TORONTO, Ont. – Another day, another win. So what else is new for these Blue Jays, who seem to be eschewing the notion of a long, slow climb back to the .500 mark? For the second straight series, they brought their brooms to the ballpark and put them to good use.
Here are three things that stood out to me about the Blue Jays’ eighth straight victory:
With the Blue Jays confident, coming to the ol’ ballyard thinking they’re going to win and riding a heck of a wave of momentum, it doesn’t take much for them to get some wind in their sails.
The big hit happened in the first inning Wednesday night, and it was provided by Adam Lind, which should come as no surprise. Maybe the surprise should be that Lind’s first-inning three-run homer was his only hit of the night, after all he’d had 13 multi-hit games in his last 21 starts.
Since May 23rd – almost an entire month – Lind has at least one hit in 19 out of his 22 starts, and he’s hitting .423/.431/.680 over that span with seven doubles, six home runs and 19 RBIs.
THAT’S SOME BULLPEN:
A quartet of Blue Jays’ relievers combined for four innings of one-hit shutout once Mark Buehrle hit the showers after the fifth inning, with closer Casey Janssen giving up the lone hit.
Neil Wagner recorded a couple of quick strikeouts to start the sixth, then engaged in an epic 14-pitch battle with Rockies’ leadoff man D.J. LeMahieu before popping him up to end the inning. Steve Delabar issued a leadoff walk in the eighth, then blew the next three hitters away and Brett Cecil had another one of his ho-hum perfect outings.
The bullpen has thrown a total of 20 innings over this winning streak without having allowed an earned run. In fact, over the month of June, Blue Jays’ relief pitchers have allowed a total of four earned runs over 52 2/3 innings of work. If you’re counting, that’s a minuscule 0.68 ERA.
The Blue Jays remain the only team in the big leagues not to have lost when leading after seven innings – they’re 26-0.
Apologies for reporting that Brett Cecil went into this game an out away from a Virtual Combined No-Hitter – it turns out he already got that last week.
Cecil went into his last outing having retired 24 straight hitters. He got the first out, then issued an intentional walk to take away his shot at a Virtual Combined Perfect Game, but then went on to get the next two batters. Caught up in the shot at a perfecto, I had forgotten that the run of 25 straight retired had begun after a walk, not a hit.
It turns out that Cecil picked up the Virtual Combined No-Hitter back on June 15th in Texas when he got A.J. Pierzynski to ground out to first to end the seventh inning.
With his perfect seventh in Wednesday night’s win over the Rockies, Cecil may well be on his way to a second consecutive Virtual Combined No-No – he’s gone on to get eight more outs without giving up a hit.
In all, Cecil has faced a total of 38 straight batters without allowing a hit, that’s a Blue Jays’ club record. The old standard was held by David Cone, who faced 36 in a row without allowing a hit back in June of 1995.
Cecil has walked three of those 38 hitters, two of them intentionally, and retired the other 35. The last time he gave up a hit was back on May 28th, when Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves singled to lead off the seventh inning.