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Rays Pitching Stops Jays Offence In Home Opener

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The offence had a false start in the Rogers Centre opener...

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Rays 2 Blue Jays 1

It was a frustrating night for a sold out Rogers Centre crowd and most of us as the Blue Jays couldn't get anything going offensively off of Jake Odorizzi and couldn't pick up their starter R.A. Dickey in a 2-1 loss to open their four game series.

Sportsnet kept showing Rogers Ignite ads, and all I was waiting for was the Rogers Centre to ignite, and it will have to wait another day. The crowd got into it in the ninth inning but the air got sucked out of the building after a strike-him-out, throw-him out double play in the bottom half of the ninth inning.

Dickey had an up and down game, and his numbers look better than it appeared his game went. If not for a spell of walks in the third and fourth innings, it would have been a much nicer start. The two Rays runs came on back-to-back bases loaded walks to David DeJesus and Steven Souza Jr. in the fourth inning. Dickey only allowed three hits over six innings, striking out three. He had five walks total.

Dickey came out for the fifth and sixth innings where he looked a lot better and saved the long/middle relievers for the rest of this four game series.

The top and middle of the order was silent after a big game yesterday. The only Jays run came from back-to-back hits in the fifth. Kevin Pillar broke the no-hitter with a line drive to right that ended up a double and Devon Travis singled him home right after. They were the only two hits they got off of Odorizzi and Brad Boxberger.

Roberto Osuna pitched very well for two innings allowing a borderline walk, and adding a strike out while not allowing a hit. He pitched in back-to-back games after pitching the seventh yesterday. Aaron Loup was also very good in the ninth and he seems to have bounced back after a tough few outings in New York to open the season.

The Blue Jays had the right guys up for the ninth inning with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, but Brad Boxberger closed the door on the first game in Toronto this season. Bautista got on with a walk, Encarnacion worked a full count but struck out and Bautista was thrown out trying to steal second on the same pitch which took the wind out of the sails of a rally. Donaldson got a hold of a ball, and it was as deep as a ball could be without being a hit but Souza caught it at the wall.

It was the debut of the new turf at Rogers Centre, and it appeared to affect some balls that were hit, but the biggest effect it had was on Pillar's double (the ball slowed down instead of bouncing towards the wall) but he scored on Travis's single regardless.

It will be interesting to see how things go as the season continues and the Jays adjust to it.

The Lineup:

Jose Reyes: 0 for 4
Dalton Pompey: 0 for 4
Jose Bautista: 0 for 1, 3 walks, caught stealing in 9th
Encarnacion: 0 for 3, 1 walk
Josh Donaldson: 0 for 4
Justin Smoak: 0 for 3
Russell Martin: 0 for 3
Kevin Pillar: 1 for 3, run scored, double
Devon Travis: 1 for 3, RBI

Jays of the Day: Osuna was great in relief (+.106), while Dickey and Loup were also positive in WPA. Bautista was great, drawing three walks until getting caught stealing. Honourable mentions to Pillar and Travis for manufacturing the Jays only run.

Jays Suckage: Everybody offensively is maybe a bit harsh but the lineup was a combined (-.694) "led" by Encarnacion (-.176), Donaldson (-.158), Smoak (-.103), Reyes (-.121) and Pompey (-.099). Just one day after getting 10 runs, they could only muster one in their home opener on two hits. Dickey pitched well, but only he is to blame for the two walks that drove in the two Rays runs.

Up Next: Tomorrow night the Jays face off in Game Two of their four game series against the Rays. Daniel Norris will be going for the Jays against Matt Andriese. Andriese is making his first career start after coming in relief for his MLB debut against the Marlins earlier this year. Game time is at 7:07 p.m.