If one word can sum up one game, and if that one game can sum up an entire season, that would be the word. Devastating.
Friday night’s loss in Boston not only ended a five-game winning streak, it also ended Melky Cabrera’s season and for all intents and purposes Toronto’s playoff hopes. There is still a chance, but that chance is now very, very slim.
But though this will likely go down as an unsatisfying end, it has still been a great season.
Here are three things from week 23:
Week 23: September 1 – September 7
Record: 4 – 2
1. Not Giving Up
Toronto’s playoff chances grow dimmer by the day, but you’d never know by watching Jose Bautista. The Jays leader has been on absolute fire lately almost single-handedly willing his team forward.
His numbers from last week are staggering, some of his best output of the season: 10 for 27, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .370 avg, 1.022 OPS, and several defensive gems in the outfield. But his hot streak stretches further back than just last week. Jose is now riding an 11-game hit streak, during which he has slugged 7 HR, driven in 12, scored 11 runs, and put up a 1.226 OPS. Not surprisingly, the Jays have gone 7-4 during that stretch.
On the season Bautista now ranks 6th in the AL in home runs, T-9th in RBI, and 3rd in OPS. He has been everything the Jays have asked him to be and more. It seems unfair that his efforts might come up a bit short in the chase for October.
2. Giving Up…
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Blue Jays management. Obviously nobody has come out and said that 2014 is over and the team is now looking ahead to 2015, but looking at the product on the field, it cetainly seems like that has been decided. By who (Gibbons, Anthopoulos, etc.) is unclear.
Why do I say that? Well, for starters yesterday’s starting lineup included Kevin Pillar, Anthony Gose, and Ryan Goins, players who may or may not be a part of the 2015 Jays, but if so will likely be platooning. Meanwhile, Colby Rasmus stays stuck to the bench, despite coming up with a few massive pinch-hit homers last week, and guys like Dan Johnson and Dalton Pompey are being passed over for pinch hits by Kawasaki.
For a team that is only 5 games out of the wild card to not field its strongest lineup is unfathomable.
3. A Sad End to a Great Season
Losing Friday’s game in the most heartbreaking fashion possible was tough to swallow. But losing Melky Cabrera for the season is the biggest blow of all.
After a truly miserable debut season with the Blue Jays, Melky was outstanding in 2014. He has 171 hits, good for second in the AL, along with a .301 average, .808 OPS, and 3.2 WAR. After looking like a wounded deer playing the outfield in 2013, he was solid, if not above average this season. If not for Bautista, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call Melky the team MVP.
The biggest question facing the Jays now is will they bring him back? Cabrera is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and one would think that after this big comeback season that he has played himself into a nice contract. With Toronto’s recent stinginess, it’s hard to imagine they break the bank for him. But it would be great, if not essential, that he comes back.