It only took until July 24th before we could get our first taste of regular season baseball as the opening day did not disappoint.

Game 1

Hyun-Jin Ryu looked sharp in his Blue Jays debut. He went three up, three down in the first two innings before allowing his first base runner until the third inning. From there, he began to exhaust rapidly. Following a run in the forth, he allowed Yoshi Tsutsugo to hit a two run shot. After giving up a double to Jose Martinez, Ryu’s debut came to a close. In 4 and 2/3’s innings worth of work Ryu allowed 3 earned on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts.

Ontario native Jordan Romano came in relief and set down the remaining out in the fifth while retiring two in the sixth before Anthony Bass came in to close out the sixth and pitched a solid inning in the seventh. Charlie Montoyo gave the ball to Rafael Dolis to setup closer Ken Giles in the ninth but had command issues. He gave up two walks, a single and a hard hit ball to center before getting a pop out and a strikeout to get himself out of a jam. Giles closed out the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

Offensively, things were rolling. Back to back innings of three runs were all the support the staff needed to get the win.

Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero both singled while Travis Shaw walked to jam the bases full. Randal Grichuk scored in the first run of the season scoring Biggio. Back-to-back sac flies by Rowdy Tellez and Teoscar Hernandez allowed the Jays to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

At the top of the fifth, Danny Jansen, who has a new approach, started off with a single while lead off man Bo Bichette followed suit before Biggio hit his first home run of the season. The only batter to be left without a hit was Rowdy Tellez.

Game 2

This game was a snooze fest for those looking for power but an outstanding game for me to watch. Last season the Jays picked up Matt Shoemaker on a one year deal but was shut down for the season following just two games. I had Shoemaker being a dark horse for a shutdown leader last season, and did not disappoint in his first outing of the 2020 season. Through six innings he was dominate. Aside from the double to Ji-Man Choi for the first run of the game, everything was working. He allowed just three hits, two walks and four strikeouts on 81 pitches (51 of which were strikes).

A.J Cole came on in the seventh to set down the side. Sam Gaviglio on the other hand, had showed us much of old. After setting down Willy Adames on strikes, he allowed the game to get away. He gave up three runs on two hits and two walks. Brian Moran came in to set down the final two rays batters of the game.

The only run the jays drummed up was off the bat of Reese McGuire who hit a solo home run to right center.

Game 3

For baseball traditionalists like myself, the extra innings are just plain wrong. Either way, the Rays would take the series, not before the injury bug would start to affect the Jays.

Twenty-five-year-old Thomas Hatch got the call to start his first major league game and did everything right. In 2 and 1/3 inning, Hatch struck out three while walking two on the day giving hope for the future. From there the future continued as Anthony Kay, who came over in the Stroman trade, came in the bottom of the third following hatch’s third strikeout of the game.

Kay pitched two solid innings before giving a lead off home-run to Ji-Man Choi and a ground rule double to Brandon Lowe in the sixth before being replaced by Jordan Romano. Romano did his job as he set down the next three batters, one by the way of a strikeout. Rafael Dollis came in the seventh, this time allowing a lead off double to Manuel Margot who would eventually score on a Yoshi Tsutsugo ground out.

Luckily Ji-Man Choi came in to ground out to Biggio to finish off the inning. Anthony Bass came in the setup role today and set down the side with a strikeout. The ninth, was no help though for the Jays. Ken Giles came into the ninth and set down his first two batters but something clearly troubled him following the Joey Wendle at bat. Giles would go on to walk the bases loaded before coming out of the game with an elbow injury to be replaced by Brian Moran.

He walked the third straight batter allowing Wendle to score and a Brandon Lowe single following an unsuccessful challenge to tie things up at four. In the revised tenth, Shun Yamaguchi showed signs of command issues as he walked his first batter before giving up the game winning hit to Kevin Kiermaier.

Offensively for the Jays, all the runs prior to extras came in the sixth.

Grichuk lead things of with a single to left who would then score off the bat of Teoscar Hernandez who doubled. Danny Jansen then brought in Hernandez with a liner to right. The hit parade continued as Brandon Drury singled while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. did the same to load the bases for Bo Bichette. Bichette brought in Jansen and Drury on a grounder that made its way to left. Biggio and Guerrero then both grounded out to close out the inning.
In extras Santiago Espinal started off at second who then stole third following a clear challenge and would later score.

Overall the Jays need to find a way to spread out the offense and carry them throughout the game. But it’s just the start of the shortened season. There is still plenty of time.

The Jays sit at 1-2 for the season.