Blue Jays at Indians – Series Continues After Day Off

After the longest opening day in Major League Baseball history, the Indians and Blue Jays will continue opening weekend today at 1:05pm when Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound for the Indians against Brandon Morrow and the rest of the Jays.  Ubaldo Jimenez is currently appealing a suspension after throwing a pitch at former teammate Troy Tulowitzki during spring training.  Jimenez is frequently clocked over 100mph and is regarded as the hardest throwing pitcher in the majors, averaging an MLB best 96.1 mph in 2009 and 2010.  His tailing 2-seamer and forkball have earned him a 54.4% ground ball percentage.  He has thrown the only no-hitter in Colorado Rockies franchise history.

Brandon Morrow was 11-11 in 2011, making 30 starts for the first time in his career.  He started last season on the disabled list but is healthy and ready to go to start 2012.  Despite his .500 record last year, Morrow was decent on the road going 6-3 with a 3.07 ERA.  He was 0-1 in two starts against the tribe last season and sports a career 5.28 ERA against the team from Cleveland.

The two teams pick up after an a much needed day off, resting from their 16-inning opening day marathon.  The Blue Jays are trying to ride their spring time momentum that was perpetuated by co-heros Edwin Encarnacion and JP Arencibia on Thursday afternoon.  Every member of the Blue Jays bullpen was used, and both starting catchers caught the entire game.

Quick Hits

  • Despite going 3 for 4 with a home run in the opener, don’t count on Jose Bautista keeping up his .750 season average.  Bautista is 0 for 9 in his career against Jimenez.
  • Indians 3B Jack Hannahan is 1 for 7 in his career against Brandon Morrow.
  • The entire Blue Jays bullpen combined for 11 scoreless innings Thursday afternoon.
  • Prior to Thursday’s game, Brett Lawrie had never faced the Indians in his major league career.
  • In 11 games as an American League pitcher since July 31, 2011; Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA

Line-Ups

Cleveland Indians (0-1)

  1. Brantley, M – CF (.167)
  2. Cabrera, A – SS (.143)
  3. Choo, S – RF (.250)
  4. Santana, C – C (.000)
  5. Hafner, T – DH (.250)
  6. Duncan, S – LF (.500)
  7. Kotchman, C – 1B (.000)
  8. Kipnis, J -2B (.000)
  9. Hannahan, J – 3B (.333)

RHP – Ubaldo Jimenez (2011 – 10-13  4.68 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays (1-0)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.250)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.200)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.750)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.333)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.286)
  6. Lawrie, B – 3B (.000)
  7. Thames, E – LF (.000)
  8. Arencibia, J – C (.143)
  9. Rasmus, C – CF (.000)

RHP – Brandon Morrow (2011 – 11-11  4.72 ERA)

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Blue Jays vs. Indians – April 5, 2012

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Courtesy Of http://www.mlb.com

BLUE JAYS 7, INDIANS 4 

Toronto

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Escobar, Y, SS 8 1 2 0 0 3 0 .250
Johnson, K, 2B 5 1 1 0 2 3 0 .200
Bautista, RF-1B-RF 4 1 3 2 2 1 0 .750
Lind, 1B 3 0 1 0 1 0 1 .333
1-Davis, R, PR-RF-LF 3 1 0 0 0 0 7 .000
Encarnacion, DH 7 0 2 2 0 3 2 .286
Lawrie, 3B 6 1 0 0 1 2 3 .000
Thames, E, LF 4 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
Vizquel, LF-1B 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Arencibia, C 7 1 1 3 0 3 2 .143
Rasmus, CF 7 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Totals 56 7 10 7 7 16 19 .179

1-Ran for Lind in the 9th.

Cleveland AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Brantley, CF 6 0 1 0 1 1 0 .167
Cabrera, A, SS 7 0 1 0 0 1 4 .143
Choo, RF 4 0 1 0 2 0 0 .250
Santana, C, C 4 1 0 0 3 2 4 .000
Hafner, DH 4 0 1 0 0 1 4 .250
2-Donald, PR-DH 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 .000
Duncan, LF 2 1 1 0 1 1 0 .500
1-Cunningham, PR-LF 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
Kotchman, 1B 7 0 0 1 0 1 4 .000
Kipnis, 2B 5 1 0 0 2 2 2 .000
Hannahan, 3B 6 1 2 3 0 2 0 .333
Totals 49 4 7 4 11 12 21 .143

1-Ran for Duncan in the 7th. 2-Ran for Hafner in the 9th.

