It’s been a while, over a month actually, since the Jays were above .500. After beating the Reds on Saturday June 18th, Toronto stood at 36-35, and now, after fnishing off the sweep of Seattle yesterday, Toronto once again sits with more wins than losses: 50-49.
The team has won three in a row. They are 5-2 since the All-Star break. They have outscored the Yankees and Mariners 50-35. Travis Snider, Rajai Davis, and Edwin Encarnacion, three of the biggest disappointments of the first half, are all hitting again.
Toronto has closed to within 3 games of third place Tampa Bay, and 8.5 of the Wild Card leading Yankees. With the Jays set to play their 100th game of the season tonight in Texas, there is still enough time for the team to make a run. The biggest question is….can they?
Well, it’s Friday. It’s been a long week, and a great weekend is coming up. I’m excited about the way the Jays have played recently, and I’m happy in general. So can the Jays make a run? Yes. Yes they can.
Assume the Worst is Over: Toronto normally falters in June. Sure enough, they went 12-15 this year. But June is long over. The slumps and bad play we saw then can’t possibly be repeated going forward can it? It can’t – not in my dream anyways.
Schedule Help: After several lengthy road trips early in the season, Toronto has more home games than road games remaining. The longest road trip remaining is a 7-game West coast jaunt. The bad news is that 6 of the next 9 games are against the red-hot AL West leading Texas Rangers. But the good news? Toronto still has 12 games left against Baltimore. And starting on August 5th the schedule looks like this: 3 at Baltimore, 3 vs. Oakland, 3 vs. LA Angels, 3 at Seattle, 4 at Oakland, 3 vs. Kansas City. Those five teams are a combined 42 games under .500. It’s not unrealistic to picture Toronto going 13-6, 14-5, or even 15-4 during that stretch. Which would mean they would be on a roll heading into series against Tampa, Boston, and NY.
Trade Deadline Help:
The Jays aren’t expected to big players at the deadline. But it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that the deadline could help them. Bear with me here:
– Toronto opens up a roster spot by moving Corey Patterson and/or Octavio Dotel. That roster spot is filled by promoting Brett Lawrie, who hits well in his first big league experience.
-The Yankees make a few moves, acquiring Heath Bell to set up Rivera, and Wandy Rodriguez to bolster the rotation. But both have enormous issues adapting to the AL East and perform terribly.
– Tampa Bay deals both B.J. Upton and James Shields, weakening themselves for the remainder of the season.
Just like that, the Jays gain ground.
The Law of Averages: If you look at the Jays roster, there really isn’t anybody playing over his head at an unsustainable level. You could argue that both Thames and Snider won’t continue to hit this well. But you could also argue that J.P. Arencibia is not a .210 hitter, and will rebound in the near future.
But Tampa Bay’s no-name, patchwork bullpen has been too good. Kyle Farnsworth is due for a huge market correction. You can probably find a line in Vegas that allows you to bet on when Bartolo Colon’s arm will physicall fall off from his body. And Freddy Garcia has to drop off at some point doesn’t he?
True enough, those are a lot of if’s. But I don’t think any of those things is entirely unreasonable. If they all come to fruition, is it actually impossible to picture the Jays leapfrogging Tampa and NY in the standings and claiming the Wild Card? Especially this year when Cleveland, Pittsburgh, AND Arizona are all in playoff contention?
I don’t think so.
Besides. It’s my dream anyways.