Did you know that the J.A. in J.A. Happ’s name stands for Jays Ace? That joke sucks a lot, yes, but it’s accurate because, as Jon Torololololosi reports, the Jays are leaning towards making Happ the team’s Opening Day starter.
Should I have used the Jays Ace joke or should I have used something like “J.A. pitching on Opening Day? yeah, it’s Happ-ening”?
Anyways, yeah, Morosi says he has a source that says the Jays are leaning towards giving Happ the ball on March 19 against the Yankees in place of Marcus Stroman who certainly would have been starting if not for a shoulder injury. Happ has never started an Opening Day game in his career, but he’s the veteran of the Blue Jays staff, so this makes some sense.
Happ had a quietly strong season last year. He got injured early on and had some struggles, but ultimately became, along with Marcus Stroman, one of the two consistent starters in the Jays rotation. Happ posted a 3.53 ERA and struck out 8.8 batters per nine, which was actually an improvement on the 2016 season that garnered him CY Young votes.