And they're off!
LAKELAND, Fla. – Things learned today during the Blue Jays spring tilt against the Tigers:
- Miguel Cabrera was a terrible addition for the Tigers and is going to be a huge bust this season
- Gustavo Chacin is clearly the favorite to win the fifth spot in the rotation
- Jesse Litsch isn’t just going back to the Minors, he has a demotion to Class A Lansing in the works
- Curtis Granderson is going to hit at least 50 home runs this year
- Virgil Vasquez is a lock to throw a no-hitter this season
- Gary Denbo is failing miserably in his attempts to turn the offense around, evidenced by Toronto’s 1-for-11 showing with runners in scoring position
Basically, it’s really easy to get all caught up in the results during the early goings of Spring Training. You can’t really gauge what progress is being made necessarily by peering at a box score or looking up at the scoreboard. The Jays lost, 4-1, and it doesn’t matter.
I’m pretty sure Cabrera’s 0-for-3 showing and Buckner-esque play in the field won’t deter him from having a monster year. Litsch and Chacin turned in contrasting outings, but that won’t really change where they stand in the race for the fifth spot of the rotation. Granderson homered off a palm tree, but he isn’t about to supplant Magglio Ordonez are the big bopper in the Tiggers’ lineup.
Granted, Litsch didn’t look great — four runs on four hits with a walk in two innings isn’t a pretty sight — but you have to keep in mind what he was doing. Litsch stuck to mainly fastballs and worked in a few changeups. He was attempting to pepper the strike zone, and from the results, it looks like he was very much over the plate. Problem was, he left a couple pitches up.
Chacin pitched well, spinning one shutout inning behind Litsch. Even so, he’s still behind Litsch and Casey Janssen in the competition for the lone rotation vacancy. Chacin admitted that he needs a lot more innings to get back to where he needs to be. Janssen isn’t slated to pitch until Sunday in St. Pete against the Rays.
As for that RISP stat, and the fact that Toronto went hitless for three innings, well, the pitchers are always ahead of the hitters at this point in time, and Toronto didn’t exactly have it’s regulars out in the batter’s box. Reed Johnson, John McDonald, Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas were the only "regulars" who made the trip to Lakeland.
The Jays will probably put some of their real regulars — Vernon Wells, David Eckstein, Alex Rios, Scott Rolen, Aaron Hill, Lyle Overbay, Frank Thomas, Gregg Zaun, Matt Stairs — in the lineup against the Tigers at Knology Park on Friday afternoon. Roy Halladay will be making his first start of the spring, too.
Until then, don’t get too worked up over Toronto being on pace for an 0-30 record this spring. Later…