With the Toronto Blue Jays playing consistently bad baseball, they needed something that can remedy their bad play and build some momentum.
A series against the Houston Astros was just the thing to help a struggling team win a few games and feel better about themselves. After being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the pitching staff needed to show that they are able to keep leads or keep the score close so the offense can have the opportunity to get the lead back.
The Blue Jay bats needed to have games where they were stringing hits together and were making the most of RISP situations. Toronto was able to win three of four games against the Astros, but was the team able to make the adjustments required to build some good vibes and good momentum?
In two of the four games, the starting pitchers definitely came to play.
Mark Buehrle threw one of the best games of the season with a complete game, two-hit shutout. He was able to give the overworked bullpen a rest for an entire game, and he continued to be a bright spot in a starting rotation that has been the worst part of the team.
Todd Redmond brought his “A-Game” to the stadium in the fourth game of the series, throwing six innings of three-hit ball and allowed only one run on a home run. It would be nice if the original members of the Blue Jays rotation were the guys taking the mound every night, but finding guys like Redmond is a treat in an otherwise joyless season.
R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson were the other two starting pitchers in the series. Dickey had a lackluster start, but the Blue Jays were able to get the win. Johnson was terrible as usual, and if he does not start to play better baseball, I have to wonder if he will get a contract offer when this offseason rolls around.
The Blue Jays offense showed what they are capable of doing with their bats. Edwin Encarnacion was the leader of an offense that hit a collective 40-for-141 (.284). During the series, the team was able to get 60 men on base, 24 of which became RBIs. As the best hitter in the lineup, Encarnacion went 9-for-14 in the series with eight RBIs and two home runs.
These are the sort of improvements the Blue Jays need to drive them into next season.
After this past series against the Astros, it looks like the Toronto offense has done its part to help the Blue Jays win games. Here’s hoping the pitching staff has more games from arms like Buehrle and Redmond over the rest of the season.