The month of August was very similar to the month of July for the Blue Jays. Once again the losses outweighed the wins and the injuries continued to pile up which led to a couple of Jays’ prospects making their Major League debut.
Toronto’s record in August was 12-17. They started off in a rut losing the first three games of the month to the Angels. They would follow that up with three straight wins, but that would be the longest winning streak of the month. The longest losing streak was more than double that, as the Jay dropped seven straight at one point, which included both games of a double header versus the Yankees. The Jays thankfully made their final trip to the Bronx this season. Toronto was swept by the Yankees on the road again and they were 0-10 at Yankees Stadium overall this season.
The injury list grew repeatedly throughout the month of August. Jose Bautista landed on the DL with a hip injury that no one knew about and led to speculation that he may have been traded when he suddenly left the game. Melky Cabrera headed back to the DL again along with Colby Rasmus, while Maicer Izturis and Josh Johnson are both done for the season.
That’s enough bad news though. Let’s get to the good stuff. The good news was few and far between at times during August, but there were still enough good moments to make up the list. Here we go in chronological order…
1. August 4 – Late inning rallies snaps losing streak.
On August 4 the Jays were on a three-game losing streak and were facing a four-game series sweep against the Angels. Heading into the eighth inning the Jays were trailing 5-2 and had only two batters had reached base since the third inning.
After Jose Reyes started inning by grounding out Rajai Davis and Jose Bautista delivered back-to-back singles. A throwing error by Angels’ third baseman Chris Nelson on an Edwin Encarnacion grounder allowed Davis to score and left runners on first and second. Bautista moved to third on an Adam Lind fielder’s choice and came in to score on a single by Maicer Izturis. After the eighth the Jays had cut the Angels lead to 5-4.
After a quick bottom of the eighth, which Brett Cecil finished off by striking out Erick Aybar and Chris Iannetta, the Jays faced Angels closer Ernesto Frieri. Brett Lawrie started the inning with a single to left and J.P. Arencibia reached after getting hit by a pitch. Frieri rebounded by getting Jose Reyes to fly out and Rajai Davis hit a grounder that forced Lawrie out at third. With two down Bautista singled to drive in Arencibia and Encarnaion also singled which scored Davis to give Toronto a 6-5 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth Casey Janssen retired the Angels in order to earn his 19th save and secure the 6-5 victory.
2. Aug 9 – Jose Bautista dedicates game to young fan
On August 9 Jose Bautista responded to the tragic death of a young fan. Nine-year-old Derek Lendosky from Wisconsin died in an UTV accident. His father posted the following Tweet directed to Bautista after the tragedy…
“On Friday I will be burying my nine year old son. He will be wearing his Bautista jersey and taking a ball you gave him with him. You were his favorite player. He would have wanted to share this with you.”
Bautista responded by Tweeting “Tonight’s game is for Derek #GameForDerek #DerekRIPMyFriend.” And dedicating Friday night’s game against Oakland to Derek. Toronto may have lost the game 14-6, but Joey Bats made good on his dedication going 3-5 with a solo home run.
3. Aug 12 – Happ shuts down the A’s
Back on May 7 J.A. Happ took a line drive off the headline that sidelined him for nearly three months. He made his return to the mound on August 7 against the Mariners, but that start didn’t go as planned His next outing on August 12 against the Athletics turned out much better.
Chris Young led off the game with a solo home run, but after that Happ completely shut down the A’s. Happ limited Oakland to the one run and only three hits over seven innings while striking out six. Too bad the Jays offense couldn’t offer him any support and he had to settle for a no-decision in a 5-1 Jays defeat.
4. Aug. 14 Kevin Pillar debut
With the Blue Jays’ outfield rocked by injuries Blue Jays’ prospect Kevin Pillar had his Major League dreams come true on August 14 when he got the call from the big club. Pillar had been hitting .299 with a .341 OBP and a .834 OPS at AAA Buffalo when he was called up. Pillar got the start in left field and went 0-4. The big league jitters took a little while to shake, but Pillar finally got his first hit on August 20.
5.August 14 – Rajai Davis’ Little League home run
I think the animated GIF tells the tale here. The fact that it came against the Red Sox makes it even sweeter.
6. Aug 14 Walk off win
On the night of Pillar’s debut and Davis’ “home run” the Jays delivered an exciting 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The excitement shouldn’t really have been necessary as the Jays held a 3-1 lead heading into the ninth inning. Brett Cecil in for a rare save opportunity ran into trouble and gave up a two-run home run to Mike Napoli that would send the game into extra innings.
In the tenth with the game still tied Rajai Davis led off with a double. After Jose Bautista grounded out to short the Red Sox intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion to set up the double play ball. Brett Lawrie ripped a single off the glove of shortstop Stephen Drew to score Davis and give Toronto a 4-3 win.
7. Aug 23 – Ryan Goins debut
With Maicer Izturis on the DL for the rest of the season and Emilio Bonicfacio in Kansas City the Blue Jays needed someone to slot in at second. They solved that dilemma by calling up prospect Ryan Goins.
Goins made his debut on August 23 against the Houston Astros. He had a solid debut, going 2-4 with a double. The next night Goins ripped a single against Houston and he followed that up with another hit in the series finale. In the Jays’ next series against the Yankees Goins had three two-hit games, going 6-10 with four runs scored and an RBI in the series. The hits kept coming for Goins and he finished the month of August on an eight-game hitting streak.
His final stats for the eight games he played in the month were a .400/.419/.467 slash line with 12 hits in eight games.
8. Aug 24 – Pillar first HR
Blue Jays rookie Kevin Pillar had a big night on August 2. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to lead Toronto to a win over the Astros. Pillar went 2-4 with his first Major League home run and three RBI. I couldn’t the home run in GIF form so instead enjoy this Pillar throw to the plate.
9. Aug 25 – Buehrle dominates Astros, again
It’s too bad that Mark Buehrle can’t face the Houston Astros every start. On August 25 Buerhle faced the lackluster Astros and went eight strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts. With that performance he also recorded his tenth win of the season.
In two starts against Houston this season Buehrle posted a 0.53 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP after allowing one earned run on nine hits. He also racked up 16 strikeouts.
10. Lawrie rocked it in August
Brett Lawrie came alive at the plate and in the field during the month of August.
The Jays’ third baseman made a few adjustments at the plate and they paid off very well. In August Lawrie posted a slash line of .346/.397/.495. He cracked a pair of home runs, had 13 RBI and scored 4 runs. He had 37 hits in the month and maybe one of the most important numbers he struck out only seven times in 29 games. By comparison Lawrie struck out 20 times in only 23 games in May.
In the field Lawrie continued to show he’s one of the best third basemen in all of baseball with the glove. Just take a look at these plays.
Melky Cabrera shows how it’s NOT done: