Here we are. Just one final exhibition game before the Blue Jays travel south to Florida for Opening Day. 52,682 people were packed into Montreal’s Olympic Stadium to get their annual two-day fix of baseball, showing the league’s front office how badly they would love another swing with the Expos back in town.
The crowd was insane. They honoured former Expos Tim Raines, Vlad Guerrero, and Pedro Martinez, and also David Ortiz and Russell Martin before the game, and went nuts when Kevin Pillar belted a leadoff home run in the first inning. If there was ever a good way to get the players fired up to start the season, this is the way to do it.
J.A. Happ got the ball last night, and did his job, going four innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. After him, Joe Biagini came in and allowed one run on three hits, and was charged with a blown save. Ryan Tepera, Wil Browning, Chad Girodo, and David Aardsma wrapped up the next four innings, before Pat McCoy allowed the Sox to grab a two-run lead in the top of the tenth.
The Jays scored only two runs yesterday off of Steven Wright and Boston’s bullpen, both coming in the form of solo home runs. In the first, Kevin Pillar got things going with a leadoff bomb, and then Michael Saunders hit one of his own in the second inning. But that was all the Jays could get going in terms of offence, as they scattered eight hits over the next eight innings.
News and Scuttlebutt
The focus, in terms of news related stuff right now, is pretty much all on the scene in Montreal and Opening Day tomorrow, and there isn’t anything new in regards to injuries or roster updates. As we know, Marco Estrada will start the season with a brief DL stint, the Jays will roll with eight relievers until he’s back, and Edwin Encarnacion is ready to go despite not getting much action over spring.
Stephen Marche from Sportsnet wrote an excellent, in-depth description of the legendary seventh inning in Game 5 against the Texas Rangers. It’s worth the read.
If you’re in need of any hype heading into tomorrow, there are a handful of articles about how this year is the Jays’ year to shine. Here’s one from BP Toronto, one from Jays Journal, and another one by Jayson Stark at ESPN predicting that the Jays will win it all this year.
And apparently the Blue Jays are one of five teams interested in Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez, I’m guessing because the team needs more pitching depth, especially with an innings limit imposed on Sanchez. Also from MLB Trade Rumours, they did a nice outline of the ays offseason, in case you had missed any of the players they had added or dropped.
Today, the Jays roll out a Diet Coke version of their roster, as Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowtzki, and Michael Saunders get the day off while Josh Thole, Darwin Barney, and Ezequiel Carrera fill in for the final exhibition game. Scott Copeland will get the start for Jays in a game described by John Gibbons as a “bullpen game,” meaning we’ll be watching a whole array of different random relievers get some action.
Next Game: Tomorrow, vs. Rays, 4:05 PM ET
And now, the lineups…
Kevin Pillar CF
Russell Martin DH
Josh Donaldson 3B
Jose Bautista RF
Chris Colabello 1B
Ryan Goins SS
Ezequiel Carrera LF
Darwin Barney 2B
Josh Thole C
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Boegarts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley CF