Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Sanchez takes the hill tonight and, for the first time since being re-named a starter after a near-flawless spring campaign to win the fifth spot in the Jays’ rotation, he’ll face a big league lineup. Or at least the Rays’ lineup.
Here we go!
Sanchez mowed down pretty much everybody he was asked to face in the Grapefruit League, but obviously this is a different kind of test. And while it would be a mistake (not to mention kinda insufferable) if we made every Sanchez start a referendum on whether giving him that job was the right decision, his certainly remains a story to watch — and it sure would be nice to see him stayed pointed in a positive direction.
For Sanchez, that means being able to repeat his mechanics, and the ability to effectively use his secondary stuff — the former for the sake of his command, the latter to be able to minimize the damage lefties will cause him, after they hit .279/.390/.488 off him last season.
John Lott spoke to Sanchez for us two weeks ago, and the young pitcher explained that he feels better about repeating his delivery with the weight that he gained over the winter, and declared that his curve and changeup were making good progress. Writing at ESPN.com, Eno Saris picked up on some of John’s work (as well as Drew Fairservice’s recent piece on Sanchez for us, as well) put together a big piece today on why making Sanchez a starter is clearly the right call, likening him (SPOILER ALERT) to the Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez.
I can live with that!
And maybe I’m just too full of early season optimism to worry too much about the number of things that could make this whole thing go sideways, but after the spring he put in I think it’s going to actually be fun — as opposed to nerve-wracking — to find out what he really is.
Drew Storen will function as the Jays’ closer tonight, as Roberto Osuna isn’t available after working in back-to-back games to start the season. Cue unfunny internet jokesters:
Storen will close tonight if need be. Osuna isn’t available after going in back to back games. pic.twitter.com/PksciqEnsU
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) April 5, 2016
Speaking of Storen, Barry Davis tweets out the clip of his pre-game chat with Storen. Meanwhile, there was a legit good chat in response to my dumb joke tweet, between @KyleMatte and @_ClintB_, about Storen’s velocity — which they tell us was down a little bit last night, though he’s been a slow starter with velo before, so… [shrug].
I’m being much too hard on Storen, obviously. He’s just been a little meltdown-ish sometimes. But also for very much most of the time he’s been a pretty damn good reliever. That said, I did choose him in the sidebar poll we have going about who will be the Jays’ most important reliever. But that’s because I think Cecil and Osuna will be total bosses. If Storen is his excellent self, that’s going to be so, so key.
TV: Sportsnet Ontario, Pacific, SN1
Next Game(s): Tomorrow, @ Rays, 1:10 PM ET
And now, the lineups…