Spring Training, Day 6: A good day to hit

Today was my second straight day at Dunedin, and it was a very good day to hit. With my parents in attendance (hi!), the ball was jumping out, especially in the early innings. Everything that was hit in the air, against two of the best starting pitchers in the game (Cliff Lee and R.A. Dickey), carried. Balls went to the wall, balls went over the wall.

It’s days like this that really drive home why you should never get too worked up about Spring Training performances. Lee, to my eye, actually threw the ball pretty well. But when he made mistakes, he got punished for them.

If anything sums this day up, it’s Emilio Bonifacio taking Cliff Lee deep. I’m pretty sure that’s not something you’re going to see in a game that counts.

By the way, Ryan Howard’s homer may have been wind-AIDED, but it wasn’t wind-CAUSED. It was legit, easy, opposite-field power. Quite a sight.

Today’s game in a nutshell: Extra bases for everybody! The teams combined for five homers and eight doubles as the Jays thumped the Phils, 11-6. Tyler Cloyd had a particularly rough day, giving up six runs.

Quote of the day: “He’s going after Ripken’s record.” — Charlie Manuel on Ryan Howard, who will make his ninth Grapefruit League appearance on Sunday.

Player of the day: Jose Reyes was 3-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. I think this kid has a chance to make it.

Miles drive: 24 so far today, 693 for the trip

Miles run: 4 1/2 today, 13 1/2 for the trip

Starbucks visits: 1 today, 6 for the trip

Up next: I’ll be filling in for my esteemed colleague Gregor Chisholm on the Jays beat tomorrow. They play a “road” game at the Phillies in Clearwater. It’s such a long trip that they’ll dress, stretch, work out and take BP here in Dunedin, then hop over to Clearwater for the game.

Ballpark music note of the day: They played “Closing Time” as Ramon Ortiz came out to finish off the game in the ninth. Despite being nominally appropriate, it’s a little less then intimidating. Then again, you might say the same thing about Ramon Ortiz.

And, finally, the playlist:

(See yesterday’s post for explanation. Counting down my favorite albums from last year.)

Big Boi, “In the A” (Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, No. 20)
School of Seven Bells, “White Wind” (Ghostory, No. 19)
El-P, “Tougher Colder Killer” (Cancer 4 Cure, No. 18)
Alabama Shakes, “Hold On” (Boys & Girls, No. 17)
Henry Clay People, “EveryBandWeEverLoved” (Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives, No. 16)

-M.

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