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The Jays are still undefeated!

After being rained out yesterday the Jays will try again today. Gibbons indicated that the lineup will remain the same so Matt Stairs will sit. It seems the Jays anticipated Stairs wouldn't be able to duplicate 2007, either by performance or health, and kept Stewart because of his ability to hit RHPs better than Johnson.

The rain out also extended the time for the Jays and Rios to reach a contract extension. Well, not really, but it's being worked on. There's apparently no opt-out clause in the contract. This shouldn't be a suprise for someone three years from free agency, but you never know with Ricciardi.

There was talk of locking up Aaron Hill this spring as well, but nothing happened on that front, and Buster Olney had a unsourced bullet that it wasn't happening.

TDIB: April 1 - Opening Day, Take II | 41 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
timpinder - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#181832) #

It looks like the Jays might remain undefeated until at least tomorrow.  The forecast does not look good for baseball in New York tonight:

If the game is rained out again, would they play a double-header on Wednesday or Thursday, or would they make up the game on June 2nd, a day off before their 3-game series in New York?

Also, I'm not an ESPN Insider, can someone give me the gist of what Olney had to say about the Hill negotiations? 

Pistol - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#181833) #
It was literally one sentence:
The Blue Jays attempted to sign second baseman Aaron Hill to a multiyear deal but could not reach an agreement.
Thomas - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#181834) #
I can handle one rain out. Two is pushing it. My hopes now rest on the fact that it is forecasting "isolated showers" by 11 pm, so maybe it will be a very late opener.
Geoff - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#181835) #
Based on the volume of rain for each forecast period today being < 1mm, I've got to think they'll play.

That it's raining shouldn't be as much of a problem as how much it's raining. It's all about the field conditions, and player's health.

I could see them waiting to 8:00 or 8:30 if they figure it will make a good difference. But how is the drainage in that old park?

VBF - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#181839) #
The Bronx are forecasting only a 60% chance of rain. The game will go, but if the rain is tapering off, it may be in their best interest to wait a little bit later.

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#181852) #
The Jays have had opening day on April 1 before.  In 2001, they defeated Texas behind the pitching of Lord Voldemort (prior to his move over to the dark side) and the batting of Shannon Stewart.  A truly suspicious manager would start Randy Wells tonight.  Just in case.
JustinD - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#181858) #
I am in the minority here, but I do hope tonights game gets rained out.  I have tickets for tomorrow and I want to go to the last opening day in Yankee Stadium! Also, I don't want to see Burnett pitch. But those are selfish reasons.
Smaj - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#181859) #

I beleive I heard during last night's telecast that the Yankees had spent millions in upgrading field drainage at The Stadium, thus the grass should be in decent condition with minimal rain.  I am optimistic that we will see some ball tonight!

VBF - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#181862) #
There is now a 30% chance of rain for Zip Code 10451, where Yankee Stadium is located from 7pm-11pm.
Ken Kosowan - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#181864) #

So.... 60% of thunderstorms after 5pm tonight... I want baseball... but I'm thinking I'm more likely to see House being played on Showcase at 7pm... they're starting from Episode One....

Doubleheader or reschedule in June? I wonder which we'll see.

mathesond - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#181866) #
I just hope they don't delay the start of the game to the point where I miss the opening of Hell's Kitchen...I
uglyone - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#181868) #

seems like they might have avoided the T-Storms.

  • 6pm: Few Showers/Wind
  • 7pm: Few Showers
  • 8pm: Few Showers
  • 9pm: Partly Cloudy
  • 10pm: Partly Cloudy
timpinder - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#181877) #

Oh well, at least it was close, and there are 161 games to go.  One question though, is it just me, or does Frank Thomas look absolutely terrible at the plate? 

Brian Barnas - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#181878) #
It's not just you Tim, you can add Vernon Wells to that list as well, picking up right where he left off

Dave Till - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#181879) #
Wells didn't look sharp - he added another to his collection of infield popups - but that called strikeout in the 8th was somewhat, er, wrong. That curve ball was roughly neck high.

