Remember Them: Geno Petralli

Since their establishment in 1977, there have been 593 players to appear in a game as a Toronto Blue Jay.  This weekly series will provide a look back at those players you may have forgot, or are too young to have known.  This week I look at Geno Petralli, more well known for his time as a Texas Ranger but got his start with the Blue Jays in the early 1980′s.

Though his time with the Blue Jays was very brief and relatively unproductive, Toronto introduced Eugene James Petralli to professional baseball.  Born September 25, 1959 in Sacramento, CA; Petralli played high school baseball at John F. Kennedy and was then drafted by the Blue Jays in 1978 after playing at Sacramento City College.

Drafted in the 3rd round, 53rd overall, Petralli began his professional career with the Medicine Hat Blue Jays of the pioneer league immediately in 1978.  The following season in 1979 Petralli was assigned to the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays and after 52 games was promoted all the way to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs where he appeared in 18 games batting .232.  Petralli saw the entire 1980 season with Double-A Knoxville playing 116 games and earning a 1981 spot back with Triple-A Syracuse.  The catching duties for 1981 were split between 3 Blue Jays prospects including Dan Whitmer (65 games) and Ramon Lora (40 games) meaning Petralli would only get into 45 games himself.

Major League Debut

Petralli would see his professional career turn for the better in 1982 where he was made the full-time catcher for the Chiefs.  He appeared in 126 games, 117 of them behind the plate.  Minor League career bests in average (.286), home runs (9), and RBI (58) earned him a September call up to the big club in Toronto.  He made his major league debut on September 4th in Cleveland as a pinch hitter for starting catcher Buck Martinez in the top of the 7th inning.  Petralli’s first major league at-bat was strike out against the Indian’s eventual game winner Tom Brennan.  He would stay in the game as catcher but would not appear at the plate again in the game.

Petralli’s first major league hit came the next day, again in Cleveland, where he started the game at catcher batting in the #2 spot of the lineup.  It didn’t take long as he doubled to left field off of Indians starter Len Barker.  He played the entire game, going 2-4 with a sac bunt.  The Blue Jays wound up winning the game 6-5 to salvage one win in the 3-game series.

For the month of September, Petralli would appear in 14 more games for a total of 44 at bats.  His 16 hits (.364 average), 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts was impressive but not enough to earn him a spot on the major league roster in 1983.  Both Ernie Whitt and Buck Martinez would return to the Jays that season meaning there was no room for Petralli in the bigs, so he would have to spend another season with the Triple-A Chiefs.  His numbers slid a little bit from ’81, appearing in 104 games (70 as the catcher) hitting .245 with only 3 HR and 40 RBI.  Despite the lower numbers, Petralli was still called up in September though with severely limited use.  Manager Bobby Cox only used Petralli in 6 games where he had 4 at bats with no hits.

Leaving Toronto

The 1984 season saw Petralli break camp with the Blue Jays, though he wouldn’t stay in Toronto long.  Ernie Whitt and Buck Martinez were still around and playing time for Petralli would be microscopic.  After only 3 appearances off the bench where he went 0-3, Petralli was traded to the Cleveland Indians on May 8 and was immediately assigned to the Maine Guides of the International League.  As the back-up in Maine, Petralli only appeared in 23 games throughout the 1984 season and hit a paltry .217 with no home runs.  He began 1985 with Maine once again but was released outright after only 2 games where he was 1 for 7 at the plate.  On May 17 he signed with the Texas Rangers and reported to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Texas Rangers

Petralli’s major league success came with the Texas Rangers, and it all began in July after Don Slaught was injured.  Petralli split time in games with Glenn Blummer until Slaught returned, however rather than being sent back to Oklahoma City he remained with Texas as the backup essentially taking Blummer’s position on the roster.  In that initial season with the Rangers, Petralli appeared in 42 games with a .270 batting average and only 12 strike outs. 1986 began just as 1985 ended with Petralli backing up Slaught, however Darrel Porter was brought in as a 3rd catcher and part time DH.  When Slaught was once again injured in May a 4th catcher, Orlando Mercado, was brought in.  The Rangers would carry all 4 catchers through the end of the ’86 season.  On July 13 he would hit his first of 24 career home runs off of future hall of famer Phil Niekro, then pitching for Cleveland, marking another one of his career firsts to come against the Indians to go along with his major league debut and first major league hit from 1982.

