Jays From the Couch brings you the Highlights & Lowlights of the Toronto Blue Jays lose (again) in Spring Training action. This time to the Phillies.
The Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Philadelphia Phillies on a day where Marco Estrada got the nod to start this contest. Once again, Kevin Pillar was in the leadoff spot and Justin Smoak hit 3rd, which…you know…Spring Training. Jarrod Saltalamacchia continued his long spring look with another start behind the dish. Aaron Sanchez made his 2017 Spring Training debut.
Philadelphia Phillies: 8 R 14 H 0 E
Toronto Blue Jays: 2 R 5 H 1 E
#BlueJays lineup vs. PHI (Velasquez)
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) March 11, 2017
#Phillies lineup @ TOR (Estrada)
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) March 11, 2017
Marco Estrada started the game with a solid 1st inning that saw him give up a walk to Brock Stassi, but nothing more. It took 11 pitches to get through the first two innings, with the second inning yielding 3 quick fly outs.
Kevin Pillar singled to lead off the first inning after working a nice at bat. He would advance to second on a passed ball by Andrew Knapp. Even tough the catcher should have made the catch, the play was symptomatic of Phillies starter Vince Velasquez early struggles to find the strike zone.
When he did find the zone, Justin Smoak took him back up the middle for an RBI single. This opened up the scoring 1-0 and staved off the Smoak/strike out narrative…at least for the time being. The Blue Jays sent 5 batters to the plate in the first and picked up 2 hits and a run.
Pillar would continue his day at the plate into the 6th inning, where he hit an opposite field double off the wall. He would finish the day with a single, double, a walk and a run scored all from the leadoff spot. Should Devon Travis not be able to start the season, Pillar is stating his case to take the top spot in the lineup, hitting .444 with a 1.167 OPS before today’s game. His average is up to an even .500.
Christian Lopes would get himself a hit in the bottom of the 9th and with two outs, Rowdy Tellez would drop one in over the third baseman’s head and Lopes scored the Blue Jays 2nd run of the game. That made the score 8-2 for the Phillies.
Estrada found himself in a bit of trouble in the 3rd inning as he gave up back to back doubles to allow the Phillies on the board. He was replaced by Wil Browning, who gave up a single, which added another Philadelphia run to Estrada’s line: 2.1 IP, 2 ER, BB, 0 K
Aaron Sanchez made his first appearance of this spring. His first pitch was a fastball at 97, which he followed with another at 96. After getting 2 outs on 4 pitches, he walked the third batter of the inning after going to a full count. Cameron Perkins followed that by launching a drive over the head of Kevin Pillar to drive in the Phillies third run. The next batter, Nick Williams ripped an RBI single to CF to bring the score to 4-1.
Sanchez threw 12 fastballs, three curveballs & a change-up. Curve sat 81-mph; change was 89. Hard contact on the final three balls in play.
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) March 11, 2017
It is tough to put this in the “Lowlights” section since the results really don’t matter for Sanchez. He was just trying to get his work in while mixing up his offerings. Still, in the context of this game, the results weren’t in the Blue Jays’ favor. He was removed after giving up a 2 out double in the 5th.
J.P. Howell came on in the 6th inning and gave up an infield single, which would have been an out if harder contact were made. The Blue Jays will be looking for Howell to provide a healthy amount of outs via the grounder. Instead, the soft grounder went for an infield single. After 2 straight walks, the bases were loaded. With 2 outs, J.P. Crawford decided to be the better J.P. in the game by lacing a single to RF to drive in 2 more to bring the score to 6-1.
Blue Jays righty, Lucas Harrell, would continue the Phillies’ hit parade in the 7th by surrendering two doubles of his own. That brought the score to 7-1. Of course, it wouldn’t end there. Harrell gave up yet another double, which brought the score to 8-1. That ended Harrell’s day.
News & Notes:
Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae let us all know that T.J. House is doing fairly well after being struck in the head by a comebacker. He was checked out and back in the clubhouse today. He doesn’t have a skull fracture, or a diagnosed concussion. The club will keep him from doing any baseball activities for a few days and re-evaulate, but that is about the best news he could have received.
Harold Ramirez saw his first at bat this spring for the Blue Jays. He has been dealing with a leg issue thus far. He grounded out in the bottom of the 7th, but had no trouble hustling down the line. It is nice to see the outfielder enter game action. Fans should be following him this season as he, along with Reese McGuire, came over from the Pirates in the trade for Francisco Liriano, and look to be very nice prospect pieces.
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