5:36 PM Eastern
Told you it wasn’t going to last all spring!
It did last 24 2/3 innings, but with a runner on first and two out in the 7th, Mike McCoy ripped a double down the left-field line that scored Eric Thames and the Jays were on the board for the first time in the fake-game era of John E. Farrell. The long-awaited run cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-1, and the Jays added a couple more in the bottom of the 9th off Canadian Scott Mathieson. Jonathan Diaz doubled off the glove of a diving third baseman Carlos Rivero, Thames tripled him home with a rocket over the head of centrefielder Michael Martinez, and Anthony Gose scored Thames with a sac fly to right.
So the drought is over, ended by guys who aren’t going to be on the team in April (save for McCoy, probably), and the fanbase can exhale. Adam Lind walked and smacked another opposite field double, and Yunel Escobar made another sensational defensive play in the hole to start off the ballgame, but those were about all the highlights.
The Blue Jays made five errors in the game, though they only amounted to one unearned run. John McDonald couldn’t get the handle on a bouncer to his left; Escobar double-clutched a routine grounder by John Mayberry, Jr. and, as a result, his throw to first was late; J.P. Arencibia threw low to second on a Placido Polanco stolen base attempt, allowing the ball to squirt through McDonald, which allowed Mayberry to score from third; John Tolisano pulled David Cooper off the bag at first with a wild throw, and Diaz booted a Rivero grounder, recovered, then threw wildly to first.
Jo-Jo Reyes, starting for the stiff-necked Kyle Drabek (who didn’t look too bad walking around), was as terrific in the first inning as he was erratic in the second. That first saw him throw just 10 pitches, 8 for strikes, in a perfect frame. In the second he issued a pair of four-pitch walks and a couple of runs, throwing 21 pitches, only 9 of them strikes. Granted, the defense didn’t help – the McDonald error happened in that inning, and with the bases loaded, Carlos Ruiz hit what looked to be a harmless fly ball to right, but Juan Rivera couldn’t catch up to it as it drifted in and towards the line, and it fell for a two-run single.
Tomorrow, the Jays are in Lakeland, with Ricky Romero starting against the Tigers’ top pitching prospect, Jacob Turner. Romero is scheduled to throw three innings, followed by Zach Stewart for two. David Purcey, Wilfredo Ledezma, Mike Hinckley and Sean Henn will finish up, with Winston Abreu along for the ride if the game goes to a tenth inning.
The position players on the travel squad are: J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Budde, A.J. Jimenez, Jose Molina, David Cooper, Jonathan Diaz, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Mike McCoy, John McDonald, Mike McDade, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, Darin Mastroianni, Corey Patterson, Moises Sierra, Eric Thames and John Tolisano.
Plenty of audio to pass along today – starting off with John Farrell’s post-game comments. Among other things, Farrell talks about how well Lind’s swing looks, how much of an impression Thames is making, and how the Jays are trying to change Gose’s approach at the plate. A couple of clips from Lind are in here, as well:
Here’s a little one-on-one I did with Roy Halladay following his two innings of two-hit shutout (note – all these one-on-ones are about two minutes long each):
Here’s my conversation with Jo-Jo Reyes:
And here’s Eric Thames:
Finally, Michael Weiner was in camp this morning – the head of the MLB Players’ Association making his annual stop as part of his tour of all 30 camps, filling the players in on what’s going on as far as all the union stuff goes. The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of this season, though there doesn’t seem to be any sort of threat of a labour disruption. That could change, though, if the owners try to put contraction on the table, as has been rumoured. Weiner (with whom I have a particular kinship since our names only differ by one letter), talked about the rough labour history in baseball, and how the 1994 strike still weighs on everyone’s minds when they sit down at the negotiating table.
He said that he doesn’t think the owners will try to negotiate a salary cap, but that they may try to get a mandatory slotting system in for draftees, which the union would consider to be a form of salary cap. He said that the majority of his constituents would favour an expanded playoff system in the abstract, but they’d have to figure out a way to make it work to satisfy all parties. He also mentioned that the drug testing program expires along with the CBA, but that the union wants baseball to have the best testing program in sports. Instead of just putting clips up, I’m including the entire scrum that Weiner did with the media for your listening pleasure:
That’s it for now – I think my nightly constitutional will happen pre-dinner tonight, so if anyone wants to find me on Twitter around 6:30 pm Eastern or so, I’d be happy to do some live tweet/chatting about the Blue Jays.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome – and look, they’re being answered!