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 21.
Week 21: August 24 – 30
Record: 5 – 1
Season-to-date: 74 – 56
AL East: 1st, 1.5 ahead of New York
Wild Card: N/A
- Humiliating the Tigers
I feel like we’ve been saying this a lot lately, but man – talk about a beating. The Blue Jays welcomed the Tigers into Toronto over the weekend, and boy oh boy these are not the same Tigers we have grown used to in recent years. Detroit is sitting in last place in the AL Central and they played like a cellar dweller on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A team that has featured David Price, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Justin Verlander in their rotation threw out Matt Boyd, Buck Farmer, and Alfredo Simon to face baseball’s highest powered offense. And they didn’t stand a chance. The Blue Jays scored 29 runs in the three game sweep, crushing 11 home runs in the process. Despite a lineup that still contained Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Ian Kinsler, Detroit only managed to score six times, and only had one lead all weekend long (and that only lasted half an inning). It seems like there isn’t a team that the Blue Jays won’t roll over as they continue their torrid push to October. The Tigers were simply the latest victims.
- Edwin en Fuego
This is getting ridiculous. Edwin Encarnacion was featured in this column last week, with the writeup saying that he has “absolutely exploded in recent weeks.” Apparently he has no desire to slow down anytime soon. The Jays DH connected for a base hit in all six games last week to stretch his MLB best hitting streak to 25 games. He is now only three games shy of the Blue Jay franchise record set by Shawn Green in 1999. The thing that is most amazing about the streak is that Edwin is not typically a high average type of hitter, and doesn’t have the speed to beat out infield hits. He is simply crushing the baseball. On Saturday afternoon he put on one of the greatest hitting displays in all of baseball this season, connecting for three home runs and nine RBI. Toronto fans greeted his hat trick of bombs by tossing hats onto the field, hockey-style. As a result of his recent hot streak, Edwin has raised his batting average by 38 points (from .234 to .272) and his OPS a whopping 125 points (from .782 to .907), and moved into the top-10 in the AL in slugging percentage, OPS, RBI, Walks, Home Runs, and Extra Base Hits. He is simply off the charts right now.
- Welcome Back Hutch
Fresh from a two week stint in AAA Buffalo, the Jays recalled Drew Hutchison to start on Saturday. The move, while clearly an indication of where Hutch currently finds himself in the starting rotation pecking order, was mainly made to protect the young righty from having to start games on the road, where he has been absolutely awful in 2015. If Saturday’s start is any indication, it seems like the trip to the minors did him a world of good. Hutch pitched seven innings against Detroit, allowing only 1 ER, 6 hits, 0 BB, and striking out 7. In his past four starts (all at home), he has gone 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a .215 batting average against in 25.2 IP. For the first time since the end of June his season ERA has dipped below 5.00. I don’t think he has earned enough trust to be considered for a postseason rotation spot (if Toronto gets there), but he is certainly pitching his way back into the conversation.
Player of the Week
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Simply on fire. 9-for-23, 2 BB, 7 R, 17 RBI, 2 2B, 6 HR, .391 / .462 / 1.261 / 1.722
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 67 – 69, 3rd place
AA – New Hampshire: 64 – 67, 4th place
A+ – Dunedin: First Half (complete): 32 – 38, 5th place; Second Half: 25-35, 5th place
A – Lansing: First Half (complete): 42 – 28 , 1st place; Second Half: 29-32, T-5th place
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: First Half (complete): 16-22, 4th place; Second Half: 15-17, 2nd place
The Look Ahead
Six more at home as they try to extend the lead in the AL East.
August 31 – September 2 vs. Cleveland
September 4-6 vs. Baltimore