Jose Bautista The Driving Force, John McDonald The Hero

If you watched the game last night all of the way through, you got to see quite a treat as a Jays fan. It was a heartwarming game that made me feel happy not only about the outcome of the game, but also about the chances of the Jays becoming a force to be reckoned with in the AL East.

Jose Bautista: The Driving Force

Although the deal’s value (over or under) can be argued about endlessly, the Jays and Alex Anthopoulos definitely took a leap of faith when they signed Jose Bautista to a $65 million extension this off season. What they were hoping for, and had deduced from looking over his end of 2009 and 2010 seasons, was that he would become the driving force the Jays lineup would need to compete effectively in a tough division. Leadership was definitely part of the equation, but displays such as the one he put on last night are a bigger portion of what the Jays expected from him and wanted to get in return for so much money. Bautista came a single short of the cycle last night and it can be argued that without him, the Jays would not have been in the game at all. He was the driving force to the lineup that allowed Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion the opportunity to drive in runs – which they did very well – and eventually led to what is sure to carry the emotions of Jays fans for quite a while, the special Johnny Mac moment.

John McDonald: The Hero

When the Jays decided to go with Hustle and Heart as a motto for the season, they had guys like John McDonald in mind. He is all hustle and heart, but they did forget one thing – brains. To me, without the brains to go with his hustle and heart, there’s no way that he takes such a strong swing in the 11th inning in order to win the game for the Jays with a walk-0ff HR. In his post-game interview, McDonald spoke of looking for that 1st pitch fastball because he knew that they wouldn’t be intimidated by his “power”. So, he had already decided to take a great swing at a 1st pitch heater, and place it promptly over the left field fence. The way he flicked his bat to the side with such force, the way that he talked the ball over the fence, and the strut to 1st base tells us all 1 thing: John McDonald really went for the HR. WOW. For a guy who had only 19 HRs in 1894 ABs to go for the dinger in the 11th inning with a runner on first base is simply put, incredible. He wanted to be the hero, and so he has become to the majority of Jays fans. From his stellar defensive play that could have saved a run before his HR, to hitting that shot, John McDonald became my hero, and so I tweeted it as follows:

JOHN MCDONALD IS MY HERO

That’s my take on the game. Sure, Jo-Jo Reyes looked adequate against the Rays, but he didn’t look great. The Rays were missing Evan Longoria and had their weakest version of the bottom of the lineup, so I’m still not sold on his stuff. Travis Snider still looks lost at the plate and needs to get a lot more patient. If anything, he needs to learn from J. P. Arencibia who can lay off from those off speed pitches. At this point, Snider is an easy out and may need a new instructor (possibly in AAA) to get his bat going.

Brad Emaus Dealt to the Rockies

The Jays obviously felt confident that Emaus wasn’t going to help the club out in 2011 because after they accepted him back from the Mets, the flipped him right off to the Rockies in return for a long shot 27-year old RHP Chris Malone and either cash or a PTBNL. Malone, 6’4″ 215 lbs, has been in the pen since 2009 and doesn’t have the greatest stats to this point. We’ll see if the Jays can turn him into a viable reliever, but evidently, the Jays benefited from being able to accept Emaus back and get “something” in return, as well as possibly cash or another player. Malone’s issues seem to be based on throwing strikes, because although he’s allowed just about 1 hit per inning pitched in 2009 and 2010, he also has a 4.0 BB/9 ratio.

Brett Cecil Assigned to AAA Las Vegas

I am truly shocked that the Jays are so confident in the abilities of Jo-Jo Reyes that they absolutely refuse to move him to the pen or waive him. There, that’s my opinion on that. Having spoken my opinion on Reyes vs Cecil, I have this message for Cecil:

Roy Halladay, at the very same age of 24, was struggling so badly in the majors that he was sent down to HiA and had to work his way all of the way back up to the majors. So you should take it as a learning experience, learn everything you can while you’re down there, and come back a bigger and better beast. I’m pretty certain it made Doc better, so surely it can help make you better as well.

I still believe that the Jays had better options here, but there it is.

Other Transaction Notes:

  • Brandon Morrow was activated for his start today;
  • Jesse Litsch only threw 44 pitches on Friday, making it an option for him to pitch for the Jays if needed on Tuesday;
  • The Lugnuts placed Marcus Knecht on the 7-Day DL and called on Jonathan Jones to fill the void in CF and at the top of the lineup. He responded well in his first game, going 3 for 4.
  • Craig Stansberry was promoted to AAA from New Hampshire and will fill the void created by the Chris Woodward promotion to the Jays.
  • Stansberry’s position in New Hampshire was taken up by the activation of Callix Crabbe from the 7-Day DL.
  • Luis Perez rejoined AAA Las Vegas but left a great impression with the Jays and John Farrell.
  • Both Scott Podsednik and Dewayne Wise were assigned to HiA Dunedin to begin their rehabs, while Rajai Davis played his first game in AA for his rehab assignment. Davis could be with the Jays as quickly as Tuesday.

– MG

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