When the Toronto Blue Jays season looked to be in jeopardy, Ezequiel Carrera stepped up and performed when they needed him.
It came down to the wire, but the Toronto Blue Jays are headed to the postseason for the second straight year. This time, their tickets weren’t punched as early, or as easily as last. No, this team lost its footing on the division and barely hung on to a Wild Card spot. But, thanks to some solid pitching and some key contributors, they get to keep playing in October.
One of those key contributors is Ezequiel Carrera. In fact, he just might the guy who saved their 2016 season.
The first half of the season saw no reason to utilize Carrera as more than a 4th outfielder who could give some guys a day of rest. Michael Saunders was on a tear, Kevin Pillar was flying around, protecting center field from danger and Jose Bautista was…there in right field. There just seemed no room for the 29 yr old from Venezuela. Carrera and his lifetime .255/.314/356 would be the little used bench guy.
But, the second half has been a different story. He’s seen his playing time creep up to 110 games and 310 plate appearances. Thanks to injuries and under performance, Carrera was able to sneak in and grab some more playing time. And, when he did, he showed moments of his insertion being a sneaky smart move. But, it wasn’t until the last 10 games that E-Sneaky-el Carrera became the saviour of the 2016 season.
Over his last games (Sept 20 through Oct 2), Carrera has hit .364/.389/.455. His 37 plate appearances have yielded 12 hits, a home run, 7 runs, 5 RBI and a stolen base. Over that span, he’s put up a wRC+ of 127.
Thank to MLB.com not making the videos available to embed, you’ll have to check out the highlights of Carrera’s last 10 days yourself:
*Sept 20– Carrera drives in Pillar against the Mariners
*Sept 27– Carrera drives in a run against the Orioles and he hit a home run…to left field
*Sept 29– Carrera uses his speed and steals a base
*Oct 1– Carrera hits sac fly to score Dalton Pompey and give the Blue Jays the lead against the Red Sox.
All of these hits combined paint a very nice picture for Carrera and the Blue Jays. You would expect the club to rely on any number of stars. Whether it’s Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion or Russell Martin, there are a number of big bats that you would expect to come up clutch in big games. But, over the last 10 days, this club has benefited from Carrera and his contributions. Now, one could argue that he’s been playing above his talent during that stretch, that this is not typical Carrera. And, that is true.
But, if the Blue Jays are going to advance from the Wild Card spot, further into the post season, they’re going to need performances from guys like this. They’re going to need to rely on bench players providing the extra oomph a team needs. Guys like Dalton Pompey need to be relied upon to contribute. Carrera can play right field and left field should the club wish to DH Bautista in favor of defense, or sit Michael Saunders in favor of more contact at the plate. Carrera is a lefty bat that is needed in this right handed heavy lineup.
There is a saying that teams are only as good as their bench. E-Sneaky-el Carrera has snuck right off the bench, into the lineup to provide a left handed bat with speed. Over the last 10 days, he’s used that to come up with some big performances. The Toronto Blue Jays are in the postseason thanks to this bench player.
*Featured Image Credit- Keith Allison UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.