Last week was an interesting one for the Blue Jays, as they were able to get a glimpse of the best and worst that the AL West has to offer. Three games against a Seattle team who had lost 9-straight entering the week (since stretched to a mind boggling 15-straight), followed by three against the red-hot Texas Rangers, a team only a few games removed from an 11-game winning streak.
It was a week that had everything – high scoring games, low scoring games, great pitching performances, putrid pitching performances, a day game played indoors due to heat, a 14-inning marathon, and a Blue Jay being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
And at the end of the week Toronto stands exactly where they stood before Opening Day: with exactly the same number of wins and losses.
Here are three things from week 17:
Week 17: July 18 – July 24
Record: 4 – 2
1. A Pitching Story
What an adventure. Week 17 saw just about every up-and-down possible on the mound. The week was bookended by Brett Cecil starts: the first one bad (7 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 1 BB) and the second one spectacular (CG 4 hit shutout). In between we witnessed the following:
– Two late inning collapses: Romero and the bullpen combined to blow a 5-1 lead in the 8th inning on Thursday, and then Rzep and Rauch combined to blow a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th to lose on Saturday.
– One outstanding performance by the bulllpen: On Tuesday night, six Toronto relievers combined to shut down the Mariners, pitching 7 innings of 5 hit, 3 walk, no run ball in a 6-5 14
– One horrendous start: Jo-Jo Reyes on Friday – 4.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 1 BB.
– One pitching shakeup: Casey Janssen was activated from the DL with Luis Perez sent back to AAA Vegas on Tuesday. Then after the abysmal start quoted above, the Jays finally pulled the plug on Jo-Jo, DFA-ing him and promoting Wil Ledezma from the minors.
And the biggest shock of all? Frank Francisco had nothing to do with any blown saves…
2. Bautista Can Not and Will Not Be Stopped
Jose made his return to the lineup on Tuesday after sitting out three games with an ankle injury. For those opposing pitchers who were hoping it might take the momentum out of his bat? Think again.
While he hasn’t homered since his return, Joey Bats is still pummeling the ball. For the week he only hit .250, but reached base over 40% of his plate appearances, slugged
three doubles, and drove in five runs. He now has a hit in 15 of the 17 games he has played in July, and has reached base at least once in 25 consecutive games.
Bautista leads the majors in HR, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and WAR. In fact, his 6.8 WAR has already far surpassed his 5.4 WAR from last season. Adrian Gonzalez gets all the MVP consideration it seems, but there’s no doubt where baseball’s true MVP resides.
3. Cooperstown Bound
Pat Gillick had great success as the GM of Baltimore, Seattle, and Philadelphia. Roberto Alomar made All-Star teams in Baltimore and Cleveland. But there was no denying the fact that Sunday afternoon was a day dedicated to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gillick and Alomar were officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday, and both were inducted for all intents and purposes as Jays. Alomar will obviously be officially recognized as a Blue Jay with the logo on his cap. Gillick, the mastermind behind the great Blue Jays teams of the 80’s and early 90’s and the genius who acquired Alomar in 1990, will forever be seen as the man who brought baseball glory to Canada.
With so many years having passed since Toronto’s last playoff appearance, and with the current woeful state of Toronto’s other professional sports teams (I’m looking at you Leafs, Raptors, and FC), it was nice to see Toronto back in spotlight (even just for one day).
Congratulations Pat and Robby. I hope we see another Jay in the Hall soon to join you.