4:53 PM Eastern

Of course they will!

Two games into spring training without the Blue Jays having scored a run may cause some panic among a certain segment of fandom, but really it doesn’t mean a single thing.  It’s an old saw that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters in the early part of Spring Training, but what it really is is just dumb luck at this point.  Heck, they’ll probably score seven runs of Roy Halladay tomorrow.

The only run of the ballgame, off Henderson Alvarez in the 6th, was unearned.  Detroit’s ninth hitter, Andy Dirks, reached on an infield single and DJ Will Rhymes came up intending to bunt him over to second.  The bunt was too short, though, dropping right in front of the plate and giving Jose Molina a brilliant opportunity to take care of the lead runner.  But Molina’s throw was wild and bounced into centrefield, moving Dirks to third, from whence he scored on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez.

That was it.

Marc Rzepczynski made a strong statement in the competition for one of the final rotation spots, throwing two perfect innings, 30 pitches, 20 strikes.  He struck out a pair, including lefty-killer Martinez, got a pop-up and a ground ball and gave up a well hit fly ball each to Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Strieby, both caught for outs.

Jesse Litsch followed, and while he wasn’t as impressive (he allowed a soft line single to Don Kelly), he pitched pretty well his own self.  After starting off by giving up that base hit, Litsch retired the next six hitters he faced – two ground balls, two fly balls (one of which, by Martinez, was caught by Moises Sierra at the base of the wall in right),a pop-up and a strikeout of Magglio Ordonez.

Rzepczynski and Litsch are in a pitched battle for one of the final two spots in the rotation, along with Kyle Drabek, Scott Richmond, Jo-Jo Reyes, Robert Ray and maybe even Zach Stewart.  I’d say Litsch and Drabek are the leaders at the moment, but Drabek’s stiff neck that got him scratched from tomorrow’s start may have something to say about that, though the Jays say he’s only going to miss one turn.

One defensive highlight away by which I’m still blown three hours later was a play made by Adeiny Hechevarria in the third.  With a runner on first and nobody out, he was crowded up the middle, in double-play depth, and Audy Ciriaco hit a grounder into the hole to his right.  It was a ball that most shortstops wouldn’t be able to get to, and almost all the ones who could get to it would have to take it on their backhand.  But Hechevarria got such a great jump on the ball, and is so quick, that he was actually able to circle around it and pick up the ball with his glove between his legs, facing home plate.  Just fantastic.

I spoke to Zep, Litsch and Molina – the gathered audio is here, for your listening pleasure:

Marc Rzepzcynski:

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Jesse Litsch:

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Jose Molina:

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Before the game, manager John Farrell regaled us with a couple of tales of his playing days, since he wrapped up his big-league career with the Tigers.  In his final major-league start, while he says he was getting his tail kicked by the White Sox, Farrell felt something hit him in the arm and wondered if the fans had started throwing things at him.  He looked down and saw that he’d received a gift from a seagull passing overhead – it had hit his cap and trickled down onto his arm.

By the way, he did get his tail kicked by the Sox, allowing five runs on six hits in only 1 1/3 innings, but he made one more start after that, losing to the Royals.  I wonder if his memory has just combined both games – they were both pretty forgettable on his end, I’m thinking.

He also talked about stopping Paul Molitor’s 39-game hitting streak as a rookie in 1987.  Molitor went 0-for-4 against Farrell that day in Milwaukee, as the Jays’ eventual skipper threw nine innings of three-hit shutout.  But Farrell had help in ending the streak, because the Indians didn’t score, and Molitor was on deck in the bottom of the 10th when Rick Manning singled off reliever Doug Jones to drive in the winning run.  The Brewers got a walk-off win, but they were booed by their own home fans!

Tomorrow, the Jays play a team other than Detroit for the first time this spring, taking on the Phillies at the FAES.  Roy Halladay will start against Jo-Jo Reyes.  Then it’s back here to Lakeland again on Tuesday.  We won’t be broadcasting either of those games, so keep an eye on my twitter feed for updates @InTheWilnerness!  I’ll be around tonight again, sometime between 7:00-9:00, not quite sure, going on my big 5-7 mile walk around the condo complex, so if anyone wants to do sort of a live chat over Twitter about the Jays, I’m happy to chat then.

