While it’s obviously way too early to draw any conclusions after just three games, here are three observations from the Blue Jays’ season-opening series against the Yankees.
The Starting Pitching Was Impressive
Drew Hutchison started the first game of the series, pitching six innings of one-run ball and earning the win. The 24-year-old also became the youngest pitcher in team history to start on Opening Day.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey started the second game of the series. This was Dickey’s first start with catcher Russell Martin behind the plate. During his tenure with the Blue Jays, Dickey has usually been paired with personal catcher Josh Thole (now at Triple-A Buffalo).
Despite having a new batterymate, Dickey went 6.1 innings and surrendered just one run. He did give up three walks during that span, but it’s worth noting that the cold temperatures and high winds at Yankee Stadium weren’t exactly optimal for a knuckleballer.
Rookie Daniel Norris started Game 3 and got the win after pitching 5.2 innings and giving up three runs while striking out five batters. Despite making just his first career start in the majors, Norris looked very impressive during most of his outing. Things only unraveled for him in the fifth inning when he gave up homers to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
Heading into the season, Toronto’s starting rotation was a huge concern, especially after the season-ending injury to right-hander Marcus Stroman.
But, at least for this series, those concerns were alleviated as the Blue Jays got some strong starts out of their rotation.
Devon Travis Continues To Hit
Rookies Devon Travis was one of Toronto’s most impressive position players during the spring training, hitting .359/.400/.453 in 64 at-bats. That performance led to Travis being named the team’s starting second baseman.
Three games into the regular season, Travis has continued his hot hitting. He currently has a slash line of .333/.455/.667 along with one home run, three RBI and three runs scored in just nine at-bats.
It will be interesting to see if Travis can maintain this success once pitchers start making adjustments against him. Remember that the 24-year-old has never played a game above the Double-A level before the making it to the major leagues this season.
Miguel Castro Earns First Career Save and Could Be the Team’s New Closer
Blue Jays right-hander Miguel Castro pitched a perfect ninth inning and earned the save as the Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 5-3 during the third game of the series on April 9.
Even though there has been no official word from the team, it’s probably safe to assume that Castro will be the team’s primary closer going forward.
The Blue Jays were forced to make a change at the position after incumbent Brett Cecil imploded during the second game of the series and was part of a bullpen meltdown that led to the team blowing a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning and losing the game, per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
In three innings pitched this season, the hard-throwing Castro has yet to allow a run, hit or walk against him. He also has two strikeouts during that span.
It’s amazing how far Castro has come in such a short time. The 20-year-old was pitching in A ball last season. He made Toronto’s big league roster after posting 2.19 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched during spring training.
*All stats are from MLB.com