Thursday, 5 April 2012

And so it begins. Blue Jays vs. Cleveland 5 April '12

Jason Miller/Getty Images
 The season is officially underway, and the Blue Jays and Indians started it off with a bang. A prolonged bang. In what ultimately became a 16 inning, 5 hour game the Blue Jays incorporated everything I love about baseball: home runs, bench clearing, drama, heads up play, shake your head errors, intrigue and Latino men in baseball uniforms.

Around the 8th inning, I remember thinking to myself. "this is going to be a two and a half hour game." Little did I know that the game was only half over. When the Indians replaced the masterful Masterson with their closer Chris Perez in the ninth, things proceeded to get ... interesting.

The Good, the Bad, The Fantastic:

Can you say home run? Jose hit his first bomb of the year, and JP kept up the trend of hitting a home run for the start of his season. Edwin just missed a home run on a bases clearing 2rbi double.

A five man infield? Has anybody ever seen that before? What's perhaps most shocking, is that IT WORKED. When it seemed hopeless, a five man infield with veteran Vizquel, constructed an inning ending double play. Substitutions brought Bautista to play first (for the 8th time in his career) and later for Vizquel to play first (for the second time in his career).

Walks, Strike outs. The pitchers combined dished out 11 walks. The hitters combined struck out 16 times. But it's early in the season, and the Jays likely won't be facing Masterson anytime soon.

Gigantic fumble: Rajai Davis bunted into a double play when he didn't run in the 15th inning. My Mom hysterically asked, "can they charge a batter with an error?" He certainly deserved one.

Ricky Romero lost his shit, but didn't throw shit. Ricky Romero threw 40 odd pitches in the second inning, as well as issuing two walks and allowing two doubles and a home run. I, along, with the TV announcers expected Ricky to issue some expletives while leaving the mound and possibly whipping his glove, jacket and anything in arms reach around the dug out. But he didn't. Buddy kept it together, and took the mound in the 3rd with poise. He pulled it together for his remaining three innings before being replaced in the sixth.

Speaking of shit, Shin-Soo Choo lost his after being hit by a pitch, thrown out at the plate, he somehow perceived a wild pitch in the 15th as intentional. I'm sorry, Choo did you not notice that Perez didn't have complete control up there for, I dunno, the last four innings? A small bench clearing pursued. Nobody got punched.

Player of the game: JP Arencibia (7Ab, 1 h, 1 r, 3rbi, 3 so)
The numbers don't look fantastic. After the game, an interviewer congratulated JP on his game winning HR to which he replied, "Yeah, well my previous six at bats were kind of bad." His HR did win the game, true. But his heads up defensive work at catcher saved the game long before the 16th inning. His defense was fantastic. Blocking balls, tagging out Choo at the plate, throwing out Choo at second, and throwing canons down to first base behind the batter. He also worked with eight different pitchers, put himself between Perez and Choo and caught 13 straight scoreless innings. Well played J.P, well played.

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