All indications seem to point to Tulowitzki coming back to the Toronto Blue Jays before seasons end, which means we can all collectively breathe a sigh of relief. But was there anything to worry about with the prospect of starting Cliff Pennington in the post season? Another one of Alex Anthopoulos’ trade additions that went largely unnoticed. Sure he’s produced an unceremonious .164 Average since becoming the regular starter at Second Base.
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That said in 29 games he has managed 8 Runs, 2 Home Runs, and 11 RBI’s. On paper that looks pretty weak, but match that up with Tulowitzki’s 30 Runs, 5 Home Runs, and 17 RBI’s as a Jay, it starts to look a little better. At this point they’ve played a similar amount of time, and Pennington has managed to reproduce about half the stats Tulowitzki posted. Also taking into account the mean defense that Pennington has produced, a case can be made that Tulo’s absence hasn’t really had that much of an impact on the team.
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We are still hitting home runs and winning games. We still turn double plays and prevent runs. If anything, Tulo’s absence has allowed others to shine. AL Player of the Week Kevin Pillar, Justin Smoak, and Ryan Goins have all been getting the job done, and more importantly, getting the credit for it. Cliff Pennington too has come up big when needed, hitting both of his homers and all of his RBI’s in the first week as a fill in. And while he’s definitely the weakest bat in the current starting nine, he’s doing his job admirably and arguably better than anyone could have expected.
However, unlike Revere, whose impact on the team is clear, Pennington’s is a little less tangible. Entire teams have fallen apart at the loss of a player, noticeably the Astros, who have stumbled with Gomez on the shelf. While that can be attributed to multiple factors, the loss of a major contributor always hurts. Pennington has done a great job providing while Tulowitzki’s been on the shelf. He’s been a contributor, and not just a band aid.
So while he’s no substitute for Tulowitzki, Pennington has proved his worth to the team and made Alex Anthopoulos look even smarter for acquiring him. So while it looks like the Jays can face their first post season in two decades with the All Star, Pennington has spent the past few weeks proving why he was a good pick up. While his playing time will be reduced, he has definitely punched his ticket onto the 25 man playoff roster.