Kendry Morales must be feeling a bit better this week. Not only is he back in the Angels lineup this spring after missing over a year, but his broken ankle from jumping up and down celebrating a game-winning hit no longer seem the dumbest baseball injury ever. Congratulations Mariano Rivera and Yankees for usurping that title.
Rivera says he’ll be back next year, which is good. Whether you love or hate the Yanks, one has to respect what “mo” has done over the past decade and a half and wonder just how many World Championships the pinstripes would have won without his constant presence in the ninth inning. His career should end with him walking off the field, tipping his cap to an appreciative Bronx crowd, not blowing his knee out playing in the outfield during a practise. One has to figure someone’s head is going to roll over this in Yankeetown.
What the Rivera injury should do however, is make Toronto more aggressive about going for it this season. The Jays are off to a surprisingly good start (especially considering the lack of productivity from Lind and to a lesser degree, Bautista) , Boston is a trainwreck again and now New York, already struggling against supposedly weakling teams like Batimore and KC are without their closer. This year could come down to just the Rays and the Jays in the East and with the added wild card spot…
I’ll acknowledge that Alex Anthopolous vision is starting to take shape. The young pitchers are learning how to pitch and defense has been remarkably sharp most nights. The team seems to show an enthusiasm that hasn’t been its trademark much of the time this past decade. Why not make the move now to bring in one more veteran starter to take over from Drew Hutchison or whomever in the number five slot and one more RBI bat (perhaps upgrading either Rasmus or Thames in the OF) and take a legitimate shot at the title. Now, not in 2015?
As great as Edwin Encarnacion has been so far, is it possible that Brandon Morrow is the most improved Jay of 2012? For my money his complete game shutout on thursday night was the best game of his career, exceeding even his near no-hitter of 2010 against Tampa. As Gregg Zaun et al on the Rogers broadcast pointed out, Morrow trimmed about 35 pitches off his count in the latest shutout and was mostly pitching at a comfortable 92 or so for his fastball, only reaching back for maximum velocity when absolutely needed. He was able to mix his pitches and speeds and keep the Angels absolutely befuddled all night with a maturity and one would hope, lack of wear and tear on his arm, not seen before . The fact that he is now averaging 7 innings a start and has lowered his ERA into the top ten in the league bode well for him to reach the skyhigh potential he’s shown ever since coming to Toronto.