Spring Threat: Sanchez gets the ball as the Jays host the Rays

Well, that wasn’t very fun. Just as I started going on about difficult it is to temper expectations on this club as they dominate Grapefruit ball, they slam their faces into the wall and lose 8-5 to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Oh well, these are exhibition games, after all. Does very-unlikely-to-make-the-opening-night-roster Brad Penny and Roberto Hernandez getting knocked around represent anything significant? Of course not. But still, watching the Jays win is more fun than watching them lose, regardless of the meaninglessness of the game. 

Anyways, the Jays are back in action today against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (I still have a hard time dropping the Devil because the name Tampa Bay Rays sounds like a collection of people from Tampa Bay named Ray and I don’t like it). And they’re on TV (Sportsnet) this time! Woohoo! 

YESTERDAY

R.A. Dickey took to the mound for his third start of the season backed by what was probably just about as close to the team’s opening night lineup as you’ll see in spring. Dickey went 4 1/3, allowing five hits, zero walks (this is good), and three earned runs, highlighted by a two-run home run from David Lough in the bottom of the third inning. Of his four-and-a-third innings of work, Dickey had two clean, three up, three down innings, it was only that third inning where he really ran into any trouble. 

Ryan Tepera took the ball from R.A. and got the final two outs of the fifth inning, earning one strikeout and conceding one hit. After that, the wheels kinda fell off for two veteran hopefuls. Brad Penny came in and worked the sixth and seventh, allowing four hits and two earned runs, which came off a two-run bomb to our old friend J.P. Arencibia. Hernandez was even worse. He took the mound and promptly gave up a single, double, and a home run before settling it down and getting himself out of the inning. 

So yeah. Overall, it wasn’t a memorable day for the pitchers. Dickey was fine, not great but not terrible either, but he wasn’t getting much in terms of swings and misses from opposing batters. Tepera was solid, but you can’t really grasp much from two-thirds of an inning. And as I said, Penny and Hernandez were both awful. But did we expect anything different? 

In terms of batters, a gold star can be handed out to Michael Saunders, who continued to show everybody just how dumb the Jay Bruce swap that almost happened actually was. Saunders smacked a single in the first inning to drive in a run, and then hit a double in the fourth. Darryl Ceciliani had a string of nice at bats (he’s actually making a nice case for himself for the fourth outfielder role), drawing two walks and hitting a single, while Chris ‘Finding Green for Days’ Colabello hit a triple which is always a pleasure to watch. 

NEWS AND SCUTTLEBUTT 

Scott MacArthur tweeted yesterday that a handful of players were cut from big league camp yesterday. Anthony Alford, Jon Berti, Taylor Cole, Scott Copeland, Matt Dean, Roemon Fields, Pat McCoy, Danny Jansen, Rowdy Tellez, and Richard Urena were all sent to minor league camp. I don’t think any of those moves would be considered surprising. The list is now down to 55 with another wave of cuts expected early next week. 

Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote an article yesterday for sportsnet about the state of the Blue Jays’ bullpen. How it’s going to be built around Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil, and Drew Storen, and how they not only need to have capable arms after them on the 25-man roster, but more arms ready in Buffalo as reinforcements. 

Gregor Chisholm says that Randy Choate is likely to crack the roster as the LOOGY with Aaron Loup injured. And more rumblings on the Jose Bautista contract situation from Ken Rosenthal. 

Otherwise…. Not much going on. But this video tweeted from Willie Bloomquist was awesome. 

TODAY 

Aaron Sanchez gets the start today and he’s expected to go four innings. It’ll be his first start of Grapefruit play, because otherwise he’s been coming out of the bullpen. After him, we’ll see Arnold Leon, Pat Venditte, and David Aardsma. Also, we’re getting another good look at the everyday lineup for this year, as the only regular who isn’t playing is Edwin Encarnacion (and Devon Travis, of course.) 

TV: Sportsnet and mlb.tv 

Radio: FAN590 and bluejays.com 

Next game: Tomorrow… Nothing! Next game is Tuesday at 1:07 p.m. against the Baltimore Orioles 

And now, the lineups…

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Pillar – CF

Donaldson – 3B

Bautista – RF

Tulowitzki – DH

Martin – C

Smoak – 1B

Saunders – LF

Burns – 2B

Goins – SS

SP – Sanchez

TAMPA BAY [DEVIL] RAYS 

Guyer – RF

Mahtook – CF 

Loney – DH 

Shaffer – 3B 

Rivera – C 

Franklin – 2B 

Motter – SS 

Roller – 1B 

Field – LF 

SP – Guerrieri

COMMENTS! 


  • Nice Guy Eddie

    Tao on Wilner’s post-game today. Would be good to have more Tao and less Wilner. Some guy on the phone is making some normal comments about the starting pitcher and Wilner has to start off his response with the ‘You’re all wrong…” answer. Shut up Wilner. Please.

  • fastball

    I think Sanchez extra 25 lbs. shows how dedicated he is for this season. Working out with Stroman who is obviously a fanatical fitness guru was a smart move by Sanchez.