It was a surprisingly slow start to the 2017 campaign for Josh Donaldson in a season which became a battle with injury and illness. He missed half of April and nearly all of May with an aggravated calf. Expectations were high as Donaldson was coming off of another MVP-candidate season. This performance led the way to another deep playoff push with the Toronto Blue Jays. It was not until post-all-star-break Donaldson began showing signs of familiar fashion. From then until now, Donaldson has been simply inhuman.
It has been a ridiculous second half for Donaldson and where else can you start but in the first inning. Donaldson led things off by launching one into the seats of Fenway Park Tuesday off of Cy Young favorite Chris Sale. The Bringer Of Rain has hit 15 first-inning home runs, putting him atop the American League. 15 first-inning homers is the most in the first inning of the ball game since Alex Rodriguez in 2001. A-Rod hit 18 while Sammy Sosa hit 16 in the same season.
In the third inning, he followed his own suit smashing another home run making it two for two leading way for Teoscar Hernandez to follow suit. The four home runs given up by Sale ties a career-high for the Red Sox ace.
Donaldson has hit 24 of his 33 home runs since the All-Star Break behind only the Marlin himself, Giancarlo Stanton, who’s blasted a whopping 31. Also, Donaldson hasn’t just improved his power. For the months of August and September, he has hit .289 and .307 respectively. These numbers way up from the previous month of July where Josh hit an abysmal .212. In those two months alone, Donaldson collected 36 of his season total 79 RBI. It would have been quite interesting to see 162 games of similar pace from the former MVP.
This has been one of few bright spots for the Blue Jays this second half. The club will miss the postseason for the first time since 2014. A 75-83 record put the Jays in 5th in the AL East in what was a competitive year for all teams. As the season winds down, Donaldson looks as though he’ll continue crushing the baseball making the statement that he is still one of the best.
Wait, What About …
Many question marks surround the future of the club; even for Donaldson. Key pieces including J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Aaron Loup, Steve Pearce and Donaldson are all going into their final year of their contract in 2018 – usually a key time to move resources around playoff runs.
Donaldson and the Blue Jays wrap up their season with a three-game set in New York. Meaningful baseball will be played for the Yankees. As for the Blue Jays, they will continue look at key prospects such as Hernandez and Richard Urena. Hernandez looks to be a solid, long-run option for the Blue Jays moving forward, while Urena has showed utility and infield skill making the necessary plays from all over the infield.
While it was an off first four months for Donaldson, The Bringer of Rain has made it pour in Toronto and across America in the second half.
Embed from Getty Images
View the original article on Last Word On Baseball: Josh Donaldson: The Bringer of Rain is Heating Up