When the Toronto Blue Jays traded John Farrell to the Boston Redsox a large part of the Blue Jays fan base took a sigh of relief. Farrell’s bullpen management, lineup construction and base running philosophy made most fans irritable. If Farrell did one thing right in his long 2 seasons as Blue Jays manager it was last season when he moved Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus to the 1 and 2 spots in the lineup. It seemed like a little move at the time but it took the Blue Jays from a team that seemed like it was struggling offensively all season to a team that’s offense seemed unstoppable at times.
Before all the big offseason moves the Blue Jays made you would have thought whoever the new Blue Jays manager is would be crazy to try to fix what wasn’t broken and move Lawrie and Rasmus out of the 1 and 2 spots. Now you would think he’d be crazy to keep them there.
John Gibbons has been asked by several people in the media what he thinks the Blue Jays lineup will look like. Every time he has said it’ll be Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and that the Blue Jays will figure out the rest during Spring Training.
That’s an extremely dangerous 1 through 4 to start the lineup. The last 2 NL batting champions followed by two 40 home run sluggers. Most all-star game lineups don’t start off that well.
They say the first inning of a ball game is always the hardest inning for a starting pitcher cause he’s just getting into the flow of the game. When a pitcher knows he’s facing the Blue Jays he better get into the flow of the game quick or he’s going to get hit hard. All the hitters at the top of the Blue Jays lineup are very good at getting on base so it’s a safe guess the Blue Jays aren’t going to have many 1-2-3 1st innings.
Even if the Blue Jays don’t score any runs in the 1st inning all their hitters at the top of the lineup are great hitters and can have good long patient at bats. It’s a safe guess that you won’t see many pitchers leaving the 1st inning against the Blue Jays with their pitch counts in check.
Jose Reyes gives the Blue Jays a legit leadoff hitter who lead the NL in stolen bases from 2005 – 2007 and just stole 40 bases last season. Melky Cabrera has been great the last 2 seasons and at age 28 is just coming into his prime. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are as good a 3-4 combo as there is in the game.
We may not know what Gibbons wants to do with rest of the lineup until Opening Day but we know 1 through 4 will be a force to be reckoned with.