The Happy Recap
In their home opener Monday Night at the Rogers Centre, our beloved Jays handily defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-1 behind their deputy Ace, AJ Burnett.
Burnett had some control problems early on, walking 3 and hitting 2, but managed to get some timely ground balls and grew more devastating as the game went on. Burnett's power curve was breaking hard, his slider had nice late bite, and his fastball was up at 97 mph early on and reached 95 in the 7th inning (both according to the RSTN radar gun), with good movement. He kept the Royals off the board until the 7th, when John Buck got a hold of a mistake and ripped it over the left field fence.
Offensively, the Jays got a questionable call in the 2nd, when, with a run already in, Lyle Overbay ripped one down the first base line with the bases loaded. A fan appeared to interfere with the ball just as Sparky rounded 2nd, but the umpire awarded Overbay a ground rule double and cleared the bases, then showed Royals skipper Buddy Bell the door when he dared to complain.
Overbay was not the only Jay who was swinging the bat well, as every Jay starter got at least one hit (and all scored save Thomas and Overbay), with Wells hitting a booming HR and Aaron Hill hititng line drives seemingly everywhere, going 3-3 with a a walk, 2 runs, 2 doubles, and 2 RBI.
Once AJ departed to a nice warm applause, Downs, Accardo, and Zambrano combined to slam the door. Downs was again deployed in the LOOGY role and Accardo handled the 8th, while Zambrano looked especially sharp in the 9th, K-ing 2 of 3 batters with excellent movement on almost everything he threw.
Clayton Watch : 1-3 with a BB and a run scored. I am beginning to feel a little foolish about this section, as Royce has been steady in the field (although he was saved by some nice glovework around the bag by Overbay) and not bad at the plate, showing bat control and discipline. While he won't continue to post a .412 OBP, he sure doesn't look like a sinkhole at the moment.
Jays of the Day
AJ Burnett for a great rebound start where he got better as the game went on, Hill who looked great at the plate all night. Lyle , who, although only 1-5 at the plate, had the first big hit of the game to break it open and, even more significantly, was absolutely fantastic around the base with his glove, saving numerous hits both on errant throws and scorchers.
Great to have the games on Extra Innings!