Jose Bautista Heroic in Cleveland

Although the Jays did suffer their 15th blown save of the season after Jon Rauch allowed the Indians to tie this game in the 9th inning, their fearless leader came through with 2 big knocks that solidified his pre-All-Star record at a solid 31 HRs, just 8 short of what Barry Bonds accomplished when he set the MLB HR record. To put it into today’s language, not only does he have the same number of HRs as Joey Votto and Mike Stanton combined, but he is also doing it with a much better line .332/.468/.702. In short, Jose Bautista is having an MVP caliber season.

The first of his two HRs was a quick line drive that had “crushed it” written all over it as soon as it came off the bat. Gregg Zaun said it best when talking about it afterwards, as he stated that he has no idea why anyone would throw this guy a strike right now. He’s just crushing it. Not only did the Indians throw him something to hit the first time, but they did it again, in the 10th inning this time, which begs the question why? You’re in extra innings, there’s nobody on base, why take a chance on Jose? I, and other Jays fans, are really glad they did, but I’m still confused overall.

The heroics of Jose were enough to get the Jays past the Indians. It’ll be interesting to see how well he does in the HR derby and whether or not he “lights it up”. I just hope that whatever happens at the All-Star game, Jose returns to Toronto with the same mindset and focus that he’s shown in the 1st half of the season. After all, he has hit .351 with 7 HRs over his last 10 games alone! Some players would love to hit that many HRs in one month during the season!

One last note on Bautista’s first half and a bit of the season. In 2010, only 16 players not named Jose Bautista reached the 31 HR level. For him to have done so well before hitting 100 games is simply incredible. When he reaches 35 HRs, he’ll have passed the 2010 totals of Mark Teixeira (33), Prince Fielder (32), Ryan Howard (31), David Ortiz (32), Mark Reynolds (32), Josh Hamilton (32), Dan Uggla (33), and Carlos Gonzalez (34). That will leave only 5 players left to surpass from the 2010 totals, Joey Votto (37), Adam Dunn (38), Miguel Cabrera (38), Paul Konerko (39), and Albert Pujols (42). Knowing this, and that his hitting line is much higher than most of these players, it makes us wonder just how much he would have gotten on the FA post 2011, and just how much of a great deal the Jays got when they signed him!

Enjoy the All-Star game JBeasta, you’ve earned the right to lead the voting and deserve all of the accolades that come with it.

If you were looking for a reason to continue watching the Jays post All-Star break, he should be more than enough.

Other Game Notes

  • Travis Snider‘s ABs and his sharp single looked strong once again. He has now hit safely in 5 of his 6 games played since returning from AAA and also added a nice catch last night.
  • Jose Molina should be sought after on the trade market by teams looking for a catcher. San Francisco and Seattle come to mind. His two doubles last night showed some true professional hitting skills and it seems that his high average, currently .300, is here to stay in 2011. He has 11 extra base hits in only 100 ABs, has a great OBP of .375, and is ready to split time with anyone and teach while he’s at it. Add is his defensive abilities, and a team would be crazy to not want him as a backup at a minimum at this point. He may very well be the biggest trade chip Alex Anthopoulos has at this point.
  • Although last night’s game was all about JBeasta, Adam Lind managed 3 hits to bring his average up to .306 on the year.
  • Brandon Morrow‘s beard couldn’t help him be dominant last night, but he had a solid outing with 3 ER and 8 Ks over his 8 innings of work. He had problems staying in the strike zone on occasion and may have been “effectively wild” during portions of the game, but his stuff is so incredible that it allowed him to get away with it. I can’t wait to see if he harnesses his stuff and gets it under control, because if he does, he has true ace potential. Hopefully we’ll see that happen in the second half of 2011.
  • I don’t even want to talk about the Blown Save, but I will say this. If you look up Jon Rauch’s 3rd pitch in the sequence of pitches against Travis Buck, it was right in the middle of the plate, just above the knees and was about as obvious a strike as you could get. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the game didn’t end on that pitch because the count was 0-2 with 2 outs at the time. My thoughts? Rauch got frustrated with that non-call and lost his composure from that point forward. Also, they were pounding Buck inside through all of the other pitches and he fought off a ton of them as fouls, so I give him credit for a strong AB once the ump gave him a second life.
  • Shawn Camp got the save with 0 walks and 0 hits. A sign of things to come? Perhaps….

The Jays are now 11 games back of the division leading Red Sox, 10 games behind the Wild Card leading Yankees, and 6 games behind the TB Rays. One more win against the Indians before the All-Star break would bring them to within 2 of .500. Let’s hope that this is the case, and that Jose Bautista can continue to lead the way with heroics never seen like this from a Blue Jay since Joe Carter touched’em all!

- MG

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Tags: Adam Lind Albert Pujols Barry Bonds Brandon Morrow Dan Uggla Joey Votto Jon Rauch Jose Bautista Jose Molina Mike Stanton Ryan Howard Travis Snider

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