him at all in Spring Training.

    - Di Mah
  37. 37.

    Michael,

    Did you get a chance to ask any of the player’s their thoughts on the new turf?

    Also, do you know if Brian Butterfield is giving special attenion to Encarnacion, given that he needs the most help and the rest of the infield is pretty solid already.

    MW: No, and knowing Butterfield, I assume he’s giving Edwin a LOT of special attention.

    - Uncle Ben
  38. 38.

    I’m not an Overbay hater (I know they love to visit your blog) and I understand that he should be able to show his “skills” for a chance at a contract, but let’s be honest here … This is an evaluation season and Overbay has NO future with this club. The Jays have to be a little selfish here. He didn’t play everyday last year and was semi-decent offensively and excellent defensively. I know Ruiz is no spring chicken, but it would be nice to see him share the 1st base duties and see if this guy has what it takes to hit in the majors. Sure you sacrifice good defence, but if defence was your biggest concern, why is E5 allowed out there every game?

    On another note, Overbay’s moustache is horrific. Giambi’s was kind of funny, Overbay’s is just disturbing. I say bench him until it’s gone … hah

    Keep up the good work!

    MW: The mustache is, in fact, gone. You’re right, Overbay isn’t the future of this team (though you’re selling him awfully short to say that he was only semi-decent offensively), but he’s shown to be a better player than Ruiz has. I would love to see more Randy, but not at Overbay’s expense.

    - MDC
  39. 39.

    Hi Mike,

    Great broadcast last night.
    However, I have one complaint.

    Sometimes it is very hard to hear Jerry and Alan over the croud noise and the stadium PA announcer. Just wondering if the field microphones can be turned down.

    Wishing for a great season for the Jays.

    Go Jays!

    96 Jayzfan

    MW: It was a pretty loud night last night.

    - 96 Jayzfan
  40. 40.

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve always wondered what “Extended Spring Training” entails, exactly. Considering almost everyone in the system is playing real baseball somewhere now, I assume there aren’t enough guys around to actually play any games and it’s just kind of a place to work out/rehab injuries, but nobody ever really says much about it.

    MW: The Gulf Coast, Rookie and Short-Season A Leagues don’t start for another few weeks. Some of the guys who will play there go to extended spring.

    - Ty
  41. 41.

    Hi Mike,
    I know that if you just agreed with all of your callers then you’d have a pretty boring show. But having said that it seems to me that it’s almost a natural inclination of yours to disagree, no matter how good the point. I was on your show last night telling you that I didn’t think Brian Tallet’s 2009 work as a starter warranted him being back in the rotation this year. I suggested we both look at the logs. Of course you disagreed with me (good radio) and pointed out that in 15 of his 25 starts he gave up less than 3 earned runs. Ok true, but if you consider that in 19 of his 25 starts he pitched 6 innings or less that’s really not such a big deal. It also means that in 40% of his starts (pretty significant) he gave up 4 or more ERs (8 times 5 ERs, twice 8 ERs and once even 10!!). If you consider never going over 7IPs, that’s a minimum ERA – MINIMUM – of 5.14. Again, that’s minimum for 40% of his starts and that in itself is terrible, yet the reality is his ERA for those 40% of games is WAY higher. Further, he gave up 10+ hits (which is brutal, especially considering the low innings) 5 times, walked 3+ guys 11 times (not bad if you’re throwing CGs all the time but he’s never had one), and yielded 3 homers twice. Neither of his 2010 starts have been particularly good (in his win he gave up 4 ERs in 6.1 IPs, walked 3 and gave up two homers – especially poor as they came immediately after his team had given him a two run lead). My conclusion? Brian Tallet is not a very effective starter and is much better suited to middle relief.

    MW: And I don’t disagree with your conclusion. But the point was – did Tallet’s work last season warrant his being a chance to be in the rotation this season, and given all the circumstances surrounding last year and Tallet’s inclusion in the rotation, the answer is yes. I think, though, if I remember correctly, you were a little more harsh with your assessment of Tallet – didn’t you say he had an awful year or something like that?

