Series Preview in Blog: Toronto Blue Jays

The Twins return to the Dome (the last time they do that for the first time in the season … wait, what?) after dropping the final two games of their series in Chicago.  I was at the game on Sunday and I’ve got pictures.  If you behave yourselves, maybe I’ll share them soon.  The Twins fell to 3-4, a game behind Detroit in the AL Central.  Toronto has won their first two series against the Tigers and the Indians and sit atop the AL East with a 5-2 record.

Alex Rios is so excited about this hot start he may be losing his grip on reality.  The money quote – “If we keep doing this, we’ll win, like, 300 games.”  I’m pretty sure 300-(-137) would be some kind of new record.  Also, I feel the need to point out the sidebar of ‘Hum and Chuck’ and the picture captioned ‘Your 2009 Toronto Blue Jays’.  I’m not sure what it signifies, but it amuses me.  It’s easy to laugh at Rios for getting over-excited, but keep in mind this fast start is only the first step in crossing off item one on Toronto’s 2009 to-do list. A more unattainable goal for them is getting Canadians to care less about hockey and more about the Blue Jays.

The Jays are picked by nearly everyone to finish behind the top 3 of the AL East, but they’ve got a lot of young talent in their lineup with eight of their own first round draft picks on the roster (much more than anyone else in the MLB).

Last year the Blue Jays had one of the league’s best bullpens, and they could be due for a regression due to a lot of relievers outperforming their FIP in 2008.  The hottest topic of conversation is the shakiness of BJ Ryan so far this spring and early in the season (caution: language).  Of course, thoughts immediately turn to who could replace him as the closer.  Jason Frasor looks to be the likely candidate, having added a changeup to his arsenal this offseason.

–PROBABLE PITCHERS–

Slowey v. Jesse Litsch

Perkins v. Ricky Romero

Baker(!) v. Scott Richmond

Liriano v. Roy Halladay

Litsch was the starting pitcher in the Blue Jays first loss, and throughout the Blue Jays blogs mention was made of his “pink, round, pitching”.  Is this just because he’s particularly pink and particularly round?  Does his pitching combat breast cancer? Am I the only one amused when the grocery store checkout person when they ask me if I would like to “donate a dollar to breast cancer”? (I’d rather donate to the people fighting breast cancer, thank you)

Scott Richmond (who had 5 starts with the Jays last season) had a serviceable debut this season (4 IP, 3 R, 2BB, 4SO), but appeared to be completely unable to coax ground balls out of hitters.  Also, apparently he has troubles with lefties.  Somewhere Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel’s ears just perked up.

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