3 Up 3 Down: Travis’ Two Homers, Liriano’s Blue Jays Debut and Donaldson Dodged a Bullet
The Kansas City Royals are well out of any playoff race this year, but there’s something strangely satisfying about beating the team that eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays from the postseason last year.
I still harbour a lot of bad memories from Game 6 of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium; the home run that shouldn’t have been (damn that bearded kid), the questionable calls to Ben Revere, and of course the final out of the series. That ballpark doesn’t conjure many great feelings for Blue Jays fans.
Last night’s 4-3 victory felt like a small amount of penance for the pain which was endured by Jays fans last October. While the Blue Jays and Royals are two teams moving in two completely different directions in 2016, a bit of satisfaction comes with defending World Series Champions in their own ballpark.
Devon Travis’ Two-Round Trippers
For whatever reason, runs have been at a premium for the Blue Jays as of late. Their characteristically overwhelming offense has been meager in the past few weeks. However, the Blue Jays are coming up with clutch hits in key situations.
Case in point; the two home runs which Devon Travis hit last night. Without his offensive contributions, the Blue Jays would’ve likely walked away with a loss. Travis picked the perfect night to have the first two home run game of his career.
Last night marked the ninth game in which Devon Travis has been used as the leadoff hitter, and I think we’ve gotten a glimpse into what John Gibbons is planning for Travis; to eventually instill him as the Blue Jays leadoff hitter.
As great as it is to have someone like Jose Bautista at the top of the lineup, Travis’ hitting style just hits so much better as a leadoff guy. His ability to put the ball in play is reminiscent of that slappy top-of-the-order bat which every team covets.
Liriano Looks Good in His Blue Jays Debut
If you were a member of the Blue Jays front office or coaching staff, you were probably on pins and needles; praying for anything but a horrible start from Francisco Liriano in his Blue Jays debut.
I think Richard Griffin said something to the effect of “there aren’t enough candles the Blue Jays can light to pray for Liriano”. Surprisingly, Francisco Liriano was solid in his Blue Jays debut.
The fact that Liriano only managed to walk two batters in six innings is the most promising part of all. Free passes have plagued Francisco Liriano all season long and minimizing those walks will be key for him down the stretch.
In that start, we caught a glimpse of the Francisco Liriano the Blue Jays were hoping to get in that trade with the Pirates; his slider looked on point, and Liriano was especially tough on the right-handers in the Royals’ lineup. A promising start to Francisco Liriano’s career as a Blue Jay.
Donaldson Dodged a Bullet
Okay, Josh Donaldson didn’t exactly “dodge” an 89 MPH pitch from Kelvin Herrera, but he certainly avoided a season-ending injury. For a brief moment, it was an extremely scary situation for the Blue Jays’ third baseman, as a pitch to the head almost always ends badly.
But in true Josh Donaldson fashion, he simply got up and threw off his elbow guard and trotted down to first base in the most badass of ways. Had it not been for the ear flap on his helmet, who knows what kind of shape Donaldson would be in right now.
Did you also happen to notice that Donaldson kind of resembled Triple H when he headed down to first base? Hat tip to Chris Suppa for coming up with this:
Inspired by a tweet from the guy @BlueJayHunter – Josh Donaldson is Triple H #TheGame pic.twitter.com/LImFWeuvBs
— Chris Suppa (@Suppa55) August 6, 2016