    - Jonathan
  42. 42.

    hey mike

    i was at the home opener and i must say that many blue jay fans are classless. from start to finish i can understand the booing of rios, but to hear the constant obsenities and swearing i heard from the 200 level in the outfield was classless.

    speaking of those same fans. im glad rios was able to stick it to them. here is a guy who was released by the jays. All the fans could do was boo and direct obsenties at him for signing a big contract and not living up to expectations. maybe the one they should boo is ol’ JP.

    im a huge white sox supporter and was glad to see them get a win. i think booing the opposing team is justified in any venue but when treats are uttered, it really shows the classlessness of the fan base.

    i guess the chuckleheads sitting around me can do nothing else except make paper airplanes and utter swearing when they dont even know the game they are watching.

    MW: Those aren’t Blue Jays fans, they’re Opening Day fans. And yes, you’re right – J.P. Ricciardi should be blamed for Rios not living up to his potential.

    - mark in caledonia
  43. 43.

    Hey Mike.. I don’t understand why Tallet is in the rotation over Cecil. I also don’t understand why Ruiz is sitting on the bench so often.. Can’t they find a way to get a bat in the line up that hit 10 home runs in 33 games last year with the big Blue? Especially late in the game one situation, for example? Does Cito have a problem with him?

    MW: Cito doesn’t have a problem with him, he just likes Overbay and Bautista more.

    - Doug
  44. 44.

    Oh yeah.. One last thing.. Is this “Frasor as closer” experiment almost over. I just don’t think he has the stuff – the poise; the intimidation factor; the attitude..

    MW: Intimidation factor and attitude have nothing to do with getting hitters out.

    - Doug
  45. 45.

    Mike….I notice that you say with some sort of conviction: “When” the Jays get good, not “if” the Jays get good. Do you think it will be “Yankee/Red Sox good” or that fans won’t need quite as strong a pair of binoculars to find the leaders?

    MW: If they decide to spend the money, they can certainly become as good as those two teams.

    - chris m.
  46. 46.

    Michael,

    What role do you think Brian Tallet is best suited for on this team?

    He looks to be a plus 5 ERA starter at best, but in 2008 he was pretty effective out of the bullpen.

    Do you think he’s bound to head back to the pen and we see Cecil in the rotation soon?

    MW: I think Tallet makes a great swingman and yes, I think he finds his way back to the bullpen when Rzepczynski gets healthy or Cecil blows down the door from AAA.

    - Uncle Ben
  47. 47.

    Michael,

    With the ever entertaining and highly articulate Dirk Hayhurst on the DL right now, have you thought of having him on the show now and again?

    I imagine you must have something lined up for him to come on your show and talk about his book.

    MW: He was on in the 5th inning with Jerry, but he’ll be spending a lot of time rehabbing down south this summer, I doubt he’ll be able to be on that much.

    - Uncle Ben
  48. 48.

    If I get more at-bats (in my weekly game) at the end of the season than Randy Ruiz does in the majors, something is MAJORLY wrong with Cito.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  49. 49.

    Alex Rios breaks up the no hitter with a home run??? Are you kidding me???

    MW: Rios is kind of good.

    - Tim
  50. 50.

    Michael,

    Do you see not only a physical resemblance but also a pitching resemblance between Kevin Gregg and Tom Henke?

    MW: Not really. Gregg is way thicker than Henke and he’s not as much of a slinger. They do both wear glasses, though.

    - Uncle Ben
  51. 51.

    I loving RR Cool Jay. I’m also glad that 102 pitches was the end of the line for him, as I don’t want the team to wear him out this early. Awesome game. This kind of pitching is what I love to watch.

    As a follow up to my ‘boo Rios’ question yesterday, can we all agree to not boo Halladay if he pitches here during inter-league? I’d like to thank all the readers in advance for their co-operation.

    MW: I would be surprised if anyone other than a few drunken idiots who would never otherwise go to a baseball game boo Halladay.

    - Greg W
  52. 52.

    Hey Mike, Just wanna say I say the fight at the 500 level. It was in right field. It had the typical ejections….

