Blue Jays vs Phillies: Game Notes & Grades


39. Final. 3. 6. 6

The Blue Jays were in action on Saturday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Florida as part of Grapefruit League action. For the most part, the lineup resembled what the Blue Jays could be opening up the 2015 season in New York with.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

With the left handed Cole Hamels  on the mound for the Phillies, the Blue Jays went with a right handed heavy lineup: Jose Reyes SS, Russell Martin C, Jose Bautista RF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Danny Valencia 1B, Dayan Viciedo LF, Devon Travis 2B, Dalton Pompey CF, R.A. Dickey P. With the exception of Viciedo and Valencia, we could be looking at the every day Blue Jays lineup moving forward.

The Blue Jays got a nice outing from R.A. Dickey. Through his first 3 innings, he’d barely broken a sweat in giving up just 2 hits while facing 11. By the time all was said and done, Dickey gave up just 2 unearned runs on 5 hits through 6+ innings. It was nice to see Dickey in fine form this early in the year. The Blue Jays will need him in order to come out of the gate swinging in 2015.

The offense was highlighted by home runs by Jose Reyes (who launched the first pitch of the game over the LF fence), Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson. While the ‘starters’ collected their share of hits, it wasn’t until the replacements came in and worked across a few more runs.


– Jose Reyes committed a costly error in the 4th inning. Chase Utley hit a ground ball with some wicked spin on it right at Reyes. The short stop set his feet and the ball slipped right through the wickets. Then, in the same inning, Jose Bautista appeared to come up with a single to RF rather slowly as he fired to home to allow Utley to score. Both of these situations are examples of plays that both players could have easily made. The Blue Jays will need their defense to step up this season. They’ll need more sharpness from their big guys. 

-If there are any concerns about Russell Martin’s ability to handle the knuckleball, this game went a long way addressing that. Martin looked very good behind the dish. In fact, there were only a couple instances where he seemed tricked by the floater. None of those times, though were anything to raise alarm bells. In fact, the only difficulty Martin had was at the dish where he went 0-4.

-Devon Travis is doing his best to remove any doubt that he’ll start the season at 2B for the Blue Jays. Early on in the game, his bat was quiet (despite grinding out his at bats), but his glove was loud. He made a couple of stand out plays to help his team. Then, later in the game, his bat helped add insurance runs to the lead. It has been said that this team does not need a heavy hitter at 2B. They need a guy who can chip in daily and do things to help his team win. Travis may provide just that.


: Here’s one of his nice plays. It wasn’t even the best one, but here you go:

-Justin Smoak continued to state his case for the 1B job with a pinch hit RBI double in the 8th inning. As well, Dayan Viciedo shifted to 1st late in the game. It would appear the Blue Jays are trying every possible scenario to solve the dilemma that faces them at first base. Justin Smoak is starting to turn around his spring and perhaps providing the club with more to think about.


A-. Dickey was the recipient of some poor fielding behind him that led to 2 runs in the 4th. Other than those unearned runs, he was his normal, mid-season self. His final line of 6.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 K and 0 walks. The Phillies got their share of hits, but never really looked threatening as Dickey was in control throughout his appearance.  . . <b>R.A. Dickey</b>. STARTING PITCHING

B+. I’m giving the game ball to Travis because he went 2-4 with a run and an RBI. He showed a gutsy approach all game. The Blue Jays had Cole Hamels on the ropes throughout his 4 inning outing. They had worked several full counts, but were never able to capitalize on the lefty’s lack of control. While it is good to see the Blue Jays work full counts, you’d like to see them strike when a starter, especially one of Hamels pedigree, is on the ropes. While it is nice to see Reyes, Bautista and Donaldson go deep, it would be folly to rely on this for your offense on a nightly basis. You’d like to see a more balanced attack. For example, take the 8th inning (when the substitutions started). The Blue Jays hitters were up against a struggling pitcher in <strong><a href=. Game Ball. <b>Devon Travis</b>. OFFENSE

A-. After <strong><a href=. Game Ball. <b><strong>Steve Delabar</strong></b>. RELIEF PITCHING

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