The Blue Jays managed to win a late night thriller on Friday night, on the strength of a 3 run blast from Jose Bautista in the 13th inning.
It wasn’t easy, but the Blue Jays managed to pick up another win on Friday night in the series opener against the Angels. Mat Latos got the start and performed admirably, but it wasn’t until after the calendar had turned to the next day, and until the 13th inning that the game would be decided.
Both teams had to dig deeper into their pitching staffs than they had planned to. Joe Biagini was supposed to have the night off, but he ended up collecting the final outs for the Blue Jays. On the Angels’ side, Jesse Chavez was the scheduled starter for today’s game, but with his appearance on Friday night the Mike Scioscia will have to turn elsewhere.
A game like that can be a real turning point in a series, and in the case of the Blue Jays, hopefully their season. After the game, Bautista was interviewed by Bluejays.com and summed up what Blue Jays’ fans were thinking as the game entered it’s fifth hour.
"“We’re off to a slow start, and a game like this, if you lose, could be very demoralizing. The win is very important”."
Indeed it was, as the Blue Jays now have the upper hand in the series, and more importantly, have some positive momentum, which is doubly important when you’re as exhausted as the team likely is after the 5 hour, 36 minute marathon.
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The most important part of the game, I’d argue even more important than the win, was the home run off the bat of Bautista. This doesn’t guarantee that he’ll suddenly start hitting at a torrid pace, but you better believe that home run took a lot of weight from the Dominican slugger’s back.
He’s well aware of his stats thus far this season, and the chatter in the media, and probably feels as much responsibility for the team performance as anyone on the field. After his exceptional spring performance, this was not the way the season was supposed to start for the 36 year old.
Add on the fact that Bautista is only on a 1 year guaranteed deal and that he’d like to up his value going back into free agency, and there are a lot of external motivators for him, even beyond team success.
Now that Bautista has finally gotten the monkey off his back, look for him to hopefully relax at the plate and start showing off his characteristic plate discipline. As we all know, when he’s right and he’s waiting for his pitch, there aren’t many who can hit a ball with authority like “Joey Bats”.
Here’s hoping the late night bomb awoke the sleeping giant. Sometimes, it only takes one.