5:24PM Eastern

You didn’t really expect the Blue Jays  to go 162-0, did you?

If you’re going to lose a game, doing it by one run isn’t that bad, and doing it with your fifth starter on the mound – making his first start in the major leagues, no less – isn’t a bad way to go, either.

At least they got it done in nine innings this time, because if you’re going to lose, you might as well not bother with extra innings, though they certainly made the Indians sweat by loading the bases in the ninth for the best hitter in baseball.

Jose Bautista just missed his pitch, though, skying a 2-1 pitch on the infield, just behind the mound, for the game-ending pop-out.  Hey, he can’t come through every time, right?  His OPS is still over 1.000 for the season.

In the end, there was just too much Carlos Santana.  Joel Carreno was awfully good against everybody but the Indians’ catcher, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, holding the rest of the Tribe to four singles over six innings of work.   Santana took him deep twice, driving in three.  He was just too smooth for the Blue Jays, even without Rob Thomas.

Overall, Carreno allowed four runs on six hits in his six-inning stint, walking four and striking out three.  He got a ticket to Las Vegas after the game, which was the Jays’ plan all along, since they don’t need a fifth starter again until April 21st.  And remember that even though Carreno took the ball in the third game of the season, he’s the fifth starter.  Aaron Laffey has been called up, and the lefty will work out of the bullpen until the 21st, at which point he’ll either slide in to make a start in Kansas City or Carreno will come back up or something else will happen – you never know when a guy is going to make his way to the disabled list.

The Blue Jays showed fight in the game, coming from behind as they had in each of the season’s first two games, both extra-inning wins.  They rallied for a couple to tie it in the 4th, then strung three hits together in the 8th inning to close to within one and, of course, followed with the 9th-inning drama that led to Bautista’s chance to be a hero.

Eric Thames had his first two hits of the season – a pair of line singles to left in the 7th and 9th – and now every Blue Jays regular has a batting average over .000 going into home opener.  The only ones still staring at zeroes are Omar Vizquel, who went 0-for-2 in the opener, and Ben Francisco, who made his Jays’ debut Sunday by hitting what should have been a game-ending double play ball, but it was booted by Indians’ shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Jays life.

Just as they had after the first two games – both wins – the negative callers took to the airwaves in The Extendo BlueJays Talk.  I understand, of course.  After all, they only scored 17 runs in the three games, only won two of them, and are on pace to win just 108 games this season.  Here’s the show, for your listening pleasure:

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I really hope things turn around for the callers as the season progresses.  Remember, folks, sports is the toy department of life.  It’s something you’re supposed to enjoy.  The Blue Jays aren’t the Maple Leafs.

They do wear blue, though, and they want you to wear it, too, if you’re coming out for Monday night’s home opener.  The game’s sold out and it should be a great time, with a couple of kids on the mound as the tired Red Sox drag themselves to town after a tough opening series in Detroit. Henderson Alvarez takes the ball for the Blue Jays, making just his 11th start in the big leagues, and he’ll face lefty Felix Doubront, a fellow Venezuelan who will be making just his fourth major-league start.

We’ll be on the air for you at 7:00PM Eastern, the first of at least 81 home broadcasts that Jerry, Alan and I will be so very happy to bring you this season, so tune in, won’t you?  Heck, you can even tune in early, because Bob McCown and the Prime Time Sports crew will be doing their show live from Rogers Centre beginning at 4:00PM Eastern!

Please give me a follow on The Twitter – you can find me @wilnerness590 and we can interact during the game.

Comments are always welcome – I read them all and respond to most!

 

 

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31 Responses to “Can’t Win ‘Em All”
  1. 1.

    Hey Mike, Just noticed that Travis was absent for a second game in a row for the 51′s. Any trade rumours you’re sitting on?

    MW: Nope. He jammed a finger diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt.

    - Anonymous
  2. 2.

    Mike, really enjoy Jays talk and the blog. 2 Questions:

    1) You’ve talked a bit about why bringing in a mediocre starter (e.g. Gavin Floyd) is a downgrade from a guy like Drabek or McGowan, as their performances are more volatile but on average they’re about the same as guy like Floyd.

