Spoiler: It was not as bad as it could have been.
In fact, the Toronto Blue Jays’ opening series against the New York Yankees went really well by almost all standards. After losing the first two games, the resident sky-is-falling Toronto fans seemed almost ready to implode (if they hadn’t already). Now, after two electric wins, the Blue Jays, and some fans, are back on track.
Here’s the biggest takeaways from the successful weekend:
Josh Donaldson, in fact, isn’t 100 percent, but at this pace, he soon will be.
Even though Donaldson’s throws on Opening Day may not have hurt the third baseman, I felt physical pain watching the game. The season had only just started, and already the injuries were piling up. Having John Gibbons say that Donaldson’s arm was not injured, just dead, didn’t help much.
Still, as the series progressed, Donaldson didn’t look as bad. Granted, he wasn’t fielding at all, but he hit well. In the last two games of the series, he got on base five times in nine at-bats, and he even had a double on Saturday.
He also appears closer to returning to playing third base, as he’s started to ramp up his throwing program.
The Blue Jays are ready to have a lot of fun this season, if the outcomes allow.
While we didn’t see it in the first two games of the series, because, well, those felt like death, the Blue Jays sure seemed like they were having fun on Saturday and Sunday. Whether it was Kevin Pillar stealing three bases in one inning, Justin Smoak hitting two home runs in a game or just Yangervis Solarte’s enthusiastic dancing, this team will be fun to watch — when they win, at least.
When you're drunk around sober people pic.twitter.com/Z4BccjpZ0w— Richard Lee-Sam (@RLeesam) April 1, 2018
Okay, so it’s mostly just Solarte dancing.
The Yankees are pretty much exactly what they’re cracked up to be.
Especially shining in the opener, the Yankees are hitting lots of home runs. They combined to hit six over the four-game series, two of which came from Giancarlo Stanton in just the first game. Their bullpen held for half of the series, and the collapses we saw in game three and four were likely just flukes.
On the flip side of things, New York isn’t as formidable as some may have thought. The Blue Jays took two of four in the series, pretty darn good against a team that has a projected 2018 record of 95-67, the second-best projected record in all of baseball.
Toronto’s bullpen is what we expected — for now, at least.
Excluding the opener, the Blue Jays bullpen didn’t give up a single run over 9.1 innings. Before the season, we were sure that the bullpen would be pretty good, but the performance so far (albeit a small sample size) validates that school of thought.
Justin Smoak continues to be great.
(Except, not really, because I have an article to write and although I’m not paid by the word — or at all, really — having that little word counter in the bottom right-hand corner go above 500 makes me feel good.)
Smoak was the star of the day on Sunday, when he hit two home runs and collected six of Toronto’s seven runs batted in. He collected a hit in every game besides the opener (where he walked). Overall, he had seven hits and two walks in 15 at-bats.