The Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Yankees in the first game of their split squad contest on February 26
After a bullpen implosion brought to you by Rule No. 5 pick Glenn Sparkman on Saturday, the Blue Jays punted their spring opener, 4-7, to the Atlanta Braves. Despite the result, Jays fans were happy to see the debut of Lourdes Gurriel as well as doubles from nearly all the top prospects, including Anthony Alford (owl heard?), Rowdy Tellez and Reese McGuire. But, we move on a to matchup with the Evil Empire’s A-Squad at the gaudy George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Brett Oberholtzer made his first start for the Blue Jays of any kind, while the Yankees sent out the enigmatic Luis Severino.
Box Score F/8
Blue Jays – 2 R, 3 H, 2 E
Yankees – 7 R, 5 H, 0 E
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) February 26, 2017
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) February 26, 2017
Anthony Alford had a solid game, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base. The Blue Jays tallied just three hits including Alford’s, with Christian Lopes contributing a single and Jarrod Salatalamacchia hitting a two-run home run, scoring Ezequiel Carrera in the sixth.
Again, defense was an issue, just like it was in Dunedin at the same time. Darwin Barney made an errant throw, Derek Loveless dropped an easy fly ball in LF, and a few general misplays, potentially attributable to lack of chemistry and not even knowing each other’s names yet – led to several Yankees runs in which only six were earned.
The Yankees A-Team did exactly what you’d expect to Brett Oberholtzer, who after a 1-2-3 first inning relented three runs on one swing in the second. After a walk and a single, Oberholtzer served Yankees 2B Starlin Castro a meatball for an impressive three-run HR, hi first of the spring. Jordan Romano struggled in just one inning, allowing a walk and a home run to Billy McKinney. On the bright side, Romano had a pair of strikeouts.
Rowdy Tellez took a step back from yesterday’s breakout, striking out three times on off-speed pitches. He played six innings with solid, if unmemorable defense at first base.
After Alford swiped a bag early on, Jon Berti and Ezequiel Carrera decided to get in on the fun. This went poorly, as they were shut down with extreme prejudice from Yankees wunderkind Gary Sanchez. The Blue Jays stopped running after the third inning.
- Left Field Watch: Ezequiel Carrera was 0-1 with a pair of walks and was gunned down with ease by Gary Sanchez. He made no plays worth speaking of in the outfield.
- Chad Girodo and Chris Smith were just about the only ones worth watching in this one, and they combined for 2.0 IP, a K and no baserunners.
- It’s painful to write this, but Yankees starter Luis Severino looked back to his late-2015 form. Severino stuggled mightily in 2016 and spent most of the year at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, but if today was any sort of an indicator, his change-up and slider are back to normal. He could be a legitimate threat to the Blue Jays this season if he puts everything back together.
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.