Today, I had the chance to head down to the ‘dome to check out the final game of the Jays’ series against the Yankees. It hasn’t been a great weekend for the Blue Jays – game 1 was a 9-4 drubbing at the hands of the Yanks with former Blue Jays Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay going yard, while Saturday’s game 2 featured a Jays’ comeback to force extra innings, only to lose it in the 11th on account of some shoddy defense.
So there I was on a sunny but cold Sunday afternoon (although who would have known inside the dome) with my buddy-in-blogging Minor Leaguer (check out Bluebird Banter to find his stuff) sitting up in the 500 section with 45,000 others watching the Jays try to pull a victory out of the weekend.
The game started out well enough with the Jays taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Muppet-made-human Munenori Kawasaki hit the crap out of a ball that went half-way down the third base line,* but he turned it into an infield single and was then singled to third on a beautifully executed hit and run by Melky Cabrera. Edwin Encarnacion hit into a fielder’s choice to score Kawasaki for the first run. Kawasaki also figured in to the second run, hitting a sacrifice fly that scored a Colby Rasmus double in the second.
So, aside from seeing Kawasaki contribute early, in today’s game, all the things that were supposed to go well for the Blue Jays did. While Josh Johnson‘s start wasn’t particularly great, the bullpen was very effective (with shutout work from Brett Cecil, Esmil “Don’t call me Ishmael” Rogers, and Darren Oliver), and the hitters worked counts, got on base, and hit with runners in scoring position (4 for 10 today).
The players who broke out of their habits today were:
- Colby Rasmus – 2 for 3 with a double, only 1 strikeout
- Adam Lind – 0 for 0 with a team record tying 4 walks.
- Melky Cabrera – 3 singles in 4 at bats
- J.P. Arencibia – 2 for 4 with a double and and team high 7th home run, only 1 strikeout
- Brett Lawrie – 2 for 4 with a double, some great base running and outstanding defense.
Despite it being Edwin Encarnacion bobblehead day, Edwin couldn’t buy a hit. He had two LOUD fly outs to the wall in left field that Vernon Wells stole from him. Maybe Vernon is just jealous that he doesn’t get bobbleheads anymore. Either way, he was a poor sport about it.
It was great to see the Jays back on a winning track, particularly with big days from a lot of the supporting cast. If guys like Rasmus, Arencibia, Lawrie, Cecil, et al., can contribute on a game to game basis, it will take the pressure of Bautista, Encarnacion, and the big 4 starters (Dickey, Johnson, Morrow, and Buehrle.
* Check out this video for a similar play in the movie Major League. Fast forward to 0:55 for the scene. Warning – contains profane language.
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