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That could have gone better. What has made the biggest impression on me so far?

Well, the new catcher is really slow.

Molina is slow in ways I have not previously associated with baseball players. In the press box, someone suggested that he runs like Buck Martinez, after Buck broke his leg. Someone else suggested "the day after Buck broke his leg..." Which is a bit of a stretch. Probably.

I was trying to describe Molina's speed afoot to Liam, and I said "He runs like he's still wearing his shin pads." Liam said, no, he runs "like he's wearing goalie pads."

It was startling enough that they threw him out so easily at third on Adams' sac bunt, even if Kazmir made a nice play scrambling down off the mound. But his double to right field - it was incredible. Branyan was playing in right-centre, and the ball went into the corner on a hop. Branyan ran and ran and fielded the carom, and turned around to toss it back to the infield - and he must have been utterly amazed to discover he had actually had chance for a play at second base. Alex Rios would have been pulling into third.

Scott Kazmir came within one out of his first career complete game, and he was impressive in ways we don't usually see from Kazmir. He's had a tendency to throw way too many pitches, and have to leave the game, no matter how well he's throwing, after five or six inings. On this day, he scattered 12 hits, worked out of a number of jams, and outpitched the savvy vet and former Cy Young winner working for the home side. Doc looked sharp through 7 but brought nothing - nothing at all - out to the mound for the eighth inning. The only out he could record was given to him by the D'Rays. He couldn't even get Jonny Gomes out, after striking him out three straight times on curves in the dirt. It was strange, come to think of it - Halladay is the horse, big and strong, much more experienced - and, as usual, he wasl much more economical with his pitch count. Nevertheless, it was Kazmir out there in the ninth inning.

Rob has prepared something called a Win Expectancy chart for Sunday's game.

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Rob notes that:

- the decline from 18-19-20 is Adams botched sac bunt followed by Johnson and Rios striking out in the third.
- the drop at 28 is the Hillenbrand DP in the fourth.
- the peak near 38 is Wells' double in the fifth
- Ryan came in at 62, well after the game was already out of reach

It hasn't been a great start, it hasn't been a disaster. Everybody, except Hillenbrand, has chipped in with the bat. Vernon Wells seems to think it's July or something. Maybe it really does do him some good to have a Big Scary Bat in the on-deck circle. The bullpen crew had two disastrous outings, but the guilty parties have now all managed to pitch effectively since then. But, still. You'd rather take two of three from Tampa, of course. Especially going into Fenway...

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#144776) #

Double plays hit into by the Jays - 6

Double plays hit into by Hillenbrand - 4

Pistol - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#144778) #
I think on the force out at third Adams should have bunted to the first base side making the throw to third a longer one.

williams_5 - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#144780) #
I think the bunt was just a mistake in general. Surely Gibbons knows the speed he has at second base in would have taken quite the bunt to advance him. Next time I think they'll be swinging away if Bengie's on base like that again. And that double was surreal... He reminds me of the stories I read about Ernie Lombardi, like when he hit a ball of the left field wall and got thrown out at first. Do you think they will be talking to him about a better nutrition/exercise regimen at all?
Mick Doherty - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#144781) #
Surely Molina can't be slower than the legendary tortoise-footed Richie Zisk?
Magpie - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#144783) #
Surely Gibbons knows the speed he has at second base in Molina

There's knowing something in theory, and there's really knowing it. Molina is so slow that it takes some time to get used to. It's a major mental adjustment. The amanger needs a little more time to assimilate this extremely unusual information into his mental kit.