As the Rangers continued to carry 4 catchers in 1987, Petralli’s game evolved to that of a multi-positional player.  He appeared at 6 different positions throughout the season and wound up becoming the personal catcher for knuckleballer Charlie Hough.  Through 101 games, he hit about .300 for the first time in his career (.302) though he set a modern day record of 35 passed balls in 63 games caught that still stands today, including another record of 6 in one game that he still shares.  Through 1988 and 1989 the Rangers continued to split time between catchers and it wasn’t until Jim Sundberg retired after 1990 that Petralli got his chance to be the full-time starter.  He appeared in a career high 133 games that season though he once again led the league in passed balls for the 3rd time in 4 years, a stat that  is rationalized by the fact he once again had to catch Charlie Hough every 5th day.  The highlight of 1990 was catching Nolan Ryan’s 300th career win against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Petralli started the 1991 season once again as the full time Rangers catcher however he was on the bench on May 1 when Nolan Ryan tossed his major league record 7th no-hitter against the Blue Jays, Petralli’s former club.  In mid-June Petralli was placed on the disabled list with a bad back.  To replace him, the Rangers called up Ivan Rodriguez who would become the starting full-time catcher from that point until 2002.  Petralli returned to the Rangers in August where he backed up Rodriguez at catcher and made occasional appearances as the DH.  He would re-sign with the Rangers that off-season, knowing he would only be Rodriguez’ backup.  In 1993 he hit below the Mendoza line (.198) in 94 games, and would make his final appearance with the Rangers on October 2.  This would also be his last appearance in the Major leagues.

Post MLB Career

Texas would decide to offer former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia the shot at backing up Rodrigues in 1994 and declined to offer Petralli a contract. The bitter catcher signed with the San Diego Padres in March where he stated he was disappointed the Rangers didn’t give him an opportunity to prove himself.  At the end of camp, however, neither Petralli nor Scioscia made their respective major league rosters and both were finished in the big leagues.  Petralli signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs to be a player coach with Double-A Orlando when he was injured during a home plate collision that ended his playing career for good after only 8 games.

Personal Life

Geno Petralli married Susan Patterson on September 22, 1979.  They have 2 sons, one of which is currently a minor league baseball player.  Ben Petralli has been drafted 5 times 2004 and 2008, and made his professional debut in 2010 in the Frontier League.  He is currently not the property of any major league team.

Next Week – First Baseman Willie Upshaw

Blue Jays Look For Revenge Against Orioles

A great pitchers duel for half the game last night turned into a home run derby in the later innings before the Orioles got off their schnide last night to top the Blue Jays and create a 4-way tie for first in the AL East with a 4-3 record.  It was a tale of two Morrows who at time looked dominant and at other times couldn’t get the ball down allowing Baltimore to take him deep on 2 occasions.  Morrow left with the lead, however an 8th inning string of bad luck turned into a blown save for Darren Oliver and a no decision for the Jays #2 starter. The Orioles jumped out in front 4 times last night, and 3 of those times the Jays answered back to either tie it up or take the lead immediately in the bottom half of the same inning.  They couldn’t recover from the 8th inning lead loss however, and ultimately fell 7-5.  To their credit, the Jays bats finally started to make an appearance as they were able to produce 4 home runs to double their season output to that point.  Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yunel Escobar all went deep to provide 4 of Toronto’s 5 runs.

The truth is nobody wins every game in the season, and realistically winning 2 out of 3 would be enough to get into the playoffs.  That would give you a record of 108-54 if you could take 2 of 3 from every series you play throughout the season.  Unfortunately that would be just as unlikely as going 162-0. If the Blue Jays are to be successful in 2012, they need to sweep series’ from teams like Baltimore to make up for potential series losses to stronger teams like Detroit later in the year.  A season record of .500 in the East won’t be enough for the playoffs I’m afraid.

Today the Orioles send Jason Hammel to the mound for his second appearance of the season.  He is coming off an 8-inning no-hit bid against the Twins last sunday where he ultimately gave up 1 run on 2 hits.  The Blue Jays will counter with Henderson Alvarez who was in line to win his season debut against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto’s home opener before a 9th inning blown save by closer Sergio Santos left him with a no-decision.  Alvarez went 6 innings allowing 4 hits, one of which was a home run to Dustin Pedroia.

Baltimore Orioles (4-3)

  1. Reimold, N – LF (.308)
  2. Hardy, J – SS (.167)
  3. Markakis, N – RF (.292)
  4. Jones, A – CF (.357)
  5. Weiters, M – C (.333)
  6. Betemit, W – 3B (.200)
  7. Reynolds, M – DH (.143)
  8. Davis, C – 1B (.211)
  9. Andino, R – 2B (.308)

RHP Jason Hammel (1-0  1.13 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays (4-3)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.200)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.286)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.192)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.217)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.267)
  6. Thames, E – LF (.227)
  7. Lawrie, B – 3B (.241)
  8. Rasmus, C – CF (.125)
  9. Arencibia, J – C (.083)

RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-0  1.50 ERA)

Orioles Come In To Town On A Slide

After starting the season 3-0 against the lackluster Minnesota Twins, the presumed “real” Baltimore Orioles  showed up for their intra-division series against New York falling 0-3 to the Yankees which included blowing a 4-1 lead on Tuesday to lose 5-4 in extra innings.  Most pre-season talking heads have Baltimore finishing in last place again this season, and a 3-game losing streak is what the Jays like to see from their opponent coming into town.

