Jays 8 Texas 5 - Morning reflections
Morning reflections, 9:10 a.m., April 12th
Inglett called up, Coats sent down: This means only one thing to me - Scott Rolen ain't feeling so hot now that his cast is off.
Inglett is burning it up so far in Triple A, but Coats fills a lot of needs for this club. Coats showed his worth last night, going 1-for-3, stealing a base and covering a lot of ground in the very big left-field at Rangers Ballpark. And that was his first ever start for the Jays.
When he first broke his finger, the club speculated that Rolen might be out for 1, 2 or 3 weeks. That became 4-to-6 weeks once he saw a surgeon. That became a solid 6 weeks once the cast came off last Monday - putting his return date in early May. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that is now. We'll see in Baltimore, where Rolen is due to visit with the club, after visiting with his doctor.
But now that Rolen's replacement, Marco Scutaro, is cooling off (2-for-19 over the last 6 games), it looks like the Jays want some longer term back-up at the third base position. My totally speculative and possibly irresponsible bet at this point? We won't see Rolen until mid-May at the very earliest.
Impostors in Texas jerseys: I'm still pondering the dubious wisdom of giving all of Texas' regulars the night off and allowing a local high school team to masquerade as them. The fans were none the wiser. The press didn't notice. Not until balls were hit in their direction and the Texas interlopers bobbled each one. Perhaps three balls were fielded cleanly all night long.
After the game, I asked Vernon Wells if the field was coated in cooking oil, or if the umpires were shining laser pointers into players' eyes as they attempted to field the ball. But only in the top of each inning.
Sure, the real Rangers got a blow. But those gawky, ten-thumbs types wearing David Murphy's and Gerald Laird's jerseys made their elders look ridiculous.
However, this is my only explanation of the Texas team that took to the field last night.
Jason Frasor makes me nervous: I like Jason Frasor a lot - mild mannered, cerebral guy. Maybe too cerebral. Every time he takes the mound, he looks as if he's mentally envisioning all the things that could go wrong.
The ultimate test for me on Frasor's reliability, beyond numbers or history, is the fact that each time he comes into a game, I begin revising my moving game story to the worst case scenario. When he entered in the ninth last night, backed by a four-run lead, I felt no fear.
Then he gave up a leadoff walk to Ian Kinsler. Kinsler stole second (I refuse to acknowledge the scorer's morphology: 'defensive indifference'. He stole second.) Frasor struck out Michael Young. Then Josh Hamilton ripped a single and Kinsler scored.
Reluctantly, I started writing an alternate lead, with the Jays blowing the game again and yadda yadda. But after Scott Downs bumped Frasor, I started breathing again. I wonder if this is the same reaction Frasor's coaches have. I want this guy to do well - and he has the stuff.
Four stolen bases: The Jays managed this last night, the first time they'd compiled so many steals in one game since 2005.
After the game, Wells got a little carried away and said "everybody" on this team is capable of stealing. He thought for a moment after that and corrected himself. "Well, not everybody." This is the point in the movie version where the camera pans slowly to the nameplate over Frank Thomas' locker. Or Lyle Overbay's. Or Rod Barajas'. But the facts are that Overbay was caught stealing last night (on what realists can only presume was a blown call from the dugout to home plate).
The Jays deny that they're becoming a team that counts on the steal. They don't like to admit change, especially when it might be reflected on from the viewpoint of 'what might have been'. But the facts are these. Toronto has 13 stolen bases right now or 1.3 per game (Math! I've finally mastered you). That's best in the AL right now.
Last year, the Jays stole only 57 bases, second worst in the league. Let's hope this happy advancement continues. It certainly makes this team more fun to watch.
Coffee at Arlington Courtyard Marriott: Passable
Dining Room at A.C.M.: Grim
Service at A.C.M.: Unconscionably cheery
Scrambled Eggs at A.C.M.: Runny
Fact that I had to trek several hundred yards down a service road in search of a Saturday morning newspaper: Annoying. But, moreso, bad news for the future of newspapers.
6:31 (civilized time), April 11th: That really is all that matters to me about Arlington - there is no heat wave.
I feel roughly the same about Kansas City, though that city offers the consolations of fabulous barbecue and the Standard Style Boutique. I earn enormous points bringing their Alternative Apparel t-shirts home to the lovely wife. Also, the Globe's MacLeod and I uncovered the world's most underappreciated, undiscovered band at some hole in the wall last year. I'm not sure what they played or in what style. Can't remember the name, whereabouts, zip code or number of floors in the bar where we saw them. But it seemed awesome at the time. Pabst Blue Ribbon will do that to you.
Okay, okay, baseball. Focus, people. This is a far different group than the one I last saw after the sweep of Boston. The reality of reality settling in.
The ETA on B.J. Ryan is now a week or more. Sounds like the Detroit series, kicking off at the Rogers Centre, on April 18th, is a target. Given that that would still see Ryan more than three weeks shy of a full year of recovery from Tommy John, my presumption is that it's a best case scenario.
Frank Thomas sitting out tonight. We were told that it's got to do with a late-arriving plane and the fact that Texas starter Vicente Padilla's "been tough on Frank" (quoth Mgr. J. Gibbons). Thomas is 4-for-21 lifetime against Padilla. But he does have two home runs, which is as many as the rest of his teammates combined. Hmmm.
Buck Coats gets his first start in the grassy vastness of Rangers' Ballpark's left-field.
Clubhouse Clip: A.J. Burnett showing Roy Halladay a copy of last month's Men's Fitness. The cover featured a shot of cherubic Red Sox ace (and former Burnett teammate) Josh Beckett.
"When you gonna get on the cover of that?" Burnett said to Halladay. "You got a way better figure than this cat."
Man, guys don't use the word 'cat' in casual conversation enough. Seriously.