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You could argue that the Blue Jays were tripped up by the oldest canard in the sporting lexicon: caught looking ahead. With this three-game series in Boston early in the schedule, it might be understandable if Toronto had taken the Tigers for granted, contributing to their three-game SkySweep. Then again, this year's 0-3 start now makes the Jays 18-30 over their last three Aprils, and counting. Mike Barnett thinks the Jays' hitters are over-anxious and getting themselves out; less clear is how Detroit touched the top three Jay starters for 20 runs in three days. But no matter. Today is the challenge.

The Red Sox, as has been noted here and elsewhere, are a powerhouse, loaded on offence, in the rotation and in the pen; a playoff appearance is the minimum expected of them, and many folks foresee a World Series appearance this October. But they're also a hurting ballclub, and not just because of last night's extra-inning marathon and flight: Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon are out with injuries, as is today's regularly scheduled starter, Byung-Hyun Kim; Bronson Arroyo takes the hill in his place. Moreover, the Jays are sending left-hander Ted Lilly to the mound in oppostion, a pitcher who shut down the BoSox in last year's playoffs and whose south paw is something many Boston starters do not like. With two fellows named Pedro and Curt lined up to pitch for Boston in the weekend games, it seems that now is the time Toronto has to strike. A 1-5 start to the year would be bad; 0-6 is not worth contemplating.
Game 4: Opening Fenway | 101 comments | Create New Account
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_Gwyn - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#73312) #
Joe Sheehan is very high on Arroyo. In a BPro piece this week he talked about his amazing AAA k/bb numbers the last two years - 271 strikeouts to 51 walks in 292 2/3 Innings Pitched.
_StephenT - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#73313) #
fyi: Coverage has already started on WSBK (Channel 211 on Rogers Digital Cable here in Ottawa).
_Kristian - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#73315) #
The Jays just picked up Mike Nakamura from the Twins.
Gitz - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#73316) #
Alas, I get the Red Sox feed. The only downside to Extra Innings is the abysymally homerish tones of the announcers, with the notable exception of the mellifulous Vin Scully. That, baseball fans, is a real treat.
_Jordan - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#73317) #
Another nice acquisition by Toronto. Nakamura struggled in his big-league debut last year with the Twins, but he's been posting solid numbers and great ratios for years now. In the hitter-friendly PCL in 2002, though his ERA was 4.74, he posted solid ratios: 87 IP, 85 H, 22 BB, 80 K, 7 HR; in 2003 at Rochester, he was even better: 2.99, 78 IP, 71 H, 28 BB, 95 K, 4 HR. He will absolutely help out at Syracuse (Scott Cassidy's days as a Jay farmhand could be numbered), and he could be a useful part of the Toronto pen if needed. Born in Japan, high-schooled in Australia and a graduate of the University of South Alabama, Nakamura is small (5'10, 170) and had a late start to his career(he's 27), but he's just as valuable as if he were 6'2 and 24. You can never have too much pitching.
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#73318) #
Thank God for Reed! Not scoring in the second would have been horrible.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#73319) #
Top 2nd, Phelps walks, Hinske singles, Hudson walks. Woodward pops to 2nd and Cash strikes out, but Sparky saves the inning with a 2 run single. 2 down and runners on the corners for Cat, who tripled in the first.
_StephenT - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#73320) #
Red Sox announcers (Remy and McDonough) have been fine, including good analysis of the Jays' start to the season.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#73321) #
Bottom of the second, Ramirez flies out to the foul pole in right. Ortiz flies out to left. Millar grounds out to Hinske. Lilly's rolling, six up six down thus far.
_Elijah - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#73322) #
I actually enjoy the Red Sox announcers. Remy is both insightful and hilarious and by and large, they're fairly objective except when talking about the Yankees.

In terms of the Extra Innings package, in the past, games would only be available if they were shown on an American regional sports network available on DirecTV (Fox Sports Net, Comcast (not Philadelphia), Sunshine Network). Over the air games not on cable wouldn't be televised. I don't know if that's changed this year. This means no Blue Jays or Expos games with their own broadcasters.
_Brent - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#73323) #
Re: Nakamura

Thomas called this one on Wednesday. Good job.
_Andrew K - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#73324) #
Well that's a novel way for Hinske to screw up defensively...
_Shrike - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#73325) #
Holy S*it!

That has got to be the best catch I've ever seen.

