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Brett Cecil Helps Toronto Blue Jays Sweep Philadelphia Phillies in Season Debut

June 17th, 2012 at 7:13 PM
By Toby Gottlieb

In front of 45,000 fans at the Rogers Centre, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 6-2 to complete the three game series sweep.  Due to the rash of injuries the starting rotation has seen over the past week, Brett Cecil was called up from the minor leagues and appeared in his first game of the season.  He pitched quite well, going five innings and giving up an average of one hit per inning while striking out a batter per inning as well.  Even though two of the five hits allowed were solo home runs, Cecil seemed to pitch with a fair bit of control as he only walked one batter.

'Colby Rasmus' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Colby Rasmus had an excellent performance in this Father's Day affair, with his controversial father in attendance no less.  Rasmus went 3-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.  It could have easily been a four RBI day for Rasmus but an error charged to Hunter Pence in right field caused one of the runs he batted in to not count in the statistical category.  Rasmus was the only Blue Jay in the lineup to have more than one hit on the day and his success at the plate increases his batting average to .255.  His home run in the 5th inning was his 10th of the season as he seems to be getting more and more comfortable knowing that he is going to be hitting out of the second spot in the batting order every time he is in the lineup.

The Blue Jays offense is steadily improving and has to continue to do so if the Jays are going to remain close to the other AL East teams.  Because of all of the question marks that now surround the starting rotation, the offense may be more important now than ever.  Of the regular starters, J.P. Arencibia has the lowest batting average at .218, but everyone else is hitting .251 or higher with the exception of Jose Bautista whose .230 is well below what was expected of him going into the season.  Bautista's offensive numbers have been impressive over the last 26 games though.  That stretch has seen him hit nine home runs, 25 RBIs and hitting for a .271 AVG.

The sweep of the Phillies comes right after the Jays themselves were swept at home by the young and very impressive Washington Nationals.  The Blue Jays now find themselves two games over .500 and 6.5 games back of the division lead which is currently being held by the New York Yankees.  The Blue Jays are, however, only three games back of the second wild card spot and, with about two thirds of the season still left to play, are still very much in the thick of things in the American League East.  The issue now is the starting rotation and when it will return to full strength and whether or not the replacements for the injured starters will do a good enough job to keep them in the hunt for long enough.  This will make General Manager Alex Anthopolous's job a little more interesting as the trade deadline draws near.

Tags: Baseball, Brett Cecil, Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto, Toronto Blue Jays

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