BATTING
2B: Lind (1, Masterson), Encarnacion (1, Perez, C), Escobar, Y (1, Smith, J).
HR: Arencibia (1, 16th inning off Asencio, 2 on, 0 out), Bautista (1, 4th inning off Masterson, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Arencibia 4; Lind 2; Encarnacion 3; Bautista 6; Escobar, Y 3; Johnson, K.
RBI: Arencibia 3 (3), Encarnacion 2 (2), Bautista 2 (2).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Arencibia; Encarnacion; Thames, E; Davis, R 3.
SF: Bautista.
GIDP: Lind, Thames, E, Davis, R.
Team RISP: 2-for-11.
Team LOB: 10.

FIELDING
E: Rasmus (1, missed catch).
DP: 3 (Johnson, K-Escobar, Y-Lind, Escobar, Y-Lind, Escobar, Y-Johnson, K-Bautista).

BATTING
2B: Duncan (1, Romero, R), Brantley (1, Romero, R).
HR: Hannahan (1, 2nd inning off Romero, R, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: Duncan 2; Choo; Cabrera, A; Brantley 2; Hannahan 5; Hafner.
RBI: Kotchman (1), Hannahan 3 (3).
2-out RBI: Hannahan 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Santana, C; Kipnis 2; Cabrera, A.
SAC: Cunningham.
GIDP: Kotchman, Cabrera, A, Hafner.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 10.

BASERUNNING
CS: Choo (1, 2nd base by Frasor/Arencibia).

FIELDING
DP: 3 (Masterson-Cabrera, A-Kotchman, Kipnis-Cabrera, A-Kotchman, Hannahan-Cabrera, A-Kipnis).

Toronto IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Romero, R 5.0 3 4 4 3 4 1 7.20
Frasor 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0.00
Oliver 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Janssen 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Cordero 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Villanueva 2.1 1 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
Perez, L(W, 1-0) 4.0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0.00
Santos 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Totals 16.0 7 4 4 11 12 1 2.25
Cleveland IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Masterson 8.0 2 1 1 1 10 1 1.13
Perez, C(BS, 1) 0.2 3 3 3 2 0 0 40.50
Pestano 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Smith, J 1.2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Sipp 1.1 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
Asencio(L, 0-1) 3.0 2 3 3 2 2 1 9.00
Totals 16.0 10 7 7 7 16 2 3.94
Frasor pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

WP: Masterson.
IBB: Bautista (by Sipp).
HBP: Johnson, K (by Pestano), Choo (by Romero, R).
Pitches-strikes: Oliver 12-7, Perez, L 62-34, Romero, R 96-55, Cordero 11-6, Frasor 21-10, Villanueva 41-22, Janssen 20-11, Santos 17-9, Asencio 48-26, Sipp 29-14, Smith, J 28-19, Perez, C 31-17, Masterson 99-66, Pestano 25-18.
Groundouts-flyouts: Oliver 1-0, Perez, L 3-2, Romero, R 7-0, Cordero 3-0, Frasor 0-1, Villanueva 2-2, Janssen 2-0, Santos 2-0, Asencio 4-1, Sipp 1-1, Smith, J 2-1, Perez, C 1-1, Masterson 10-1, Pestano 1-0.
Batters faced: Oliver 2, Perez, L 14, Romero, R 20, Cordero 4, Frasor 4, Villanueva 10, Janssen 5, Santos 3, Asencio 13, Sipp 6, Smith, J 6, Perez, C 7, Masterson 27, Pestano 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Oliver 1-0, Perez, L 2-0, Sipp 1-0, Pestano 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Tim Welke. 1B: Mark Carlson. 2B: Mike Everitt. 3B: Paul Schrieber. 
Weather: 44 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 16 mph, In from RF.
T: 5:14.
Att: 43,190.

