Ouch. What else is there to say really, after a horrendous showing in the thirteenth week of the MLB schedule (June 28 – July 4). Toronto went 1-6 for the week, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the woeful Cleveland Indians – the first time that has happened since 1995. Dropping two of three to division leading New York saw the Jays drop below the .500 mark for the first time since they were 12-13 on May 2nd.
As if the losing wasn’t bad enough for Jays fans, we received a double punch in the gut last week. First, ace Shaun Marcum hit the 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation. Second, Toronto recalled the brutally awful Edwin Encarnacion from triple-A Vegas. EE promptly endeared himself to fans by failing to run on a sac bunt attempt in the 10th inning on Sunday, resulting in a double play.
So, in order to cheer up the Bluebird faithful, here are three positive things that came out of week 13:
1. All-Stars x 3
The last time Toronto had this many all-stars in the mid-summer classic it was 2006. John Gibbons was at the helm, Gustavo Chacin was in the starting rotation, and Shea Hillenbrand took the bulk of at-bats at DH. That season saw Roy Halladay, B.J. Ryan, Troy Glaus, Alex Rios, and Vernon Wells suit up at the All-Star game.
Yesterday, three Jays were named to the AL squad: Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista, and John Buck. Wells will be making his third all-star appearance, while Bautista (MLB’s HR leader) and Buck (AL RBI leader for catchers) will each be making their first. It’s quite an honour to have three players recognized, and the Jays actually have a case for a fourth. Alex Gonzalez leads all AL shortstops in HR and RBI – and it isn’t even close.
The only thing left to see is if Bautista takes part in the HR derby. My hope is no…
2. Halladay 1 – Drabek 1
When Halladay was sent to Philadelphia all Blue Jay fans were disappointed. When Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in major league history, Blue Jay fans became bitterly disappointed that he wasn’ t wearing our uniform when he did it. It also put more pressure, fair or not, on the main prospect the Jays received in the deal – Kyle Drabek.
Well, so far so good. Drabek matched Halladay with a no-hitter of his own on Sunday for the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The right-hander allowed only two walks, and faced one batter over the minimum in the complete game gem. Overall this season Drabek is 8-8 with a 3.20 ERA and 80 K’s in double-A, and looks to be on target to potentially reach the big leagues next season. That would be step one in a world PH (Post Halladay).
3. As Tight As Can Be
One bad inning. That was all that separated the Jays from a series victory over the Yankees on the weekend. If not for a franchise record matching 11-run third on Saturday afternoon, the Jays likely would have taken two of three from the Bombers, making the week that was a little bit easier to swallow. But never-the-less, one thing is certain: Toronto and New York have played each other dead even so far this year – almost as even as you can get.
Through the first six meetings, Toronto is 3-3 against the Yankees. The Jays have scored 27 runs in the six games; New York has scored 26. Three of the six were decided by one run. Three went to extra innings. Toronto pitchers have also done a great job neutralizing four of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano are a combined 21 for 101 (.208) off Blue Jay pitching, with only 1 HR between them.
In a season where moral victories may end up being important for a young team, Toronto’s performance against the Yanks is a step in the right direction.