To call the month of June rough for the Blue Jays would be quite an understatement.
Injuries hit the Jays extremely hard in June as the starting rotation was decimated in a week with Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison all going down. Drabek was hit the hardest with a second Tommy John surgery putting him on the shelf for at least a year in not longer. Watching Morrow go down for a couple months was also hard to take considering how dominant he had been recently.
Thanks to a lengthy run of Interleague play on the June schedule the Jays played more game against the National League than against their American League brethren in the month. For some reason Toronto has always had trouble during Interleague play and this season was no different with a 7-8 record against the NL in June. They did record a series sweep of the Phillies, but also were swept by the Nationals while getting outscored 16-7.
That’s the nuts and bolts of the month of June, but you’re here for the good stuff, so let’s get to it. Following the rules from previous months a moment can be anything that happened in June whether it be a single at bat, a play in the field, a game, a series or even something fun in the dugout. Here’s what made the cut for June, in chronological order.
10. June 3, 2012 – Drew Hutchison rules the Red Sox
The Blue Jays started the month of June by losing two in a row to the Red Sox. With a sweep against Boston staring them in the face the Blue Jays sent Drew Hutchison to the mound in the series finale. In the first two games of the series the Red Sox had beaten up on Jays pitching, scoring 14 runs combined. Hutchison put a stop to that.
Hutchison mowed through the Red Sox lineup for seven innings, holding them to five hits, while also striking out five. Hutch also walked only one batter in the game, with a pitch count of 109, 69 of which he threw for strikes. It’s gut wrenching that two starts later he’d end up on the shelf for at least two months.
9. June 5, 2012 – Colby Rasmus moves up in the order = Awesome
On June 5 the Blue Jays faced the White Sox in the opener of a three-game set and John Farrell tried something different, having Brett Lawrie lead off and Colby Rasmus hit second. You could say that Rasmus took to it right away.
In that game Rasmus went 5-5 with a home run, three RBI and four runs scored. He also came only a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. The epic night at the plate raised Rasmus’ average to .247 from .227 and his OPS climbed from .706 to .762. This wasn’t just a fluke for Rasmus either as moving up in the order and adjusting his approach at the plate brought his bat to life in the month of June. More on that later though.
8. June 6, 2012 – Brandon Morrow silences the White Sox
Brandon Morrow tossed another gem on June 6, completely dominating the White Sox in his third complete-game shutout of the season. At one point there’s was a chance Morrow might not even make that start after taking a hard-liner off his shin in his previous outing.
Morrow started the game strong getting the White Sox in order in the first and he retired 18 of the 19 batters he faced through the first six innings of the game. That number could have been greater if not for a Kelly Johnson error in seventh that allowed Adam Dunn to reach first base.
Morrow got into trouble for the first time in the game in the ninth after walking Alejandro De Aza and Dunn, but he got out of it and capped off the complete game by striking out Dayan Viciedo swinging.
Morrow’s final stats for the game were only two hits allowed, with two walks and five strikeouts over the nine innings. Get well soon Brandon. Real soon.
7. June 10, 2012 – Blue Jays snap losing streak by crushing Braves
The Blue Jays entered the final game of a three-game series with the Braves having lost three in a row and trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of Atlanta. Things didn’t start out very well, as the Braves scored a pair of runs in the second and third innings to take a 4-0 lead.
Things finally turned around for Toronto in the fifth inning. After Kelly Johnson led off the inning with a single and Yunel Escobar walked the Braves finally got an out by striking out David Cooper. J.P. Arencibia kept the rally going with the single to load the bases and the Jays went on a hit parade with consecutive singles by Yan Gomes, Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista to score four runs. Edwin Encarnacion then sent a rocket to center field for a double scoring two more to give the Jays a 6-4 lead.
The offensive onslaught continued in the sixth after Carlos Villanueva delivered a rare single from the pitcher’s spot and Lawrie drove him in with a home run. Rasmus followed with a solo shot, giving Toronto a 9-4 lead.
After another two spot in the seventh and a run in the eighth Toronto cruised to a 12-4 win. The big win was just what the Jays needed to close out the short road trip.
6. June 16, 2012 – Rajai Davis walks off versus the Phillies in tenth
Facing Cliff Lee and the Phillies on June 16 the Jays were down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. The meat of the order started the eighth and Jose Bautista drew a lead-off walk. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to left and Bautista scored after a comedy of errors by the Phillies. Bautista advanced to third on Encarnacion’s hit and Edwin tried to stretch it to a double. Jimmy Rollins’ throw to second went into right field allowing both Bautista and Encarnacion to score. After singles by Kelly Johnson and David Cooper J.P. Arencibia tied the game with a double that score Johnson.
The game remained tied into the tenth inning. In the bottom half of the frame Yunel Escobar led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a balk by Phillies pitcher Joe Savery. Escobar moved to third after a Mike McCoy groundout, but Savery was able to strikeout Arencibia for the second out of the inning. Rajai Davis was the hero stepping up next and ripping a ground rule double to left-center. Escobar scored, so Davis was also credited with a single, but he was still mobbed after reaching second.
5. June 17, 2012 – Brett Cecil returns, Jays sweep Phillies.
With the Jays starting rotation dropping like flies Brett Cecil made his return to the Majors in the finale against the Phillies. The slimmed down lefty delivered a much-needed strong outing, going five innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
The Jays lineup gave Cecil all the run support he would need led by another big game from Colby Rasmus. Rasmus clubbed his tenth home run of the season while going 3-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.
4. June 18, 2012 – Edwin dings Bernie Brewer’s slide
The Jays came up short against the Brewers on June 18 in a 7-6 loss, but Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion put on a show. Bautista ripped a three-run homer, which actually tied the game, for his 20th home run of the season. Encarnacion hit a massive bomb, which clanged off Bernie Brewer’s slide, traveling an estimated 463 feet.
3. June 19, 2012 – Blue Jays power past Brewers
The Jays used the long ball in a comeback win over the Brewers on June 19.
Brett Lawrie got the power show started in the the third inning with a two-run shot that scored J.P. Arencibia. The real show began in the sixth inning. With Toronto down 4-2 Colby Rasmus closed the gap with a solo shot. Jose Bautista went back-to-back with a solo shot of his own and Edwin Encarnacion made it three in a row with another solo blast. Another run put the Jays up 6-4, but it was short-lived as the Brewers struck back quickly with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Jays chipped away at the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh and the homer show started up again in the ninth. With the Brewers up 9-8 and John Axford on the hill Rasmus came through again with another solo home to tie the game. Bautista went back-to-back again with another solo home run to give Toronto a 10-9 win.
Oh no, it’s started the rain. Bring out the tarp! Bring out the rain delay entertainment!
2. June 27, 2012 – Don’t park your SUV at the ballpark when Jose Bautista is in town
The Jays visited the Red Sox on June 27 and Jose Bautista hit a towering blast over the Green Monster in the fourth inning. The ball soared into the Fenway parking lot and landed on the roof of an SUV doing this …
The moral of the story is when Jose Baustita visits Boston, park your car underground.
1. June 29, 2012 – Welcome back Adam Lind
Adam Lind got recalled from AAA a few days earlier than June 29, but he prove he was ready to be back against the Angels. Lind cracked a pair of home runs in the win, including a three-run blast in the fourth inning off Angls starter Ervin Santana.
This month also includes the start of a new feature, Blue Jay of the month. For June it was a tough call between a couple Blue Jays, but in the end Jose Bautista just barely surpassed Colby Rasmus. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great second half of the season for Lind.