Posted by: Asher Roth | April 9, 2010

Jays take on AL East “Rivals”

Win opening series of the season: check.

Have Vernon Wells inspire even a minimal amount of confidence in his abilities after a horrendous season: quadruple-check.

Get the most out of your pitching in a complete hitter’s ballpark: BIG Check.

With those tasks out of the way, the Jays now get to play games that truly matter: games against an AL East opponent.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But it’s Baltimore”. Yes, my impulse tells me to think this too. But this is an Orioles team that has been in a long process of rebuilding, and it seems as though it might finally be paying off – even if they’re still in the AL East, and thus any expected success on their part, much like the Jays, is a stretch.

They’ve got Matt Wieters, who despite being unproven, is probably one of the top offensive catchers in the game right now. They’ve still got Adam Jones, and that Bedard deal just keeps looking better by the day for the O’s, as Jones’ numbers have steadily improved. They’ve still got Nick Markakis, a fine run-producer.

On the other hand, for some reason, they got Miguel Tejada back, who is currently batting clean-up. He’s rewarded them by hitting .083 so far. While Tejada proved last year he can still hit for average, his power stroke has lost a lot of it’s juice, if you know what I mean. They also have the underwhelming duo of former NL castaways Luke Scott and Garrett Atkins in their lineup to provide some inconsistent pop.

On the pitching side, the future looks bright with youngsters Brian Matusz, David Hernandez, and today’s starter Brad Bergesen behind veteran workhorse Kevin Millwood and late-bloomer Jeremy Guthrie.

Is this team going to challenge for the division title? Certainly not this year. They’ll have to shed some dead-weight (Ty Wigginton, Scott, Tejada, Julio Lugo) when their core players are ready to really shine, but at least they seem to be on something close to the right track.

As usual, thanks to @MLBastian, here are today’s lineups.

BLUE JAYS (2-1, — GB)
1.. Jose Bautista, RF
2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. John Buck, C
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Travis Snider, LF
9. John McDonald, 2B

Pitching: Brandon Morrow (0-0, -.–)

ORIOLES (1-2, 1.0 GB)
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Miguel Tejada, 3B
5. Luke Scott, LF
6. Matt Wieters, C
7. Nolan Reimold, DH
8. Garrett Atkins, 1B
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching: Brad Bergesen (0-0, -.–)

NOTES:

– Morrow gets the start for the Jays. My expectations of him are realistic, but if he lives up to the potential that comes with being drafted 5th overall, he could be a solid pick-up by AA.

– Former Jay Cesar Izturis gets the start at shortstop for the O’s. I always felt he didn’t have nearly enough time to prove himself here. This is because he only played 46 games in 2001 before the Jays made one of the worst trades in recent memory: Paul Quantrill and Izturis to the Dodgers for Luke Prokopec and Chad Ricketts (who??). Just writing Prokopec’s name brings the sweet taste of acid reflux to my mouth…

– Johnny Mac gets his first start of the season in place of the injured Aaron Hill, who is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Let’s hope this is a short-term thing…

– Bergesen was 7-5 with a very respectable 3.43 ERA in 19 starts before a come-backer off his leg ended his season. Sound like Doc in 2004? He was also 1-0 against the Jays last season in 2 starts.

This season series should prove to be interesting. These two teams split 18 meetings last year, and since they’re likely gonna be battling for that prestigious 4th place spot in the division, the games will, at the very least, matter equally to both teams.

@amgr86

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Responses

  1. Bergesen is doomed to show up on “Weird Injury” lists for at least the next few years:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Orioles-Bergesen-injured-filming-TV-ad-nbsp-no?urn=mlb,219586


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