After winning their season-opening game in Tampa Bay on Friday night, the Blue Jays lost on Saturday and Sunday, the latter of which included more than just a drop in the standings.
Closer Ken Giles was forced to leave Sunday’s series finale with right elbow soreness while he tried to close the door on a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, while outfielder Randal Grichuk left in the sixth inning with what the team called a “right SI joint irritation” — a.k.a., a sore back.
Despite losing the final two games of the series, the Jays played the Rays really tough and they can take a couple of positives away from their visit to Tropicana Field.
New ace Hyun Jin Riu, who arrived in Toronto as a free agent after spending his first six big league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was good in his Blue Jays debut on Friday — giving up three runs over 4 2/3 innings in a 6-4 win over T-Bay.
Despite losing 4-1 on Saturday, right-hander Matt Shoemaker was great in his first start in 462 days (thanks to a season-ending ACL injury in April 2019) as he allowed just one run through six innings and kept the Rays’ hitters guessing all night.
Second baseman Cavan Biggio enjoyed a nice opening weekend at Tropicana Field, going 5-for-13 with two runs scored, and a three-run homer on Friday night.
Give credit to manager Charlie Montoyo as well for injecting a number of different players across the diamond — fielding three different starting lineups each day — and offering them a taste of this unprecedented 2020 Major League Baseball season.
However, if the Jays are forced to play without Giles and Grichuk for an extended period of time it will be a massive blow to their chances of slipping into a playoff spot during this 60-game season.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.