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Photo Credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day Threat: Yaaaaaaaas! Blue Jays (0-0) @ Orioles (0-0)

It’s finally here! Opening Day! Blue Jays baseball that matters! Ahhhhh!!

News and Scuttlebutt

With Roberto Osuna hitting the DL for the first week or so (hopefully!) of the season, Jason Grilli will be filling his role as closer. Obviously. Grilli has actual experience in the closer role, and was largely excellent for the Jays last year in the eighth inning spot. Joe Biagini will also likely get some opportunities to close out games in the ninth inning, Gregor Chisholm reports. Ideally, though, John Gibbons doesn’t play to the save, and just uses pitchers when it’s advantageous to do so, in terms of splits and such.

This is, uh, dumb, There’s obviously another reason why Melvin Upton was released from the roster in favour of Ryan Goins, and the team isn’t coming out and saying it. The explanations have been that the team prefers Goins’ versatility, and that he’s more of a fit on this roster, which makes no sense. The Jays only have two real outfielders, Zeke Carrera and Kevin Pillar, with Jose Bautista and Steve Pearce being the other two who simply can’t play out every single day there at their age. Goins is the redundant one on this roster, because he is quite literally a poor man’s Darwin Barney, who the Jays, ya know, already have. Anyways, what’s done is done. Maybe some day we’ll know why this move was actually made beyond the lip service the team is paying us right now.

And finally, here are a couple of pieces on BJN from today to get you amped up for Opening Day, if, for some fucked up reason, you aren’t already. Now let’s get this season going!

Today

TV: SNET, MLB.tv

Radio: SN590

And now, the lineups… 

Blue Jays

Devon Travis (R) 2B – 101 GP, 432 PA, 11 HR, 50 RBI, .300 AVG, .332 OBP, .454 SLG

Josh Donaldson (R) 3B – 155 GP, 700 PA, 37 HR, 99 RBI, .284 AVG, .404 OBP, .549 SLG

Jose Bautista (R) RF – 116 GP, 517 PA, 22 HR, 69 RBI, .234 AVG, .366 OBP, .452 SLG

Kendrys Morales (S) DH – 154 GP, 618 PA, 30 HR, 93 RBI, .263 AVG, .327 OBP, .795 OPS

Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS – 131 GP, 544 PA, 24 HR, 79 RBI, .254 AVG, .318 OBP, .443 SLG

Russell Martin (R) C – 137 GP, 535 PA, 20 HR, 74 RBI, .231 AVG, .335 OBP, .398 SLG

Steve Pearce (R) 1B – 85 GP, 232 PA, 13 HR, 35 RBI, .288 AVG, .374 OBP, .492 SLG

Kevin Pillar (R) CF – 146 GP, 584 PA, 7 HR, 53 RBI, .266 AVG, .303 OBP, .376 SLG

Zeke Carrera (L) LF – 110 GP, 310 PA, 6 HR, 23 RBI, .248 AVG, .323 OBP, .356 SLG

Marco Estrada (R) SP –  176 IP, 9-9, 3.48 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 6.8 H9, 3.3 BB9, 8.4 SO9

Orioles

Seth Smith (L) RF – 137 GP, 438 PA, 16 HR, 63 RBI, .249 AVG, .342 OBP, .415 SLG

Adam Jones (R) CF – 152 GP, 672 PA, 29 HR, 83 RBI, .265 AVG, .310 OBP, .436

Manny Machado (R) 3B – 157 GP, 696 PA, 37 HR, 96 RBI, .294 AVG, .343 OBP, .533 SLG

Chris Davis (L) 1B – 157 GP, 665 PA, 38 HR, 84 RBI, .221 AVG, .332 OBP, .459 SLG

Mark Trumbo (R) DH – 159 GP, 667 PA, 47 HR, 108 RBI, .256 AVG, .316 OBP, .533 SLG

Welington Castillo (R) C – 113 GP, 457 PA, 14 HR, 68 RBI, .264 AVG, .322 OBP, .423 SLG

Hyun Soo Kim (L) LF – 95 GP, 346 PA, 6 HR, 22 RBI, .302 AVG, .382 OBP, .420 SLG

Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B – 162 GP, 647 PA, 25 HR, 82 RBI, .267 AVG, .298 OBP, .454 SLG

J.J. Hardy (R) SS – 115 GP, 438 PA, 9 HR, 48 RBI, .269 AVG, .309 OBP, .407 SLG

Kevin Gausman (R) SP – 179.2 IP, 9-12, 3.61 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 9.2 H9, 2.4 BB9, 8.7 SO9

I really like this lineup. There’s a few things I would change, like having Kevin Pillar bat ninth as the secondary leadoff guy, swapping him with Zeke. But it’s great to see the Jays using Steve Pearce at first base over Justin Smoak, even though they’re facing a right-handed pitcher, because despite Smoak being a lefty, Pearce is still better at hitting righties than he is. I imagine Pearce will be getting more reps in left field as the season goes on, with Zeke coming off the bench as a pinch runner or late-game defensive replacement, but since he’s coming off surgery, Pearce will see a lot of time at first in the time being. Besides, you can’t not have playoff legend Zeke Carrera play the first game of the season. It would be a bad look!

  • i may have been wearing blinders, but i was kiiiiind of ok with a platoon in LF, and figured they could survive with that one spot being a bit of a hole, but not terrible, as long as guys were used the right way, and had hoped pompey would have been able to win the ‘everyday’ job vs. RH, and upton stuck to facing LH, with zeke doing zeke things (namely, hardly playing).

    i don’t get outright releasing upton, just because you couldn’t fine a trade partner RIGHT NOW. i mean, damn, just run him out there in ideal situations, hope he builds up his stock a bit, and trade him in may or something. like, fuck, is one roster spot that valuable? clearly not, since it went to ryan goins, a shittier in every way version of a guy they already have on the roster. i know around here we’re supposed to try to see the rationale behind the moves, and i’m sure there is one that isn’t dumb. or, i guess i hope there is. because, i’m not sure my hair trigger can handle too much of zeke.

    • Paul M

      I’m with you, 2dam. Well…mostly. I’m nervous about the fact that the OF is so thin in that all four OFers on this team currently are actually playing in the field today. That doesn’t scream “unnecessary skillset” to me.

      Maybe Coghlan’s stay in Buffalo will be super brief…

    • Cam Lewis

      I’m with you. For whatever reason, I figured Upton could have a solid year on a team with zero pressure. Surely there’s something going on behind the scenes here, because their statement about Goins being a better fit is fucking ridiculous.

    • withnail

      Sounds like they believe that Goins’ trade value is higher than Upton’s, and that that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. But it does feel like they pulled a band-aid off a still-gaping wound. Hopefully something is in the works to fix the left field situation.