TORONTO - Blue Jays are coming off a 4-3 trip in which Jose Bautista, in the six games he played, reached base in 18 of 27 plate appearances, a .667 on-base percentage. Bautista had eight hits, including a pair of homers, and walked 10 times to bring his season total of free passes to 103. He scored seven runs.
"When you look at 100 walks, it speaks to his abilities," said manager John Farrell. "He has a keen awareness of what pitchers are trying to do to him. We saw it in Seattle when they walked him three times and he hit a home run the other plate appearance. so there's a reason for that strategy and to his credit, he's passing the baton on to the next guy.
"There's not a lot we can do to counter the strategy. It puts it in the hands of the guy behind him to produce. On one hand it might negate his power, but it is an added base runner. We've seen it at various times throughout the season.
"The way Edwin (Encarnacion) has been swinging the last six or seven weeks, he presents a threat behind (Bautista)."
In 2010, Bautista averaged one home run for every 12.65 plate appearances. This year, he is averaging a homer every 14 plate appearances.
Sunday in Oakland, Encarnacion failed to reach base safely for only the second time in his past 20 games. Since July 31, Encarnacion is hitting .324 with four doubles and four home runs.
The Blue Jays are hoping that sunday's day off, followed by Monday's off-day, will breathe some life into Yunel Escobar's game.
In his past 10 games, Escobar has hit just .122 (5-for-41), with an OPs of .328, 11 strikeouts and three walks.
Over the course of the season, Escobar has been second to Bautista as an MVP on the Jays but he has been showing signs of staleness.
With Jon Rauch on the DL after his appendectomy and Frank Francisco's status up in the air after experiencing shoulder pain on Sunday, Casey Janssen appears to be the logical choice at least for the next few days, to anchor the back end of the bullpen, with Jesse Litsch setting up. The Jays may need also to get a read on how valuable Joel Carreno might be. He was called up from New Hampshire to take Rauch's spot on the roster but hasn't pitched yet.