    But with McGowan not coming back til mid may or later or who knows given his history, we will need a 5th starter.

    Bringing a guy like Gavin Floyd in for a year, gives the Jays a chance to win every time we’re out given how strong our offence is. And yes while he may not win us games single-handedly, the offence can make up for that. Thoughts?

    2) I can see a scenario where the fans come in and the Jays have an influx of unexpected revenue by the mid-season. Would Rogers pay that revenue forward to add someone if the Jays are still in the thick of things. Who do you see as potential targets on weak teams like Bal, KC, Min, Oak, Sea, Cubs, Houston, Col, SD, etc.

    Thanks!

    MW: 1 – The problem is what he’d cost. I have no issue with bringing a guy like that in, but when you look at the cost in talent relative to how much he actually adds, I don’t see it as a good thing for the Blue Jays to do at this stage.

    2 – I don’t know that the unexpected revenue would make a difference. If the Blue Jays are in a race and have a need by mid-season, they’ll find the money to add what’s necessary.

    - VK
  3. 3.

    I enjoy the show, but my one comment is that today you were somewhat contradictory in your criticism of callers. When fans show optimism or excitement, they’re “letting their passion overwhelm common sense.” Then you’re confused as to why so few fans call in with positive comments. Just seems like anytime people are excited, you make them seem delusional. Fans aren’t analysts. They show excitement for a team in a much different way.

    PS: For the guy that said there’s no chance for the Jays this year and brought up how great the Rays are, look at Tampa in 2008. Everyone saw they were in the right direction, but no one saw them making it to the WS. Have some faith people.

    MW: I don’t see the contradiction at all. When fans believe that this team is currently in a position to be favoured to win the World Series, or win 100 games, or something like that, that’s letting passion overwhelm common sense. But that’s a lot more than just optimism or excitement. I’m very optimistic about this team, and think that there’s a tonne to be excited about.

    - Adam
  4. 4.

    No team will ever win 162 games, unless you are on a video game.

    Despite the loss, there’s still a lot of good things to retain from this game. After all, winning series is what will put you in the post-season, and the Blue Jays just won their first series. It is a good thing before heading back home.

    Before spring and the season, my main worry was the pitching, what I saw so far has been very promising. This is going to be a good and interesting season.

    - Guillaume
  5. 5.

    Farnsworth? Can we get him? He is big and strong. Country strong in fact

    MW: He is indeed country strong. And on the disabled list with a bad elbow.

    - ken
  6. 6.

    Mike, I really feel for you sometimes. The intellectual quality of discussion seems to be trending down.

    - Rohan
  7. 7.

    Hey Mike

    What is with all the Toronto fans jumping on the Rasmus bashing bandwagon? He is a tremendous young talented ballplayer who is still a couple years away from his prime. Rasmus popped 23 home runs at the age of 23, and even this year although he is 1 for 11 he has had a number of good rips.
    Rasmus is exactly the type of player this team should be building around in my opinion.

    MW: I agree.

    - Rick
  8. 8.

    Good evening Mike. Really excited about the Jay this year. Feel they have a great young nucleus of players with good chemistry, Was wondering if you had any news on Dustin McGowan and is there a tentative timeframe for his return,

    Thanks for the great job!

    MW: McGowan is still in no-throw mode, since he felt some shoulder soreness due to changing his delivery to protect his foot. The soreness in his shoulder is gone now, but he’s a long way away.

    - Arthur
  9. 9.

    Hi Mike. I don’t think you understood my comment about the bullpen and the cold weather in your previous blog, but that’s ok.

    Anyway I enjoy your show down here in Atlanta, and I hope you are still doing your podcast show?

    - Atlanta
  10. 10.

    Mike, what move did the Jays make on their 40-man roster in order to make room for Laffey? (Or did they have a spot after losing Valbuena on waivers?)

    MW: They lost van den Hurk and Valbuena and added Vizquel, so they had a spot open, I believe.

    - Norm
  11. 11.

