The Blue Jays dropped another Grapefruit League game on Saturday afternoon, losing by a score of 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s a good thing the regular season hasn’t started yet, or the Blue Jays would have dug themselves a pretty big hole with their record. Fortunately, Grapefruit League results don’t count for anything more than bragging rights, and players looking to make a positive impression.
One of those players who made a positive impression on Saturday was Mat Latos, who made his second start of the spring. He was mostly impressive, holding the Rays hitless through the first 3 innings, before giving up a 2 run homer in the 4th inning to Jake Bauer, before giving way to Danny Barnes.
It was good to see Latos looking more like the pitcher the Blue Jays had hoped for, as he hit 94 on the radar gun and was in control for most of his outing. Back on March 8th he was knocked around pretty badly by the Orioles, giving up 5 runs in 2 innings pitched. This outing was much more encouraging for the former Cincinnati Red.
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On the Rays side of things, Chase Whitley managed to hold the Blue Jays at bay through his 4 innings pitched, giving up just 2 hits. The right-hander, who is trying to make the Rays’ rotation, also struck out 4, and walked just 1 batter in the outing.
One of the Blue Jays to get a hit against Whitley was Troy Tulowitzki, who has caught fire after initially struggling in Grapefruit League play. After beginning the spring season 0-11, Tulo is now 6 for his last 7, including 1-2 on Saturday.
The other Rays’ run came against Jason Grilli, who continues to struggle a bit this spring, and will hope to get things on track before the regular season begins.
Also of note, both Melvin Upton and Ezequiel Carrera were scratched from the lineup prior to the first pitch. Upton is reportedly dealing with a bit of a sore back, while Carrera’s pinky finger was enough to hold him out of today’s game. Neither injury appears to be serious, and both players should be back on the field, sooner than later.
The Blue Jays move on to play against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon, with Mike Bolsinger scheduled to get his first start of the spring. Like Latos, Bolsinger is hoping to make the team out of spring training, but he does not have a minor league option.