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It is written in the Acts Of The Scribes,

15 And so came the fifth day; and the scribe saw that the squad had been torn asunder. And he felt much fear and awe; and he wondered at the power of the LORD to wreak such havoc. 16 And the scribe petitioned to the LORD, "Why hast thou done this, O Lord? How the heck do I follow two games at the same time and still scribe something that makes sense?" 17 And the LORD spake unto him, "Follow the A squad, my child; for the B squad is a False Idol, and they shall be cast unto a lake of fire, or at least Syracuse." 18 And the LORD spake further unto him, "Are you getting all this down?" 19 To which the scribe, realizing that he was being taken for a ride, decided to dump everything and just listen to the archive later thanks to the wonders of Gameday Audio, and write the B squad report from the boxscore.

Yesterday saw the Jays rack up two more wins as the A squad entertained a weak Philadelphia team and the B team travelled back to Ft. Myers (they must simply adore that two-hour bus ride by now) to tangle with the Twins' big leaguers. Both saw some fine individual performances. The boxscores are here and here.

In Ft. Myers, the story is fairly simple to tell. After a rain delay, Scott Downs started and gave up a run; the minor leaguers came in and shut down a Minnesota A team including half of their starting lineup. We'll get to the honour roll later. In the fourth, Alex Rios and (of course) Gabe Gross hit solo home runs off Jesse Crain, to take a 2-1 lead that was never relinquished. The Jays only collected four hits (two by Gross, Rios's homer and a double by Adam Lind). Gross has four home runs this spring and continues to lead the Grapefruit League (Albert Pujols has three) and has more than anyone in the Cactus League as well. Gross also raised his average to .625 but hasn't played enough to figure in the MLB leaderboard yet.

In Dunedin, where I had the pleasure of listening to Box favourite Mike Wilner call the game for MLB.com (along with perennial favorites Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth), the offense had a better time of it. Frank Catalanotto had two hits including a two-run double, Eric Hinske hit a very long homer off Mike Bacsik, and Frank Menechino had three hits. Dave Bush, who according to Jerry Howarth is scheduled to pitch the home opener, pitched reasonably well in his three-inning stint, and the pen pitched very well with the exception of Kerry Ligtenberg, who was tagged for two homers (by Todd Pratt and Shane Victorino). It wasn't a strong Philly squad despite including Bobby Abreu, though the starter was the promising young Brett Myers, who was slightly outpitched by Bush. Bush's first two innings saw him struggle to throw a lot of strikes, but he nevertheless got through with only a single run (on a Ryan Howard double and two productive outs), and he stranded a Kenny Lofton double and Bobby Abreu walk in the third, striking out Howard on a curve that drew raves from Jerry Howarth and getting Jason Michaels on a bizarre play - Koskie speared a liner to third, but the umpire (Dan Iassogna) ruled the catch a trap. But Michaels, thinking Koskie caught the ball, declined to run - so Koskie threw him out at first.

Another play of note followed in the bottom of the third. Russ Adams, with runners at second and third and one out, singled to left. Reed Johnson, given the wave home (presumably), was thrown out by a country mile by the normally weak-armed Jason Michaels, and Todd Pratt made no mistake with the tag. Mike Wilner, following the Adams hit, came up with a great statistic that will warm the hearts of Ricciardi and Gibbons - in eleven chances this spring with a runner on third and less than two out, the Blue Jays have scored the runner nine times. A welcome example of situational hitting, that we missed so much last year!

The bullpen pitched very well, once Ligtenberg's uncomfortable stint was done (Pratt was all over one pitch pulled foul just before his home run, and Ligtenberg gave Myers no chance on a stolen base by Utley, and of course there were two homers, though Pratt's was more of a wind-aided flyball). Justin Speier, Scott Schoeneweis, and Pete Walker each pitched a perfect inning, and Jason Frasor and then Vinnie Chulk kept the Phillies off the scoreboard as well. The Blue Jays' relievers in the B game were equally effective (if a little less efficient). Spike Lundberg got the win after relieving Downs, and he was followed by Jason Arnold - walking one and striking out one - and Francisco Rosario. Jesse Carlson followed Rosario (who allowed two hits) with a perfect inning; first-round picks Zach Jackson and David Purcey followed with scoreless innings. Of particular note was that Purcey's control (which has been the black mark against him) was shaky as he walked two batters (but allowed no hits). Ismael Ramirez pitched the ninth for the save - is it possible that the closer role, instead of a starting job in New Hampshire, is in his future?

There's not much else to say. Gross is raking, the situational hitting is good, the bullpen looks to be in great shape. Question marks are being resolved.

Spring Training Game Report 5 Blue Jays (ss) 6, Phillies 4; Blue Jays (ss) 2, Twins 1 | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Braby21 - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:33 AM EST (#105260) #
I'm pretty sure the Jays had some guys thrown out at the plate by a mile last year as well. We don't know whether Reed was sent home, but I do remember thinking last season that it was happening way too many times.
rtcaino - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 03:36 AM EST (#105262) #
Thanks Craig, good report.
I heard some of Wilner's play by play during a Fan 20/20 update. Though it was a short clip, I was quite impressed. His voice is obviously awesome, and he can get pretty animated during key plays.
GrrBear - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 08:07 AM EST (#105265) #
I'm an advocate of aggressive baserunning, especially when it's Spring Training - why not force the fielder to make a great throw to get you out? Take those chances, see how often they pan out. From the replay, it looked like Reed was going for it no matter what the 3B coach was doing.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 09:54 AM EST (#105272) #
Nice report, Craig! I'm sad I missed out on Wilner calling the game -- the bit I heard on the Fan this morning sounded great.

