The offensive numbers the Toronto Blue Jays are throwing up lately are certainly impressive.
Following the Blue Jays 11-3 laugher over the San Francisco Giants at Rogers Centre on Wednesday night, Toronto has now recorded three straight games in which they’ve scored at least 10 runs.
That is a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since early on in the season back in 2003.
During the two-game set against the error-prone Giants, Toronto outscored San Francisco 11-1 – in the first inning alone.
Most importantly, Toronto has now won back-to-back series for the first time since May of last year and their four-game win streak represents a season high for a team that is suddenly playing the kind of baseball their fans have been yearning for all season.
“Obviously earlier in the year we were having a tough time scoring runs,” said Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia, who belted his 10th home run of the season to aid in Wednesday’s offensive onslaught.
“But there’s a track record with these guys in this clubhouse, there’s too many guys that have done a lot of good things offensively for a long time to have that happen for an extended period of time.”
Arencibia hasn’t been around that long, but his homer was his 52nd as a catcher in 259 career games with the Blue Jays, moving him past Pat Borders (691 games) into third place on the club’s all-time list or home runs by a catcher.
But there is still much work to be done.
Despite their surge, the Blue Jays are 17-24 on the year and remain in last place in the American League East – 8 ½ games in arrears of the Yankees, the team Toronto will play a key three-games series against, beginning Friday in New York.
Toronto’s offensive upswing has been keyed by the top third of the batting order, a combination of Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion who all moved up a spot after leadoff hitter Rajai Davis went down with an injury four games ago.
Since then Cabrera has hit .438 (7-16), with three doubles and four runs batted in; Bautista .533 (8-15) with two home runs and five RBI; Encarnacion .400 (6-15) with one home run and five RBI.
Just as John Gibbons planned it, right?
“No question, why else would we have done it?” Gibbons deadpanned.
“You know what, we really are swinging the bats now,” he continued. “We’re on a nice little roll. Even the last couple of games they made a couple of errors in each that we’ve taken advantage of. In a lot of ways that’s what was killing us earlier in the season and we benefitted from tonight.”
The Giants committed two errors in Wednesday’s game that resulted in five of Toronto’s first inning runs all being unearned and were guilty throughout the two game set of suspect defence.
“That’s unlike us,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I can’t think back to when we had two games, identical games, where we made mistakes there in the first inning.
“The big number there killed us, took us out of our game. It’s hard to explain. But it happened and now we’ve got to move on.”
And let’s not overlook the work of the starting pitching in all this.
Ramon Ortiz, the 39-year-old journeyman who was added to the roster as a stop-gap measure because of injuries, continues to turn back the clock.
The Dominican picked up his first win of the season on Wednesday and his first as a starter since April 17, 2007, surrendering just one run off six hits over seven innings of work.
In his two starts for the Blues Ortiz has allowed just two earned runs over 12 innings.
“He probably never envisioned he’d be in this situation where he’s making starts in the big league again,” Gibbons said.