Toronto Blue Jays Game Notes: Estrada Shines in Lazy Sunday For Blue Jays Bats

 

The Toronto Blue Jays couldn’t get the bats going against the Phillies in Sunday afternoon Grapefruit League action

 

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Toronto came into this game against Philadelphia with a spring record of 3-6 compared to Phillies’ record of 2-8. I guess you can say this game was a real battle between the basement dwellers of the Grapefruit League. The weather at Spectrum Stadium in Clearwater, Florida for this one was sunny and about 20°C, indeed a perfect day for baseball. But it did not reflect that way on the score sheet as the Blue Jays went on to drop this one by a score of 2-4.

 

Toronto Blue Jays: 2 R, 5 H, 1 E
Philadelphia Phillies: 4 R, 8 H, 3 E

 

 

Blue Jays Lineup:

 

Curtis Granderson RF-LF, (0-2): lead-off for the Jays in this game and started in RF, but later made the switch to LF. Granderson went 0-2 in his two plate appearances. He’s now 3 for 12 for the spring with two HRs and four RBI.

 

Yangervis Solarte SS, (0-2, BB): Solarte started at SS  and that might be something to watch as the Blue Jays confirmed Troy Tulowitzki wouldn’t be ready for opening day. Solarte went 0-2 with a walk and left a runner stranded on base, which brings his spring totals to 2 for 12 with one HR and two RBI.

 

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 2B-SS, (1-1, 3B): Gurriel Jr. came into this game as a pinch runner and took over at SS for Solarte. In his only at bat of the game, he legged out a triple with a head-first slide into third base and later scored a run. Gurriel is now 3 for 13 this spring.

 

Josh Donaldson DH (1-3, 1 K): Donaldson has been dealing with some shoulder tightness to start the spring, but it didn’t show in this one. The single he ripped into LF today was about the hardest hit ball on the afternoon. Donaldson is one for five this spring with two walks.

 

Justin Smoak 1B (0-3, 2 Ks): Smoak did not look good this Sunday afternoon striking out twice. Smoak is now 2 for 12 this spring with 6 Ks to his name and no extra-base hits. But Spring Training is all about getting in reps, so hopefully, he finds good his groove.

 

Kevin Pillar CF (0-2, BB): Pillar started the game in centre field and drew a walk! Wow! Pillar is swinging a hot bat to begin this spring as he’s now 7 for 12 with one HR and four RBI. He was also caught stealing in this game on what looked to be a hesitated decision.

 

Steve Pearce LF (1-1): Pearce started this game in LF and beat out the shift with a ball placed just out of the reach of the Phillies’ second basemen. After coming out to start the third in LF, Pearce limped off the field with an apparent injury. I’m sure it wasn’t anything too serious, but considering his past, this might be a common sight this season. Hopefully, he’s okay because he’s gone four for ten this spring with two doubles.

 

Luke Maile C (0-2, BB): Maile is poised to be the backup catcher behind Russell Martin this coming season, and he got the start in this one. Maile drew a walk and later came around to score.

 

Jason Leblebijian 3B (2-3, RBI): The man whose last name no one can pronounce continues to impress in the early goings so far. He leads the team with 19 ABs this spring and has made the most of them so far going 6 for 19 with two doubles, one HR, and two walks.

 

Gift Ngoepe 2B-SS (0-3, 3 Ks): We talked about Ngoepe this past Saturday during the Live and Interactive and had some praises for him. Many are thinking the Jays will give him an extended look this spring because Tulowitzki isn’t going to be ready for opening day.

 

Starter:

Marco Estrada: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

Estrada made his second start of the young spring this Sunday afternoon going three innings in what was a great showing. Estrada allowed just one hit, a slow dribbler that squeaked through the infield and retired the last seven Phillies he faced and struck out three. The outing brings his spring totals to four scoreless innings so far. I know it’s only four innings, but it’s better to start strong than to have to play catchup this early on. Hopefully, Estrada can continue to build on this and carry it into his next start.

 

Bullpen:

Roberto Osuna: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR

Osuna pitched pretty much a clean inning in this game and picked up a strikeout. We all know that Osuna likes the spotlight and the high-pressure situations, so a spring training game may not be the best evaluator from him. The main thing to look for in these games is his velocity. His fastball was around 94-95, and he mixed in a steady diet of offspeed pitches.

 

Craig Breslow: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR

Breslow struggled in this game and was the difference maker in a way you don’t want to be. The Phillies touched him up for two runs, and three hits in this outing, which bring his spring totals up to three earned runs, six hits, and one walk in 2.2 IP. Not good.

 

Need to Knows:

– Steve Pearce limped off the field in the third inning with an apparent injury and is day to day with left calf tightness, per John Gibbons.

 

Player of the Game:

I’m giving this title to Marco Estrada for his strong pitching performance. Estrada went 3 IP allowing just one weak hit and struck out three batters. Estrada retired the last seven batters he faced dominantly. Estrada was number one on the field today just like he is in my heart.

 

Up Next:

The Blue Jays look to rebound after this 2-4 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday against Atlanta

 

 

 

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