Three Things From Week Fifteen

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With the All-Star break taking place last week, week 15 was an abbreviated one.  Only three games were played with the Jays winning their first second half series over the Indians. 

Though that was good news, there was a sprinkle of bad news as well, with the confirmation that Sergio Santos will need season ending shoulder surgery after all.  While the news is certainly a blow for the Blue Jays, it’s not like we’d grown used to having Santos as a lights out reliever in 2012.  He only managed to throw five innings for the club before his injury.  But the fact that he’s not coming back until 2013 does open up the possibility for some wheeling and dealing by our GM.

Because after all – the trade deadline is only two weeks away.

Here are three things from week 15:

Week 15: July 9  – July 15

Record: 2 – 1

1. An All-Star Performance

Though the Blue Jays had but one lone representative in Kansas City last week, he did his best to put on a great show.

First, at the HR Derby on Monday night, Jose Bautista put on a dominating performance.  In the first round, down to his final out, Bautista put six consecutive gold balls into the seats to wind up with 11 bombs.  In the second round, he needed a swing off against Mark Trumbo, and launched two mammoth homers on his first two swings.  Though he fell in the final to Prince Fielder, Jose still mashed seven more dingers to post a total of 20 (22 including the swing off).

Then on Tuesday night, Bautista was one of the few AL players to reach base by drawing a 4th inning walk, and also made a sensational sliding catch to rob Ryan Braun of a hit. 

The American League got spanked pretty badly, but Jose represented the Jays well.

2. Sizzling Lind

Things looked really bad for Adam Lind earlier this year.  On May 16th Toronto’s 1B was hitting .186, and sported a brutal .586 OPS.  After that game, the Jays pulled the plug on him and sent him down to AAA Vegas.  It looked like Lind was done.

But he worked hard in the minors to adjust his swing, regain his composure, and clear his head, and it all seems to be paying off.  Since being recalled on June 25th, Lind has hit the ball extremely well.  In 16 games he has a .327 AVG, 1.001 OPS, 4 HR, and 14 RBI, and finally resembles the player that battered AL pitching in 2009.  In the three games last week, Lind went 6 for 10 with a walk to post a .600 AVG and 1.336 OPS.  He also added 5 RBI and was inches away from a perfect 5 for 5 game on Saturday.

If Lind can sustain this type of production, it would be a massive help to the team.  A booming Lind gives Toronto an unreal 3-4-5 portion of the lineup with Bautista and Encarncacion, and should keep the runs coming in at a solid pace.

And with the way the pitching staff is looking, lots of runs appear to be mandatory.

3. Carlos V – Saviour

Toronto’s pitching staff has been decimated by injuries recently, and most of the guys who aren’t hurt are struggling.  What the Jays needed more than anything yesterday was a clutch performance by a starting pitcher, a performance that would enable them to avoid overworking the bullpen.

In stepped Carlos Villanueva, and he delivered.  Big time.

V threw six scoreless innings against the Indians, and added a career high eight strikeouts.  Though the performance wasn’t dominating or perfect – he walked 5 – it was exactly what the Jays needed, especially after Saturday’s debacle when the pen nearly blew a huge lead.

But it wasn’t only yesterday that Villanueva came through.  Since moving into the rotation on June 29th, Carlos is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 21 K’s in 17 IP.  Go back a bit further to when he was still a reliever, and his numbers are even better.  From May 30th he is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 33 K in 29 IP. 

He could very well be Toronto’s pitching MVP.

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