Jays 4 Texas 1 - Morning reflections
1:01 p.m. - Today's line-up:
1 - Shannon Stewart - LF
2 - Aaron Hill - 2B
3 - Alex Rios - RF
4 - Vernon Wells - CF
5 - Frank Thomas - DH
6 - Lyle Overbay - 1B
7 - Rod Barajas - C
8 - Joe Inglett - 3B
9 - John McDonald - SS
SP: A.J. Burnett
12:47 p.m. - It's as if no time had passed at all. Walk into the clubhouse and there's B.J. Ryan in his familiar spot - at the card table.
Ryan's back with the team and available to pitch today. The story is here.
The big closer looked pleased as punch. When one reporter asked him if he's going to feel amped when he first takes the big league mound again after a year's absence, Ryan replied "I'm going to be amped up my 50th time out."
Good news for Ryan, better news for the club, deliriously glad tidings for rookie Jesse Carlson. Toronto now has four left-handers (Ryan, Carlson, Scott Downs and Brian Tallet) coming out of the pen.
"You hardly see that anywhere," manager John Gibbons.
Of course, not so good news for Brandon League, who was looking crestfallen as he arranged the delivery his bags to Syracuse in the clubhouse manager's office.
"The role he's in right now here, it's not doing him any good," Gibbons said of League. "They don't always understand that. For his future ... he needs to be down there (in Syracuse) pitching regularly, finding his groove."
It's been a long fall for the kid with the Golden Arm - from set-up man to Ryan to begin 2007 to today.
10:57 a.m. - Arlington is a strange place. Sunday morning and you cannot get a cup of coffee. I walked for what seemed like an hour until I found a Panera Bread that would serve me a (terrible) morning pick-me up. And they wouldn't do it without trying to force a dozen bagels on me. All the while, a howling wind blew and the few drivers coasting by stared at me as if I was an alien. There is no lower form of life in Texas than a man on foot.
To the game.
Halladay locked in - While aces around baseball struggle early (Sabathia, Oswalt, et al), Roy Halladay has hit his stride after three starts. Remember that Texas was the spot last year where Halladay experienced his first terrible wobble of the season. He messed up two of the following three starts as well. Then his appendix blew up. Maybe it was stress.
It's obvious that Halladay needs to have a Cy Young caliber year for this team to succeed (and A.J. Burnett must do likewise). Hearts will be beating more reasonably this morning in the Jays offices having seen that their man is ready for a long, productive season.
Feeling the heat - I'm not the man to take up the statisical/research challenge, but it would be interesting to measure Halladay's lifetime performance in reference to the heat when he pitches. Halladay flat out hates it hot. Last year, in a September start in Baltimore, the first line out of his mouth after the game was "I'm beginning to believe in that whole global warming thing."
After many of his starts, the weather merits a mention by him. Though his physical fitness is beyond question, we've all seen him sweating buckets up on the mound. The cooler it is, the better he likes it. This may provide another small reason why Halladay likes Toronto - a (relatively) cool climate and the temperature controlled environs of the Dome whenever it's closed.
Inglett busts out - That long bench got longer last night when Joe Inglett showed up and went 3-for-4. Coupled with two appearances last year, that puts Inglett's career average as a Jay at .667 (6-for-9). If Scott Rolen is out for a significant amount of time, this at least provides some solace for the team.
Hill in second spot - Can anyone not imagine this becoming a permanent state of affairs? There's simply no reason that Hill should not be in the two-hole day-in, day-out.
In three games in the second spot this season, Hill is 5-for-13 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored. His presence allows Vernon Wells re-emerging bat to drift down into fourth spot and shield Frank Thomas, who has struggled.
"I like the way that looks. It might be something we stick with," manager John Gibbons said last night. Well, that's clear as mud. And it would mean that the team's $10 million DH will be batting sixth once Scott Rolen returns.
Breakfast at Rangers Ballpark - Dunno. They haven't started serving yet. And I'm starving.
Coffee at Rangers Ballpark - Fair to middling. But what is the aversion all Americans have to putting out milk alongside the half-and-half? I have to maintain my (expanding) figure in order to keep the attentions of a beautiful wife.
Pain killers at Rangers Ballpark - Supplied by the Sun's Mike Rutsey. One Tylenol and One Advil to kill off the headache created by sleeping in a Marriott. He claims it was Percodan. I haven't freaked out yet.