As they did in the first game versus the Ray, the Jays showed the Yankees why they are well within the hunt for the division lead with a power display that dazzled the 30,000 plus fans at Rogers Center. Not only did they display their offensive power, but they also showed that while they still have one of the youngest rotations in MLB – it is also one of the best!
Jose Bautista is showing all of MLB that his power is not going anywhere any time soon and I congratulate him for his new career high of 18 HRs – an impressive feat with 4 months left to the season. Both hammers were identical in distance – no doubters as they left the bat – and the double he hit later on could just as easily have been his 3rd of the game. Adam Lind and Aaron Hill have to be thanking their lucky stars that Jose is as hot as he is because it’s taking all of the heat from their lackluster performances off the map. Let me put it to you this way – if it was Adam Lind that was as hot as Jose is right now and Jose had Aaron Hill‘s stats, how many fans and reporters would be calling for trades, demotions, and other changes to be made to the lineup? I dare to say over 90% would, because their faith in Jose’s skills isn’t the same as it is for Aaron or Adam. As it is, both Adam and Aaron seem to be getting a little warmer and are hitting the ball hard overall. Both bats should get back up to speed by mid-June and with Jose now the perfect #5 hitter and Fred Lewis the perfect setup guy, the Jays could do some real damage offensively.
Speaking of Fred Lewis, it has been reported that the Jays paid just around $75,000 for his services – although that figure can’t, and will never, be confirmed. Whatever the case, the Giants had to revert to bringing the struggling Pat Burrell on board. Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? The Giants should really let their scouts and GM take care of pitching and hire an entire new crew to evaluate hitters, because they’re really well off the mark on all counts. Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, giving up Fred Lewis, not picking up an impact bat in the off season, ect… It seems like the Giants are doing everything possible to make sure their pitchers will have to be perfect to win some games.
Back to the game, Brett Cecil was simply outstanding. I tip my hat to him as I saw what looked like a mature pitcher well beyond Brett’s years. He commanded all pitches, located them with ease, never looked frazzled, and dominated Yankee hitters all game long. Anytime you strike out the best hitter in baseball at this time – Robinson Cano – twice in one game and make him look foolish in doing so with a ridiculous change up, you know you have a bright future ahead of you. He did the same against Derek Jeter in the game, showing us that his change up is just as effective against a RHB as it is versus a LHB. He used his fastball sparingly and had it working between 89 and 95 MPH, keeping hitters well off balance all game long.
I also credit John Buck for calling a wonderful game. He kept Brett focus all game long and I noticed that he told Brett to focus on him when Jeter came up to bat the first time. He pointed 2 fingers at Brett to indicate his eyes and then brought them to his eyes, basically telling him to forget who’s at bat and to focus on throwing the pitches. Well, it certainly worked as he threw 1 pitch for a quick ground-out to get himself out of the inning.
The Jays did exactly what they’ve been doing all year long. They hit the ball hard and pitched a great game. So long as they can avoid giving up leads in the 8th and 9th, I see no reason that will change any time soon. They face Andy Pettitte today, relying on ace Ricky Romero to get the job done. I’m guessing that after watching Brett go to work on these Yankees, Ricky will have plenty of motivation to do the same today.