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 14.
Week 14: July 6 – July 12
Record: 2 – 5
Season-to-date: 45 – 46
AL East: 4th, 4.5 GB of New York
Wild Card: 4 GB of 2nd Wild Card (Houston)
1. Giving It All Back
The Jays turned their season around in early June with that amazing 11-game winning streak. They were winning games in every way imaginable and it was fun to watch. But I have long preached the importance of sustaining success after a winning streak. Good teams are the ones that continue to play good baseball at the end of a streak; bad teams are the ones that go right back to the bad tendencies that plagued them before the streak. Sadly, that is what has happened to the Blue Jays. Sloppy defense has returned. Bad starting pitching has returned. Woeful performances out of the bullpen have returned. Terrible situational hitting has also returned, with players failing to drive in a runner at third with less than two outs time after time after time. All told, the Blue Jays have gone 11-16 since the winning streak ended. They have given back all the ground they made up, given back all the momentum they acquired, and even given back a lot of the hope and good will they had built with the fanbase. The season is by no means over, but I think the All-Star break came at exactly the right time for this squad. Even more than fresh legs, they require fresh minds for the second half.
2. Up and Down Reyes
It was a rough week for Jose Reyes. His much maligned fielding resurfaced in a big way, as the shortstop made four errors in the week, directly leading to a couple of losses. He now has committed 10 errors in 60 games, a full season pace of 27 errors, which would be by far a career high. His dWAR is currently -0.5, and his defensive runs saved metric is a poor -8. At the same time however, it was also a great week for Jose Reyes. He recorded at least one hit in all six games he played, posting a .370 average with four stolen bases. His season average is now up to .283 and his OPS to .703. He has also stolen 14 bases and only been caught once. It seems clear that Reyes is no longer the MVP calibre force he was as a Met, but as shown by his solid hitting he is still a high quality player. Fans who are screaming for his release need to remember that. But perhaps we might see Ryan Goins as a late inning defensive replacement a little more often in the second half.
3. A Full Season Summarized By One Game
That would be Sunday’s 11-10 loss in Kansas City. As has happened more often than not, the starting pitching was awful. Felix Doubront surrendered six runs in the first inning and once again the Jays were facing a huge deficit. But as they have done several times before, not only did the offense bail them out, it did so in a huge way. An 8-run sixth inning was enough to give the Jays the lead, and hopefully propel them into the break on a positive note. But, sadly, as has also happened so often this season, the bullpen collapsed again. Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup (with a little help from Reyes) gave KC the lead right back in the 6th, and then Bo Schultz surrendered a HR in the 8th to seal the deal. It was a heartbreaker – a game that the Jays had no business winning but should have won anyways. In regular times, this game would be remembered as a one-off, a wild rollercoaster of a loss. But this year, games like this keep happening over and over. As it stands, it is a microcosm of the season as a whole.
Player of the Week
Jose Reyes, SS
Tough week in the field, but great at the dish: 10 for 27, 4 R, 4 RBI, 1 2B, 4 SB, .370 / .393 / .407 / .800
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 45 – 46, 3rd place
AA – New Hampshire: 45 – 42, 4th place
A+ – Dunedin: First Half (complete): 32 – 38, 5th place; Second Half: 8-11, 4th place
A – Lansing: First Half (complete): 42 – 28 , 1st place; Second Half: 9-10, 6th place
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: 8-18, 4th place
The Look Ahead
They return from the break with a set at home against the pesky Rays.
July 17-19 vs. Tampa Bay