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The Yunibomber Strikes

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

No Jose Bautista, no problem!
Or as Yunel Escobar would say, “N hay José Bautista no hay problema”.

While Jose was off tending to family matters, Yunel Escobar picked up where Bautista usually leaves off and was the one who pulled off the late-inning heroics.

Just to show you how crazy of a game baseball is, Adam Lind swung at the first pitch during Sunday’s game and came up just short of sending the game to extras. Yunel Escobar swings at the first pitch last night and wins the game.



I have to say, you have to admire the resilience of a team that came all the way back from a five run deficit and managed to storm a comeback in walk-off fashion. The mantra “hustle & heart” certainly applied last night.

Jo-Jo Reyes wasn’t exactly spectacular in his Blue Jays debut, but I wouldn’t say it’s cause to drop him off the roster already. It was one bad outing, and the A’s somehow managed to keep pulling the ball down the third base line.

Not to sound like a Jo-Jo Reyes apologist, but his BABIP was a mind-blowing .563. The Oakland A’s hit a total of 6 line drives off Reyes. Admittedly an extremely small sample size after just one start, but I think Reyes was a little unlucky.

Had it not been for some stellar defense up the middle, the score could have been much worse. Aaron Hill and Yunel Escobar were trying their damndest to keep that ball on the infield, as was Jayson Nix. With each hit, it seemed like Nix was just narrowly missing those shots down the third base line.

Much like Brett Cecil’s outing on Sunday, it was great defense that kept the Blue Jays in the game and prevented their opponents from really doing some damage.

Lady luck finally came through for the Blue Jays in the latter innings when Kevin Kouzmanoff and Brandon McCarthy combined to gift-wrap a bunch of unearned runs for the Blue Jays. Some heads up baserunning by Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar also contributed towards the comeback.

While there were a lot of great things to take away from that game, one negative thing that stood out was the play of Juan Rivera. I realize he’s an older player and a little banged up, but you’d think he’d at least attempt to run out a grounder or make it from first to third.

Aside from that and Jo-Jo Reyes being nickel and dimed to death, it was an overall solid effort by the Blue Jays. Nothing like getting that walk-off win out of the way early in the season.

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his son for the next 20 years.

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12 Comments

  1. Matthais

    April 6, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    I have to agree with your take on Juan Rivera.

    If he's banged up put him on the DL.

    Otherwise, if that's the amount of hustle he's going to show day in and day out, then just release him.

  2. Ian - BJH

    April 6, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    Matthias, exactly – if Rivera's hurt, he isn't doing his team any favour by trying to avoid the DL.

    And if Rivera actually IS healthy but just dogging it, there's no sense in keeping him in the lineup if he's just going to keep clogging up the basepaths.

  3. The 5th Starter

    April 6, 2011 - 2:56 pm

    Beyond his lack of baserunning "hustle & Heart" his outfield defense was brutal. He was just letting the ball come to him!

  4. Ian - BJH

    April 6, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    5th Starter, I was surprised Crisp didn't turn that double into a triple after Rivera bobbled the ball in the ninth.

  5. mathesond

    April 6, 2011 - 5:16 pm

    nitpicks – Yunibomber doesn't sound as clever as it looks, what with the Y being pronounced like a J, and This was most certainly not Jo-Jo Reyes' big league debut :)

  6. Ian - BJH

    April 6, 2011 - 5:43 pm

    mathesond, much like most fans, I'm still making the transition of pronouncing it "Junel" instead of "Yunel". Also still working on the "Bowtista" thing.

    Thanks for the catch, I meant to say Blue Jays debut. Though by the way he got roughed up, it kinda looked like he was making his major league debut.

  7. amackeigan

    April 6, 2011 - 7:51 pm

    It was a great win last night, but is anyone else kinda offended that Sportsnet is using that james brown song ( i cant remember the name right now) but when your commercials include a guy singing " their superbad" bug's me.

    anyone else feel the same or am I just being over speculatitive.

  8. dougiejays

    April 6, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    I know BABIP treats all balls in play as equal, but I'd say that if a guy is giving up multiple drives down the left field line to right handed hitters, it's not because of his defense. When you're throwing hittable pitchers middle-in to major league hitters, you're going to get burned.

  9. Ian - BJH

    April 6, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    Amackeigan, I actually prefer those commercials to the "Coming Home" versions for some reason. Also gives us a reason to start listening to James Brown again.

    Dougie, you're right – Reyes wasn't really challenging the A's, which lead to them squaring up those pitches up in the zone. I just kept thinking, sooner or later Nix was going to glove one of those liners!

  10. Navin

    April 6, 2011 - 9:07 pm

    Love the Escobar translation.

  11. Anonymous

    April 6, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Ian, I couldn't agree with you more about Reyes. "Fans" were calling for his head even after

    runs and were already mentioning Vegas. It was his first start, and even Farrell said during the game that his stuff was there/hadn't changed, he was just up in the zone too much. He'll be on the hill Sunday versus the Angels.

    Also, I'm glad everyone is noticing Juan Rivera.

    Good read.

  12. Ian - BJH

    April 7, 2011 - 1:08 am

    Jared, I think some folks had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction last night. It isn't quite time to cut the Reyes cord just yet. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he can do in his next couple of starts.

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