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 8.
Week 8: May 25 – May 31
Record: 3 – 3
Season-to-date: 23 – 29
AL East: 4th, 3.5 GB of New York
Wild Card: 5 GB of 2nd Wild Card (Detroit)
1. What a Waste
The Jays rolled into Minnesota on Friday with a bit of momentum. They took two of three from Chicago, and had closed to within 3.5 of first place in the East. The pitching was coming around and Josh Donaldson was on a rampage. The team had a real chance to kickstart the season with a big series against the Twins. Things started great, with Mark Buehrle overcoming a 4-run first inning to pitch a complete game 6-hitter on Friday night in a 6-4 win. Then everything stalled. Toronto dominated Minnesota on Saturday and on Sunday, yet somehow came out on the losing end of both games. On Saturday the Jays stranded 9 runners, failing to score with the bases loaded and one out in the third, and with runners on second and third and nobody out in the sixth. On Sunday, they left 8, while blowing leads of 4-1 and 5-4. In both cases it was shoddy bullpen work and terrible team defense that let them down. They should have swept the Twins, and instead dropped two of three. A real wasted weekend.
2. Defensive Woes
It’s no secret that the Blue Jays are a team that has been hit by the injury bug, and nowhere is this more evident than in the outfield. Coming into the season, an OF of Bautista, Saunders, and Pompey was thought to be Toronto’s strength, but injuries to Saunders and Bautista, and Pompey’s demotion to the minors have turned the outfield into a gong show. Pillar can handle the glove in centre, but Carrera and Colabello leave a lot to be desired. Colabello is playing out of position and it shows, as he has been victimized time and again by butchering balls that should be caught. Carrera, however, is an outfielder by trade, so he has no excuse for the botching of several plays that directly led to losses last week. But it’s not just the outfield. Jose Reyes has looked dismal at SS, making two horrendous throws in yesterday’s game, and Edwin Encarnacion looks slow and weary, likely a direct result of playing so many games at 1B, and so few at DH due to Bautista’s shoulder problem. Jose is expected back in right this week, so hopefully things will start to turn around.
3. Making Rain
What a week it was for Josh Donaldson. He tore the cover off the ball, but it wasn’t just the fact that he hit 6 HR in 6 games – it was when he hit them. A walk off 3-run winner on Tuesday night. A game tying, 9th inning HR on Wednesday afternoon. A game tying, 3-run blast on Friday. A go-ahead solo bomb in the 7th yesterday. Five of his six HR either tied the game or put the Blue Jays ahead. He has only been here for two months, but already is becoming of the best clutch hitters this team has seen in the past decade. Brett who?
Player of the Week
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Obviously: 11 for 25, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R. 2 2B, 3 BB, .440 / .483 / 1.240 / 1.723.
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 25 – 25, 4th place
AA – New Hampshire: 25 – 25, 5th place
A+ – Dunedin: 21 – 29, 6th place
A – Lansing: 30 – 21 , 1st place
The Look Ahead
Two division leaders, and we get to see pitchers hit for the first time. Tough sleddin’.
June 1-3 at Washington
June 5-7 vs. Houston