The Blue Jays themselves are riding a mini 2 game streak themselves though in the positive direction.  If not for a haphazard 9th inning on Monday, though, it could be a larger 5 game streak.  Even though the bats aren’t firing on all cylinders just yet, Jose Bautista is only 4 for 23 with 1 home run sporting an average of .174 over the first 6 games, the Blue Jays are getting the timely hits from un-expected sources.  Rajai Davis was lights out in the matinee Wednesday, and Edwin Encarnacion tore the cover off the ball Wednesday night.  As long as the arms continue to fire well, as Ricky Romero did in the finale against Boston, it only takes a couple runs to win the game.

Baltimore will send Tommy Hunter to the mound who went 7 innings allowing only 2 unearned runs against Minnesota on Saturday.  He allowed 6 hits with 3 strikeouts and a walk over that span.  Toronto counters with Brandon Morrow, also making his 2nd appearance of the season.  Morrow started the 12-inning second game of the season against Cleveland where he also gave up 2 unearned runs, only allowing 1 hit over 7 innings.  In 12 career starts against Baltimore, Morrow is 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA.

Baseball North News

A “programming note” of sorts, this weekend a new series will debut on Baseball North, “Remember Them” will feature a different Blue Jay from the past every week starting with 1982-1984 backup catcher Geno Petralli.  Watch for the debut this weekend at baseballnorth.weebly.com

LINEUPS

Baltimore Orioles (3-3)

  1. Reimold, N – LF (.238)
  2. Hardy, J – SS (.200)
  3. Markakis, N – RF (.238)
  4. Jones, A – CF (.292)
  5. Wieters, M – C (.364)
  6. Betemit, W – 3B (.188)
  7. Reynolds, M – DH (.176)
  8. Davis, C – 1B (.267)
  9. Andino, R – 2B (.318)

RHP Tommy Hunter (1-0  0.00ERA  7IP)

Toronto Blue Jays (4-2)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.200)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.292)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.174)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.250)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.269)
  6. Thames, E – LF (.211)
  7. Lawrie, B – 3B (.240)
  8. Rasmus, C – CF (.095)
  9. Arencibia, J – C (.091)

RHP  Brandon Morrow (0-0  0.00ERA  7IP)

Red Sox Limp In To Toronto For The Jays Home Opener

Just over 24 hours after blowing a lead in Detroit, the 0-3 Red Sox limp into Toronto licking their wounds from the thrashing they took at the hands of the Tigers to open the 2012 season.  Today, the Blue Jays are coming off a loss in Cleveland but still riding high after a great spring and 2 amazing victories over the Indians to start the season.  The Red Sox are a hurting team, and their fan base is a bit restless seeing as they blew a 9-game lead in September of 2011 and are having trouble getting batters out so far here in 2012.  Alfredo Acevas and Mark Melancon both blew leads in Sunday’s 13-12 loss, and Josh Beckett gave up 5 home runs in one game to an admittedly immensely powerful Tigers lineup.  Beckett, for the record, hadn’t given up 5 home runs total until mid-June in 2011.

The Blue Jays immediately sent Sunday’s starter Joel Carreno down to Triple-A Las Vegas after the game yesterday, and called up Aaron Laffey who will go into the bullpen as the Jays don’t need a 5th starter again for a while. Carreno pitched well, with just 2 mistakes to Carlos Santana being the difference between the loss and sweeping the Tribe.  Unfortunately it is not Carreno’s time just yet and he will be back undoubtedly before the end of the season.  Rajai Davis, who has appeared in all 3 games this season, will make his first start of the year in LF giving Marcus Thames at least the beginning of the day off.  JP Arencibia returns to the backstop after getting Sunday off.  Henderson Alvarez will take the mound for the 36th home opener.  He’s coming off a 2011 where he joined the team in August and made his Major League debut on August 10.  Throughout the half season, Alvarez went 1-3 with a 3.53 ERA.  There were times that he looked untouchable, and other times that you could see his rookie stripes.  Since his promotion last August he’s been working on his cutter, and all accounts state that the pitch is better now than its ever been.  He says he just wants to get out of innings quickly, which is the key for him to go the 7-innings that the Jays want out of their starters.  Henderson Alvarez may not have ever felt any pressure like the pressure he will be under tonight as a sold out Rogers Centre welcomes the Jays home.

