Tagged: baseball

Blue Jays Go For Sweep In Cleveland

Only two games into the season and already the Blue Jays have fatigue on their mind.  Just about 3-1/2 games worth of innings have been played in two extra inning games to start the season.  Thanks to Blue Bird Banter I learned that only 7 other teams have won back to back extra inning games to start a season.  Of those 7, teams are 3-4 in their next game.  Interestingly enough, there have only been 4 teams who have played in 3 consecutive extra inning games to start a season, and no team has ever won all three.  So while just about everyone on the planet wants these two teams to just get it done in 9 innings today, there is some history to be made if they do go into extras again.  As for the Indians, I can’t imagine how crushing it is to lose two extra inning games to start your campaign.  Broadcasters always tell you how hard it is to bounce back from an extra inning loss mid-season and play well the next day, how do you bounce back from two in a row when you’re not even sure you’ll ever win a game?  That being said however, the Blue Jays need to be aware that these Indians are quite an even match for them and will do whatever it takes to prevent the brooms from coming out this afternoon.

How important are April wins?  You hear it all the time, “it’s only April…” or “there’s still 160 games to go.”  Yeah that’s true, but if you could call up the 2011 Boston Red Sox they would tell you what just ONE MORE WIN would have meant to them during their lousy 2-10 start last April considering they missed the playoffs by one game last year.  Speaking of playoffs, wouldn’t this apparently evenly matched Toronto Blue Jays / Cleveland Indians series make for great playoff baseball?  How about that new 1-game sudden death round?  Could you imagine that classic going 16 innings?

October is still 6 months away however, and we have to focus on today.  The series finale at Progressive Field will see two pitchers who are at completely opposite ends of the Major League career spectrum.  On the Indians side of things is Derek Lowe, about to make his 16th season debut and first appearance with Cleveland.  It will mark his return to the American League for the first time since he won the world series with Boston in 2004.

On the other side of the diamond is the Blue Jays’ Joel Carreno who earned a spot in the big club’s starting rotation despite having logged only 15.2 innings of previous Major League experience. Carreno appeared in 11 games with Toronto last season, accounting for all of his Major League experience, however exclusively out of the bullpen.  He is making his debut as a starter today, where he says he has been working on his changeup and trying to prevent his pitches from flying into the strike zone where hitters could take advantage of the honey pitch.  Carreno has also said about this opportunity to start, that he must do a good job today.  He doesn’t want to make management think they need to send him down to the minors.

The depth on the Blue Jays roster has been on display early this year, a big improvement over last year.  In the marathon first game, we saw positional shuffling that send Jose Bautista from RF to 1B and back to RF again, Rajai Davis come in as a pinch runner then stay in the game at RF before ultimately moving to LF, and even veteran Omar Vizquel entering the game as the left fielder (though he was more of an infield rover) before ultimately ending the game at 1B.  This depth allows John Farrell to make late game moves that he just couldn’t do last year.

Line-ups

Cleveland Indians (0-2)

  1. Brantley, M – CF (.091)
  2. Cabrera, A – SS (.273)
  3. Choo, S – RF (.111)
  4. Santana, C – C (.125)
  5. Hafner, T – DH (.222)
  6. Duncan, S – LF (.167)
  7. Kotchman, C – 1B (.000)
  8. Kipnis, J – 2B (.111)
  9. Hannahan, J – 3B (.200)

RHP – Derek Lowe (2011 – 9-17  5.05 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays (2-0)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.143)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.300)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.375)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.125)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.250)
  6. Lawrie, B – 3B (.273)
  7. Thames, E – LF (.000)
  8. Rasmus, C – CF (.091)
  9. Mathis, J – C (.000)

RHP – Joel Carreno (2011 – 1-0  11Games  15.2IP  1.15 ERA)

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