Jose Bautista is in that zone that few get to enter.
These days, he’s just not good, he’s goofy good.
The Blue Jays slugger, who hit home runs in each of the first two games of the series against the Minnesota Twins, came out of his shoes in Sunday’s finale. He slugged three over the fences for the first time in his career to lead the Blue Jays to an 11-3 victory over the dreadful Twins.
The Jays have won five games in a row.
“You’re witnessing the best Blue Jay ... EVER,” exclaimed Adam Lind as his teammates searched for superlatives to describe Bautista’s recent exploits. “He just doesn’t swing at their (pitcher’s) pitch, ever.”
We’re not sure about the first statement made by Lind but the second certainly is true.
The three home runs for Bautista pushed his season total to 16. Thirteen of those homers have been hit in his past 21 games, and in his last seven games he has smote five.
“I’m just up there doing the same thing that I’ve been doing, just trying to get ready on time, see the ball well and look for something over the plate and try to hit it hard,” Bautista said. “I got plenty of pitches to do that this series.”
Last season, when he slugged 54, Bautista didn’t hit his 16th until May 30.
And this season he has missed eight of the Jays opening 40 games. So that’s 16 homers in 32 games, folks.
Along the way, Bautista tied Carlos Delgado for the club record for hitting the most home runs over the opening 40 games, Delgado doing the deed in 2001.
Bautista is super hot right now and he’s enjoying the ride.
“I guess this is one of the hottest streaks I’ve ever had in my life,” he said. “I’m seeing the ball well and connecting good so I hope I can keep it going for a while.”
How much fun is he having?
“It’s ridiculous, I mean it feels like a dream right now and I sometimes can’t really believe it myself,” he said. “I’m just executing right now.”
Along the way, his confidence level is soaring.
“I feel pretty good right now,” he said. “You can’t help but feel good and confident when you’re hitting the ball like this and being that successful. I definitely feel like I’m on time and I can pretty much see the ball from any pitcher right now so I just got to stay where I am.”
The victory was also the fifth in a row by the Jays and allowed them to hit the quarter pole of the season with a 20-20 record.
Bautista slammed his first homer of the game in the third inning, a monster shot into the top of the second deck that travelled an estimated 430 feet. The next inning he hammered his second homer a mere 368 feet. He was at it again in the sixth, this time with a two-run shot to right that travelled 380 feet.
That’s 1,178 feet of home runs.
Brandon Morrow started for the Jays and picked up the win to even his record at 2-2. Although his velocity was down a tick, he was pleased enough with the results even though he only managed to stick around for five innings.
It took him 106 pitches to get through five and along the way he allowed five hits, three runs, walked two and struck out eight.
“It was definitely a better outing than the last time,” Morrow said. “I’d like to give myself a chance to work deeper into the game but a win’s a win.”
The conversation soon switched over to Bautista.
“It’s been ridiculous so far this series,” Morrow said of Bautista’s exploits. “Just watching his approach to the plate, he doesn’t swing at anything outside his hit zone. He’s taking the right pitches and whenever he swings he’s connecting. He’s been awesome to watch.”
Morrow was asked why pitchers continue to give him pitches to hit.
“Well, you’ve got to throw it somewhere,” he said, drawing laughs. “I don’t know what approach I’d take with him. Try and get under his bat and he gets the barrel there. Try and go away and the last couple of days he puts it over the right-field wall (where two of his homers went), so there’s not a lot you can do right now.”
Which is exactly how the Twins pitchers must feel these days.