Cavan Biggio hits a home run, Drew Hutchison has a good outing, and more as the Blue Jays split the split squad games (again)
Photo credit:Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
For the second time in spring training, the Blue Jays split the split squad games.
In the televised game, they beat the team from Atlanta 3-1, while they lost 6-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the untelevised game.
Let’s start with the win.
The Blue Jays’ 3-1 win against Atlanta:
It was nice to get off the schneid with a win on National TV. There were quite a few players that deserved the player of the game, but I went with…
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Nathan Lukes
There were two homers in this game (which we’ll get to), but today we’re going to go with the 28-year-old Nathan Lukes as the player of the game.
His impact on the game was immediate, as he registered the first out of the game on an outstanding catch in centre field.
Lukes also went 2-3, with all three of the batted balls registering an exit velocity of over 95 mph (hard hit). Furthermore, his ground out had an exit velocity of 110.1 mph a game-high. Moreover, he could have easily been his third hit of the game had the first baseman not been positioned perfectly.
Added to the 40-man roster in November, Lukes is looking for his first MLB plate appearance, and there’s a good chance he gets that this season.
Things worth mentioning:
Kevin Gausman looked more comfortable in his start this afternoon. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowing two hits, but struck out two. He has yet to allow an earned run this spring training, and his splitter has been nasty so far.
Cavan Biggio briefly led the Blue Jays in spring training hits, as he hit a mammoth homer, the first of his spring training. As we progress, it’s looking like Biggio may have found his 2019-2020 form, which would be huge for the Jays.
Anthony Bass continues to look as if he’s improved. On Thursday afternoon, he pitched a clean inning with a strikeout. That brings his total to five in just three innings pitched. His splitter is going to be a huge weapon for left-handed batters as well.
George Springer went deep for the first time this spring training. This home run was the game-winner, as it brought the score to 3-1. This batted ball was 102.1 mph off the bat.
Bowden Francis pitched a clean inning and a third, generating a whiff on a nasty curveball. I’m not too sure what his role will be this season, but whether they run him out as a starter, a bulk reliever, or a one inning guy, the 26-year-old righty should have a good season.
Santiago Espinal leads the Blue Jays in hits this spring training, as he went 2-3 Thursday afternoon. The battle for second base continues to look like a dogfight, but right now I believe it’s Espinal’s to lose, while Biggio will slot in nicely as the fourth outfielder.
The Blue Jays’ 6-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays:
The win (which took only two hours and five minutes) was short-lived, as the Jays fell in the other split-squad game. Let’s look at the player of the game, along with things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Drew Hutchison
The former Blue Jay pitcher that came back in the off-season only had a 14.7 K% with the Detroit Tigers in 2022. Moreover, his career K% only sits at 19.2%.However, he found something in this game, as he struck out four over 2.2 innings pitched. Sadly, no video exists of this game, but Hutchison generated five whiffs, only one behind the game leader.
I’m not sure if Hutchison will pitch for the Blue Jays’ big league team in 2023, but it’s nice to have the 32-year-old back in the organization.
Things worth mentioning:
Bo Bichette continues to stay hot. In his three plate appearances, he struck out once, but had two hits and was the most influential Blue Jays’ position player on the day. He now has seven hits in spring training, which ranks tied for third (with Kevin Kiermaier and Otto López). Stay hot, Bichette.
Nate Pearson ran into some trouble on Thursday afternoon. In his first inning of work, he allowed two earned runs (three total), while walking a batter. He bounced back in his second inning of work, as he struck out two batters before being pulled due to his pitch limit. This was his first “bad” outing, but with the depth, it may push him back a bit.
Daulton Varsho continues to heat up. On Thursday afternoon, he registered his first Blue Jays RBI, the only run that the Blue Jays scored. It was a single that came in at 70.1 mph. They don’t ask how!
Paul Fry had a rough start to his spring training, but has bounced back over his last three appearances. In Thursday afternoon’s game, he pitched an inning, allowing a hit, but also striking out a batter. It’s likely he starts the 2023 season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, but could potentially pitch for the Jays this season.
Davis Schneider had the highest exit velocity from any Jays player in this game. He went 1-1 with a double, with that double having an exit velocity of 101.6 mph. He’s a prospect worth monitoring this season, as he ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s #22 prospect heading into the season.
The next Blue Jays game will take place at 1:05 PM on Friday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox. No better way of getting out of a funk than by smashing the Red Sox again.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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