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3 Up 3 Down: Melky’s Injury, Colby the Pinch Hitter and Bautista’s On Fire

It wasn’t enough that the Blue Jays blew the game in dramatic fashion on Friday evening against the Red Sox; they also happened to lose one of their best hitters for the rest of the season. Basically, the equivalent of a punch to the gut and a kick to the groin.

And although they dropped two of three at Fenway Park, the Blue Jays ultimately had a fairly successful road trip through Tampa Bay and Boston, compiling a 4-2 record.

Any team would be more than happy with those results, but the sad reality is the Blue Jays need to play much better than .666 baseball the rest of the way to even have a sniff at the playoffs.



The Melk Man Goes Down

Going into Friday night, miraculously Melky Cabrera had managed to go the entire season as one of the Blue Jays most durable and consistent hitters in the starting lineup. And after an innocent slide back into first base, just like that, he’s done for the year.

I’m not exactly sure how this injury will impact whether or not he’ll re-sign with Toronto (another topic for another day), but it just muddies what is already a very murky situation for Melky and Blue Jays this offseason.

Many would say that the loss of Melky effectively ends the Blue Jays season; I wouldn’t go quite that far, but for a team that already had very little margin for error, losing one of the pillars in their starting lineup doesn’t bode very well for them down the stretch.

Colby Rasmus: Professional Pinch Hitter

Even with the injury to Melky Cabrera, one thing became very evident over the weekend; Colby Rasmus will ride out the rest of the season on the bench. But like any good artist faced with adversity, Colby has managed to reinvent himself as a clutch pinch hitter.

It’s probably not the way he envisioned his time with the Blue Jays coming to an end, but Rasmus is certainly making the most of the rare opportunities he’s been getting the past few games.



Colby was the hero on Thursday night as he hit a game-winning pinch hit home run against the Rays, and he connected again and went deep for his second home run in three at bats off the bench.

If this was somehow the Blue Jays’ diabolical plan to somehow get Colby Rasmus to hit, it’s definitely working. Colby Rasmus has now tied the Blue Jays club record for pinch hit home runs in a single season with 3, a title he shares with Willie Greene.

In fact, Colby is just one off the franchise record for total pinch hit home runs, a title owned by Jesse Barfield and Ernie Whitt with 4 apiece.

Joey Bats is On Fire

Perhaps this has been overshadowed amidst the Colby Rasmus controversy, the bullpen implosion on Friday and Melky Cabrera out for the season, but is there a hotter hitter in baseball right now than Jose Bautista?



Not only did he hit home runs in five consecutive games last week, but he picked up two more over the weekend at Fenway Park; bringing his last 11 game total to 7 home runs, 16 hits and 12 RBI’s. Not to mention, Bautista slugged .826 over that stretch.

He may not be having a 2010 or even 2011-like season, but Jose Bautista is quietly putting forth one of the strongest seasons of his career.

We have this stat courtesy of Ben Nicholson-Smith from Sportsnet that Jose Bautista is on pace for his best season since 2012:

And now with Melky gone for the season, the contributions from Jose Bautista suddenly become even more crucial to the Blue Jays lineup. It’s also become more and more imperative that the Blue Jays need Bautista to stick around beyond 2016.

Whether that’s feasible or not all depends on payroll, but if the cash is there, then the Blue Jays would be best served to set aside a good chunk for a Jose Bautista contract extension in the future.

Images courtesy of Jim Rogash/Getty Images Sport

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 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.


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2 Comments

  1. Steve Mayer

    September 8, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    August pretty much killed them. The Jays had 67 losses coming into September which means they could only afford to lose 5 all September and still finish with 90 wins. Anything less than that would probably not be enough and that in itself would've been one unbelievable month with or without Melky.

    I don't think Colby has re-invented himself in 3 or so PH at-bats. He was and remains a power-hitting CF. What I believe he hasn't been able to do is adjust to pitchers who are striking him out 32% and crossing up fielders in the shift. Meanwhile he has had a relatively poor year in the field. But yes, it is impressive he hit those PH homers.

    Lastly, while letting go of Bautista in a couple years may be tough, one would need to do the math while considering the price of his age 36+ years and I don't think he'll take a discount this time. Unless the Jays believe they owe him all the surplus value he's given back to the Jays over these fine seasons.

    1. Ian Hunter

      September 8, 2014 - 7:34 pm

      Re: Bautista – seems like there aren't very many position players coming up the ranks, which would make guys like Bautista and Edwin even harder to replace if they leave after that option year. I'd say roll the dice and probably overpay to keep them around for a couple years (and even have Jose DH down the road) to keep them on the roster.

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