That game winning home run that was hit last night didn’t feel just like a game winning home run. It felt like a wake-up call to a team that has under-performed for the past three years. One of the most important things that I took from last night’s game was that they were for once able to get by a terrible start from a starting rotation member. Usually this is the type of game that the Jays lose. Dickey gets roughed up. Ruin a night of production from both Bautista and Donaldson. This changed with one swing of the bat.
Now we have seen what Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin can do for the Toronto Blue Jays. They lead by example. Show intensity when it’s required. Battle with each and every pitch. It’s a confidence that hasn’t been seen with the Jays for quite a while. A couple of proven playoff performers. They know how to get there, and are trying to get the Jays back into the race.
There is nothing more infuriating as a Jays fan than watching a bunch of high priced talent goofing around in the dugout when the team is five games under .500. Watching a player flip his bat after a long home run when the team is down by five, or watching the outfield jump into each other after their lone win on a 1-5 home-stand. There is a time for playful fun in baseball. When Donaldson cracks a game winning home run to start a bit of a winning streak is a great time for that. This is a team sport and the Jays have been playing as individuals for far too long.
I am cautiously optimistic. Keeping tabs on other teams in the AL East it seems as though this division is winnable. Even with a mediocre record it is ripe for the taking. Every team in the AL East is floating right around .500. Injuries are piling up for multiple teams. The Red Sox already fired their pitching coach. If the Jays can pull off any kind of run they can play some meaningful games in September. They really need the starting pitching to put up a streak of quality outings. You know the offense will be there.
We have sung this tune before. The Jays are always a game away from a complete over haul of the lineup or a player away from competing for the division. Again they are at the same crossroads. If they don’t feel as though they can compete in September then they have to start dealing. As a fan I just want some consistency. I don’t want to hear Dickey talk for three years about how he is just about there. I don’t want Bautista to whine about the strike zone. A stuttering John Gibbons having a non-chalant interview that starts with his over-used “well.” Just shut up and start winning. Have some owner ship over what’s expected of this team. One thing that I do know is that Martin and Donaldson have both been there before. They are battle-tested. You are starting to see the mark that they are putting on this team. Here’s hoping that other players will continue to follow their lead and the Jays can make a bit of a run.