If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to climb out of their monstrous hole they have dug for themselves, they will need an MVP performance from slugger Jose Bautista from here on out.
Bautista has struggled to manufacture consistent at-bats this season, hitting to the tune of a .213 average in 25 games for the Jays. The two-time home run champion has gone yard seven times and ranks tied for third in the American League home run race.
There have been rumblings of a rift in the clubhouse between players already this season, and it would appear to be time for Bautista to take charge on the field and behind closed doors. He is the face of the franchise and self-admitted leader of the team, yet it was veteran Mark DeRosa who called a closed-door players-only meeting last week.
Bautista has bickered with umpires on almost every one of his 22 strikeouts this season, even going as far as to call out the umpires during a post-game rant. The 32-year-old slugger needs to lead by example and guide this abysmal Jays team back to mediocrity by slugging home runs over outfield fences.
If the Blue Jays are going to salvage their 11-21 season, they will need to ride the bat of Jose Bautista. If he can return to his dominating home run-slugging ways, the rest will fall into place.