Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays (Sort of) Played a Game Today: Notes on the 2017 Grapefruit Finale

We’re almost done. Just two more games in Montreal, and it’s go time. Here are some notes on the Jays final Grapefruit game of 2017:

  • J.A. Happ made his final start of the spring, and appears to be set and ready to go for his scheduled real game start against the Orioles next Wednesday. Happ pitched four innings, allowing one earned run on two hits while picking up two strikeouts. The only damage came in the second inning, as Starlin Castro clubbed a triple to centre field on a ball that probbbbbaaaaaabbbly should have been caught by Zeke Carrera. Happ also make a slick defensive play in the third inning, nabbing a Brett Gardner comebacker to the mound. He said after the game that he felt good (which everyone always seems to say). Somebody asked if he was good to go and Happ replied that it doesn’t really metter if he is or not, it’s time to go and when he’s called, he’ll pitch.
  • It’s fun, easy, low hanging fruit to shit on Justin Smoak, and, to be honest, it’s kind of justified because he whiffs a lot and that contract made zero sense last season, but I’m going to try to twirl something positive here. In his first 20 at bats of the spring, he only managed two hits and one walk while striking out nine times. Yiiiiiiiiikes! That’s, like, random fan in the audience getting to bat in the eighth or ninth inning kind of stuff. But in the last little bit, he’s been a lot better. Smoak’s 20 at bats to close out the spring, he’s picked up seven hits, one walk, and has only struck out five times. Am I reaching too far for positives? Probably. But I think we can accept that strikes-out-every-second-at-bat Justin Smoak from early March isn’t going to find its way into the regular season.
  • Speaking of playing well as of late, Melvin Upton, who is apparently on the bubble with Ryan Goins for the final roster spot on the team (???) has been hitting the ball very well since coming back from his sore shoulder. In nine at bats, he has a homer and a double, and today, could have had more extra base hits had hit hard hit balls not been snagged by the Yankee infielders. I watched him take batting practice before Monday’s game and daaaaaamn his swing is smooth. Upton hasn’t set the world on fire, or anything, but Goins took a goose egg today, and probably hasn’t done much to prove his glove is worth throwing away the potential upside of Upton.
  • Mike Bolsinger came into the game in relief and got jerked around badly by the BABIP gods. Aaron Hicks drew a walk, Ryan Goins tired to turn a double play on an Aaron Judge  grounder but both runners were safe, the two runners executed a double steal, Auston Romine hit an infield single, then Brett Garnder drove in a run on an infield single in which Darwin Barney just kinda threw the ball to nobody. He wiggled out of the jam by getting Matt Holliday to pop out and Chris Carter to strike out looking. Overall, it was a gritty effort in which Bolsinger basically induced six outs against the Yankees actual 2017 lineup, but was charged with a couple of earned runs on three hits and two walks. This is why ya can’t just look at the box score, friends. They haven’t said if he’s made the team or not, which is odd, because it’s pretty clear Bolsinger is the best option for the final ‘pen role.
  • Roberto Osuna had a bad time in his last time out on Monday, which caused some people to get worried on the internet about his status heading into the season. But no panic. Osuna mowed right through Castro, Judge, and Hicks inducing a couple of lazy fly outs and picking up a strikeout. I have no idea what his velocity looked like, because the Florida Autoexchange Stadium radar gun crapped out, but the results were good, so fuck it!
  • Overall… Bleh. It’s time for the season to start. John Gibbons said after the game going to Montreal will be nice to rejuvenate the team before the season begins, and I don’t disagree. I’m just ready for games to mean something.

  • Player to Be Named Later

    Why is it that I just have this good feeling about Melvin Upton this year? Seriously. Why is that? It defies reason. And yet, all winter I’ve been like “Man, I have a feeling Melvin Upton is going to be good this year.” Someone call a shrink.

  • Mule or etc...

    Pretty unfair how the Pirates are treating Drew Hutchinson. He was traded for a bunch of talent and this spring he kept his ERA under 10.03 and they still optioned him to the minors.

    • Barry

      I don’t put much stock in forecasts this long ahead, but if we go by what the forecast I’m looking at, it’s evening showers for Monday (day game! Woohoo!), rain on Tuesday (well, fuck you for having an off-day on day two, MLB, but Woohoo! Might have been rained out anyway), then sunny on Wednesday for Jose’s four-home-runs-and-a-bat-flip-in-Duquette’s-direction performance.

      • Mule or etc...

        MLB always has off-days on the 2nd day of the season for teams that don’t play in domes. That way if the home opener is rained out they can play it the next day.

  • Johnny Mac & Cheese

    Throwing out another theory on Smoak, because a Front Office rarely does what we expect, it’s why they’re Front Office….
    They sign Smoak to multi-years to play the long game. Wait 2 wks into games, to prove to Smoak himself that he’s awful. Then comes talk of the swing re-build, and implementing changes. These kind of things can’t be fixed in a couple months or a year, so have to get him for a couple so everyone sticks with it. Don’t judge him on year 1.
    The rest of the Spring we some some positives with the changes, so good things to come? Front Office knew it needed to adjust his swing, but one year is not enough to complete a change like he needed. Checkmate!