Don’t pop the champagne yet, these Jays are still mighty raw
Somehow, some way, the Jays find themselves undefeated after two games. On the heels of Roy Halladay’s sublime opening-night performance, last night’s 5-4 walk-off victory over the same Tigers featured an example of the ridiculous that might be expected when Doc’s not on the hill.
Last night’s win was about not giving up and overcoming adversity. Trailing 2-0 in the seventh, Jays’ left-hander David Purcey was trying to intentionally walk Brandon Inge.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, he airmailed the ball past a stunned Rod Barajas. The ball caromed off the backstop as Carlos Guillen bluffed down the line. Purcey took the return flip from the catcher, turned and spotted Marcus Thames off second, then airmailed a throw over a stunned Aaron Hill and into centre field, leading to the third Detroit run. Yikes.
“I think it’s something that he’ll probably be working on,” manager Cito Gaston said understatedly of the rookie mistake by a non-rookie. “It wasn’t even close.”
In recent years, such lack of fundamentals would have sucked the air out of any possible Jays’ comeback. Instead, these Jays, with low expectations coming out of spring training, overcame the young starter’s gaffe with two huge homers in the eighth and a walk-off sacrifice fly by Barajas in the ninth.
A good example of what this version of the Blue Jays will NEED to pull off on a regular basis this season to become a legitimate contender for a Wild Card spot in the American League:
Jays/Tigers Box Score [04/07/2009]
* 7 solid innings of starting pitching from David Purcey [LH], in his first full season in the major leagues, yiedling fewer hits than innings pitched and striking out more batters than he walked, while surrending only 3 runs.
* Timely power hitting from some combination of capable batsmen like Alex Rios [RF-RH], Vernon Wells [CF-RH], Adam Lind [DH-LH], Lyle Overbay [1B-LH], Travis Snider [LF-LH], Kevin Millar [IB/DH-RH], Scott Rolen [3B-RH] and Aaron Hill [2B-RH] … the latter two of whom went deep in the pivotal 8th inning last night.
* Solid clean-up work by the No. 1 bull-pen in the major leagues last season.
What beleaguered pro sports fans in Toronto NEED right now is a team they can rally around to forget the misery that’s been on display this season with the sorry plights of the Argonauts [CFL], the Maple Leafs [NHL] and the Raptors [NBA], none of whom were capable of making the playoffs this season, letting alone contending for a league championship of some sort.
Let’s hope for the sake of all concerned that the Blue Jays can provide some entertaining, high calibre pro sports action once again, as they did throughout the 1980′s and the first half of the 1990′s when they were, without a doubt, amongst the best run organizations in all of North America.