The second edition of The JaysTalk in 2011 was terrific – so great to be talking baseball again – here it is for your listening pleasure:

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I have to add this – on the way to the ballpark today I was listening to a radio station down here that was rebroadcasting an old Casey Kasem Top 40 countdown from some week in 1972.  Man, the music people listened to back then was scary.  Granted, there was some good stuff, like “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin and “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon – heck, even “Brand New Key” by Melanie was a cute little song.  But Joe Tex’s “I Gotcha” was downright disturbing, and the Chakachas’ big hit “Jungle Fever” really was just, well, it should have been on the soundtrack of an adult film.  What were you thinking back then?

Ratonal, reasonable comments are always welcome – and I’m answering them!

Here’s today’s edition of the “Miked Up Live!”:

6 Responses to “Will They Ever Score?”
  1. 1.

    Whence “from whence”? This is redundancy of a sort up with which I would not expect you to put.

    MW: Not sure what it is to which you’re referring.

    - Cincinnatus C.
  2. 2.

    Mike,

    Would it make sense, in your opinion, to trade a guy like Cecil, along with one of the top catching prospects (plus a couple more minor pieces), for Colby Rasmus?

    The Jays could go with Romero/Morrow/Drabek/Zep/Litsch/Stewart, heck, even Richmond or Jo-Jo Dancer for 2011…

    I think that would be a good move, as long as the Jays were planning on adding a big time SP in the off-season, like Yu Darvish or CC, as a related, next move.

    An OF of Snider/Rasmus/Bautista could be ridiculously good in 2012 and beyond.

    And a projected 2012 lineup:

    Rasmus
    Escobar
    Snider
    Bautista
    Lind
    Cibia
    Encarnacion (or FA DH)
    Hill
    Lawrie

    Darvish/Romero/Morrow/Drabek/Stewart

    This is almost a complete, perennial contender, IMO. Cheap too.

    Your thoughts?

    MW: Initial thought is that you’re counting on Darvish for a whole heck of a lot – remember Dice-K. It’s an interesting idea, and certainly worth discussing, it depends on your confidence in the Jays’ young starting pitching. I suggested Cecil because I see Romero and Morrow ahead of him, Drabek and Stewart not ready yet for what the Cardinals would need, but adding one of the young stud catchers (I’m assuming you’re suggesting D’Arnaud or Jimenez) would make the cost prohibitive, I think. St. Louis also has arguably the best catcher in the game right now as well, and he’s under 30.

    - Andy Mc
  3. 3.

    i was fairly young at the time, but i remember the jays having bad STs (<.500) during the championship years.
    so you’re right when you say: it doesn’t matter.

    - yt
  4. 4.

    Mike, did you realize that the “ads” during the break are playing in your JaysTalk link above? Do the advertisers pay extra for this outstanding exposure?

    MW: Didn’t realize that – I”ll make sure it’s fixed in the future.

    - norm
  5. 5.

    Why does Jesse Litsch have no options left while Casey Janssen still has an option left even though Janssen made his MLB debut in 2006 while Litsch made his MLB debut in 2007?

    MW: Litsch isn’t out of options. But it’s not about when they made their ML debuts, it’s about how many years they’ve been optioned.

    - Anonymous
  6. 6.

    michael,
    1972? oh my god. my earliest foray into the top 30 chum chart.
    there’s some memories i tell you. still have most of those 45 discs somewhere i think
    classics all of them.
    my ding a ling, chuck berry
    daddy don’t you walk so fast, wayne newton
    candy man, sammy davis jr.
    if loving you is wrong (then i don’t want to be right) luther ingram
    hot rod lincoln, commander cody & the lost planet airmen
    how do you do?, mouth & maclean
    ben & rockin robin, michael jackson
    puppy love, donny osmond
    back stabbers, the o’jays
    baby, baby don’t get hooked on me, mac davis
    alone again (naturally), gilbert o’sullivan
    you don’t mess around with jim, jim croce
    the lion sleeps tonite, robert john
    and last but not least popcorn, by…. hot butter. hilarious.
    but lots of great ones too that yr. michael. lots…..
    never been to spain, heart of gold, hold your head up, long cool woman (in a black dress)
    saturday in the park, american pie, layla, i can see clearly now, rocket man, tumbling dice.
    and one of my personal fave’s. go all the way by the raspberries
    1972 great yr. for music indeed.
    chum am…… good memories.

    - darrell bishop
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