Monday, April 9, 2012

Previewing Tonight's Home Opener TOR 2-1 vs BOS 0-3

Henderson Alvarez will become the youngest Blue Jay in team history to start a home opener when he gets the ball tonight in front of a sold out crowd at the Rogers Centre against the Boston Red Sox.  He replaces Dave Stieb on the list, who started the home opener in 1980 at the age of 22.  Alvarez will turn 22 next Wednesday.

Alvarez made ten starts last season for Toronto finishing with an ERA of 3.53 and a very nice WHIP of 1.13.  Now I generally try not to get overly excited about a young player before they get a few years under their belt.  But I have to tell you, I am excited about this kid.  This spring he threw 15 innings, allowing only 3 walks and striking out 10.  His spring ERA was a solid 3 and again he again threw to a WHIP of 1.13.  I know that spring stats aren't usually a valid reflection of a players performance.  However what I'm taking from this is that he has good control of his stuff and he gets people out. 

Alvarez, ArencibiaOn March 24 I watched Alvarez in Dunedin start against an Atlanta lineup that included all of the regulars aside from Dan Uggla and an injured Chipper Jones.  Alvarez allowed one hit over five innings and walked no one.  What really impressed me though was how well he dominated the lower half of the strike zone and induced ground ball outs.  He is young and he may have a sophomore slump.  That being said, I like the way he plays the game. 

The Red Sox will counter with left hander Felix Doubront.  Doubront won a rotation spot after posting a 1-0 record with an ERA of 2.70 in Grapefruit League action this spring.  Boston is still looking for their first win of the year after being swept out of Comerica Park in Detroit this weekend.

If Toronto is going to have a shot at competing this season, they need to win these early games against Boston while the likes of Beckett, Bailey and Crawford are out.  Here's hoping they get off to a good start at home tonight behind Alvarez.

One thing is for certain.  It's gonna be loud!

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