Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leaves the game with knee soreness, Rainer Núñez walks it off, as the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
There isn’t a better feeling than walking off the Rays, even if it’s only a spring training game.
Down to their final out with the bases loaded and the score 6-5, the Blue Jays had a chance to write a wrong from Thursday’s missed chance. In steps the Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Rainer Núñez
If you read any of my off-season articles, you’d know that Núñez was a hot topic during his time in the Dominican Winter League. The 22-year-old won the LIDOM Rookie of the Year and led the league in home runs when he was only 21.
Núñez had the opportunity to win the game, and did just that on a 3-2 pitch. He put himself in a great position as he saw eight pitches in the at-bat.
What’s more is that Núñez had the hardest hit ball at 114 mph off the bat, an insane exit velocity from a non-big leaguer.
Things worth mentioning:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. left the game with “right knee discomfort” according to the Blue Jays Twitter page. Hopefully, it’s just a precautionary measure, but if it lingers, he may be taken off the Dominican Republic roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He went 1-1 with some smart base running before being pulled.
Kevin Gausman made his spring training debut on Friday afternoon. He struck out three, walked a batter, and gave up an earned run in his 1.2 innings of work. Gausman led the game in swings and misses with eight, and his splitter looked nasty.
Bo Bichette technically went 0-0, but he walked twice and scored two runs. Bichette is a rather aggressive hitter, meaning that he doesn’t walk often (5.9 BB% in 2022). If he could add patience to his game, he’d become an even better hitter.
Jay Jackson and Paul Fry were the two standouts in regard to pitchers. Jackson went 1.2 innings pitched, allowing two hits but striking out two batters Furthermore, Jackson’s seven whiffs only sat behind Kevin Gausman’s eight whiffs. Paul Fry pitched an inning and gave up an unearned run, but also struck out two. Good showing from the two non-roster invitees.
Spencer Horwitz is now tied with Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio for the most hits in spring training. He went 1-2 with an infield single (and ended up on third base due to an error). What’s more, is that in the last two games he’s played in, he’s been in the outfield and has looked solid.
Brandon Eisert picked up the win as he pitched the ninth inning. The broadcast noted that he “didn’t have great stuff”, which is absolutely untrue. While he sits 91-93 mph with the fastball, the deception and movement on the pitch helped him register a 31 K%. He also has great command and control of his pitches and good secondary stuff. He pitched an inning and registered a strikeout.
Stevie Berman and Rob Brantly are in a battle for the right to be the first called up in case of an injury at the backstop. Brantly went 1-2 and scored a run, while Berman drove in a run in the bottom of the ninth to score a run to make it 6-5. It’ll be interesting to see how this minor league battle progresses throughout spring training.
Jackson Rees continues to rack up strikeouts. In 2.1 innings pitched this spring training, he has five strikeouts, which is second for the Jays only behind Yusei Kikuchi. Today he got the batter with two pretty nasty sliders. If he continues his great spring training, he could put himself in the conversation for a call-up.
Yosver Zulueta appeared in his second spring training game, walking a batter, allowing a hitter, and striking out one. A top prospect in the Blue Jays organization, he averaged 95 mph on the fastball, and touched 96.5 mph. He also generated three whiffs on nine total swings.
Trevor Richards struggled again in his second outing of spring training… well, sort of. On paper, he allowed three hits and an earned run, but he showed why it’s his spot to lose early in the inning, as he struck out his first two batters. We’ll see if he can right the ship as spring training continues.
The next Blue Jays game will be at 1:05 on Saturday, however, it will not be televised. Their next televised game will happen on Sunday at the same time.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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