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 11.
Week 11: June 15 – June 21
Record: 3 – 4
Season-to-date: 37 – 34
AL East: 4th, 3 GB of Tampa Bay
Wild Card: 1 GB of 2nd Wild Card (Minnesota)
1. Missed Opportunity
It had to end sometime, and it finally did last Monday, as an extra innings loss to the Mets brought Toronto’s record-tying winning streak to an end. I’ve always believed that the sign of a good team is a solid, positive response at the end of a long streak, and that is exactly what the Blue Jays did. After losing on Tuesday in New York, they ripped off three straight wins to start a brand new streak, and looked to have a chance to make it five in a row, and cause some further damage to Baltimore in the process. But things didn’t quite work out that way, as the Jays missed some golden opportunities on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s loss was the most egregious, with Toronto loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 8th, only to come away empty handed. Blown chances like that rarely go unpunished, and Baltimore punished the Jays with three in the 9th. Sunday was a similar story. After falling behind 7-0, the Jays roared back to take a 9-7 lead, only to watch again as Baltimore tied it then erupted for four in the 9th to win it. All losses hurt, but under the circumstances, those two sting a little bit extra.
2. Bullpen Blues
The Blue Jays bullpen has been much maligned in 2015, earning a reputation as the worst in the game. In reality, this is not the case, as the relief corps ranks middle of the pack in ERA despite being badly overworked due to poor starting pitching. In addition, their AL leading 12 blown saves are a bit misleading as not all came while leading in the ninth inning. But let’s be honest – the ‘pen leaves a lot to be desired, and nowhere was that more evident than this past week. There were two blown saves (Monday and Sunday), and two ninth inning implosions, ruining what very well could have been a 6-1 week. To be fair it’s not everybody – Delabar, Osuna, and Hendriks have been great. The main culprits seem to be the lefties. Cecil, Loup, and Coke combined to surrender 13 earned runs, 3 walks, and 10 hits in only 6.1 IP last week, good for an ERA of 18.47 and a WHIP of 2.05. For the season, each have an ERA right around 5.00 (4.88 for Loup, 5.68 for Coke, and a ghastly 5.96 for Cecil). The 2015 Blue Jays have one of the most prolific offenses in decades, but are being sabotaged by their own relievers. It’s time for a change.
3. One Crazy Game
There’s no secret that the Blue Jays and Orioles don’t like each other. The rivalry stems back a few years but has exploded this season. The key cog in the feud is Jose Bautista, and Baltimore’s continuing persistence on hitting him. Recall earlier this year when Bautista was thrown at twice by Oriole pitching, and responded with home runs on each occasion. Well, he didn’t get a chance to go deep on Friday, as he was plunked in the bottom of the first inning. Bautista and Adam Jones got into a shouting match, Gibbons was ejected after warnings were issued to both benches, and then things went haywire. Trailing 5-0 in the 8th the Orioles came alive to make a game of it, before Roberto Osuna was ejected for hitting Adam Jones. The ejection was ludicrous (it brought the tying run to the plate), and also dropped the Jays down to their third string manager. The fireworks continued in the 9th when Cecil hit Chris Parmalee, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed. (Oh yeah – lost in the shuffle was the fact that Marco Estrada took a no-hitter into the 8th in the best start of his career). The Jays and Orioles won’t meet again until September. Mark that on your calendars.
Player of the Week
Jose Bautista, RF
He has awoken. 8 for 20, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 R, 9 BB, .400 / .581 / .950 / 1.531.
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 34 – 37, 3rd place
AA – New Hampshire: 31 – 37, 5th place
A+ – Dunedin: 31 – 37, 5th place
A – Lansing: 42 – 28 , 1st place
The Look Ahead
The Jays visit their house of horrors before coming home to face the surprising Rangers.
June 22-24 at Tampa Bay
June 26-28 vs. Texas