Jose Bautista threw out Billy Butler at first base from right field (GIF)

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There’s on a roll and there’s whatever it is the Toronto Blue Jays are on right now.

The Jays came into Thursdays game winners of nine straight and 15 of their last 20. To say things have been going well of late for Toronto would be a bit of an understatement.

Edwin Encarnacion hit two more home runs on Thursday, giving him 16 in May. Mark Buehrle has won five of the six starts he’s made this month with a 2.48 ERA in the process.

bautista-throw-billy-butlerAt the end of April, the team was 12-15 and in fourth place in the American League East. After Wednesday’s victory, they were in first place with a 32-22 record.

When the baseball gods are smiling on you, even would-be base hits by the opposition turn into outs. On Thursday, Jose Bautista fielded a ball that made it through the infield off the bat of Billy Butler and threw him out at first base from right field.

Heck of a throw by Jose Bautista or serious lack of speed by Billy Butler?

Jose Bautista disagrees with Chris Davis, calls Barry Bonds HR king

barry-bonds-musclesChris Davis has enjoyed a phenomenal first half of the season for the Baltimore Orioles, and his success has led to notoriety and scrutiny.

Davis, who has clubbed 37 home runs this season, recently responded to a Twitter user who asked if he was juicing by saying he was not. Davis also seemed to show an anti-PED stance when he said on ESPN Radio two weeks ago that he and many others consider Roger Maris to be the single-season home run king, not Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, who all were believed to be using PEDs when they broke Maris’ record of 61 homers.

Apparently Davis was not speaking for Jose Bautista when he made that statement.

The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, whose 54 home run season in 2010 subjected him to PED suspicion, told NBC Sports Radio’s “Kup & Schultz” on Sunday that he considers Bonds to be the single-season record holder.

“Well, I consider the home run record in baseball the one that is 73 home runs,” Bautista said on the show. “Until they manage to change that somehow, that’s the record. I’m sorry [Davis] feels a different way, but that’s just the way I feel.”

Davis is not the first person to refuse to acknowledge Bonds as the home run king because of PEDs, but technically Bautista is right. As of now, there is no asterisk next to Bonds’ name in the record book. Major League Baseball still recognizes him as the single-season home run record holder. If Davis keeps hitting homers at his current pace, he can take a shot at officially changing that.

Jose Bautista yaps at Darren O’Day after hitting home run (Video)

Jose Bautista got the sweet feeling of revenge when he homered off Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Darren O’Day on Saturday.

The issues between the two began on Friday night when O’Day struck out Bautista to end the seventh, stranding a runner at second and maintaining a 6-6 tie. O’Day gave a skip/hop after striking out Bautista, and the Jays slugger thought O’Day said something to him. Below are the GIFs that started the whole thing:

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Jose Bautista quotes Ricky Bobby after losing to Prince Fielder in Home Run Derby

Prince Fielder put on a show for fans of the Home Run Derby — if there are any left — on Monday night as he won the event for the second time and hit some absolute bombs in the process. Fielder hit the four longest homers of the night, two of which traveled an estimated 476 feet. In the final round, Fielder defeated Jose Bautista by a score of 12-7. Bautista was considered by many to be the favorite heading into the contest, but Fielder earned the victory by hitting some shots that probably just landed a few hours ago.

According to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Bautista took the “Talladega Nights” approach when asked about being the runner up.

While this sounds like a hilarious reference to American comedy from a player born in the Dominican Republic, David Brown of Big League Stew — who asked Bastian about the quote — said he was told Bautista did not say it in a joking manner and even shot a reporter a dirty look for asking him if he was upset about losing. Being angry that you came in second in one of the most irrelevant sporting events of the calendar year? Now that’s what I call a competitor. On the bright side, Bautista had a much better night all-around than the one Robinson Cano had.

Photo credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Jose Bautista Is the AL MVP Right Now, Not Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander has won his last eight straight starts for the Tigers. He’s 20-5 and has a good shot at winning the most games by an American League pitcher since Bob Welch posted 27 victories in 1990. He has thrown a no-hitter and has shut out his opponent on six occasions this season. He leads the Majors in innings pitched, WHIP, strikeouts, and batting average against. Because of his success, pundits have begun talking about him as an MVP candidate this season. That even sparked a debate about whether pitchers should be eligible for MVP. While pitchers should be eligible for MVP, Jose Bautista still deserves the award at this point.

The Blue Jays right fielder has fallen off somewhat since his torrid first two months of the season, but he’s still raking more than any other hitter in baseball. Bautista leads MLB in home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. His current OPS is the highest in the American League since Jim Thome’s 1.122 mark in 2002. Yes, Bautista is posting the best numbers by an American League hitter in nearly 10 years. His level of offensive production cannot be overlooked just because he’s on a .500 club while Verlander pitches for a division leader.

Verlander has been the best pitcher in baseball this season and he’s the favorite to win the AL Cy Young. Jered Weaver is also in the mix, but Verlander definitely has the inside track. If Verlander continues to dominate over his next handful of starts he will remain in MVP contention, but Bautista would have to drop off significantly to be surpassed in the MVP race. He’s just been too good this season.

Hawk Harrelson: Jose Bautista Has a Little Cork in his Bat? (Audio)

The White Sox broadcasters were the latest media members to be treated to the Jose Bautista show. The Toronto slugger went 5-for-10 with a home run and three RBIs in the first three games of the Blue Jays-White Sox series this weekend, leaving Chicago’s TV team impressed. In fact, Bautista impressed the team of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone so much, it left Harrelson saying “If you didn’t know better, you’d say [his bat] had a little cork in it.”

Here’s the audio from the Hawk:

I know Hawk qualified his statement by saying “If you didn’t know any better,” but he’s still throwing it out there that Bautista is hitting the ball harder than everyone else, and he’s suggesting something may be up. Many people have suspected Bautista of using PEDs, and given the amount of successful major leaguers who have been busted over time, that wouldn’t totally be unfair.

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John Danks: Jose Bautista Acted ‘Like a Clown’ After Popping Out

Jose Bautista has been the best hitter in baseball this year, leading MLB with 20 home runs and a 1.304 OPS. He’s homering every 7.8 at-bats, so he expects to crush the ball nearly every time up. Meanwhile, White Sox pitcher John Danks has had a tough year dropping to 0-8 after losing Sunday. The lefty was lit up for nine runs over four innings, and he got into it with Bautista in the fourth before exiting the game.

Bautista was batting with his team up 9-2 in the bottom of the 4th. He was already 1-for-2 with an RBI single when he popped out with the bases empty for the second out of the inning. After popping up, Bautista grabbed his bat in disgust and cursed at himself. Danks had some words for Bautista as the slugger was returning to the Toronto dugout (as you can see above).

After the game, Danks explained what he said:

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