Thursday, March 28, 2019

Game #1 Detroit Tigers (1-0) @Toronto Blue Jays (0-1) - game recap

Marcus Stroman pitched 7 strong innings in a losing effort as the Blue Jays were shut out by the Tigers 2-0

It is opening day 2019. Basenall is officially back. After a busy off-season with lots of moves, including acquiring/signing three mew starting pitchers and a reliever Clayton Richard (7-11, with a 5.33 ERA in 27 starts for the Padres in 2018), Matt Shoemaker (2-2 with a 4.94ERA in 7 starts for the Angels last season; missed the bulk of the 2018 season recovering from forearm surgery), Clay Buccholz (7-2 with a 2.08ERA in 16 starts for the Diamondbacks; his start to the season will be delayed due to need for more conditioning) and David Phelps, who is still recovering from TJ surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2018 season. The Blue Jays also traded Russell Martin and Tulo, signed Freddy Galvis (.248 with 13HR and 67RBI; much more durable than Tulo having played all 162 games in each of the past 2 seasons; he's alsio solid defensively, committing just 9 errors last season).

The Blue Jays dodged a big injury bullet as Ryan Tepera will not need TJ surgery and he should be back in the bullpen sometime in the near future. Of course the big change this year is new manager Charlie Montoya makes his debut running the Blue Jays. He has never managed at the major league level, but has minor league experience and he was a bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. It will be interesting to see how he handles the lineups and his pitches. One more major bit of news to pass on. Yesterday, Kendrys Morales was traded to the Oakland A's in exchange for a minor leaguer and cash consideration. Anthony Alford was added to the 25-man roster. Morales had been largely a free agent bust for the Blue Jays. Last season, he batter .248 with 21 HR (including a consecutive streak of homering in 7 straight games), and 57RBI in 413AB. He also pitched a scoreless inning. I suspect DH duties will go to Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez, with spot starts given to older players, such as Justin Smoak, when they need a day off.

Marcus Stroman got the opening day start. The Blue Jays righty has much to prove after a disastrous, injury-filled season that saw him miss a couple of months with separate shoulder and finger blister injuries. When he was healthy, Stroman struggled with his command and was knocked around most games. The Blue Jays were edged 4-3 by the Tigers in the season series last year. Could the Blue Jays start the 2019 season on a winning note? Here is today's game recap:

Game Highlights:
  • Danny Jansen threw out Niko Goodrum trying to steal second base in the top of the 2nd. Huge defensive play because Marcus Stroman struck out Christin Stewart to end the inning
  • Teoscar Hernandez got the Blue Jays first hit of the season with two outs in the 7th inning, beating out an infield single. Before that 20 consecutive Blue Jays batters made outs
  • Marcus Stroman pitching line: 7IP 2H 0R 4BB 7K 94 pitches (53 for strikes)
  • Jordan Zimmermann pitching line: 7IP 1H 0R 0BB 4K 70 pitches (47 for strikes)
  • The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the 10th as Christin Stewart lauched a moonshot into the upper deck
  • Shane Greene pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his 1st save of the season
  • Final score: Tigers 2 Blue Jays 0
My Take:
  • Marcus Stroman was on point today, pitching 7 strong innings, allowing just 2 hits, while walking 4 and striking out 7. He walked the 1st batter he faced on 4 straight pitches, but he settled right down and retired the next two batters, including a double play to escape the inning facing the minimum number of batters. I thought Stroman was being too fine, trying to pick the corners. It was great to see him get 21 outs, something the starters struggled to do last season. If the rest of the rotation can at least pitch into the 7th it'll save the bullpen.
  • Three base runners, none getting past 1st base. It's pretty tough to win ball games with that strategy. The bats were ice cold today against Tigers ace Jordan Zimmermann, who was dealing. I was a bit surprised that Zimmermann was done after 7 innings with only 70 pitches thrown. I would have thought he would have gone back out in the 8th inning.
  • The good thing is it's one game. It will be interesting to see what lineup changes are made for tomorrow. Expect Billy McKinney to draw into the lineup tomorrow.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays look to even the season-opening series as Matt Shoemaker makes his Blue Jays regular season debut, taking on Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd. Boyd was a Blue Jays prospect 4 short years ago.