The Game In A (Non Run-On) Sentence
A high, clear sky (???) played havoc with defenders, whoever they were, as the Tigers played “five and fly,” as Dirk Hayhurst called it, and the Jays took full advantage of their ability to not bus any of their hitting stars to Lakeland for a Spring Training game that happened, but only just barely.
As I said in the comments of the Game Threat, I’m positively certain that Adam Lind is going to have a monster year, if for nothing else but some kind of karmic payback to me for the years of shitting on him and the umpteen mile length of rope his supposedly team-friendly contract has afforded him. Obviously I’d happily take whatever shitting-on came back my way, but… just saying, that’s a stupid feeling I’ve been getting. And Lind hasn’t been doing a whole lot to stop my silliness, getting the club’s first and only hit off Tigers starter Justin Verlander today, ripping a double to left-centre in the top of the fourth.
He added a walk, as well, and while it’s not like we didn’t know he can hit right-handers OK, it’s also not like Verlander is exactly a slouch. Plus he’s been pretty decent the whole way so far. Though… y’know… it’s kinda only March 6th. I’m not going to let him get my hopes up, but this sure is better than being faced with the prospect of DH Andy LaRoche.
Bad today were the feelings that I got realizing that Mike Wilner and Dirk Hayhurst are the Jays’ third string broadcast crew at this point, because I think they’re terrific and getting better, and I don’t think one month is quite going to be enough. Yes, Jerry is a deserved legend, Jack is beloved by fans in a demographic that remembers what a radio is, Buck has got great, natural TV chops and Pat has got the kind of easygoing inoffensiveness that marketers dream of. But from the way that they’re versed in advanced statistical concepts (while not shoving them down anybody’s throat), to the way Dirk can quickly break down a pitcher’s mechanics using knowledge actually gleaned from having played during the last fifteen damn years, to the way Wilner can now better control the flow of conversation by working with a partner who’s actually willing to speak to him, I think it’s been very, very listenable. And that kinda sucks.
“Five pop ups were dropped and probably another half dozen were caught with no confidence,” explained Wilner following the game. This one turned into a serious comedy of errors by the end of it, but hey, cut the players some slack– must be real tough for Major Leaguers to catch a ball on a clear sunny day with a slight wind.
The Additional Thoughts
Is it April yet? Not really a whole lot here. Morrow hit his pitch limit earlier than planned, but that was partially due to a wonky first in which Torii Hunter was barely hit by a pitch– he was forced to take his base after the ball grazed his uniform– and a Lance Zawadski error prolonged the inning further. MLB.com’s Chris Toman tweets that Morrow was working from a game plan that saw him throw a first pitch curve to every left-handed hitter, while mixing in the odd changeup to righties, so… it’s not like we’re at the “let’s give a shit about the results” point of the spring just yet.
Brett Cecil pitched the third and fourth, doing OK in his first inning of work (cleaning up for Morrow, who started the frame by giving up a double to Austin Jackson), but– as Hayhurst explained– had some trouble keeping his mechanics in line in the fourth inning, falling off to the side of the mound, which showed up in the results, which included a pair of doubles and a walk in the frame.
More importantly, uh… why did nobody tell me that Jose Bautista is doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything??? As of 4:30 PM ET he’s still going, having said around 3 or 3:30 that he’d be on for a “few hours.” Check it out!