By: Ryan Colpitts
It’s 2016 and baseball has returned for the defending AL East division champions. The Toronto Blue Jays started their season opening in St. Petersburg, as they would play guest to the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto would take the first two games of the series, winning both contest’s 5-3. Stroman and R.A. Dickey would both be rewarded with the victory for their efforts. Things then became interesting during Tuesday night’s game three.
During the first three games, the Jays would strike out 36 times, leaving 12 batters on base, and would have game three end in a controversial setting. Heading into the ninth inning, Toronto would trail the Rays, 3-2. Having one out, and Bautista on first, Edwin would hit a grounder to Longoria who would initially throw a 5-4-3 play, but Logan Forsythe would throw the ball away, which would land Toronto two runs to take a 4-3 lead. Tampa would challenge the call on the field, and after further review, it showed the Bautista broke the new sliding rule when he put out his arm and touched the foot of Forsythe, which is in violation of said rule. The umpires would then call both Bautista and Encarnacion out on a double play, ending the game, resulting in a Tampa Bay Rays victory, giving them their first of the season.
Heading into the fourth and final game of the opening series, the Jays would look to rebound, as they would send former Jay, comeback J.A. Happ to the mound to face off against Matt Moore. Reigning MVP winner Josh Donaldson would get the bats going early, as he would homer a three run shot to give the Jays a lead. Tampa would respond to two runs of their own scoring in the fourth and sixth inning. Nearing the end of the game and looking for a rebound win, Gibbons would send Arnold Leon to the mound to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, with the idea of sending either Storen or Osuna to the mound in the ninth to finish it up. Things didn’t go as planned however, as Leon would give up a home run to Souza Jr., which would score three, giving the Rays a 5-3 lead which would be the difference.
The Canadian boys will now fly home and have an off day Thursday before opening up their first home series this weekend as they play host to David Price and the Boston Red Sox. Stroman will be sent to the mound Friday, followed by Dickey, as they will each be looking for their second wins of the season. Marco Estrada will be sent to the mound for the first time on Sunday, as he will face off against former Blue Jay rental, David Price.