Continuing on with the post I put up a couple of days ago, here’s my notes from another pair of games I attended in Florida this past week. In other news, I just figured out how to link other pages to posts… Party
Wednesday March 6th, Blue Jays vs Detroit
Off to Lakeland. Joker Marchant was truly one of the most visually stunning ballparks on the trip however it was also one of the hardest to get seats into. Despite arriving at the gates by 10:30 and not being allowed in until 11 due to not paying an additional 5 dollars for Tigers BP access, we ended up at the top of the 3rd base side bleachers which in fact offered a great view of the game and surrounding landscape around the park.
- Joker Marchant is a pretty tough sun field to begin with but when you throw a cloudless sky into the mix, it makes the park awfully tough on the fielders. Both teams were struggling with this factor which is not uncommon for Spring Training play.
- Brandon Morrow started the game and was quickly finding himself running the old pitch count up. He was however throwing the Slider for the first time all spring so a little bit of rust was to be expected. His Velocity sat around 92 on the Fastball and coming in around 84 on the breaking stuff. Not a terrible showing.
- Brett Cecil came in for relief and made some of the Tigers lefty’s look absolutely horrid in the box. His Velocity was a factor early on as he was running the Fastball up to 91 while dropping his off-speed down to 78. Unfortunately for Brett, he fell victim to some shotty hometown score-keeping as the pair of Runs that were charged to the LHP shouldn’t have been earned but again, tough sky.
- The Blue Jays ran out a Spring Training lineup that consisted of 1 potential opening day starter. This starter was Adam Lind who in his pair of Plate Appearances, hit an opposite field Double and Walked. Both off a conservative Justin Verlander…
Thursday March 7th VS Baltimore
Off to Sarasota, Spring Training of the Orioles. A freshly renovated (2011) ED Smith Stadium is well worth a visit when you make the trip south as it’s throwback style will have you feeling like your stepping back in time upon entering its Oriole clad gates. Throwing out today’s ceremonial first pitch? Orioles great and MLB Ironman, Cal Ripken JR. Bonus.
- Melky Cabrera started in CF and made some above average plays out there while taking advantage of his playing time. Read into it what you will but with Rasmus still on the shelf with a (non throwing) shoulder strain, I couldn’t help but to think that maybe Gibbons was seeing what his flashy new Outfielder can do in CF. Or maybe he was testing ol’ Eugino Velez out in LF? Read into it what you will.
-Mark Buehrle got the start and despite giving up a 1st pitch Home Run to Orioles lead-off hitter, Noland Reimold, the crafty vet was able to work an efficient pair of innings during this one. The hardest I saw him hit was 85 while dropping his breaking pitches down to 78. Remember, its March and Buehrle has never been know to be a relatively hard thrower.
- As a team, the Blue Jays were pretty aggressive on the base-paths early on. Simply put, its Spring Training. Chalk this aggressiveness up to the fact that it’s March and the coaches are just trying to see what they can and cannot get away with which for all intensive purposes, is exactly what coaches do in Spring Training.
- Henry Blanco hit a Home Run. As I write this, he is hitting .316 with a pair of Extra Base Hits in just under 20 Spring AB’s. Grapefruit League, you guys.
- Neil Wagner came in for a forgettable bottom of the 9th in Sarasota. No need to dwell on the events however watching it first hand I noticed how he came out of his rhythm following the hit batter, seemed to panic. Still the hard throwing relief pitcher was hitting up to 96 MPH while dropping down to 88 on the soft stuff. Looks to me like a 1 inning “all or nothing” type of option with some control issues. He could use some work on his location while trying not to rely on the power of his Fastball to blow guys away when down in the count.