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  • Writer's pictureLouis Paillier

Game Recap: 03/29/24 at Tampa Bay

Yesterday, the Blue Jays opened their 2024 campaign with a convincing win over the Tampa Bay Rays, defeating them 8-2. José Berríos got the Opening Day nod and performed admirably. He pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 6. However, his outing did not start smoothly, allowing a leadoff home run to Yandy Diaz. In his two Opening Day starts with the Blue Jays, he’s managed to allow a leadoff homer in both starts, albeit this time around, he followed it with a fantastic 6-inning performance.

Berrios’ velocity and command looked amazing. He was painting the corners of the strike zone and was getting whiffs. Of the 11 swings taken on the 4-seamer, 45% of them were whiffs. It’s early, but Berrios looks like his vintage self. His newly added cutter was thrown once, though the Rays’ lineup was RHH heavy, and the cutter is a weapon against lefties. It’ll be interesting to see it more in action in the future.

Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson and Tim Mayza each got an inning of work, allowing no runs. Notably, Pearson threw the seven hardest pitches of the game, topping at 98.9 mph. He only has 1 minor-league option remaining, so his situation with the Blue Jays is one to watch, as he can only be assigned to the minors one more time before requiring waivers. It’s extremely early, but if today was a sign of things to come, the 27-year-old could stick around in the Jays’ bullpen this season in low-leverage situations. This, however, could be difficult, as when Romano and Swanson return, he and Wes Parsons are the likely odd men out.

Offensively, the Blue Jays, quite frankly, looked awful through three innings. Zach Eflin left some breaking balls hanging, but the team could not do damage with them. As was the case in 2023, the bats were getting hittable pitches but weren’t capitalizing on them. When the lineup flipped over in the 4th, George Springer gave Jays fans something to cheer about, hitting a solo home run 392ft off a sweeper, putting the team on the board for the first time in 2024. Following that, both Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr hit solo bombs, with Guerrero’s travelling a substantial 450 feet. Alejandro Kirk drove in two with an RBI single, and former Ray Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run, also on a single. In the 7th, Bo Bichette got in on the action, hitting a 2-run double to deep left field.

Today, Chris Bassitt will take the mound in Game 2 of 4 against the Rays. The game will begin at 6:50 pm ET.

Cover photo by Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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Mar 29
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Nicely done!

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