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Did we learn anything from this series? No not really. A baseball season has to be 30 or 40 games old before you know what you have. Sometimes you know sooner, if your team is 16-4, or 4-16, you have a good feel for the season but 2-1 tells you little. A series win is a series win and as long as the Jays keep recording them they will be fine.

The Jays went into this series without their #2 and #3 starters so their #4 and #5 starters had to face the Twins #2 and #3. Towers looked like a #4 but Gus pitched well. The fifth inning last night was a showcase for the fans divergent opinions on Chacin. He pitched brilliantly to Morneau and Batista, mixing his pitches and painting the corners. The Chacin fans could look at that and say wow! this guy is good. Then Chacin lays in a couple of batting practice fastballs to Redmond and Punto and the Twins score to tie the game. Was it a mental let-down or did he just miss on two straight hitters? We will never know but as the old story goes "when he is good he is very, very good. When he is bad he is wicked".

The Jays had several questions coming into the season, how much production would they get from Alex Rios, Aaron Hill and Russ Adams? How would the infield defense play? And could Towers, Chacin and Lilly replicate their best seasons? Once again one series doesn't decide anything, just ask Andy Pettitte or Barry Zito.

Alex Rios has started well and the debate over his playing time has started. This weekend the Devil Rays throw two lefties at the Jays meaning eight or so at-bats for Rios. If he continues to hit well John Gibbons will have to consider changing his platoon arrangement. The righty hitter in a strict platoon would only get a couple hundred at-bats in a season, that is too few for Rios. Aaron Hill hasn't registered many hits but he doesn't look lost and Russ Adams is hitting like he did last season. The lineup looks line one without any holes which was JP's intent.

The questions on defense have definitely not been answered. Russ Adams is on pace for 108 errors but I think he will do better than that. Aaron Hill is fine at second and 30 seconds after I told my son that Lyle Overbay was a very good fielder he made his first error of the season. But it is early and we need another 20 games to evaluate the defense.

Finally Towers struggled but Josh usually bounces back from a bad outing like that, although his next start is opening day in Boston.

Overall, and other than the above points, the Jays arrived as advertised, Roy Halladay was good but not great, the "new guys" all hit well, and concerns over the defense linger. BJ Ryan was very impressive, given his pitching speed. The jerky delivery and the almost sidearm delivery make him a nightmare on lefties and tough on righties. His arm slot is somewhat similar to Randy Johnson and makes him hard to hit.

Finally the series shows why spring training stats mean nothing. Jason Frasor had a great spring and Brian Tallet pitched his way onto the team, their ERA's today are ugly. Lyle Overbay did not hit well in spring, but his first series was pretty good.

Game Summary

* Star of the game: Chacin, the Twins are a good team and Gus held them in check for six and two thirds

* Not the unsung hero: the stories today are all about Jason Phillips. Greg Zaun could be back by Tuesday and Phillips could be sent down. The papers and JP have talked about maybe keeping Phillips on the roster, but still keeping 12 pitchers. Barring an injury or trade the odd-man out would be Eric Hinske but I don't see anything happening to him. I think the Jays are being nice to Phillips but he will be sent down anyway.

* Today's game: All lefty matchup, Casey Fossum vs Scott Downs

Series #1 Report - It's Early | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Chuck - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#144607) #
A baseball season has to be 30 or 40 games old before you know what you have.

Sometimes not even. Just check out Houston, Oakland and Baltimore last season.

Any chance BJ Ryan will shatter the saves record with 108 3-run saves?
greenfrog - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#144611) #
Great to see the Jays take the first two out of three. The lineup looks pretty solid, especially against lefties. I think OBP is going to be a concern in the long run, though, although Overbay and Glaus should help. We have a lot of hitters who rarely walk: Wells, Rios, Johnson, Shea, Molina.

The defense--primarily the middle infield and Hinske in RF--is obviously another concern. It isn't just a question of ability. The Adams/Hill combo simply lacks experience.

But all in all, there is a lot to like.

