Monday’s 9-7 win over the Red Sox was the perfect start to a big series for the Jays. After a weekend that proved (at least to me) that Toronto isn’t as far away as it might seem, it was imperative that they get off to a good start at Fenway.
Let’s be honest – Philadelphia was the best team in baseball coming into the weekend, and had lined up perhaps two of the best five pitchers to face the Jays. Roy Halladay is a beast, we all know that, and Cliff Lee was riding a 31-inning scoreless streak.
But the Jays were in every game, and very likely should have swept the series. Those were the kind of games that contenders win, the kind of games that Toronto WILL win in the next year or two.
That said, they very easily could have thrown it all away by once again getting thumped by the BoSox. Instead, they came out strong, potentially serving notice that maybe, just maybe, this team is turning things around.
Yesterday’s win was even more impressive considering who was responsible for the win: four players previously thought to be deceased. Instead, these four showed a stunning ability to emerge from their coffins, rise from the dead, and contribute. The four are:
Making his debut after being recalled from AAA Vegas, Snider had a huge game: 3 for 5 with 3 doubles, 1 run, and 2 RBI. The three hits pushed his season average above the Mendoza line. Though to many it didn’t look like his swing was greatly altered, at least for one game the results of his tinkering session in the minors paid great dividends.
After a 26-game stretch where Davis posted an .092 AVG in 76 AB with an unbelievably low .104 OBP and .262 OPS, he finally half emerged from the dead on Sunday with 3 hits against the Phillies. Placed back in the lead-off spot by John Farrell on Monday, Davis kept his short hot streak up with two more hits (both doubles), a run scored, and a stolen base – his fourth in two games.
Just when Aaron Hill looks like he is turning the page on his rotten year and a half, he falls back into a funk. On June 8th his average reached the .250 mark, only to fall back to .238 four days later. On June 17th, a four game hitting streak moved him back into the .250’s, but he followed that up with another slump. Yesterday Hill, batting in the #6 slot, again took a step forward – 3 for 5, 2 R, 2 RBI, and his 4th HR.
The beleaguered Jays closer was starting to turn things around before he spectacularly blew the Canada Day game against Philly. When he wasn’t given the opportunity to close Sunday’s game (in a save situation) eyebrows were raised. But Farrell brought in Frankie with a 2-run in the lead in the 9th yesterday, showing renewed faith. After a leadoff single brought the tying run to the plate, Francisco instantly went 3-0 on Pedroia. The Phillies nightmare was repeating itself! But no – FF reached back and struck out three straight hitters, including AL RBI leader Adrian Gonzalez, to seal the win, in perhaps his best inning of work as a Jay.
Of course one game doesn’t mean any of these four are truly, fully back, but when your Opening Day leadoff hitter, young power hitter, second baseman, and closer all shake off slumps at the same time?
That’s worth noticing.