The Jays dropped both of their games over the weekend, but it’s spring, so who cares! Anyways, let’s get into the good and bad performances from the past couple days that actually (sort of) matter.
— Azulejos de Toronto (@losazulejos) March 4, 2017
Saturday: 6-2 loss to the Twins
– The Blue Jays fielded a pretty ugly lineup in Saturday’s game, so a weak offensive output wasn’t unexpected.
– Kendrys Morales was easily the star of the day. He went two-for-three with a couple singles, pushing his spring numbers to an absurd .545/.615/.909 slash line. Spring stats don’t mean a hell of a lot, positive or negative, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve read this website much, but it’s certainly nice to see Morales hit the ground running on his new team. I mean, we would rather him roll into 2017 with all the pressure of filling Edwin’s massive shoes as confident and comfortable as possible, right?
– Speaking of that… Kendrys isn’t actually worried about filling Edwin’s role. Prior to Friday’s game against the Yankees, Morales said: “I don’t feel any pressure. Edwin is a great hitter and a guy who hits for power and he did his job here. He did great here. Now it’s my turn to come out and do what I can do. I don’t think about that. I just think about doing my job and if it doesn’t go well, I’m just going to have to work harder.” But still!
– Sticking with the first base/designated hitter glut on the Jays roster, Justin Smoak had himself a rough day at the plate. He hit a single in four at bats, but also struck out twice, lifting his K total for the spring to seven. He’s looked so bad at the plate so far this spring that we don’t seem to notice that Rowdy Tellez has just as many strikeouts and one more hit in the same amount of plate appearances. But the difference is Smoak is rolling into camp as a veteran likely to receive four or five hundred plate appearances this season, and his plate approach is worrisome. He’s swinging through anything with break on it, isn’t working counts, and is doing pretty everything he’s been ostracized for the past two seasons.
– Uhhhhh… Let’s get back to positive shit! Richard Urena picked up and single and a walk in his two plate appearances, and has worked his way up to a .400 batting average for spring. His success at the plate has been enough for us to completely forget about his poor glove work in the first few games of spring! With Ryan Goins likely going on waivers and *gasp* potentially getting claimed by another team, Urena has worked his way into the discussion for a call-up if disaster calls at some point during the season.
– Dalton Pompey put up a goose egg in four at bats, but didn’t strike out once, which is a positive. Anthony Alford, on the other hand, struck out twice in three at bats. Neither has made a very strong case for pushing either Melvin Upton or Zeke out of the left field conversation out of camp, which is, uh, unfortunate.
– Casey Lawrence got the start, and allowed one run or two hits over two innings. He’s had a low-key solid spring, and if it continues, could work his way into the conversation for a long-reliever role out of camp. His competition, Mike Bolsinger, had a rough go on Saturday, allowing two runs over two-thirds of an inning.
– Tim Mayza continues to impress. On Saturday, he pitched a clean inning , and has now worked three innings in spring without allowing a run. Same goes for Char Girodo, who surrendered one hit and picked up a strikeout in his inning of work. J.P. Howell is going to be the team’s primary lefty this season, but Girodo and Mayza are both giving Aaron Loup a run for his money as the second one, which is a good thing.
Now pitching: Marco Estrada! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/C8Od0rLxbI
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 5, 2017
Sunday: 5-3 loss to the Rays
– The Jays appeared to be on their way to a win in Troy Tulowitzki’s 2017 debut on Sunday, but Bo Schultz came into the game in the eighth inning and completely imploded, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits while only recording two outs. Matt Dermody, who I didn’t mention (but should have!) in the lefty discussion above, came in and cleaned up the mess.
– Marcus Stroman got the start and looked pretty good. He tossed two-and-two-thirds innings, surrendering one run on four hits while striking out three. I think those strikeout numbers are the key here in spring. Stroman wasn’t fooling many batters last year and gave up a lot of contact, when he’s effective, his secondary stuff is working and he’s able to miss bats rather than consistently relying on soft, ground ball contact. So his six strikeouts over four-and-two-thirds innings has been positive!
– Marco Estrada came into the game in the fourth inning for his 2017 debut, and looked very Marco Estrada-esque. He tossed two innings, allowed one hit, picked up one strikeout, and had a bunch of soft contact, which is vintage stuff from the magician.
– Roberto Osuna came in after and pitched a three up, three down inning with a couple of strikeouts, continuing an excellent start to his spring. And Joe Smith and Ryan Tepera each had strong outings, meaning the only blemish today, really, was Schultz’s difficult inning. So, all in all, a strong day for Jays pitchers (that matter!), which has largely been the case this spring.
– Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar each continued their strong springs. Joey ‘Chip on his Shoulder’ Bats had a double and a single in three at bats, as did Pillar. Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki, on the other hand, both went zero-for-two with a strikeout.
– Steve Pearce hasn’t played in the field yet, but has looked solid as the designated hitter throughout spring. Pearce drove in a run on a sac fly in the second inning, and drove in another run in the sixth inning with a single. I don’t think it’s going to take long for the lefty-masher (who hits righties better than Justin Smoak does lololol) to take the starting job for the two-year, $8.5 million man.