Toronto Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson gets into the swing of things

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 2: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 2: Josh Donaldson /

Josh Donaldson leads trio of players to hit their first home run of the season, as the Toronto Blue Jays improve their winning streak to three games.

Suddenly, the Toronto Blue Jays are on a roll. For the third consecutive game, they came from behind to win, this time 4-2 against the Chicago White Sox.

In an interesting quirk, every score in the game came courtesy of home runs. For the Blue Jays in particular, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Aledmys Diaz all hit their first homers of the season.

It was Martin’s blast which gave the Jays the lead for good, in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, it was Donaldson’s solo blast an inning earlier, which arguably drew the most attention.

There was understandable concern around the 32-year-old. He had been limited to DH since the opening day of the season, due to dealing with a dead arm.

However, even though Donaldson claimed his bat would not be affecting by the issue, results suggested otherwise. Entering Monday night’s game, he had just two hits from 13 at bats, with no home runs or RBIs.

In that respect, the three-time All-Star’s homer against the White Sox must have been a huge relief for the fans. That is, those fans who actually bothered to turn up.

This is not a criticism, given how the team has treated the fan base. Apart from raising ticket prices for a third consecutive year (despite a losing record), the Blue Jays are also embroiled in a controversy involving StubHub.

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As a result, only 16,629 fans turned up on Monday night. As noted by the Toronto Star‘s Richard Griffin, this was the lowest crowd at the SkyDome since May 27 in 2015.

In truth, if the Blue Jays continue to compete, the fans will come back. After all, we’re talking about a loyal and passionate fan base which still averaged above 27,000 per game, during their team’s 22-year postseason drought.

The team will likely need a healthy Donaldson if they are to make a sustained challenge. In that respect, manager John Gibbons indicated he could return to third base on Tuesday night.

Whenever the 2015 AL MVP does return to the field, at least he is still having fun. Consider his reaction after hitting his home run in the bottom of the sixth.

As per the Canadian Press, via Sportsnet, White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston often blows a whistle after a nice defensive play, or when a batter steps up. Donaldson heard the whistle as he came up to the plate.

As such, after the two-time Silver Slugger had hit his solo blast, he made sure to respond appropriately. As he crossed home plate, he whistled right back at Boston.

Donaldson discussed Boston’s tactic after the game. As reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Rob Longley, he said:

"“I feel like I’m pretty intense anyhow. I would say it kind of locks me in and focus maybe increases a little bit.“I guess he deems it to be appropriate. I felt it would be appropriate to blow it right back at him. I felt like I would return the favour.”"

We can’t say whether Boston regularly blows his whistle when Donaldson comes up to bat. However, coincidentally or not, the Jays’ slugger now has home runs in four consecutive games against the White Sox.

Jaime Garcia‘s regular season debut for the Blue Jays was also worthy of note. He was excellent through six innings, allowing just four hits and one run on 92 pitches, while striking out seven.

However, Garcia didn’t get the win, as Gibbons then turned it over to the bullpen to complete the come-from-behind victory. Donaldson believes this is the type of formula which will give the Jays the best chance of success.

"“Do I feel like we can get ahead and hold on to leads?” said Donaldson, again reported by Longley. “Sure, but I think for the majority of our games our starting pitching is hopefully going to keep us in those and we believe that to be true.“From what our bullpen has shown this far, they’re going to be tough. Any time you can have guys coming out and putting up zeros that gives our side time to catch up if we are down.”"

Of course, it remains to be seen if this formula of success does prove sustainable over the course of this season for the Toronto Blue Jays. But if it is, expect to hear Donaldson and his teammates whistling all the way to the bank.

Next: Justin Smoak picks up another award

Did you go to Monday night’s game? Regardless, what was your take on the Toronto Blue Jays’ performance? Further, are you confident in Donaldson’s ability to return successfully to third base? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.