Quick Hits

  • Travis Snider jammed his hand sliding into first base with Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday night.  He hasn’t played since but is expected to rejoin the lineup tonight.
  • Felix Doubront, the Red Sox starting pitcher, had 3 appearances against the Blue Jays in 2011.  He allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 3 innings of work.

Lineups

Red Sox

  1. Ellsbury, J – CF (.154)
  2. Pedroia, D – 2B (.231)
  3. Gonzalez, Ad – 1B (.385)
  4. Youkilis, K – 3B (.000)
  5. Ortiz, D – DH (.417)
  6. Ross, C – LF (.111)
  7. Sweeney, R – RF (.455)
  8. Saltalamacchia, J – C (.143)
  9. Aviles, M – SS (,273)

LHP – Felix Doubront (2011 – 0-0  6.10 ERA)

Blue Jays

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.105)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.357)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.333)
  4. Encarnacion, E – DH (.250)
  5. Lind, A – 1B (.250)
  6. Lawrie, B – 3B (.214)
  7. Davis, R – LF (.200)
  8. Arencibia, J – C (.083)
  9. Rasmus, C – CF (.067)

RHP – Henderson Alvarez (2011 – 1-3  3.53 ERA)

Blue Jays Go For Sweep In Cleveland

Only two games into the season and already the Blue Jays have fatigue on their mind.  Just about 3-1/2 games worth of innings have been played in two extra inning games to start the season.  Thanks to Blue Bird Banter I learned that only 7 other teams have won back to back extra inning games to start a season.  Of those 7, teams are 3-4 in their next game.  Interestingly enough, there have only been 4 teams who have played in 3 consecutive extra inning games to start a season, and no team has ever won all three.  So while just about everyone on the planet wants these two teams to just get it done in 9 innings today, there is some history to be made if they do go into extras again.  As for the Indians, I can’t imagine how crushing it is to lose two extra inning games to start your campaign.  Broadcasters always tell you how hard it is to bounce back from an extra inning loss mid-season and play well the next day, how do you bounce back from two in a row when you’re not even sure you’ll ever win a game?  That being said however, the Blue Jays need to be aware that these Indians are quite an even match for them and will do whatever it takes to prevent the brooms from coming out this afternoon.

How important are April wins?  You hear it all the time, “it’s only April…” or “there’s still 160 games to go.”  Yeah that’s true, but if you could call up the 2011 Boston Red Sox they would tell you what just ONE MORE WIN would have meant to them during their lousy 2-10 start last April considering they missed the playoffs by one game last year.  Speaking of playoffs, wouldn’t this apparently evenly matched Toronto Blue Jays / Cleveland Indians series make for great playoff baseball?  How about that new 1-game sudden death round?  Could you imagine that classic going 16 innings?

October is still 6 months away however, and we have to focus on today.  The series finale at Progressive Field will see two pitchers who are at completely opposite ends of the Major League career spectrum.  On the Indians side of things is Derek Lowe, about to make his 16th season debut and first appearance with Cleveland.  It will mark his return to the American League for the first time since he won the world series with Boston in 2004.

On the other side of the diamond is the Blue Jays’ Joel Carreno who earned a spot in the big club’s starting rotation despite having logged only 15.2 innings of previous Major League experience. Carreno appeared in 11 games with Toronto last season, accounting for all of his Major League experience, however exclusively out of the bullpen.  He is making his debut as a starter today, where he says he has been working on his changeup and trying to prevent his pitches from flying into the strike zone where hitters could take advantage of the honey pitch.  Carreno has also said about this opportunity to start, that he must do a good job today.  He doesn’t want to make management think they need to send him down to the minors.

The depth on the Blue Jays roster has been on display early this year, a big improvement over last year.  In the marathon first game, we saw positional shuffling that send Jose Bautista from RF to 1B and back to RF again, Rajai Davis come in as a pinch runner then stay in the game at RF before ultimately moving to LF, and even veteran Omar Vizquel entering the game as the left fielder (though he was more of an infield rover) before ultimately ending the game at 1B.  This depth allows John Farrell to make late game moves that he just couldn’t do last year.

