It wasn’t very long ago (last Wednesday as a matter of fact), when yours truly made a bold statement, declaring the come-from-behind 7-3 win over Max Scherzer and the Nationals a defining moment, and a season saving victory.
It also wasn’t very long ago (last Tuesday as a matter of fact), that yours truly issued a very prophetic Tweet:
Now, I don’t want to call myself a genius, nor do I want to take full credit for Toronto’s turnaround, but let’s be honest for a second and put two and two together. There’s a good chance that none of this happens without those magical words that I wrote.
Let’s talk a bit about the streak, starting with the facts:
– The Jays have picked up a game-and-a-half in the AL East, climbing to third place, just three games back of New York. They have picked up four games in the Wild Card standings, and now sit just one back of the Rays.
– They have outscored their opponents 57-21
– On the offensive side of the ball, they have hit 14 homers, stolen 12 bases, and posted three wins when trailing in the sixth inning or later
– Starting pitchers have averaged just under 7 IP per start, and posted a 1.96 ERA
– Relievers have posted a 2.65 ERA
The streak has transformed the team from a last place club looking at a lost season back into a contender.
No matter how long the streak runs (here’s hoping it hits deep into double digits), the most important thing for the team is how they play after the streak comes to an end. At 8-games and counting, the streak is approaching the all-time team record of 11-straight wins, accomplished three times in franchise history. On each of those previous occasions, the team has gone flat immediately afterwards, giving back all momentum gained:
June 2 – 13, 1987 – after the 11th win the Jays were in first place, three games up. They then lost two straight, four of five, and 15 of the next 21 games, to fall five games back of the AL East leader.
August 27-September 7, 1998 – after the 11th win the Jays sat five games back of the AL Wild Card spot. They then lost two straight and 7 of 11 to fall out of contention.
June 11-24, 2013 – after the 11th win the Jays were two games over .500 and within 5 games of the AL East lead. They then lost two straight, four of five, and 19 of the next 26 games to hit rock bottom.
Of those previous teams, it is the 2013 version that is strikingly similar to this team. The Blue Jays were coming off a busy offseason that saw them emerge as favourites in the AL East, but struggled mightily with injury and underperforming players. Sounds very familiar to 2015, but I think with players like Martin and Donaldson on the team, that history will not repeat itself.
Look at that face. It just screams “douche canoe”.
There is no secret that I am not, and never have been, a Jonathan Papelbon fan. Everything from the way he pitches, to the stupid way he licks his lips, drives me nuts. It’s the main reason I started referring to him as the Self Cleaning Anus.
With rumours flying that the Blue Jays and Phillies are engaging in “serious” talks about Papelbon, I can’t help but feel terrified about what would happen if he does indeed come to Toronto. I would have to re-examine everything about my life! It would shock my entire belief system! I would have to re-learn what is right and wrong!
But as much as I loathe to admit it, there is no denying that even at 34 years of age, Papelbon remains an elite MLB pitcher. In 24 IP this season he is sporting a 1.13 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, a 4.83 K/BB ratio, and is a perfect 12-for-12 in save opportunities. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays ‘pen has a collective 3.70 ERA and an AL leading 10 blown saves. Adding the Anus to the back of the bullpen would allow Brett Cecil to move back to a non-closer role (one that he is probably better suited for anyways), and could allow to Gibbons to rely a little bit less on Osuna.
Of course, the Jays would have to give something up to bring him in, and there is that pesky little thing called money that might get in the way. Papelbon would be owed the remainder of his $13-million salary this year, and has a vesting option for 2016 that would see him owed an additional $13-million if he finishes 100 games in ’14 and ’15 combined (he is currently at 74). That might be too rich for Rogers.
But if Anthopoulos, Beeston, and the rest of the Jays braintrust can find a way to fit the dollars into the budget and not deal away a top prospect, there is no denying that Papelbon would immensely help the team.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this: I’d never go out and buy his jersey, but seeing Papelbon in Toronto blue would be OK with me.
And if he were to help end the long playoff drought?
I might even consider to stop calling him The Anus.