Hudson screws up a pivot, then makes a play like that. Wow.
_Steve Z - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#73326) #
That has got to be the best catch I've ever seen.

Nothing wrong with a little hyperbole. It might have been Hudson's best major league catch, IMO.
_Matt - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#73327) #
Great baserunning instincts on Hudson's part going first to third on
Cash's hit.
_Shane - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#73328) #
*First inning, Catalanotto at third, one out, and Wells swings at the first pitch, and a poor pitch to swing at at that. The runner stranded, no runs. Delgado hitting behind Wells has nothing to do with Wells aversion to swinging early and often, it's just a convenient carrot to feed to those who don't want to see it. He is what he is, a very talented, aggressive swinger. A better version of Garret Anderson.

*Getting Kevin Cash AB's in the years you deem to be development years is the correct thing to do, but at what point does it fail to make sense to give him so many AB's in spite of Myers and the organizations goals to win now? Everyone knows Quiroz will displace Cash to some form of back-up in the near future, so even if Cash improves, his improvements will still only have him be a National League charm at best. Unless Tony LaRussa gets him on his roster, his career will be one with 200 AB's a season, so let's give him those, and give Myers (maybe Quiroz) the rest before this gets really ugly.
_Elijah - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#73329) #
Bad baserunning instincts there by Catalanotto to get thrown out at home.
_Chuck Van Den C - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#73330) #
If the Jays hang on to win, it will be in spite of themselves. They gave away a run with their defense (Hudson's botched DP, Hinske's inexplicable decision to not get Bellhorn at second), and are squandering opportunities on offense, both with undisciplined batting and poor decision-making on the bases.

While the physical talent the team possesses will surely come to the fore, I'd like to see some synaptic activity alongside. This is team is not so talented that it can win playing dumb.
_Elijah - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#73331) #
Well, I've never seen a double into the dugout before.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#73332) #
And jeers to this rusty tailgate!

This Boston defensive lineup is horrible. Even the little things, like Bellhorn fielding Cash's hit (Millar coming in would've been a far better option, not that he was coming in hard at all) are done poorly.

You gotta love ground rule doubles that don't leave the infield.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#73333) #
Fah shizzle, Ortizzle! That was good cut for him off a lefty. Normally he waves like, well, Burks has this game.
_Steve Z - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#73334) #
As posted in the Minors Report, the Jays also added Gregg Zaun today, assigning him to Syracuse to back up Q.
_Andrew K - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#73335) #
... Lilly falling apart?
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#73336) #
Thumbs up for signing Gregg Zaun.
Thumbs down for Lilly falling apart.
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#73337) #
What was Catalanatto watching during Pokey's double? There's no way a fly ball should land short of the warning track at Fenway (other than in an outfielders glove).
_Andrew K - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#73338) #
The only consolation is they might be able to get Arroyo out of the game soon and then into the supposedly knackered bullpen. We need the bottom third to produce right now.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#73339) #
Who called that, Grady Little?

Hinske with his first CS.
_Andrew K - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#73340) #
Strikeout throwout double play argh!!!
_Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#73341) #
The lack of execution is rather aggrevating.
_StephenT - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#73342) #
fyi: 2004 MLB Extra Innings schedule (U.S. cable version).
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#73343) #
I know it's early and things are bound to get better, but the Jays D has been absolutely brutal so far this season. Then again, looking at fielders the Jays use, this might have been expected. My analysis of the Jays D:

Above Average

-Reed Johnson

Below Average

I know someone will point out that advanced metrics say Delgado is average, but I disagree completely. I don't think it's his range is the problem (and his throwing actually seems quite decent), it's his inability to dig any throws out of the dirt, and poor decision making in determining when to stay on the bag and when to leave.
_StephenT - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#73344) #
80 pitches for Lilly through 5 innings.
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#73345) #
Thatta boy Woody. Grinds out a nine pitch at-bat. Ok so he ended up grounding out but if there's one thing Woody consistently does well it's make the pitcher throw a lot of pitches. That should help in getting to the Sox bullpen.
_Chuck Van Den C - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#73346) #
At what point does Rob Faulds develop the "skills" to speculate that perhaps Lilly is returning to the game specifically to get Ortiz, the lefty, and then he'll probably be removed thereafter?
_Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#73347) #
That was a solid AB by Woody. He actually flew out-got it just off the end of the bat, I thought it had a chance to get up onto the wall in left center. It seems it takes him battling that many pitches for him to hit the ball hard. Cash followed with a weak popup, and a Johnson ended with a flyout to Manny. I don't have the stats, but the Jays have hit a whole lot of fly balls today. Another great play by Hudson!
_Brent - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#73348) #
That was a solid outing by Lilly. He was a little wild at first, but soon settled down and even made Burks look silly 3 times. Hopefully next start he can stretch it out to 100 pitches and build on this game.
Gitz - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#73349) #
Wells an average defender? That's simply wrong.

