The Toronto Blue Jays won in grand style against the Tigers in Spring Training action…and we got to watch on TV!
For some reason, the Toronto Blue Jays have been playing games for a while and we haven’t been able to tune in on the television as Sportsnet misses out on opportunities. Anyway, the Blue Jays took on the Detroit Tigers and were the benefactors of a rather large blast in the first inning. They were able to use that inning to carry them to a victory on Saturday, despite being outhit by the Tigers.
Detroit Tigers: 3 R, 11 H, 0 E
Toronto Blue Jays: 6 R, 5 H, 0 E
Blue Jays Lineup:
Curtis Granderson LF (2-3, 2 H, HR, 3B, K) : Once again, Granderson led off the game with a rather loud solo shot to RCF. Playing in left field, he may be growing accustomed to being the leadoff hitter against right handed pitching. He would follow his homer up with a triple off the right field wall. His seven total bases paled in comparison to the number of smiles seen on his face. Dwight Smith Jr came in to replace him and drove in Toronto’s 6th run on a sac fly.
Yangervis Solarte 2B (0-2, BB, R): Other than a walk, Solarte was rather quiet at the plate today. He would come around to score on the Hernandez grand slam. He was part of an infield defense that showed off some nice glove work, though. There were lots of ground balls to work with, including a double play turned.
Josh Donaldson 3B (0-0, BB) – The Bringer of Rain took his first at bat, worked a rather easy walk from Mike Fiers, who was pretty wild. Once taking his place on first base, Donaldson was lifted for Jason Leblebijian. After fielding a grounder in the first, he wasn’t able to put much on his throw to first, likely thanks to that continuing shoulder issue. Pulling him was to avoid any further plays in the field.
Kendrys Morales 1B (0-3, K): Morales picked up where he left off in 2017, striking out on a rather obviously impending curveball in his first at bat on the day. He then flew out in his final two at bats.
Russell Martin DH (0-2, R, BB, K): Martin took the DH duties today and had a rather quiet afternoon. He would also come around to score on the Hernandez grand slam, but wouldn’t do much else in his three total plate appearances.
Teoscar Hernandez CF (1-3, HR, R, 4 RBI, 2 K): With the bases loaded in the first inning, Hernandez took one of the few strikes thrown deep for a grand slam. That brought things to 5-0. With his very attractive power comes the ability to strike out a lot. He picked up two more today, bringing his spring total to seven in nine games.
Anthony Alford RF (0-3, K): It was a quiet day t the plate for Alford. However, he was rather busy in the 6th inning as Cruz was giving up some rather loudly hit balls to right field. Alford showed smart baseball. In a Spring Training game, there is no point forcing throws, trying to stop runners from advancing. Instead, he played a calm, cool outfield.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr SS (1-3, R): Gurriel Jr started the game at short and had a bit of an interesting start to his day. Rather than leave a ball for Donaldson, he charged it, which caused a bit of confusion. He would also slip in the dirt fielding different grounder. However, he recovered showing off his cannon of an arm. He would move to second base later in the game.
Jaime Garcia (3 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K): After a rocky first frame, Garcia was able to find the strike zone with more regularity. As his outing went on, Garcia was able to use his infield to get himself out of trouble with three grounders. This will be key to his success this season. If he, like other Blue Jays starters, can keep the ball on the ground, it should be a good season, one that makes this signing a good one.
Al Alburquerque (1 IP, H, K) tossed a scoreless inning, giving up just a single and picking up a strike out. He did his job taking over for the starter and passing the lead on to the next bullpen piece.
John Axford (1 IP, 3K) entered the game in the 5th and looked very good. He combined his heat and curve to strike out the side. If Axford continues to pitch like he did today, he likely a safe bet to break the season with the big league club.
Rhiner Cruz (0.2 IP, 2 H, ER) had a rough outing as he gave up some hard hit balls and the Tigers’ first run of the game. He was lifted before he could finish his inning.
Craig Breslow (1.1 IP) came on to relieve Cruz and picked up the final out of the 6th inning on one pitch. He would come back out for the 7th and toss 3 more clean outs.
Chris Rowley (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K) came on in the 8th inning and had the worst outing of the day. He ended up loading the bases and surrendering 2 runs on a double. His ERA sits at 13.50, which doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it is ugly. At that point, Toronto was still up 6-3.
Chad Girodo (1 IP, 2 H) would come in to end Rowley’s inning. He would round out the game by giving up a single in the 9th. With one out in the 9th inning and up by three, Canadian Andrew Case ( 0.1 IP) was brought in to end things and he did with a ground ball.
Need to Knows:
During the TV broadcast, manager, John Gibbons, told us that Donaldson left the game due to cramping and dehydration. Whether that is accurate, or it has to do with the first inning throw aggravating his shoulder, we’ll have to wait to find out.
Player of the Game:
This is a tough call. Obviously, Hernandez having a grand slam on his day is probably a safe bet. But, Granderson and his seven total bases is also deserving. Given that it’s Spring Training and the results don’t matter, I’m going to go ahead and give the Player of the Game nod to Axford. Of everyone playing today, he looked to be the most “on” his game, which is the most important part of games this time of year.
The Blue Jays will host the Pirates of Pittsburgh for a 1:07pm ET start. And, what do you know? It’ll also be on TV!
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