Losing a game on a 315-foot home run is not exactly a disgrace.

HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#181880) #
In other news, the sky is in fact falling. (Sorry to the chat crew, I'll be there tomorrow. I'm sure you all missed me)
timpinder - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#181881) #

At least Wells didn't look overpowered, and he hit the ball well in spring training.  Wells looked more like a guy who wasn't seeing the ball well or was shaking off some rust (he is recovering from surgery, afterall).  It's the same with Eckstein.  He had a bad night, but he didn't look bad.  However, if I just emerged from a capsule today having never heard the name "Frank Thomas", after watching him at the plate tonight I'd have thought he was Toronto's attempt at a Billy Crystal type publicity stunt.  I mean, he must have been a full second behind Joba's strikeout fastball.  Hill, on the other hand, stung the ball twice and just missed that last fly-out.  I also liked to see Rios take some pitches.

Anyway, I completely understand now what Jeff Blair meant when he said Thomas "just looked awful".  I hope he gets it together, but I'm a little nervous.  In the meantime, Rolen needs to get the best manicurist in the world.

Ryan Day - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#181882) #
Well, that about wraps it up for 2008. 0-162 at this rate.

The game wasn't really about hitting, since the Yankees didn't do much of that either - the heart of their order couldn't get Damon home after a leadoff triple. But the Yankees had tighter defence and no major screwups, and that's good enough when you've got two very good pitchers at work.

King Ryan - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#181883) #
VBF: "There is now a 30% chance of rain for Zip Code 10451, where Yankee Stadium is located from 7pm-11pm."

Where is it located the rest of the day?
greenfrog - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#181885) #
Early-season observations:

- We are unbelievably fortunate to have Halladay. He is such a professional and did everything right against a great Yankees lineup
- Hill and Rios both looked strong at the plate
- Wells looked...well, the same. Swinging early in the count and not driving the ball (it's only one game, though)
- I guess it's obvious to all, but Thomas looked pretty overmatched. When Wells and Thomas aren't hitting, the Jays' lineup gets pretty ugly
- I like Eckstein and Stewart, but I don't think they're good enough (at this stage of their careers, anyway) to be an AL contending team's 1-2 hitters
- Was it just me, or did the Jays get burned by the home plate umpire in a few key situations?

Back at 'em tomorrow.
VBF - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#181887) #
It's rather frustrating that a player can earn a suspension, appeal it, be allowed to play during the appeal process, and when a suspension is finalized, is given a choice of when to serve it. Cabrera should not have played tonight.

Let's hope that AJ can get some dry weather and get the season started.

greenfrog - Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#181888) #
Let's just say I wouldn't be *too* unhappy if AJ nonchalantly plunked A-Rod with one of his electric heaters. Does this make me a bad person?
uglyone - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#181890) #

I sure hope Gibbons is quicker to take action on the batting order if the guys he likes don't produce.

I'm pretty sure that our best option for the top of the order this year is Hill-Overbay-Rios-Rolen.

Hopefully Gibbons doesn't stay married to the notion that Wells has to be our #3, and Eckstein has to bat leadoff, if the other guys are clearly outproducing them in a couple of weeks.

Jdog - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:13 AM EDT (#181891) #
Wow, what a pile of stink. It seemed like everything that could possibly go wrong did that game. With men on first and second and 0 outs ,in a tight game with your ace on the hil,l and the opponents pitcher being a double play pitcher I was hoping for a sacrafice. Gibbons lets Scutaro hit away  and he hits a rocket right at Giambi, no luck. I still prefer the sacrafice with Halladay pitching.  Hill should have had a stand up triple and would have scored....etc. A frustrating loss because Halladay deserved better, he outpitched Wang who was leaving balls up and getting away with it all night.
ANationalAcrobat - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 02:08 AM EDT (#181892) #
Here is an article from Blair on what went wrong in the Hill contract negotations.

- The problem seems to simply be that it is unclear what type of production is to be expected from Hill over the next few years, and there is thus a gap between what the Jays expect to pay and what Hill expects to receive.

