Toronto Blue Jays Pick up Where They Left off
Baseball has kicked off yesterday once again for the 2016 regular season. The Toronto Blue Jays are in Tampa Bay to open the season at Tropicana Field. This marks the 40th year for the Toronto Blue Jays franchise. Going into this game the Blue Jays were 20-19 on opening day, and are playing 4 games against the Rays to open the season.
Marcus Stroman was named the starting pitcher by John Gibbons 2 weeks ago, which is something that we all saw coming. Stroman had a good day only giving up 3 earned runs over 8 innings. Stroman came back out to start the 9th, he quickly gave up a home run to the lead off batter, Corey Dickerson. This is the only mistake we saw him make all game. The very next batter, Desmond Jennings singled to center, meaning the end of Stroman’s day. However, along with the win Marcus had 5 strikeouts and 6 hits. And in case you were wondering, he earned me 24 fantasy points. There was not a pitch that was not working for him, he was hitting 94 MPH with his 2 seamer, getting incredible movement on his cutter and his curveball and slider were fooling the Rays all afternoon.
The heavy hitters for the Blue Jays had the upper hand in Tampa. Josh Donaldson singled to right field and right behind him, Jose Bautista took a walk. After a wild pitch by Chris Archer, Josh and Jose moved into scoring position and Edwin Encarnacion singled to center earning his first 2 RBI’s of the year. Troy Tulowitzki got in on the action in the top of the 8th by hitting a 2 run shot to left center to give the Blue Jays a 5-1 lead going into the 9th. The Rays added a couple in the 9th, however it was not enough to keep pace with the heavy hitting Jays.
There were a few things that stood out to me while watching yesterday’s Opening Day game. First off, Stroman, he was firing on all cylinders last night and his only hiccup was a quick pitch that back-fired and was taken deep. The second was Stroman’s command of his slider, he was keeping it down inducing 14 ground ball outs; he was on fire! The third, was the defence. Tulo made play after play look so effortless, and since it is his first full season with the club I am excited to be able to watch that over and over again. Lastly, Russell Martin. His pick off of Kevin Kiermaier was just incredible and you have to wonder what Kiermaier was even doing running on Russell. That is the kind of defence that we need all season from Martin. The picture below helps my case.
There were some downsides to yesterday’s game, the mistake that Bautista made by committing on a routine fly ball, whether it was lights related or not, he should have had it. I hear whispers of “DH” whenever something goes wrong in right field. However, if that was to happen we could use his replacement, Dalton Pompey, if the club feels the need to go that route. The other issue I saw yesterday was Justin Smoak sitting on the bench. He had an outstanding Spring Training yet Chris Colabello took the 1st base position last night. It is yet to be seen if they are going to rotate starts at 1 bag until one of them make the bid to be the full timer.