Every Monday during the 2016 season, 500 Level Fan will take a look back at the week that was, giving readers a snapshot of all things Blue Jays, including three top stories and the Blue Jay player of the week.
This is what happened in week 7.
Week 7: May 16 – 22
Record: 3 – 4
Season-to-date: 22 – 24
AL East: 5th, 6 games behind Baltimore/Boston
Wild Card: 4 games behind Texas
- Down to the Cellar
The Jays officially passed the quarter mark of the 2016 season last week, and they find themselves in a position they certainly were not expecting: last place. After being thoroughly throttled by Tampa Bay at the beginning of the week, the team rebounded nicely by taking 3 of 4 from the last place Twins, but it wasn’t enough to stay ahead of the Rays and the red hot Yankees. If this story sounds familiar it’s because it should. After the games of May 22nd last season, the Jays were also in last place in the AL East, 5.5 games back of first and 6 games under the .500 mark. With the way that this club is constructed, it’s hard to imagine staying in last place much longer. But until they shake off the offensive rust and start hitting like they did last year, last place seems like a fitting position.
- Bautista Loves Minnesota
Jose Bautista has not been his mighty self thus far in 2016. His numbers are down across the board, including a sub-.800 OPS just a week ago. But there is a cure for what ails Joey Bats – Target Field. In four games in Minnesota against the Twins, Jose went 5 for 17 with 3 HR and 6 RBI, raising his season OPS from .832 on Wednesday to .870 today. In 21 career games at Target Field, Bautista is now hitting .349 with a 1.324 OPS and 14 HR. 14 HR!!! That would be a full season pace of 108 dingers! Needless to say, Jose circles these visits on his calendar. Unfortunately for the Jays, they don’t visit Minnesota again until next year.
- Bullpen Disasters
The struggles of Toronto’s bullpen are now bordering on the absurd, both in the magnitude and in the regularity of its collapses. After another spectacular meltdown on Saturday (5 runs surrendered in the 8th against the woeful Twins), the Blue Jays bullpen continues to grab defeat from the jaws of victory. Toronto has now lost 12 (12!!) games when either tied or ahead in the 7th inning. Even holding on to win half of those contests (hardly unreasonable) would put the team at 28 wins and tied for first place. And it’s not just one person doing most of the damage either. Other than Osuna and Biagini (who has looked brilliant), everybody is struggling. Storen has a 7.80 ERA; Floyd and Chavez have combined to allow 7 HR; Cecil has an ERA of 5.23 and will now miss a month leaving Chad Girodo as the lone lefty. As a group, Toronto’s relievers have allowed 43% of inherited runners to score, the second worst mark in all of baseball. In other words, they are doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing. With a very difficult stretch of games upcoming, the Jays need the ‘pen to rectify itself very quickly.
Player of the Week
Jose Bautista, OF
That’s a bit more like it: 7-for-23, 5 R, 4 HR, 9 RBI, .304 / .448 / .826 / 1.274
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 22 – 22, 5th place, 3.5 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 20 – 22, 4th place, 8 GB
A+ – Dunedin: 19 – 26, T-4th place, 9 GB
A – Lansing: 22 – 20, 5th place, 4 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
Big week against the AL East.
May 24 – 26 at New York
May 27 – 29 vs. Boston