The Blue Jays fell 2-1 to the Pirates to drop their Grapefruit League record to 0-4. On the bright side, if there's ever a time to lose games, it's February. With the caveat that barely nothing means anything at this point, let's quickly review the good and the bad (there really wasn't anything too ugly today, unlike the weekend which featured a couple of very-slow-to-the-point-of-painful games).
- Marcus Stroman got the start and pitched two perfect innings, three strikeouts and one decent struck ball. He did run the count full to each batter in the 1st despite having each in a two strike hole ahead in the count. He was very sharp in the second, needing just 12 pitches. In total, 30 pitches, 6 swinging strikes.
- Roberto Osuna pitched the 3rd, only needing nine pitches to four batters. After a leadoff strikeout he got in a bit of a jam, a hard single to left and a roller to right before a GIDP to end the inning
- Aaron Loup got the 4th and struggled to throw strikes. On one hand, it's one February inning; on the other, it's deja vu all over again. He gave up a leadoff double followed by a four pitch walk, then seemed to find his stride with five consecutive strikes to get a strikeout and get ahead 0-2. But he couldn't put John Jaso away, allowing him to hit a deep sac fly. Then got ahead 0-2 again before losing the batter with another walk.
- Ryan Tepera's stuff didn't look crisp, except for a couple decent 88 MPH cutters to strikeout Gregory Polanco. He was a little snakebitten in giving up three singles, two of them grounders that found holes.
- Danny Barnes took the loss as the first pitch he threw was a bad, elevated fastball that got driven for a double and later scored on a balk (where have you gone, Balkin' Bob ... a nation turns its lonely eyes to you...). Overall, he wasn't very sharp but got a couple swinging strikes on his changeup.
- T.J. House had a nice couple innings, two strikeouts and one cheap infield single (cancelled out by a caught liner to 2B).
- Matt Dermody pitched a decent 9th, inducing four weak balls in play after a leadoff smash up the middle on the 3-1 pitch.
The Jays were stymied offensively with just four hits, negating the need for a similar rundown. They scored their only run in the 6th when Kevin Pillar doubled with two out and Jose Bautista cashed the pinch runner with a single.
The one standout was Rowdy Tellez, who made what will undoubtedly be one of the few pinch running appearances of his career after a 5th inning Smoak single. He even lived up to the role and stole second....when in Rome, right? He reached in both his plate appearances. The first was a nice piece of hitting, driving a 1-1 fastball the other way for a double. The second time was a six pitch walk, showing good plate discipline in spitting on a trio of breaking balls.
We did get to see a few other prospects. Anthony Alford started and went 0-3, with a fairly well hit fly ball but then two strikeouts. The newly bespectacled Danny Jansen (it took three years to figure out he had bad eyesight, seriously?) struck out on three pitches; J.B. Woodman flew out
Some weekend thoughts
I didn't catch the Yankees game yesterday, but some thoughts/observations/data points from the other couple games. Again, it's obviously really early so this is nothing definitive
Joe Biagini looked pretty good, throwing some good change-ups. He tailed off a little the last couple
inningsbatters, but if he has a third legit pitch in his change-up, I might have to re-assess the skepticism on the whole starting idea. Something to keep an eye on
- Mat Latos looked decent, not incredibly sharp but again, it's February.
- Dominic Leone is a guy I want to keep and eye on as a bullpen sleeper, he had a fantastic rookie year in 2014 and then basically lost the strike zone. He struck out the side yesterday, albeit sandwiched around a walk and hard double
- Conner Greene had his top shelf velo (apparently touching 100), but little in the way of command/control as he struggled to throw quality strikes in the zone and got hit hard early, then lost the zone when he came back out for a second inning. His spring is mostly about leaving an impression for down the road (midseason bullpen callup?) than making the club, so we'll see how many more opportunities he has (the WBC works in his favour here)
- I didn't think Mike Bolsinger had any realistic shot at making the 25 man roster, but his two walk outing sure didn't help his cause. One step closer to the DFA.
- Like Tepera, Glenn Sparkman was a little snakebitten in terms of results, but did give up some hard contact while sitting 92-93. Normally, not a big deal, but given his precarious situation as a Rule 5 pick in a now very crowded bullpen picture he needs to impress.
Finally, these game lengths for goodness sake. It's bad enough when regular season and playoff games go over 3.5 hours and push four, but spring training games...painful painful painful