The 2015 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays is a far cry from the docile bunch we’ve grown accustomed to in recent seasons. No moment is too large for this roster, and this showed on Friday night in New York where the Blue Jays earned their most important (and impressive) win of the season.
Friday’s 2-1 victory moved the Jays to within 3.5 games of the Yankees in the AL East. Following the organization’s epic trade deadline, the division title was considered to be something that Toronto could “chip away” at while reeling in the Wild Card. After swatting away the Minnesota Twins and stomping their way into a Wild Card spot, the division now seems very real. Strangely likely.
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The game seemed to be tipping in New York’s favor through the middle innings, and had all the makings of a game that would cause past Blue Jays rosters to fold. After Mark Teixeira‘s debatable home run to left field and two laughable third strike calls on Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak with runners on base, the deck seemed to be stacked against the Jays.
Enter the bullpen. R.A. Dickey‘s start lasted 7.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits as he continues to be one of the hottest hurlers in baseball. LaTroy Hawkins was first to take over for Dickey, and if you blinked, you missed his seven-pitch eighth inning.
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Then came Brett Cecil in the ninth inning, which brought some terribly misplaced groans from Blue Jays fans on Twitter. Keep in mind, though, that Cecil has been arguably Toronto’s best reliever this past month, with a scoreless streak now stretching over his past 15 outings. His inning? Scoreless. Nine pitches.
Jose Bautista‘s 10th-inning home run was a statement heard around the league. Even on a roster stocked with Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, David Price and Edwin Encarnacion, Bautista remains the heartbeat of this team. Groan about his antics all you want, because once a week, he gives me another reason to forget about those.
After bashing and mauling their way through the first half of the season, this win is exactly what Toronto will need to push them into October. Playoff baseball is not filled with the 12-2 blowouts that Toronto has grown accustomed to. These bullpen battles ending with big hits are what playoff baseball is made of, or at least, that’s what I’ve heard.