TORONTO Twenty-six times scoring in double digits is an impre sive number, but its all the more so when you know that while that was what the Blue Jays did this year, Clayton Richard Jersey
the next most explosive team, the Rangers, did it 17 times.Monday night, Toronto needed two columns on the scoreboard for its run total for the first time in eight postseason games, stomping Johnny Cueto and then laughing all the way to the ninth inning, when the Royals clawed back to make the final score 11-8 in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.MORE: Top ALCS photos | Gage: Cueto, Royals unshaken by Game 3 clunkerEight different players scored for Toronto, seven had hits, five drove in runs and three hit homers. In only one inning the seventh, at which point it was a six-run game did the Blue Jays go down in order. When Cueto was pulled from the game, having retired six of the 17 batters he faced, all he could do was shake his head and smile, because when you combine the Toronto lineup with a pitcher who has anything le s than his best stuff, you get . . . Craig Stammen Jersey
well, you get Cueto retiring six of 17 batters. Thats a .647 on-base percentage.We can just put up five runs in the blink of an eye, said Blue Jays reliever Mark Lowe, who worked a scorele s inning Monday, marveling at his teammates ability to make playoff baseball look like a video game. Couple walks, couple hits, manufacture a couple of runs and then anybody in our lineup can come in and knock a three-run homer.MORE: Key moments of Game 3 | Five takeaways | Tulowitzki ejectedOn Monday, the three-run homer belonged to Troy Tulowitzki, the .877 career OPS-ing No. 6 hitter in a lineup built not only to destroy opposing pitching, but to humiliate it, as it did to Cueto. Then there were the No. 8 and 9 hitters, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins, who combined to go 3for 8 with a homer, a steal and four RBIs.Pillars OPS this year was .713, while Goins was .672. The major league average for OPS this year was .721, so Toronto has two guys in its lineup who are slightly below league average, but far from easy outs.People forget, our whole minor league career, were guys who hit at the top of the lineup, Pillar said. Were just in a lineup that has so many good hitters, weve got to hit somewhere. Were comfortable with that role. When our numbers called, we prepare ourselves to be in those situations where we can help the team win. Our top of the order does a tremendous job, relaying information of what theyve seen. They Eric Hosmer Youth White Jersey
re not guys that come back and sit down because theyre upset with their at-bat. They talk to us and give that information, which allows us to be more comfortable at the plate when its our time Freddy Galvis Jersey
to go up. But, like I said, we go up there and we see ourselves as middle-of-the-order guys, just hitting at the bottom of the order.Its a fair way to look at things, and that should be terrifying to the Royals, who turn to soft-to sing journeyman Chris Young in Game 4. Young had a very nice year, going 11-6 with a 3.06 ERA, but the pitchers who held the Blue Jays in check at the beginning of this series, Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura, are high-strikeout guys. Young, like Cueto (at least since Cueto joined the Royals), is not that. When Toronto starts turning its dome into some kind of hyperkinetic pinball machine, it gets ugly for pitchers in a hurry.MORE: Former teammates Young, Dickey to square offYou have to make good pitches, no matter where you are, Young said. And Ive had bad games in pitchers parks and good games in hitters parks. The challenge is to make good pitches, execute pitches, choose the right pitches and if you do that more often than not, youre succe sful, no matter where you are. Certainly, its a great lineup. Ive got my work cut out for me. But Im excited for the challenge and the opportunity and it will be a great environment.Even if Tony Gwynn Practice Navy Jersey
Young is at his best, if the Blue Jays have found their offensive stride in the playoffs, the Royals, who had dreams of taking a 3-0 lead in the series when they took the lead three pitches into Mondays game, suddenly look very vulnerable. Torontos lineup, the best in baseball all season, has a way of changing things in a hurry.