MLB: Masterson and Cabrera combine to ruin Jays season opener
By Rob Soria
Justin Masterson out-dueled R.A. Dickey, scattering three hits over six solid innings of work. While shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera proved to be a difference maker, at the plate and in the field, leading the Cleveland Indians to a surprising 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, in both team's 2013 season opener.
Edmonton - April 3, 2013 - The Toronto Blue Jays were the talk of the baseball world heading into the 2013 Major League Baseball season, with the vast majority of experts picking them as the odds on favourite to take the American League East crown.
Tuesday night's season opener was supposed to be the re-tooled Jays coming out party. Unfortunately for the sold out Rogers Centre crowd, the Cleveland Indians were not so co-operative.
Justin Masterson had Toronto's number for a second consecutive season opener, scattering three hits over six solid innings of work. While shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera proved to be a difference maker, at the plate and in the field, leading the Indians to a surprising 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays.
R.A. Dickey was decent in his Jays debut, allowing three earned runs over six innings of work, but struggled to find chemistry with battery mate J.P. Arencibia, as the duo combined for three pass balls and one wild pitch on the night. Typically, not an overly alarming stat when it comes to a knuckleballer but when they lead directly to a pair of early runs, it can become an issue in a hurry.
After spotting Cleveland those second inning runs, courtesy of a couple of singles, a walk and two pass balls, Toronto looked to be on the verge of bouncing back with a big response in the bottom of the third. Adam Lind came to the plate with the bases load and nobody out but Cabrera stabbed his shot up the middle, making a splendid backhand get, and starting a crucial 6-4-3 double play.
The Jays did cut the lead in half thanks to the double play ball but would not have another base runner until Arencibia smacked a double down the right field alley, with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Masterson and a trio of Cleveland relievers combined to sit down eighteen consecutive Jays, before that ninth inning double.
Cleveland would give themselves a three run cushion in the top of the fifth, as Cabrera got a hold of a Dickey knuckler that wasn't dancing, and managed to punch it over the right-field fence for a two run homer. In defence of the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, when the ball came off the shortstop's bat, it appeared to be nothing more than a lazy fly ball.
Toronto's highly touted offence was quiet all night long, as the top half of the order (Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Lind) were a combined 2-for-16 and left seven runners on base between them. All and all, it was a disappointing opener but the sky is not exactly falling.
It was not the start skip John Gibbons had in mind but at the end of the day, we are talking about the first game of a 162 game marathon. Make no mistake, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to lose their fare share of games over the next six or so months but with the lineup they have constructed, it is a pretty safe bet to assume they well be on the right side of the box score far more often than not.
Next Up: Cleveland (Jimenez) vs Toronto (Morrow), 7:07p.m.(EST)
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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