    So Mike, in honour of “Blue Jays Talk” and blue being prominently back in the marketing of the team, perhaps you need a new theme song for the show. I offer 2 choices. First is really more for the lyrics: Blue in the Face by No Doubt, appropos for the following re: callers –

    Just like a bee rushing to a comb of honey
    Why can’t you see you look so very funny
    You worry yourself sick till you’re blue in the face

    Relax and sleep, tomorrow isn’t leaving
    And counting your sheep won’t relieve you from this grieving
    You worry yourself sick till you’re blue in the face

    But you’ll make ends meet I know you will so please pull up a chair
    Take your time the world’s not going anywhere
    Honey, you worry yourself sick till you’re blue in the face

    Second is more for your love of 80′s music: Cabaret Voltaire’s Blue Heat from 1984.

    Just a thought, for your consideration.

    - Barstow
  12. 12.

    Perhaps Jays Talk should put a cap on the number of negative callers. It certainly was disappointing that the Jays didn’t tie/go ahead in the 9th, but Jose was only one of three outs in the inning and it is just a wee bit optimistic to think he’s going to get a hit every at-bat.

    - Kerry Hill
  13. 13.

    Rasmus couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. Thoughts?

    MW: I’m pretty sure this is the exact dictionary definition of trolling.

    - The Godfather
  14. 14.

    Am I wrong in thinking Carreno can not come back up for 15 days (barring injury replacement)? Could be mistaken on this one, but if I rememberly corrector, that means Carreno could not be the April 21th starter.

    As it turns out, the self professed riculous scenario I layed out on April 1 (before Cecil was sent down) of having Hutchison come up for just one start, actually turned out quite accurate, other than the minor detail of getting the right pitcher.
    Really should have reasoned out that it would be Carreno: 15 innings above A ball for Hutch would be an obvious factor.
    Truth is, I never really expected such an outcome; just sorta made a ‘what if’ comment.
    Drat, if I’d just put a bit of thought into it, I could have earned my Omniscience Badge

    MW: You could have. And it’s 10 days, not 15, so Carreno can come back for that April 21st start if the Blue Jays are inclined to bring him back.

    - BuffaloSojourn
  15. 15.

    Loved the Rob Thomas reference. Have you heard any word regarding how Carreno will be used in the minors? Will he continue to start? Many thanks.

    MW: He will continue to start, yes, and could be back to start in KC on April 21st.

    - Duluth Puttin Hut
  16. 16.

    hi mike,

    i hope you have a good time at the home opener. it should be quite the event.

    i’m writting to give feed back on the post game show.

    as a devout listener for the past 11 years i feel it nececessary to let you know that excellence that once appeared in the content of the show is diminishing at a rapid rate.

    from late last year, to the handful of shows in the spring up until (and most especially today’s) many of the calls you are getting are just terrible. in fact, i now often catch myself just turning the radio off, which is something i don’t think i have ever done in the 10 earlier years of you being in the big chair.

    please don’t take this as a comment on your abilities, as in many a profession a person can only work with what they are given. also, understand that i understand that stirring the talk radio pot in a john oakley/bob mccown type way is an art form, but as i mentioned, i catch myself turing the program off.

    perhaps the current rising populatity of the team has a hand in this. it is probably safe to say that during the lean times over the past decade that the callers simply enjoyed the team and baseball as a sport.

    perhaps the exponential growth of the “wired” toronto sports consumer who has blogged and commented almost in complete anonimity while being held to almost no account for what they publish has created a monster so big that it is now needing to feed off radio forums as well.

    i don’t mean to sound naive, you’ve steered the good ship Jays Talk through many a rough narrative water. yet in the past the lyle overbays and jp ricchardi (etc.) discontent was developed (for the most part ) over a reasonable amount of time within the context acctually giving people a chance to succeed or fail. in the past, if one wore the gun metal and black they were a jay and given a chance to succeed until it was clear they could not. now, well, i’m not even certain i want to explain what is happening now.

    the post game show has ben about enjoying a win by the club, and if they lose, finding that silver lining within the game to watch the boys get ‘em again tomorrow. if some suggestions, questions, and discussion of the club’s history and future are sprinked in then great.

    i’d like to respectfully suggest a few techniques that may help you deal with this. not to tell you what to do (because that would be rude), but in response to my precieved dismay in your voice during today’s program, and from what you wrote about the show in this blog post.

