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Five Blue Jays Thoughts: Please play Davis Schneider every day, how the new Rogers Centre renovations look on TV, and more

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Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Ethan Diamandas
17 days ago
Blue Jays baseball has returned to Toronto, and for the fourth time in five years, Toronto won its opener at Rogers Centre.
There was plenty for fans to enjoy in Monday’s Blue Jays win, including a new-look 100-level, though it’s hard to say if that makes up for a dreadful previous week in Jays Land.
Here are five thoughts on the ’24 Blue Jays.

The best version of José Berríos

“La Makina” is amped up. This is the best version of José Berríos I’ve seen since his first half-season in Toronto back in 2021. Unsurprisingly, he’s activated his workhorse perk early, twirling at least six innings in each of his first three starts, including 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball Monday versus the Mariners.
He’s pounding his glove on the mound. He’s yelling. He’s growling (probably). It’s the same fire he showed before he was unceremoniously yanked in Game 2 of the 2023 AL Wild Card Series. And boy, do the Jays ever need him right now.
After Kevin Gausman got pasted for five earned runs through 1 1/3 innings on April 6, Toronto’s rotation desperately needed a dominant performance to set things straight. And if Berríos keeps building four, five, or six quality starts in a row, we can talk about a potential All-Star season and his first encroachment into Cy Young territory since 2021. There’s a long way to go, but the righty’s stuff and his attitude are top-notch right now.

Please play Davis Schneider every day

There are advantages to playing platoons or catering your batting order’s strengths to a pitcher’s specific weaknesses, but there comes a threshold where general success supersedes a favourable matchup. The Blue Jays reached that point five games ago with Davis Schneider.
“Babe” is a spark. He walks into the box confident and capable of doing damage. He’s 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs when runners are in scoring position. Sure, his twirling, leaping acrobatics in left field is a work in progress, but for a Blue Jays lineup starved for impact offence, Schneider is the guy.
And yes, Schneider’s increase in playing time should come at Daulton Varsho’s expense. Varsho is 4-for-30 to start the season with one extra-base hit and a .402 OPS. You can’t abandon the 27-year-old after 11 games, but for now, Schneider is better, and he deserves the reps, defence be damned.

Chad Green is scaring me

There is little reason to doubt Chad Green’s credentials. He’s a nine-year veteran who pitched at an above-average level in New York (a tough market) until joining the Blue Jays. Obviously, Green was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last season, so it’s hard to evaluate his 13 appearances a year ago.
This season, however, he’s grooving fastballs. His stuff looks great; the heat on the four-seamer is there, and his breaking ball has enough bite to be effective, but the location is troubling. The right-hander allowed another homer Monday (his second bomb allowed in four outings).
Green has one save this year, though the Blue Jays appear uncommitted to a full-time closer with Jordan Romano out. The South Carolina native’s next couple of outings are key.

Renovations and TV viewing

While I cannot speak for fans who graced the 100-level seats on Monday, from afar, the experience looks better. All 100-level chairs are now tilted toward home plate, and each seat offers a comfier experience and a cupholder (hallelujah) for all. Foul territory has been reduced, and all front-row seats are much closer to the action.
But apparently the broadcast camera angle has zoomed out? I saw fans chatting about this on Twitter, and I agree it looks strange. There’s now a far more distracting background behind the action at home, and with the wider-angle view, it’s difficult to gauge balls and strikes. The whole setup reminds me of a college baseball camera angle.
TV viewers will adjust, but it is jarring. No doubt.

Alejandro Kirk’s weird luck won’t continue

I wrote not long ago that I liked Alejandro Kirk’s at-bats and that his clutch performance was paying off. Well, he remains an enigma. The Jays catcher picked up another RBI Monday, his third straight game driving in a run. Kirk leads Toronto with seven RBIs.
Yet it’s clear something is very wrong with his swing. The 25-year-old is whiffing more, walking less, missing middle-middle pitches, and has yet to connect on an extra-base hit. Kirk’s approach and strikeout-to-walk ratio were always his greatest strengths. With a scrambled approach and a .413 season OPS, his luck will run out eventually, so I’d love to see him shake things up soon.

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