Some persist in making comparisons to the ’93 Jays. This game fit the bill. Remember Game 4 of the World Series against the Phillies? This is what we all expected: score early, score often, apply pressure relentlessly.
The Tribe scored in the top of the first, and the Jays answered with Bautista’s two-run shot and JPA’s bomb in the 2nd. A pair of homers by Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds were answered by EE’s 3-run laser in the fifth. A walk-hit-double-double combo for a 3-spot in the top of the 6th was answered by JPA’s 2nd HR, Rasmus’s 1st HR, then Bonifacio’s “hustle double” and an error by Reynolds for three more. Single runs by CLE in the top of the 7th and 8th innings were answered by an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, when Jose Reyes scored from 2B on a ground ball to short by Jose Bautista. it was the second time in the game that speed was a key factor.
All those runs mean it wasn’t a very good night to be a pitcher. Mark Buehrle was around the plate and in trouble all night; Brett Myers gave up four home runs. Both ‘pens enjoyed considerable action in the series, but tonight it was a matter of survival: the hitters were wearin’ their hittin’ shoes. It led to a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
Closer Casey Janssen came on and recorded a 3-up-3-down, 2 K 9th by pounding the lower half and corners of the strike zone.
A few observations from this slugfest and the series. First, he can’t hit but I prefer Adam Lind at 1B to Edwin Encarnacion. Lind looks fairly comfortable in the field, but EE tightens up visibly. Otherwise, the Jays are solid enough defensively and Emilio Bonifacio may have answered any questions about who will play 2B.
Second, the Detroit Tigers are going to need to keep their eye on the Tribe. If CLE adds another quality starter, they’ll be dangerous. Swisher, Brantley, Cabrera, Reynolds, and Santana did a lot of damage in this series and they’re the types of players to keep doing damage all season.
Third, tonight we caught a glimpse of what the Jays are capable of doing: they’ll be just fine. During game 2, I thought that it might be 20-25 games or so before they started to hit their stride. This was game 3 and they found their collective hitting stroke, hitting five homers. They also drew 6 walks and only struck out twice: the patience of the veteran batters is a welcome change. They’re not giving away at bats, and they’re getting on base. Speed will also be a major weapon on the basepaths and in the field.
Fourth, the pitching isn’t a concern. This staff is deep, talented, and there are a lot of pitchers who can miss bats. Tonight’s starter, Mark Buehrle, was pulled after a rough outing and he didn’t: throw a fit; throw his glove; or throw any clubhouse equipment. Ah, veterans.