They’re young and they’re starting to flex their muscles and yes, when the Blue Jays hitters connect, they sure know how to make some noise.
So when the day comes that they become a force in the homer-happy parks of the American League East, the recent power surge will serve them well.
It was solo night at the Rogers Centre on Tuesday but impressive nonetheless as the Jays hit three home runs to provide all the scoring in a 3-0 win over the Texas Rangers. That boosted the Jays homer total since June 16 to a formidable 106, second most in the majors and trailing only the New York Yankees.
Teoscar Hernandez and recently recalled Billy McKinney had back-to-back long balls in the sixth inning, the 11th time the Jays have hit back-to-back round trippers this season to match a club record set back in 1999. The first of the night went to birthday boy, Randal Grichuk, whose second-inning blast was his team-leading 22nd of the season.
While not as prolific as the 19-4 win the previous night, the Jays guaranteed a series victory over the Rangers, who wrap up their three-game set here with a matinee on Wednesday. Manager Charlie Montoyo’s club has now won five of its past seven and six of its past nine.
In the process, the Jays got another solid pitching effort from left-hander Thomas Pannone, who took over from opener Wilmer Font. Pannone allowed two hits and two walks in his four innings of work for one of his better outings of the season.
For the first time in almost a week, the Jays had closer Ken Giles at their disposal as the veteran was called up to pitch the ninth with a 3-0 lead.
Giles has had ongoing battles with elbow inflammation and was unavailable over the weekend but was given the green light to return to action on Monday. Of course, in a 19-4 blowout that wasn’t necessary.
On Tuesday, however, Giles game on and pitched the ninth, allowing a one-out walk but otherwise cruising to the save
Another game, another tour onto the basepaths for rookie Bo Bichette. When the Jays shortstop earned a walk in the third inning, his on-base streak was stretched to 16 games moving him into solo third in MLB history as the longest run by a player to begin his career. The latest trip broke a tie with the late, great Ted Williams.
n Rookie catcher Reese McGuire nearly cleared the loaded bases in the fourth inning with a deep fly ball to centre field, a rocket that ended with a sensational play and frightening moment from Delino DeShields. The Rangers centre fielder made a running catch on the warning track, losing his balance and crashing into the bottom of the wall back of the head first. DeShields got up under his own power, however, and returned to the game.
N Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s mighty swing can sometimes create a problem for himself. Case in point was the first inning on Tuesday when he fouled a ball off of his foot and needed an injury timeout to shake it off.
A recent hot streak – plus his versatility all over the diamond – has helped Brandon Drury raise his stock in the eyes of manager Montoyo.
Drury, who entered Tuesday’s game vs. the Rangers coming off his first career grand slam and riding a career-high nine-game hit streak, is going to get plenty of opportunity down the stretch. On Tuesday, he was playing left field while for Wednesday’s matinee, he’s expected to take over third base while Gueerrero gets the call at designated hitter. And Montoyo won’t be shy to use Drury at shortstop if and when the situation is deemed appropriate.
“Drury is going to play everywhere to get him at bats,” Montoyo said. “From my player development years if you’ve got tools, you’ve got a chance with me. He’s got tools, plus he can pick it.”
The Jays keep regular tabs on the rather impressive performance of their young core, which once again included five starters in their lineup on Tuesday.
Prior to that contest, the Jays had an MLB-high 533 games played by rookies with the group leading MLB in freshman hits (342), homers (63), RBI (195) and extra-base hits (144).
That core includes what is close to an every day infield once Rowdy Tellez (age 24) takes over at first. He’s joined by Cavan Biggio (24) at second, Bo Bichette (21) at shortstop, Vlad Guerrero Jr. (20) and catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire (both 24.)
A day after he was claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Reds, Freddy Galvis learned that he will likely spend more time at second base than at shortstop with his new team.
And that seems to suit Galvis just fine.
“I think if you give me a glove, I can play whatever position,” Galvis told Cincinnati.com. “Whatever position (they) put me, I’ll be ready.”
Like Charlie Montoyo in Toronto, Reds boss David Bell has an appreciation for Galvis’s defensive skills.
“With his instincts and feel for the game, I’d be more likely to move him around and feel good about it,” Bell said.