Baseball players, as a rule, simply  aren't this slow. Molina is Old-timers game slow....
Thomas - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#144784) #
Was I alone in noticing Batter's Box's own Gerry McDonald on the JumboTron today?
Gerry - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#144785) #
I have to admit that yes it was me, however I was not the featured attraction, I was only on there because my wife is a blonde.
Waveburner - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 12:47 AM EDT (#144788) #
One thing I haven't liked about Gibbons is that he has no concept of when Halladay is struggling. It's weird because he's pretty on the ball with our other pitchers and seeing when they are tired and struggling to record outs. But with Halladay he just seems to ignore his instincts or something. Oh well. I realize Halladay is the man, but he is human and will have off games. I just like to have faith in the manager's ability to recognize when his pitchers are done. For the most part I do have faith in Gibbons, except with Halladay. I also hope he starts using Walker in his proper role-low leverage long relief. Chulk may get the Speier low-leverage inning treatment to start the year if he keeps this up.
Dave Rutt - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 02:55 AM EDT (#144789) #
General question here guys, didn't know where else to put it - does anyone know if A.J. is going to slide into the #2 spot when he returns, or if he'll take over the spot Downs currently occupies? On that note, will Lilly work his way into the 3 spot?
Poincare - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 04:15 AM EDT (#144791) #
I live about 15 minutes from Edison Field in Anaheim.  I have had the opportunity to watch Benjie Molina play many times over the past several years.  He has been one of my favorite players to watch because of his hard-nosed offense and defense, and also because he is probably the slowest player I have ever seen in my 30+ years as an avid baseball fan.  Benjie is so slow that it is actually entertaining to watch him "run" to first base or round third as he chugs for home.  You actually wonder if he'll make it before getting winded.  Let me put it this way--ANY player who's routinely pinch-run for by the teams backup CATCHER (his brother Jose) has got to be really, really slow.  Magpie put it well when he said that Molina is so slow that it takes time to get used to it mentally.  As baseball fans we really aren't used to watching a player who moves like he does.  I hope you Toronto guys will enjoy rooting for him as much as I have the past few years.  As long as he puts forth the same effort for the Jays as he did for the Angels, you will see that he is an easy guy to root for.
Pepper Moffatt - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 07:32 AM EDT (#144793) #
<i>Double plays hit into by the Jays - 6</i><p>

I'd get used to it.  The Jays are going to be a good team this year, but I can't stand watching their offense.  It's a bunch of slow-footed sluggers who don't slug all that much.  Station to station baseball is boring when it's done properly, and the Jays do it far from perfectly.<p>

I had a tough enough time watching Hillenbrand last year, who might be the biggest double-play machine in the AL (no, he didn't lead the league in the category).  So what did the Jays do in the off-season?  Get possibly the biggest double-play machine in the NL.<p>

The only thing that's going to stop the Jays from setting a record for DPs hit into, and stop Hillenbrand and Overbay from finishing 1/2 in that category is a lack of baserunners.
Pistol - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#144799) #

does anyone know if A.J. is going to slide into the #2 spot when he returns...will Lilly work his way into the 3 spot?

Once the season starts labels are pretty much out the window.  The starters will pitch when they're ready and they'll go in the same order, unless the Jays try to squeeze in more starts for Doc.

If Burnett is still going to start on Sunday that would follow Halladay's start on Saturday.  So the order would be Halladay, Burnett, Towers, Chacin, Lilly (assuming there's no injuries).

However, with the offday today the Jays could move Lilly up to Thursday start and bump Downs, although I think that's not likely.

robertdudek - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#144814) #
A few days ago someone suggested they'd like to see a foot race between Bengie and Glaus. That would be no contest. Troy looks slower than he is because of his long strides; Bengie is equal first in Blue Jays history with Buck Martinez after (but not immediately after) his broken leg for slowest baserunner.

I recall watching Buck run out  what turned out to be a GIDP and thought to myself: "if he hit the ball to third, they'd have time to turn a 5-4-6-3 DP, throwing the ball unnecessarily to the shortstop after the force at second".

Probably the only player I've seen than Bengie was Edgar Martinez in his final two years in Seattle. Edgar wouldn't have even thought about going to second on the ball that Bengie hit yesterday for a double.

robertdudek - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#144819) #
Looking at the replay, I timed Bengie's double at roughly 9.7 seconds from crack of bat to touching second. Compare that to a very fast triple by Crawford or Gathright, which is about 10.8 seconds.

Mike Green - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#144820) #
Pepper, Overbay has hit into about 15 double plays per season over his 2 and 1/2 year career.  That's not great, but just over 1/2 a league-leading total in the NL.  It's unusual for a left-handed hitter to be among the league leaders, although Sean Casey (now there's a DP machine) does, of course, bat left.
greenfrog - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#144827) #
My impressions so far:

- The Jays should be at least 4-2. I hate to say it, but it's true. Although there are some positive signs (the high-powered offense; Halladay's health; Ryan's auspicious first week), the Jays let at least one game (arguably more) get away through sloppy play or poor execution.

