The Blue Jays picked up their 4th straight win on Saturday on the strength of a 3 run shot from Jose Bautista, who also doubled earlier in the game.
My what a difference a 4 game win streak will do for the psyche. Hell, 10 out of 15 is pretty good for the demeanour as well. After starting the season 1-9, suddenly our beloved Blue Jays are winning games again, despite the absence of half of their payroll on the disabled list.
The Blue Jays have been getting great play from unexpected contributors like Darwin Barney, Ryan Goins and more, as we’ve written about plenty here, but there’s one significant bat who is starting to heat up and could make a big difference in the bottom line. Thankfully, Jose Bautista appears to be coming out of his season-long funk.
Every time Bautista has appeared to be on the verge of snapping out of his struggles, he has had another rough game, sending Blue Jays fans back into a state of frustration. However, it appears the cycle of abuse might be coming to an end, as “Joey Bats” had another solid game on Saturday, going 2-4 with a home run, a double and 3 RBI. The 5 time All-Star is 5-17 over his last 5 games with 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and 3 walks.
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While he’s never been streaky to the degree that Edwin Encarnacion used to be, Bautista has been prone to a hot stretches throughout his career, and it appears we may be on the verge of one. The biggest indicator is the power numbers, which shows that he’s seeing the ball and attacking pitches he likes. The 7th inning blast on Saturday was just his 5th so far this season, with 2 of those coming in the last 2 days as well.
The Dominican outfielder has looked healthy on defence all season long, moving far better than he did last year and appearing to be beyond the issues with both his legs, and his long-ailing throwing shoulder. He’s shown unleashed of the best throws we’ve seen from him since 2015, so it’s been frustrating to watch the 2x MLB home run leader flounder at the plate.
Arash Madani asked him after the game why things are going differently for him lately, and Jose was quick to admit it’s a simple thing:
"“You know, I’ve been getting my pitches, I just haven’t been missing them as often, and hopefully that continues. Like I said, I’m just happy to contribute on a daily basis and hopefully we can keep this, win streak going.”"
As the Blue Jays continue to get key pieces back from the disabled list, getting Bautista’s bat back on track feels like the addition of another lost part of the puzzle. The Jays have stuck with him near the top of the order despite his struggles, and perhaps due to a lack of other options with the slew of injuries.
Fortunately for John Gibbons and the Blue Jays, it appears that sticking with the veteran, whether they wanted to or not, is starting to pay off. At 36 years old he’s not going to be an elite player forever, but it’s great to see him silence the doubters again, at least for a little while.