Your Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for Friday, April 7th, 2017.
First home run for the Blue Jays in 2017, Morales with new team
The Blue Jays’ offence finally woke up a bit on Thursday night, beating the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 5-2 for their first win of the season. The Jays managed to jump out to an early 4-0 lead on the strength of a grand slam by Kendrys Morales, his first home run in his new uniform.
The blast was Morales’ 5th career grand slam, and it was no cheap shot either, travelling a distance of 444 feet to left-centre field. The switch-hitter teed off from the right side, with the home run coming against left-hander, Blake Snell.
Martin getting beat up early
As you may recall from Wednesday night’s game, Russell Martin took a nasty foul tip to his exposed throwing hand, but fortunately was able to remain in the game. To the surprise of some fans, he was back in there again on Thursday, catching for Marcus Stroman’s first regular season start.
Unfortunately for Martin, the poor guy took another shot to the hand on Thursday night’s game. He was able to shake this one off a little more easily, but his right hand has gotta be getting sore.
There’s no doubt that Martin is a tough customer, but it’s a little concerning that he’s taking this much of a beating, when we’re only 3 games into the season. Hopefully the baseball gods will lighten up on him a little bit.
Devon Travis sits against the Rays, turf not the reason
When Devon Travis’ name wasn’t in the lineup for Thursday’s game, many folks wondered aloud if the Blue Jays weren’t being cautious with Travis on the Rays’ turf infield. Evidently, that wasn’t the case, as they had a scheduled day off for him in place, easing him back into playing full time on his knee.
It sounds like we can expect him to be in the lineup for Friday’s game, and perhaps most of, or all of the remainder of the series with the Rays.
Probable pitchers for the remainder of the series
If all goes according to plan, Francisco Liriano will face off against Matt Andriese on Friday in the second game of the series. The Blue Jays will follow with Aaron Sanchez and then back to the top with Marco Estrada, while the Rays counter with Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi.
Liriano had an exceptional Grapefruit League stint, and will look to continue the momentum into the regular season with his first start on Friday. The left-hander came over in a deadline deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, and has looked rejuvenated in a Blue Jays uniform, especially this spring.
Aaron Sanchez will follow him on Saturday, and will look to put any lingering concerns over blister issues behind him. The 24 year old lead the American League in ERA last year with a 3.00 ERA, in his first full season as a starting pitcher.