Blue Jays fans haven't seen the real Tulowitzki yet

By: Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

Troy Tulowitzki singled to right centre and later scored after a Justin Smoak double and a Russell Martin grounder to put the Blue Jays up 4-0 Saturday afternoon. 

The up-to-date numbers on Tulowitzki ... .231 since he joined the Jays, .218 since Aug. 1, .260 hitting fifth in the order and .227 batting lead-off.

“I don’t care what his numbers are,” said a visiting scout, “the obvious reasons this club has taken off are David Price every five days and Tulowitzki at shortstop instead of Jose Reyes. It’s not a coincidence everyone’s ERA has gone down.”

Point is, the shortstop Blue Jays fans have seen has been a whiz with the glove, but he’s not what the Jays thought they were getting, after all he brought a career .299 average into this season.

Russell Martin and Jeff Francis have seen Tulowitzki at his best.

“He was a rookie in 2007 when we went to the World Series,” said Francis, “we had Matt Holliday, Todd Helton, Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins and he held his own.”

Francis saw Tulowitzki make all the plays behind him and from the dugout Francis saw his shortstop hit 24 homers, drive in 99 runs and finish with an .838 OPS as the lefty was on his way to winning 17 games.

“He takes pride in being smart about playing the game,” said Francis, one of the most intelligent players we’ve ever met. “He’s had some hits since I got here (from Buffalo), he might not be crushing it yet,  but defensively he’s shown what he can do. 

“He was making that play where he goes into the hole, jumps and throws as a rookie. That play he makes up the middle, where he spins and throws the guy out. How is he accurate throwing like that?”

The most amazing thing Francis ever saw Tulowitzki do in his six seasons as a teammate?

“He can get hot, in 2010 he hit something like 12 homers in the first 20 days of the month,” said Francis.

Now, ball players tend to try to stretch doubles into triples when they dive into their own personal memory banks.

The numbers show Tulowitzki hit 14 homers, knocked in 33 and hit .371 with a 1.478 OPS the first 17 games of September as the Rockies won 13 times.

Joey Votto would say Tulowitzki was the best hitter in the majors. Only the arrival of Mike Trout changed his opinion.

“Troy’s one of the best hitters in the majors,” said Martin, who begins shaking his head when asked what the book on Tulotwitzki was during his seven years with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. “He sprays the ball all over. He can hit a fastball, a curve, whatever.

“He may not be swinging it well right now, but I’m going to guess all those late runs the Rockies went on, his best months were August and September. He’d catch fire and the Rockies would destroy the final two months of the season.”

Tulowitzki’s worst month is the first of the season: he’s a career .273 hitter in April. In May, he is a .290 hitter, come June he has .322 (his best month) mark, followed by a .295 in July, .308 in August and .299 the final month of the season. 

Martin is right that Tulowitzki had his most homers (38) and RBIs (133) in the final month, while his best month for OPS is June (.929) followed by September (.915). 

And the final month, this month, is when the Jays need Tulowitzki’s bat.

His range, his arm and his glove are already can’t-miss viewing. 

Clinical injuries: Numerous area drug stores reported brisk sales of tensor bandages on Saturday morn. 

The Jays were blown out, while the New York Yankees won. A number of fans sprained ankles jumping off the Blue Jays band wagon.

Ah, that 1 1/2 game lead over the Yankees had stood for seven days. It was not written in stone. 

Such is the ebb and flow of a pennant race. The Jays won behind David Price and Jose Bautista’s 32nd homer, two hits from both Ryan Goins and Justin Smoak on Saturday as five Tampa Bay Rays arms limited the Yanks to five hits in a 3-2 win.

The lead is back to 1 1/2.

“Excuse me miss, I bought these bandages this morning, can I return them?”

No where to go: The Jays drew 46,373 Saturday boosting the average attendance at the Rogers Centre after 71 dates to 32,699 (2.3 million people) 11th in the majors. Mark Shapiro, next president of the Cleveland Indians, is leaving behind a team which is averaging 18,508 per game through 63 dates (1.2 million), which is 29th out of 30.

Updated ranking: Catcher Andrew Yerzy of the Toronto Mets and a Notre Dame Fighting Irish commit has climbed to 131st on the latest Perfect Game Scouting Bureau top 500 high schoolers from Canada. Right-hander Mathieu Gauthier of Candiac, Que., a North Carolina State sign who pitched for Team Elite Atlanta 17U is ranked 358th. Mississauga right-hander Jordan Balazovic of the Ontario Blue Jays is 490th.