Spring Threat: Stroman, Blue Jays host Pirates

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Photo – Arturo Pardavila III

Still seeking their first win in Spring Training (which is most certainly very important and is a legitimate indicator of how good the team will be this season!), the Blue Jays will host the Pittsburgh Pirates in Dunedin. Marcus Stroman will get the ball for the Jays, beginning his pursuit of proving to the organization that he is in fact the ace of the staff we all thought he was at this time last year. 

But before we get into today’s affair, let’s gloss over what went down on Sunday, in which the Jays split squads were both hammered by the Yankees and Phillies in a couple of ugly losses (that matter! A lot!)

– Joe Biagini has a solid start, working around two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. He ultimately gave up two runs, both unearned, because of a couple errors from Richard Urena. 

– Speaking of Urena, my goodness, he had a rough time yesterday. He was charged with two errors, but it seemed every time the ball was hit in his direction, something bad happened. 

– Mat Latos made his first appearance as a Blue Jay, allowing a solo home run over two innings while collecting three strikeouts. He was only touching 91 on his fastball, so unless he channels some inner Marco Estrada, this experiment looks doomed. 

– Conner Greene had an unfortunate inning, allowing five runs on four hits and a walk. Apparently he worked out with Aaron Sanchez over the offseason, and has showed up to camp looking much thicker and stronger than he did last year. He was hitting 100 on his fastball, so it’s easy to see why the organization is high on him. 

– All in all, while the score was unimpressive, the Jays pitchers did manage to collect 15 strikeouts, which is something! 

– Kendrys Morales clubbed his first homer of the spring, and Jose Bautista had good day at the plate, picking up a double. On the other end of that, Justin Smoak wasn’t too hot, striking out in two of his three at bats. 

– There isn’t much to talk about in the Yankees game, as the Jays shuttled their B-squad down to Tampa.

– Rowdy Tellez couldn’t follow up his exciting debut, as he struck out three times in three at bats. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (I can spell this now without looking!) got one of the team’s three hits on the afternoon, and it was a no doubt home run to right field, proving he’s better than Josh Thole. 

– Chris Smith, Bo Schultz, and Chad Girodo, all of whom are challenging for the final couple of bullpen spots, had clean innings, while Brett Oberholtzer was tagged for three runs in the second inning after a perfect first frame. 

News and Scuttlebutt 

Back to today’s game. Marcus Stroman will be the first of the Jays already-penciled-in starting rotation to get a start here in spring training. According to John Gibbons, the other starters will be getting into action “pretty soon.” 

I didn’t see it yesterday, but Mike Wilner caught up with R.A. Dickey when the Jays were in Orlando visiting his new club, the Braves. It’s a nice read, and will likely result in you fondly remembering the workhorse who was low-key quite solid for the Jays over his four year tenure. 

TV: SNET 

Radio: bluejays.com 

Next game: Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against the Pirates 

And now, the lineups…

Blue Jays

Kevin Pillar (RF)

Jose Bautista (DH)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)

Justin Smoak (1B)

Darrell Ceciliani (LF)

Anthony Alford (CF)

Darwin Barney (2B)

Ryan Goins (SS)

Gregorio Petit (3B)

SP – Marcus Stroman 

Pirates

Eury Perez (RF)

Starlin Marte (CF)

Gregory Polanco (LF)

Jason Freese (3B)

Jon Jaso (1B)

Christopher Bostick (2B)

Erich Weiss (DH)

Jacob Stallings (C)

Gift Ngoepe (SS)

SP – Chad Kuhl