July was another forgettable month for Blue Jays fans, as Toronto lost all the momentum they built up in June as stumbled to another losing record. Toronto was a disappointing 10-16 in July and suffered through a miserable losing streak. At one point the Jays lost seven in a row, which included back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the Rays and the Dodgers.
Toronto got more bad news on Brandon Morrow, when his sore right forearm was finally diagnosed as an entrapped radial nerve. The injury will require even more rest and it’s unlike we’ll see Morrow pitch for the Jays again this season.
That’s the bad news from a dreary month overall, but thankfully it wasn’t all bad. July did have a few bright spots so let’s get to them. Looking back at the Top 10 Blue Jays moments in July in somewhat chronological order. Here we go…
1. July 1 – Canada Day win
Donning their red jerseys and maple leaf caps the Blue Jays played host to the Detroit Tigers on Canada Day in front of a jam-packed crowd of 45,766 at Rogers Centre.
R.A. Dickey got the start for the Jays and delivered a strong seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Toronto got on the board in the second inning on an RBI single from Munenori Kawasaki and blew it open the next inning. In the third Jose Reyes cranked a leadoff solo home run to left field off Jose Alvarez. Rajai Davis followed with a double and after he stole third, Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus both drew walks to load the bases. J.P. Arencibia singled to left to score both Davis and Bautista and Maicer Izturis hit a sac fly to plate Rasmus to give the Jays a 5-0 lead.
The Tigers scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, but Toronto got those runs back and more in the bottom half. With two men on Mark DeRosa launched a three-run home run to right off Luke Putkonen. That was all the Blue Jays would need as they cruised to an 8-3 Canada Day win.
Reyes finished the day 3-4 with the solo home run and Davis was 2-5 with a pair of stolen bases and a pair of runs scored.
2. July 5 – Buehrle’s gems
Mark Buehrle delivered three gems in the month of July with the first coming on July 5 against the Minnesota Twins. That night Buhrle tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the Twins to six hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Buehrle’s second quality start came on July 25 against the Houston Astros. The Jays were riding a seven-game losing streak, but Buehrle bailed themout with a complete game shutout. Buehrle held Houston to only two hits and struck out a season-high nine batters. He also worked quick enough to be able to catch a Tim McGraw concert after the game.
Buehrle followed that start with another stellar outing against Oakland on July 30. The Blue Jays southpaw tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the A’s to five hits with a pair of strikeouts in a 5-0 victory.
In five starts in July Buhrle posted a 3-2 record with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He also posted a 25/5 strikeout to walk ratio.
3. July 7 – Rasmus and Rajai’s big game
On July 7 the Blue Jays beat up on the Minnesota Twins 11-5 and it was a couple hitters near the bottom of the order that did the most damage. Davis was No. 6 in the lineup and Rasmus hit right behind at No. 7. In the fourth inning with two out Davis doubled with Rasmus coming up. Rasmus plated Davis and himself as well with a two-run home run.
Fast forward to the fifth inning and it was Davis’ turn. After Edwin Encarnacion walked and Mark DeRosa punched a single to right field Davis crushed a pitch to deep left for a three-run blast.
The duo made an encore appearance in the seventh inning. Davis led off the inning with a walk and quickly stole second to move into scoring position. Rasmus ripped a double into the gap in left center to score Davis. Rasmus would also come into score on a single by Maicer Izturis.
Davis finished the day 2-4 with a home run, three RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base. Rasmus went 3-4 with a home run three RBI and two runs scored.
4. July 10 – Kawasaki’s three-run double
On July 10 the Jays faced the Indians in the second game of a three-game series. Cleveland struck first in the series taking the opener 3-0 the night before. In the second game Esmil Rogers got the start for Toronto and he turned in a solid start allowing one run on four hits over six innings with seven strikeouts. Unfortunately for Rogers he wouldn’t factor in the decision.
Cleveland was first on the board in the game with a run in the second inning on a single by Jason Giambi. Toronto didn’t strike until the seventh. In the top of the inning Toronto finally got to Cleveland starter Justin Masterson. Adam Lind cracked a one-out double and moved to third on a groundout by Colby Rasmus. Maicer Izturis and Josh Thole drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Emilio Bonifacio delivered a clutch single to score Lind and Izturis and give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
The lead stood until the bottom of the eighth. Michael Bourn singled and stole second and came around to score on a single by Michael Brantley to tie the game 2-2.
The Jays struck back quickly in the ninth. With Vinnie Pestano on the hill Lind began the inning by striking out. Rasmus drew a walk and Izturis flied out for the second out of the inning. J.P. Arencibia pinch hit for Thole and came through with a single. Bonifacio walked to load the bases for Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki lifted a single to left center to score Rasmus and Arencibia and Bonifacio also came around to score on a Cleveland error. The score was now 5-2 Jays.
Cleveland would make it interesting with two runs in the ninth, but Toronto would hold on for the 5-4 victory.
5. July 11 – Raise the Bar
After the All Star game rosters were selected the Blue Jays had a player in the Final Vote competition for the third time. The previous Blue Jays in the running for the final All Star roster spot were Roy Halladay in 2007 and Adam Lind in 2009. Neither won the vote.
Steve Delbar made it to the final vote this season and the third time proved to be the charm. Thanks to a clever #RaisetheBar hashtag on Twitter and some great fan support Delabar won the final spot with 9.6 million votes.
