Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jays played the a split squad version of the New York Yankees today at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, and… yep, it’s still spring.
The Jays got their first look at New York’s three-headed bullpen monster, and… it’s still spring, so the fact that Aroldis Chapman wasn’t particularly sharp in his Grapefruit League debut, and that Andrew Miller gave up a couple of runs, doesn’t tell us a whole lot.
Still can’t complain about watching baseball on a Thursday afternoon, though.
The fact that Kevin Pillar managed to work a walk off Chapman doesn’t matter either — though the fact that he was leading off for the Jays, which he totally shouldn’t, sort of does (just… maybe not quite as much as the number of times I’ve mentioned it would suggest.)
And… let’s see… what else?
Oh, it doesn’t matter that Michael Saunders had an 0-for-4 today. Or that Drew Hutchison looked decent enough… right up until the point where he ended his day with a double, walk, single, and RBI ground out.
Jesse Chavez wasn’t exactly great either, and at one point it looked like the Jays might lose this one. Not that it would have mattered! Eventually Chapman came in all rusty and then a bunch of mostly minor leaguers came in to finish out the game and I flipped to soccer instead (with some very effective prodding from MLB.tv, when they insisted on sticking with the YES broadcast through a military honouree and a rendition of God Bless America).
That Jose Bautista took his first swings of the spring matters — coming, as they did, right after human foie gras, “Goose” Gossage, took some of his own swings in Jose’s direction — but the results still really don’t, save for the fact that both he and Ryan Goins came through HBPs from Chapman healthy and unscathed.
I dunno. Nice days for Pat Venditte and the Yankees’ Nate Eovaldi and (unsurprisingly) Dellin Betances, I guess. And it was nice to actually see it .(Sportsnet really can’t find a way televise every game of the team they own? Really?)
Also nice, for those who partake, to get back to a more familiar style of commenting system — which was mostly a success! On that, please note: You’ll only see that kind of comment section on Game Threats, but they will obviously remain open. I assume most discussion will live on each Game Threat until a new one is posted — so don’t believe the “0 comments” link you’ll see where Game Threat’s are posted on the main page. (Don’t believe “pretend your mom is reading over your shoulder” stuff either, by the way.)
Uh… so yeah! Big win there! Or something.
After (read: during) the game, some of the Jays regulars spoke to the media, offering their comments on a day’s work and responses to the Goose Gossage nontroversy. (Also Jose Bautista reiterated, according to a Ben Nicholson-Smith tweet, that he’s not going to talk about his contract. Presumably somebody asked him.)
“He’s entitled to his opinion. I don’t agree withh him whatsoever, but I’m not going to try to pick fights with people,” Bautista said of Gossage, according to another of Ben’s tweets. “They say what’s on their mind. If he had a reason to believe that, I would love to hear that, but I’ve never talked to him. I don’t know him. Whatever reason or agenda he’s on is fine with me. I’m not going to start picking a fight, let alone with a Hall of Famer.”
Shades of Jose’s amazing Steve Simmons riposte! Or, at least, that’s how I want to read “I don’t even know him.”
But even if not, I just really, really like that the guy talking about respect and not acting like a fool is the one who completely comes off like a total baby here. Or maybe it’s just performance art, who knows? Better still, who cares?
“I don’t think we’re too concerned about what Goose Gossage is thinking. Even though we respect what he’s done for the game,” added Russell Martin, via a tweet from Barry Davis. “Jose is one of the best competitors I’ve ever played with. I enjoy how he goes about his business. He’s a warrior out there,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bautista will sit tomorrow against Red Sox knuckleballer Stephen “the zebra did it” Wright, but confirmed, via a tweet from Scott MacArthur, that he’ll DH on the weekend and make his debut in right field on Tuesday against Baltimore.
Oh, and on the injury front the club is already making contingencies for the possibility that Marco Estrada isn’t quite ready to start the season — something Gregor Chisholm writes about at MLB.com. Estrada could be put fifth in the rotation and then skipped in the first week, as the Jays have an off day, and could simply pitch Marcus Stroman on regular rest in the home opener — something that, since you know he’s going to pitch on regular rest most of the time anyway, and because you don’t hate fun, you think is a terrific idea.
Even just watching games that actually count — having a liiiiitlte more reason to be invested in what’s going on on the field, let alone two straight huge games for Stroman to kick off his season with — sounds like a pretty terrific idea at this point.