|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures|
The Blue Jays Home Opener is a magical time of year. It’s the culmination of months of anticipation and excitement. But judging by the mood of the crowd, you would never think that.
I still believe the Home Opener is all those things, but a deflating loss at the hand of the Boston Red Sox certainly left the fans with a bad taste in their mouth. And it didn’t help that the meltdown was at the hands of their new closer, Sergio Santos.
Depending on whether the Blue Jays win or lose their Home Opener, the mood along the neighbouring streets along the Rogers Centre is notably different. In past years, it was boisterous and full of excitement. This year, the tone was sombre and one of disappointment.
It might have felt like the Blue Jays lost Game 7 of the World Series, but in actuality it was only game four of the 2012 season. There is a lot of baseball left to play … after all, we’re only 2.5% of the way through the season. A lot can happen in the next 158 games.
I know there were a lot of fans at the Rogers Centre last night who attended their very first Blue Jays game last night. Unfortunately, you only get one chance to make a first impression … and the way that game ended, I’m afraid the Blue Jays didn’t start off on the right foot.
The casual baseball fan probably heard ad nauseum about the bullpen woes from last season; 25 blown saves, and and endless parade of closers who couldn’t get the job done. And if the Blue Jays cut that blown save in total by just half, then they might have had a chance at the playoffs.
Then Alex Anthopoulos rebuilds the bullpen in the offseason, with the crowning jewel being a new closer in the form of Sergio Santos. And then he starts off the season by blowing his first two save opportunities, and suddenly we’re back to the same closer conundrum from last year.
Sergio Santos isn’t going anywhere; he’s under contract through 2014, and up to 2017 if the Blue Jays exercise all his options. Santos probably going to be the closer no matter what until his contract is up.
So for those who might think that the sky is falling and that Francisco Cordero needs to usurp Sergio Santos as the Blue Jays closer, I urge you to step back from that ledge, my friend. It’s only four games into the season.
Not to mention, combined with Sergio Santos’ wild ninth inning, it’s not as if the offense provided a lot of run support for the pitchers to work with. On an ordinary night, two runs on five hits is not enough to beat the Boston Red Sox.
In fact, the Blue Jays offense has averaged only 3 runs in their first four games (not including runs scored in extra innings). So it appears as though the starting lineup has some work to do, as well.
Dustin Pedroia took advantage of couple of fastballs up in the zone (in nearly the same location) and that was the difference maker. The margin for error was very slim, and Santos simply could not stop the bleeding once Pedroia led off the ninth with a double.
Despite the deflating end to the ballgame, I thought the Blue Jays Home Opener was exciting nonetheless. It was great to have baseball back in the city of Toronto, but it’s just unfortunate the game had to end the way it did.