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MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

Toronto Blue Jays Thoughts, April 15th Edition: Vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Toronto Blue Jays win! The team salvaged a disappointing weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles with a 9-2 win earlier today, moving the team back into 1st in the AL east with…the Orioles, of course. That said, I don’t think very many of us expected the team to actually lose a game against the O’s, let alone a pair of them. Let’s try to stay positive though, shall we?

- Kyle Drabek’s effective first start was something I called a “baby step” for the righty to establish himself as an important part of the Blue Jays future. Well, if that was the case, then I suppose you could say Drabek was in a full sprint in his 2nd turn today. Drabek was excellent today, going a career-high 7.1 innings against the Orioles, allowing 1 earned run (2 total) on 6 hits and 1 walk, striking out 7. The only real mistake he made was a fastball that was destroyed by Adam Jones in the 6th inning; otherwise, he was as lights-out as any Blue Jays pitcher has been so far this season. Drabek’s lone walk, too was another career-best (as a starter, anyway), and he showed good poise on the mound, as well as the promise that he brought as the Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect in ’11 – this certainly wasn’t the Drabek that imploded on the mound each time out. Not every turn on the mound is going to go as smoothly for Drabek in ’12, obviously, but I think we appreciate the ceiling that the 24-year old brings to the mound next time things don’t go so well.

- Jose who? Edwin Encarnacion is doing his best impression of the Blue Jays slugger right now, getting a start at 1B, and continuing his hot streak with a 2-for-4 day, hitting his 3rd home run of the season that spelled the beginning of the end for O’s starter Brian Matusz (who had actually thrown pretty well beforehand). Don’t look now, but the guy that was on the verge of being DFA’d because he couldn’t field or hit a couple of years ago is now on pace for a 54 home run season. With Adam Lind off to yet another poor start at the plate, I think we can start the “when Edwin Encarnacion take over 1B full time” countdown any day now…

- Joining the fun-with-the-long ball parade twas Brett Lawrie, who hit a solo shot off Matusz in the 4th, but is off to an otherwise lackluster .596 OPS start. A lot is riding of Lawrie doing what he accomplished last season; we know what the talent level is with the kid, let’s hope this is the start of an extended hot streak.

- Also attempting to breaking out of a slump is shortstop Yunel Escobar, who had looked quite lost at the plate to start the season. But not so today: Escobar was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, and would have easily been the first star of the game…

- …had the Orioles not brought in Kevin Gregg to provide “relief” in a 2-on, 2-out situation. It was the first time the former Blue Jay made an appearance in the series, and not a moment too soon. The score was 3-2 when Gregg arrived. One out later, it was 8-2: single, double, double, walk, walk, HBP. It was as though he consolidated his time with Toronto into 1/3 of an inning. Shame we don’t have to face him more often.