A little over one week ago, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays were two teams seemingly at a crossroads; the Red Sox were on the cusp of raising the white flag on the 2014 season, while the Blue Jays were very much still in the hunt.
That four game series at the Rogers Centre last week felt like it was going to determine the fate of both clubs at the non-waiver trade deadline, and so far … it has.
The Blue Jays took three of four and currently occupy the second Wild Car spot in the American League. They just completed a trade to upgrade their team, while the Red Sox have slowly begun selling off pieces.
And after losing 14-1 on home turf last Monday, it was only poetic justice that the Blue Jays paid the Red Sox back by thumping them 14-1 at Fenway Park.
Melky Goes Manic at Fenway
What an eventful past couple of days for Melky Cabrera. On Sunday, he comes within inches of robbing a home run, then he makes an incredible game-ending catch. On Monday, he swats two home runs and drives in 5 of the Blue Jays’ 14 runs.
The second half is typically when players tend to fade off, but Melky has done quite the opposite. In the month of July he’s hitting .359/.419/.500, and he’s proving to be one of baseball’s most consistent hitters in 2014.
Not to mention, he broke somebody’s windshield after rocketing his second home run right out of Fenway Park and into the parking lot behind the Green Monster.
The funny thing is, that’s not the first time a Blue Jays hitter has damaged a vehicle outside of Fenway Park. Jose Bautista dented an SUV a few years ago with this shot.
Danny Valencia, Come on Down
Finally, a trade! Ultimately, this might not be an acquisition that moves the needle all that much, but it at least temporarily shores the third base position.
Trading for Danny Valencia was a true “under the radar” move by Anthopoulos, and considering he only gave up Erik Kratz and Liam Hendricks to get him, I’d say that’s a good trade for the Blue Jays.
Valencia has spent the bulk of his career at third base (294 of his 297 starts have been at third), and he provides some much needed help against left-handed pitching. His career slash line of .333/.369/.510 is enough to make one salivate.
Danny Valencia isn’t going to set the world on fire by an means, but coming onto a team that’s hit .243 versus lefties all season, he’ll provide that added boost against southpaws.
For the time being, Valencia looks to be an ideal platoon partner for Juan Francisco at third base, and down the road, possibly a bench bat. This trade may also signal that the Blue Jays are planning on moving Brett Lawrie back to second base upon his return.
So to summarize, Danny Valencia is controllable, he comes cheap, and he’s a right-handed bat that can hit lefties. What’s not to like?
Dickey Turning It Around
Last night may have been mostly about the offense, but R.A. Dickey quietly put together another yet solid start, despite having to sit for a long period of time while his teammates put up nine runs in the sixth inning.
While the knuckleball by nature is a very inconsistent and unpredictable beast, Dickey has fairly been consistent going back to the beginning of June; in 11 starts since June 4th he owns a 3.52 ERA and is averaging about 6 strikeouts per game.
However, R.A. still owns that disastrous 10.95 ERA in the seventh inning and beyond this season. It may just be a fluke, but if Dickey is pitching in a close game and it’s heading to the seventh, I wouldn’t be afraid to get relievers warmed up and ready.
This may be thinking way too far into the future, but if the Blue Jays were in a potential Wild Card playoff winner-take-all game, I don’t know if I’d be confident handing the ball to R.A. Dickey in a high-pressure situation.
Images courtesy of Jared Wickerham / Getty Images Sport and @cjzero