Back from holiday for two full days, and I'm still trying to catch up on sleep. Yesterday I was in a fog all day. Today I will play squash in the afternoon and try to get back into the swing of things.
We pretty much know the Jays' opening day roster will be now.
The two questions that were left were about the last man in the bullpen, and with Pearson being optioned and Jay Jackson getting his release, it looks like Zack Pop will fill out the bullpen.
Right now, the pen looks to be:
I'd rather have Pearson than Richards, but such is life. The pen is missing a 'long man', but then there are eight guys in pen, and our starting five should all be able to get us some inning.
And it is only the opening-day roster. I'm sure we'll see roster moves early and often.
And the other question was who would be the 26th man. Otto Lopez, who had a terrific spring, hitting .444/.545/.611 in his eight spring games, looks to be that man. Deciding on anything off 21 plate appearances is silly. Still, Lopez can play pretty much any position on the field other than catcher and pitcher (and I wouldn't bet against him throwing an inning or two this season), so he is exactly the type of player needed for that last spot.
In Sunday's game, there was a moment when Alejandro Kirk and Alek Manoah couldn't get together on a pitch. Kirk called time out and went to discuss things with Manoah. The umpire called a free ball on Alek, ball four, and the batter went to first.
We didn't understand what had happened. Nor did Buck and Dan.
Fortunately, Ben Nicholson-Smith chased down the facts for us. Ben tells us that after he called time....
The problem was, Kirk stayed where he was instead of starting to move toward the mound — a violation of the new rules. Miller, a first-year umpire who’s well-acquainted with the pitch clock from his work in the minor leagues, did what he should under the circumstances. The violation resulted in an automatic ball, allowing Hall to reach first on a walk and prompting Blue Jays manager John Schneider to jog out of the dugout in search of an explanation.
The problem, apparently, is that Kirk paused before moving towards the mound. It seems a lot to expect the catch will immediately move after asking for time. I would think that umpires will catch on that players can't always work as quickly as the rules say.
Anyway, it is good to get to read why that happened.
MLB The Show 23 ran a simulation on the 2023 season, and the Blue Jays finished the season with the most wins in baseball, 108. Unfortunately, they lost out to the Astros in the ALCS, but I'm willing to take anything as a good sign.
Kevin Gausman led the AL in wins with 20. 20 wins doesn't happen much anymore, but if anyone can this year, it is Gausman, with our team behind him.
On the flip side, I got the new OOTP Baseball beta, and my Jays aren't doing as well, 18 games into the season. George Springer was injured in the second game and no one, including Vlad and Bo are hitting at all (I've already fired the hitting coach, I know it doesn't do anything, but someone has to pay). OOTP does think players over the age of 30 tend to go downhill, and the Jays have a few of those. It is just the beta release, some things will change.
Have a nice Sunday. Next Sunday we will have the third regular season game. As much as fake games are fun, I’m looking forward to the season.