Yesterday, Aaron Sanchez did his best to prove that he deserves to break camp as a member of the Blue Jays’ starting rotation, and today, Gavin Floyd will try to do the same against the Phillies. And the game is on TV!
EDIT: Actually…. Unfortunately, there won’t be any Jays baseball today as the game was cancelled due to rain. Booo!!!
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) March 19, 2016
Rainy day clubhouse vibes with the brothers. @BlueJays
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 19, 2016
In his fourth start of spring, Aaron Sanchez dominated the Houston Astros (albeit, a skeleton version of the Astros that didn’t feature any of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, or George Springer) tossing 4 2/3 innings, surrendering just one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. The performance added to his already impressive 2016 Grapefruit resume, as Sanchez now boasts a WHIP just above 1.00 and 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
The only trouble Sanchez really had yesterday was a leadoff double by Marwin Gonzalez in the fourth inning. After allowing the double, Sanchez tossed a wild pitch that moved Gonzalez to third, and after getting Luis Valbuena to pop out, Tyler Wright cashed him in with a sacrifice fly. Otherwise, he looked fantastic.
Speaking of fantastic, Jose Bautista hammered his second home run of spring in the third inning off of Doug Fister. And man oh man, I know it’s spring and all, but that swing looked like something from Game 5 of the ALDS. Troy Tulowtzki also clubbed a solo homer in the fifth inning, and Darwin Barney and Kevin Pillar chipped in with RBIs en route to a 7-2 Blue Jays win.
Justin Smoak had an excellent day at the plate, hitting a double and a single and drawing a walk in three plate appearances. Kevin Pillar, who’s been pretty much guaranteed the leadoff job this season, also had good day, smacking two singles in three trips to the plate. Wait, Kevin Pillar has been guaranteed the leadoff spot?!
NEWS AND SCUTTLEBUTT
Yes, according to a tweet from Gregor Chisholm earlier this morning, “The decision technically isn’t official but it might as well be. Kevin Pillar will open the year as the #BlueJays leadoff hitter.”
I’m not a big fan, but to be honest, I’m not surprised at all. Obviously the better plan would be to roll with somebody who gets on base at a more consistent clip than Pillar (and ideally somebody who doesn’t swing at everything) but it’s pretty evident that the Jays see Pillar a conventional leadoff type rather than Tulo or Russell Martin. Oh well, best just to accept it and hope for the best.
Sticking with Gregor, he tweeted earlier this morning that Gibby isn’t going to make an announcement on the fifth starter until the end of camp. He then goes on to speculate that the decision will likely become before the two exhibition games in Montreal (on April 1 and April 2).
Also, Gibby said that he’s “optimistic” that Encarnacion will be ready for Opening Day, but also admitted that he needs to get some at bats very soon. There’s still time left, but obviously Edwin can’t jog into the regular season with only a few swings over spring.
And finally, Brad Penny retired after a pretty tough struggle in Grapefruit play with the Jays this month, Dalton Pompey was demoted to minor league camp and he’s taking it fairly well, and Jesse Chavez is thrilled to be back with the Blue Jays.
THERE WON’T BE A GAME TODAY I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF NOW
Gavin Floyd gets the ball today. It’ll be his his fourth start of spring, and based on what Aaron Sanchez did yesterday, he’s going to have to toss another good game to keep up. After Floyd pitches his expected four or five innings, we’re going to see Arnold Leon, Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, and David Aardsma. TV: Sportsnet and MLB.tv Radio: SN590
Next game: Sunday vs. Pittsburgh at 1:07 PM
And now, the lineups…
Kevin Pillar (CF)
Darrell Ceciliani (LF)
Ryan Goins (SS)
Justin Smoak (1B)
Domonic Brown (RF)
Darwin Barney (2B)
Josh Thole (C)
Tony Sanchez (DH)
Andy Burns (3B)
Gavin Floyd (P)
Cesar Hernandez (2B)
Freddy Galvis (SS)
Henry Blanco (3B)
Ryan Howard (DH)
Darin Ruf (1B)
David Lough (RF)
J.P. Arencibia (C)
Darnell Sweeney (CF)
Emmanuel Burriss (LF)
Jeremy Hellickson (SP)