Braves vs Jays - view from the 3rd base seats

The great thing about Spring Training baseball is the sunny weather; at least on west coast of Florida. We were sitting in section 110 today so the sun was in our face. Easy to figure out the Canadians here - they're the pink folks. After the anthems and before the game started, the Braves 3rd base coach, Terry Pendleton, and a couple of other players signed autographs and posed for photos for the (Braves) fans who were standing at the fence in front of us. I'm quite sure they wouldn't have discriminated against any fans wearing Jays symbols either.

Ricky Romero gave up a lead off single to Tyler Pastornicky.; who stole 2nd. He struck out Jason Heyward in a 7-pitch at bat. Pastornicky tried to steal 3rd but was thrown out in a controversial call as he and Brett Lawrie got tangled up at the base. Whether or not Lawrie applied the tag I couldn't tell but the umpire, who was a lot closer to the play than anyone in the seats, did call him out. No instant replay in Spring Training. Brian McCann lined out to the pitcher to end the inning.

In the 2nd inning, Dan Uggla stuck out swing on an 85 MPH slider (?); Eric Hinske grounded out to the shortstop; and Matt Diaz struck out swinging.

In the 3rd, J Parraz struck out looking at a 77 MPH change (?); Joey Terdoslavich grounded out to third. Christian Bettancourt hit a sharp grounder to third that Brett Lawrie was unable to field cleanly. Brett lost his balance going to the line but was able to get his footing and make a decent, but late, throw to first. Pastornicky grounded out to second. Romero had good command of his pitches and the 10 batters that he faced seemed to be off balance with the slider. His fastball hit 93, the slider (?) was 85-87 and there was at least one change (?) at 77.

Chad Jenkins pitched three innings giving up hits in the 4th and 6th and striking out five, all swinging, including the side in the 5th. His fastball was at 88-89, which if he left up in the zone was hit hard. Looked like a few change-ups at 74, but his best pitch was a nasty sinker / slider at the knees at 82. I'm sure JP Arencibia knew what he was throwing but all I could see was the vertical movement and speed from the scoreboard radar gun. We might see Jenkins in Toronto soon (maybe a September call up).

Darren Oliver pitched the 7th getting three ground ball outs with a solo shot off left-hander Eric Hinske to right-centre.

Jason Frasor pitched the 8th. His fastball hit 93 on the radar, but as he left it up so did the Braves who tagged him for three runs on 4 hits and a walk. Frasor struck out two and ended the inning with a flyout to centre field.

Jim Hoey pitched a clean 9th. I got his autograph after the game and said he had a nice outing today. He responded "thanks" :)

Jays batters. Yunel Escobar hit a ball of the base of the wall in left centre for a lead off double in the first. He advanced to 3rd on a Ben Francisco groundout. Jose Bautista struck out looking on an "iffy" pitch and Adam Lind also grounded out to the shortstop.

In the second, Lawrie lead off with a single and stole second; Kelly Johnson had a full count hit and Lawrie had to do some fancy stepping to avoid being caught in a run down between 2B and 3B. He was able to avoid the tag by sliding behind 2B and tagging the bag with his hand. Runners were stranded on strikeouts (swinging) by JP Arencibia and Mike McCoy and a fly ball to centre field by Eric Thames. The Jays went in order in the 3rd.

In the 4th, Adam Lind singled up the middle. Brett Lawrie fouled off three pitches with 2 strikes before hitting a ball to left field. Kelly Johnson struck out looking at an off speed pitch. JP Arencibia hit a double off the wall in centre, scoring Lind. Colby Rasmus flied out to mid-centre and Lawrie tagged up and hustled home beating the throw. Eric Thames hit the ball to left centre scoring JPA. Adeiny Hechavarria flied out to right to end the inning. A nice rally with some hustle by Lawrie to keep things interesting.

In the 5th, the Jays scored two more. Francisco took a 4 pitch walk; Bautista hit a double to score Francisco. LInd flied out to shallow centre. Lawrie hit a solid double to the wall in right to score the pinch runner John Tolisano. Johnson and Arencibia grounded out to the right side.

In the 6th, Rasmus popped up to the shortstop; Thames struck out swinging on an off speed pitch at 81 MPH and Hechavarria struck out looking at a close pitch (lots of groaning from the fans).

In the 7th, the wheels came off the Atlanta bus as the Jays batted around and the Braves went to the bullpen. Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch; Tolisano walked; Michael McDade reached on a fielder's choice and EE scored on a throwing error. Omar Vizquel hit a double to right scoring McDade. Lots of applause for Vizquel. Jonathan Diaz scored Vizquel with a triple to centre that rolled around . Arencibia singled Diaz home. Mike McCoy reached on an error. Michael Crouse was hit by a pitch (?) to load the bases. Hechavarria grounded out to first to end the inning. That was all the Jays needed.

Lots of fun watching Brian Butterfield coach 3rd base. He does occasionally yell to a runner on second... He will also interact with the fans. When someone asked (yelled out) if he taught Hechavarria that diving play in the game against the Phillies, Butter was quick to turn around and deny any responsibility with a big grin. Getting his autograph, I asked if had really gotten in trouble with the skipper for being late on a 3-0 sign to McCoy. He laughed and said no but that it wouldn't happen in a real game.

And there is a mutual respect amongst the players, coaches and umpires with handshakes before the game. Today, when Eric Hinske, who played 1B, left the game in the 7th (substitute), he made a point of approaching Butterfield to shake his hand before continuing down the left field line to the visitor's clubhouse.

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