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 17.
Week 17: July 27 – August 2
Record: 4 – 2
Season-to-date: 54 – 52
AL East: T-2nd, 6 GB of New York
Wild Card: 1 GB of 2nd Wild Card (Minnesota)
1. Did That Really Happen (Part 1)?
Last Monday the Blue Jays were an underachieving and floundering team that was stuck on the fringes of the pennant race with a fanbase that was growing angrier and more hostile by the day. What a difference a week makes! Finally deciding to make some big moves and go for it, Alex Anthopoulos transformed the team and the city. By acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, LaTroy Hawkins, Mark Lowe, and Ben Revere the Blue Jays have to now be considered a contender, and the level of excitement in the city is through the roof. Attendance is up, merchandise sales are up, and most importantly expectations are up. As they should be. With Price, the Blue Jays have their first true ace since Roy Halladay, and with Tulowitzki they have a genuine superstar who can dominate both offensively and defensively. The addition of Lowe and Hawkins (not to mention Sanchez) to the bullpen gives them a lockdown force, and with the second half surge of Buehrle and Dickey, the rotation finally can provide innings. It cost a lot in terms of prospects to bring in these guys, but for a team that hasn’t reached October since 1993, it was well worth the gamble.
2. Did That Really Happen (Part 2)?
With an extra buzz going through the city, and with the defending AL Champions in town, players had to be even more amped up than normal this past weekend. There was a playoff atmosphere in the old dome, but unfortunately, the atmosphere seemed to be a little bit too intense for some come Sunday afternoon. It didn’t take long to realize that home plate umpire Jim Wolf was in way over his head and his inability to control the events on the field nearly led to a disaster. After Edinson Volquez hit Josh Donaldson in the first inning, Wolf inexplicably issued a warning to both benches. Repeat – this was the first inning. Even more inexplicably, after the Royals pitchers ignored the warning by repeatedly throwing at Donaldson (and actually hitting Tulowitzki), Wolf decided to also ignore his own warning by failing to eject Volquez, Ryan Madson, and Ned Yost. Instead, he tossed John Gibbons for trying to protect Donaldson, then proceeded to toss Aaron Sanchez and Demarlo Hale after Sanchez plunked a Royal in the 8th. That incident led to a benches clearing altercation on the field, one that very easily could have turned ugly. Wolf then proved what a real winner he was by refusing to speak to the media after the game, and letting his on-field actions speak for themselves. Those actions tell anybody watching that he is woefully unprepared for playoff baseball and should be punished for his incompetence. The weekend series also proved that Kansas City Royals fans are stupid, that Edinson Volquez is a true idiot, and that a Jays / Royals playoff series would be absolutely unbelievable.
3. Did That Really Happen (Part 3)?
Yes. Yes it did. Long live John Gibbons!
Player of the Week
R.A. Dickey, SP
The much maligned knuckleballer has been red hot lately, especially in two starts last week: 2-0, 15 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 10 K, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 56 – 53, T-2nd place
AA – New Hampshire: 55 – 50, 4th place
A+ – Dunedin: First Half (complete): 32 – 38, 5th place; Second Half: 14-22, 5th place
A – Lansing: First Half (complete): 42 – 28 , 1st place; Second Half: 19-18, T-3rd place
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: First Half (complete): 16-22, 4th place; Second Half: 3-4, T-2nd place
The Look Ahead
A huge week. The Jays face the team they are chasing for the Wild Card, and the team they are chasing for the AL East.
August 3-6 vs. Minnesota
August 7-9 at New York