Well the first game didn't exactly go according to plan. Luckily baseball gives you more then enough opportunities to avenge walk off losses.
Today the Jays take on the Rangers in game 2 of our 3 game opening season series. Brian Tallet gets the ball for the Jays and hopes to replicate what Marcum could do in the opener. Now for anyone that reads the comments here regularly you already know my feelings on Tallet so I am not going to say anything more about it. It is what it is and let's hope the guy pitches lights out and gives us a chance to win. Last year Tallet finished 7-9 in 25 Starts and 160.2 Innings. He had a 5.32 ERA and a 1.5 WHIP. The numbers do not look so great but that could have been a byproduct of tiring down in the end of the season. Before last season the largest number of starts that Tallet had at the major league level was 3 with Cleveland in 2003, and the most innings pitched? Well that was only 62 with the Jays in 2007. That is a major jump. There were numerous starts last year that Tallet pitched amazing. Let's hope today will be one of those amazing ones.
Taking the hill opposing Tallet with be the perennial injury risk, Canadian Rich Harden. Rich signed with the Rangers after being with the Cubs for the previous two seasons. As you can expect those past two seasons were marred with injuries only allowing Harden to reach 141 and 71 innings respectively each year. That being said when Harden is healthy and in the lineup he can be downright scary good. This guy strikes out more then a batter an inning. Over his career he averages 9.4 Strikeouts over 9 innings but if you just look over the past 3 seasons it is closer to 11 over 9. Like any power pitcher he will give up his share of hits and walks but he offsets it with the ability to get outs at any time with the strikeout.
The trick today will be to get to the Rangers bullpen early (Isn't that always the way?). With Harden being a major league strikeout pitcher he will usually end up throwing a lot of pitches and usually doesn't go deep into games. We have to make sure not to let him off the hook by swinging at bad pitches and letting him get away with 3-5 pitch strikeouts. As Cito says "Have a plan when you go to the plate".
Personally I really hope Vernon can turn his strong opening day showing into a hot streak. While he is not going well he doesn't get enough credit for stuff like this. Granted I am sure we all think the same way as if Vernon can turn back to the clock to become even close to the All-Star he was he is going to be a part of our offense.
Tune in after the jump for Series Information along with the Lineups.
Rangers lead the series 1-0
|Mon 04/05|| WP: Frank Francisco (1 - 0) |
LP: Jason Frasor (0 - 1)
|4 - 5 loss|
|Thu 04/08||2:05 PM EDT|
04/07/10 8:05 PM EDT
|Toronto Blue Jays||Texas Rangers|
|Jose Bautista - RF||Julio Borbon - CF|
|Aaron Hill - 2B||Michael Young - 3B|
|Adam Lind - DH||Josh Hamilton - LF|
|Vernon Wells - CF||Vladimir Guerrero - DH|
|Lyle Overbay - 1B||Nelson Cruz - RF|
|John Buck - C||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Edwin Encarnacion - 3B||Joaquin Arias - 2B|
|Alex Gonzalez - SS||Taylor Teagarden - C|
|Travis Snider - LF||Elvis Andrus - SS|
Remember keep it (relatively) civil in the game thread. Let's have fun and Go Jays Go!