I know it's only Spring Training, but last year when the Jays sucked in Spring Training we said "oh, it's only Spring Training" and then we had The Year From Hell.

This year the Jays are having a killer Spring Training, and I don't want to hear any more of that "it's only Spring Training" stuff. This Spring Training is fulfilling my every off-season fantasy -- Jays in first, rookie leads league in home runs, Yankees languishing in the basement. Now all we need are some crazy Steinbrenner pronouncements and I'll be in heaven.

Hey, has anyone analyzed correlations or the lack thereof between a team's performance in Spring Training and their performance in the regular season? Yeah, I can think of maybe a trillion logical flaws in trying to compare the two, but so what? Give the optimist some numerical support!
kpataky - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 10:02 AM EST (#105273) #
Remaining Webcast Schedule - MLB.com & bluejays.com
March 11 vs. Boston 1:05 p.m.
March 16 vs. Minnesota 1:05 p.m.
March 17 vs. Cleveland 1:05 p.m.
March 21 vs. Pittsburgh 1:05 p.m.
March 24 vs. Philadelphia 1:05 p.m.
March 28 vs. New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
March 30 vs. Philadelphia 1:05 p.m.
Craig B - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 10:20 AM EST (#105277) #
Thanks jsut! I forgot to put in the links, but the Yahoo boxes are better anyway, so I'll insert those instead.
Jordan - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 10:55 AM EST (#105280) #
Bush's best skill is his strike-zone command, so it's encouraging to see him work through a pretty successful outing when his command falters. Any pitcher can be lights out when his strong suit is working; the consistently successful ones find something else to use when their ace in the hole falls through. A good sign.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 11:20 AM EST (#105283) #
The recap describes Bush as "Toronto's 4th starter". I don't care what he is called, as long as he gets the ball every 5 days.
Christopher - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 11:22 AM EST (#105284) #
Whether this early success is meaningful or not, hopefully it will continue, and coupled with the new and improved RC (plus no Leafs), will lure a few more people to buy some tickets.
Ducey - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 11:49 AM EST (#105289) #
Christopher, apparently the fans are coming anyway:

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Baseball/MLB/Toronto/2005/03/06/952092-sun.html
Pistol - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:04 PM EST (#105291) #
There's an article up at CNNSI.com on Tom Verducci's experience as a player at Blue Jay camp:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/tom_verducci/03/08/verducci.jays/index.html
alsiem - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:14 PM EST (#105293) #
This seems to be a bit of a round up thread, I saw this morning on Sportsnet that they are showing the Jays/Yankees game at 7 pm est(March 10). All sportsnet channels.

Didn't really follow but it seems it will be a practice game for Campbell. We won't hear his voice, I guess it will be the YES feed.
Anders - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:28 PM EST (#105295) #
Good work as always.

On a side note, John Sickels is posting his top 20 Jays prospect list today at some point (he's done most of the other teams so far) and is also doing a chat in which he promises to answer any and all questions. I asked about Gabe and his man strength.

www.minorleagueball.com
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:42 PM EST (#105297) #
Hey, has anyone analyzed correlations or the lack thereof between a team's performance in Spring Training and their performance in the regular season?

Sorry, NFH, but Prospectus looked at this awhile ago and found almost no correlation between the two. Unfortunately a team's performance tends to be most highly correlated with a team's previous year performance.

I recall about 7 or 8 years ago I got really excited when the Expos steamrolled over everybody in Spring Training. Unfortunately they went back to being the Expos once the games started to count.

That being said, I'm enjoying all these Jays victories too. They've been a lot of fun and that's valuable no matter what it means about the future.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:46 PM EST (#105298) #
I just stumlbed across a pretty interesting article about how the Jays perform in spring training relative to how they perform during the season. See:

http://bluejays.scout.com/2/357531.html

The author finds the following:

"The only thing for certain via a spring record is that they play in spring, but, here are a few thoughts. In the five seasons the Jays have won over ninety games (1985, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993), they had losing records in four of those springs. The two years the Jays won the World Series (1992 and 1993) they posted records of 13-18 and 11-19 respectively."
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 12:49 PM EST (#105300) #
Geez, Moffatt, you were supposed to find research that said the opposite of that! You'll never work for a pharmaceutical company at this rate.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:01 PM EST (#105304) #
All right, NFH, you want the Big Pharma spin on the rather modest study that Pepper referred to. The Jays have had winning springs 10 times and had winning seasons in 7 of those seasons.

Spring training is not so much about winning, as about sorting out personnel. There's a lot of good things happening on that front so far.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:07 PM EST (#105306) #
I know there's been real "studies" that were a lot more comprehensive than that one. I just can't seem to find them online. Maybe they're in one of the BP books.

Anyhow, Mike Green is right.. there are a lot of good things going on. Plus beating up on other teams is fun, even if it doesn't mean or predict anything. :)
Jdog - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:17 PM EST (#105311) #
Anders...

Would you let us know when the John sickels top 20 prospects report shows up on that site....i looked and there is a lot of info there to scroll through.
Pistol - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:25 PM EST (#105313) #
John Sickels is posting his top 20 Jays prospect list today at some point

It's up

Jordan - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:31 PM EST (#105315) #
David Purcey #2?

Wow.
Pistol - Wednesday, March 09 2005 @ 01:39 PM EST (#105319) #
I know there's been real "studies" that were a lot more comprehensive than that one

I think I remember reading that there's virtually no correlation with between spring training and regular season baseball.

Spring Training Game Report 5 Blue Jays (ss) 6, Phillies 4; Blue Jays (ss) 2, Twins 1 | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.