Wednesday, February 26th–The first games of Spring Training officially began this afternoon, with the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the Philadelphia Phillies in Grapefruit League action at the Phillies’ spring training facility, Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. Although the teams didn’t get to complete a full 9 innings of baseball, due to the game being called after a 30 minute rain delay in the middle of the 7th inning, the Blue Jays walked away with a 4-3 victory and had some strong performances from their starting lineup and pitchers.
Blue Jays fielding a starting lineup that will look very similar, if not exact, to their opening day lineup:
Jose Reyes (SS) — 0 for 3, strikeout
Melky Cabrera (LF) — 1 for 2, 1 run, 1 BB
Jose Bautista (RF) — 1 for 2, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 runs
Edwin Encarnacion (1B) — 1 for 3, 1 strikeout
Adam Lind (DH) — 1 for 2, 1 RBI
Brett Lawrie (3B) — 1 for 2, 1 RBI, 1 run
Colby Rasmus (CF) — 1 for 2, 1 RBI
Dioner Navarro (C) — 0 for 3, 1 strikeout
Ryan Goins (2B) — 0 for 2
The Blue Jays’ middle of the lineup (2 through 7) had themselves a day against Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez (2 IP, 4-hits, 2 ER) and Canadian reliever Phillippe Aumont (1 IP, 1 hit, 2 ER, 2 BB), who was eventually charged with the loss; going 6 for 13 and driving in all 4 of the Jays’ runs.
Things got started quickly when RF Jose Bautista hit the first home run of spring training off of Hernandez on a 2-0 fastball in the 1st inning, a no-doubter over the left field wall and literally out of the ballpark.
Jays’ starter, J.A. Happ got off to a rocky start. He was scheduled to throw 2 innings, but a 37-pitch 1st inning where he gave up 2 ER on 4-hits, 1 walk, 1 wild pitch ended his day early. He did however, strike out the side.
Todd Redmond had the best outing for a Jays’ pitcher on the day, retiring all 6 of the batters he faced in the 2nd and 3rd innings. And was the winning pitcher of record. Competing for a spot in the rotation, Redmond is starting off on the right foot.
Kyle Drabek, one of the many pitchers competing for that 5th spot in the Jays’ rotation, struggled in his outing, walking 3 batters and giving up an earned run in the 1 2/3 innings he pitched.
Neil Wagner continued his strong performance from last season, striking out 3 of the 4 batters he faced in the 5th and 6th innings.
The Blue Jays will play the Phillies again tomorrow, but in their spring training home, at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. R.A. Dickey is expected to get the start for the Blue Jays, opposite Cliff Lee of the Phillies. Full pitchers’ schedule and broadcast details can be found here.