4:45 PM Eastern
There are games you’re going to win, there are games that can go either way and there are games you’re going to lose. A subset of the “games you’re going to lose” is one of “games in which you’re going to get thoroughly dominated, and this was one of those.
Derek Holland was absolutely masterful, spoiling a very good season debut from Brad Mills. The Rangers’ starter had the Blue Jays eating out of his left hand all afternoon. Holland picked up his 10th win, a fourth shutout that ties him with Cliff Lee for the major-league lead, and though he allowed four hits, only one of them was legit.
Jose Bautista singled in the first inning, but that was a pop-up to first that Michael Young lost in the sun. John McDonald had a bunt single in the second inning, but he might well have been out had Holland not thrown the ball away. In the 8th, J.P. Arencibia beat out a ground ball into the hole at short on which Omar Quintanilla threw wildly to first.
The only legitimate hit of the afternoon was a grounder that Bautista rocketed between short and third with two out in the 6th.
The two hits for Bautista in this game upped his post-ankle injury average 27 points to .256. He hasn’t hit a home run since coming back from that ugly ankle twistage the first game after the all-star break, but he has posted an OBP of .375 despite the lack of power. He’s in a power slump, to be sure, but the idea that he’s lost at the plate or some such, as was suggested in the live chat, is ridiculous.
Brad Mills was sensational in his season debut, though he was pitching against a Rangers line-up that was missing Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. Mills really made only one mistake, and Mitch Moreland took him deep with a runner on in the second. He threw seven innings of slow and slower, with a nice over-the-top curveball, and allowed just six hits, issuing one unintentional walk and striking out five. It’s a start that will definitely keep him in the rotation, unless he showed enough to the scouts in the stands that he winds up part of a trade before Sunday afternoon’s deadline. If Mills does stick around, his next four starts will be against Baltimore, Seattle and Oakland (twice) so expect him to look awfully good for a while.
Colby Rasmus took the collar again, but so did the overwhelming majority of his new teammates. The centrefielder of the present and future is now 0-for-12 (with a walk) to begin his Blue Jays career and no, I’m not the least bit worried.
There was an ejection in the 6th inning, as Yunel Escobar hit a ground ball to second and then slowly jogged up the line. Ian Kinsler’s throw was wild and Escobar believed it pulled Michael Young off the bag, so when he was called out, Yunel leapt up in the air and complained rather forcefully to the first-base umpire, who threw him out. It’s not difficult to see why the Braves soured on Escobar – he rarely runs out a ground ball (there would have been neither an ejection nor an argument if he’d run out this one, because he’d have beaten the throw) and he can get lazy with his throws from shortstop. When he’s struggling at the plate, as he did the first half of last season, those things are far less easy to slough off. But Escobar is killing it at the plate and in the field, so you have to take the bad with the good.
Here’s today’s brief edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
The series wraps up Sunday afternoon with the rubber match – Brandon Morrow gets the ball for the Blue Jays, coming off his first poor outing in eight starts. He’ll face Texas lefty C.J. Wilson, who is 10-4 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.199 WHIP. While it’s the rubber match of the series, the Blue Jays can also take the season series with the Rangers if they can win it – right now they’re 5-4 this year against the defending A.L. Champs.
There’ll be a big show before the game as well, as the Jays raise Roberto Alomar’s #12 to the rafters, never to be worn again. The ceremony begins at about 12:30 PM Eastern, which is the same time we hit the airwaves for the pre-game show. First pitch will be pushed back to somewhere around 1:30. If you can’t get down to the ballpark, make sure you join us along the Blue Jays Radio Network!
Please give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590. If you’re interested in following Sunday’s starting pitchers (though I doubt they’ll be tweeting during the game), you can follow Morrow @2Morrow23 and Wilson @str8edgeracer.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!