Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Suk On That, Daisuke

I admit, I was soaking in the schadenfreude after watching the Blue Jays defeat Boston earlier today. It was the the gyrating gyroballer himself, Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound for the Sawks against our always enigmatic (though slightly less now that his shades are transparent) Gustavo Chacin. The Jays won 2-1.

Here's what I love about it. Daisuke pitched an amazing game. He gave up just three hits all night and struck out 10 batters (Frank Thomas and Adam Lind combining for 12 of them). In short, he was as good as anybody would have expected. He matched his hype. 'Cept Chacin was better.

Where the two pitchers seem to differ (Daisuke only has four MLB starts to extrapolate from, but I feel confident that my limb will hold) is that Chacin (2-0) always seems to find a way to win, no matter what comes off of his glove where Dice-K (1-2) can throw masterful stuff, and still lose. Chacin throws too many pitches, doesn't last enough innings, gives up too many runs - and has an overall winning record lifetime. He pitches to the situation, and the runs seem to show up when he needs them.

Anytime your third string pitcher can out duel a man worth $100 million and who commands a larger press following than say, our prime minister, you can say it's been a good day.

Game 2 of the series is tomorrow, and it's the Jays' turn to send a Japanese pitcher to the mound in Tomo "I'm Not Bitter" Ohka. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like if they had faced each other. Imagine the orgasm of reporters in both clubhouses, and imagine the Japanese swear words coming out of Ohka's mouth ("Tomo, Kyoto Daily Evening Standard Reporter Times. Do you feel any extra pressure today facing Daisuke, knowing that all of Japan will be watching?").

Let's talk injuries now. The Jays have 'em. Lots of 'em. Two weeks in, and the Jays have already lost two of their everyday position players in Troy Glaus and Reed Johnson, and their ace closer, B.J Ryan. Troy Glaus won't be gone too, too long and his replacement is a combination of defensive ubermensch John MacDonald and some stiff named Jason Smith. Reed Johnson is done for until at least the All-Star break, but this is a funny injury because it paves the way for Adam Lind, a promising kid who was this close to making the roster out of spring training anyway. The question for Reed is, will he even have a spot in outfield to come back to?

B.J's injury causes the most problems, because it's not like the Jays didn't have problems in the bullpen already. He'll be gone for six weeks or so, which isn't as bad as it could have been, since the alternative rhymed with Mommy Gone Burgery, and involved no more B.J(s) till 2008. In the meantime, we have Jason Frasor as closer, and he did look pretty confident sitting down David Ortiz on way to his first save.

The season is not lost yet. The replacements, hinging around Frasor, can more than tread water while we wait for healthier times.



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