Toronto Blue Jays baseball on television in the year 2020 – is this something out of the twilight zone? I’ll admit, it was an odd sensation to see real, live baseball in the flesh in the year 2020. Pandemic be damned, the MLB season soldiers on.
As weird as it was at first, there was something comforting about sitting down to watch a baseball game again. Except, this time, the games matter! In fact, they matter a lot more, considering there are only 60 of them and 8 teams from each league will make the playoffs.
Anyway, onto the expert analysis you were expecting after game one of 60 this season from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ryu came as advertised
Admittedly, the Hyun-Jin Ryu signing seems light years ago at this point (to the point where some people might have forgotten the Blue Jays signed him in the first place). He was more or less the classic Ryu, mixing up speeds and angles with his many breaking pitches.
He got beaten up at the end of his outing, but one might attribute that to starting pitchers not building up the innings they need to go 6-7-8 innings deep into a ballgame.
The Rays induced hard contact by the time the fifth inning rolled around, punctuated by the homer from Yoshi Tsutsugo and the double from Jose Martinez.
Considering it was Ryu’s first outing of the regular season, I’d say it was decent.
Everybody loves Romano
I realize this is game one of 60, but meet your new favourite reliever, Jordan Romano. He’s essentially a Canadian clone of Ken Giles, as Romano is throwing exclusively sliders and fastballs (just like Giles), and Romano’s throwing high-90’s heat out of the bullpen.
You might’ve noticed that Romano is also doing a Giles-esque dip on the mound to get his body set to throw the pitch, so the Blue Jays have two Giles in the back end of their bullpen now.
In retrospect, it’s crazy to think the Blue Jays exposed him to the Rule 5 draft and the White Sox (and subsequently the Rangers) nearly stole him away, but luckily Romano floated back to the Blue Jays. If game one is any indication, he could see some high-leverage situations out of the bullpen this year.
Bichette battled in his at-bats
Again, not to sound too premature about one game into the 2020 MLB season, but Bo Bichette showed right off the hop how he plans on being a valuable member of the Blue Jays roster in 2020.
He attacked in his leadoff at bat versus Morton, and fouled off some tough pitches, only to be retired in the first at bat of the game, but not before he worked a seven-pitch at bat versus Morton. Bichette was rewarded later on with a single during a six-pitch battle with Morton.
Every single one of his at bats were four pitches or more, so maybe Bichette is gaining some plate discipline through osmosis by merely hanging around Cavan Biggio (who led the Blue Jays with a .364 OBP last year).
Rafael Dolis’ splitter was 👀
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) July 25, 2020
Rafael Dolis’ first outing with the Toronto Blue Jays was a little rocky – two walks, seven batters faced, 27 pitches thrown, 15 of them balls – but what really impressed was his splitter.
After watching that clip, it’s totally understandable how Ken Huckaby was blown away with the pitch, and he even gave Dolis of a Roy Halladay comp.
Rafael Dolis is quietly generating some buzz in #BlueJays camp.
Here’s the only quote you need, from Ken Huckaby, who was calling balls and strikes with Dolis on the mound:
“He thew a couple sinkers that I haven’t seen since I caught Doc. They were just unbelievable."
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) July 14, 2020