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Thursday Bantering

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays remained hot on Wednesday with a thorough dismantling of the Baltimore Orioles in Dunedin. You could say that beating a last place team running out their sixth starter should be expected but hey, a win over the Orioles counts the same as a win over the Yankees (which right now is not at all).

Chase Anderson got the start and had by far the best of his four appearances this spring, going 3.2 and allowing one run on three hits, a walk, and a hit batter while striking out four. In doing so he cut almost four runs off his spring ERA, taking it from 17.42 coming into the day down to 11.57. Hopefully that’s a sign that he’s found his groove. Tom Pannone came in to face one batter to finish off the fourth, and Anthony Bass, Ken Giles, and AJ Cole followed, each pitching a scoreless inning of relief. Brian Moran allowed a solo home run in the eighth but struck out two to get out of the inning, and Ryan Dull worked around a walk to close the game out.

On the offensive side, Tom Eshelman was kind enough to throw the guys some extra batting practice. Bo Bichette lead off with his third home run of the spring on Eshelman’s first pitch of the game, and things took off from there. Jonathan davis and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with back to back doubles, and then after a Travis Shaw strikeout Randak Grichuk and Danny Jansen capped the inning off with back to back home runs, their second and fourth so far. The second inning featured doubles from Bo and Lourdes, and singles from Grichuk and Jansen. In the fourth, Randal came back with his second home run of the game, of Mychal Givens, to cash in himself and Lourdes Gurriel Jr, who’d been hit by a pitch. Danny Jansen then tripled (!), but Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury weren’t able to cash him in. The parade continued in the fifth with a Reuben Tejada HBP and a Santiago Espinal bomb, and finished up in the sixth with an Andy Burns solo shot for the Jays 14th and final run of the game.

Enjoy baseball while you can, because it seems like the season might end before it gets going. The NBA has suspended its season following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19. The NCAA has announced that fans will not be allowed to attend March Madness games. Due to states of emergency and bans on large public assemblies in Washington and California, the Mariners and A’s have cancelled home games at least through the end of March. It sounds like they’re going to try to play elsewhere, but I can’t see many places wanting to host an event that might cause a bunch of people from Seattle or Oakland to fly in right now. The Blue Jays released a statement advising that players not have physical contact with fans, but so far have avoided cancelling any events or asking fans not to attend spring training games. It’s fair to wonder how long that can continue, though. The trend is pretty clearly towards at least playing in empty parks if not outright cancelling games.

Oh well. To pharaphrase Mark McGwire on The Simpsons, do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see Randal Grichuk sock a few dingers?

It’s a split squad again today. Trent Thornton and most of the major league starters will travel to Bradenton to face Joe Musgrove and the pirates. Cavan Biggio will play centre, so that will be interesting to see. The game will be televised on SportsNet.

BLUE JAYS (Thornton)

Bo Bichette, SS

Cavan Biggio, CF

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., DH

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B

Travis Shaw, 1B

Reese McGuire, C

Joe Panik, 2B

Forrest Wall, LF

Josh Palacios, RF

PIRATES (Musgrove)

Kevin Newman, SS

Bryan Reynolds, RF

Adam Frazier, 2B

Josh Bell, DH

Gregory Polanco, CF

Colin Moran, 3B

Jose Osuna, 1B

Jarrod Dyson, CF

Luke Maile, C

Back in Dunedin, the Jays will put canuck Jordan Romano on the mount for the annual exhibition game against the Canadian National Junior Team. It’s always a fun event, and lately there’s been an impressive amount of talent coming through the program. Last year’s Canada Jr. team included eventual Blue Jays third round pick Dasan Brown. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the game will be televised. Beyond Romano, the lineup for that game hasn’t been announced. Most of the starters are headed down to play the Pirates, though, so presumably it’ll mostly be a team of prospects behind Romano.