- Neither side dismisses the idea of a deal - they simply can't agree on what it should look like at this stage. It doesn't seem to be a case of Hill wanting to leave town or anything.

- Hill comes across well in his comments, which is unusual: he seems to usually just repeat old baseball cliches without really saying anything.

- Blair mentions that Eckstein had a brutal spring; I hadn't heard that before.

- Interestingly, the botched defensive plays in the 7th had Hill and Eckstein "huddled over the videotape machine in the clubhouse and chatting in the shower."

- Blair doesn't buy into the whole Eckstein is gritty stuff. I believe the Sun and the Star have run this type of article, but the Globe has not. It should be fun to see whether or not he or McLoed cave and write one of these articles.

brent - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 05:25 AM EDT (#181893) #
If you go to, you can see that Eckstein and Wells buried the Jays according to WPA (win probability added) with about -.200 each.
christaylor - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:23 AM EDT (#181895) #
Why sacrifice? That's not even a by the book play... Scutaro got good wood, a foot higher a runs scores and we're talking about how clutch Scoots is.
christaylor - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:26 AM EDT (#181896) #
"- Was it just me, or did the Jays get burned by the home plate umpire in a few key situations?"

That pitch to Well as about 5 inches high according to gameday pitch f/x apparently... that's not just being burned but throughly fried.
scottt - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:55 AM EDT (#181897) #
Eck had a slow start last year than picked it up.

Roy just had the one bad atbat with Cabrera. Great performance overall.

I like the hussle from Scutaro. I run scored, 1 RBI, trying to move the runner, etc.

Need better offense from Wells, especially without Stairs and Rolen.

Always expect the umps to give some breaks to the Yankees. I first heard about that from some ex-Yankees players who were on the Expos roster.

Chuck - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#181898) #

The odd thing about the Wells "strikeout" was that neither Wells nor Gibbons complained about an ovbiously botched call. Perhaps they, too, were distracted by Rios' attempted steal and didn't notice the location of the pitch.

Rivera's strikeout of Overbay in the 9th was on a pitch a good six inches outside, a classic case of perfectly hitting a target, albeit one outside the strike zone.

John Northey - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 08:10 AM EDT (#181899) #
Chuck, I saw Wells complaining a bit with the ump then walking away.  The fact is, if you argue a ball-strike call it is automatic grounds for being booted from the game and the Jays didn't want that to happen.  I suspect the ump admitted to an error or said something to the effect of 'what goes around comes around' (ie: the Jays would get a call like that soon enough) or said he didn't really see it (I read in one umpires book that he had the odd pitch were he just couldn't see it at all for whatever reason).

Most players know umps make errors like that once in awhile.  If an ump owns up to it then the player will let it slide (reversing a ball-strike call just isn't going to happen) rather than risk being tossed.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#181900) #
I agree that a call reversal was not about to happen (it never does), but I believe that there is a lot more leeway about what an umpire will tolerate when he realizes he's blown a call. Calling out the ump on his mistake -- a pound of flesh they were entitled to -- might have gotten the Jays some closer calls in the 9th, like Overbay's. Unless, of course, the umpire was an agent of Providence.
Frank Markotich - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#181901) #

Managers can't argue balls and strikes or they will be ejected.

Players can and do argue them all the time. There's no automatic ejection for a player unless it gets extreme, like any other ejection scenario.


zeppelinkm - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#181902) #

That was a brutal call on Wells. I screamed at the TV when it happened.

Not that you can place blame on any one player for a team loss, but man, I'm sure Hill tossed and turned all night thinking about what could have been. First, the double that should have been a triple (It was Damon who had the ball... Johnny "Noodle Arm" Damon!). The first base coach should have read that better and had Hill in full gear immediately after hitting first. Second, it was far from a routine play, but he really should have had that grounder in the 7th that led to the 3rd run. Really should have had that for the double play to end the inning.

Great at bat from Rios on Joba in the 8th.

Great recovery from Downs to save Vernon's ass on a terrible judgement call.

