The month of July has been a tough one for the Blue Jays and Blue Jays fans at times. Injuries continued to pile up fast for Toronto,as Jose Bautista, Luis Perez, J.P. Arencibia, and Jason Frasor all ended up on the disabled list, while Sergio Santos season ended prematurely following surgery. You can now add Adam Lind to the long DL list too.
With two days left in the month the Jays record in July stands at 11-12. That means that could still finish over .500 for the month with a couple wins over Seattle. As has been the case through most of the season Toronto was unable to sustain a lengthy winning streak in July. The Jays won two in a row against the Royals early in the month, but followed that up with three straight losses. They also dropped a three-game series against the Yankees, but made up for it by taking three in a row from Boston. With all the injuries the Jays continued to struggle through in July finish at or over .500 has to be considered a win.
That’s your quick rundown of th month of July, but you’re looking for good stuff, so here it comes. Following the rules from previous months a moment can be anything that happened in July 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 July in chronological order.
1. July 1 – Canada Day
The Blue Jays didn’t pick up a win on July 1, but a game at home on Canada Day is always special. As usual the Jays wore their Canada Day red jerseys, but for some reason this year they didn’t wear matching red hats.
The Angels got on the board early with a run in the first after a Rajai Davis’ error allowed super rookie Mike Trout to score. Toronto starter Aaron Laffey and Angels’ lefty C.J. Wilson silenced both lineups until the fifth inning when the Angels tacked on two more run off a two-run shot by Alberto Callaspo.
Toronto finally got on the board in the sixth inning after the Angels made their owns mistakes. Howie Kendrik misplayed Jose Bautista’s easy grounder, throwing it away which allowed both Omar Vizquel and Brett Lawrie to score.
In the seventh the Jays tied the game 3-3 after J.P. Arencibia launched a solo home run off Jason Isringhausen. The tie game was short-lived though as the Toronto bullpen was pummeled in the eighth and ninth innings. Francisco Cordero took over in the eighth inning and surrendered a solo homer to Trout and a two-run shot to Mark Trumbo. In the ninth the Angels plated four runs off Scott Richmond and Jesse Chavez to give the Angels a 10-3 lead.
Colby Rasmus gave the fans that stuck around some hope in the ninth with a three run home run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the Angels lead to four, but the Angels prevailed 10-6.
2. July 2 – Colby Rasmus with an absolute bomb
On July 2 the Blue Jays were hammered by the Kansas City Royals 11-3, but there was one very memorable moment in the game for Jays fans thanks to the thunderous bat of Colby Rasmus.
In the fifth inning with the Jays trailing the Royals 6-2 Rasmus stepped in against Kansas City starter Everett Teaford. With a 3-1 count Rasmus connected off Teaford, crushing one to right field that rapped off the facing of the fifth deck. Take a look here.
3. July 4 – Carlos Villanueva holds down the fort
With the Blue Jays rotation in shambles due to injury, long-relief man Carlos Vilanueva was pressed into action in July and joined the rotation. He pitched like he belonged there all along.
On July 4 Villanueva made his second start of the season against the Royals. Following back-to-back losses in which they had been outscored 21-9 the Jays needed a solid outing from their starter. Versus the Royals Villanueva delivered a strong six shutout innings, striking out seven while allowing only four hits.
After the All-Star break on July 15 Villanueva returned to the mound against the Indians. Villanueva didn’t have as good as command as he walked five in the game, but it didn’t stop him from turning in another quality start and a win. Villanueva pitched six shutout innings, allowing only three hits with a season-high eight strikeouts.
Villanueva tacked on another win on July 21 against the Red Sox. Villanueva went 6 1-3 innings versus the Sox and allowed only three runs on four hits with five strikeouts. He recorded his fourth win of the month against Detroit after holding the Tigers to two runs on four hits in five innings.
In July Villanueva was a perfect 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 8.9 strikeouts per nine.
4. July 9 – Home Run Derby time for Jose Bautista
For the second year in a row Jose Bautista took part in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. Last year his performance left a lot to be desired as he failed to get past the first round. In his second attempt Bautista got off to a slow start, but ended up leading all participants in the first round with 11 dingers. This included sending six golden balls into the seats when he had nine outs.
In the second round Bautista had a power drought and only cracked two home runs. Thankfully for Bautista his large first round total was enough to get him into a swing off against Mark Trumbo. In the swing off Bautista hit two homers and Trumbo only connected on one, so Joey Bats advanced to the final to face Prince Fielder.
