Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez

The Toronto Blue Jays have turned up the heat in more ways than one and it will make September baseball a blast!


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The Toronto Blue Jays are in a playoff race, and have been all season. However, these days, there seems to be a different air about them. The argument could be made that the firing of Charlie Montoyo started it all off or that the Trade Deadline put it into gear. Whatever the reason, we’re seeing a more firey team, and in more ways than one.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that stud starter Kevin Gausman openly admitted that the club wasn’t playing with ‘urgency’ consistently throughout the season and signalled to the world that there was stepping up to be done. As frustrating as hearing that may be for some fans, at least it shows that the issue was acknowledged and addressed. For whatever reason, this team decided to pull up their socks and have, for the most part.

 

Two days before Gausman made that comment (August 20), his club started a series in NY. They would end up winning 3 of 4 there and have gone 13-6. We’ve not only seen wins, but we’ve seen some positive signs, none more so than Bo Bichette coming around at the plate. No, the Jays have not been a perfect team over that time, but they’ve played better and the sense urgency is paying off.

 

Let’s be clear, there are no bonus points in a baseball season for feeling urgency, or suddenly taking things seriously, or trying harder. It is the ‘accomplish something’ league (perhaps, someone could say that more eloquently). And, the biggest truth facing the Jays is that they enter play Wednesday 6 games back of the division lead and 3.5 games up for the final Wild Card spot. They cannot be feeling too comfortable there. There is definitely urgency. The argument could be made that it has been there all year and ignoring it, or being unaware of it is a rather bad look on a team that entered the season with World Series aspirations. So, yeah, they had better feel some urgency on Sept 8 given where they are.

 

In fact, they are going to have to dig deep to finish this season string. They’ve got 9 more games against the Rays and 6 more against Baltimore. It’s not going to be easy. Not only will Toronto need to play some of their best baseball, they will also need to find some intestinal fortitude to navigate the rest of the regular season…and beyond.

 

That is why it was so good to see the Jays respond to Bryan Baker on Tuesday night. After striking out getting a double play from Teoscar Hernandez and then a strike out from Matt Chapman, Baker stared down the dugout and gestured to what looked to be Hernandez, as if Teoscar had been running his mouth, which seems rather not like him. Regardless of the reasoning behind the whole incident, it was good to see the Blue Jays act with some fire.

 

The speed at which Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.and others left the dugout was impressive. Seeing Tesocar Hernandez trying so hard to get at Baker was a rare site, but one that is sure to get his teammates fired up. It is not often at all that Teoscar has to be held back, but then rips out of his jersey to go at someone. Sure, this speaks to whatever the actual beef is with Baker, but it actually feels like much more.

 

When Alek Manoah had Gerrit Cole yelling at him for beaning Aaron Judge, I was actually impressed with Manoah’s response. It is a swagger that we haven’t seen in these parts in a long time. For years, we watched the Blue Jays play the game without much in the way of conflict. They didn’t really get into it with opponents, they didn’t really play with fight. A rebuilding team might look silly to some for doing so, but you can bet opponents won’t dismiss them or walk all over them.

 

I’m glad to be watching a Blue Jays team that has blown past the learning how to win at the big league level and is now learning how to win in the proverbial pressure cooker that is a playoff race. In order to win in that context, you need to play with urgency, you need to play with fight. Finally, the Blue Jays are doing that in 2022.

 

 

 


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