Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 8
All right, I got to my first game of the season at the Dome last night and, no big surprise, the Jays lost. Oh well, they always lose when I’m in the Dome.
No, seriously, for over a season now I’ve never seen a live win. Oh well… I got to see live baseball, eat a hot dog and drink a couple of vastly over priced beers, so I’m not complaining.
Other than that, here’s my record of the evening in four snapshots…
On a night when the Jays finally get some runs, the pitching wasn’t quite there. Stroman wasn’t terrible but he wasn’t great either. He made a lot of dazzling pitches, but some just plain missed the spot and hung out over the plate, and the Sox are a good hitting ball club. Everything they touched seemed to find a gap (while the Jays kept finding the infielders) because everything they hit they hit hard (the Jays…not so much).
The Red Sox pitching, on the other hand, was very average with last-minute AAA call-up Brian Johnson tossing eighty-five to eighty-nine MPH taters that somehow stymied the Jays, followed by three incredibly mediocre performances by ho-hum Hembree, he’s pretty A-bad, and throwing at the Barnes door… So, yeah, the Jays got some runs, but it was hard to get too excited. They face Porcello and Sale next…
Russell Martin just looks awful
Don’t let the home run he hit fool you, he looked just dreadful at the plate. When you swing out of your shoes at literally everything then every once in a while you’re going to run into one. Don the usher agreed with me: Martin needs to accept that he’s not twenty-five anymore and shorten up a bit. Yikes.
Joey Bats may be coming round
His at bats looked good as he worked the zone and fouled off some decent pitches, a lot of them straight back, but the results still aren’t there. I’d like to take away a good, happy impression from this but find that a bit tricky when I reflect that at the end of his first at bat he struck out because he couldn’t catch up to an eighty-nine mile per hour “fast” ball that had no real movement on it. Still, I remain a believer in José.
Smoak swings away
Got himself a homer, yep, but the at bat I most clearly recall came in the seventh with Tulo on first and nobody out. With one strike on Smoak, Pablo Sandoval left third and came all the way over to just beside and behind first; Xander Bogaerts set up almost behind second and the outfield played it straight away…resulting in the entire left side of the field being empty of position players.
Now, I know Smoak can’t bunt, but he could at least try to shoot the ball the other way. A hit to the left—any hit—would be a guaranteed double with Tulo possibly scoring. But, nope, he tried to pull it, drove it into Sandoval’s glove who tossed to second to erase Tulo on a fielder’s choice.
I’ve said that small ball doesn’t work, but I’ve also said there is a time and place for strategic adjustments and if that wasn’t one such time I can’t imagine what is. All he has to do is at least try to send it the other way a couple times and other teams will stop over shifting him to such an extreme.
Ah well, at least I had those expensive beers to console me.