While the Jays’ struggled to put up runs early on against Minnesota curveballer Tyler Duffey, the team broke through in the 6th inning, scoring 5 runs and staking Aaron Sanchez to a 7-1 lead. The newly re-arranged lineup paid dividends for the Blue Jays as leadoff hitter Jose Bautista hit a three run home run off Trevor May to provide more than enough breathing room for Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez was both dominant and efficient tonight, striking out 7 without issuing a walk, throwing 96 pitches over 7 innings of work.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
While it didn’t give the Jays’ the breathing room they needed, Josh Donaldson’s two run shot in the third inning off Tyler Duffey was the top play of the game by WPA, increasing the Jays’ chances of winning by 20.7 percentage points. The homer scored new leadoff hitter, Jose Bautista, who singled ahead of Donaldson.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Despite two hits, including an RBI double in the 6th, the bottom play of the game by WPA was the double play Troy Tulowitzki hit into during the top of the second inning. The double play grounder decreased the probability of a Jays’ win by 10.8 percentage points.
The End of the Goins Era
It appears as though the Ryan Goins era in Toronto may be nearing its end. While Go-Go is still loved by many factions of the Blue Jays’ fanbase for his stellar defensive play, it appears as though the team’s patience and John Gibbons’ leash is getting shorter and shorter. Gibbons wasted no time pinch-hitting for Goins tonight, opting for Paredes in the 5th inning when his spot in the order came up with two out and two on. The slumping Goins, who was recently demoted into a platoon with Darwin Barney, has played even more sparingly since the acquisition of bat first utility infielder Jimmy Paredes. With Devon Travis currently in Buffalo on a rehab assignment, barring injury, Goins time with the big club may be numbered.
Michael Saunders: Revelation
Michael Saunders continued his strong 2016 campaign with a three hit night in Minnesota. This raised the man some call “Bone-on-Bone” up to a .319 average on the season. There has been a lot to like about Michael Saunders so far this season, especially watching him hang in against left handed pitchers (his 7th home run of the season was hit against a lefty tonight). While Saunders can be expected to play a big role in lengthening the Jays’ lineup, we should expect some regression, particularly in the batting average department, as he entered the night with a .400 BABIP. There’s no reason to think the power won’t continue, but with his surgically repaired knee and a .400 BABIP, expect the average to dip.
Twins Pitching: Good for What Ails You
The Blue Jays offence erupted for the first time in several weeks against a Minnesota team that came into the game, third last in the league in ERA (4.90). With two hits again tonight, Troy Tulowitzki appears to be turning things around while Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista both went deep. Is this the turnaround we’ve all been anticipating? It will take more than a few games at Target Field to tell for certain, but tonight’s outburst was definitely a positive sign. If this indeed the beginning of the turnaround, this off-season’s hotly debated topic of who should leadoff may be finally answered: Jose Bautista.
The Jays series in Minnesota continues tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 EST when JA Happ (5-1, 3.40 ERA) looks to rebound from his worst start of the season. He will go against the (you guessed it) soft tossing Pat Dean (0-1, 4.50 ERA).
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