Toronto at Houston, April 1-3

Monday, April 01 2024 @ 06:55 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

This one worries me. The Blue Jays can expect to meet some people in a very bad mood.

After all, the Astros won 90 games last season and took the eventual champs to seven games before falling short in their quest to become the first repeat WS winners since Joe Torre's Yankees made it three in a row back in 2000. They certainly didn't expect to begin their first season with Joe Espada by getting swept in a four game series in their own park. That's got to hurt.

Yes, Joe Espada is the one who manages this crew. Dusty Baker has put away his toothpick and waits for the inevitable call from Cooperstown. He stands seventh on the all-time list for managerial wins - Bruce Bochy might catch him this year - and he was a pretty good player as well.

I may be wrong - it's been known to happen, and I really don't pay much attention to baseball from the time the World Series ends until Opening Day - but I formed the clear impression that the Astros were worried about their pitching heading into the season. I assume this was because Old Justin Verlander wouldn't be ready to start the season. This puzzled me - they didn't have Verlander at all for most of last season, they still won 90 games, and the four men who made the most starts for them last year were the same four they sent out to face the Yankees. They got two good starts, two non-disastrous starts, and some very questionable relief work. But the obvious problem so far has been the bats. Scoring 11 runs in four games just isn't enough, and while Jose Abreu has probably reached his Best-By date, one assumes that Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez are going to start punishing some baseballs. Soon. That worries me.

But they don't need to start hitting tonight, do they?


Mon 1 April - Francis (---,-.--) vs Blanco (---,-.--)
Tue 2 April - Berrios (1-0, 3.00) vs Valdez (0-1, 5.79)
Wed 3 April - Bassitt (0-1, 7.20) vs Javier (0-0, 0.00)