In the final Bautista could only muster seven home runs, partly due to the fact that his pitcher had trouble throwing the ball where Jose wanted it. Fielder got in a good groove in the final and socked 12 home runs to win his second Home Run Derby title.
5. July 12 – Edwin Encarnacion re-ups with the Jays
Jose Bautista wasn’t the only Blue Jay to make news during the All-Star break. On the final day of the break Edwin Encarnacion was rewarded for his strong season at the plate with a new contract. Encarnacion, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the season, signed a three-year contract worth $27 million, which included a $10 million option for the 2016 season. Not bad for a player that was actually claimed off waivers by Oakland following the 2010 season.
6. July 14 – Edwin Encarnacion earns his money
A few days after getting his new contract Edwin started to earn it with a pair of home runs against the Cleveland Indians in an 11-9 Toronto win. Not only did Encarnacion go deep in the win he went really deep with one of his bombs that landed in Sightlines Restaurant in centerfield. Take a look at the replay of both blasts here.
7. July 17 – Anthony Gose debuts for the Jays
It wasn’t under the greatest of circumstances, but following Jose Bautista’s wrist injury (WHY BASEBALL GODS WHY! HAVEN’T WE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH), Toronto’s ultra hyped prospect Anthony Gose received the somewhat unexpected early call up on July 17. At the time of his call-up Gose was hitting .292 with a .375 OBP and an .808 OPS at AAA Las Vegas. He also had five home runs, 41 RBI, 77 runs scored and 29 steals in 39 attempts.
He didn’t start immediately against the Yankees after getting call up on July 17, but he did end up pinch hitting for Ben Francisco in the seventh inning and grounding out to short. Gose stayed in the game in right field and collected his first career hits next at bat, a bunt single.
Heading into tonight’s game against the Mariners Gose is only batting .182, but he’s collected hits in his last three games and may be starting to figure things out. Once Baustita returns Gose could be shipped back to Las Vegas, but he could be back again in September when the rosters expand.
8. July 18 – Brett Lawrie takes a tumble
This wasn’t a great moment in the month of July, in fact it was scary as hell when it happened. Just one day after Jose Bautista went on the DL Lawrie crash landed in the concrete camera bay at Yankee Stadium chasing a foul ball. In case you haven’t seen it take a look at this GIF.
It’s amazing that Lawrie escaped with only a contusion on his calf, likely caused by his leg slamming down on the metal unpadded fencing behind the concrete pit.
One good thing that came from the following hilarious tweet by Brett Lawrie Fact (@BrettLawrieFact)
9. July 20 – Travis Snider is freed
The #freesnider hash tags finally came to fruition on July 20, as Travis Snider was freed from the shackles of Las Vegas. Following a 10-team trade that saw Ben Francisco shipped out of town Snider got the call and made his season debut for the Blue Jays in left field on July 20 versus the Red Sox. Snider went 1-3 with a double and a run scored in his debut.
Since he’s call-up Snider has been red-hot at the plate and may finally be here to stay if he can keep it up. Heading into tonight’s game Snider was hitting .267 with three home runs, eight RBI with a .936 OPS. Snider has also provided some spectacular defense as these GIFs show.
10. July 20-22 – Jays sweep aside the Red Sox
The Blue Jays entered Fenway Park in Boston on July 20 licking their wounds after a disheartening three-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees in which they were outscored 18-4.
In the series opener Aaron Laffey took the hill for the Jays and held the Red Sox bats in check over seven shutout innings. Colby Rasmus provided all the offense the Jays would need with a pair of RBI and Edwin Encarnacion scored twice in a 6-1 win.
The following night Toronto kept pouring it on and Carlos Villanueva had Boston’s number allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings. Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia both his mammoth home runs over the Green Monster and Brett Lawrie had three RBI in a 7-3 win.
To complete the series sweep the Jays would need to get to Jon Lester. That proved to be an easy feat as the Jays put nine runs on the board in the first two innings. Lawrie led off the game with a solo home run and in the second Arencibia and Rajai Davis hit back-to-back jacks. Travis Snider also got in on the act with his first home run of the season in a 15-7 rout that finished off the Red Sox. Just what the Jays and Jays fans needed to get over the disappointing series against the Yankees.