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The_People1

Toronto Blue Jays

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I haven't watched baseball since the Yankee's dynasty make it really boring.  Now that the Yankees are rebuilding and the Boston Red Sox are too, the Blue Jays are making their move.  Seems like the Red Sea has parted for them this season and their lineup looks unbeatable.

 

I can't believe it but I'm actually going to watch baseball this year.  Anyone else?  Anyone a Blue Jays fan and can give us a preview of this season (or a review of what's happened the last decade that's led up to this season)?

 

 

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Ive been a Blue Jays fan as long as I can remember.  I've been one of the many fans who gets up for this team every Spring only to be let down come June or July.  I think this season is different.  They have the pieces in place to do something really special.  I am excited to see if the fans show up beyond opening weekend.  Being here in Alberta, I'd love to see the Rogers center packed all season for these guys.  The Jays really opened up their wallet to acquire the pieces they did in the summer, but good trades, and drafting gave Anthopolous the ammo to pull the deals off. 

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What should we, who are just joining the Blue Jays bandwagon, be looking for this season?  Outside of Jose Bautista and R.A.Dickey, I haven't really heard of any of the other players.  What's the batting order looking like, strengths/weaknesses?  What about the pitching rotation?  Is the bull pen deep enough?

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If there was ever a time to fall for the hype I believe it is this season.  I think you'll find an exciting offense with a very strong, 1 to 5, starting rotation.  The bullpen and whether or not Janssen is a legit closer will be a couple things to watch for. 

 

Here's what I believe the opening day lineup may look like:

 

1. SS Jose Reyes

 

Switch hitter.  For the first time in a very long time, the Blue Jays have a true lead off guy at the top of the order.  Last season was a down year following his NL batting title.  When Reyes gets on base, his speed and running ability creates havoc for opposing pitchers. 

 

2. LF Melky Cabrera

 

Cabrera is also a switch hitter who is an excellent contact hitter.  Perfect to bat behind Reyes.  He may not drive in a ton of runs, but he gives Reyes the chance to steal bases, and gives manager John Gibbons the ability to hit and run.  If Reyes and Cabrera get on base a lot, look out for the middle of this order.

 

3. RF Jose Bautista

 

Look out.  If Jose and his wrist are healthy the RBIs should roll in with Reyes and Cabrera setting the table.  Bautista won't even have to hit them all over the fence, his great batting average alone should drive in a ton of runs.  The home run ball will be an exciting bonus.

 

4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion

 

Provides excellent protection for Bautista.  He will force pitchers to pitch to Bautisa because if you pitch around him, you'll have to deal with another

great power hitter. 

 

5. DH Adam Lind

 

Will be an interesting season for Adam.  If he gets back to his 35 homer, .300 batting average ability this team will score a ton of runs.  I don't think he will have to be that good, but if he struggles I believe the Jays will be quick to find an alternative.  Too much at stake to have a struggling Lind hanging on.

 

6. JP Arencibia

 

Right handed bat to follow Lind.  JP provides additional power in the middle end of the lineup.  His batting average had been weak, look for that to improve, as Arencibia is swinging a hot bat this Spring.

 

7. CF Colby Rasmus

 

Colby provides speed, contact, and power.  A luxury at 7 in the lineup.

 

8. 2B Emilio Bonifacio

 

A versitile speedy switch hitter.  He can pretty well play anywhere and can steal a ton of bases. If things don't work with Carbrera at 2, wouldn't surprise me to see Bonifacio there at some point. 

 

9. 3B Macier Izturis

 

Another switch hitter, Izturis will be counted on to carry much of the load until Brett Lawrie returns from his rib injury.  At which point I think you slot Lawrie in at 6 and bump the order down. 

 

 

 

Starting Rotation

 

1 RA Dickey

 

Last year's NL Cy Young winner will be the staff ace.  Scouts think his already filthy Knucklball could be ever more unhittable in dome conditions. 

 

2. Brandon Morrow

 

Could benefit the most from RA Dickey.  Hitter will be baffled dealing with RA's knuckleball all night then getting Morrows hard heat the next day.  Very excited for this combo.

 

3. Mark Buerle

 

Come back with another lefty.  Quite honestly don't know a ton about Buerle but he's a winner and has pitched well in the Spring. 

