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 10.
Week 10: June 8 – June 14
Record: 6 – 0
Season-to-date: 34 – 30
AL East: 3rd, 1 GB of New York/Tampa Bay
Wild Card: 1 GB of 2nd Wild Card (New York/Tampa Bay)
1. The Streak
With Sunday’s destruction of the Red Sox, the Jays winning streak reached 11 straight, tying a franchise record set three times previously, and launching the team from a last place tie in the East, right up near the top of the American League standings. The Blue Jays have transformed from a team with a great run differential that was badly underperforming into an offensive juggernaut that can do no wrong, seemingly overnight. (Well, technically “overnap” is the correct word, after news leaked about a team nap in between the two games of a doubleheader in Washington triggering the win that started the streak). What has been most impressive about the winning streak is that it’s not just one or two players carrying the team. Everybody has been a hero, from the usual suspects like Bautista, Donaldson, and Reyes, to the rest of the guys, including Pillar, Goins, and the previously maligned bullpen. Is this streak going to last forever? No. Did the team win games that they had no business winning? Absolutely. But who cares – they’ve won 11 in a row! Let’s enjoy it while it lasts!
2. The Greatest Game
“We just knew we were gonna come back and win that ballgame.” That famous quote was spoken by Ernie Whitt in the 1989 Blue Jays video Sky High, after Toronto came back from a 10-0 deficit to beat the Red Sox in Fenway Park. After falling behind 8-1 to Boston on Friday night, it was almost as if Ernie’s spirit invaded the Blue Jays dugout. In one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen, Toronto came all the way back and beat the Red Sox 13-10 to save the streak and further bury Boston in last. What was different about Friday, though, was that the Jays didn’t simply comeback and edge Boston for the win. It felt like they blew them out. That was likely a product of the 7th inning, that saw the Jays batter Boston pitching into submission. They scored nine runs before a single out was recorded, turning an 8-4 deficit into a 13-8 lead. The sight of John Farrell looking on, bewildered and demoralized, just added icing to the cake.
3. Bottom of the Order Joy
Coming into this season, one of the knocks on the Jays was that they had perhaps the very best top-6 in baseball, coupled with perhaps one of the worst bottom-3’s in all of baseball. Over the long haul that may or may not be true, but during the six games last week the bottom third of order looked like world beaters. Seven different players occupied the 7 / 8 / 9 spots in the lineup during the Miami and Boston series, and they torched opposing pitching. Pillar, Carrera, Kawasaki, Navarro, Goins, Smoak, and Valencia combined to post a .324 average with 3 HR, 5 2B, 1 3B, 14 R, 21 RBI, and 3 SB. It was light hitting Ryan Goins who did most of the damage on Sunday, lighting up the Red Sox for a career high 5 RBI. We know that production like that won’t last, but it’s nice to see the little guys take some pressure off the big guys.
Player of the Week
Russell Martin, C
Martin broke out of a mini-slump in a huge way, with a huge bases clearing triple on Friday, and the game winning HR in extra innings on Saturday. His line for the week: 9 for 21, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB, .429 / .500 / .857 / 1.357.
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 31 – 33, 4th place
AA – New Hampshire: 29 – 34, 5th place
A+ – Dunedin: 29 – 34, 4th place
A – Lansing: 37 – 27 , T-1st place
The Look Ahead
A home-and-home with the Mets before returning back to face the AL East
June 15-16 at New York Mets
June 17-18 vs. New York Mets
June 19-21 vs. Baltimore