|Image courtesy of Daylife via Getty Images|
Damn, it feels good to have baseball back in town. After being away for six months, the Blue Jays truly were a sight for sore eyes. And this nine game homestand which includes the Home Opener is a great way to get the city acclimatized to the Blue Jays once again.
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, thought. While the end results were a 3-3 record against the Red Sox and Orioles, it could’ve very easily been 4-2, 5-1, or even 6-0.
There are so many thoughts and observations from the series against the Orioles that I thought I’d just mash them all together on one post.
Drabek’s Looking Deadly
He may only two starts into the 2012 campaign, but Kyle Drabek is rapidly solidifying his spot in the Blue Jays starting rotation. It’s funny how at the onset of Spring Training, out of all the candidates to crack the starting rotation, he was one of the ones on the outside looking in.
I know it was from his second last start, but Drabek’s two-seamer was especially on point against the Red Sox this past Tuesday. Just check out the movement on this pitch to strike out Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Drabek did tail off a little bit in his start on Tuesday, but he was solid start to finish yesterday. The fact that he’s surrendered just four combined walks in two starts is a very promising sign, because personally I think walks were his undoing last season.
One final observation about Kyle Drabek; is it just me, or is he looking and sounding more and more like Gregg Zaun?
Lawrie Caught Stealing Home
It was one of those head-scratcher moments from Saturday’s game, and the aptly titled “Caught Stealing Home” has a Photo Story of Brett Lawrie’s attempted steal of home from Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Orioles.
The replays on TV made it look a lot closer than it actually was, as the overhead view showed that Lawrie was basically dead in the water at the plate. Jason Hammel’s throw to home was high, but Matt Wieters got the tag down in plenty of time.
I’m not sure if it’s right in any universe to attempt to steal home during a tied game when the bases are loaded, let alone when your best hitter is at the plate and could easily blow the game wide open with one swing of the bat.
I suppose that’s one of the apparent side affects of having an adrenaline-filled player like Brett Lawrie on the Blue Jays roster. Sometimes he might let his instincts take over rather than think things through, and that’s something I’m sure he’ll learn in time.
Have Bautista and Encarnacion Switched Bodies?
See if you can guess who is who between Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion;
Player A has a slash line of .289/.325/.632. Player B has a slash line of .206/.333/.324.
If it were any other year, you’d probably say Bautista is Player A and Encarnacion is Player B … but it’s actually the other way around. It’s as though Jose and Edwin have switched bodies in some strange “Freaky Friday” occurrence.
There’s no question Jose Bautista has seen a steady diet of breaking balls from opposing pitchers. In fact, maybe Jose has been guilty of taking a few too many pitches this early on, and that’s been his Achilles heel.
On the other hand, Edwin is capitalizing on his opportunities and perhaps he’s been getting all those fastballs that Jose Bautista used to see at the plate. Needless to say, EE has been keeping me busy posting Animated GIF’s of all his home run bat flips over on the BJH Tumblr.
The Team Hitting (or lack thereof)
The only thing worse than losing 2 out of 3 games to the Baltimore Orioles is the fact that the Blue Jays let two of those games get away. Although it was the bullpen coughed up those late-inning losses, it didn’t help that the team didn’t receive much run support.
As a team, the Blue Jays are hitting .231 which currently ranks second last in the American League. If you think about it, it’s pretty miraculous the Blue Jays have a 5-4 record considering how poorly they’ve hit as a team.
In saying that, the club was hitting a paltry .214 as a team going into Sunday’s game, and then emerged from that nine-run 13-hit performance and boosted the team batting average by 17 points to .231 in a single game.
The starting pitching and the bullpen has been pretty decent up until this point, but the starting lineup needs to start picking up the slack if the Blue Jays want a shot at winning those close ball games.