Here are a few observations I took from yesterday’s Jays/Indians marathon opener.
There is always a lot of speculation around the beginning of the year. Fans tend to look at the opening day game results and extract some kind of foreshadowing from it, as if it will set the tone for the rest of the season. It’s contagious. In fact, in the Indian’s press box, I couldn’t believe how many times I heard the words “this could be our year!” from Indians press who had covered the team for several seasons now. Not that there is anything wrong with being positive, but five innings is hardly a good indicator of what kind of team the Indians, or the Jays for that matter, are going to be in August.
I heard the president on the Indians on a radio broadcast before the game. He was being asked about his thoughts on the Votto deal, which is a very substantial deal when you consider the market size of the Reds. This point was made to Mark Shapiro (el presidente) and he said that each club is has it’s own philosophies on larger deals that eat up pay rolls, etc… Then he went on to say that he wished the Indians were in a situation where they had to deliberate on inking a premier stud player for millions or trading him. I might have been the only member of the press that choked when I heard that—chock that up me being new at the media thing—but, uh, every time the Indians have had a ultra premier league talent, they trade them for less than they’re worth. *cough *cough Sabathia, Lee… *cough
Probably the only person happy about JP Arencibia going 0′fer into the wee innings of the night was Travis D’arnaud back in triple A. That is, until JP smacked the dinger that won it. That’s the thing about a big hit; it can erase a lot of ugly. But, again, it’s opening day, so I have to take my own advice and not read to far into to. However, I can say that as high as they are on JP, Travis is the real deal. If you want to talk foreshadowing, talk about which one of them will be the everyday guy when the Jays are pushing into the last months of 2012. Power hitting catchers make good trading points… just saying.
Justin Masterson is pretty *&%$# good—just thought I’d let you know that in case you were unsure. He’s got some turbo sink on both his fastball and change up. He’s the kind of pitcher I always wanted to be because his ball has so much action he can literally throw it at the middle of the plate and watch it find it’s own way out of the zone. He reminds me of Peavy pre injury: lots of hand whip that gives the ball a sick amount of zone escape sink. I expect Masterson to be the best pitcher in the Indian’s rotation because he has something a lot of pitchers—not just on his team, but in the league—don’t. He should have won yesterday, Lord knows he earned it..Expect the Indians to trade him for peanuts in a couple years.
Obviously Romero didn’t start off the way he wanted too, but I wouldn’t be to down on the guy. He clearly didn’t have his best stuff. It’s been a while since he’s had to pitch out of a jam in a real game, and that fact this jam came in the home opener can be a bit of an ambush. However, I watched him work and I didn’t notice him accelerate his pace because of anxiety or frustration. Of course he was mad about the results he was getting, who wouldn’t be? But that’s normal. The point is, he controlled himself. I’ve watched pitchers melt down out there because of homers and walks, and exit before 5 because they’ve totally imploded. Ricky tried his best to find his bearings and get back in control. You may be inclined to think his shaky first start says he can’t be trusted down the road, but that’s ludicrous. He showed the reasons why he can be trusted — composure. Sometimes as a pitcher you loose your stuff and find yourself scuffling. It happens more than we’d like to admit. The best thing you can do is let go of how you expect the outing to go before the game started and move to efficiently escaping your current mess. Adapt + readjust + focus= survive. I think Ricky turned in a good performance considering he was obviously not himself out there. I don’t expect him to repeat that outing very often.
And of course, there is Joey Bats. Already on pace to hit 162 homers this year. Oh, and he pimped it. Of course, when you do that 40 plus times a season, I guess you can. It was fun to see it in person. Good for you, J-Bau, keep it up!