Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak has picked up right where he left off after a career year in 2017, and Adam Eaton is perhaps glad he didn't.Eaton, who suffered a season-ending left ACL injury last April, and Smoak, who was an American League All-Star last year, were named the
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak has picked up right where he left off after a career year in 2017, and Adam Eaton is perhaps glad he didn't.
Eaton, who suffered a season-ending left ACL injury last April, and Smoak, who was an American League All-Star last year, were named the National League and AL Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason on Monday, respectively.
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Eaton was arguably the headline story in baseball over the weekend, and he proved just how valuable his bat is to a loaded Nationals lineup. The converted left fielder went 8-for-13 with two homers, five RBIs, seven runs scored and just one strikeout, hitting from the leadoff position in Washington's season-opening three-game sweep of the Reds.
To boot, Eaton's breakout performance, including his career-high five-hit day on Saturday, came just 90 minutes from his hometown in Springfield, Ohio, and in front of many family and friends.
"It's been great. I couldn't draw it up any better," Eaton said.
After Toronto began the season with consecutive losses, the 31-year-old Smoak helped his club salvage an opening series split with the Yankees. He went a combined 6-for-8 with a double, two homers and eight RBIs over the weekend to propel the Blue Jays back to .500.
Smoak's pair of homers could not have come at a better time, as the Blue Jays trailed, 4-1, heading into the seventh inning on Sunday before he crushed a two-run shot to pull them within one run. An inning later, he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and sent a Player Page for David Robertson fastball into the center-field seats to give Toronto the lead.
It was the second grand slam of Smoak's career, and his eight RBIs through four games are the most in the Majors.
"He's off to a great start," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said on Sunday. "A big year last year … and he has turned into a pretty good hitter. You can't do any better than he did today. Game on the line, down a run, two outs, against one of the top relievers in baseball. He's just really coming into his own, I think. A late bloomer."
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.