Line-ups

Cleveland Indians (0-2)

  1. Brantley, M – CF (.091)
  2. Cabrera, A – SS (.273)
  3. Choo, S – RF (.111)
  4. Santana, C – C (.125)
  5. Hafner, T – DH (.222)
  6. Duncan, S – LF (.167)
  7. Kotchman, C – 1B (.000)
  8. Kipnis, J – 2B (.111)
  9. Hannahan, J – 3B (.200)

RHP – Derek Lowe (2011 – 9-17  5.05 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays (2-0)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.143)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.300)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.375)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.125)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.250)
  6. Lawrie, B – 3B (.273)
  7. Thames, E – LF (.000)
  8. Rasmus, C – CF (.091)
  9. Mathis, J – C (.000)

RHP – Joel Carreno (2011 – 1-0  11Games  15.2IP  1.15 ERA)

Blue Jays Down On The Farm – April 7/12

1-1

  • April 5, 2012 – L 6-11 vs. Sacramento Rivercats
  • April 6, 2012 – W 4-3 vs. Sacramento Rivercats
  • April 7. 2012 – vs. Sacramento Rivercats 10:05pm EDT

2-1

  • April 5, 2012 – W 5-3 vs. Trenton Thunder
  • April 6, 2012 – W 3-1 vs. Trenton Thunder
  • April 7, 2012 – L 2-11 vs. Trenton Thunder

2-0

  • April 5, 2012 – W 6-3 vs. Clearwater Threshers
  • April 6, 2012 – W 5-0 vs. Clearwater Threshers
  • April 7, 2012 – vs. Clearwater Threshers 6:30pm EDT

2-0

  • April 6, 2012 – W 3-2 vs. Great Lakes Loons
  • April 7, 2012 – W 4-2 vs. Great Lakes Loons

  • Season Begins June 15, 2012

  • Season Begins June 19, 2012

  • Season Begins June 18, 2012

  • Season Begins May 30, 2012

Blue Jays vs. Indians – April 6, 2012

Image

Courtesy Of MLB.com

Toronto (2-0) AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Escobar, Y, SS 6 0 0 0 0 0 2 .143
Johnson, K, 2B 5 2 2 2 1 0 0 .300
Bautista, RF 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 .375
Lind, 1B 5 1 0 0 1 1 3 .125
Encarnacion, DH 5 1 1 0 0 1 3 .250
Lawrie, 3B 5 1 3 2 0 2 0 .273
Thames, E, LF 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
a-Davis, R, PH-LF 2 1 1 2 0 0 2 .200
Arencibia, C 5 0 0 0 0 3 1 .083
Rasmus, CF 4 1 1 1 1 1 0 .091
Totals 44 7 8 7 4 8 13 .180

a-Lined out for Thames, E in the 9th.

Cleveland (0-2)

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Brantley, CF 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 .091
Cabrera, A, SS 4 2 2 1 1 0 0 .273
Choo, RF 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 .111
Santana, C, C 4 0 1 0 1 0 0 .125
Hafner, DH 5 0 1 1 0 1 1 .222
Duncan, LF 4 0 0 0 1 1 3 .167
Kotchman, 1B 5 1 0 0 0 1 3 .000
Kipnis, 2B 4 1 1 2 0 0 0 .111
Hannahan, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .200
Totals 40 4 5 4 3 5 8 .135
BATTING
2B: Encarnacion (2, Sipp), Davis, R (1, Sipp).
HR: Johnson, K (1, 9th inning off Pestano, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Lawrie 3; Encarnacion 2; Davis, R 2; Rasmus; Johnson, K 5.
RBI: Lawrie 2 (2), Johnson, K 2 (2), Davis, R 2 (2), Rasmus (1).
2-out RBI: Lawrie 2; Johnson, K.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Davis, R; Lind.
Team RISP: 5-for-9.
Team LOB: 6.

BASERUNNING
SB: Davis, R (1, 3rd base off Sipp/Santana, C).

FIELDING
E: Arencibia (1, throw).
DP: (Lawrie-Johnson, K-Lind).

BATTING
HR: Kipnis (1, 5th inning off Morrow, 1 on, 2 out), Cabrera, A (1, 9th inning off Santos, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Santana, C; Kipnis 4; Cabrera, A 5; Hafner.
RBI: Kipnis 2 (2), Cabrera, A (1), Hafner (1).
2-out RBI: Kipnis 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kotchman.
GIDP: Duncan.
Team RISP: 1-for-3.
Team LOB: 3.

