Not really Ernie Whitt. But I imagine him often sophistically engaging in informative MLB talk. Especially the Toronto Blue Jays. Follow on twitter @EWhittExchange. *I am not Ernie Whitt.*
Drew Hutchison SP
Current record: 0-1
Diaz slides into the bottom on the lineup to replace leadoff hitter with hamstrings made of glass, José Reyes. No denying the defence up the middle here between Goins and Diaz, should make for a solid double play duo, but offence will be minimal. Both struggled at the plate during spring training but Diaz will be working hard for his first career hit, having only previously played 5 regular season games with the Boston Red Sox.
This is the first we’re seeing Hutchison take the mound for the Jays since he underwent Tommy John surgery about a year and a half ago. His strong showing this spring (15.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 19 SO, 4 BB) gives fans hope for a solid mid-rotation guy who can keep the team in games and eat some innings. He’s sort of reminiscent of Shaun Marcum; he won’t overpower but he’ll be around the zone and rely on pitch placement and fooling batters by mixing it up.
The key to winning games this season against the Rays will be managing base runners, productive outs, and timely hitting. Everyone knows the Rays have one of the top pitching staffs and defence in the American League, meaning that the Jays will have to be patient and wait for their opportunities to come. Work the count, get runners on base early in the inning and work them around a base at a time with smart hitting and heads-up base running. And the odd long ball doesn’t hurt either.
And yes, I am disappointed it wasn’t KAWASAKI who was called up to replace Reyes, but hey, what can you do.
Go Jays Go!