This year marks the second time I went to a Blue Jays’ home opener. Last year, they easily handled the KC Royals behind A.J. Burnett’s strong effort. This year, Shaun Marcum took the mound on a night when the Jays introduced Roberto Alomar and Paul Beeston, two important pieces in bringing Blue Jays back-to-back champions in 92 and 93, to the Level of Excellence. Also, the Blue Jays will be wearing a retro blue jersey on every Friday night home game, I guess all signs are pointing this season could be return of the glory days in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Anyhow, the atmosphere in the Roger Centre was amazing will a sellout crowd chanting, swearing, and even fighting against quite a few Red Sox fans in the crowd. Marcum had a 3-0 lead until J.D. Drew’s 3-run homerum ties the game in the top of the 7th inning. With the game tied at 3-3, the “Big Hurt” Frank Thomas delivered a key double off Manny Delcarmen that eventually won the game for the Jays.
A.J. shrugged off any rust he had in his last spring training game and pitched a stellar game shutting the Yankees’ offense down for six innings before A-Rod hit the two-run home run. Jeremy Accardo showed us why last year was not a fluke for him as the club’s closer. Even though he gave up two leadoff singles in the top of the ninth inning, he struck out A-Rod representing the tying run with his 95m.p.h. heater, it was a classic power against power and Jeremy won the battle.
The Jays learn the lesson this game by not hitting the ball to Melky Cabrera. Even when they did, he could not chase down Lyle Overbay’s triple. One more word of advice, do not hit it to A-Rod with runners on first-base!!!!! What’s up with them hitting into all those double plays.
Anyhow, it was a good win for the team. Vernon and Rios had good games. David Eckstein has to get going with his bat, maybe it starts today.
The historical home opener at Yankees Stadium was delayed by one day, but nonetheless it all worked out well for me as I canceled my scheduled tutorial due to some “personal matters” so I can enjoy the first Jay’s game of the season from the comfort of my home.
The game was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel with Roy Halladay taking on the sinker specialist, Chien-Ming Wang, and it certainly turned out that way with the final score 3-2 for the Yankees. Although it was just one game, there are still a few things I picked from the game which might be a trend for this entire season.
(1) The Blue Jays definitely will be aggressive on the basepath this year with three stolen bases in the game, one by Rios and two by Scutaro.
(2) Despite some personnel changes and players fully recovered from injuries, the Jays will have trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, they were 1 for 12 last night.
(3) They still could not do the little things right, as evident by Aaron Hill’s bubble on the grounder hit by Matsui. If Hill backhanded the ball cleanly, it could have potentially be an inning ending double play and prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.
(4) I still hate A-Rod and his cockiness when he clapped his hand so hard crossing home plate with the go-ahead run. ***, the dude can rake the ball.
(5) Kudos to Scott Downs for holding the Yankees’ lead to still one run when he gave up a leadoff triple by Johnny Damon. It was a poor decision by Wells to dive for the ball, fortunately, it did not cause any damages.
(6) Finally, one word of advice for the Jays’ hitters, don’t hit the ball to Melky Cabrera! That dude robbed Overbay and Hill with extra base hits on consecutive batters.