Monday, April 16, 2018

ten random thoughts: Week 3: April 9-15

Here we are week 3 and the Toronto Blue Jays are exceeding expectations. They sit four games over .500 and the Blue Jays sit 2nd in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Yankees are at .500 and have serious health concerns and major questions about their lineup. Here are ten random thoughts from week 3.

1. Toronto received bad news and dodged a bullet on the injury front this week. On Monday, DH Kendrys Morales came up lame while running the bases. He was put on the DL with a grade 1 strain of his hamstring. Early indications are that he will not miss much more than the required 10 day stay on the DL. Resting him for 10 days is the right thing to do, especially with the cold weather Toronto is playing in this coming week. They were in Baltimore and Cleveland this past week and after a brief 3 game series at home, they head to New York for a 4 game set vs. the Yankees. All three road series are experiencing cold fronts at the moment. Besides, you don't mess with hamstring strains.

2. Josh Donaldson also landed on the DL this week with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. On opening day, he was unable to make a throw to first base without bouncing the ball. He DH'd for several games and came back to play third base. Evidently the rest did not help and now JD will head to the Blue Jays training facility in Tampa Bay to begin a throwing program. Quite frankly, Donaldson should have been put on the DL to start the season. He was having trouble with his shoulder almost right from the get go. Expect him to miss more than the mandatory 10 days.

3. The bullet the Blue jays dodged involved Devon Travis. The starting second baseman was hit in the hand by a pitch in the 9th inning of Friday's game. He finished running the bases but was removed from the game in the bottom half of the inning. X-rays taken after the game were negative. Travis was penciled in the starting lineup of Saturday's rained out game. Devon Travis has endured multiple injuries in the past 3 seasons. It would be a shame if he missed significant time again this year.

4. In last week's blog post, I talked about being impressed with a lot of the new signings/acquisitions the Blue Jays made in the off-season. However, two of the acquisitions, RF Randal Grichuk and utility infielder Gift Ngoepe have struggled mightily at the plate. Grichuk was in an 0-26 slump until he got a base hit this week. Ngoepe has managed just one hit in 13 AB this season. Randal Grichuk has big shoes to fill as he is replacing Jose Bautista, who the Blue Jays opted not to re-sign. Manager John Gibbons said Saturday that he believes Grichuk is close to bumping the early slump. If he doesn't do it soon, Toescar Hernandez could get an opportunity to play. Hernandez had two big doubles on Friday. He also looked great in spring training.

5. Saturday and Sunday's rainout will be made up May 3rd as a double-header, taking away a potential off-day. It also means the Blue Jays will have to travel three days in a row, from Minnesota to Cleveland to Tampa Bay. Look for the Blue Jays to fly Friday's scheduled starting pitcher to Tampa Bay Wednesday to avoid having 2 flights to endure. The extra rest will benefit Devon Travis, Russell Martin and any Blue Jay who might have a minor ailment.

6. Congrats to Roberto Osuna for becoming the youngest pitcher to reach 100 saves. The 23 year old has looked like a ten year veteran when coming into save a game. Yankees hall of famer Mariano Rivera holds the all-time record for saves (652)

7. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry turned nasty last Wednesday with benches clearing twice. Yankees DH Tyler Austin was the catalyst of both incidents. In the 3rd inning he slid hard into second base catching Red Sox SS Brandon Holt. In the 7th inning Boston reliever Joe Kelly drilled Austin in the elbow with a fastball. In all, 4 players were ejected from the game. No further discipline was handed down by the MLB. This game reminds me of this infamous incident from the 2003 ALDS between these bitter rivals. It certainly won't be the last time fireworks break out in a Yankees-Red Sox game.

8. Weather continues to wreak havoc on baseball. On Sunday alone, six scheduled games were postponed. The Blue Jays, Indians, Yankees, and Tigers all had two days in a row wiped out.The White Sox, and Twins  saw the final 3 games of their series snowed out.  Detroit has now had 6 games postponed so far. The baseball season started early this year, March 29, and weather can be bad until the end of April/beginning of May in some places. The options for making up games, especially if the cancellation comes at the end of a series. Schedule makers need to find a place in both teams schedules where both have an off-day. Within league teams (non-divisional games) meet for one series at each team's ballpark. It is easier to reschedule a divisional match up early in the season because division teams meet each other around 20 times in a season. Perhaps baseball might consider extending the season into October a few days. With global warming the MLB must consider options for teams which do not have covered fields. Please comment below with your suggestions

9. Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day. Jackie Robinson day commemorates the day (April 15) when Jackie Robinson broke color barriers and became the first black player to play in the majors in 1947. On this day, all teams wear #42 on the back of their jerseys. Every other day, #42 is retired by all major league teams. Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear #42. Here is how teams celebrated Jackie Robinson day this year.

10. Blue Jays of the week: Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna. Sancheez was outstanding in his start this week, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Aaron Sanchez is definitely back after that disastrous 2017 season, which was wiped out due to a recurring blister. Roberto Osuna gets the nod as well for becoming the youngest player to record 100 saves.

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