Good job, O-dog!
Mike D - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#73350) #
Hit for Cash!!! HIT FOR CASH!!!
_Jonathan - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#73351) #
Get Myers in there! I can't take the sight of Cash in money situations!
_Geoff North - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#73352) #
Why not have Myers PH for Cash in this situation?
Mike D - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#73353) #
I meant, let Cash hit!!! LET CASH HIT!!!
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#73354) #
Didn't see that one coming.
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#73355) #
Hey good call!! RBI HIT FOR CASH ;)
_Jonathan - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#73356) #
What do I know?!!
Gerry - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#73357) #
Kotsay was probably playing shallow because Cash has not shown power yet this year.
_Steve Z - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#73358) #
"Cash with an RBI single as the Jays take the lead, 6-5" - Rob Faulds, as Cash cruises into second with a stand-up double.

Mike D - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#73359) #
I was refuted thusly.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#73360) #
So does this move Cash up a bit from Worst Hitter In The Majors? 3rd worst, maybe?
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#73361) #
I wonder if Cash is available in "The Leftovers", then I could move Piazza .....
_Jonathan - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#73362) #
Gotta love Cat
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#73363) #
Is Faulds even aware of the rules in baseball?
_Chuck Van Den C - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#73364) #
Two runs scored on the ground rule double. Johnson scores from first. Yahoo.

Oh, wait... You can't score from first on a ground rule double?

How many play-by-play announcers in all of major and minor league baseball don't know this?

I would guess that the answer is one.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#73365) #
When will Faulds stop thinking that ground rule doubles can score a man from first?
Gitz - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#73366) #
Kotsay was probably playing shallow because Cash has not shown power yet this year.

Won't Kotsay be surprised to learn he's on the Red Sox! :O

Worst hitters in the majors?

1. Damian Miller
2. Neifi Perez
3. Todd Dunwoody

Is Dunwoody still around? He always seems to get chances depsite the small problem that he is terrible.
_Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#73367) #
I'm not 100% positive of this, but I believe in a rare scenario a ground rule double CAN score a runner from first. It's umpire's discretion, and if the guy was stealing, or it was in some nook of the wall and a fan touched it relatively late, the ump can rule the guy on first WOULD have scored and awards him home.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#73368) #
Good thing for Hinske that Burks can't run.
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#73369) #
There is hope!

Nice recovery by Hinske, that's exactly the type of play where he would throw it away a couple of years ago.
robertdudek - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#73370) #
Whoever wrote (in the press) that Faulds is a competent play-by-play man ought to have his ears cleaned. I've counted four gross errors in this game, including two in the top of the 8th: calling Reed Johnson as scoring from first on a ground-rule double and calling Kevin Cash's double an RBI single.
_Paul S - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#73371) #
A man can score from first if it's spectator interference (as seen at the All Star Game last year) but not on a true ground rule double.
_Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#73372) #
Ah, that's right Paul, thanks.
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#73373) #
Whaat the hell?? Who's the dude adjusting his tie?
_Chuck Van Den C - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#73374) #
What now? Has Faulds been chewing on the wires?
_Steve Z - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#73375) #
It looked like one of SportsNet's hockey reporters. Awful...just awful! If it happened during a Leafs game, someone would be fired.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#73376) #
Worst hitters in the majors?

1. Damian Miller

Really? You're convinced he's done? He had a 70 OPS+ in 66 AB as a rookie and a 74 OPS+ last year, but in the 5 years in between he was between 91 and 104. I'll take that from a catcher.

