Blue Jays Take On Jo-Jo Reyes; Game Shockingly Turns Into A Rout

By Thom Tsang

…for the Jays, of course. What, did you think we were really gonna get beaten by Jo-Jo-freaking-Reyes?

Out of all the Jays wins this year, I think this one – a 13-0 laugher – was the one that gave me the most personal satisfaction. It was the final strike of validation on most of what I’ve said about Reyes all year – that he just plain doesn’t belong in the major leagues. So I consider this payback for the bluebirds: for all the games that he started on the mound and blew up in, for taking up space when we could have been putting in just about anyone, whether it be a prospect, or a borderline starter like Rzepczynski to build their value. This game was pay back for the all of the suck that the Jays – and us fans watching – had to deal with for the better part of the ’11 season.

The only thing that went wrong with the Jays tonight was that they knocked Reyes out of the game too soon. The team jumped on their former teammate in the 2nd inning to draw first blood, with Brett Lawrie hitting a RBI double, but it was the 3rd that the team really broke out against Reyes, scoring 6 runs off the lefty on 6 hits, including home runs from Kelly Johnson (3-run shot) and Jose Molina (solo). That was enough to chase a battered Reyes before he could complete the 3rd innings, in a scene that Jays fans will be familiar with from several Jo-Jo starts this season.

The best part? The team kept at it, even as they went into the 4th inning up 7-0. Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, and Edwin Encarnacion all contributed RBIs in a 4-run inning that put the team up 11-0, with the capper being E5’s 15th homer of the season, a 2-run shot. The DH has been on an absolute tear since the all-star break, posting a .301/.406 split with 9 home runs in 158 at-bats and a .942 OPS. For those keeping track, that would put him on a 35 home run pace, which is where many fans, including myself, predicted E5 could be at before this season started. An unexpected and ill-advised stint at 3B messed that up a bit (also as predicted), but since he’s been a full-time DH, it’s hard to argue with his numbers – there aren’t very many players on this roster who is hitting with as much authority as Encarnacion right now.

With all that offense – 13 runs on 20 hits in total – the team’s performance at the plate almost overshadowed the performance we got on the mound: an absolute gem of a start from 21-year old Henderson Alvarez. With little to no pressure placed on the young righty, Alvarez went right after the O’s lineup, throwing 64 of 97 pitches for strikes and taking a 1-hitting into the 8th inning. He would finish with a fantastic 3-hit, 8IP performance with 5 strikeouts, but the most impressive part about it all is that he didn’t walk a single batter. Granted, he was given a ridiculous lead to work with; even so, the control that he exhibited tonight was a perfect display of the skill set that the team saw, enough to rush him up here. Like every player, there’s little doubt that Alvarez will hit his share of bumps on the road, but if he can keep attacking hitters as he did tonight and avoid the walks, those bumps won’t be as hard as say – Kyle Drabek’s has been.

The Jays will try to take the series win tomorrow, with Luis Perez taking on Tommy Hunter of the Orioles, before heading off to Yankee Stadium to take on Robinson Cano & company.

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