With all due respect to the remaining Montreal Expo fans, the title of “Canada’s Baseball Team” belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays. With the help of the local Edmonton College teams, a Twitter poll which collected 121 votes confirms the presumptuous title I have given to the Blue Jays.
Can we do an unscientific poll together @EdmProspects and @ECBC15? Can you retweet and ask your followers one question - Who is your favorite MLB team?
— Len Nunes (@Mr_Len) March 27, 2021
The Blue Jays open up their 2019 season somewhat in flux. The much ballyhooed rookie phenom Vladdy Guerrero Jr, by hook or by crook depending on your belief of injury reports, will not be available until after the “service time” date lapses in the MLB. The “service time” rule is the blatant manipulation by teams holding their rookies off the Opening Day roster long enough to keep them off free agency for an extra year. Stalwart Blue Jay pitchers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez have lost some of their shine the past couple seasons due to off-field issues and injuries respectively. The rest of the starting rotation are a rag tag bunch of projects including Matt Shoemaker who has missed large parts of the last two seasons with recurring forearm problems and rookie Trent Thornton. Gone are veterans Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales, increasing roles for 23-year-old Danny Jansen and 24-year-old Rowdy Tellez. The injury bug biting Devon Travis again accelerates the learning curve for 25-year-old Lourdes Gurriel Jr.. This promises to be an interesting year for the Blue Birds.
SERIES ONE - HOME VS DETROIT - 2 WINS, 2 LOSES
- Game one - 2-0 loss (10 innings)
- Game two - 6-0 win
- Game three - 3-0 win
- Game four - 4-3 loss (11 innings)
The first hit of the season for the Blue Jays was by Teoscar Hernandez with 2-out in the 7th inning of game one. The first extra-base hit by the Jays was a Brandon Drury triple to lead-off game two. In an era where the long ball is king, Justin Smoak hit the first homer of the season in the 4th inning of game three. Using 10 at-bats as a qualifying stat, Freddy Galvis leads the team with a .364 batting average followed by Drury at .235. A pinch hit, game tying 3-run homer by Tellez in the bottom of the 8th to tie game four only builds the folklore behind the youngster. The combined 12 runs scored place the Jays tied for 9th in the American League but their tie partners have played one less game.
The story of the opening series was the superb pitching.
Game 1 - The Stro Show
Game 2 - The Shoemaker, Javy Guerra show
Game 3 - The Sanchez and bullpen show
Game 4- The T&T (Trent Thornton) show
Negative media circuits will focus on Daniel Hudson and Thomas Pannone being the pitchers on the mound during the extra innings losses. We will focus on the 12 scoreless innings by a bullpen that does not have high expectations on it. From the 10th inning runs to end game one until the 7th inning of game four, the Blue Jays pitching staff combined for 24 shutout innings. The combined 6 runs against places the Jays with the 2nd least allowed with only the Twins allowing less in one less game played.
NEXT UP: 3 HOME GAMES VS THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES
The Orioles, widely picked to finish last in the A.L. East, just took two out of three from a widely predicted to be playoff team in the New York Yankees. Stats and standings will be wonky throughout the upcoming month of April. I am fine with that if it includes the Blue Jays being ahead of the Yankees and the Red Sox in the standings.