    ANYWAY! Do you think Cito Gaston will take Jason Frasor out soon? Or would you think it would take much more blown 1-run leads. Because I like Kevin Gregg MUCH better in the closer position. What’s your take?

    MW: My take is that you should go back and read what everyone was saying about Gregg when the Jays signed him. Also, Frasor gets the job back tomorrow, I think, but if he doesn’t turn things around in a hurry the job goes to Gregg.

    - Adam
  53. 53.

    Hi Mike
    Great pitching from Romero and Gregg tonight in stark contrast from Monday’s game with Tallett and Frasor.I watched Phillies and Jays in Clearwater where Cecil outpitched Doc.Cecil has also had a strong outing in Vegas,so I’m confused why he is not in the starting rotation,moving Tallett to the pen.
    I love the fast start for the Jays,doing it without Hill in the line-up.

    - Dennis
  54. 54.

    Hey Mike,
    Great outing from Romero tonight. Too bad there were so few paying live witnesses. Unfortunately it’s become the norm in past years: big opening day, huge slide the next night.

    On Frasor: If there’s anything wrong with him it’s not strictly velocity. The problem is that his ball is arrow straight and always has been. He hasn’t learned to take something off and run it away from lefties, or in on righties. 91, 92, 94 mph, whatever it is, when the #9 hitter with 60 HRs in 5 seasons turns around your 92 and you blow the save…when you have 2 other closers in the pen in Downs and Gregg…it’s time to reconsider things. Frasor gets it done sometimes, maybe most of the time, but ask Cito if it’s good enough. Probably not. See Kevin Gregg.

    How does Dustin McGowan have arm fatigue after 18 months not pitching? It’s only a rhetorical question because I know “arm fatigue” is only a rhetorical explanation. “Out of options” seems more likely. Where they can hide McGowan on the DL they can’t reasonably do the same with Tallet or Valdez, who are out of options (and haven’t been hurt, I realize).

    MW: Except that McGowan is shut down while he’s being “hidden” on the DL. As for Frasor, he’s had a pretty solid career for someone whose fastball is arrow-straight and always has been.

    - Tom
  55. 55.

    Jose Bautista had almost twice as many plate appearances against right handed pitchers compared to left handed pitchers. He also had about the same number of hits for both, while having an OPS of 0.664 vs Righties, and 0.919 vs Lefties.
    What’s Cito’s philosophy behind this horrifying stat?

    PS. How do they input the ENTIRE game story to match ALL the MULTIPLE situations illustrated in baseball-reference.com? (With multiple factors and those crazy stats like WAR and splits of the splits and Player vs Player)
    I’m pretty sure if I made a spreadsheet for one tenth for the stats for just ONE player, it’d take weeks.

    MW: I don’t know what you’re talking about with WAR. As for Bautista, he had a great September/October last year.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  56. 56.

    Hi Mike,

    Long time no speak – or rather write.

    1)I did not like JP because I felt he was very insincere and a (little) arrogant. He was extremely defensive whenever asked critical questions. On the other hand, I don’t hate him like many people do, nor do I think that most of his move were bad. When the Jays start to win, and I think it will be soon, it’s likely that a good part of the nucleas will be players JP drafted or signed (Lind, Hill, Wells, Snider, Arencibia, Marcum, Romero, Cecil, Rzep…, Stewart, Roenicke, Janssen, etc..). He should get credit for that, although he most certainly won’t.

    2)Do you find that Snider looks a little unfocused (“spaced-out” for lack of a better word) at times, especially in the field. For example, on the Rios homer even if he would have had a chance to catch it, that jump of his would have not of had a chance in .. to get to the ball. I still think he can be a great player but I’m just wondering. (Am I over analyzing?)

    MW: I don’t think you’re overanalyzing, but I think you’re seeing things that aren’t there. Only one outfielder has ever brought a home run back at the Dome, and it was Ken Griffey, Jr. It’s not as though Snider,or any other human being, was going to catch Rios’ ball.

    - Steve from NJ
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