Alejandro Kirk, Alan Roden, and Ernie Clement hit home runs as the Blue Jays lose and draw their split-squad games

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It’s a two-in-one post game article, as the Toronto Blue Jays had a split-squad game!
In one game, they tied it 6-6 as there’s no extra innings in Spring Training. However, the other game didn’t go nearly as well, as they fell 11-6. Both games were played against the Baltimore Orioles, one at their home field in Dunedin (where all the clips are from), as well as one at Baltimore’s home field.
Let’s start with the tied game first.

Blue Jays tie the Orioles 6-6

While there are no clips from this game, there are a ton of positives to take away from it. Let’s look at some things worth mentioning.

Things worth mentioning…

Ernie Clement found somewhat of a power stroke last season between Triple-A Buffalo and the big leagues. In fact, he hit more home runs last season than he previously had in his professional career.
Well, he hit his first home run in Spring Training off Corbin Burnes on Sunday and is now slashing .381 this spring. He’s out of options, so he needs to make the big league roster, and I’d give him a better chance to do so than Santiago Espinal, who does have options. 
Brian Serven hit his second home run of Spring Training, also off Corbin Burnes, and is starting to look like a good pick-up for the Jays. He’s a defence first catcher, but is showing a little bit of pop this spring, and will likely be the first catcher called up if Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen are injured.
Alan Roden also hit his second home run of Spring Training. The outfielder already has one of the best hit tools in the organization, but the knock on him has always been his power. Toronto has been looking for ways to squeeze out as much power as possible, and a new stance change this spring has seemed to help.
Paolo Espino allowed his first runs of the spring, finishing with a line of 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K while giving up two homers. Still, he has a 2.25 ERA this spring and is looking like a pitcher who could help the Jays if there are a ton of injuries.
Nathan Lukes continues to hit the ball well this Spring Training, as he went 2-4 with two singles on Sunday. He’s now slashing .500 in 18 plate appearances and has a reasonable shot of making the team.

Blue Jays lose 11-6

This game didn’t go nearly as well and we’re going to be a bit more negative in this section.

Things worth mentioning…

Alejandro Kirk hitting his third home run of Spring Training is the only real big positive to take away from this game. Not just that, but he hit a double and is now slashing .250.
Due to the birth of his child, Kirk missed the start of Spring Training in 2023 and his following season wasn’t great, as he slashed .250/.334/.358 with a 96 wRC+ and a gold glove nomination. It’s great to see him get off to a good start this season.
There were a few other doubles, as Bo Bichette (batting .444), Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Santiago Espinal, and prospect Luis De Los Santos all had a double. Cam Eden, Daulton Varsho, and George Springer all hit singles.
Yusei Kikuchi had a rough outing, pitching 2 and one third innings, while giving up seven hits and six earned runs. Moreover, he walked two batters and gave up two home runs (including one to Jackson Holliday), but Kikuchi did strike out five batters, so there’s some positive.
Chad Green’s struggles in Spring Training have continued, as he pitched two thirds of an inning, giving up three earned runs, while walking and striking out a batter. He’s given up six earned runs in 2.1 innings of work since the calendar turned to March.
There were several big league relievers who got work on Sunday. Yimi Garíca pitched 1.2 innings and gave up a hit, earned run, and a walk. Génesis Cabrera gave up a hit, and earned run, and struck out a batter. Erik Swanson pitched a clean inning with a strike out, while Jordan Romano pitched two thirds of an inning with two walks and a strikeout.
Jimmy Robbins finished with a line of 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. The left-handed pitcher had a rough season in Double-A after breaking onto the scene in 2022, but this is a good sign for the 26-year-old.
The Blue Jays return to action on Monday at 1:05 PM ET against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mitch White is the expected starter for the team, with Zach Eflin starting for the Rays.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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