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 24.
Week 21: September 14 – 20
Record: 3 – 3
Season-to-date: 85 – 64
AL East: 1st, 2.5 ahead of New York
Wild Card: N/A
- Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy
After playing such great fundamental baseball for so long, the Jays were probably due for a dud or two. And if you want to look on the bright side, I guess you can say it’s better that the duds came against the Red Sox and not the Yankees (or in the playoffs). But make no mistake: this weekend series was a bit of a disaster. On Saturday the as-of-late sure-handed bullpen imploded in the ninth inning, surrendering five runs to turn a 4-2 lead into a 7-4 deficit. Then on Sunday the airtight defense that we have grown accustomed to fell apart. Jays defenders committed three errors and missed several other plays that eventually proved costly in a 4-3 defeat. The mistakes were further magnified with the Yankees winning both of their weekend games against the Mets, trimming Toronto’s lead to a less comfortable 2.5 games. With the Yankees in town tonight for the final three head-to-head games this season, the Blue Jays need crisper defense and sharper relief work if they are to keep driving towards the AL East title.
- Estrada Keeps Rolling
Ho-hum – just another dominant outing from Marco Estrada. The righty continued his outstanding 2015 season with a complete shut down of the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night, surrendering only 3 hits and 2 walks in 8 innings. Estrada has been a revelation in the rotation this year, and it’s easy to forget that he wasn’t even a part of the starting five on Opening Day. It wasn’t until Daniel Norris went down in late April that Estrada was given a chance to start, and he has made the most of his opportunity – especially lately. Since the middle of June, a span of 17 starts, Estrada has compiled a 9-5 record, 2.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and .184 batting average against, all while averaging over 6 innings per start. There have been various times this season when Dickey, Buehrle, and Hutchison were all struggling, and Price and Stroman were not here yet when Marco Estrada was (somewhat shockingly) the glue that held the starting rotation together. He has been one Toronto’s most important contributors.
- Donaldson and Bau and EE…Oh My!
What a trio. With a home run on Wednesday in Atlanta Edwin Encarnacion reached the 100 RBI plateau, becoming the third member of the Blue Jays with 30 HR and 100 RBI this season! They became the third set of Blue Jay teammates to accomplish the feat joining Jose Canseco, Carlos Delgado, and Shawn Green in 1998, and Delgado, Tony Batista, and Brad Fullmer in 2000. What’s most impressive is that Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion accomplished the feat in 2015, a season where run scoring is down across the board. In 1998 there were 29 30 HR / 100 RBI players, and in 2000 there were 38 such players. This year, with only two weeks left in the regular season, there are only 6: the Blue Jays and then Chris Davis, Nolan Arenado, and Yoenis Cespedes. Realistically there might be a chance for 6-7 more to join the club, but that still is about a third of the total that reached those milestones in 2000. All of which makes the season turned in by Toronto’s Super Three that much more impressive.
Player of the Week
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH
Took a day to rest his finger, then destroyed baseballs again: 8-for-19, 3 BB, 5 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, .421 / .500 / .737 / 1.237
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: missed playoffs
AA – New Hampshire: missed playoffs
A+ – Dunedin: missed playoffs
A – Lansing: Semi-Finals vs. West Michigan, lost series 2-1
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: missed playoffs
The Look Ahead
A HUGE AL East showdown.
September 21-23 vs. New York
September 25-27 vs. Tampa Bay