Blue Jays benefiting from new-look lineup

Blue Jays benefiting from new-look lineup

Blue Jays benefiting from new-look lineup
TORONTO -- The switch that manager John Farrell has made to the top of the lineup has paid dividends.

Farrell replaced Kelly Johnson at leadoff with Brett Lawrie, and inserted Colby Rasmus into the two-hole in place of Yunel Escobar.

In 21 games since batting leadoff, Lawrie is hitting .310, with 12 extra-base hits -- including three homers -- a .388 on-base percentage and a .916 OPS. The third baseman has also reached base safely in 16 consecutive games entering Thursday's contest against the Angels.

Rasmus, meanwhile, is hitting .337 with eight homers, 24 RBIs, a .652 slugging percentage and a 1.023 OPS.

Farrell had been contemplating the moves for a little while before he decided to give it a try against the White Sox in Chicago on June 5.

"Even prior to that, when Kelly was having a little bit more to deal with in his knee with some soreness, Colby was in the two-hole at times and seemed to flourish -- so that had something to do with it," Farrell said. "Then with Brett, trying to get a little bit more athleticism and speed at the top of the order, I thought it had a chance to change some of the personality we project as a team when we start out a given game."

Farrell thinks that Lawrie injects the team with energy from the first pitch of the game, and this new-look lineup has the chance to stick for a while.

"The top four in our lineup have been outstanding," Farrell said. "What Rajai [Davis] continues to do, and [Adam Lind] coming back -- he's swinging the bat with a lot of freedom. ... Our guys are swinging the bat with confidence."