Toronto Blue Jays Thoughts, April 22nd Edition: Francisco Cordero's First Day In The Chair

By Thom Tsang

Just like that, the Toronto Blue Jays are back in first place in the AL East, after taking 3 straight games from the Kansas City Royals. The winning streak breaks the team’s win-two-lose-two pattern to start the season, and puts us at a 9-6 record, good for a 97-65 pace. It’s just April, of course, and it’s a long season, but I’d rather be 9-6 right now and tied for first rather than, say, 4-10.

– With Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos being placed on the DL for shoulder inflammation (okay, maybe now I’d be a little worried), the team got their first look at the designated plan B, 36-year old Francisco Cordero. The result was successful, if not mixed: all of Coco Cordero’s outs came off a ball in play, with the temporary closer allowing a run off a walk-double-single sequence that saw the tying run at 1st base with one out. He did manage to coax a double play off the bat of Brayan Pena to register the handshake, but I do wonder how successful he’ll be without a strikeout-type arsenal. Headed into the twilight years of his career, Cordero has adapted a pitch to contact approach and have seen success, but I imagine pitching to contact in the NL Central is going to yield different results in the American League. Either way, it looks like we’ll have to wait yet another day for that uneventful save.

– We know JP Arencibia has been on quite a run since sinking to a .062 low on Tuesday; today, he continued his 4-game hitting streak a 1-for-3 day, bringing his season average up to .196. Arencibia has struck out just twice in his last 14 at bats, after registering 13 in his first 32. You could probably say he’s seeing the ball pretty well these last few days. Will he be able to keep it up?

– On top of that, JPA also added his first stolen base on the season off Royals reliever Jeremy Jefferess! Alright, so maybe he was just baiting the Royals to allow Brett Lawrie to steal home and give the Blue Jays an insurance run. It was a slick play, although I can’t claim to be a fan of stealing home, no matter how fast Lawrie is. The Blue Jays actually ran pretty wild on the Royals today, notching a total of 4 stolen bases and increasing their year-to-date totals from 7-to-11.

– Jose Bautista still isn’t hitting particularly well these days, but you still can’t say pitchers aren’t afraid of him. The slugger drew 3 more walks today, bringing his OBP to a team-high (well, second to Mathis, but you know what I mean) .386, despite hitting just .212 with a .732 OPS. I’m sure he’d like to see that number go up sooner rather than later, but at least his slump still hasn’t hurt his ability to get on base.

– After hitting a pair of home runs and playing the hero to Drew Hutchinson’s first win, Colby Rasmus’ ascent through the batting order topped off at the 5th spot today, hitting an unfortunate 0-for-4 road bump with a trio of strikeouts. The five-game hitting steak might have ended for Colby Rasmus today, but I don’t think it’ll be too long until he’s either hitting 1st or 2nd in the Blue Jays batting order.

The brooms will be out tomorrow, as the Blue Jays will send out Brandon Morrow in hopes of taking 4 in a row against Bruce Chen. Will Morrow recover from his poor outing against Tampa Bay in his last turn?

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