Thomas didn't look that bad. He was way late on Joba's 98 fastball, sure. But he was definitely sitting on that vicious slider (which was coming in around 84... what a great change in speed). It was an 0 - 2 count. I don't blame him for sitting. But that's one thing Thomas really, really, has to work on is coming up with a defensive swing to be able to foul off a fastball when he's sitting on something off speed. Rios did it wonderfully against Joba and earned a walk.

I liked to see the Jays stealing some bases. Rios could steal 30 this year.

And finally... Doc looked good. Kept arguably the best lineup in the game to 3 runs over 7innings with no real help from his defence. Better defence and he only allows 2 of those runs. Ah well, the season is early.



DepecheJay - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#181906) #

Yet again Aaron Hill chokes at Yankee Stadium.  The misplay last night was almost identical to the errors he made last season in two seperate games at Yankee Stadium, both games lost by the Jays.  It seems the dude has a mental block whenever he plays there.  He also booted and bobbled a few routine grounders that he ended up making a play on. 

It's only one game so I'll laugh at people screaming doom and gloom, however, yesterday's performance was frighteningly similar to the same old stuff we've been watching with the Jays for the past few seasons now.  Great pitching performance, horrific clutch hitting, absolutely no ability to move runners over or hit fly balls when needed, and untimely meltdowns. 

Let's hope the boys put this one behind em and AJ gets his season started proper.  I too have absolutely no faith in this lineup whenever they are facing a RHP, even if it's older than dirt Mike Mussina.

timpinder - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#181910) #


I don't think Halladay made a real mistake in the Cabrera at-bat.  That 'homerun' would have been a fly-out in literally every ballpark in the league except AT&T and maybe Fenway, if it hugged the pole.  It really shows what a disadvantage it is to head into Yankee stadium with 7 right-handed hitters facing a Yankee team with 7 left-handed hitters, in that ballpark.  As good as the Jays starting staff is, it would be nice to have some LHP too when facing the Yankees.


I absolutely agree with your comment about the lineup.  While I believe Wells will bounce back this year, if he doesn't, and Thomas struggles too, Gibbons needs to juggle up the lineup.  I'd even play Stewart every day and platoon DH Stairs, but I'd have Stewart further down in the order and have my best hitters getting the most at-bats near the top of the order.

As for the Hill negotiations, it's nice to see he'll be motivated this year.

kpataky - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#181915) #
Its funny how all that energy was wasted thinking there would be no game last night, and come game time there was hardly a cloud in the sky and it was a gorgeous night for baseball. Shortly after the game ended some rain moved through very quickly, but there was never a threat....
mathesond - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#181917) #
DepecheJay - is the same Aaron Hill that has a career line of .310/.355/.440 at Yankee Stadium the one you say always chokes there?
ds - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#181920) #
1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.  That, and that reason only, is why the team lost.  Blaming it on a non-routine DP ball is a little unfair.

This is going to be a long season if they keep that type of offensive performance up.

John Northey - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#181923) #
Frank, just checked and you are right...

Rule 9.02(a) Comment: Players leaving their position in the field or on base, or managers or coaches leaving the bench or coaches box, to argue on BALLS AND STRIKES will not be permitted. They should be warned if they start for the plate to protest the call. If they continue, they will be ejected from the game.

Huh. Always thought it was no arguing allowed, but that umps gave some leaway to players (ie: the look they often give, or the quick curse) as otherwise we'd be seeing a lot of games called due to lack of players :)
uglyone - Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#181935) #

After sleeping on it, it becomes painfull clear that the difference in this game was DEFENSE.

The Yanks made 3 key hit-stealing defensive plays, and the Jays coughed up one or two out-saving defensive plays.

Considering that defense is supposed to be our strength, that stings.

And, of course, the fact that they tied it up on the shortest HR possible in major league baseball, stings as well.

Otherwise, though, we battled one of the best teams in baseball very tight - against their three best pitchers, no less - and barely lost in their much hyped last season and home opener in Yankee Stadium history - and arguably deserved better.

TDIB: April 1 - Opening Day, Take II | 41 comments | Create New Account
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