 

4.  Josh Johnson

 

Another big righty that throws hard!  The Buerle/Johnson combo will also leave hitters frustrated with timing.  Another interesting dynamic of this rotation

 

5.  JA Happ

 

Lefty who pitched very well all Spring.  Jays were doing everything they could to support and give the final rotation job to Ricky Romero.  JA Happ came in and threw nothing but strikes, and forced the Blue Jays to give him the job.  If Spring is any indication, the Jays rotation will be very deep.

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I'm super stoked for tomorrow, love the additions.  My main concerns are with the staff, I wan't a huge fan of Gibby when he was let go hopefully he learned from his previous stint.  I like the coaching hires of Hale and Mottola and Rivera, not sure if I'm a fan of Walker as pitching coach, but thought change was needed.  I think the bullpen to start this year is way better than the start of last year, still question marks on Santos arm, if Janssen can handle the closer role long term, and Oliver's age.  I think the lineup brings a lot of speed, with the exception of Lind and JP everyone is either fast or smart base runner.  One major improvement in the lineup is i think is they should cut down on the strikeouts Reyes, Cabrera and Izturis are usually pretty good for walk to k ratio.  

 

For pitching they will have success if they stay healthy, mainly starters, Morrow and Johnson do have history of injuries, Buehrle is consistent for 200 innings so hopefully that keeps up, but if starters go down again I don't like the depth especially if Romero doesn't get it together.

 

The lineup I think 3 guys could be crucial to the team having success outside of Reyes, Bautista and Encarnacion, those guys being Lind, Lawrie and Rasmus.  Lind has really been all over the place over the past 3 years.  I don't think the Lind of '09 can be expected, but consistency I think is key.  With Lawrie he's in a bad spot missing most of the spring and the first week or so of the season isn't a good start, the tools are all there, but I wonder how a guy as emotional as him and a manager who can get fired up will work together.  Rasmus is a guy I think is like a poor mans Junior, he has the sweet swing like Junior, isn't quite the fielder that Junior was but is still solid the main difference between the two I think is in their heads.  Griffey never lacked the confidence at the plate, Rasmus lacks that when he had it last year from late May until the all-star break he was phenomenal, but he ended the season really ugly.  This is a big year for him because he actually has someone coming up who can replace him.

 

For this year I'd say anything short of at least the wildcard game is a disappointment.  Within the division I still don't know if Baltimore will repeat last year, Tampa always finds themselves in the mix, Boston I think could a lot better if get better pitching, and New York will need their pitching to keep them in for the first bit but I don't think its good enough.  I'd say the east is up for grabs.  Central should be the Tigers even though they barely won it last year I don't know if the Sox just overachieved last year, I like KC as a potential dark horse though.  West will be hard to call Angels spend money and have Mike Trout but still not a lock, Rangers should still be good, and I guess Oakland can never be counted out, Seattle I think is getting better but I think the division outside of Houston is still up on them that they will stay near the bottom for one more year.

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Jays and Nationals in World Series. Heard it here first. If the Jays stumble then Tigers & Nationals.

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I didn't realize RA Dickey was 38 years old (turning 39).  Isn't that too old for a pitcher?  How does he win a Cy Young at such an expired age?

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I didn't realize RA Dickey was 38 years old (turning 39).  Isn't that too old for a pitcher?  How does he win a Cy Young at such an expired age?

Not for a knuckleballer, many have gone into their mid to late 40's.  Really age is never really a concern for most low velocity pitchers with the exception of Ryan and Clemens, but we all know what was up with Clemens.  A guy like Jamie Moyer put up better numbers in his 40's than he did 20's and 30's.  The main concern with Dickey is last year was a flash in the pan if not his other years with the Mets were pretty solid, but not spectacular given what the Jays gave up for him.  At first I thought the price was too big for him, but I've really jumped on his bandwagon every time I hear him speak.  Now starting in a few minutes is his time to start making me a believer with his pitching. 