Trivia: There have been 6 Damians to play in the bigs; they're all active.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#73377) #
BOOM! Delgado with an insurance run!
_Steve Z - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#73378) #
Tomorrow's headline: CASH IS MONEY
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#73379) #
Always double down. You're money baby!!
robertdudek - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#73380) #
Was Embree hurt? I just don't get putting in a two-way player like McCarty when you are down by only 3 runs. The gamble didn't pay off, thanks in large part to Kevin Cash.
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#73381) #
Lopez threw 3 pitches last inning. Why not let him close it out and pick up the save, and keep Ligtenberg fresh for tomorrow?
_Ryan01 - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#73382) #
It was Embree's fourth appearance in 5 days and there really wasn't anybody other than McCarty available to pitch.
_NDG - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#73383) #
I don't understand why Tosca took out Lopez either. I think however we have learned that no matter what type of bullpen he has, Tosca likes pitching changes.
_StephenT - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#73384) #
Apparently the Red Sox budgetary restrictions don't allow them the luxury of using professional pitchers for their entire home opener.

(Not sure why Francona pulled Malaska after the tidy 10-pitch 7th inning against the Jays 2-3-4.)
Named For Hank - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#73385) #
Getting Kevin Cash AB's in the years you deem to be development years is the correct thing to do, but at what point does it fail to make sense to give him so many AB's in spite of Myers and the organizations goals to win now?

Not that hindsight isn't 20-20, but this is also the same Kevin Cash who hit over .300 in Spring Training.

Am I happy that I picked him up in my fantasy league as a stopgap when Joe Mauer went down? Hell yes.
_Matt - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#73386) #
I know I take baseball too seriously but Rob Faulds broadcasting my favourite sport makes me sick to my stomach. Was the guy the ninth caller in on some radio contest to get the job?
Thomas - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#73387) #
Thanks. I'm not often right, so I'll have to gloat about this while I can.

Solid game by the Jays, although there were a few mistakes like the lack of execution in the first few innings and Cat's baserunning gaffe, to name two. Suprisingly Cash came through at the plate, and the Jays were able to rally for the win off Timlin. Hudson looked very impressive out there, and that catch in the third or fourth was spectacular. Sporsnet gets two thumbs down for incompetency.

"If you tell the bartender to go extra easy on the water this 50-centt piece has your name all over it."
Thomas - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#73388) #
At least we know Speier's got some brains. Did anyone else notice him punch the Gatorade cooler thing with his left hand, as opposed to his right one, after surrendering the home run to Varitek.
Gitz - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#73389) #
Jonny G, I was being glib, as per custom.
_Cristian - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#73390) #
I'm going to go into business making Gatorade cooler covers out of foam or possibly using the same material that is used to cover the base of the field goal posts--think at how many injuries will be prevented!
_Rob C - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#73391) #
Count me as somebody who thinks that the work Cash did in the off-season has really helped him at the plate. It certainly was surprising for Tosca to pinch-hit for Woodward but not Cash, and I even find myself agreeing with Cerutti's assertion that this will do wonders for Kevin's confidence.

I do find that with all the talk about Butterfield's infield practice drills, the Jays still make a lot of fundamental mistakes. It was great that Hudson made that fine sliding catch, but if he doesn't make such a bad throw earlier in the inning, that catch never happens...
_John Neary - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#73393) #
Official Rules of Major League Baseball

The batter becomes a runner when...

(e) A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(f) Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases;
(g) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;

_Shane - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#73394) #
Kevin Cash. Who doesn't wish the guy all the best? but before radio clips and the Toronto Sun run headlines about his clutch three hit day, some prespective needs to be remembered. The single, came when he swung at the first pitch of the AB, outside to begin with, he tried to pull the pitch and squibbed it the other way for a hit. The double off McCarty came off of well Dave McCarty the position player throwing 84 mph heat, and who had just previously thrown one by a swinging Cash. The Rob Faults "single" off of Timlin was a great outcome, and we can all prey there's more of those.

Hudson and Woodward probably take more pitches in '04 than any of the the top three hitters in the line-up. Orlando doesn't even need to slap himself in the right thigh after every time he lets a high fastball sail by for a ball. Good for him.
Named For Hank - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#73395) #
Come on, Shane, why try to take down his great day? What are you trying to do, put him in his place? Remind him that really he's not any good?

What a terrible and destructive attitude.

I agree that Woody and the O-Dog are looking good at the plate. Looks like Woody is angling to take Tom Wilson's role from last year, wearing the pitcher down for the rest of the lineup to feast on.

These were the Jays I was waiting to see.
_cade - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#73396) #
Pretty sure there are only 5 Damians/Damions ever to play in the bigs: Rolls, Easley, Jackson, Miller, Moss.

