Chad Dallas shines, Nate Pearson lit up, Justin Turner drives in a run, and more as Blue Jays open Grapefruit League with 14-13 loss to Phillies

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
We’re officially back!
The Toronto Blue Jays played their first baseball game of the year 2024 on Saturday afternoon in Dunedin and wound up on the losing side of a 14-13 rollercoaster ride with the Philadelphia Phillies.
It was a true Spring Training ball game, with some pitchers tossing batting practice, others looking unhittable, and a handful of mistakes in the field. But, oh boy, let me tell you, having that on the TV with the sun shining outside is the most pleasant reminder that winter is nearing an end. Everyone’s ready for baseball.

Things worth mentioning…

Chad Dallas got the start for the Blue Jays after Ricky Tiedemann was scratched due to an injury. The right-hander mowed the Phillies down on eleven pitches, eight of which were for strikes. He got former Blue Jay Whit Merrifield to ground out and then he struck out Johan Rojas and Edmundo Sosa to finish the inning.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2021 draft, Dallas posted a 3.65 ERA over 23 starts between High-A Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire last year. He had a 4.10 ERA over 18 starts with the Fisher Cats in 2023 and could start the 2024 season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
After Dallas sat the Phillies down in the top half of the inning, the Blue Jays opened things up with a three-run frame in the bottom half. Bo Bichette hit a single up the middle, Justin Turner and Danny Jansen drew walks, and Daulton Varsho ripped a ball off of the first baseman’s glove that wound up as a two-run double. Jansen later scored on a passed ball to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.
Nate Pearson came into the game for the second inning and was only able to record two outs before getting pulled. The former top prospect allowed four earned runs on four hits, two of which were home runs, and he issued one walk and struck out one batter. That’s not an ideal start to Spring Training for a pitcher with quite a bit to prove.
The Blue Jays got scoreless innings from Chad Dallas, Zach Pop, Brendon Little, Sebastian Espino, Mason Fluharty, and T.J. Brock, while all of the damage came during the second and fifth innings. In the fifth, Yosver Zulueta came into the game and allowed seven runs. He was pulled after recording just two outs, and then Grayson Thurman, an undrafted pitcher, allowed three more unearned runs following a throwing error by Leo Jimenez.
The fourth inning saw the top of the order again do damage for the Blue Jays. Bichette singled and stole second base and then Turner drove him in with a single. After that, Jansen doubled, and Varsho and Isiah Kiner-Falefa both came up with RBI singles.
Bichette finished his day 2-for-3, Turner went 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI, Jansen 1-for-2 with a walk, Varsho 3-for-3 with three RBIs, and Kiner-Falefa 2-for-3 with an RBI. That’s a nice start for Offensive Coordinator Don Mattingly’s lineup!
Up next… The Blue Jays will head to Tampa to face the New York Yankees in what’ll be the debut of Juan Soto in pinstripes. Bowden Francis will take the mound for the Blue Jays while Carlos Rodon will start for the Yankees. New York kicked off Grapefruit League play with a 22-10 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.


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