Game #5: Pirates at Jays postgame
Blue Jays tie! Blue Jays tie! Blue Jays tie! Ah, the sweet sound of the P.A. blaring from the speakers at a Spring Training game, telling the crowd that the game will end in a tie. Only in March. Toronto and Pittsburgh played to an 8-8, 10-inning deadlock on Monday afternoon.
No wins or losses, but Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells did smack his first homer of the spring and Jays starter Josh Towers looked solid in his spring debut as well. Towers went two innings, giving up one run on one hit with two strikeouts. The one hit? A solo homer by Pirates 1B Brad Eldred.
"We had an idea of what we wanted to do and I kind of got ahead of myself a little bit," said Towers, referring to the errant pitch to Eldred. "My left shoulder opened up, my right hand stayed behind, and it just went right down the middle."
Other than that, though, Towers looked like a pitcher in control — much different that the guy who "was pitching scared" last season with Toronto. Against Pitt, Towers threw 27 pitches, including 19 strikes. Three of his outs came via grounders.
Last season, when Towers went 1-9 with a 9.11 ERA in his 12 starts, he said he was overthinking all the time. He was worrying too much on his mechanics and his mind raced at an increasingly rapid rate before every pitch as the losses began to pile up. Also, Towers said that he was trying to impress the new players on Toronto’s roster at the time.
"Looking back on it a little bit, I wanted to impress the new guys. I wanted to impress Troy [Glaus] and Lyle [Overbay]. I wanted to throw with Bengie [Molina]," Towers said. "Maybe [my contract] was in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think that. I wanted to look good for those guys I had played against — that’s so stupid."
LEAGUE UPDATE: Brandon League threw fastballs off a mound for about five minutes at Knology Park on Monday. It was the right-hander’s first time on a mound in 10 days, and he said afterwards that the right lat injury that’s sidelined him so far this spring wasn’t an issue. In fact, League said he has no doubts that he can be ready by Opening Day.
League — the leading candidate for Toronto’s setup man role — will play catch again on Tuesday and said he’d back on a mound in a couple days. League estimated that he’d throw two or three more bullpen sessions before throwing to hitters.
ON DECK: Roy Halladay will head to Lakeland, Fla., to start against the Tigers in a 1:05 p.m. ET tilt at Joker Marchant Stadium. Until then, stay tuned for more…