The Toronto Blue Jays opened up their shortened season with a three game series in Tampa Bay, things looked good enough that they could have swept the series, but ended up losing two games to one.
I will be looking at the Good, Bad and Ugly in each of the series for the 2020 Season.
The Good – The New Bullpen
While the Blue Jays had many struggles in the 2019 season, possibly their most notable was the bullpen. In the series opener on Friday night, the bullpen came in to pitch 4 1/3 innings allowing just one hit on one unearned run. Jordan Romano and Anthony Bass looked like they will be; and can be counted on late in games. The two combined to pitch 4 1/3 innings in the series without surrendering a hit on two walks and four strikeouts.
The Bad – In Game Management
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While I truly believe the Charlie Montoyo is a really nice guy and is probably a great bench coach, I am still not convinced he is a big league manager. Since joining the Blue Jays organization, Sam Gaviglio has had a career 5.12 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, yet with the second game of the series tied in the eighth inning he was the one Montoyo chose to bring into the game. While I understand the stronger group of pitchers pitched the night before, Gaviglio should never be your choice in a close game. Each game is worth almost three games in a regular year, so these games are all or nothing; you have to lean heavily on certain pitchers or you may be found out of the race quickly.
Sunday the club was up 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth; which means you put your best defensive line-up on the field. Montoya had a hiccup and left new first basemen Vladimir Guerrero Jr in the line-up. While I hope he becomes a future big league first basemen, he is still learning the position. VGJ ended up making a mistake at the base that cost them the game. Montoya needs to be better.
The Ugly – Injuries
Randal Grichuk had started the season very well, being named the starting center fielder, going 4 for 10 without striking out. So watching him walk off the field with an apparent back injury is discouraging. The injury doesn’t appear to be anything long term at this point. However, Ken Giles who was going to be counted on heavily this year was found to have his velocity down in the low 90s Sunday afternoon. He was pulled out of the game with right elbow soreness, which is always a scary sight for any pitcher.
What were your thoughts on the first series?