Toronto IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Morrow 7.0 1 2 0 3 3 1 0.00
Oliver 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Santos(BS, 1) 1.0 1 1 1 0 0 1 5.40
Janssen(W, 1-0) 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Cordero 1.0 3 1 1 0 0 0 4.50
Totals 12.0 5 4 2 3 5 2 1.93
Cleveland IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Jimenez 7.0 1 2 2 3 3 0 2.57
Smith, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Pestano 0.2 2 1 1 0 1 1 4.50
Perez, R 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Perez, C 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 16.20
Sipp(L, 0-1) 0.1 4 4 4 0 1 0 21.60
Wheeler 0.2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Totals 12.0 8 7 7 4 8 1 4.50
WP: Jimenez.
HBP: Bautista (by Pestano).
Pitches-strikes: Morrow 106-64, Oliver 10-6, Santos 12-8, Janssen 31-18, Cordero 30-17, Jimenez 95-55, Smith, J 10-7, Pestano 25-14, Perez, R 14-11, Perez, C 10-8, Sipp 24-17, Wheeler 19-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Morrow 10-6, Oliver 2-0, Santos 2-1, Janssen 1-3, Cordero 2-0, Jimenez 6-6, Smith, J 1-0, Pestano 0-0, Perez, R 1-1, Perez, C 1-0, Sipp 0-0, Wheeler 1-1.
Batters faced: Morrow 24, Oliver 3, Santos 4, Janssen 6, Cordero 6, Jimenez 25, Smith, J 3, Pestano 5, Perez, R 4, Perez, C 3, Sipp 5, Wheeler 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Perez, R 2-0, Wheeler 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Mark Carlson. 1B: Mike Everitt. 2B: Paul Schrieber. 3B: Tim Welke. 
Weather: 48 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 5 mph, L to R.
T: 3:38.
Att: 18,842.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media

Blue Jays at Indians – Series Continues After Day Off

After the longest opening day in Major League Baseball history, the Indians and Blue Jays will continue opening weekend today at 1:05pm when Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound for the Indians against Brandon Morrow and the rest of the Jays.  Ubaldo Jimenez is currently appealing a suspension after throwing a pitch at former teammate Troy Tulowitzki during spring training.  Jimenez is frequently clocked over 100mph and is regarded as the hardest throwing pitcher in the majors, averaging an MLB best 96.1 mph in 2009 and 2010.  His tailing 2-seamer and forkball have earned him a 54.4% ground ball percentage.  He has thrown the only no-hitter in Colorado Rockies franchise history.

Brandon Morrow was 11-11 in 2011, making 30 starts for the first time in his career.  He started last season on the disabled list but is healthy and ready to go to start 2012.  Despite his .500 record last year, Morrow was decent on the road going 6-3 with a 3.07 ERA.  He was 0-1 in two starts against the tribe last season and sports a career 5.28 ERA against the team from Cleveland.

The two teams pick up after an a much needed day off, resting from their 16-inning opening day marathon.  The Blue Jays are trying to ride their spring time momentum that was perpetuated by co-heros Edwin Encarnacion and JP Arencibia on Thursday afternoon.  Every member of the Blue Jays bullpen was used, and both starting catchers caught the entire game.

Quick Hits

  • Despite going 3 for 4 with a home run in the opener, don’t count on Jose Bautista keeping up his .750 season average.  Bautista is 0 for 9 in his career against Jimenez.
  • Indians 3B Jack Hannahan is 1 for 7 in his career against Brandon Morrow.
  • The entire Blue Jays bullpen combined for 11 scoreless innings Thursday afternoon.
  • Prior to Thursday’s game, Brett Lawrie had never faced the Indians in his major league career.
  • In 11 games as an American League pitcher since July 31, 2011; Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA

Line-Ups

Cleveland Indians (0-1)

  1. Brantley, M – CF (.167)
  2. Cabrera, A – SS (.143)
  3. Choo, S – RF (.250)
  4. Santana, C – C (.000)
  5. Hafner, T – DH (.250)
  6. Duncan, S – LF (.500)
  7. Kotchman, C – 1B (.000)
  8. Kipnis, J -2B (.000)
  9. Hannahan, J – 3B (.333)

RHP – Ubaldo Jimenez (2011 – 10-13  4.68 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays (1-0)

  1. Escobar, Y – SS (.250)
  2. Johnson, K – 2B (.200)
  3. Bautista, J – RF (.750)
  4. Lind, A – 1B (.333)
  5. Encarnacion, E – DH (.286)
  6. Lawrie, B – 3B (.000)
  7. Thames, E – LF (.000)
  8. Arencibia, J – C (.143)
  9. Rasmus, C – CF (.000)

RHP – Brandon Morrow (2011 – 11-11  4.72 ERA)

Blue Jays vs. Indians – April 5, 2012

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Courtesy Of http://www.mlb.com

BLUE JAYS 7, INDIANS 4 

Toronto

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Escobar, Y, SS 8 1 2 0 0 3 0 .250
Johnson, K, 2B 5 1 1 0 2 3 0 .200
Bautista, RF-1B-RF 4 1 3 2 2 1 0 .750
Lind, 1B 3 0 1 0 1 0 1 .333
1-Davis, R, PR-RF-LF 3 1 0 0 0 0 7 .000
Encarnacion, DH 7 0 2 2 0 3 2 .286
Lawrie, 3B 6 1 0 0 1 2 3 .000
Thames, E, LF 4 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
Vizquel, LF-1B 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Arencibia, C 7 1 1 3 0 3 2 .143
Rasmus, CF 7 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Totals 56 7 10 7 7 16 19 .179

1-Ran for Lind in the 9th.

