Covering the Bases: Game 1
“Covering the Bases” is a new feature I plan on doing after games this season. I will address four things learned or witnessed in each contest, similar to the more often-used Good, Bad and the Ugly format. Hopefully it will generate some good debate and discussion.
FIRST: Jason Frasor blew his first save opportunity of the season. Oh no! Now his trade value with sink! Or he won’t be worth a compensation pick! There’s a closer controversy! Give the job to Kevin Gregg! Give it to Scott Downs!
It’s one game, folks. Don’t go pushing the panic button just yet.
When Frasor (right, photo courtesy of Getty Images) has command of his changeup, he can be one of the best in the biz. It’s best to write this one off for now and see how he develops as the closer as the season goes on. Did he look great on Sunday? No. Did the Rangers tear the cover off the ball? No.
One thing you can count on, though, is that Frasor can deal with a poor outing better now than a few years ago. He said he’d prefer not to have two days before the next game, but Frasor has learned how to have a short memory — something he struggled with when he was younger.
“That’s the product of blowing a lot of games,” Frasor said. “You kind of learn how to deal with it. Unfortunately, I have 48 hours to think about it. But I’m six years older than I was when I first started — first started blowing games. It’s a little easier now.”
SECOND: It was no fun no matter how you slice it, but Frasor felt especially awful about how Monday’s opener ended due to the great performance from Shaun Marcum. In his first start for the Jays since September 2008, Marcum carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He allowed three runs on two hits with six strikeouts and one walk. It was exactly the type of showing Toronto hopes to see from its new staff leader throughout this season.
“It was a lot of fun,” Marcum said. “I never expected that. I don’t think anybody ever expects to have a no-hitter going. All in all, I felt good.”
THIRD: A lof of fans might be quick to make a big deal about the E-5 that will appear in the box score of Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Rangers. It didn’t come back to bite the Jays at all, but third baseman Edwin Encarnacion — much criticized for his defense — made an error in the fourth inning. Depending on who you ask, it could have been ruled an infield single. It was a hard-hit grounder from Michael Young that Encarnacion bobbled, retrieved and threw off target to first base. At first look, I thought it was an infield hit.
HOME: As promising as Marcum’s performance was, Blue Jays fans probably loved seeing the great offensive showings from Vernon Wells and Adam Lind. The 3-for-3 showing from Lind, who belted a solo homer and also drew an intentional walk, was more expected. There’s a reason Toronto just handed him a long-term contract. The showing from Wells — 3-for-4 with one homer and three RBIs — was a pleasant surprise. If the Jays are going to outperform expectations this year, Wells will need to have a great season.
Wells believes he’s going to have plenty of chances to succeed with Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Lind hitting in the three spots in front of him. “It’s fun to watch. I’m going to have a lot of opportunities to drive in some runs with those three guys ahead of me. Hopefully I’ll drive in a few more than I did today.”