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Not for a knuckleballer, many have gone into their mid to late 40's.  Really age is never really a concern for most low velocity pitchers with the exception of Ryan and Clemens, but we all know what was up with Clemens.  A guy like Jamie Moyer put up better numbers in his 40's than he did 20's and 30's.  The main concern with Dickey is last year was a flash in the pan if not his other years with the Mets were pretty solid, but not spectacular given what the Jays gave up for him.  At first I thought the price was too big for him, but I've really jumped on his bandwagon every time I hear him speak.  Now starting in a few minutes is his time to start making me a believer with his pitching. 

Id add Randy Johnson to that list as well with players who pitched well into there older age. 

 

Im very excited to see Dickey this year ! Knuckleballers are so much fun to watch

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Cleveland pitching has been killing the bats so far.  I really hope for an offensive explosion tonight to get things rolling. 

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Cleveland pitching has been killing the bats so far.  I really hope for an offensive explosion tonight to get things rolling. 

 

Yea should the Jays trade their entire pitching staff for Cleveland's pitching staff?  I thought the Jays pitching was suppose to be one of the best in the league but it hasn't shown.  Brandon Morrow looks like a better fielder than a pitcher. Maybe he should play second base and give up pitching.  The Jays catcher also can't catch knuckleballs apparently.

 

I'm also disappointed with the Jays offense.  They seem to be swinging for the home runs to impress the home crowd when they should keep it simple and focus on getting on base.  The offense just doesn't seem to be playing as a team. They are missing unity and purpose.

 

So far i've been disappointed from what I've seen.

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I didn't realize RA Dickey was 38 years old (turning 39).  Isn't that too old for a pitcher?  How does he win a Cy Young at such an expired age?

One only has to look at the Niecro Brothers. Phil in particular:

 

there are lots of other examples:

Tim Wakefield - more recent, pitched until 2011 at age 45

Charlie Hough - 46

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  The Jays catcher also can't catch knuckleballs apparently....

One thing you should know that the catcher the Jays put out for the opener J.P. Arencibia is not the catcher who also came over in the trade(I think that was Josh Thule) and who caught R.A. Dickey most of last season. That would be why you saw 3 passed balls and multiple errors that game.

 

Knuckleballers are very hard to catch for, require special big and soft gloves.

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Yea should the Jays trade their entire pitching staff for Cleveland's pitching staff?  I thought the Jays pitching was suppose to be one of the best in the league but it hasn't shown.  Brandon Morrow looks like a better fielder than a pitcher. Maybe he should play second base and give up pitching.  The Jays catcher also can't catch knuckleballs apparently.

 

I'm also disappointed with the Jays offense.  They seem to be swinging for the home runs to impress the home crowd when they should keep it simple and focus on getting on base.  The offense just doesn't seem to be playing as a team. They are missing unity and purpose.

 

So far i've been disappointed from what I've seen.

I disagree with Morrow I thought he was pretty solid last night and pitched well enough to deserve a W.  I didn't think Cleveland really made good contact on him all night and most of the hits were bloops, the hit that proved costly was the double by Bourn which Izturis could of had.  Hitting needs to improve but after 2 games its still way to early to write the season off.

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So they lose 13-0.  Is R.A.Dickey going to be one of the worst free agent signings in MLB history?  How did he ever win a Cy Young?

 

The offense is also hot and cold.  Reyes is the real deal.  Bautista is too but injured.  Why does Encarnacion have to swing for the HR every time he's at bat?  Sometimes he has runners on base where it's better to shorten the swing and move the base runners.  He's too wild and cannot be counted on to hit behind Bautista.  Lind is having a terrible offensive season period.

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So they lose 13-0.  Is R.A.Dickey going to be one of the worst free agent signings in MLB history?  How did he ever win a Cy Young?

 

The offense is also hot and cold.  Reyes is the real deal.  Bautista is too but injured.  Why does Encarnacion have to swing for the HR every time he's at bat?  Sometimes he has runners on base where it's better to shorten the swing and move the base runners.  He's too wild and cannot be counted on to hit behind Bautista.  Lind is having a terrible offensive season period.

Knuckleball pitchers can be hot and cold..... when the knuckle isnt 'on' you basically have a 70mph watermellon getting thrown at you and will get lit up. They are off to a slow start but they will improve and so will Dickey.

