Random thoughts on Game #2:
That butterflies-in-the-belly feeling is back: After a seemingly endless off-season and six weeks of fake games, it's easy to forget how intensely enveloped you can get in the final outs of a ballgame. Last night's nervous ninth was a treat to watch, with Jeremy Accardo pitching out of a two-on, none-out jam by striking out A-Rod and inducing pop ups out of Giambi and Cano. The strikeout was particularly satisfying, not only because it was A-Rod (who posed and pranced like a Miss Fitness America pageant contestant after his homer earlier in the game) , but also because of how well Accardo worked at setting him up before finishing him off with heat that painted the outside corner.
A.J. looked wicked awesome, but...: Did anyone else get a nauseous feeling when A.J. Burnett came up lame after misfielding a ball and firing it off Derek Jeter into right field? From the looks of the replay, it's possible that he might have twisted himself a bit awkwardly, but come on! Does that really necessitate a visit from the trainer and extra warm up pitches to make sure that his knee wasn't too hurty to go on? Why do we get this gnawing feeling that last night wasn't the last time this season that we see A.J. pull this hobbling, walking wounded routine?
Speaking of that play: Sure, you can give Rios grief about his baserunning brain fart in the first inning of Tuesday's game. But last night, he was El Hombre Gigante when he backed up first base, snagged A.J.'s errant throw and fired the ball to second to get Jeter by a couple of steps. It's as if he wanted to rationalize the creative direction of that Young-Alex-tossing-pebbles-at- the-15th- floor-window commercial. Hola Alex!
Grounding into double plays isn't cool: As Jeff Blair notes, David Eckstein has yet to hit the ball out of the infield, and hit into two double plays last night. Yeah, it's too early to hit the panic button and start campaigning for the Prime Minister of Defense, but Little X gets no points from this corner for hustling down the line when he's erasing scoring opportunities in nearly every at bat.
Gareth Wheeler can rest easy...there's a "glimmer of hope" for V-Dub: We get the fact that the host of SunTV's the Grill Room wants to elicit some sort of discussion. But starting off the discussion with Mike Wilner, the Drunk Jays Fans' Stoeten and some random Sun writer by asking them "Is there a glimmer of hope for Vernon Wells?" exactly one game into the season was a little much. It was even funnier to see this conversation after the game, in which Wells went 3-for-4 with a homer, 2 RsBI and two runs scored. Is it just us, or does Gareth have all of the feral nervous energy of a ferret backed into a corner? Kudos go out to Stoeten for locking down the gig, and for resisting the impulse to reach across the table and shake some sense into the host, who trotted out just about every tired Toronto hockey-centric media cliché about the Jays and especially J.P..
Up next: 7:05 @ Yankee Stadium: The Great Yankee Hype Machine's Player of the Moment Phillip Hughes takes the mound versus Dustin McGowan, supposing that his flu-like symptoms have subsided. Otherwise, we're probably looking at Marcum, with Lambchops getting the nod in the home opener.
HOME OPENER TOMORROW!!: Fuck yeah!