Trust me – I don’t want to be negative about the Blue Jays this year. Last season was hard enough on everybody, and the team enters 2014 with limited expectations but absolutely no pressure to win.
But after watching what transpired on Opening Day, it’s tough to not feel at least a litle bit negative.
Or a lot.
Everybody and anybody who watches the game of baseball knew that Toronto had the chance to contend in 2014 only if two things were remarkably better: health and pitching.
Well, it didn’t take long for both of those to show serious cracks.
In what sounds like a joke, Jose Reyes lasted three pitches into the first game of the season before being removed with hamstring tightness and placed on the 15-day DL. You read that right – three pitches. The early word is that the injury doesn’t appear to be serious and the DL stint is more precautionary, but the Blue Jays are notorious for making things sound better than they are. Would anybody be surprised if “not serious” equated to a 3-month injury leave?
Then there was the pitching. Ugh. R.A. Dickey, who has a dominant career record in Tampa Bay and who was supposed to be fully healthy this season, was terrible. He lasted 5 IP, giving up 6 ER on 5 H and 6 BB. Six walks!! In total, Dickey, Rogers, and Jeffress issued 8 free passes to the Rays, basically giving them the game.
About the only thing that went right for Toronto were the other two positions they needed to improve in the offseason, 2B and C. Maicer Izturis went 2-for-3 with a run, and Eric Kraatz supplied all of the offense with a 2-run HR in the 8th. In fact, all three of Toronto’s catchers registered a hit in the game.
The beautiful thing about baseball is that there is a game the next day, so the Jays have a chance to erase Opening Day from their minds (and from the fans minds) and get into the win column today.
But for a team that absolutely needed a fast start this year, Opening Day couldn’t have gone much worse.