Who is the other one??
_The Positive Ry - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#73397) #
Cash increased his career hit total by 17% today!
Coach - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#73398) #
I was doing my last fantasy draft today -- a shout out to the QQRL gang -- so I only caught glimpses on TV and snippets on the radio. It certainly appears that Lilly pitched well enough to earn a W, with Cat's misadventures on the bases and in the outfield extremely costly. It was far from perfect, but we'll take it.

Even if one of his hits came off the bat boy, Cash had a good day, and Hudson's catch was so brilliant I'll forgive him a poor throw.
_David Armitage - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#73399) #
Even the Boston announcers got in a couple of shots at the Sportsnet crew today, first making fun of the crappy job they did of hanging the Sportsnet sign in the press box, then wondering why the play by play guy and the colour commentator had to share only one monitor.

Somebody over at Rogers really need to get their act together, it's not like this is Sportsnet's first year anymore.
_Smack - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#73400) #
Good win but at this point so early in the season, doesn't the Toronto defence overall look worse that the Yankee one we all like to ridicule? The Jays wont score tem runs every game (hope they prove me wrong) but their pitching will be consistent, they cant let their poor defence lose games like the first series. Even this game wasnt great, and I wonder if it can improve significatly over the course of the year.
robertdudek - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#73401) #
The defense was pretty good today.

There was only one misplay - Hudson's throw on the tail end of the double play. Hudson also made two great plays - the aforementioned snag of a foul pop and a ball blistered up the middle after which he threw out the runner from his knees. Carlos made a nice scoop on Woodwards'low throw. Cat looked a bit uncomfortable in left, but I don't think there was a ball that he should have got to but didn't. Cash had an uneventful game, but no one is going to be running on him (not that the Red Sox would anyway).
Craig B - Friday, April 09 2004 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#73402) #
Good win but at this point so early in the season, doesn't the Toronto defence overall look worse that the Yankee one we all like to ridicule?

No, it doesn't. It looks better, actually - maybe three or four wins better over a full year (which is where they were last year). Better in the outfield, better in the infield, better behind the plate.

A-Rod at third may eventually steady that infield but he is a total neophyte at the position. I'd much rather have him than Hinske over a full season, but not right now, it's going to take him some time to play the position well.

Jeter we know about. Look, if anybody had watched him the last five years with the sound off you'd think he was awful too. He makes some good plays, but if you can't go to your left and position yourself so you don't have to go to your right, you miss a lot of groundballs. The frustrating thing about Woodward is he's also not good at going up the middle, but he's considerably ahead of Jeter, he just looks less agile sometimes because of the Dome turf.

Cairo/Wilson at second don't compare, even remotely, to Hudson, who had Gold Glove potential (if not yet GG performance!) Wilson's an indifferent defender, Cairo's done.

Giambi doesn't get to as many balls at first as Delgado does and he's not as good at pulling out throws, though Delgado hasn't done that well in the first four games he's normally pretty decent at it. Neither is John Olerud, but advantage Jays.

Flip Jeter and A-Rod, and I think the Yanks may have infield defense better than the Jays, at least in a couple of months. Otherwise, no way.

Matsui has looked surprisingly bad to me when I have seen him; he doesn't go back well at all, he's wall-shy and has no speed. I can't imagine what a moose he must have been in Japan in center field, and the fact they gave him Gold Gloves tells me all I need to know about the Japanese baseball media. Now would I rather have him than Cat? The numbers say no, but I'm not so sure. Cat looks to have many of the same deficiencies, but he gets to what he needs to and he's an upgrade on Shannon Stewart at least. I'd give it to Matsui on a better arm.

Lofton's still competent, though he's a popular target. He looks to me like he can't possibly get the job done, but his numbers are really pretty solid still. He's better than Vernon at coming in on balls, but no one is as good as Wells at going back. Not Torii Hunter, nobody. Bernie Williams can't run anymore and doesn't belong in centerfield any more than John Fogerty does. He played center today while Lofton DHed, which I think is weird. Bernie's a left fielder at this point.

Sheffield is not a good right fielder, while Reed Johnson is pretty damn competent out there. Sparky gets to a lot in right field, though I'm probably being generous since his numbers weren't all that good. At any rate, his numbers are better than Sheffield's.

