The Toronto Blue Jays dropped their third contest of the spring and their second of the day as they fell 10-3 to the Phillies
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 to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium where the Jays take on the basement-dwelling Phillies in a split-squad matchup.
Phillies – 10 R, 13 H, 2 E
Blue Jays – 3 R, 6 H, 3 E
— Catherine Stem 📎 (@CathQCT) February 26, 2017
Jose Bautista struck the ball exceptionally well with a double in the first and nearly a three-run bomb in the following inning. His swing looks good, he looks mobile and ready to return to pre-2016 Jose Bautista. He finished 2-for-3 after leaving the game in the fifth after a single.
Morales hit his first HR in blue – well, Blue Jays blue, that is. In it he showed his strength to power a ball out of the park without a tremendously great swing – it’s also worth noting that the ball tends to fly in Dunedin. He was 2-f0r-2 with a pair of RBI, a run scored, and took an extra base on a fly ball.
Before you get discouraged by their lines, Joe Biagini and newly-acquire Mat Latos were just fine. Biagini’s runs were the result of a trio of misplays by Urena and Martin, while Latos really just gave up to one bomb (albeit a laser) to Andres Blanco. Dominic Leone, despite giving up a walk before a RBI double, struck out the side in the top of the fifth. Mike Bolsinger pitched the eighth inning, narrowly escaping a base-loaded jam with a strikeout after allowing two walks and a base hit. Tim Mayza was a pleasant surprise, striking out two Phillies while allowing a hit and a walk in one inning pitched. Ditto for Jose Fernandez, who tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, allowing one walk and striking out two.
The defense was deplorable. Richard Urena made two throwing errors and Russell Martin blocked about as well as a rotten picket fence, raising concerns as to his behind-the-plate mobility following offseason knee surgery. Things went from bad to worse for Urena, which after about five misplays, he took a short hop to the knee/shin area and had to leave the game in the seventh inning.
Conner Greene struggled in his first taste of grapefruit, but he had zero help from his defense. Shortstop Richard Urena dropped a throw down to 2B on a steal attempt, though he was lighting up the gun:
Conner Greene hitting 99 repeatedly here, just touched 100. Can see why org is high on him, despite inconsistent breaking ball.
— Joshua (@JoshuaHowsam) February 26, 2017
Despite being quick to the plate, Greene allowed two stolen bases, with the second being a result of a less-than-stellar throw from Reese McGuire behind the plate. The Jays allowed him to go back out for the seventh, but another walk and a HBP brought his line for the day up to 1.0+ IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2K, BB, HBP. Tim Mayza was brought in the stop the bleeding, but allowed a 1B for another run.
Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Goins and Melvin Upton combined to go 0-for-11, with Goins striking out once and Justin Smoak adding a pair of strikeouts. That’s pretty impressive, but at least they were facing MLB-level talent in Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek.
- Reese McGuire was a bit clunky behind the plate early, producing a semi-errant throw to 2B but otherwise looked decent. Honestly, he looked better than Martin.
- While the injury to Urena looked like nothing more than a bruised shin, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on. Luckily, the Blue Jays shortstop depth is solid, and a few days of rest for Urena shouldn’t hurt.
- There were a few low strikes not called during this game that might have been called last season. This may have just been a result on home plate umpire Phil Cuzzy’s personal zone (note: this shouldn’t be a thing), but it’s worth watching as this was similar to one of MLB’s pace-of-play initiatives.
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