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:
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!