Before their three-game set this past weekend with the Detroit Tigers, the Toronto Blue Jays were losers of four of their last six. It was hardly the start to the second last month of the regular season that any team involved in a wild card race would want to even think about. It was time for someone to step up and lead by example in order for the team to pick themselves up and help get them back at the top of the race.
Melky Cabrera has been the most consistent offensive threat for the Jays all season long and the star left fielder decided to take matters into his own hands on Sunday during the Jays’ franchise record setting 19 inning marathon win over the Tigers. Cabrera reached base an astonishing eight times during the six hours and 37 minute matchup, with three hits and a healthy five walks. Melky became the first player to complete the feat since Hall of Famer Rod Carew did it as a member of the Minnesota Twins on May 12, 1972 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
This type of performance now solidifies Cabrera as the x-factor of whether or not the Jays can continue their pursuit of the playoffs in a positive way. With a bottom of the order that seems to change on a daily basis, this club will have to continue to rely on a top of the order that will have no choice but to try their hand at producing more often than not. With Melky continuing to play at the top of his game, this should rub off on the likes of those surrounding him in the order.
Jose Reyes was a big factor in each and every game against the Tigers this past weekend. Setting the table for Cabrera on a number of occasions which helped lead to him being walked a plethora of times. Although he didn’t seem to cash in until the bottom of the 19th, Jose Bautista did and should continue to benefit from Melky’s hot bat. If the Jays are going to stay a part of the race for October, they may very well end up riding the coattails of Cabrera.