Paolo Espino struck out three, Rafael Lantigua drove in the game winning run, and more as the Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays

Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
A win against the Tampa Bay Rays is always good, even if it’s in Spring Training.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Jays hosted the Rays in Dunedin, defeating their American League East rivals 3-2. This brings their record to 2-3 in Spring Training.

Things worth mentioning…

Paolo Espino may have been signed as minor league depth, but he’s looked great in his two appearances so far this spring. On Wednesday, he pitched two scoreless innings with a walk and three strikeouts, including an inning-ending strikeout via the rainbow curveball.
The veteran right-handed pitcher was brought in as a depth starter who’ll probably pitch with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Pitchers like Alek Manoah, Bowden Francis, Mitch White, Yariel Rodríguez, and maybe even Ricky Tiedemann are fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation and are ahead of Espino, but it’s a great sign that he’s pitched well.
Devereaux Harrison pitched two innings, giving up one hit and striking out two. Last season with High-A Vancouver, the reliever turned starter had a 2.95 ERA and a 5.10 FIP in 94.2 innings pitched, along with a 22.8 K% and a 9.8 BB%. Nasty slider.
Trevor Richards was the pitcher who gave up the two runs, but neither of them happened to be earned runs. Still, Richards has had a rough spring and he’s probably the guy the Jays would cut if they need to make room. Richards usually doesn’t have a great spring and struggles to start the season before getting in a groove, but he may not be given the leeway in 2024.
Andrew Bash was one of the most under the radar pitchers in the Jays organization last season, posting a 2.51 ERA and 4.50 FIP in 89.2 innings pitched between Double-A and Triple-A. On Wednesday, he pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts.
Shake and Bake (Mason Fluharty, T.J. Brock) both made an appearance on Wednesday. The former had a strikeout in an inning of work, while the latter picked up a save after two walks to start the inning. Look out for them in the upper-minors this season.
Nathan Lukes had the only multi-hit game for a Blue Jays position player, while Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Danny Jansen, and Santiago Espinal picked up the other four hits. The former drove in the game-tying run, while prospect Rafael Lantigua drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.
The Blue Jays are back in action on Thursday, as they’ll host the Philadelphia Phillies in Dunedin at 1:07 EST. José Berríos will get the start. 

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


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