Wilner on MLB: Rogers becoming Blue Jays’ ace?

June 14, 2013, 8:34 AM

ARLINGTON, Tex. – So that’s twice Yu Darvish has started against the Blue Jays in less than a week and twice the Blue Jays have won, though Darvish did manage to escape being handed the loss both times. It was a great way to open up a four-game series against a tough team.

Here are three things that stood out to me about the Blue Jays’ win over the Rangers:

Blue Jays Talk: June 13

ACE-MIL ROGERS?

Esmil Rogers had a fantastic start against one of the league’s top offensive teams, holding Texas to just one run on five hits through seven innings, and doing it while using an economical 93 pitches.

Not only was it Rogers’ best start of the season, it was one of the five best starts for a Blue Jay this season, period, which makes it easy to dream on the hard-throwing righty – especially since he’s given up a total of just two runs over his last 23 2/3 innings of work.

Ace is a bit of a stretch, though. Actually, it’s a lot more than a stretch. As disappointing as the Blue Jays’ starting rotation has been this season, I don’t think you can call someone the ace when he’s only made one start that’s lasted longer than four innings.

Rogers came over in an off-season deal with the Cleveland Indians as a guy who had failed as a big-league starting pitcher (6.24 ERA, 1.772 WHIP) but had really found himself once he left the Colorado Rockies and became a reliever with the Indians. Maybe Colorado had more to do with his issues than starting, maybe not, but we’re likely to find out, as he’s off to a tremendous beginning in his new role with the Blue Jays.

UNUSUAL SCORING SITUATION

Sometimes my Twitter followers want to delve in the minutiae of the game, both as far as rules and official scoring rules are concerned, and a rare situation cropped up in the top of the 8th.

Emilio Bonifacio began the inning with a ground ball to third on which Adrian Beltre made a great play, but his throw was nowhere close and Bonifacio wound up reaching on the error. Two outs later, Jose Bautista drew a walk and Edwin Encarnacion followed with what would be the game-winning double.

Now, with Encarnacion’s hit coming with two outs, that meant both Blue Jays’ runs were unearned because had Beltre been able to make the play on Bonifacio, the inning would have ended before even Bautista came to bat.

However, the Rangers changed pitchers before Bautista came up, and it was Tanner Scheppers who walked him and gave up the double to Encarnacion.

The Beltre error had no effect on what Scheppers did – he gave up a walk and that walk scored when the next guy hit a double – so the run Scheppers allowed counts as an earned run against him, even though it counts as an unearned run in the game and against the Rangers. Unusual scoring!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HALL OF FAMER! WE MISS YOU

Tuesday would have been the 74th birthday of the great Tom Cheek. He spent 28 of those birthdays in the Blue Jays’ broadcast booth, as part of his incredible streak of 4,306 consecutive regular-season games.

That streak was just one of the many things that led to Tom being voted the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence this winter – he’ll be inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown next month.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day twists and turns of a baseball season and it’s easy to want to forget the past and look only forward, but it’s important to remember what – and who – got us here.

Cheek was the voice of summer across Canada for almost three decades. He introduced millions of people across this country to baseball, and held their figurative hands as they and the Blue Jays grew together from expansion doormats into a team that had one of the best 10-year runs in the history of the game to that point.

It’s wonderful that he’s finally being honoured at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in July, just as it was wonderful that he was honoured by his induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year. And it’s important to keep his legacy alive because he meant so much to so many for so long.

Happy Birthday, Tom.

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