Cleveland AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Brantley, CF 6 0 1 0 1 1 0 .167
Cabrera, A, SS 7 0 1 0 0 1 4 .143
Choo, RF 4 0 1 0 2 0 0 .250
Santana, C, C 4 1 0 0 3 2 4 .000
Hafner, DH 4 0 1 0 0 1 4 .250
2-Donald, PR-DH 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 .000
Duncan, LF 2 1 1 0 1 1 0 .500
1-Cunningham, PR-LF 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
Kotchman, 1B 7 0 0 1 0 1 4 .000
Kipnis, 2B 5 1 0 0 2 2 2 .000
Hannahan, 3B 6 1 2 3 0 2 0 .333
Totals 49 4 7 4 11 12 21 .143

1-Ran for Duncan in the 7th. 2-Ran for Hafner in the 9th.

BATTING
2B: Lind (1, Masterson), Encarnacion (1, Perez, C), Escobar, Y (1, Smith, J).
HR: Arencibia (1, 16th inning off Asencio, 2 on, 0 out), Bautista (1, 4th inning off Masterson, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Arencibia 4; Lind 2; Encarnacion 3; Bautista 6; Escobar, Y 3; Johnson, K.
RBI: Arencibia 3 (3), Encarnacion 2 (2), Bautista 2 (2).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Arencibia; Encarnacion; Thames, E; Davis, R 3.
SF: Bautista.
GIDP: Lind, Thames, E, Davis, R.
Team RISP: 2-for-11.
Team LOB: 10.

FIELDING
E: Rasmus (1, missed catch).
DP: 3 (Johnson, K-Escobar, Y-Lind, Escobar, Y-Lind, Escobar, Y-Johnson, K-Bautista).

BATTING
2B: Duncan (1, Romero, R), Brantley (1, Romero, R).
HR: Hannahan (1, 2nd inning off Romero, R, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: Duncan 2; Choo; Cabrera, A; Brantley 2; Hannahan 5; Hafner.
RBI: Kotchman (1), Hannahan 3 (3).
2-out RBI: Hannahan 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Santana, C; Kipnis 2; Cabrera, A.
SAC: Cunningham.
GIDP: Kotchman, Cabrera, A, Hafner.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 10.

BASERUNNING
CS: Choo (1, 2nd base by Frasor/Arencibia).

FIELDING
DP: 3 (Masterson-Cabrera, A-Kotchman, Kipnis-Cabrera, A-Kotchman, Hannahan-Cabrera, A-Kipnis).

Toronto IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Romero, R 5.0 3 4 4 3 4 1 7.20
Frasor 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0.00
Oliver 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Janssen 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Cordero 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Villanueva 2.1 1 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
Perez, L(W, 1-0) 4.0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0.00
Santos 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Totals 16.0 7 4 4 11 12 1 2.25
Cleveland IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Masterson 8.0 2 1 1 1 10 1 1.13
Perez, C(BS, 1) 0.2 3 3 3 2 0 0 40.50
Pestano 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Smith, J 1.2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Sipp 1.1 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
Asencio(L, 0-1) 3.0 2 3 3 2 2 1 9.00
Totals 16.0 10 7 7 7 16 2 3.94
Frasor pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

WP: Masterson.
IBB: Bautista (by Sipp).
HBP: Johnson, K (by Pestano), Choo (by Romero, R).
Pitches-strikes: Oliver 12-7, Perez, L 62-34, Romero, R 96-55, Cordero 11-6, Frasor 21-10, Villanueva 41-22, Janssen 20-11, Santos 17-9, Asencio 48-26, Sipp 29-14, Smith, J 28-19, Perez, C 31-17, Masterson 99-66, Pestano 25-18.
Groundouts-flyouts: Oliver 1-0, Perez, L 3-2, Romero, R 7-0, Cordero 3-0, Frasor 0-1, Villanueva 2-2, Janssen 2-0, Santos 2-0, Asencio 4-1, Sipp 1-1, Smith, J 2-1, Perez, C 1-1, Masterson 10-1, Pestano 1-0.
Batters faced: Oliver 2, Perez, L 14, Romero, R 20, Cordero 4, Frasor 4, Villanueva 10, Janssen 5, Santos 3, Asencio 13, Sipp 6, Smith, J 6, Perez, C 7, Masterson 27, Pestano 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Oliver 1-0, Perez, L 2-0, Sipp 1-0, Pestano 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Tim Welke. 1B: Mark Carlson. 2B: Mike Everitt. 3B: Paul Schrieber. 
Weather: 44 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 16 mph, In from RF.
T: 5:14.
Att: 43,190.

