The Blue Jays have quite simply not played well so far this spring training. However, coming off a win, the team was looking to make it two in a row on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
It doesn’t matter if it is house league or professional baseball – winning two games in a row feels good. The Blue Jays, after beating the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, were looking to do just that on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
The team responded big time, going out in front early and never looking back. The Blue Jays ended up taking the game 6-2, improving to 4-9-1 in Grapefruit League action.
Right-handed pitcher Casey Lawrence started the game, and it is safe to say he impressed. The 29-year-old career minor-leaguer went three shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out four. While Lawrence is not a player too many people think will make the team, he is surely pitching well enough to open eyes. Thus far throughout the 2017 Grapefruit League season, Lawrence has pitched to a 1.13 ERA.
After Lawrence left the game, the team pieced together the remainder of the game with various pitchers. Bo Schultz, Aaron Loup, Mike Bolsinger, Matt Dermody and T.J. House all pitched to shutout performances (Bolsinger 1.1, Dermody 0.2, House 0.1, the rest 1.0) out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays. A pitcher who did not help his stock to make the team today was right-hander Ryan Tepera, who allowed a two-run home run to Justin Upton in the fifth inning. Tepera is currently pitching to a 4.50 ERA in spring training.
Of these pitchers, the main guy the Blue Jays need to step up is Loup. The left-hander has shown flashes of good pitching in the past, but is just overall too inconsistent and cannot be trusted in late innings. However, he has pitched well so far in spring training, posting an impressive 2.70 ERA. If Loup can put it all together, the Blue Jays are all of a sudden not too desperate for another lefty.
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A scary moment happened in the ninth when House was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of John Hicks. House was sent to a nearby hospital by ambulance, and we are hoping he is alright and has a speedy recovery. On a positive note, as the stretcher was leaving the field, he gave fans a thumbs up, indicating he was not majorly injured. The game was then ended, as there was one out in the ninth inning.
While the pitching was great, the offense also pulled their weight. While the Blue Jays didn’t absolutely break out, they still hit well, smashing nine hits that led to their six runs.
Two players really stood out today, and they just happen to both be infielders. Jake Elmore and Jon Berti both went 2-3 with an RBI, leading the way at the plate for the Blue Jays. The two are both hitting over .300 in Grapefruit League action, and are realistically battling for a spot on the team. Even if they get optioned to AAA, there is a chance another team could take a chance on them or they could grind away in the minors.
The other Blue Jays to register hits were Steve Pearce (1-3), Richard Urena (1-3), Anthony Alford (1-3), Darrell Ceciliani (1-3) and Juan Graterol (1-3). Of those players, Alford and Graterol picked up an RBI. The other RBI’s came from Justin Smoak (0-2) and Ezequiel Carrera (0-4).
While record means nothing in spring league action, it is always good to win two games in a row. It gets everybody’s confidence up, and when a team is confident, good things seem to happen.
The Blue Jays will look to make it three straight on Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies. The game will be played at First Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida, and first pitch is set for 1:07.