Split Squad day for the Toronto Blue Jays on their second day of Spring Training Games. The Baby Birds take on the Yankees in Tampa, Fl at Steinbrenner field.
On the hill in this game for the Jays was Brett Oberholtzer. He was signed to a minor league deal over the offseason and is looking to be a left handed option for the Blue Jays. He would face Luis Severino. The Blue Jays would be facing most of the every day starters for the Yankees. The Jays however were traveling with the kids that have been getting ready to possible leave the nest in the Minors. This would be a great challenge for the young Jays to see what they can do against Major League stuff.
Oberholtzer got off to a good start in the 1st inning but quickly got into trouble in the 2nd. He would record 1 out and allow a single to Matt Holliday. Holliday joins the Yankees this season as a free agent and is expected to play DH and some outfield. Fellow free agent signe Chris Carter would walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Starlin Castro would step into the box next. He took a belt high 1-2 pitch over the fence to put the Yankees up 3-0. Oberholtzer is fighting for a chance to be more then Minor League depth at the Triple A level and he got banged up in just his second inning of work.
The Blue Jays were clearly looking to poke the Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. In the first 3 innings they tried to steal three times. Speedster Anthony Alford was successful were Jon Berti and Ezequiel Carrera were both caught. It is worth noting that Berti could have been safe with a better slide but Carrera was hung out to dry on a perfect throw by Sanchez.
Bo Shultz was the first out of the pen. Oberholtzer would finish with 3 earned runs on 2 hits and a pair of walks. The first batter of the inning Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to short stop Darwin Barney but reached on an error. Barney threw the ball into the stands. Schultz would record an out before the Yankees score Ellsbury on a fielders choice. Shultz would finish up the inning with just the one unearned run.
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As the Blue Jays were failing to get anything going at the plate Chris Smith came on in the 4th. He pitched in Double and Triple A this past season and had some good numbers overall. He threw 60.2 innings with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He showed today that he looks to continue that success. He threw a shutout inning and struck out a batter.
Anthony Alford would finally get the Blue Jays in the hit column with a single to center. Alford is ranked as the Jays 3rd prospect according to MLB.com. A couple batters later Jon Berti would walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Didi Gregorius would make a good play on a short hope to escape the inning.
Leonel Campos started the bottom of the 5th and got into trouble right off the bat with an Aaron Hicks double. Brett Gardner would follow with a single into center. This would score Hicks and put the Yankees up 5-0. Campos got some luck with a ground ball that turned into a double play. He would retire Gary Sanchez to escape the inning.
The Blue Jays would finally find some offense in the Top of the 6th. Ezequiel Carrera lead off with a walk. An out later Jarrod Saltalamacchia strolled in and deposited a ball deep over the right field wall. The 2 run homer made the score 5-2 in favor of the Yankees.
Chad Girodo pitched a no hit inning during the bottom of the 6th. Jordan Romano would pitch the 7th and start things off with a strikeout. He then beaned the next batter . Billy McKinney then pounded a ball over the right field wall. The home run put the Yankees up 7-2.
The younglings just could not get anything going in the game against the Yankees. Yes they were in experienced compared to what could be the Yankees starting lineup for opening day but there were few take aways from this game. One lesson learned here is that Gary Sanchez maybe a better defender behind the plate then expected. The Jays tried to steal 3 bases while he was behind the plate and were only successful once.