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:
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!