Week Seven (May 17 – May 23) saw the return of interleague play, a time of the season that Toronto hates. Since the advent of interleague play in 1997, Toronto is 13 games under .500 against the weaker National League, only better than Baltimore, Kansas City, and Tampa. At a time of the schedule that is supposed to help AL clubs fatten up their record, the Jays have done the opposite. This year began no different, as they dropped two of three to Arizona.
Though they managed to avoid the sweep on Sunday, the week was not a good one for Toronto. They finished with a 3-4 record, and saw continued struggles from Dana Eveland and Aaron Hill, along with new struggles from Kevin Gregg. Hopefully these are only temporary hiccups to an otherwise incredible season.
Here are three things that came out of week seven:
1. The Revenge of Overbay
The 2010 season hit rock bottom for Lyle Overbay on Monday May 17th. An 0-4 performance and two brutal errors on the same play had fans screaming for blood at the Rogers Centre. Thunderous boo’s and chants of “you suck”, “Lyle Overpaid”, and “We want Wallace” serenaded the first baseman as he ran off the field each inning.
Well, maybe Lyle was due to explode, or maybe the booing woke him up. Whatever the case, he has responded in a big way. In the next six games of week seven, Overbay went 10/25 for a .400 average, with 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, and 4 R, rasiing his season average from .181 to .215. While the numbers might not seem elite, he is finally contributing and helping the Jays win. If only he can start to rub off on Aaron Hill…
2. Encarnacion Goes INSANE!!!
Edwin Encarnacion became kind of a forgotten man after his injury in April. The Jays continued to roll right along without him, and with Jose Bautista moving over to third and tearing up the league, many fans were doubting Edwin’s return. But man did he ever announce his presence in a big way!
Playing in his first game in a month on Tuesday, Encarnacion launched a two-run homer against the Twins. He then absolutely destroyed Diamondback pitching over the weekend, crushing three bombs on Friday, and then one each on Saturday and Sunday. Overall, in the six games since his return Encarnacion is hitting .368 with 6 HR, 11 RBI, and 7 R. He is also playing exceptional defense, maybe proving that he does deserve a spot on this club after all.
3. Bye Bye Eveland
What started off as a great story for Toronto ended in disappointment on Sunday as Dana Eveland was designated for assignment. The left-hander was brought on just before camp, and surprised many by pitching well enough to make the team. He started strong out of the gate, winning his first two starts, and sported a 3-1 record with a 3.82 ERA on May 6th. But the wheels fell off in his next three starts, as Eveland surrendered 17 ER in only 9.1 IP, losing all three.
With Brian Tallet, Jessie Litsch, and Mark Rzepczynski all coming off the DL it was up to Eveland to prove that he still deserved a rotation spot. When he didn’t, the Jays had no choice but to release him. It’s hard not to feel sad for the pitcher, especially when he called Toronto the greatest organization he has had the chance to be a part of. There’s a chance he still ends up in Vegas and makes a return appearance with the Jays, but whatever happens, best of luck Dana.