It has been a tough September to be a Jays fan. After a thoroughly disgusting August, the Blue Jays put themselves back on the fringes of the playoff race with a 10-3 stretch in the middle of September. Suddenly, hope was back in the city.
But the team hit the skids in a major way. They were swept in Baltimore, lost 3 of 4 in New York, and will now be watching the playoffs like the rest of us.
Why? How did this happen? How did a season full of such of promise turn into yet another lonely October?
There are many reasons, but to put it bluntly this team just simply wasn’t good enough this year. To quote Drew Fairservice, he of the great blog Ghostrunner on First, the Jays had “too many at bats given to players who simply cannot – or could not – hit.” The other teams were flat out better.
But though this season has turned into a disappointment, there is one thing that it has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: Jose Bautista is an absolute beast.
Coming off two consecutive injury plagued seasons, there were many who were critical of the Jays leader. “He is injury prone, his best days are behind him,” and on and on. There were even whispers that Toronto should look to trade him for pitching help.
So what has Bautista done this year to answer his critics? How about:
– .288 average (15th in the American League)
– 35 HR (3rd)
– 103 RBI (7th)
– 98 R (3rd)
– 103 BB (2nd)
– .407 OBP (1st)
– .940 OPS (4th)
– 5.7 WAR (9th)
Those numbers are incredible and cement Bautista as one of the best players in the American League. But what’s even better than that is how amazing he has been lately. With the Jays season spiralling out of control and playoff hopes growing dimmer by the day, Jose Bautista has put this team on his back and tried his best to carry them – to will them – into October.
In his past 25 games Jose Bautista has exploded: .318 / .455 / .716 / 1.170, 11 HR, 26 RBI, 19 BB : 12 K. He has made countless fantastic plays in the outfield, and has been all around lights out.
Sadly his heroics won’t be enough to end Toronto’s playoff drought. But if there is one thing that his finish should accomplish it’s this:
Nobody should question Jose Bautista anymore.