It wasn’t all bad for the Blue Jays on Monday, despite losing 8-2. On the plus side, Francisco Liriano struck out 10, and Josh Donaldson made his Grapefruit League debut.
The Blue Jays aren’t winning a lot of game this spring, but fortunately that’s not the most important thing for the club. What’s important is getting healthy and ready for Opening Day, and 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson was able to make his spring debut on Monday, and important step for the 3rd baseman.
Donaldson didn’t light the world on fire in his debut, finishing 0-2 with a walk, but his presence in the lineup is a very positive sign. He served as the designated hitter on Monday in order to ease him back into game action, but he’ll look to play defence as well in the coming days.
Francisco Liriano pitched well again, throwing 4.2 innings and giving up 2 earned runs. His fastball topped out at 95 MPH on the day, his slider was electric, and his struck out 10. The left-hander, acquired last season from the Pittsburgh Pirates, cruised through the first 4 innings, before giving up a 2 run home run to Byung Ho Park in the 5th, but otherwise looked very sharp, as he has all spring.
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Tyler Duffey got the start for the Twins and shut down the Blue Jays through 5 complete innings of work. Duffey struggled through a long rookie season, finishing 9-12 with a 6.43 ERA for a Minnesota rotation that battled injuries through 2016.
Beyond Liriano, the Jays bullpen didn’t have their greatest day. J.P. Howell struck out a pair of hitters, but also allowed another home run. Aaron Loup didn’t fare any better, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, hurting his chances further for making the Opening Day roster. On the plus side, Ryan Tepera and Danny Barnes each threw an effective inning.
Ezequiel Carrera was forced to leave the game after he collided with Darwin Barney, reportedly dealing with a left quad contusion. Barney was able to remain in the game, but Carrera had to be helped off the field. It’s not certain how long he’ll be out at this point, but the injury could change the left field picture for the Blue Jays, at least to open the season.
The Blue Jays move on to face the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, and will have Aaron Sanchez slated to make his 3rd spring start. The game will get underway at 1:05 pm and will be played at Ed Smith Statium in Sarasota, FL.