Jose Bautista Powers Toronto Blue Jays Past First Test of Adversity

By Mike Holian
Jose Bautista Blue Jays
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First and foremost, as much as Wednesday night’s game beckons the showers of praise, an early “State of the Union” address must take place.

The 2014 season started off in fitting fashion, a representation of where the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays resided in the MLB spectrum — one banging on the inconsistency drum, the other displaying its AL East superiority. No need to call in the special investigations unit to crack the case of which description applies to whom.

I’d like to take this opportunity to nominate the Blue Jays for the season’s first Bad News Bears award. The comedy of errors displayed in the eighth inning of the opener has officially made the short list of 2014’s “best of” blooper reel.

As for the Jose Reyes incident, the injury that had the entire city of Toronto speechless … well, even with the Jays providing media damage control, don’t think for a second Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t kicking himself for signing off on Reyes suiting up in Montreal. This may be the line drawn in the sand for the shortstop; if another prolonged DL-placement occurs after his return, a country-wide backlash could very well follow.

Now that all the negative superlatives that needed to be addressed are out of the way, believe it or not, there are some shining moments that have taken place since. At the forefront was how this team reacted after staring down some early adversity.

The blunders of Opening Day are officially forgotten (at least until the next R.A. Dickey outing), as the offense experienced quality at-bats for a second straight night (powered by the man possessed, Jose Bautista and his two round-trippers, one of which was reportedly still seen flying somewhere over downtown Tampa).

But due respect goes to starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, fighting off last season’s Tampa Bay demons with a remarkable lights-out carving of the Rays’ batting order. The Blue Jays’ faithful will snatch them up whenever they can. You don’t have to overpower hitters if your location is pinpoint; Buehrle’s crisp command was on full display in this one.

Word to the wise John Gibbons — you only yank the starter who’s throwing a gem in the ninth inning when playing at home (for the ovation). Are you new?

It would have come as no shock if the Blue Jays continued to play a consistency seesaw battle, but after 2013, any kind of sign to possibly build a winning foundation will please the city. For now, that is.

The question now becomes, will the solid effort continue? Well, that depends on which Brandon Morrow shows up for work. Anyone have a coin?

Mike Holian is a Writer for Follow him on Twitter @MikeLevelSwing, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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