Here’s a telltale sign that the Toronto Blue Jays are a very good team; it wasn’t their best hitter who pulled them out of the weeds to save the day, it was their number nine hitter: Ryan Goins.
Ryan Goins; the man who is revered for his glove (not so much his bat), but his offense is beginning to turn the corner.
Combined with a few sacrifice flies, some speediness on the basepaths from Dalton Pompey, and a solid performance by Marco Estrada, the Blue Jays were able to secure the 5-3 win in extra innings over the Cleveland Indians.
Ryan Goins – The Unlikely Hero
Ryan Goins is the walk-off hero. pic.twitter.com/nVIWmXEWeC
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) September 2, 2015
Could anyone have ever expected that it would be Ryan Goins who would provide the game-winning hit for the Blue Jays? A man who has eight home runs over the course of his entire career saved one for the best possible moment.
Goins’ offensive turnaround has been well-documented this season, and the player who was once thought to be all-glove is suddenly becoming a much more complete player.
The uptick in Ryan Goins’ offense is making the loss of Devon Travis a little bit easier to manage; no one really expects Travis to return anytime soon and Goins has been a solid replacement at second base.
However, it’s the value of Goins’ ability to get on base that can’t be understated. In the month of August, Goins ranked 6th in all of baseball in on base percentage at .442.
There is incredible value in having a bottom of the order hitter who can get in base, because it sets the table for the top of the order. This leaves guys like Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista with the ability to hit with a man already on base.
Dalton Pompey’s Speed Pays Off
I think it was @Minor_Leaguer who said “This is why I love expanded rosters”. For several weeks, the Blue Jays were handcuffed by a short bench and an apparent lack of speed. But after September call-ups, not anymore.
Dalton Pompey proved to be a huge difference-maker as he stole two bases in one inning and scored the eventual game-tying run on a sacrifice fly. No offense to Ezequiel Carrera, but Pompey is clearly the superior outfielder and baserunner.
Watching Dalton Pompey trot out as a pinch-runner was very reminiscent of a post-season game move. And then the fact that he took off not once, but twice … it only reinforced Pompey’s need to be on the Blue Jays’ potential playoff roster as their fourth outfielder.
Don’t Forget About Marco
His outing may have been overshadowed by the late-game heroics, but Marco Estrada once again put forth a great effort. That now makes seven of his 22 starts in which Estrada has lasted seven or more innings.
Estrada has gone from an outlier in the starting rotation to a solid number three (possibly even two) option amongst the Blue Jays’ starting five.
Given the unpredictability of R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle being banged up as of late, I’d almost tend to slot Marco Estrada as the Blue Jays’ second pitcher in any potential playoff starting rotations.
Estrada’s tendency to keep hitters off-balance with his changeup has proven to be extremely effective. Also the fact that he’s doing it pitching half of his games in a hitter-friendly ballpark is astounding.
So does anyone still want a re-do of that Estrada/Lind trade?
Images via Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport