Blue Jays Split Squad Notes & Grades
The Blue Jays split themselves up today as they sent one squad to face the Pirates at McKechnie Field while the other stayed at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium to host the Braves. There was a distinct difference in the two lineups sent. While the big bats and arms stayed home for the Sportsnet TV audience, the Pirates hosted the reserves, backups and minor leaguers.
– Randy Wolf made the start for the B team that traveled to face the Pirates.
Toronto Blue Jays
It did not go so well. In 2.2 innings he gave up 4 hits including a HR, 4 earned runs, to go with 2 walks and 2 strike outs. Obviously, this is not exactly an exciting sign for the Blue Jays. However, he isn’t going to be expected to heavily contribute this season. As depth, though, you’d like to see something better.
-The rest of the pitching in the game against the Pirates was pretty ugly. But, fans may only be concerned with the results of a couple of those guys. Aaron Loup and Todd Redmond threw in that contest and did fairly well. In a game where the Blue Jays gave up runs aplenty, neither of these two did.
–Daric Barton did his best to make the Blue Jays think a little harder about the competition for first base. He hit a home run in the first inning. But, Danny Valencia reminded the club that he’s hitting really well this spring. The potential 1B depth piece hit a home run of his own in the 4th.
–Marco Estrada got in his first bit of action since tweaking his ankle 10 days ago. This start was more about getting some work in rather than him actually contending for a spot in the starting rotation. His line: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Unlike the other, younger candidates for the rotation (Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez) Estrada doesn’t feature an offering that will blow batters away. He pumped a steady diet of slow fastballs and even slower off speed pitches. It worked well for him overall, despite giving up 5 hits.
–Roberto Osuna was given a chance to show what the Blue Jays appear to be relying on so heavily in 2015. But, it didn’t go so well for him. He coughed up the two run lead in the 6th after seeming to battle through his outing. He did a good job of mixing his fastball and change up. In fact, the Braves had a difficult time getting on top of his pitches as they fouled off many offerings. As well, it should be noted the chemistry between Osuna and Josh Thole seemed to be lacking. There was lots of shaking off of called pitches and little effective receiving of Osuna’s offerings.
-While many fans were excited to see Miguel Castro, his outing wasn’t what we’ve come to expect either. He had his electric fastball and off speed combo working well. But, he was let down by his defense. Shane Opitz botched a tailor made double play that gave way to a fly ball that went off the glove of a diving Melky Mesa. Once the ball went off Mesa’s glove, one run had scored with another coming. But, Josh Thole couldn’t hang on to the ball during his tag attempt and the run scored.
Castro and Osuna will have days where they are going to give up hits and runs. We shouldn’t be quick to worry. In fact, we should be glad to see them face adversity and watch to see how they continue to develop.