Cash is still learning how to be a catcher, but he's way ahead of Posada, who doesn't throw well (he'll give up a lot more steals now with Pettitte gone!) and has a penchant for passed balls.
Named For Hank - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#73403) #
Even this game wasnt great

What in the heck game were you watching?

They took down the Red Sox on opening day in Boston! 10-5!
_stapes - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 12:32 AM EDT (#73404) #
great game today (a win is always great).

I disagree however that there was only one defensive misplay. Generous homer scoring aside, if a ball hits your third baseman and ricochets out of play, that oughtta be an E-5. I like Hinske, but everytime there's a ball hit down the third base line, don't you get nervous? Shouldn't Tosca have someone on the bench to replace him in late inning defensive situations? Maybe one of the eighteen guys in the bullpen can play third?
Gitz - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 02:12 AM EDT (#73405) #
Stapes, you can't really be serious. That ball Ramirez hit was a ROCKET. No third baseman, cyborg or otherwise, makes that play. You can pick on Hinske for not throwing to second base to get the force (I forget what inning), but not for the seed Ramirez hit.

It was bullets like Ramirez's that compelled me to move to SS when I played in semi-pro and summer baseball leagues, and in softball, too.
_Cristian - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 03:51 AM EDT (#73406) #
I find it funny that those picking on the Jays defence aren't saying anything about the two Jay doubles (Cash and Hudson) that went over Gabe Kapler's head. The Red Sox are the team with the huge payroll and defence cost THEM the game. I know that Damon was injured, but if stapes is to be believed, then the Sox should have had a good defensive replacement ready to step in.

The Jays have a $50M payroll. They aren't going to have sparkling defence every game. Get used to it!
_stapes - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 06:52 AM EDT (#73407) #
Obviously the ramirez shot was a tough play, but Hinske almost botched the Burks play as well to go along with his non attempt to second base. My point is simply, Hinske is a valuable player but I believe one of the worst defensive third baseman in the league. Baseball prospectus rates him very poorly in their analysis of defence, much worse than Woodward, who WAS replaced in the last inning or two. Granted the jays con't have the financial oomph to sign the next brooks robinson to back up hinske, but having someone on the roster to defend the hot corner adequately for an inning or two would be nice. I fear those who predicted a lot of discussion about defence for the 04 jays will be right (though I hope not).
_Smack - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#73408) #
I was simply stating that the Toronto defence hasn't been what most people expected before the year started.

Hinske was expected to be helped my his health and improved movement. His footwork is better, but his arm is still the same as last year, which is his main problem. Over the course of the year, if his confidence grows, of course he will be much improved and an average or plus 3rd baseman.

Orlando Hudson is great and he makes the defence. I would say hes more valuable defensively than Wells, and he may be charged errors just due to his incredible range and getting to balls he simply shouldnt be able to reach.

Delgado showed an improvement last year but so far this year he has made some mental mistakes you expect a veteran like him to handle.

I used the Yankee defence as a basis, only because it is picked on so much. Craig, i think you underrate some of the Yankee fielders to prove a point and Jeter is bad, but hes not the worst shortstop in the league. Jeter has a strong arm and makes most routine plays. Im certain anyone hear would replace Woodward with Jeter but that is a trivial argument.

Defence costs more money and no one expects a top notch defensive unit, but when the players are playing below average and below their potential, pitchers are the victim and the first three games were an example of that.

We will see in a few weeks how things have changed, and hopefully our offense will dominate our defensive inefficiecies.
_Geoff - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#73409) #
With Cash, Woodward, Hudson and Vernon, are we not markedly above average defensively up the middle - the core of any solid defence - though I agree that collectively our corner outfielders are average and our corner infielders collectively below average - but isn't that less important? Or is "strength up the middle" a sentiment sabermetrics frowns upon?
_NDG - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#73410) #
I find it funny that those picking on the Jays defence aren't saying anything about the two Jay doubles (Cash and Hudson) that went over Gabe Kapler's head.

The two doubles over Kaplers head were pretty hard hit balls into the deepest part of the ballpark, over an injury replacement who isn't expected to play much center. The double hit over Cat's head was lazier, was hit to the regular left fielder and it was to the shallowest part of any ballpark in the majors.

I think that's a major difference.
_NDG - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#73411) #
No more bold!
_NDG - Saturday, April 10 2004 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#73412) #
Trying to fix the tags
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