Espinal breakout game highlights significant offensive depth for Blue Jays – .

Espinal breakout game highlights significant offensive depth for Blue Jays – .

TORONTO – Earlier this week, when the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson from the Marlins, newcomers were naturally the focal points.

Submariner, Cimber has already shown just how unbalanced he is to opposing hitters, while Dickerson, now in Buffalo with his new teammates, will provide the power left-handed people so badly need once healthy.

A less obvious consequence of the trade was what it would mean for Santiago Espinal, but the Blue Jays trusted the 26-year-old by trading infielder Joe Panik to Miami and Espinal took the opportunity until now. He had two hits in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Rays at Sahlen Field, including his first career homerun, a two-run in the sixth inning that gave the Blue Jays some much-needed breathing space.

“It was actually one of the best times of the year,” manager Charlie Montoyo said afterwards via Zoom. “Just because of the situation, who we’re playing against and who did it. Everyone loves Espy because this kid works everyday. He’s always ready… He played an important role in this victory.

By the time he got back to the canoe, Espinal could barely hear what his teammates were saying to him because they were making so much noise while celebrating.

“It was amazing to see my teammates jump and scream,” he recalls. “It was a special moment. I couldn’t hear anything because it was so loud.

During the season, Espinal now hits .304 / .355 / .402 thanks to a first contact approach that forces opposing defenses to play. Granted, that success comes from the relatively small sample of 110 home plate appearances and some batted-ball luck seems to help, but if he can even come close to maintaining it while providing above-average defense on the field. inside, the Bleu Les Jays will be delighted.

“He’s part of the elite,” starter Ross Stripling commented afterward. “He really is. I compare him to Enrique Hernandez, Kike, who I had in Los Angeles. You can put him anywhere in the infield, or with Kike in the outfield as well, and you just know he’s going to do the routine every time and probably a really awesome play almost every game and that’s as if Espy was doing it.

Of course, no one is counting on Espinal to lead the Blue Jays offense, especially at a time when the top of the order continues to produce. Beating in the clean-up point for the second game in a row, George Springer hit his fifth homer of the season, this one a solo shot that landed 403 feet above the left-field wall to start the second inning.

Since returning from the injured list on June 22, Springer has produced quietly as well as ever while regaining his rhythm at home plate. Small warning examples apply here again, but there was a lot of hard contact behind his .250 / .390 / .583 slash line.

On the mound, Ross Stripling continued his streak of strong starts by allowing just one earned run in 5.2 innings. The right-hander struck out five at bat while allowing just three walks and two hits on a day his ERA fell to 4.06.

From there, the Blue Jays turned to the box and took advantage of scoreless outings from Cimber and Tim Mayza before Jordan Romano allowed two runs to score in the ninth. With the win, the Blue Jays come halfway through their season 43-38, after going 10-3 in their last 13 games and look forward to more reinforcements shortly.

As he contemplates the second half, Montoyo believes the Blue Jays are capable of more than they have shown so far.

“We have to keep throwing and we have to keep catching him,” Montoyo said. “We’re going to strike, so that’s the main business. You are going to win in this league with pitching and defense. It’s just what it is.

After an encouraging rehabilitation outing on Friday, Rafael Dolis is approaching a comeback and could be activated on Sunday. Given that there will be days when Romano will not be available, Dolis’ return is important as the front office continues to seek upgrades in other transactions.

While Ryan Borucki isn’t as close as Dolis, he was feeling great after throwing 25 pitches from the Sahlen Field mound on Saturday morning and a rehab mission could be on the schedule next week.

In the meantime, the Blue Jays are making it work with what they have, combining the contributions of stars and deep players like all good teams have to.

“The talent speaks for itself,” said Stripling. “You get the production from guys you don’t even necessarily think of. “


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