Jays From the Couch brings you the Highlights & Lowlights of the Toronto Blue Jays 2017 Spring Training Opener!
The Toronto Blue Jays opened their 2017 Spring Training schedule against Atlanta. After months of cold and waiting, baseball was back on our radio! As exciting as it was, the starting lineup more closely resembled a futures game than a big league roster. With a travel day, the lineup featured a lot of exciting minor league talent. Players like Rowdy Tellez, Richard Urena and Anthony Alford took the field for this contest.
Toronto Blue Jays: 4 H: 10 E: 1
Atlanta: 7 H: 11 E: 0
WP: B. Boyer LP: G. Sparkman
— Drew Hendriks (@77Hendriks) February 25, 2017
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) February 25, 2017
In his first at bat of the game, Rowdy Tellez smoked a ground rule double to center field, showing off the power we’ve all heard so much about. It was an interesting at bat, considering that the Ageless Wonder, Bartolo Colon, was on the mound at the time. The match up of youth vs age was won by the Blue Jays slugging prospect. Tellez was followed by Anthony Alford’s double down the RF line. That brought the score to 1-0, but also gave us just another reason to drool over the club’s future.
Tellez would work a nice walk against John Danks (yes, him) in the 4th. The lefty on lefty matchup was not an issue for Tellez. He would make it to third after the Reese McGuire double and then sprint home on a fielder’s choice from Dwight Smith Jr. A grounder to Brandon Phillips, that probably should have gone to first, was thrown home and Tellez was safe, showing what speed he does possess.
In his first 2 innings of work, Casey Lawrence was grooving rather nicely. He hadn’t even allowed a fly ball until the third inning. It was a rather uneventful outing for him, which is exactly what you want to see. Other than an error, which allowed a base runner, Lawrence wasn’t in any trouble in his brief outing.
With a very outside shot at competing for the LF job with the big league club, Darrell Ceciliani smoked a double of his own off the wall to lead off the 4th inning. When asked about the LF job, GM, Ross Atkins, mentions Ceciliani as an option, but there are quite a few names ahead of him. Ceciliani would score after the walk from Tellez and a double from McGuire.
Glenn Sparkman came on in the 4th inning in a bases loaded spot and got a weak pop up, which he caught, behind the mound and a fly ball to CF to end a threat from Atlanta. After a mess was left for him, he came in and got his team out of trouble very quickly. He would give up a single and an infield single the next inning before surrendering another single to Emilio Bonifacio, which would allow a run to score. Then a floater single over SS tied the game at 4.
Richard Urena doubled to lead off the 5th inning and was driven in by Jake Elmore (his 3rd hit of the game). Urena’s double was the Blue Jays’ 5th of the day. That brought the score to 4-2. Ceciliani followed that with a single and Tellez struck out. Alford followed suit with a whiff of his own. McGuire flied out to end the threat.
In the top of the second, Jake Elmore singled his way aboard, but Danks picked him off easily at first. The run down that followed was just a formality. This wouldn’t be so bad, if Elmore hadn’t fielded a grounder at third and then air mailed his throw to the 5th row of the stands, over the head of Tellez. It was an odd compliment to his 2-2 showing at the plate.
Jeff Beliveau gave up a single to Freddie Freeman to start the 4th and then promptly walked Matt Kemp. After striking out Nick Markakis on 3 pitches, he walked Brandon Phillips to load the bases. With that, Adonis Garcia singled in a run. After a mound visit from Pete Walker, Beliveau surrendered a single to Tyler Flowers, which drove in a run and loaded the bases again. The Blue Jays made a change to Rule 5 pick, Glenn Sparkman. Even though the results of today’s outing do not matter, for Beliveau, it is not an impressive start for a lefty on the fringe of competing for a spot.
Wil Browning gave up a run in the 8th inning with 2 outs. Bonifacio hit a double after Browning gave up a walk and a passed ball. That brought the score to 7-4.
News & Notes:
- Lucas Harrell pitched a clean inning in the 3rd.
- With the game tied at 4, Chris Rowley gave up a bases loaded 2 run single and Atlanta took the lead, 6-4.
- Lourdes Gourriel Jr made his Blue Jays “debut” as he entered the game in the 6th inning and it was kind of “meh”:
Gurriel hits the first pitch he sees for a 643DP. Hit the ball plenty hard and came very close to beating the relay. #Bluejays down 6-4 b6.
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) February 25, 2017
- Ryan Borucki took the mound in the 6th inning. Added to the 40-man roster this winter, he will be a guy to keep your eye on this season. Save for a single and a walk, he had a successful inning of work.
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