Well, we have just ended what just might be the worst 30 days the Toronto Blue Jays have ever been through. They couldn’t even win team games in the first month of the 2017 season. And, what makes it even more frustrating is that there hasn’t been any one way the club has lost; every day is a new adventure.
This horrible start has been compounded by injuries to key players like Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, Troy Tulowitzki and J.A. Happ. However, these types of injuries should be expected and a competitive club should be able to weather such storms. When guys go down, others have to step up. What has happened in April has been anything but that. Jose Bautista has somehow appeared lost at the plate, the timing of which has been brutal. As well, Russell Martin has not been able to muster any kind of offense.
In the first 5 games of the season, Martin would go hitless. The only thing that would save him was that he was able to work himself on base via 6 walks, which allowed him to score 2 runs over that span. If it weren’t for his ability to take those base on balls, one would have thought there was really something wrong with him. It wasn’t until game seven that he picked up his first hit of the season, a double against Milwaukee that he found himself with a batting average (0.48).
He managed to collect a few more hits here and there over the next 5 games, including his first home run of the year. But, it still looked like those few hits were more coincidental than a sign of him turning the corner. He was piling up the strikeouts like nobody’s business. Over the first 12 games of the year, he collected 16 K’s.
Then, something happened. On April 21, he had himself a game! Lucky game number 13 saw Martin pick up 3 hits and a walk, scoring a run. That happened to be the 13 inning, 8-7 win against the Angels. Martin had a good game at the plate and the team won.
What is interesting is that since that day, the team has gone 5-2. What has Martin done? Glad you asked. All he’s done is collect 10 hits, including those 3 in Anaheim.
|17||Apr 27 (1)||L,4-8||5||2||1||1||1||1||1||.190||.347||.362||.709|
|Apr 3 to Apr 30, 2017||7-12||79||11||14||3||5||14||22||.219||.367||.391||.758|
Martin has still maintained his ability to walk, but he’s also cut down on his strike outs. He’s maintaining a great OBP, but is chipping in with the bat more than he has all month. In a lineup that is missing some key bats, Martin’s becomes that much more important. While offensive numbers for a catcher are sometimes thought to be secondary to game calling and pitch framing, we have also come to expect well above average offensive production from the Canadian backstop.
And, the club is going to need it. Whether he hits monster home runs, or not, is not as important as his bat being consistent and productive in key situations like this one.
If the Toronto Blue Jays can get this kind of offensive help from Martin, they are better able to ride out poor streaks. They will be better able to survive without other key bats in the lineup. An effective Russell Martin in the lineup means that Toronto is in a better position to win. We are seeing that play out lately as a hot Russell Martin has had a significant impact on the team’s fortunes.
Shaun Doyle (@JaysfromCouch) is the Founder and Senior Editor of Jays From the Couch, your source for Quality Blue Jays News, Analysis and more!
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2017) and may not be used without permission.