Opening day, which seemed uncomfortably far away when the World Series ended in 2017, and then became a beacon of hope as Spring Training unfolded, finally arrived. And it did so with a heavy, wet thud. So, allow me, if you will, some observations.
- The season began on a poignant and difficult note, with the retirement of the late Roy Halladay’s number, and the raising of his name onto the Level of Excellence. We all knew that Roy deserved these honours, but our collective imagination might never have pictured them being awarded posthumously. It is difficult to say hello to the Blue Jays and goodbye to a legend in the same breath
- With the exception of Troy Tulowitzki, who may or may not exist in our space time continuum anymore, the Jays made it to Opening Day with the team they wanted here in good health. Praise the Baseball Gods for whatever fortune they have bestowed upon us.
- The Yankees are, without a doubt, the team to beat in the American League. The task, then is to limit the impact of three of the game’s best young hitters, packed together in the lineup, and hope your offense scores a few. Judge was two for four with a walk. Stanton was three for five with two home runs. Let me put that another way.
- In order for the Jays to follow the blueprint for success this season, the pitching needs to do most of the heavy lifting, getting solid efforts from a deep rotation with five real MLB quality starters in it. J.A. Happ managed to heave 96 pitches in just four and two thirds of an inning. Is that solid enough? No. I don’t think Mr. Happ would argue the point, either.
- The relief corps also needs to be effective when called upon, using it’s veteran something or other to get out of jams. When fully rested on opening day, every single reliever allowed at least one hit.
- On the bright side, the Jays staff only issued two walks all day, so they weren’t wild.
- I did not have Kevin Pillar in the pool for “First Blue Jay Home Run: 2018″, so congrats to all who did. I have him for “Chase a Two Strike Slider for Strike Three”, so I consider us even.
Is every game against the Yankees going to be like this? I highly doubt it. In fact, I doubt that even today’s game will be the same script. We’ve seen how it looks when things go how New York planned it out, though. It seems to rely a lot less on luck and a lot more on raw ability than the Jays road map does. Only about 18 more of these to go. Oh, and the same against the Red Sox, too.
Baseball giveth on opening day, but it taketh away, too.
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