Simulating the upcoming season for the Toronto Blue Jays: Opening Day

 Eric Treuden
Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game One
Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game One / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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One of my absolute favorite baseball "video games" is a simulation-style game like Out of the Park Baseball 23.

I use video games in quotes because it doesn't play like a traditional video game. You put together your team and the game does all of the simulating and game action for you. The user is able to sit in and watch the game unfold, making substitutions on the field as needed, but the system does all of the actual gameplay for you.

I've spent months dating back to the beginning of the offseason putting together not only the Toronto Blue Jays, but all teams throughout the league. I've followed every major and minor league transaction and made sure they were reflected in the game.

Here's my Opening Day roster for the Jays:

C: Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen

INF: Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Matt Chapman, Santiago Espinal, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Spencer Horwitz, Whit Merrifield

OF: Kevin Kiermaier, Nathan Lukes, George Springer, Daulton Varsho

SP: Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, José Berríos, Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi

RP: Mitch White, Trevor Richards, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Anthony Bass, Erik Swanson, Yimi García

CP: Jordan Romano

Editor's note: this was simulated before the additions of Brandon Belt and Zach Thompson to the club.

Second editor's note: the season being simulated is technically last year's schedule, but the rosters are completely accurate as of around four days ago.

The Opening Day matchup for the Blue Jays is against the Texas Rangers, here are the lineups:

Blue Jays

Position

George Springer

RF

Bo Bichette

SS

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

1B

Alejandro Kirk

DH

Matt Chapman

3B

Daulton Varsho

LF

Danny Jansen

C

Whit Merrifield

2B

Kevin Kiermaier

CF

Rangers

Position

Marcus Semien

2B

Corey Seager

SS

Nathaniel Lowe

1B

Adolis García

RF

Jonah Heim

C

Josh Jung

3B

Brad Miller

DH

Leody Taveras

CF

Josh Smith

LF

Alek Manoah is set to take on new Rangers ace Jacob deGrom in Rogers Centre.

Manoah opened the season with a 20 pitch first inning in which he struck out both Marcus Semien and Adolis García. Two baserunners ultimately reached base in the form of a Corey Seager double and a Nathaniel Lowe fielder's choice.

deGrom began his Rangers career with a lights-out inning, allowing a single off the bat of Bo Bichette but a Springer ground out and Guerrero and Kirk fly outs moved his first inning as a Ranger along quickly.

This matchup was a full-blown pitcher's duel through four. Manoah sat at 73 pitches and 8 K while deGrom was at 56 with 4 K. Once the top of the fifth rolled around, the Rangers offense came to life.

After Taveras and Smith led off the inning with singles, Semien singled past Bichette at shortstop. Fortunately, Kiermaier, one of the best defenders in center field around, gunned down Taveras at home plate in thrilling fashion.

This was not enough to keep the Rangers off the board, though, as Seager came up and promptly singled Smith in, making it a 1-0 ballgame in favor of the Rangers.

In Daulton Varsho's second at bat as a Jay he hit one all the way back to the wall in center field but it was brought back in by Taveras out there, who singlehandedly kept the Jays off the board.

In the top of the sixth, Anthony Bass was brought on in relief of Manoah, whose day ended with 96 pitches, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. Bass had something of a meltdown on the mound, allowing two straight singles and then a wild pitch that allowed Jonah Heim to come in and score.

Finally, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Blue Jays had some life. Springer opened up the inning with a double to right-center field and was moved over to third on a Bichette groundout. Vladdy drew a four-pitch walk before Varsho came to the plate and promptly doubled over the head of Taveras in center, tie game at two! Brock Burke relieved deGrom whose day ended with 92 pitches, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.

After a Semien flyout and a Seager walk in the top of the seventh, Bass was lifted for Yimi García, who immediately allowed a double off the bat of Lowe that drove in Seager. The earned run was charged to Bass and García finished the rest of the inning on just eight pitches.

Springer doubled off of Burke in the bottom of the seventh but no further offense came around for the Jays. In the top of the eighth, García swiftly retired the side and moved us along to the bottom of the eighth, where Jonathan Hernández came on and held the Jays scoreless once again.

Entering the top of the ninth in a 3-2 ballgame in favor of the Rangers, left-hander Tim Mayza was brought on due to three lefties coming up in the order. Mayza walked Seager but held the Rangers scoreless and gave his club every chance to succeed in the bottom of the ninth.

With closer José Leclerc on the mound, the Jays did not stand a chance. Both Danny Jansen and Whit Merrifield flew out to Bubba Thompson, who had only just entered the game in left field. Thompson made back-to-back hit-saving catches in the outfield.

With Kiermaier representing the last hope for the Blue Jays in their season opener, he promptly struck out on three consecutive pitches. That's your ballgame.

Texas Rangers: 3

Toronto Blue Jays: 2

Here's how the pitching stacked up for both clubs on the day:

Player

IP

H

ER

BB

K

deGrom

5.2

5

2

2

7

Burke (W 1-0)

1.1

1

0

0

2

Hernández

1.0

1

0

0

0

Leclerc (SV 1)

1.0

1

0

0

1

Player

IP

H

ER

BB

K

Manoah

5.0

7

1

1

8

Bass (L 0-1)

1.1

2

0

1

0

García

1.2

1

0

0

1

Mayza

1.0

0

0

1

0

Here's the final box score on offense for each club:

Player

AB

R

H

RBI

BB/K

Semien

5

0

2

0

0/1

Seager

2

1

2

1

3/0

Lowe

5

0

1

1

0/0

García

4

0

0

0

0/3

Heim

4

1

2

0

0/0

Jung

4

0

1

0

0/2

Miller

4

0

0

0

0/2

Taveras

4

0

1

0

0/0

Smith

4

1

1

0

0/1

Player

AB

R

H

RBI

BB/K

Springer

4

1

2

0

0/0

Bichette

4

0

1

0

0/0

Guerrero

3

1

0

0

1/0

Kirk

4

0

3

1

0/0

Chapman

4

0

0

0

0/2

Varsho

4

0

1

1

0/0

Jansen

4

0

0

0

0/2

Merrifield

3

0

0

0

1/2

Kiermaier

4

0

0

0

0/3

After today's game, the following injuries occurred around the league:

Orioles RF Anthony Santander 15-day IL with strained oblique, Terrin Vavra recalled from Triple-A

Astros LF Yordan Alvarez 15-day IL with torn quadriceps, Bligh Madris recalled

Dodgers UTIL Chris Taylor 60-day IL with broken hand, Michael Busch recalled

Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara 15-day IL with arm fatigue, Sixto Sánchez recalled

This article is a little bit different than others Jays Journal has done in the past. Let me know in the comments if this is a series you would be interested in me continuing. Opening Day gets its own post but any articles beyond this one would likely just be monthly recaps for how the club is doing (and Belt and Thompson are going to be added to the club).

Next. 3 questions to be answered in Spring Training for the Jays. dark

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