Happy New Year, Welcome Back Blue Jays

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Just like 29 other cities, we’re welcoming our home team back to regular season baseball this week.  Not only that though, but we are truly welcoming back the BLUE Jays to major league baseball.  Sure the name never was officially changed to the Toronto Jays, but you kind of got the impression that’s what the team was going for with the graphite and black colour scheme for the last 7 years.  When the Jays took the field today at 3:05pm in Cleveland, they did so looking reminiscent of those World Championship teams that did so 20 years ago.

Spring was exciting for us this year.  At 24-7 with a .774 winning percentage, the Jays were far and away the best team in the majors during the exhibition season.  Unfortunately, aside from momentum, the spring season means absolutely nothing and now everyone is equal at 0s as we begin the push towards October.  Major League Baseball has given us an extra playoff round this year, a one-game sudden death round between two wildcard teams.  This extra round guarantees the excitement we saw with 4 teams playing for 2 spots at the end of 2011, every year.  The way the AL East is shaping up in 2012, this extra round could very well play into the Jays favour.  As the Cardinals showed last year, all you have to do is get in and anything can happen.

With all the momentum the Jays had leading into today’s season opener, and the disappointment put up by the Leafs and Raptors this winter, excitement is over flowing for this team. There’s still 161 games left, and the excitement for this young team is off the charts.  Ricky Romero (0-0, ND) came out of the gate hot with a 3 up 3 down first inning, however the same could not be said about the second.  Romero walked the lead off man, gave up a solid double, walked another man and a no doubter by Jack Hannahan to right field put the cap on the 4 run inning. Fortunately for Romero, DH Edwin Encarnacion (2-7, 2-Run 2B K) hit a 2-run double to tie the game in the top of the 9th off of Indians’ closer Chris Perez (0-0, BS).  Unfortunately for the Jays however, if that double was inches higher the game would have ended 5-4 Toronto after 9.  Only the first game of the year and already the Blue Jays are giving us extra baseball!   The longest opening day game in the history of the Major Leagues.

Justin Masterson (0-0, ND) was outstanding today.  Very efficient going 8 innings and only allowing 2 hits, 1 run and notching his 2nd career ten-strikeout game.  He threw 99 pitches over those 8 innings, kept the Jays off balance with the sinker and just looked dominant in his season debut.  The one black mark on Masterson’s day came in the top of the 4th when half an inning after an obviously struggling Ricky Romero hit Shin Soo Choo, the Indians’ starter immediately threw 2 inside pitches to Kelly Johnson.  Home Plate Umpire Tim Welke immediately warned both benches, and from that point on the game was quiet until Choo furthered the bad blood when he took steps towards Perez in the 15th inning after another pitch sailed over his head.  I can understand why Choo would be upset, however he needs to recognize that in an extra inning game, nobody wants to put free runners on base. Clearly Tim Welke agreed because Perez wasn’t ejected even though both benches had been previously warned.

Blue Jays fan favourite and offensive leader Jose Bautista (3-4, HR 2BB Sac Fly) picked up right where he left off last year hitting his first home run of 2012, and putting him on pace for 162 this year.  I kid of course.  Colby Rasmus looked terrible at the plate, making up for it with a defensive gem in Centre Field. The rest of the team was ineffective until the 9th inning at the plate, and while they were able to rack up a few more hits in the extra innings they weren’t able to cash in the runners. That is until the 16th, when JP Arencibia (1-7, HR 3RBI) drove home Brett Lawrie and Omar Vizquel to put the Jays up 7-4 for good.

As far as the pitching goes, the plan this year is to have the starters earn 21 outs (7 innings).  As mentioned earlier, Romero was shaky and only went 5, allowing three walks of which two scored.  This was part of the reason the Blue Jays had so many blown saves in 2011, an over-taxed bullpen that needed more rest.  Of course this is only the first day of a 162-game season, but it is worth mentioning. A white-knuckled bottom of the 9th saw Francisco Cordero strand Jason Donald (pinch running from Travis Hafner) at 3rd after reaching the spot with only one out.  Carlos Villanueva threw a spectacular 10th inning, allowing only two walks and a hit over 2.1 innings and putting to rest the concern of his early spring numbness. Luis Perez (1-0) gave up three walks and struck out three over 4 innings pitched to earn the first win of the season.  Sergio Santos mopped up the last 2 outs for the opening day victory.

