Rangers pour Saltalamacchia into Jays wounds

It wasn’t exactly the way the Blue Jays were hoping to start off the season – a walk-off loss in the bottom of the ninth against the Texas Rangers.

Suddenly, I’m getting flashbacks from last year.

Despite all that, I would say it was a pretty solid effort put forth by the Blue Jays on Opening Day. Up until the seventh inning, momentum was completely in their favour until the Rangers finally started nibbling away at Shaun Marcum.


As luck would have it, as I was nervously listening to the game on MLB GameDay Audio, my feed crapped out the instant I heard the ball make contact with Vladimir Guerrero’s bat. By the time the feed caught up, it was too late – Marcum’s quest to throw the no-no was over.

I’m brought back to Shaun Marcum’s start on May 13th 2007. After six hitless innings, John Gibbons didn’t hesitate to pull Marcum from the game and thus end his no-hit bid.

Should Cito have done the same today?

Out of all the starting pitchers, Marcum probably has the longest leash and most sway with the manager. So why did it take Cito so long to finally bring in Scott Downs after Vladimir Guerrero broke up the no-hitter?

At that point, Marcum had already pitched 6 and 1/3 innings in just his first start of the season. Cito should have been on the phone to the bullpen the instant that Vladdy reached first base.

Anyway, on to the positives. Vernon Wells – 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s. A very nice start to the season and hopefully a sign of things to come. Adam Lind also contributed going 2 for 4 with a solo home run. Travis Snider, while not extremely impressive at the plate, sprawled out in left field to make a diving grab for the second straight game.

Ultimately, I feel the worst for Shaun Marcum – one minute, he’s riding a no-hitter and the next, the lead is gone courtesy to a Cruz Missle (thanks RollFizzleBeef). It’s like finding out you won the lottery, only a moment later discovering that it was one of your buddies who planted a fake ticket in your wallet.

Oh well … there’s no point in dwelling on one loss. Yes, things could’ve been much different if there were some more timely managerial decisions, but these are the kinds of things we’re going to have to live with so long as Cito is at the helm of this ship.

One down, 161 to go.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

8 thoughts on “Rangers pour Saltalamacchia into Jays wounds

  • April 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I'm just happy to see real baseball again, and I agree there is plenty to be happy with from today despite Snider's Ks and Frasor's mess.

    I'm usually more than happy to dig into Cito – not batting Ruiz for Overbay was dumb. But I disagree on pulling Marcum in the 7th – I mean, yes, in hindsight it would have probably been the better move, but I wouldn't say that this was one of those cases where the switch was obvious and Cito just wouldn't do it. Marcum had been cruising and still finished at just over 90 pitches.

    It will inevitably be a long season, and Cito is likely going to make it a little longer and little more frustrating.

  • April 6, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Ummmm … you got it wrong. At that point Marcum had already pitched 6 1/3 innnings. And it was 6 1/3 of lights out ball. He went on to give up the most ridiculously wind aided homer I've ever seen and then retire the side. I don't know his exact pitch count there, but I'd guess somewhere in the low 80's.

    If Cito pulls him there and then the bullpen struggles the armchair managers say, "Why the quick hook, Marcum was going great?"

    He stuck with the hot hand and the Rangers got lucky.

  • April 6, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Anon, thanks for pointing that out – it's been corrected.

    Cruz' HR really did sail didn't it? I just finally saw the replay tonight and it didn't even seem like he got all if it, so the ball must've carried quite far.

    As for not pulling Marcum, I'm cool with Cito keeping him in the game, but was just a little surprised that he didn't even have anyone warming in the bullpen during the 7th inning.

  • April 6, 2010 at 5:25 am

    I have no issues with Marcum pitching to Cruz. That was a bullshit home run, a bloody half swing. The incredible amount of Cito hatred has made every fan in this town an armchair manager. Apologies, but I find it extremely frustrating to read all the Cito crap one game into the season. Until Wednesday.

    But, overall, glad to have baseball back, of course.


  • April 6, 2010 at 5:32 am

    QJays, that was another thing – Cito not pinch-hitting for Overbay when the bases were loaded. Who knows … maybe Ruiz would've produced the same results. If the majority of the games this year are going to be played like this, I think Randy Ruiz is going to have a tough time getting at-bats.

    eyeB, you know me – just second guessing everything the manager does! Like Wilner said, I was just surprised there was no one even warming in the bullpen until the seventh.

    And yes, Vernon was great! The VWHAS might have to stay at "guarded" all season long after all!

  • April 6, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Wilner also says he'd keep Overbay in that situation due to his defense – I think with the bases loaded and one out you take the guy with the .400-point OPS advantage against LHP and you give up the defense based on the much higher likelihood of runs being scored.

    All that to say, maybe Clarence (can't believe I wrote Cito) deserves even more slack (ala Eyebleaf) – at least until Wednesday. If the chattering masses can't agree of the most obvious managerial move, then Clarence probably didn't screw up that badly.

  • April 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    As long as Snider finds his stroke soon I'll be happy…

  • April 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    QJays, now that the dust has settled I guess those in-game decisions weren't that bad. And after all, it's just the first game of the season. But nobody likes to start off like that.

    Mattt, Snider will come around (hopefully). I've been very impressed with his defense this Spring, now he just needs to hit his stride at the plate.

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