Monday, July 30, 2012


A Step in the Right Direction

From the stand point of the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers was a step in the right direction. That followed a Friday night victory, with some optimism.

Most of the chatter about the Jays, recently, revolves around their injury problems. They have had horrible luck with the injury bug this year, losing key players at inopportune times. Nonetheless, the games must be played, and players need to come off the bench to fill the gaps.

That is exactly what Omar Vizquel did on Friday night. Omar will be 47 years old in a couple of months. He banged out a double and a triple to help the cause. He now ranks 44th on the all time major league baseball hit list, trailing Harold Baines by five hits. Vizquel has also provided some fine defence for the Jays, in key situations, and has great presence in the clubhouse.

On Saturday, Henderson Alvarez started the game for the Jays, and should be buying the soda for Brett Lawrie and Travis Snider. Both made outstanding plays in the field in the first inning, followed by a Miguel Cabrera single. Without those gems, the outcome could have been radically different. As it was, Alvarez allowed five hits over seven strong innings to record the victory, and even up his season totals to seven and seven.

In the fourth inning, Brennan Boesch drove in Delmon Young for the Tigers with a double to the wall. The crowd erupted in applause. For a second, that stunned me. Then I realized that many Tiger fans make the trip east on the 401 from Tiger Country: Windsor, Chatham, St. Thomas, London, even a few from Detroit.

Edwin Encarnacion, Colby Rasmus, and Yunel Escobar provided the Jays with home runs to chase the Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez. The appearance was Sanchez’s first in a Tiger uniform, having just arrived from the Marlins, part of the great garage sale of 2012 for the Florida team.

Encarnacion’s home run proved to be the winning run. The first pitch from Sanchez did not suit Edwin, but it was called a strike. He waved his right hand in disgust at the call. Second pitch, same location, but called a ball. Third pitch, same place, except that this time the ball was deposited in the outfield seats. It was his 28th of the year, tying him with Bautista for the team lead.

Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland took much of the blame for the loss. On at least three occasions in his post-game interview, Leyland voiced regrets about leaving Sanchez in the game too long.

“To be honest with you,” Leland told the scrum in his office after the game, “I screwed it up. I extended him one inning too long. He’s a good looking pitcher.’

With regard to the loss, Leland said, “Plain and simple, you can’t sugar coat it! Right now, we’re just not hitting.”

In Sunday’s final game against the Tigers, Brett Cecil got little run support as the Jays fell 4-1. All of the Detroit runs came of the bat of Jhonny (The spelling is correct, honestly!) Peralta, who hit two home runs. Doug Fister pitched a gem for the Tigers.

The Jays embark on a ten game road trip, with many games on the West Coast. I know it’s tough on some of you old birds to stay up that late, but I have faith in you.

James Hurst

July 29, 2012. 

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