Toronto Blue Jays: 3 takeaways from opening series vs. Tampa Bay Rays

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Toronto Blue Jays

General view of the stadium before opening day between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

We break down the Toronto Blue Jays’ start to the 2020 MLB season, after losing their opening series versus the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Toronto Blue Jays’ opening series of the 2020 season highlighted everything you need to know about this team. In other words, the hope, promise and talent versus the youth, frustration and inconsistency which surrounds the roster.

The Blue Jays should have left Florida with a series win. Should have. Instead, they headed to Washington with regret and wondering about what could have been.

Fans will be hoping the young team learned some valuable lessons from what transpired in Tampa Bay and use the experience to help them grow. Here are three takeaways from the series versus the Rays:

Toronto Blue Jays

Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

3) Hyun-Jin Ryu must improve after an underwhelming start

If the Blue Jays are to realistically contend for a wild card spot this year, arguably the biggest key to this is their rotation. By extension, they need a big season from Hyun-Jin Ryu.

A lot is expected from Ryu after the Blue Jays signed him to a four-year $80 million deal in December, and with good reason. Last season he was the MLB ERA leader, selected to his first All-Star Game and finished second in voting for the NL Cy Young Award.

As a result, Toronto decided to send Ryu to the mound for opening day, but his performance left something to be desired. In fairness he flew through the first three innings and seemed to be justify the Blue Jays’ faith in him, but then it all fell apart.

The Rays scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of a RBI double, before things really started to go wrong in the following inning. Ryu allowed a two-run homer from Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, quickly followed by a double which ended his evening.

With one out still remaining in the bottom of the fifth when Ryu left the game, it cost him the chance at the win despite the Blue Jays leading 6-3 at the time. In total, he allowed four hits and three earned runs, while recording four strikeouts.

Of particular interest, Ryu allowed three walks in his 4.2 innings of action. During his impressive 2019 campaign, he gave up one or no walks in 26 of his 29 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It’s imperative Ryu performs better moving forward, beginning with his next start on Wednesday night against the World Series Champion Washington Nationals. In fairness, he admitted as much while also displaying some leadership qualities in accepting he had a bad performance, as reported by Keegan Matheson of MLB.com:

“Honestly, I think I was the weak link in today’s game,” Ryu said. “As long as I pick up my pace, if everyone else does what they did today, I think we’ll be fine moving forward.”

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