On another note, there were a couple of impressive starts yesterday by ex-Jays. Hendrickson pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout against Baltimore. Batista racked up 11 K's in 7+ innings for Arizona. I'm also curious to see how Bush does tonight for Milwaukee. I think he could have quite a decent season--maybe a bit like Woody Williams in his heyday (good control, about a hit per IP).
Maldoff - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#144643) #

Great comments on Alex Rios on today:

"One of the players I'll always gamble on is Alex Rios. Not because of his numbers, but because of the following story: Back in 2003 when he was playing for Caguas in the Puerto Rican winter league, Rios had a day off. In the late innings of a close game, he plopped down in the dugout with a giant hunk of chocolate cake and, to wash it down, a two-liter of warm Pepsi. Rios had just about finished this meal when his teammates loaded the bases and his manager called him up to pinch-hit. Rios burped, grabbed a bat, put on a helmet, burped some more, walked to the plate and cracked a double. For some reason, this makes me want him on my team."

Just thought it was a great story!!!


chips - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#144647) #

Re: Phillips being sent down.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, Phillips must clear waivers if he would be sent down and I guarantee you he will not pass through without getting claimed. The prudent move would be to move the older back-up and keep the younger one. Not an easy call for J.P. You can't just give away a solid back-up catcher. Phillips brings enthusiasm and game calling ability to the table. If Zaun goes on the DL again and there is no Phillips there will be a problem. At  35yrs old, I'm not banking on him.

greenfrog - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#144648) #
Why not send Tallet down and keep three catchers for a while? We need Zaun--he's a decent catcher and one of the better hitters on the club. I think there's a good argument to be made that we need Phillips as insurance over the course of the season. We don't have a lot of depth at catcher in the minors.

Last night on the FAN Mike Wilner praised JP for his management of the 40-man roster. But it seems we're losing some potentially useful players--Andrade, Quiroz, Perkins, possibly Phillips, while hanging on to some marginal players. I admit I don't completely understand how the roster and option system works, but it seems strange to go from touting Q as the catcher of the future to letting him get claimed on waivers.

zaptom - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#144652) #
I find it strange how early on in the year we were criticizing JP for signing Molina because we already had a above average catcher in Zaun. Now it seems Zaun's stock has dropped so much that he isn't as useful as Philips. It sounds like he has aged a few years in just a couple months. IMO, Zaun + Molina is a very sound and effective catching tandem, both with the bat and the glove. JP did very well to sign Philips. Imagine if somebody else signed Molina and Philips had already been snatched up. Zaun, if healthy, has more value to the Jays than any other team. Suggesting that a 34 year old, with more than enough in season rest,  is a significantly larger liability than a 29 year old for just 1 year isn't justified. JP has his work cut out, but down pull the trigger on Zaun just yet, he has a lot of gas in the tank left.
Flex - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#144653) #
Who said Zaun isn't as useful as Phillips? Greg Zaun is a vital component of this team, not just because he's a decent switch hitter who'll take a walk, but because he's got some fire in his belly. No way I take Phillips over Zaun.
binnister - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#144660) #

Re: Phillips/Waivers

Isn't Phillips an 'injury callup'?  As long as they're on the 40-man, do they need to be put on waivers to be sent back down?

Mike Green - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#144664) #
It's early, all right.  Chris Shelton has created 75.6 runs per game, well ahead of the paces of the immortals Ruth, Williams and Bonds. Some regression to the mean may be expected.
Anders - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#144668) #
The Tigers are on pace to hit 810 home runs, having hit an ML start of season record 15 in their first three games, which I'm pretty sure means they could win 135 games, cause their on pace to score 1458 runs.
Ron - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#144669) #
Tallet will be sent down once AJ gets called up. Downs will shift from the rotation to the bullpen.
King Ryan - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#144670) #
The Tigers kicked off their season by facing Scott Elarton, Joe Mays, and R.A. Dickey.

If there's a worse set of starting pitchers to face in your first three games, I'd like to see it.

Series #1 Report - It's Early | 15 comments | Create New Account
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