Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Game 1 Recap: CLE 4, TOR 1

I don't promise that I'll recap all of the games.  I probably won't watch every game, but the great thing about baseball is that there's so many games, you don't feel like you have to watch every single one.

This won't be a blow-by-blow either.  I'll just touch on some of the things that I noticed, some good, some bad.

First, the good.  The relief pitching was terrific.  With only 1 walk in three innings, the relievers really came out with their great stuff.  Aaron Loup was probably the "worst" of the bunch giving up a hit and a walk in his 1 1/3 innings.  The walk for Loup was particularly uncharacteristic -- he only walked 2 in over 30 innings last season -- but he did look like he struggled to throw good strikes.  He was relieved after one out in the 8th by Sergio Santos.  Santos was lighting up the radar gun at 96 mph and throwing a slider that just looked unfair.  If his stuff is always that sharp, righties in particular are going to be hopeless against him.

Finally, I think this blog is going to adopt Brett Cecil as our comeback Blue Jay this year.  Cecil, as I've blogged a couple of times previously (particularly from when I was in Florida watching Spring Training games) has looked really good and came in last night firing BBs.  He threw up to 94 mph on the Toronto radar gun and Fangraphs has his average fastball velocity at 91.1 mph, up about 2 mph over the past couple of season, which is actually quite significant.  He got through his inning in a tidy 10 pitches and induced a strikeout from #9 hitter Drew Stubbs, a groundout from leadoff hitter Michael Bourn, and a flyout from hero-of-the-night Asdrubal Cabrera.  All in all, an excellent appearance from Cecil.  As I tweeted with Blue Jays writer Chris Toman after his appearance, if Cecil can throw in the low 90s with good movement on 3 pitches and the kind of control that he showed last night, he could pitch as long as Darren Oliver.

I loved how patient many of many of the batters were, particularly the top of the order against Masterson in the first few innings, but other than that, the offense was pretty anemic, and Adam Lind produced the only run by grounding hard into a double play that was turned by Asdrubal Cabrera in a fantastic play.*  However, that changed as the Jays were unable to get anything going after the fourth.  With only four hits on the night (and four walks) the entire lineup gets a failing grade with particularly rough nights for Colby Rasmus (0 for 3, 3Ks and 1 BB) and J.P. Arencibia (1 for 4, 2K, 2B, 3 passed balls).

Bonifacio had the only other extra base hit for the Jays but it was really a solid single to right that his speed turned into a double.  With Colby Rasmus going first to third, Bonifacio just turned on the jets right out of the box and made it look like he had hit it into the gap with how easily he made it to second.

As far as R.A. Dickey went, he struggled to control the knuckleball and wasn't fantastic, but there are two caveats we have to take away from his first start as a Blue Jay.  One is that he's a knuckleballer. The factor that makes the pitch so unpredictable and difficult to hit also makes his outings unpredictable.  He won't always be good, and there could be nights when he's horrible.  The second caveat was that J.P. Arencibia had a very bad night catching him.  He gave up extra bases and took away double play situations at least three times in the night and really made things more difficult for Dickey.  Fortunately, Dickey was generous with his young catcher and didn't throw him under the bus in his post-game interview, but I have a feeling that we'll see Henry Blanco on Sunday in his next appearance against the Red Sox.

Game 1 down, 161 to go.


* Notice that I said that Lind "produced" the run, not "drove in" the run.  RBIs aren't credited when you hit into a double play that results in a run.

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