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I missed his last start but is it true that Jays fans boo'ed Dickey off the diamond?  If so, that's disappointing.  I also believe this team, and Dickey will turn things around.  There is just too much talent. Unfortunately, injuries have already been a problem.  Bautista back, and when Lawrie gets back that will also help.

 

On the bright side, Cecil looks great in a reliever's role this season.  Man is he chuckin it. 

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I missed his last start but is it true that Jays fans boo'ed Dickey off the diamond?  If so, that's disappointing.  I also believe this team, and Dickey will turn things around.  There is just too much talent. Unfortunately, injuries have already been a problem.  Bautista back, and when Lawrie gets back that will also help.

 

On the bright side, Cecil looks great in a reliever's role this season.  Man is he chuckin it. 

I heard something along those lines that it did happen. Typical of some T.O. Fans

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I heard something along those lines that it did happen. Typical of some T.O. Fans

 

All i heard was two fans jumped onto the baseball field on two separate occassions after the score was 13-0.  They also cheered a paper airplane that was flown from outfield onto second base.

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I heard something along those lines that it did happen. Typical of some T.O. Fans

It's typical of some fans in any city in general.  The thing with the Jays fans in Toronto is that many fell off the bandwagon in the mid 90's and some of the ones born in the early '90's have never really jumped aboard until the hype of the offseason.  So far a lot of aces have had a rough outing this year, the difference is it is easier to for Tiger fans not to get on Verlander over a bad start because they can see it as an off night and know what he's done and capable of doing, with Dickey, Jays fans for the most part have barely watched him pitch a full game they just know about the Cy Young.

 

I do find some of the fans reactions this year comical, they can be so hard on the Leafs but I don't think it would be as negative if they started 2-5 in a 82 game season as they are on the Jays in a 162 game season.  Baseball season is a marathon still a lot of time left, it seems every year a team is in contention at the all-star break and completely out of it by the start of September, and sometimes vice versa.

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First series win of the season, and possibly a sweep, but still can't find a lot to be happy about.  I would credit the bullpen mainly, Cecil has been amazing, starting pitching Dickey was much better last night and Happ managed to make the 5 innings despite 43 first inning pitches.  And offensively 8 runs friday was good, but aided a little by some sloppy d, and only 2 hits last night screamed ugly.  Reyes will be a big loss.  I find it somewhat funny that last year with 3 starters under 25 they went the first 35 or so games of having a starter reach 5 innings, and this year with every starter in or near his 30's it took 11 games for a starter to reach the 7th, with 4 of the 5 already having outings less than 5 innings.  

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First series win of the season, and possibly a sweep, but still can't find a lot to be happy about.  I would credit the bullpen mainly, Cecil has been amazing, starting pitching Dickey was much better last night and Happ managed to make the 5 innings despite 43 first inning pitches.  And offensively 8 runs friday was good, but aided a little by some sloppy d, and only 2 hits last night screamed ugly.  Reyes will be a big loss.  I find it somewhat funny that last year with 3 starters under 25 they went the first 35 or so games of having a starter reach 5 innings, and this year with every starter in or near his 30's it took 11 games for a starter to reach the 7th, with 4 of the 5 already having outings less than 5 innings.  

 

Well, it's like in football.  If the offense can't get first downs, then the defense is always going to be on the field.  They tire out no matter how good they are.  The Blue Jays have to start getting on base and getting hits so their pitchers can get an extra 5 minutes on the bench every inning.

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Team defense is really letting the Jays down so far this season. They aren't taking advantage of any speed they have either, with all the "swinging for the fences" of the homerun hitters in this lineup.

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Team defense is really letting the Jays down so far this season. They aren't taking advantage of any speed they have either, with all the "swinging for the fences" of the homerun hitters in this lineup.

 

I was really apprehensive about them naming Gibbons the manager again for this reason. I understand players have to get it done and i'm not blaming him at all but when he was the manager last time the Jays had the same problem they just lived on the home run and if i'm not mistaken Gibbons even mentioned when he came on board it was his favorite play and he wanted to see as much of it as possible. The Jays litterally look like they are trying to have everyone hit homers and no one is just prolonging at bats and getting on base, whether or not that is Gibbons fault directly i'm not sure but what is clear is the Jays are BADLY mismanaging the talent they have on this team in almost all facets of it.

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