Tuesday, September 13, 2016


A Very Long Struggle 2016

There are four teams in the American League East Division that are virtually deadlocked as we approach the final weeks of the season. Following tonight’s game, the Toronto Blue Jays head west to take on the Los Angeles Angels and the  Seattle Mariners for their last western road trip of the season. Traditionally, western road trips have never been too kind to the Jays. They finish up the season with three games in Boston.

From here on in, there will be a lot of scoreboard watching for the Blue Jay Nation. Of course the team must do well. But its fate also lies in the hands of the Red Sox, the Orioles, and the New York Yankees.

Last Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays were at the Rogers Centre. In these situations, the Rays could be classified as “spoilers”. They cannot win any championships this year. But they know they must take the field, they have to dig in at home plate to face the pitching. There is always pride on the line. There are quite a few younger players looking for jobs next year, and they are showcasing their talents. And yes, there are contracts to be signed!

Jose Bautista hammered his first home run this month. We are almost half way through September, and he has rarely experienced such a drought. Another Jay, Josh Donaldson, is having his troubles at the plate. He has gone hitless several games. As they say, he can’t buy a hit. Anything he crushes ends up in a glove. Sharp ground balls cannot find gaps in the infield, and get registered as routine outs. Such is the nature of the game.

With all opponents in the division, no lead is safe. The Jays went ahead near the end of the game, with a slight amount of breathing room. Evan Longoria and Brad Miller smacked back-to-back home runs to silence the patrons right smartly. A few key strikeouts, and a fine catch by Michael Saunders snuffed out any hope for the Rays. Unfortunately, the Red Sox knocked off the Orioles to stay two games ahead of the Jays.

David Ortiz homered for the Red Sox Monday night. He had moved ahead of Jimmy Foxx on the all time list with that dinger in Toronto, and now is tied with Mickey Mantle. Ortiz is in his final year of major league baseball, and has a couple of weeks to move ahead of Mantle. I would suggest that he will have no trouble entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in five years.

Although the Minnesota Twins have had a dismal season, second baseman Brian Dozier has not been affected by the malaise. He hit his 40th round tripper this week to put him in select company. The only other Twin to hit that many home runs in a season is Harmon Killebrew, who did it several times. Killebrew entered the Hall of Fame in 2000, and stands 11th on the all time home run list, just below Babe Ruth.

It will be an interesting, perhaps nerve-wracking couple of weeks for the Jays and their fans. September baseball, with all the trimmings. Pass the mustard!

September 13, 2016.

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