Toronto Blue Jays: Shift The Lineup However You Like Gibbons


No Matter What John Gibbons does, the Toronto Blue Jays Lineup Works

I haven’t wrote anything about the Toronto Blue Jays recently because honestly, what more is there really to say at this point?  The team is steam-rolling along and everything is working right now – that shouldn’t be hard to see.

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Currently, the Jays sit at 74-56 going into Monday night’s home contest against the Cleveland Indians.  Their lineup seems to be in fine tune and everyone is contributing, from the rotation, to the bullpen, to the starting line-up.

Pitchers are going deep into games and the relievers are shutting it down.  From a hitting standpoint, different hitters continue to get hot at different times and with this line-up, that makes them near unbeatable at times.

Edwin Encarnacion has gone on one of his patented tears.  Everything he touches right now seems to go off the wall or over the fence.

Credit needs to be given to the bottom of the line-up, where Ryan Goins has strung quality at-bats together.   Whether he is moving guys over, driving in runs, or getting a two-out single that at least helps roll the line-up over the next inning, Goins is contributing where needed.

Kevin Pillar has also been getting more comfortable again. He is taking more aggressive swings, as evidenced by the two-run homer he hit Sunday on an 0-2 hanging curveball against the Detroit Tigers:

Then there is Ben Revere, who just continues to do what he always has and that is put the bat on the ball and force the defense to make plays to get him out.  Given his great speed, that’s all he really needs to do.

Revere is finding holes around the field, and even when he isn’t, he forces the infield to attack his ground balls and get rid of it quickly.  They have their mashers on the team, and inserting the likes of low strike out guys like Pillar and Revere make this line-up very complete, which is a great thing to be able to say.

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In Pillar and Revere’s combined 938 at-bats this year, they have struck out just 118 times.  Not bad for some speedsters that are typically at the bottom of the line-up.

Now I say typically at the bottom of the line-up, because on Sunday against the Tigers, we saw Revere hit lead-off for the first time in a Blue Jays uniform.  Though he was 0-4 with a walk, he did put the ball in play outside of one strikeout, and Toronto scored nine runs on the day.

Now I don’t know if he will be nearly as effective as a lead-off hitter as he is hitting in the much less pressured 9-hole, but given how he puts the ball in play and can wreck havoc on the bases, it makes sense to give this guy a lot of at-bats.  It’s also nice to know this is a possible way to start a game:

Troy Tulowitzki was moved down to a more appropriate spot in the 5-hole.  Though an argument can be made that he will get hot at some point with the Jays, and I think he’s a guy you’d more like to see get that extra at-bat with runners on and the game on the line over Revere.

But right now that’s all a moo point as everything seems to be working no matter where guys are hitting. Revere can hit first, eight of ninth no problem.  Tulo can hit lead-off, second or fifth.  Smoak can hit fifth or sixth.

Then there’s Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, who seemingly could be shaken around if needed too.  Though MVP front-runner Donaldson seems just fine where he is, as the Jays  2-3-4 hitters look like the only spots locked down.

The point I’m making is that if injuries came up or situations ever changed, the Jays have so many options at their disposal.  Hell, Martin could even be a viable lead-off hitter when he’s fully healthy.

Whatever the line-up is, the Jays have professional hitters that won’t get uncomfortable being shifted around.  This is because they’ve all been in MLB for a while and are confident of their abilities.

Come the end of the season, it would be nice to see a line-up etched in stone on a daily basis. However, fans should be happy in realizing that even if that isn’t the case due to unforeseen reasons, it hasn’t seemed to slow down any of their production.

So roll the dice however you like John Gibbons. At the moment, you’re playing with the house’s money.

Next: Five Blue Jays series to watch down the stretch