4 takeaways from the Blue Jays sweep of the Pirates
Takeaway #2: Daulton Varsho wins the trade
After a solid start to his Blue Jays career, Daulton Varsho had been mired in a two-and-a-half-week slump. His 8-for-66 (.121) stretch had fans wondering if the Diamondbacks had bamboozled the Jays in the Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Gabriel Moreno trade.
Despite being one of the few bright spots from the otherwise miserable Boston series, fans were waiting to see if Varsho would continue his sudden turnaround at the plate against the Pirates. He didn't disappoint.
Varsho hit safely in all three games over the weekend, going 5-for-13 with two doubles, a stolen base and four RBI. In Sunday's finale, he put the game out of reach and capped off his weekend with a 413-foot blast into the Allegheny River.
The dynamic outfielder has been terrorizing pitchers during his six-game hit streak, batting a scorching .458 with a 1.420 OPS. He has three home runs and has driven in nine while only striking out 7.7% of the time, a much-improved rate from his previous 24.6% clip.
Hopefully, his performance in Pittsburgh has helped alleviate any concerns that had been growing about Varsho's addition to the team.
Takeaway #3: Brandon Belt's not washed up
Heading into the Pittsburgh series hitting a paltry .172, Brandon Belt's ice-cold start to the season had been disappointing, to say the least. Aside from a couple of promising glimpses early in Belt's Blue Jays tenure, it looked like the front office had taken a big swing and a miss, much like Belt has been so far, with the one-year signing.
In his two games against the Pirates, with his timing seemingly locked in, the 12-year-veteran went 5-for-7 with four hard-hit balls. He counted three doubles, two RBI and five runs scored. Plus, he only had two strikeouts, one of which was so poorly called that Belt got himself tossed for suggesting the home plate umpire be better at his job.
If his two-game performance at PNC Park isn't enough to get you on the Belt bandwagon, look at his last 10 games. Before his outburst at the plate this weekend, he had already been starting to turn things around, hitting a solid .313 with a .937 OPS over that span.
At the very least, Belt has bought himself some leeway to continue getting regular at-bats and should be able to start chipping away at his 41.3% strikeout rate while continuing to help the bottom of the order contribute.