Spring Threat: Blue Jays head to Clearwater to take on the Phillies

It’s really, really hard not to get excited about this team. As we all know, these exhibition games don’t mean a hell of a lot — even that’s being generous — but still, big bats picking up where they left off, pitching depth galore, and nice performances from prospects have all contributed to the spring training hype train chugging at rapid speed. Besides who doesn’t enjoy watching the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox on a Jon Berti walk off single (even if it’s in spring training)? I’ll take it. 

Anyways, the Jays are back in action today against the Phillies from Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida (yeah, the Scientology place) with R.A. Dickey taking the mound against Vince Velasquez. Baseball! On a Saturday!

Marcus Stroman took the mound yesterday afternoon and looked absolutely fantastic. Like I said, it’s spring, we all need to step back, take some deep breaths, not get too excited, and all that — but hell, I love watching Marcus pitch regardless of how meaningful or meaningless the game is. He dominated the Red Sox lineup — which included Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Allen Craig — striking out four and scattering three hits over 4 2/3 innings with an array of pitches that made him look like he was in midseason form.

R.A. Dickey will make his third start of spring training today. So far, R.A. has thrown 5.0 innings, allowing three hits, one walk, one earned run and collecting one strikeout. He’s expected to go four innings, and then after that, he’s going to hand the ball over to Roberto Hernandez (the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona), Brad Penny, Ryan Tepera, and Steve Delabar. So, yeah, not quite the pitching juggernaut that we were blessed with yesterday, but a few intriguing names nonetheless. 

But otherwise, the Jays are going with pretty much the entire opening day lineup save for Russell Martin and Edwin Encarnacion. They’re still doing Kevin Pillar in the leadoff spot, which isn’t good, but it’s something we’re probably going to have to come to accept as they think it’s a good idea. Anyway, I’m hoping for an offensive explosion this afternoon to offset the pitchers’ duel we witnessed yesterday. 

Scuttlebutt 

The Jays signed old man (he’s 40!) Randy Choate to a minor league deal yesterday. Here’s the official Jays twitter with a photo of him in his new gear. 

If you haven’t had enough of that whole Goose Gossage nonsense, here’s a nice quote from Bryce Harper on why he loves everything about Joey Bats. 

Hazel Mae tweeted out a video this morning of Marco Estrada warming up before the game, which is a good sign as he’s struggled with a back injury throughout spring. 

And yesterday, Gregor Chisholm wrote an article for mlb.com about how the Jays are expected to make a whole bunch of cuts early next week. But I doubt any of them will be very surprising. 

Also, you’re probably reading this and wondering “who the hell is this guy?!” I run the Nation website nhlnumbers.com, and now I’m going to be running the game threats and news on weekends for The Blue Jays Nation! Don’t worry, I’m not some random hockey guy pretending to care about baseball because the Jays made the playoffs last year. I’ve been crying tears of pain and joy over this team since Russ Adams was an everyday player. I live in Edmonton, but I usually travel twice a year to watch the Jays live (to Seattle and Toronto). So yeah! Hopefully you all enjoy my warming introductions to games over the weekend! 

TV: mlb.tv

Radio: FAN590 and bluejays.com 

Next game: Tomorrow, 1:07 PM ET, vs Tampa Bay Rays 

And now, the lineups…

Blue Jays 

Kevin Pillar (R) – LF

Josh Donaldson (R) – 3B 

Jose Bautista (R) – DH 

Troy Tulowitzki (R) – SS

Chris Colabello (R) – 1B

Michael Saunders (L) – LF

Darrell Ceciliani (L) – RF

Ryan Goins (L) – 2B

Josh Thole (R) – C

R.A. Dickey (RHP)

Phillies 

Freddy Galvis (S) – SS

Odubel Herrera (L) – CF

Maikel Franco (R) – 3B

Ryan Howard (L) – 1B

Cesar Hernandez (S) – DH

Carlos Ruiz (R) – C

Tyler Goeddel (R) – LF

David Lough (L) – RF

Vince Velasquez (RHP) 

COMMENTS

  • Player to Be Named Later

    Welcome to the show Cam!!!

    Man, I want Delabar to bounce back. He is one of the darkest of dark horses to make the team at the moment. But ever since I learned his crazy story I’ve had a soft spot for the guy. Also, when he was on, he was freakin’ nails. How sweet would it to roll out some vintage All-Star calibre Delabar in the 6th inning this year?

    A man can dream.

    • Cam Lewis

      I’ll always pull for Delabar, obviously because it would be great to have an arm like 2013 Delabar available this year to strengthen the pen, but also because he has a great story. Plus he was easy to become attached to considering he was one of the biggest bright spots of 2013.

  • Nego

    Hey Cam, welcome. To be honest that whole post I didn’t realize it wasn’t Stoets (although I should have realized it was Saturday).

    I’ve used NHLnumbers quite a bit since the unfortunate and sad situation that led to the shutdown of CapGeek. I live in Calgary now but am from Halifax and worked within the office handling gameday/community operations which involved working with the media frequently, and Matthew Wuest was one of the regulars so I had a lot of interaction with him. Great guy and extremely passionate about hockey and covering it. CapGeek was a great site that kind of changed the game for fans (and from what I’ve heard, front office execs used it too) in the salary cap age.

    Sorry to derail from baseball a little bit, not sure if you had spent much time with Matt (online or otherwise) but wanted to mention that, paths collide in weird ways sometimes.

    • Cam Lewis

      Unfortunately I never had the chance to work with or communicate with Matt at all, as I started working for NHLN in January 2015 as his health began to fail. Everything I’ve heard about him is overwhelmingly positive, and CapGeek was an incredible resource. Apparently like half of the teams in the league were using it at one point.

  • Steve-O

    Cam I’m enjoying your writing keep up the good work. I’ve been a fan of the summer game going on 60 years now. My first recollection was Don Larsen’s perfect world series game.