5:20 PM Eastern

The Blue Jays weren’t at their wall-banging best in their Fake Opener, getting shut out by the Tigers before a nice gathering at the FAES in Dunedin.

Scott Sizemore’s two-run double off Jesse Carlson was the big blow, but Brett Cecil and Robert Ray gave up a run each in their two innings each of work – Cecil’s on a pair of groundouts after a leadoff double, Ray’s on a two-out single after he hit a guy and wild-pitched him to second.

Offensively, the Jays managed just five hits, two of them singles by Yunel Escobar.

Among the highlights of the four innings I saw before heading off to the clubhouse to grab tape – a sensational play by YEscobar in the second inning, going deep into the hole to snag a grounder and making a very strong, accurate throw to get the out; a nice sliding grab to his right by John McDonald, and a nice scoop at first by Adam Lind on the bounced throw; a scorched line drive by Edwin Encarnacion to left on which Ryan Raburn had to make a leaping grab; a well-hit double into the left-centre gap by the guy about whom no one is talking – Juan Rivera (Mr. Career-OPS-Just-15-Points-Lower-Than-Vernon-Wells’), and a rocket hit by Lind in the first inning that hit the top of the mound, which took all the speed out of it and turned it into an easy out.

In talking to Cecil after the game, he wasn’t thrilled with his performance, but he’s pleased with where he’s at for the spring; Bautista spoke about this being the first spring in which he’s secure about a job, and talked about where he’s going to hit.  I also spoke to Ray about his performance, and he praised both J.P. Arencibia and John Farrell, talking about how much better things will be for the pitchers having one of their own as the manager.  You can listen to all those clips right here:

Brett Cecil:

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Jose Bautista: 

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Robert Ray: 

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It was fantastic to be back on the air with Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby, and I hope you all enjoyed it, too.  That first baseball broadcast of the year – even though it’s a game that doesn’t count – always feels amazing.  Something you’ve been waiting for all winter long is back, the familiar voices, familiar sounds of the game – it puts a smile on my face and I hope it does on yours, too.  Summer is just around the corner, no doubt.

We also had our first edition of The JaysTalk of 2011, and it’s right here, for your listening pleasure:

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Tomorrow, it’s the Jays and Tigers again, with Marc Rzepczynski throwing the first two innings against Detroit righty Max Scherzer.  It’s the first road game of the spring, and having to hop across I-4 to Lakeland there may be an opportunity to have one of the greatest culinary experiences there is – breakfast at Waffle House.  Heck, I might even run into good ol’ Trampus, King of Waffles!

Here’s the Jays’ travel roster for tomorrow’s game:  Winston Abreu, Henderson Alvarez, Joel Carreno, Alan Farina, Sean Henn, Rommie Lewis, Jesse Litsch, Rzepczynski, David Cooper, Jonathan Diaz, Encarnacion, Adeiny Hechevarria, Brett Lawrie, Lind, Mike McCoy, Brian Jeroloman, A.J. Jimenez, Jose Molina, Anthony Gose, Darin Mastroianni, Moises Sierra, Eric Thames, John Tolisano, Matt Nuzzo, Justin Jackson and Matt McQuail.

We’ll be on the air at 12:30 PM Eastern with the pre-game show for a 1:05 first pitch.  Jerry will have an interview with Adam Lind, I’ll be getting some Oscar picks from a few of the Blue Jays (John McDonald weighs in on Best Documentary Short Subject!) and we’re hoping to have Alan with John Farrell, as well.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @InTheWilnerness – I’ll likely be on to do kind of live a tweet/chat sometime around 9:00 PM Eastern or so as I take my nightly 3 1/2 mile walk through the condo complex (maybe I’ll go seven miles tonight) – and remember to check in on our live blog during the broadcast tomorrow.

Rational, reasonable comments are welcome, and will likely be answered!

Here’s the transcript from today’s “Miked Up LIVE!”:

8 Responses to “Shut Out, Grapefrutically”
  1. 1.

    Don’t forget about Five Guys, Mike!

    - Diego
  2. 2.

    Mike i’m trying to find info on Robert Ray, Is he being considered for a starting job? If not, why not?

    Reading Yahoo Sports and then don’t mention him as contending for one of the two starting spots.

    Thanks,
    Jason

    MW: He’s a little too far under the radar to be seen by a lot of the national writers in the U.S., but he’s definitely in the mix.

    - Jason Stein
  3. 3.

    Can you ask John Farrell something that’s driving me crazy – why is it we never hear anything about the possibility of Travis Snider playing RF since Bautista is set at third?

    My thinking:

    1. Rivera is not considered a great RF

    2. When Pods plays (assuming he makes the team) he’s most likely to be splitting time with Rivera, right? so why not have Snider settled in RF if he can handle it at all, so there’s a less complex set of maneuvers when Pods plays?

    3. the above keeps Davis in CF where Pods doesn’t need to be.

    4. If Eric Thames (in particular) or for that matter Mastroianni or Loewen impress enough in AAA to get the call, LF is open to an upgrade if Snider is in RF (my understanding is that defensively Thames is limited to LF)

    5. in consideration of future options, isn’t it better to find out now if Snider can handle the more difficult defensive position, just in terms of roster flexibility and also in consideration of where Lawrie ultimately plays (I like him at 3B but still…)

    6. in a season when you are knowingly taking a risk by “teaching” Lind 1B (and to an extent Encarnacion also) what’s the downside of a similar risk with Snider?

    Or is it just that the personnel people have already made up their mind that his glove/arm simply doesn’t play there?
    it seems to me that if that is true, its a serious roadblock to Thames.

    I realize that there’s a pretty good chance that 3B and RF will be filled in 2012 by Bautista and Lawrie in one combination or the other, and therefore Snider is logically going to be in left – but why presume on that?

    MW: There’s no presumption that’s been made. Snider may very well wind up in right field. When the Jays signed Scott Podsednik, I asked Alex Anthopoulos about the possibility of Snider playing right, because Podsednik can’t play there, and he said that Snider could play right or could even flip between left and right this season.

    - TammyBeth
  4. 4.

    Mike….Although you have to give him kudos for honesty, it was still somewhat disappointing to hear that Brett Cecil was too nervous or scared to approach Roy Halladay for pitching advice…That feeling was hinted at many times, but it came out in last week’s Toronto Sun article pretty clearly.

    - chris m.
  5. 5.

    Bill James projection for Vernon Wells:

    .269 .328 .467

    for Rivera

    .270 .324 .444

    - jmaron
  6. 6.

    Hey Mike… Is there a radio station in Ottawa that will be carrying the Jays games this year? 1310 AM went ALL NEWS on us!

    MW: I really don’t know, but I’ll try to find out.

    - Bob Emans
  7. 7.

    Mike…hopefully Miguel Cabrera can get the off-field help he needs before it possibly has tragic results, God forbid.

    - chris m.
  8. 8.

    Mike … am I reading the box score correctly? Did the Jays starters not throw a single ball through the entire game on Sunday afternoon? I don’t think I have seen anything like that in my life! Detroit must have been pretty aggressive at the plate.

    MW: No, that’s not right. They threw lots of balls. It’s tough in Spring Training to get accurate counts of balls and strikes.

    - Greg
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