    1. screen the calls better.

    2. have a few tweets or live chat questions on hand to fill up the time until you get a good call.

    3. have a shi davidi or go to guest that you could have a discussion with if the the phone lines aren’t doing the trick.

    thanks for hearing me out. i write this sincerely because i enjoy your work.

    - chris 32 time caller
  17. 17.

    I blame our lost perfect season on the umpire – automatic first pitch strikes all game long for the Indians.

    - chone figgins
  18. 18.

    Did they use their 5th starter as the 3rd starter in order to have their 3rd sarter start at home?
    And if they wanted their 3rd starter to start at home why not move their 4th starter up to 3rd?
    Obvoiusly it’s beyond my reach.
    Gary

    MW: I really think it’s as simple as he got Cleveland instead of Boston.

    - Anonymous
  19. 19.

    Hi Mike!
    I have a general question unrelated to the game itself. Who is the guy in the bluejays dugout that looks like Jessie James??? I see him almost every game and just wondered who he was… I’m pretty sure he’s not a player. I assumed a trainer or part of the coaching staff.

    Thanks!

    MW: I’m really not sure who you mean.

    - James
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike. Got home from Easter weekend in Timmins just in time for the last out of the game on T.V.. Enjoyed the rest of the game on the radio. After Bautista popped up in the ninth, it appeared as though he was chirping with someone on the field. did you pick up on anything like that?

    MW: I’m pretty sure he was upset with himself for missing what he later called a very hittable pitch.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  21. 21.

    Well most fans are very happy about things. The buzz is the best in almost 20 years.

    Specifically to the “Darvish-Fielder” whiners: yeah I would not have complained about either one, but who cares? There is way more fun in watching the guys we already have get better and put it together.

    - sons
  22. 22.

    Mike, love the “toy department” line. The 2012 Blue Jays have already shown that they can put on a great show of baseball. I can’t wait to see them take on the Angels and Pujols when they make it to my neck of the woods next month.

    - MTD in LA
  23. 23.

    One more comment. I just wish the callers would stop using the “Blue Jays Nation” statement. Leave that crap to the Leaf fans! Why would Jays fans want to steal anything from Leaf fans? How has it worked for them? Come up with a phrase that better defines the Jays fans as a group, but “Jays Nation”? It makes me want to puke.

    MW: I admire your passion, but try not to sweat the small stuff so much.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  24. 24.

    Hi Mike,

    I know that, according to John Farrell, the plantar fasciitis caused McGowan to adjust the slot on his delivery causing soreness in his wonky shoulder. It’s now April 9 and I don’t believe that he has resumed throwing yet?

    What gives? Is there an increasing cause for concern here? Pinning hopes on Laffey or Carreno to come through longer term makes success in that slot look a little far fetched at this point. The longer it takes for Dustin to get back throwing the longer the build up will be. What other options are there in the event the unthinkable happens and McGowan is done for a while?

    MW: There are a few options. Carreno isn’t a bad one, to be sure, and guys like Drew Hutchison and Chad Jenkins may be ready sooner than later.

    - Slingshot
  25. 25.

    PS. What a laugh – someone called you to talk about the Jays having no chance of winning and then part of his reasoning was Baltimore being 3-0. Does that mean Baltimore has a chance of winning? I think you need to do a little more screening of callers Mike!

    - sons
  26. 26.

    michael,
    only caught a portion of the after game radio show yesterday.
    but wowsa… this team could have just as easily left cleveland with the same record as the red sox and yanks, instead scrap out a 2-1 record on the road on opening weekend of the yr.
    the call outs and negative responses were simply astounding.
    i mean… what if 0-3. then what??
    i for 1 was extremely impressed with the way this young team handled itself and finished out those 3 games michael.
    just wait til their very likely biggest strength (the hitting lineup 1 thru 9) gets firing on all cylinders as it will.
    look out…
    regardless though, accentuate the positives on a weekend like that. c’mon… absolute silliness some of that was.
    you’re crazy to look at it any other way under the circumstances…
    and back home now… good luck boys.
    go get em’…

    - darrell bishop
  27. 27.

