October 01, 2010


The last time the Minnesota Twins played the Blue Jays, it was July 8th. Toronto belted five home runs that evening -- one of them by Jose Bautista, his 23rd of the season  -- en route to an 8-1 victory. Thursday night, three months later at beautiful Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, Cito's armed forces did one better. Six bombs, two of them from Bautista, his 53rd and 54th; his 29th and 30th home runs since the All-Star break.

Since that very All-Star break, the Toronto Blue Jays have hit more home runs -- 117 -- than the Seattle Mariners (100), Oakland Athletics (102), and Houston Astros (107) have hit all season, and as many as the Los Angeles Dodgers. I feel like we should be passing around cigars, or something. I know, an inordinate amount of home runs aren't the playoffs, but that doesn't mean they can't be celebrated. Because the numbers are frankly ridiculous.

From La Velle E. Neal III, in the Minnesota Star Tribune:

"On Thursday night at Target Field, [Francisco] Liriano suffered from a malady that most pitchers get when facing Toronto, the most powerful team in baseball."

The Toronto Blue Jays, the most powerful team in baseball. Say it again: The most powerful team in baseball. It sounds better when somebody else says it, but I like it. It's got a nice bloody ring to it.

More from Mr. Neal III:

"The Blue Jays' six homers gave them 253 for the season, the fourth most in history. That included two by soon-to-be AL home run king Jose Bautista, who has 54 this season. He homered to the opposite field for the first time this season and became the second player to homer into the third deck at Target Field with a grand slam in the seventh inning."

Jose Bautista, American League Home Run King. Jesus, I love the sound of that. And, take note: Bautista doesn't just hit home runs into the third deck, he hits grand slams. That's just how he rolls. Bautista bullied Twins pitching last night, forcing the shell-shocked home side to pick on DeWayne Wise.

If you read some of the comments to the Star Tribune article, a vulnerable Twinkies fan base is, well, losing their shit. And the way innocent baseballs were flying out of what's supposed to be a pitcher's haven, I can't blame them. The Blue Jays were ruthlessly violent Thursday night, even prompting Pat Tabler to say that Travis Snider "gangstered all over" his 8th inning bomb. Now, I'm pretty sure "gangstered" is not a word, but that's exactly what Snider did. Props to Tabler. He's finishing the season strong.

As is the aforementioned Snider. If Bautista taught us anything last year, it's that September matters. Snider's line in 24 September games, and 92 at-bats: .304/.319/.543. Six home runs, and 9 RsBI. Sure, Travis has struck out 24 times, but you can't help but coo at that .543 slugging percentage. More importantly, a .371 September wOBA, and 134 wRC+.

The home run record is held by Seattle, 264 in 1997. Toronto needs 11 to tie, in three games. Nothing about this team, especially that record falling, would surprise me anymore.

"I never get tired of seeing them," said Cito Gaston.

Me either, Cito. Me either. And I'm going to miss the bombs over the winter.


William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

What a fun season! The Blue Jays rock. Can't wait to see what Snider does next year when a manager lets him play.

chantelleinthecity said...

The Most Powerful Team in Baseball.

Man, do I ever love to hear that!

And I must say, I love Snider in the leadoff spot. He seems to see the pitches better, and it is definitely paying off.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ William: Next year can't come soon enough.

@ Chantelle: "The most powerful team in baseball." I'm glad I'm not the only one who found that a lot of fun to read. It's hard to argue with Snider's recent success. I think Tabler noted last night that Snider said he liked being in the lead-off spot because he got more at-bats. Pretty simple. Sure as hell beats the 9-spot. But based on his numbers, especially his slugging and his on-base percentage, he's a waste in the leadoff spot. In my mind, he's batting third next season, behind Escobar, and in front of Bautista.

Ian - BJH said...

The most powerful team in baseball and the most powerful man in baseball. Two of just the many reasons to keep watching Blue Jays baseball.

Lee (tch) said...

Brother, great read! Did you happen to notice that JoBau hit his first ever homerun to OPPOSITE field??? Something's not right there!

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ Ian: Seriously. It's a shame the season has to bloody end. But next year, Snider batting 3rd, Bau 4th, and Wells 5th ... Oh, man.

@ Lee(tch): That would be the steroids kicking in, bro.