Wednesday, April 9, 2014

3 Up 3 Down: Melky, Lawrie and Santos

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Whenever a team goes up against the likes of the Houston Astros, a team that's lost over 100 games the last three consecutive seasons, is anything other than a convincing win expected?

The Blue Jays didn't pummel the Astros, but a 5-2 win got the job done. It was the first time in eight games in which the Blue Jays have scored more than five runs in a game. That's a little worrisome for a team that was expected to score a plethora of runs in 2014.

Here are quick three thoughts in what could possibly become a new feature - "3 Up, 3 Down". With thoughts from last night's game on Melky Cabrera, some possible tension between Brett Lawrie and Melky, and Mr. Closer himself, Sergio Santos.


The Melk Man Delivers


What is going on with Melky Cabrera? The man has hit home runs in four consecutive games and is currently one of the hottest hitters on the Blue Jays roster. Eight games is admittedly a small sample size, but boy has Melky looked great the past week.

He's hit home runs from both sides of the plate, his mobility appears to be back at 100%, and just his swing overall has looked very solid. Melky Cabrera had a torrent spring and posted the most hits of any batter in Spring Training.

At first, it may have been an anomaly that Melky was tearing the cover off the ball in exhibition games, but now that the results are carrying over into the regular season, perhaps this is the Melk Man we were all hoping he would be last season.

Not to mention, with his fourth home run of the season last night, Melky has already surpassed his home run total from last year - 3 home runs in 88 games. Plus, he's only struck out four times in 35 at bats

While Melky Cabrera is kind of the de facto leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays at the moment, he could really do some damage in the two slot when Jose Reyes comes off the DL. In the meantime, it's probably only a matter of time before Bautista hits behind Melky.


Tension Between Lawrie and Melky?



Speaking of the Melk Man, the Sportsnet cameras caught an interesting exchange in the Blue Jays dugout between Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie.

Following Melky's home run, Lawrie attempted to get his attention by repeating something over and over until he was finally acknowledged. Watch a full GIF of the exchange over on the BJH Tumblr.

I don't claim to be a professional lip reader, but it looks like Lawrie said something to the effect of "good hit" or "you good?". It could very well have been a genuine statement, it could have been sarcastic ... but without hearing it, we'll never know for sure.

Maybe it was something, maybe it was nothing at all. Maybe Brett was in the wrong, maybe Melky was in the wrong. Without being there in the dugout and watching and listening to the exchange, it's difficult to say for certain.

However, one takeaway from that incident just further hints at the reported divide in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse from Blue Jays Plus. If that's what happens after a celebratory home run, I'd hate to see what happens in the clubhouse after a loss.

And it wouldn't be the first time Brett Lawrie had a verbal altercation with a fellow teammate in the dugout, either.


Santos Locks it Down


It may not have been a nervous ninth as his past two save situations have been, but Sergio Santos blew away the Houston Astros hitters in the top of the ninth. You really can't ask much more of your closer than striking out the side to end the game.

That was the positive side in what has often been a Jekyll/Hyde dynamic with Sergio Santos. His slider will coax a lot of swings out the zone, but at the same time it will lead to a lot of balls in the dirt and some questions about control of his "out pitch".

If Santos can keep it up, the Blue Jays will be in an advantageous position with Casey Janssen hopefully coming off the disabled list within the next few weeks. With Santos holding the fort, he Blue Jays can afford to ease Janssen back into the closer's role.

Sergio Santos is doing a lot to build his trade value right now, and could be a very attractive trade chip come the All-Star break. Perhaps those talks with the Texas Rangers could re-ignite once again, although I'm not sure what Santos would fetch in return.


Image courtesy of Getty Images

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