For Toronto Blue Jays fans
Getting on base is Everything Blue Jays
“Welcome to the home of Everything Blue Jays!”
I had to write that slogan. Thank you Rogers Communications. What a boost for this website.
Down two games in the series, you knew it would only be a matter of time before the Toronto Blue Jays players started driving the baseballs into the stands.
Game 2 against Cleveland was a close affair that could have gone either way. The Indians took full advantage of the Jays’ defensive lapses. Good teams do that. Better teams don’t commit those kinds of errors.
The tables turned a complete “one eighty” in Game 3 when the Jays took advantage of two mental lapses by the Indians’ defenders. Sure, credit the “GO-GO” attitude of both Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes who never stopped running on two different plays.
Bonifacio is making everyone realize what a complete player/competitor he is for the Jays. On a hit to centrefield, the Jays’ utility player ran out of the batter’s box and sprinted to second base. To his credit he never slowed down. Cleveland outfielder Michael Bourn made the routine throw on a play that turned out to be anything but routine as Bonifacio slid into second with an “all-out” hustle for a double.
Reyes also showed off his running prowess on a ball put into play by Jose Bautista. The .750 slugger drove a shot to the Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera who collected the ball and fired it to first to get the sure out. However, what he did not see was that Reyes had quickly rounded third and was headed home. By the time the out was recorded, the Jays’ base runner had run through the base coach’s stop sign and was about to score easily. Bautista’s “routine” out provided him with his fourth RBI of the season and Reyes’ hustle added to his teammate’s hitting statistics.
We have to appreciate all this offence and the position Bautista holds in the lineup. Last season, everyone talked about how much better the Jays would be with him batting in the third position but also how the lack of depth would not provide management with enough options for putting him in that role. This game proved the rationale for the Jays’ thoughts last season and this season’s moves. Bonifacio (.273 OBP) and Reyes (.357 OBP) seemed to be on base every time Bautista came to bat. Given that first base is not usually open and that slugger Edwin Encarnacion is protecting the power-hitting Bautista, the Jays can count on getting even more production from the heart of the order. The Toronto opposition has to pitch to the top batters. That means more strikes for Melky Cabrera (.286 OBP) to see and a greater opportunity for him to get on base.
All three games against Cleveland provided some insight to what Jays fans can look forward to this season. Pitching, fielding and of course hitting will give the Toronto fans the kind of excitement they have come to expect from this franchise.