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 25.
Week 25: September 21 – 27
Record: 5 – 1
Season-to-date: 90 – 65
AL East: 1st, 4 ahead of New York
Wild Card: N/A
Finally, after 22 long years, the Toronto Blue Jays are back in the playoffs! The Jays officially clinched a postseason birth after Saturday’s 10-8 win over the Rays, ending the longest drought in North American professional sports. After promising that the celebration would be muted (after all, it’s the AL East we want, not the Wild Card), the players erupted for a massive celebration in the club house, and who can blame them. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were two of the longest serving MLB players without a playoff game on their resumes. Dickey and Hawkins and Buehrle are veteran guys who might not get another opportunity. When you have a chance to celebrate, take it! And the best part is, with a magic number of 4 to claim the AL East, there could very well be more celebrating to come.
- An Absolute Classic
The stars aren’t quite aligned just yet, but things appear to be falling in place for a potential Toronto – New York ALDS showdown. If Toronto finishes ahead of KC and the Yankees win the Wild Card game (both clearly not givens), the two long time rivals would square off in the playoffs for the first time ever. And after what happened in Toronto last week, it would have the makings of a classic. The Yankees arrived at the Rogers Centre for a Monday night game with the division very much in the balance. The Jays held a 2.5 game lead and knew that a New York sweep would drop them to second. The Yankees were very much aware that it was there last chance to gain ground head-to-head. The two clubs delivered one of the most intense and pressure-packed three game series in years. Monday night saw David Price deliver a gem, Brett Cecil put out a fire in the 8th and the Jays come away with a 4-2 win. Tuesday night saw Dioner Navarro deliver a game tying bomb in the 9th, only to see the Yanks take it in extras. Then on Wednesday, a 1-0 Jays lead was quadrupled by Russell Martin’s biggest home run as a Blue Jay, in perhaps the best moment of the entire season. Three incredible games in three incredible days. As a fan, you can’t ask for anything more than that.
- The Week of the Homer
The Toronto Blue Jays are a power hitting ball club. Their 222 home runs are the most in all of baseball, and they have been swatting balls out of the park all season long. But this past week produced quite possibly three of the most iconic home runs of the season. Tuesday night’s blast by Navarro tied the game in the 9th inning and came against one of the nastiest closers in baseball. Wednesday’s three-run blast by Martin for intents and purposes ended New York’s chances at claiming the division. And yesterday’s walkoff blast by Josh Donaldson was the perfect ending to the home schedule, and set off an absolutely wild scene on the field and in the stands. With more home playoff games to come, perhaps we’ll see a few more iconic blasts in October, hopefully one to match Joe Carter’s bomb from 1993.
Player of the Week
Kevin Pillar, CF
A massive week from a guy who has cemented himself as a key cog in the lineup: 11-for-21, 3 BB, 4 R, 6 RBI, 5 2B, 2 HR, .524 / .583 / 1.048 / 1.631
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
The season wraps up with seven on the road.
September 28 – October 1 at Baltimore
October 2-4 at Tampa Bay