6. July 16 – Blue Jays at the All Star Game
Despite their below .500 record at the break the Blue Jays had four players make the All-Star roster. We already mentioned Steve Delabar, the Final Vote winner. Jose Bautista was voted in, while Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Cecil were both selected by manager Jim Leyland.
Bautista drove in what ended up being the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and finished the game 0-1 with a strikeout. Encarnacion was 0-2 with a pair of groundouts in his first All Star game. Cecil and Delabar both appeared out of the bullpen in the seventh inning. Cecil struck out Dominic Brown on three pitches and Delbar sent Buster Posey down swinging.
7. July 21 – Carlos Delgado Day
On July 21 the Blue Jays finally did something that’s been a long time coming. Carlos Delgado’s name was inducted into the Level of Excellence.
The Level of Excellence, which runs around the facing of the façade at Rogers Centre, honors the best of the Blue Jays both on and off the field. Previous inductees include Tony Fernandez, George Bell, Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Dave Stieb, Cito Gaston, Tom Cheek, Paul Beeston and Pat Gillick.
Delgado and his No. 25 joined that elite company and it was well deserved. Delgado owns a number of Blue Jays records, including home runs, RBI, doubles, runs, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, walks, and at bats per home run. He also owns the Blue Jays single season records for slugging percentage, OPS, RBI, doubles and extra base hits.
Best hitter the Jays have ever had? The argument can definitely be made.
8. July 26 –Jays blowout Astros, EE’s two-homer inning
On July 26th the Jays faced the Astros in the second game of a four-game series and homered them to death.
Houston actually took an early lead in the at game thanks to a Marc Krauss two-run home run in the second inning. Toronto tied it up in the bottom of the third after Jose Reyes clubbed a solo home run and Jose Bautista delivered a sac fly that scored Melky Cabrera.
Krauss struck again for Houston in the fourth inning with a two-run double that put the Astros up 4-2
Brett Lawrie got in on the action in the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast and Colby Rasmus knocked in Edwin Encarnacion with a double in the fifth. 4-4.
Houston reclaimed the lead in the sixth as Brett Wallace scored on a Krauss double play ball and in the seventh Jason Castro plated Jose Altuve with a single. Astros back on top, 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh the Jays kicked the door wide open. Encarnacion got things started with a solo home run off Paul Clemens. Adam Lind went back-to-back with his own solo home run to tie the game. Rasmus kept the rally going with a double and came into score after Maicer Izturis followed with a double of his own. Lawrie walked and Josh Thole was hit by a pitch to load the bases and there were still no outs.
Clemens finally got the hook and was replaced by Wesley Wright, but it didn’t stop the bleeding for Houston. The first batter Wright faced was Reyes and he walked to score Izturis. Cabrera became the first out of the inning after fouling out to first and Jose Bautista popped out to shallow right. With the bases loaded Encarnacion returned to the plate for his second at bat of the inning and ripped a grand slam to left field. Encarnacion became the second Blue Jay and first since Joe Carter in 1993 to hit two home runs in the same inning.
The eight-run outburst in the seventh inning put the Jays up 12-6 which was the final score in the blowout.
9. July 28 – Rasmus walkoff and overall awesomeness
The Blue Jays closed out the four-game series with the Astros on July 28 and Colby Rasmus continued to do what he had been doing all month and deliver at the plate.
Toronto got on the board first in the game on an Edwin Encarnacion sac fly in the third inning that scored Jose Reyes. Brett Wallace tied it up for Houston in the fourth with a solo home run to deep right.
That was it for offense until the ninth inning. Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond went six innings and allowed only the one run on three hits with season-high 10 strikeouts. The bullpen took care of the rest, as Aaron Loup, Steve Delabar and Casey Janssen combined to pitch three shutout innings and rack up five strikeouts.
Back to the bottom of the ninth. Emilio Bonifacio led off the inning with a double. Adam Lind, batting in place of an ejected Jose Bautista and struck out. Encarnacion was walked to set up the double play, leaving runners on first and second Rasmus. Facing lefty Wesley Wright Rasmus ripped a single up the middle to score Bonifacio and give the Jays a 2-1 win.
Rasmus was interviewed after the game and got the congratulatory shaving cream pie in the face and proceeded to do the interview fully pied.
With two more RBI while going 3-5 on the final day of July Rasmus capped off his best month of the season at the plate. Rasmus posted a .359/.404/.576 slash line for the month with a .980 OPS. He also hit three home runs, had 15 RBI and collected 11 doubles.
10. July 30 – Delabar strikes out everybody
On July 30 against the Oakland Athletics Steve Delbar delivered a completely dominating performance. In the eighth inning with the Jays leading 5-0 Delabar came on in relief of Mark Buhrle and proceeded to strike out the side. Oh, and did we mention he did it on nine pitches, becoming the 48th player in MLB history to do so.
First up was Adam Rosales who Delabar got ahead of with two fastballs before whiffing him with a slider. Coco Crisp was Delabar’s next victim and he couldn’t catch up to an inside fastball after going down 0-2. Chris Young finished off the immaculate inning looking at two strikes before failing to check his swing on a slider.
Thanks to Scott Johnson (@ScottJohnson48) for posting these on Twitter.