Defensively they Jays gambled in the 12th when they pulled Eric Thames from left field and inserted Omar Vizquel as a 5th infielder with the bases loaded and 1 out.  The gamble paid off, and Luis Perez caused Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a double play.

No matter what happened today though, baseball is back and for the first time in in a while excitement is over flowing for the Blue Jays in Toronto.  Only 161 to go, hopefully plus playoffs.

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Courtesy Of Jonathan Rivait - National Post

Blue Jays Make A Trade With Angels

No this isn’t a déjà vu.  For the second straight offseason, Alex Anthopoulos has swung a deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Granted this move isn’t as exciting as last year’s Wells for Napoli swap, it gives a fresh start to 2 young players who have had trouble finding success at the big league level.

Jeff Mathis

Coming to Toronto is catcher Jeff Mathis.  He was selected in the first round of the 2001 draft and rose quickly through the ranks of the Angels’ farm system.  By 2005 Mathis was playing for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.  Bengie Molina left the Angels in 2006 leaving a spot open for Mathis to platoon with José Molina.  So far in his major league career though, Mathis has failed to perform.  He’s a career .194 hitter over 6 full seasons  in the majors, only hitting over the Mendoza line in 2 of the 6 campaigns.  The end of Mathis’ tenure in Anaheim was foretold on Thursday, when the Angels traded for catcher Chris Iannetta.

Brad Mills

Leaving the Blue Jays is perennial let down Brad Mills.  Selected twice by the Jays in subsequent amateur drafts, ultimately signed in 2007 after being selected in the 4th round.  Mills showed lots of promise in 2008, posting the best record of all pitchers in the minor league organization.  He finished the season 13-5 with 159 strikeouts over 147 innings, and an ERA of 1.49 in 27 starts.  Mills appeared in 14 games with 9 starts over 3 seasons with the big league Blue Jays and, just like Mathis for the Angels, was not able to translate his minor league success to the top level.  Mills has a major league career ERA of 8.57, and was 1-2 in 4 starts with the Jays in 2011.

There’s no question that anyone expects this move to be the one that makes or breaks either team’s season.  Mathis was destined to play only 1-2 games per week backing up Iannetta in Anaheim while there was no guarantee Mills would even make it to Toronto’s major league roster in 2012.  Unless Anthopoulos has some other plans for Mathis, it seems that he will backup JP Arencibia for a couple starts per week and serve as a late inning defensive replacement.  It’s hard to see the logic behind bringing Mathis into the fold, in an organization that has catching prospects Travis D’Arnaud and Brian Jeroloman I have to question whether a career .194 hitter is a better option than a sophomore/rookie platoon.

Andrew Bailey

The offseason is only warming up for the Blue Jays.  As Anthopoulos prepares to enter the winter meetings Monday in Dallas there is still a glaring hole at 2B, too many major league ready outfielders, and a need for a bonafide closer.  Big names in the bullpen have gone to Philadelphia and Miami in the forms of Jonathan Pappelbon and Heath Bell this offseason, and rumour has it that the Jays have their eyes on Oakland A’s closer Andrew Bailey.  Anthopoulos has made no secret that he prefers to plug holes through trades rather than the free agent market, and the A’s have announced that just about everyone on the roster is on the trading block.  With up to 6 other teams interested in acquiring Bailey, the Jays’ chances are limited, however there is no questioning Toronto’s organizational depth that could give them the edge in trade talks.  If nothing else, the winter meetings next week in Dallas should be very interesting for Blue Jays fans as they seem to always be.

Baseball North Offseason Tracker – Week 4

This week is highlighted by a couple of moves including the trade for Luis Valbuena from the Indians for cash considerations and former backup catcher Jose Molina signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Players listed here fall within 4 criteria: Canadian, Blue Jay at the end of the 2011 season, Blue Jay at some point in the 2011 season, and acquired by the Blue Jays for the 2012 season. Players are listed alphabetically by last name. Canadian players coloured in RED.