- It's fantastic to see the torrid hitting, but I see a couple of red flags. First, virtually none of these players are going to maintain their lofty averages (Reed .500; Rios .333; Cat .455; Wells .385; Glaus .364; Overbay .375; Molina .438; Adams and Hinske. 286). If your regulars hit like this, and you go 3-3, you've got cause for concern. And when they come back to earth, I think the disinclination of many players to draw a walk (Reed, Rios, Wells, Shea, Molina) is going to expose a major weakness in the offense. For this reason, I don't think Reed-Rios forms a legitimate 1-2 punch at the top of the order (thrilled as I am to see Rios looking strong at the plate).

- Despite the Kazmir hype, I think we beat ourselves yesterday. We had Kazmir on the ropes in the middle innings: his pitch count--pretty low early on--started to climb rapidly as we accumulated some baserunners (Kazmir gave up 12 hits in 8+ innings), and Kazmir started to fall behind in the count. But the free-swinging did us in--especially after we took the lead--as it often has in the last couple of years. I was surprised by the decision to have Adams bunt with Molina on second as well.

I'm excited by the team's potential, but concerned about execution, plate patience, and decision-making. The divisional and wild-card race is is going to be very, very tough this year. Every game counts. By definition, the teams that separate themselves from the pack are going to be overachievers, winning the games they're supposed to and then some. Time will tell if the Jays fit into this category.

Craig B - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#144833) #

I timed Bengie's double at roughly 9.7 seconds from crack of bat to touching second

If (generously) you assume that 4.85 seconds of that is him running to first (extremely generous; it's probably more like 5.0 or so) then on the 20-80 system that scouts use for measuring speed Molina is way, way off the chart.  A 20 is 4.7 seconds to first for a righthanded hitter.  4.85 seconds would be, like, a 5, which doesn't exist.  At any rate, Bengie clearly has minus-minus-minus speed.

Wildrose - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#144836) #
I'm still shaking my head at Molina's lack of footspeed. I can't help but think of the movie "March of Penguins" when seeing Bengi "motor".

Molina has not had a triple since the year 2000, although he had one stolen base in 2003( I'd hate to be that catcher), makes one wonder  what the  record for consecutive futility in this measure would be? Edgar Martinez did not have a triple in his last 3 years of playing.

Joe - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#144840) #
I swear up and down that I saw a 9-3 groundout turned by the Blue Jays in 1997 - by Orlando Merced, if my memory serves correctly. Of course it will be next to impossible to find out whether that's true, which is why I claim it is.

Unfortunately I've got no idea who the runner was.

Magpie - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#144843) #
Does anybody know about the gun on Sunday?

I wasn't actually paying that much attention, but I do distinctly remember seeing one of Doc's fastballs shown as 94.

He lost it all of a sudden. Literally between innings. He came out and hit the leadoff guy, which was a bit surprising - but Glaus made a nice play on Gathright's bunt to erase the lead runner, which took the edge off the situation. But Doc then gave up a ringing double to Tomas Perez, which was a very bad sign. Gibbons then decided that his preferred matchup was Halladay vs Branyan rather than than a LH reliever against E. Perez. A defensible decision, I suppose - Branyan will indeed give you the strikeout.
Rob - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#144844) #
I swear up and down that I saw a 9-3 groundout turned by the Blue Jays in 1997 - by Orlando Merced, if my memory serves correctly.

I was just thinking that.

No, really. I went through the Retrosheet boxscores for 1997 but none of them have play-by-play. Merced definitely turned one.
Geoff - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#144877) #
Gibbons then decided that his preferred matchup was Halladay vs Branyan rather than than a LH reliever against E. Perez.

On behalf of E. Perez, I regret to inform you that he will be missed with the Devil Rays. He has left the team for greener pastures in Ohio and is doing quite well now, having recently acquired a new dog named Skip. He hopes that continued references to Mr. E. Perez as a potential threat in the Devil Rays lineup will cease and desist. He has left the team and will not be returning and would like his absence to be noted in fond memory.

Magpie - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#144880) #
My mind is going.
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