By Mike Harrington
TORONTO -- Quick thoughts on the Blue Jays' clunker of an opener, Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the clearly-improved Cleveland Indians:
1). Pretty surprising to see this offense held to four hits -- only one over the final seven innings. But Asdrubal Cabrera's diving stop at second on Adam Lind's shot up the middle with the bases loaded and no outs in the third was a game-changing play.
2). R.A. Dickey's knuckleball was all over the place in the early going and I get several tweets from Mets fans pointing out the Jays are making a mistake keeping Josh Thole, Dickey's personal catcher, in Buffalo. Thole hit just .171 in spring and the Jays aren't willing to put a weak bat in their lineup. Dickey said J.P. Arencibia, who was charged with three passed balls, will get better.
Said Arencibia: "There are pitches he's going to throw that no one is going to catch unless you have a fishnet -- for a very large fish."
3). The Indians avoided the first five-game losing streak on Opening Day in their 113-year history. Cabrera made the great defensive play and stroked a two-run homer. The defense also got a sliding catch in right from Drew Stubbs. With Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and Stubbs, the Tribe will corral a lot of balls in the outfield this season. Terry Francona is such a calming presence. He really likes this team. He should. Big improvement coming.
Cabrera, by the way, is the last remaining Indians player who saw time in Buffalo. Pretty odd the Tribe has gone through all of them in just five years.
4). The Blue Jays have to be disappointed that five months of buildup led to this for the big crowd but attendance is expected to be strong all week; in previous years, that 48,000-plus crowd for opening night morphed to 15,000 the next few days. That's not happening this year as sales are strong.
"I know they're all disappointed. We're not. It's part of baseball," said manager John Gibbons. "We just got outplayed tonight but they'll be back. We've got a good ballclub. They'll be back. They'll have a fun, entertaining year."
"What's tough is we're not gonna go undefeated this year," cracked Arencibia. "We were hoping to be the first team to go 162-0."
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