The final score of 5-2 between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros tonight inside the Rogers Centre is a testament to just how well the Jays’ defense is currently playing. Whether it’s Dioner Navarro squeezing in a foul tip for a third strike or Jonathan Diaz orchestrating a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play, the Jays are playing great baseball when they take the field.
Although Mark Buehrle only gave up one earned run and only managed to walk one batter during his outing, the score and outcome of the game could have been a lot different. The lefty was tagged for a deceiving eight hits by the Astros, but with the help of the defense, runners were stranded on base for what seemed like all night long. Maicer Izturis contributed to this as he continued his hot play on Tuesday night, but this time it was on the field rather than in the batter’s box. Izturis bailed out Buehrle in the first inning with a nice defensive play which seemed to change the flow of the entire game right from the start.
Buehrle has made a living out of allowing batters to make just enough contact with the ball to allow his defense take over. Perhaps the rest of the Jays’ pitching staff should look to take after Buehrle, as the 15-season veteran has managed to put up two solid starts on the season, both in which he wasn’t afraid to exploit the great defense he had behind him. Fooling a batter into swinging early and getting a routine grounder is just as good as striking someone out. Buehrle has this down to a science.
During tonight’s game the Jays were in a lot of compromising situations, but the likes of Diaz, Izturis and Navarro bailed out whoever was on the mound time and time again. If the Jays are going to play above .500 baseball, they are going to have to continue to rely on a defense that has been stellar thus far. The Jays are going to live and die with their improved defense in 2014.