Player Position Old Team New Team Trans. Date Notes
Shawn Camp RP Blue Jays
Jesse Carlson RP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Kyle Davies SP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Octavio Dotel RP Cardinals Club Option Declined
Edwin Encarnacion DH/INF Blue Jays Blue Jays Oct 31/11 Club Option Exercised
Frank Francisco RP Blue Jays
Jason Frasor RP White Sox White Sox Oct 31/11 Club Option Exercised
Chad Gaudin RP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Rich Harden SP A’s
Aaron Hill 2B Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Nov 14/11 2 Years, $11M
Kelly Johnson 2B Blue Jays
Cole Kimball P Nationals Nationals Nov 18/11 Claimed by Blue Jays Nov 16, Nats reclaim him Nov 18
Wil Ledezma RP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Rommie Lewis SP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Adam Loewen OF Blue Jays Mets Nov 12/11 Minor League Contract
Trystan Magnuson P A’s Blue Jays Nov 4/11 Traded For Cash
John McDonald INF Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Nov 2/11 2 Years, $3M
Jose Molina C Blue Jays Rays Nov 28/11 1 Year + Club Option, $1.8M
Jayson Nix INF Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Pete Orr 2B Phillies Minor League Free Agent
Corey Patterson OF Cardinals Club Option declined
John Rauch RP Blue Jays Club Option Declined
Matt Stairs OF Nationals Aug 1/11 Released, Retired Aug 3/11
Brian Tallet RP Blue Jays Aug 31/11 Released
Luis Valbuena 2B Indians Blue Jays Nov 26/11 Acquired From Indians For Cash
P.J. Walters SP Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Dewayne Wise OF Blue Jays Minor League Free Agent
Chris Woodward 2B Blue Jays

Blue Jays Acquire Valbuena From Indians

Designated for assignment on November 18th by the Indians, Luis Valbuena was acquired today by the Jays in exchange for cash considerations.  Valbuena, 25, has been a prospect in the Indians’ organization since December 2008 when he was picked up as part of a 3-team trade with Seattle, the team that drafted him in 2005.

Acquired By The Blue Jays November 26, 2011

Reports out of Cleveland are that Valbuena had an outstanding season with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, but his success didn’t translate well to the big club.  In 17 games he hit .207 with 1 home run.  Valbuena was used as a backup outfielder on a roster that was overwhelmed with injury.  This comes after a horrible 2010 season where he appeared in 91 games where he hit .193 with 2 HR and 24 RBI.  No question Valbuena’s Triple-A stats were respectable, and this is the reason why the Blue Jays are taking a flyer on him.

I don’t expect to see Luis Valbuena as the solution to the Blue Jays glaring 2B hole.  Until he translates his potential to the major leagues, he will continue to be nothing more than an emergency callup from Las Vegas.  Kelly Johnson is still unsigned and has been offered arbitration by the Blue Jays.  There are also several free agent second basement floating around free agency that could fit in quite well with Toronto including Adam Kennedy, Jose Lopez, and Nick Punto.  The Blue Jays 40-man roster currently sits full though, and someone would have to be designated for assignment if one of those guys were to be acquired.

Depth Chart – November 26, 2011

Catcher

  1. JP Arencibia
  2. Travis D’Arnaud

First Base

  1. Adam Lind
  2. Edwin Encarnacion
  3. David Cooper
  4. Mark Teahen

Second Base

  1. Mike McCoy
  2. Luis Valbuena

Short Stop

  1. Yunel Escobar
  2. Mike McCoy

Third Base

  1. Brett Lawrie
  2. Edwin Encarnacion
  3. Jose Bautista
  4. Mike McCoy

Designated Hitter

  1. Edwin Encarnacion
  2. Adam Lind
  3. Mark Teahan
  4. David Cooper

Starting Pitchers

  1. Ricky Romero
  2. Brandon Morrow
  3. Brett Cecil
  4. Henderson Alvarez
  5. Dustin McGowan

Bullpen

  1. Casey Janssen
  2. Jesse Litsch
  3. Joel Carreno
  4. Luis Perez
  5. Carlos Villanueva
  6. Danny Farquhar
  7. Chad Beck