For the first time this season, the Toronto Blue Jays got to play in their home away from home earning a walk-off win at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.
As the saying goes, “it’s better late than never,” and it’s safe to say the wait for the Toronto Blue Jays to finally have a home ballpark to call their own was worth it.
With the obvious concerns around the ability to turn Sahlen Field into a viable location to host MLB games, you have to tip your hat off to all those who put in the work to pull it off the transformation. Not only did the ballpark get decked out to fulfill social distancing protocols but it also garnered a lot of thumbs up from the organization.
More from Tip of the Tower
- Cam Phillips making his mark on Toronto Argonauts offence
- Toronto Argonauts: 4 storylines ahead of matchup against Redblacks
- Federico Bernardeschi ready for new challenge with Toronto FC
- Toronto Argonauts overcome Roughriders in entertaining Touchdown Atlantic
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith
Then there was a ballgame to be played and after some frustrating moments leading up to the long-awaited opener in Buffalo, Toronto was able to grind out a win in extra innings. The encouraging part of this game was seeing the team regroup after Anthony Bass failed to secure the save in the ninth inning.
An obvious sign of encouragement was seeing Bo Bichette hit a home run men on-base which has been a problem with this offence in the early part of this season. Of course, playing the Miami Marlins doesn’t present the same challenge that other teams will but when wins are a premium during a 60-game season, you take them for sure.
After some rough moments in his past few starts, Hyun-Jin Ryu was solid going six innings and only allowing two hits while striking out seven, throwing 92 pitches. Once again, the bullpen was solid minus the home run Bass gave up in the ninth and A.J. Cole escaping an almost disastrous 10th inning.
What this game showed is that the Blue Jays offence surely has more to offer considering there have been many missed opportunities. General manager Ross Atkins attributed the team’s offensive woes on a lack of experience.
"“I think it’s youth, is what we’re seeing,” Atkins explained.“One of the hardest things — and we talk about it often — is going from being a competitive team to a winning team. We’re confident that’s going to happen, it’s just hard to put a hard timeline on it.”"
The expectations for this team have been increasing as we started to see more dynamic talent go through the development channels. It’s also a challenge for these players to lead the way offensively with a lack of experience against MLB pitching.
This is why the team needs to preach patience because and try to make the opposing pitcher work more rather than give him an easy out or being overly aggressive.
Against the Marlins, Toronto got five walks (including three from Bichette) and seven hits with Cavan Biggio and Bichette getting two apiece. There are obviously some kinks to be worked out but once the production starts to come, the players will start to become more confident in themselves.
Having a home field will help ease the burden this 2020 shortened season has already put this team through. Seeing the reaction from the players and management as they entered Sahlen Field should explain just how crucial it is for a team to have this distraction erased from their minds.
Now it’s time for Toronto to string together some wins and push to get into the playoff picture.
What did you think about the Blue Jays’ first game at Sahlen Field? Do you think this will provide a boost for the team going forward? Let us know in the comments below.