Photo Credit: © John E. Sokolowski

The Blue Jays Played a Game Today (Sort Of): Thursday, March 9th

The Blue Jays and Phillies played a game today. And the Jays won! Just like in the 1993 World Series. But this one didn’t matter at all. But fuck it! Let’s talk about some of the good things that happened today anyway!

  • Francisco Liriano was absolutely dominant today. He pitched three innings and picked up five strikeouts, as his slider was virtually unhittable and his pitch location was solid. The only blemish he had on the day was a walk to 2016 MLB All-Star Michael Saunders.
  • According to Arden Zwelling, Liriano is feeling much better than he did last year. He says his arm is more loose, and as a result the ball is breaking the way he wants it to. He also said in a separate comment that his new approach is getting ahead with his fastball, and then finishing the batter off with the slider, rather than relying too heavily on the breaking stuff, which is a good plan considering you aren’t necessarily going to have the pitch working for you every time you go out there.
  • If Liriano pitches as well as he can, (and so far in spring, if that’s a worthwhile indication or not, he has) he could be the Jays’ best pitcher. And that isn’t a slight to Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, or the rest of Toronto’s excellent rotation, it’s just a testament to how good Liriano actually is when he’s on.
  • Jason Grilli made his spring debut today, striking out two of the three batters he faced in a clean inning. According to Hazel Mae, Grilli is working on some new ‘weapon’ he won’t go into any detail about. Last year he was lightning in a bottle captured by the Jays, so hopefully this new weapon can extend that magic a little bit longer.
  • The only Blue Jays pitchers to have a rough time were Joe and Chris Smith. The former had a really ugly inning in which he allowed three runs on three singles and two walks after recording the first two outs in the inning. The other Smith allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning, walked a couple of guys, but closed the game out.

  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the star of the day offensively the for Jays, going three-for-three including a fucking moonshot off of Phillies starter Jared Eckhart. He has two homers in spring training now, as many as Josh Thole had in four seasons with the Blue Jays, and has completely erased any doubt that he’s the correct choice to be Russell Martin’s backup this season. Hell, would you rather have him playing first base every day than Justin Smoak? I’m not even going to comment.
  • Speaking of Smoak, he pinch hit mid-way through the game and…. struck out! It’s only spring, but, ugh.
  • Anyways! Back to positives! Kevin Pillar continued his hot spring with two hits and a walk (!!!), Kendrys Morales, Darwin Barney, Zeke Carrera, Melvin Upton, and Ryan Goins all managed to chip in offensively, as the Jays pounded out 13 hits in total.
  • All in all, there were more good things than bad today, which hasn’t necessarily been the case all spring!