John Buck had been through a huge slump that included seeing his average drop to .155 on the year, 1 extra base hit in his last 11 games (a double), and a frightening .206 OBP. However, as every hitter will tell you, such slumps happen to the majority of MLB hitters at some point in the year, and perhaps it’s a good thing that John’s happened so early and that he was able to escape it as explosively as he did last night.
Before the night was over, John had brought his average up to .194, had quadrupled his HR output on the year to 4 with 3 incredible shots on the night, and had every KC fan wondering how their management could let him walk so easily for someone who has hit 3 HRs or fewer per season since 2004 despite playing full time in Jason Kendall. That means the Jays got the same output in 1 game from Buck in terms of HRs than KC can expect to get from Kendall. You have to be happy the Jays didn’t go out and sign Kendall instead….right? Right.I’m not sure how much of a streak this will get John Buck on, but it’s good to know he’s finding his stroke, even if he doesn’t come out like gangbusters every night.
The Jays were mired in a series of tight game losses, and bucked that trend in the first game of this series. The importance of getting out of a slump early can’t be understated, because it sets the tone for the season that the team can come out of slumps easily and get itself back on track.
The Jays bats had been cooled by strong pitching, and bucked that trend. The Jays did have 1 huge offensive output against the Red Sox, but overall had been shut down effectively by Rays and Red Sox pitching. Getting their confidence back is important so that they can get back to winning the series against Oakland and to get on a winning streak.
Finally, the Jays bucked the trend of watching Travis Snider head back to the bench after yet another frustrating AB. He knocked his 3rd HR of the year off of Justin Duchscherer in the 3rd inning, and also a double later on in the game, his 3rd of the season. I sincerely hope this new trend continues because Travis has a ton of talent that could seriously alter the outcome of this season for the Jays, along with added power from AAA.
Ricky Romero had a mediocre outing that still counts as a quality start, going 6 innings long with 3 ER, 4 hits, and 4 walks allowed while striking out 6. The outing bumped his ERA up to 2.25, nothing to be worried about in the least, he just had a little more trouble than usual hitting the strike zone.
Kevin Gregg, meanwhile, bounced right back from his blown save against the Red Sox, striking out all 3 hitters he faced to earn his 6th save of the year, lowering his ERA to 0.82. He’s looking more and more like a great signing for the Jays when you consider all of the faltering closers around the league.
The only trend that continues to plague the Jays now is a tiny audience of 10,721 people. That’s probably the most worrisome trend of all since it is directly tied to the future success of the Jays. No butts in the seats = no money to pay players = crappy young team for the foreseeable future. I hope that’s not the case, and am sure that fans will arrive in hoard as soon as a winning trend continues to occupy the Rogers Centre on a regular basis. It may be the last trend the Jays will beck because it is also the hardest to buck, but they are on the right path to doing so and it’s just going to take some time, patience, and a few superstars to get it done.