Jays And Phillies Tie 4-4: Grapefruit League Game 2 Recap

Aaron Sanchez
Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Look. Obviously at some point I’m going to write a recap of a Grapefruit League game and suggest that something significant actually happened. But a damn tie in the minor league-heavy second game of the spring? This is proooooobably not where that’s going to happen.

Patterns take a while to develop, especially when they’re only being built in fits and starts like this very slow beginning to the season — which is especially slow for the Blue Jays, who are deliberately easing players like Jose Bautista into the lineup.

And apparently it’s the club’s brand new high performance department leading the charge on that front.

Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press, via CBC.ca, spoke to John Gibbons about Bautista, who won’t play games in the first week of the spring, being eased in. “”Those guys have a lot of input, a lot of expertise. They’ve gotten together with him to put up a plan together,” Gibbons explained. “They have some good stuff, a lot of new science . . . pretty good ideas for conditioning, how the body recovers. Jose, it’s really perfect for him.”

Spring is unnecessarily long as it is, and having gone to the playoffs (!) last fall, the Jays played a longer season than many players were used to, so I’d say that all makes sense — as does making use of the resource that the club’s new front office has given them.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the Jays’ lineup was a little bereft of star power for a home opener — even one in Dunedin. Kevin Pillar, Josh Donaldson, and Russell Martin were the only players that would be guaranteed jobs in a fully healthy Jays lineup who suited up today (with Michael Saunders and Ryan Goins — who are close to that status — joining them as well).

They all were… I don’t know. I’ll say: fine.

Sure, I ranted about Pillar a little in the Game Threat, but so far in his young career he’s had a tendency to be awfully streaky, and even if he hadn’t, I’d no more say an 0-for-3 means he’s showed anything to suggest he’s not a lead-off guy than I would say that a great game meant that he had. Obviously. “Just one game” and all that.

It’s on the pitching side where you might tend to let your imagination run wild with possibilities so early in the pre-season, I think. But even so, we weren’t offered much today in that regard. Aaron Sanchez says he’s able to repeat his delivery better because he’s bigger and stronger now, and despite a home run he induced three ground balls and struck out three batters in his two innings of work, which is exactly what you want to see from him — especially with zero walks next to his name, too — and yet… Aaron Sanchez throws damn hard with sink. Most guys probably haven’t faced live pitching like that in… a while. Maybe not ever for some of the scrubs in the Phillies organization who were by then (presumably) in the game.

So… meh. It was baseball-ish. We got to spend a few hours listening to a game. Maybe David Aardsma didn’t do himself any favours, Dwight Smith Jr. had a shoulder pop out and back in when scoring the tying run in the bottom of the ninth (not that either of those things is in any way consequential to the Jays’ season), but otherwise? Was just cool to have it happening, mostly. Bring on the next one!

    • DAKINS

      Edit: realised I responded to the wrong article. Apparently I cannot edit out a quote, so…..deal with it I guess…..

      “Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press, via CBC.ca, spoke to John Gibbons about Bautista, who won’t play games in the first week of the spring, being eased in.”

      Good god the comments in that link. People are all over Bautista saying he wants to sit out until his “demands” are met, or even that it’s a conspiracy to rest him until a trade is agreed to.

      So many idiot garbage clowns showing up already…..

  • Nego

    Y’all are gonna laugh at me, but this is the first time a post that I’m making will actually go through. I couldn’t find any of my posts in the previous threads but figured it was a site issue. Turns out I didn’t validate my email so it was attempting to post as a guest this whole time, which wasn’t allowed.

    Anyway I don’t post very often but here now. Third different site I’ve followed Stoeten too, for **** sake.

    • AJ, Breakfast Army Fan

      Welcome! I think signing either EE or JB pretty much diminishes the chances of signing the other. It’s a tough situation for Shatkins and I’m glad I’m not them, honestly.

      • 0noggin

        Either way, I’d be happy to see them sign at least one or the other. IMO, Edwin is probably the one they have the best chance at locking up long term. We all know Jose’s defensive value is already in decline, while Edwin’s value has always been squarely as a DH, which doesn’t have a $30M/yr market. So Edwin is the more likely candidate to be signed up long-term.

        If they can get Jose, too, that would be awesome, but a parrot in the hand is worth a Jose in the bush, or something like that.

        • AJ, Breakfast Army Fan

          Agreed. Having both would be nice, but that’s probably unreasonable. We saw in the postseason that pitching is key to being successful there. If simply maintaining the same offense (maybe not even that, if you account decline of certain guys) requires sacrificing pitching (Cecil, Storen, a starter, etc.), it’s not worth it. I freaking love both guys and it will be tough to see either go, but there will still be plenty of awesomeness to go around.

  • muleorastromule

    Hopefully what happened to MLB Trade Rumors when they ditched Disqus doesn’t happen here. It went from “somewhat interesting discussion” to “mouth-breather” pretty quickly.

  • Nego

    I think the switch will hurt the following in the long run.

    I’m still shocked there wasn’t game threats for postseason games last year. Minor thing but I don’t understand why they weren’t there, even a mailed in version.

    My first stop has always been DJF / Stoetens site. A big part of that involves the community and comments. Lately I’ve been frequenting http://www.bluejaysaggr.com. It’s like a daily duce that’s actually daily!

    Obviously I enjoy Stoetens writing style, I fear we’ll get less of what we like.

    • Steve-O

      And check out the Ryan Goins love:

      “By the time he was through, his 11 Defensive Runs Saved at those two positions, according to FanGraphs, were more than the double-play combinations of the Royals, Astros and Cardinals produced — combined. Seriously.

      “He might be the best defensive player in the league,” Martin said. “I think he’s that good. He’s Roberto Alomar. … You see the natural ability and the reads and the creativity. Like sliding on one leg up the middle, popping up, throwing a seed. It’s impressive, man. It really is. Just the baseball IQ is there. He’s just a natural. Makes everything look easy.”

      Wait. Did he just drop a Roberto Alomar on us? Can that be right?”

      Double-swoon!