In a game where the score meant nothing at all, the Jays beat the Orioles 5-2 on Saturday afternoon. In a game where the outcome meant even less, the Blue Jays prospects (plus Marcus Stroman, Russell Martin and Dwight Smith Jr) beat the Canadian Junior National Team 11-3.
In the Canadian Junior game, Marcus Stroman pitched 2 innings, giving up a leadoff walk to Noah Naylor in the 2nd inning, in what looked like he was fighting his delivery a little bit. Outside of that at bat, he looked good, healthy, and as confident as always. Speaking of which:
Stroman on tossing two scoreless innings: "I thought it went really well. I'm ready to rock. Just progress over the next two starts and looking forward to pitching against the Yankees on Sunday." #BlueJays— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) March 17, 2018
While this game had a lot of interesting names making the game worth watching, the two obvious ones were Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bo went 3-5 with a HR, 4 RBI and a steal, while Vladdy went 2-4 with a walk, plus a pretty nice play at third base.
This one's for all the "bat-first third baseman" takes... pic.twitter.com/q1KocjcYrF— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 17, 2018
Marcus Stroman spoke quite highly of them as well, saying “I’m ready for Bo and Vladdy to be on the big-league roster, to be honest. I don’t think those guys should wait. I want them on my team. I think they can help us win”
Other notables at the plate:
Russell Martin: Had a popout in the first, then was pinch hit for in the second after catching Stroman’s 2 innings.
Dwight Smith Jr: 1-2 with a double. Also got thrown out easily trying to go 1st to 3rd on a single to LF.
Connor Panas: 2-3, double and a walk.
Cavan Biggio: 1-1, single, walk, HBP, 2 runs.
Kacy Clemens: 2-3, with a walk.
On the pitching side
Shane Dawson: 2 innings, 1 K, 1 hit.
Maverik Buffo: 2 innings, 3k, 2 hits, 2 runs. His first inning looked good, second inning he got hit a bit harder.
Brayden Bouchey: 1 K, 1 walk, 1 hit.
Dalton Rodriguez: 2 K.
Orlando Pasqual: 1 K, 1 hit, 1 run.
Braden Halladay pitched for the Canadian Junior team for the 8th inning. He pitched a perfect inning, including inducing a groundout from Bo Bichette. He entered and exited the game to a standing ovation.
The Canadian Juniors seemed to all have a great time at the game, having huge smiles on their faces as they came to bat against Stroman, and seemingly enjoying everything about this game. I’m sure it was an experience they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
In the Orioles game, Joe Biagini pitched 3.2 innings. His first inning was a little rough, with a walk and single, but was bailed out by an outfield assist at home by Teoscar Hernandez. His second and third innings were much better, with a pair of singles scattered around 5 strikeouts and a groundout. Adam Jones started the 4th inning with a Home Run, but Biagini followed that up with two groundouts before he was pulled. Tim Mayza finished the inning with a strikeout, then had a clean 5th inning with another strikeout.
John Axford, who I thought would be pitching in the Canadian Junior game, but obviously is still fighting for a bullpen spot, had another great inning with a strikeout of Trey Mancini and a pair of groundouts to Adam Jones and Colby Rasmus. Pretty tough to imagine he’s not in Toronto on March 29.
Rhiner Cruz gave up a leadoff double in the 7th inning, but got a groundout and a couple strikeouts to end it. He has a 1.35 ERA on the Spring, and could be an interesting name to keep an eye on in Buffalo. Craig Breslow followed that up with a perfect 8th with 1 strikeout. Al Alburquerque finished off the win. After a leadoff bunt single, he got a strikeout before giving up a triple. He followed that up with a strikeout and a quick groundout.
On offense, we scored 5 runs on 11 hits, pretty much all by 3 guys:
Newcomer Danny Espinosa: 4-4, all singles.
DH Kevin Pillar: 3-3, all singles.
Roemon Fields: 2-3, walk, stolen base and a triple (but probably hit as far as every other hit too, he’s just that fast).
Luke Maile and Justin Smoak both contributed a single.
Espinosa, Solarte and Diaz each spent time at 3B, SS and 2B.
The Blue Jays are back at it tomorrow as they host the Pirates at 1:07 ET.