Toronto Blue Jays: An Ode To Opening Day


Toronto Blue Jays: An Ode To Opening Day

The Toronto Blue Jays season is finally in full swing, after enjoying their first game under the sunny skies located at Yankee Stadium.  Their Opening Day line-up had some questions that were answered with Dioner Navarro starting as the DH, along with two rookies in Dalton Pompey (batting seventh) and Devon Travis (batting ninth).

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Small ball led the way early, as Kevin Pillar started it off with a leadoff two strike single down the third base line. This then led to a drawn walk from Travis, followed by a Jose Reyes bunt that was thrown up the line by Yankees third basemen Chase Headley.

After Reyes, Russell Martin hit a ball through the right side to cash in Travis and Reyes.  The inning was then capped off after Edwin Encarnacion hit a ball a few rows deep in the left field stands to make it a five-run third inning.

In that one inning, the Jays showed more of the potential that this line-up has with some definite balance throughout the order.  The last few years have been so dependent on their big guys coming through and just hoping the bottom half can do anything.

However, with Pillar and Travis at the bottom rolling it back to the top, I think these guys will show up and play every day.  I get the feeling I had all spring, that these two know what makes them successful.

Apr 6, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) celebrate scoring during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

These guys simply want three things – To get on base, steal bags and score runs. They have pop in their bats and potential, but this isn’t their primary goal, especially if they envision themselves playing every day this season.

Though Travis hitting a homerun in the top of the seventh doesn’t hurt any of my ‘Grind-ball’ feelings for him.  For those scratching their heads, there is no need to worry as ‘Grind-ball’ will be discussed in an upcoming article.

Drew Hutchison looked solid in his debut.  Though he never lights up the radar gun in the mid 90’s, his fastball always seems to get on guys with his easy delivery.

He has the stuff and potential – I believe it’s simply a matter of him staying healthy and we may have a potential future All-Star on our hands.  Seeing this line-up in person, the only main question I have remains the same and that is that I don’t think Pompey is a regular everyday player, even though I’d welcome him to prove me wrong.

He did hit a ball to the wall in his first at bat, but I’ll just need to see it to believe it.  I have a feeling Michael Saunders might be getting his fair share of time in CF at many points this season.

The Blue Jays bullpen has what it needs to be efficient, though the one question I have is why Steve Delabar is in AAA and Colt Hynes is in the big leagues?  I understand that Jays brass probably wanted another left handed reliever, but with not much experience and after seeing Hynes throw, I’ll need to see that he is better on lefties then Delabar would be.

Hynes throws a little funky, but I don’t think he’d be as efficient against righties. Delabar throws a mid-90’s fastball with major down angle, which includes a nasty split finger that causes left and right-handed batters trouble.

All-in-all it is only Opening Day and there is still just as many questions as always with the Jays, that I don’t expect to change in the first month or two this season.  The pieces are in place, but it doesn’t take much for doubt to set in on some of the young players the Jays have.

If they have success early, this would definitely ease the tension for the year to come.  Confidence is key in baseball and it’s a fragile thing.

Hopefully this fragile state can solidify quick enough to help put the Jays in a good position in a month or two going forward.  From there, all you can hope to say is the same thing –  The marathon has begun, so there’s no need to pull a hamstring early.

Next: Blue Jays predictions: The Pitchers