When I first started putting together the monthly list of the best of the Blue Jays my first thought was is there even 10 moments in April worth noting? Yes, April was tough to swallow at times, but it still had a number of memorable moments for Jays’ fans to look back on.
Let’s review the rules for moments of the month from last season. If it happened at a Jays game or involved a Blue Jays in any way and it happened this month, oh and if it’s cool it can be included in the list. I think that covers it so let’s get to it. Here we go in chronological order (sort of)…
1. Opening Day
Before April went downhill fast and everyone started jumping off the bandwagon the sky was the limit for the new-look Blue Jays on opening day.
Justin Masterson silenced the Blue Jays bats in the opener as Cleveland won 4-1. It wasn’t the opener the packed house at Sky Dome was hoping for, but seeing Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey and Melky Cabrera make their Blue Jays debut was worth it.
2. Crazy bat dude
Not all of the highlights from opening day were on the field. Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis lost the handle and his bat went flying into the seats. That led to this memorable and hilarious reaction from a fan.
Well played crazy bat dude. Well played.
3. April 4 – First win of the season
The Blue Jays recorded their first W of the season on April 4 in a slugfest against Cleveland by a score of 10-8. The ball was flying over the fence in the win as Toronto went deep five times. That included a pair of blasts by J.P. Arencibia, who finished the night 3-4. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus also homered in the victory. It was also a nice night for Jose Reyes, who scored three runs and stole his first base as a Blue Jay.
Hopefully we’ll see more nights like this by the Jays in the month of May.
4. Apr. 6 J.A. Happ 5-0 win & a Colby bomb
The Blue Jays 5-0 win over the Red Sox on April 6 was memorable for a few reasons. First J.A. Happ delivered the first great start of the season by a Blue Jays hurler. Happ pitched more like an ace than a No. 5 starter and blanked the Sox over 5 1-3 innings, allowing only one hit while striking out six.
The other memorable moment that night was this …
5. It’s a celebration!
Before the Blue Jays tough start began to suck the life out of the month of April every home run or run scored led to some kind of unique celebration in the dugout. It seemed like every player had a few celebrations up their sleeve. Here’s just a few worth another look.
6. April 21 – Comeback win over the Yankees
The Blue Jays completed a three-game series against the Yankees on April 21 and it looked like it was going to end the same way it began. With a loss.
Toronto started the game out well with a single run in the first and second innings to go up 2-0. New York scored their first run in the third and after two in the fifth and another in the sixth, New York led 4-2.
In the bottom of the sixth the Jays struck back. Adam Lind started the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a double by J.P. Arencibia. Colby Rasmus plated Lind with an RBI single and Brett Lawrie extended the rally with a two-run double. Lawrie would come around on a single by Melky Cabrera and the Jays were up 6-4.
An Arencibia two-run homer in the seventh inning put the Jays up 8-4 and that would be the final score. Nice comeback, which unfortunately we could not repeat when we faced the Yanks again a week later.
7. April 24 – Rajai Davis cuts him down
On April 24 the Blue Jays played the finale of a three-game series against the Orioles. Baltimore was going for the series sweep but thanks to a pinpoint throw by Rajai Davis that never happened.
The Jays hit four home runs in game, with Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and J.P. Arencibia all going yard. Despite the Jays power barrage the game was tied at 5-5 after nine innings.
In the bottom of the tenth Manny Machado started the inning with a single to center. After Nick Markakis fouled out to left, Adams Jones reached on an error by Bautista. With Machado now on second Chris Davis recorded the second out of the inning on a fly ball to center. J.J. Hardy then stepped in and punched a single through the left side into left field. Davis fielded it and threw a strike to Arencibia who tagged out Machado trying to score.
With the game still tied Toronto got back on top in the 11th thanks to a bases loaded walk to Maicer Izturis. Casey Janssen retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning and that was the ballgame.
8. Kawasaki time!
Three words: Munenori Kawasaki GIFS!
9. April 30 – Morrow Ks five in a row
I’ll admit I have a soft spot for Brandon Morrow. He’s easily my favorite pitcher on the Jays and if I could only see one game in a given week it would be a Morrow start. Some people like power hitters. I like power pitchers who have the ability to rack up the strikeouts.
Morrow’s best start in April was arguably his season debut against Cleveland in which he allowed only one run and struck out eight. However, he did something on the final day of the moth against the Red Sox that I think was more memorable.
In the first inning with men on first and second Morrow faced off against “Big Papi” David Ortiz and struck him out on three pitches. His next battle against Mike Napoli went much longer as Napoli stuck around for 10 pitches before swinging and missing. In the second inning Morrow whiffed both Mike Carp and Jarod Saltalamacchia swinging. He capped off the inning by getting Will Middlebrooks looking to strikeout the side. That’s five Red Sox in a row down by strikes.
10. April 30 – Edwin’s bombs
The final game of April was also memorable for another reason. Edwin Encarnacion was hitting bombs. I think the home run speaks for itself.
Yes, that’s the fifth deck. Edwin followed that up in the seventh inning with a two-run home run that put the Jays ahead 8-7 and allowed them to finish off the month of April on a winning note.