The run of games against AL East foes continued in week 4, with an 11 AM Patriot’s Day game against Boston on Monday, before a short 5-game homestand against the Yankees and Rays. While the final results left much to be desired, it was a week full of excitement with walk-off heroics, a near cycle, and the return of Brandon Morrow to the rotation.
But the biggest issue the Jays seem to be facing is depth. With injuries hitting left, right, and centre, Toronto is being tested severely early in the season.
Here are three things that came out of the fourth week of the season.
Week 4: April 18 – 24
Record: 2 – 4
1. Jose Bautista, Hitting Machine
It was an absolutely monster week for the reigning home run king. For everybody who doubted him coming into the year, he has started the season by giving each of you a rousing “eff you”.
The numbers for last week were staggering:
26 plate appearances, 9 H, 7 BB, 10 R, 4 HR, 4 RBI, .474 AVG, .615 OBP, 1.879 OPS.
That’s not a typo – Jose Bautista’s OPS for the 4th week of the season was an astronomical 1.879!
For the season, Bau is getting on base over 50% of the time. His .506 OBP leads the American League. His 7 HR are tied for first in all of baseball. The only area where he can seemingly improve is the one area in which he depends on his teammates – RBI’s. Six of his seven bombs have been solo shots, leaving him with only 10 RBI.
Bautista also took the cliche “being in the zone” to a whole new level last week. From the eighth inning on Wednesday against New York through to the fourth inning on Sunday, J-Bau did not make an out. He reached base 11 consecutive plate appearances, netting two singles, a double, a triple, three home runs, and four walks. It got so ridiculous that I actually expected him to reach base every at bat. When he lined out to third to end the streak it was as shocking as it was disappointing.
He is truly carrying this team.
2. Wild and Wonderful Walk-Off Wins!
There is nothing better in baseball than a walk-off win. The joy and jubilation of the players and fans is a treat to see – it’s almost magical.
Jays fans were treated to two walk-off wins last week, both of which I would rank as more exciting than normal.
Wny? Well – the first came against the Yankees and the second was delivered by the unlikeliest of heroes.
First came the Yankees game on Tuesday. The Jays trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth and had the daunting task of having to come back against the greatest closer in the history of the game Mariano Rivera. Not only did they touch him up for two runs to force extras, they completed the comeback on a Travis Snider shot to the gap in the 10th. Amazing.
But even more amazing was how Friday’s game ended. After battling back from a 4-2 deficit, the Jays came to bat in the 11th with the score still deadlocked at four. After a walk to Jose Bautista, light hitting fan favourite Johnny Mac stepped to the plate and promptly launched a moon shot over the fence in left. Game over.
In a season that hasn’t started as well as most would have liked, those two wins gave fans a rush of excitement.
3. Who’s Staying and Who’s Going?
What a crazy April so far. According to fellow blogger the Blue Jay Hunter, the Jays have already made 27 roster moves this month alone. Pure insanity.
Things have been so bad that the club has yet to field the full roster this year. Whether it was pitchers (Octavio Dotel etc.) or batters (Rajai Davis et al) at least one member of Alex Anthopoulos’s winter makeover has been missing in each and every game this season.
And just when it seemed like things were getting better, the Jays were forced to take two steps back. Both Frank Francisco and Brandon Morrow were activated from the DL last week, just in time for Aaron Hill and Jayson Nix to take their spots in the infirmary.
The roster shuffle isn’t limited to injury either. Edwin Encarnacion was placed on the bereavment list, Jessie Litsch and Brett Cecil have both been sent down, and Mike McCoy doesn’t even know where he is these days, having been sent back and forth multiple times.
It’s impossible to predict injuries, but one can only hope that the Jays have seen the worst of it. The good news is that Davis is due back in the next few days.
Let’s just hope that his gain doesn’t wind up being somebody else’s loss….