Game Thread - Spring Training Game 1: Pirates vs. Jays

March 2, 2012; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brett Cecil (27) poses for a portrait during photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Blue Jays teased us with some baseball during yesterday's intersquad game but--borrowing Tom's phrase--the first of the real fake games is today. Your Toronto Blue Jays will be playing host to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida where it is a sunny but humid 25°C (77°F, 298 K).

The game is not televised, but if you are in the Toronto area, you can listen to the game described beautifully by Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby on Rogers Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590. The pre-game show starts at 12:30 pm eastern. If you are out of AM range, you can pickup the game on MLB Gameday Audio on your PC or At Bat 2012 on a supported (ie. not Blackberry) mobile device.

Like last year's Spring Training opener, LHP Brett Cecil will take the mound for the Jays. Cecil threw 2.0 innings against the Tigers, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits with a single strikeout. This year, with Cecil being in the Best Shape Of His Life™, we may witness a better debut for the young southpaw. Cecil is expected to throw a maximum of two innings before handing the ball over to RHP Kyle Drabek (who finally "gets it" now), shortstop-turned-RHP Sergio Santos Jerry Gil, sleepy RHP Jim Hoey, submariner RHP Danny "Lord" Farquhar, LHP Luis Perez, another shortstop-turned-RHP Ryan Tepera, RHP Joel "Honey Nuts" Carreno, and Canadian RHP Scott Richmond (who is wearing #77 this spring).

Countering Cecil will be Pittsburgh fourth or fifth starter RHP James McDonald, who had an OK year in 2011. McDonald has a low-90s fastball, he also has a nice 12-6 curve and a change in his arsenal. His lack of control over those pitchers has resulted in 4.1 walks per 9 IP.

Starters' infoboxes and lineups after the jump. Join us for the game thread and some 2012 Toronto Blue Jays baseball! If you're just waiting for the game to begin, be sure to go catch episode 12 of the Bluebird Banter Podcast (two more episodes and we'll outlast Firefly!).

Starting Pitchers

Brett Cecil

#27 / Pitcher / Toronto Blue Jays





Jul 02, 1986

James McDonald

#53 / Pitcher / Pittsburgh Pirates





Oct 19, 1984

Starting Lineups

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Jose Tabata, RF
  2. Clint Barmes, SS
  3. Neil Walker, 2B
  4. Casey McGehee, 1B
  5. Yamaico Navarro, 3B
  6. Nate McLouth, CF
  7. Jake Fox, DH
  8. Gorkys Hernandez, LF
  9. Michael McKenry, C

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Yunel Escobar, SS
  2. Kelly Johnson, 2B
  3. Jose Bautista, RF
  4. Adam Lind, 1B
  5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  6. Colby Rasmus, CF
  7. Brett Lawrie, 3B
  8. Eric Thames, LF
  9. J.P. Arencibia, C

Most of the starting nine from both teams will be replaced in the game after a few innings. I am hoping to see the brothers d'Arnaud play against each other today. Former Blue Jays on the Pirates squad include Jo-Jo Reyes, Rod Barajas, and the injured A.J. Burnett.

Important note to all game thread participants: please refrain from asking for, or posting, links to illegal audio streams of this and all future games. We at Bluebird Banter respect others' intellectual property and copyrights because we'd like our content to be protected as well. We will be enforcing this rule this year if needed, but we'd very much like to not have to warn or ban anyone this year!

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