Setting the table …

One thing that certainly stands out during the Jays’ current six-game slide is the complete lack of production out of the leadoff spot. In fact, Aaron Hill’s 0-for-4 showing during Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers marked the fourth straight game that Toronto has failed to recieve a hit from the No. 1 spot in the order. Between Hill, Adam Lind and Alex Rios, who have each taken turns in that role in the absence of Reed Johnson, the three have combined to go an astonishing 1-for-24 in the last five games — all Blue Jay losses.

There’s a lot to be said for having a regular leadoff man who can provide some consistency at the top of the order. That’s exactly what the Blue Jays had in 1993 — though, ironically it came from two different sources.

For the third straight year, center-fielder Devon White assumed the role of full-time leadoff man that season, sitting atop one of the most potent offensive lineups in the Major Leagues. White also served as the first hitter in WAMCO, the ‘group of five’ that helped lead Toronto to its second straight World Series title (White, Alomar, Molitor, Carter, Olerud).

White had a solid first half, posting a .289 average, a very respectable .355 on-base percentage and 19 stolen bases en route to earning an all-star selection. After serving as the leadoff hitter for 103 games, however, he made way for Rickey Henderson, who was acquired from the Athletics prior to the trade deadline.

Though he struggled at the plate (.215 BA), Henderson, one of the game’s most prolific leadoff men, managed to draw enough walks to post a .356 on-base percentage. He also stole 22 bases on 24 attempts down the stretch.

Between them, White and Henderson managed to score 124 runs and steal 46 bases out of the leadoff spot that season. Those are definitely some numbers the Blue Jays could use right about now.

Sunday’s loss to the Rangers marks the second time in franchise history (September, 1979) that the Jays have gone winless on a six-game road trip … Fittingly, it is ex-Blue Jay Michael Young who hits the game-winning homer off A.J. Burnett, doing in his former team once again … Despite giving up three solo shots, Burnett puts forth a quality outing while striking out seven batters in 7.2 innings … Monday provides a much-needed off-day for both players and fans alike …


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