MILWAUKEE -- On June 5 against the White Sox, Blue Jays manager John Farrell shuffled his lineup, inserting third baseman Brett Lawrie and center fielder Colby Rasmus into the top of the order.
The change has paid major dividends, as the two have taken off since the switch, combining for nine home runs and 22 RBIs in 14 games entering Wednesday's rubber match against the Brewers at Miller Park. And with his team working through the injuries of three starting pitchers, Farrell has appreciated what his top two hitters have done.
"It's been very encouraging to see what Brett and Colby have done since they've gone to the top of the order," Farrell said. "And whether or not it's because of the position they're in, but the fact is, they're not only getting on base, but they've been doing some damage with extra-base hits in front of [Jose Bautista] and [Edwin Encarnacion], who have been very solid for really the last six weeks for us, both of those guys."
Since June 5, Lawrie is batting .322 (19-for-59) with a .394 on base percentage. Behind him, Rasmus has a .355 (22-for-62) average with a 1.015 OPS in the same span. Rasmus, who hit two home runs in Toronto's 10-9 win on Tuesday, said after the game that he's embraced the move to the two-hole.
"I have a good time hitting up there and hitting behind Brett," he said. "He's on base a lot, and he's got a lot of energy and it's easy to feed off that."
After batting just .173 in 35 games with the Blue Jays last season, Rasmus' average is up to .259 this season, including .381 in the last five games. Toronto has gone 4-1 over that span, and Rasmus has chipped in three home runs and six RBIs.
Farrell said Rasmus' offensive breakout has come along with keeping things simple at the plate and becoming more comfortable with being himself in the clubhouse and the dugout.
"Most importantly, he feels like he belongs here," Farrell said. "And he's playing like it."