    I was just wondering to myself about the health of Jesse Litch. I thought he did a great job last year and I would be glad to see him back. Not that any of these guys in the bullpen look like they’re going anywhere.

    MW: Litsch is still a ways away, recovering from the infection in his shoulder.

    - Gabe
  28. 28.

    Only one thing so far. Lawrie should bat behind Joey Bats, he scares Pitchers more than Lind and Edwin. I also thing Brett would love the responsibility.

    - Yaz from St. Mary's
  29. 29.

    Okay, one more thing. The energy and poise of this team so far reminds me of the ’92-93 Leafs. That team, like these Jays, never believed they were out of any game no matter how goals they were behind.

    - Yaz from St. Mary's
  30. 30.

    Sitting here watching the Blue Jays and Tribe this weekend at my home here in Ohio, I can’t help but to notice a glaring difference in the fortunes of these two clubs. In the last 3 or 4 years both clubs have traded their two best pitchers. The Tribe traded back-to-back Cy Young Winners C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee and the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum. The early returns on who did better are not even close. The Indians got a young pitcher named Jason Knapp in the Lee trade who was injured when the trade was made and has had a series of shoulder problems since. They also received Carlos Carrasco who pitched well for a while but has been shut down by Tommy John Surgery and will not pitch again until sometime next year. The Tribe also recieved back up catcher Lou Marson and reserve infielder Jason Donald in the Lee trade. Currently the Indians only have two injured pitchers and two utility or reserve players to show for the Lee trade. Not good. In the Sabathia trade the Tribe had wanted Brett Lawrie and Alcides Escobar (their first two choices) but had to settle for Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley. LaPorta has fallen out so badly with the Indians that he was actually demoted last year to minors on September 1st, thus ending his season. The Tribe tried all winter to move LaPorta but could not move him at his lowest trade value. LaPorta did not make the club this spring, instead the Tribe went with Aaron Cunningham. Hard to believe Cunningham is ahead of former Olympian LaPorta at this stage of his career, but apparently it’s true. The Indians also received pitcher Zack Jackson in the Sabathia trade (who wound up with the Blue Jays for a time) and is currently not to be found on a roster and outfielder Michael Brantley. Brantley started all weekend. He is a serviceable major leaguer but will never be a star.

    I don’t really need to go in to any detail on how the Blue Jays made out sending Shaun Marcum to the Brewers for Brett Lawrie and Roy Halladay to the Philles for Kyle Drabek, Travis D’Arnaud and in a round about way Anthony Gose. Those trades are becoming the stuff of legends in Toronto and are widely responsible for the new wave of enthusiasm regarding all things Blue Jay in Ontario today. Cleveland Indians announcer Tom Hamilton called Alex Anthopoulous a “genius” this weekend for prying Sergio Santos from the ChiSox for Nestor Molina saying he “couldn’t believe that trade actually happened when he heard it, particularly given the status of Santos contract”, and for getting Lawrie from the Brewers for Marcum after the Indians tried in vain to acquire Lawrie for months. Hamilton said the Brewers “would rue the day they made the Lawrie trade” and that the trade would “come back to haunt the upper level management of the Brewers” One has to think that Hamilton is echoing comments of Indians management with his statements and that the Tribe management must be beside themselves when thet see how much better the Blue Jays made out with their trades in comparison to the Indians. I don’t know if AA is a genius as Hamilton calls him, but one can’t deny the Blue Jays are in capable hands as long as AA is as far ahead of the rest of the crowd as he has been to this point.

    - Jim in Ohio
  31. 31.

    There seem to be a lot of callers who start with “I’m really excited about this team, but…”

    Anyways, I’m excited that baseball’s back and looking forward to another year of (Blue) Jays talks and hopefully a few live chats during the games with you Mike (assuming you’re doing them, haven’t looked into it yet.)

    Should be a great year!

    - K_No
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