Say it’s Stro! Stroman, Jays Out-duel Phils

By on March 1, 2016

 

MARCUS STROMAN (photo Buck Davidson)

MARCUS STROMAN (photo Buck Davidson)

The Philadelphia Phillies dropped a 5-3 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida in both teams’ Grapefruit League debuts. The Phillies were victimized by a huge day from Toronto shortstop Darwin Barney, who collected three hits and knocked in all five of his team’s runs.

The Blue Jays struck quickly against Philadelphia starting pitcher Severino Gonzalez, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning thanks to Barney’s two-run double. The Phillies answered with a two-spot of their own in the bottom of the second, courtesy of a two-out double from catcher Carlos Ruiz against Toronto starting pitcher Marcus Stroman.

Phillie Phanatic gets in some spring (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)

Phillie Phanatic gets in some spring (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)

Barney was back at it again in the top of the third inning, though: the veteran utility man laced another two-run double to put the Blue Jays up by a pair. Philadelphia’s J.P. Arencibia cut the lead in half with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, but Barney singled in another run in the fifth and the Toronto bullpen blanked the Phillies over the game’s final five frames to seal the victory.

Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Marcus Stroman sailed through his first five batters in short order, but he ran into trouble with two outs in the second inning. A pair of singles, his own throwing error and Ruiz’s ringing double resulted in two runs against Stroman, who could be on the cusp of becoming one of the American League’s top starting pitchers. Stroman was consistently hitting 93 mph on the stadium radar gun, and he managed to pick up the win despite yielding two earned runs and three hits in his two innings of work. He struck out one batter and did not issue a walk.

Phillies’ relief pitcher David Hernandez, who is possibly the leading candidate to assume the vacant closer’s job, did nothing to hurt his cause by hurling a perfect fourth inning. Hernandez owns 19 saves in his major league career, and he turned in a couple of solid seasons as a setup man for the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2011-12.

Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard went 0-for-3 on the day, while top prospect shortstop J.P. Crawford lined out in his only at-bat of the game. Arencibia had two hits and Ruiz collected a pair of RBIs to lead what was a rather lackluster Philadelphia attack.

Ryan Howard (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)

Ryan Howard (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)

The Phillies will head to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium Wednesday for another match-up with the Blue Jays. Thursday is a split-squad day for Philadelphia, with some of the team heading to Tampa to play the New York Yankees, and the rest remaining in Clearwater to host the Houston Astros at Bright House Field.

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