Following the aftermath of the brawl in Texas with back-to-back blowout losses to the Rays was just about the worst way to respond. There’s no point in analyzing the brawl to any further extent, as it’s painfully been done from a variety of different media outlets already, but the one positive that could have potentially come out of everything was a positive response on the baseball field.
The series against the Rays was pretty much the opposite, and it led to a deflated feeling among the Jays community. Luckily, they had the 10-29 Minnesota Twins next on the schedule, and it gave them a much needed favourable matchup.
They seemed to wake up a bit and the offence broke out in the second game. That offensive breakout was led by Jose Bautista, as he absolutely crushes the ball in Minnesota. He hit home runs in three consecutive games, and his move into the leadoff spot sparked the offence.
Along with his power outburst this week, he walked seven times and only struckout three times, and he raised his OPS from .817 to .870 over the course of the week. His performance this week netted him a slash rate of .304/.448/.826/1.274 with 4 HR, 5 R, and 9 RBI. Ironically, his move into the leadoff spot in order to take advantage of his on base abilities, but it created his biggest power and run producing stretch so far this season.
His average of .230 is still lower than you’d like to see, but as long as he’s getting on base and providing power, that number is ultimately moot. His walk and strikeout rates of 18.4% and 17.4% are excellent, and his ISO, wRC+, and wOBA numbers are right in line with what he’s done over the past couple of years. His 41.4% hard contact rate is well above his career average and would present a career high if it were to stick.
Clearly, his skills on the offensive side of the ball aren’t deteriorating like they are on the defensive side of the ball, and this week presented a timeframe where all those skills were on full display. His combination of power, elite plate discipline, and rare contact ability from a power hitter is very well documented and it’s still very much a reality for the 35-year-old slugger.
Despite the 3-1 series win in Minnesota, it was still a week that didn’t inspire much confidence in the team, but the hope is that the bats have truly awoken, with Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Co. igniting the offence we saw last season. The starting pitching is inevitably going to regress to the mean, and if the offence continues to muddle in mediocrity while this happens, this team is going to have some trouble winning ballgames.