Happy New Year, Welcome Back Blue Jays

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Just like 29 other cities, we’re welcoming our home team back to regular season baseball this week.  Not only that though, but we are truly welcoming back the BLUE Jays to major league baseball.  Sure the name never was officially changed to the Toronto Jays, but you kind of got the impression that’s what the team was going for with the graphite and black colour scheme for the last 7 years.  When the Jays took the field today at 3:05pm in Cleveland, they did so looking reminiscent of those World Championship teams that did so 20 years ago.

Spring was exciting for us this year.  At 24-7 with a .774 winning percentage, the Jays were far and away the best team in the majors during the exhibition season.  Unfortunately, aside from momentum, the spring season means absolutely nothing and now everyone is equal at 0s as we begin the push towards October.  Major League Baseball has given us an extra playoff round this year, a one-game sudden death round between two wildcard teams.  This extra round guarantees the excitement we saw with 4 teams playing for 2 spots at the end of 2011, every year.  The way the AL East is shaping up in 2012, this extra round could very well play into the Jays favour.  As the Cardinals showed last year, all you have to do is get in and anything can happen.

With all the momentum the Jays had leading into today’s season opener, and the disappointment put up by the Leafs and Raptors this winter, excitement is over flowing for this team. There’s still 161 games left, and the excitement for this young team is off the charts.  Ricky Romero (0-0, ND) came out of the gate hot with a 3 up 3 down first inning, however the same could not be said about the second.  Romero walked the lead off man, gave up a solid double, walked another man and a no doubter by Jack Hannahan to right field put the cap on the 4 run inning. Fortunately for Romero, DH Edwin Encarnacion (2-7, 2-Run 2B K) hit a 2-run double to tie the game in the top of the 9th off of Indians’ closer Chris Perez (0-0, BS).  Unfortunately for the Jays however, if that double was inches higher the game would have ended 5-4 Toronto after 9.  Only the first game of the year and already the Blue Jays are giving us extra baseball!   The longest opening day game in the history of the Major Leagues.

Justin Masterson (0-0, ND) was outstanding today.  Very efficient going 8 innings and only allowing 2 hits, 1 run and notching his 2nd career ten-strikeout game.  He threw 99 pitches over those 8 innings, kept the Jays off balance with the sinker and just looked dominant in his season debut.  The one black mark on Masterson’s day came in the top of the 4th when half an inning after an obviously struggling Ricky Romero hit Shin Soo Choo, the Indians’ starter immediately threw 2 inside pitches to Kelly Johnson.  Home Plate Umpire Tim Welke immediately warned both benches, and from that point on the game was quiet until Choo furthered the bad blood when he took steps towards Perez in the 15th inning after another pitch sailed over his head.  I can understand why Choo would be upset, however he needs to recognize that in an extra inning game, nobody wants to put free runners on base. Clearly Tim Welke agreed because Perez wasn’t ejected even though both benches had been previously warned.

Blue Jays fan favourite and offensive leader Jose Bautista (3-4, HR 2BB Sac Fly) picked up right where he left off last year hitting his first home run of 2012, and putting him on pace for 162 this year.  I kid of course.  Colby Rasmus looked terrible at the plate, making up for it with a defensive gem in Centre Field. The rest of the team was ineffective until the 9th inning at the plate, and while they were able to rack up a few more hits in the extra innings they weren’t able to cash in the runners. That is until the 16th, when JP Arencibia (1-7, HR 3RBI) drove home Brett Lawrie and Omar Vizquel to put the Jays up 7-4 for good.

As far as the pitching goes, the plan this year is to have the starters earn 21 outs (7 innings).  As mentioned earlier, Romero was shaky and only went 5, allowing three walks of which two scored.  This was part of the reason the Blue Jays had so many blown saves in 2011, an over-taxed bullpen that needed more rest.  Of course this is only the first day of a 162-game season, but it is worth mentioning. A white-knuckled bottom of the 9th saw Francisco Cordero strand Jason Donald (pinch running from Travis Hafner) at 3rd after reaching the spot with only one out.  Carlos Villanueva threw a spectacular 10th inning, allowing only two walks and a hit over 2.1 innings and putting to rest the concern of his early spring numbness. Luis Perez (1-0) gave up three walks and struck out three over 4 innings pitched to earn the first win of the season.  Sergio Santos mopped up the last 2 outs for the opening day victory.

Defensively they Jays gambled in the 12th when they pulled Eric Thames from left field and inserted Omar Vizquel as a 5th infielder with the bases loaded and 1 out.  The gamble paid off, and Luis Perez caused Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a double play.

No matter what happened today though, baseball is back and for the first time in in a while excitement is over flowing for the Blue Jays in Toronto.  Only 161 to go, hopefully plus playoffs.

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Courtesy Of Jonathan Rivait - National Post

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