Every Monday during the 2015 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 5.
Week 5: May 4 – May 10
Record: 4 – 2
Season-to-date: 16 – 16
AL East: 3rd, 4 GB of New York
Wild Card: 2 GB of 2nd Wild Card (Minnesota)
1. Coming Together
It took a long, long time, but finally, things appear to be looking up for the Blue Jays starting rotation. Before Monday’s opener against the Yankees, the Jays starters sat dead last in the AL with an ERA of 5.70. However, after a very solid week, that number has been shaved to 5.20, good enough to rise ahead of Boston and Cleveland. Not great, but getting better. Dickey, Buehrle, Sanchez, and Hutchison all delivered solid starts against the Yankees and Red Sox, battling through some early control issues to limit the the opposition to a total of 3 runs in 4 games. With the Jays offense, Toronto doesn’t necessarily need a Cy Young outing each and every start, so last week’s progress is incredibly encouraging to the Jays postseason aspirations.
2. Who Are These Guys?
Toronto was supposed to have one of the most fearsome top-6’s in baseball, and that combined with some very promising rookies gave them the look of an offensive juggernaut. But you would never know that from looking at Sunday’s starting lineup. Injuries and underperformance have robbed the Jays of Reyes, Saunders, Pompey, and half of Bautista, meaning on Sunday guys like Chris Colabello and Ezequiel Carrera joined Josh Thole and Ryan Goins in the lineup, with Danny Valencia and Justin Smoak coming off the bench. Not exactly how we drew it up in the spring. But to their credit, Colabello and Carrera are making the most of their opportunity, with CC batting .571 with a 1.418 OPS and Carrera chipping in a .429 average and a 1.026 OPS.
3. Jacoby Suspended
News broke last week that hitting coach Brook Jacoby was suspended for 14 games for an altercation with an umpire at Fenway Park. While details are a bit sketchy in terms of what exactly happened, there was plenty of support for Jacoby among Blue Jay players blaming the umpires for starting the argument, and placing responsibility squarely on their shoulders. But of course, nothing happens to baseball umpires. On his weekly “Sunday Roast” feature on Blue Jays Central, Gregg Zaun went on a bit of a rant about the comfort that MLB umpires operate in. I don’t generally agree with Zaun, but he was bang on in his assessment. If a player, manager, or GM performs poorly, he is benched, sent to the minors, or fired. But an umpire? He might not get to officiate the World Series. With technology telling fans exactly if a pitch should be a ball or a strike, or if a runner is safe or out, umpires now have more scrutiny on them then ever before – yet they don’t seem to care. Watch a baseball game and count how many times a pitch 4-6 inches outside the strike zone is called a strike, or how many times a pitch clearly on the corner is a ball. Or worse, how many times a pitch is called a strike for a veteran pitcher, but not for a rookie (especially Aaron Sanchez). Umpires operate with their own agendas and with no fear of punishment. The fact that Jacoby received 14 games and the umpire got zero proves that point.
Player of the Week
Russell Martin, C
Similar to the starting staff, it took Russell Martin a while to turn things on in 2015, but he has been white hot lately. The only way for opponents to cool him off is to have R.A. Dickey on the mound, meaning Josh Thole moves behind the plate. Because of that, Martin was limited to only four games last week, but what a stretch it was. He went 10 for 17 with 2 HR, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 5 R, and a slash line of .588 / .566 / 1.118 / 1.673.
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 15 – 15, 3rd place
AA – New Hampshire: 16 – 14, 4th place
A+ – Dunedin: 13 – 17, 6th place
A – Lansing: 17 – 13 , 2nd place
The Look Ahead
The Jays hit the road for seven:
May 11-13 at Baltimore
May 14-17 at Houston