Archive for April, 2008

By the numbers …

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An Opening Day rainout, an uplifting three-game sweep of the world champs, and an equally disappointing sweep at the hands of the supposed-rebuilding A’s. The Blue Jays head into tonight’s game against the Texas Rangers with an even 5-5 record. Not bad, but certainly not great. Here’s a look at some notable numbers as the Jays get set for Game #11 tonight in Arlington …

10 — The number of walks Alex Rios has totaled through the first 10 games this year. For a player who struck out nearly twice as much (103) as he walked (55) last season, this has to be a great sign that the 27-year-old is improving his plate discipline. Rios’ 10 walks actually tie for the second-most in the AL heading into action today. And his on-base percentage? A club-leading .457.

.182 — Batting average for Frank Thomas through 10 games. You know what? We don’t care. His three homers, 10 RBI and multiple clutch hits have more than made up for this number. If the Big Hurt can provide this kind of pop, the Blue Jays are in business.

2.57 — ERA for right-hander Shaun Marcum through two starts. Depending on the day, Jays fans will either tell you that Marcum is an overrated #4 starter or that he is a major asset in Toronto’s rotation. With a team-best 2.57 ERA and 16 strikeouts (compared to just two walks), it’s hard right now to argue with the latter.

17 — Number of attempted steals (13 successful) by the Blue Jays in 10 games this year. There’s no way this keeps up …

.341 — The team-leading batting average of centre-fielder Vernon Wells. After a dismal 2007 campaign, Wells appears to have regained his all-star swing — at least in the early going. He’ll have to keep it up if the Jays hope to compete with the Sox and Yanks at the finish line.

 

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Play Ball!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tonight’s contest with the Yankees marks just the second time in franchise history that the Blue Jays have opened the season against the Bronx Bombers. The first? It was back in 2003, as the Jays welcomed the Yankees to SkyDome for their 100th season opener — and first outside the United States. With Hideki Matsui making his Yankee debut, and aces Roy Halladay and Roger Clemens squaring off on the hill, it was a play in the third inning that became the storyline of the night.

Attempting to go from first to third on a comebacker by Jason Giambi, Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter suffered a dislocated left shoulder after diving into third. Catcher Ken Huckaby, who was covering the bag, fell on Jeter’s shoulder as the all-star attempted to dive in headfirst.

“I didn’t mean for things to go down the way they went down,” Huckaby said after the game. “By no means was I trying to hurt anybody on that play. It was one of those freak things.” In assessing the injury, Jeter said, “It hurts. I can’t really describe it. When it happened, I was kind of scared. I didn’t know what happened. The worst part is getting it back in.”

Jeter was on the ground for more than 10 minutes before being helped onto a cart and off the field. He was then taken to a hospital for X-rays. The Yankee shortstop would miss six weeks with the injury, returning to hit .324 (156-for-482) with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs in 119 games during the 2003 campaign.

On this night, with a healthy Jeter in the lineup, the Yankees open their 105th season — and last at historic Yankee Stadium — with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Blue Jays. Halladay takes the loss, allowing three runs in 7.0 innings of work. In their first games in a Toronto uniform, David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro combine to go 0-for-7.

The Boys of Summer are back

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hmm … two hours prior to the opening pitch of the Blue Jays’ 2008 campaign? Seems like as good a time as any to pick up the blog. As always, I’ll be bloggin Blue Jays history, as well as keeping tabs on the current squad. I might even fire up a live game blog every now and again. Stay tuned …