It was back on October 3rd that I wrote the last Game Threat of the 2012 season. Brandon Morrow pitched– the above photo is from that season finale– and I had this advice to offer the small slice of a giant, disillusioned fan base I am able to speak to:
Yes, stuff this memory in your pockets and keep it for those nasty cold mid-January, sun-setting-at-five-o’clock, brown slush and rock salt-covered days when you’re dying for pitchers and catchers to report and willing to do anything–anything– to contort your mind into forgetting just how awful these last few weeks have been and how relieved we now are that it’s over. Y’know, just on the off chance that it gets better.
Will it? We’re about to spend several months adrift at sea, aching to find out.
But first, the Minnesota Twins.
Today the opponent is different, but the stakes are about the same as they were when 2012 went out with a thunderously pointless whimper, it’s Morrow taking the hill again. More importantly, we hit big on that off chance of things getting better. Rather than months adrift, it’s been months of giddiness, surging to a fever pitch that will break today at 1 PM ET, and slowly wash away as the prospects and org guys wearing jersey numbers higher than last year’s win total take over the game, and we collectively realize that this damn tediousness still has six weeks to go before anything but the injuries actually counts.
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun revisits the ten burning questions he posed two weeks ago, assessing how the Jays have been answering them so far. He also tells us, among other things, that the Tigers will be trotting out a number of their best players today, as a reward for the fans who’ve come down to Lakeland to watch them host the Jays in their spring debut.
John Lott of the National Post talks to Luis Rivera, who is looking forward to the start of live games, which will allow him to sharpen his third base coaching skills, as he takes over for Brian Butterfield.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com also talks about Rivera in a notebook post that additionally touches on Adam Lind, and the careful monitoring of his progress against left-handed pitching by whatever poor fucking soul has to watch all of Adam Lind’s flailing against left-handed pitching before the team finally calls it a day on that experiment.
In a different piece, Gregor tells us about the one-two punch at the top of the Jays’ lineup.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet looks at Brandon Morrow, who like new teammate Josh Johnson, is learning to become a pitcher, rather than just a fireballer. Morrow’s damn awesome.
Baseball America notes that the Jays have made a couple of minor league signings, which totaZzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
If you’re into welling up with rage and/or fear, in his Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday post at Getting Blanked, Parkes says he’s still worried about Jose Bautista’s wonky wrist, and points to David Ortiz, who avoided tendon sheath surgery in 2008, which it appears to have taken him a while to recover from. Papi’s 2008 was his worst in a Red Sox uniform… until his 2009, which was even more terrible. His 2010 was subpar by his standards, too. But colour me unconvinced that this correlation implies causation, seeing as Ortiz put up a .277/.385/.529 line over more than two months after he returned from the disabled list immediately following the injury.
Lastly, for your between inning viewing pleasure, Jonah Keri of Grantland notices that MLB has taken the shackles off some of the games most beloved video clips– previously unavailable online– and pulls out a bunch of gems for us to watch. Though not Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura, for some reason. And Ben Lindbergh goes even deeper into the vault at Baseball Prospectus.
And now the lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
E. Bonifacio SS
M. Izturis 2B
B. Lawrie 3B
A. Lind 1B
J. Arencibia DH
J. Thole C
M. Sierra RF
A. Gose CF
R. Nanita LF
B. Morrow RHP
A. Jackson CF
T. Hunter RF
M. Cabrera 3B
P. Fielder 1B
V. Martinez DH
A. Dirks LF
J. Peralta SS
A. Avila C
O. Infante 2B
A. Sanchez RHP