Every Monday during the 2016 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 5.
Week 5: May 2 – 8
Record: 4 – 3
Season-to-date: 16 – 17
AL East: 4th, 3.5 games behind Baltimore
Wild Card: 2.5 games behind Texas
- One Step Forward…..
The Jays squared off against the Texas Rangers in a highly anticipated rematch of last year’s thrilling ALDS. For Toronto fans hoping that the much hyped series would breath some life into the moribund Blue Jays, they certainly got their wish. After losing a tough one on Monday, the Jays bounced back with two straight walk-off wins. On Tuesday, Justin Smoak tied the game with a HR in the 9th and then won it with a bomb in the the 10th. On Wednesday, Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with a 2-run shot in the 6th before Russell Martin delivered a walk-off single in the 9th. Then on Thursday, finally, at long last, the bats awoke. Toronto pounded Derek Holland, tagging him with 11 ER in only 2.2 IP, and finished the game with 12 runs on 15 hits – both season highs. For the first time in 2016 the Blue Jays resembled the team that dominated baseball last season.
- ……Two Steps Back
And then, just as quickly as the 2015 offense re-appeared, it vanished. The Dodgers came to town and held the Jays to only 9 runs and 14 hits over the three game weekend series. With Clayton Kershaw starting on Saturday afternoon, offensive struggles would have been expected in one game, but the vaunted Jays offense was thoroughly held in check on Sunday by rookie Ross Stripling. But what’s of a bigger concern has to be Toronto’s bullpen. Nursing a 2-1 lead in the 8th inning, Drew Storen entered the game and promptly gave up a walk and a double. Not even the great Osuna could escape that jam. LA took the lead before padding it in the 9th off of Chavez, Girodo, and Floyd. Toronto has now lost seven times when leading or tied in the 8th inning, a terrible and unexpected result when considering the revamped bullpen. Now with Brett Cecil heading to the paternity list, things might get worse before they get better.
- Estrada to the Rescue
Lost among the scuffles of the bullpen and the offense is the incredible start to the season by Marco Estrada. Thought by many to be a prime candidate for regression, Estrada has instead started the season even better than he finished last year. In two starts last week he was electric. Against the Rangers he went 6 innings and allowed only 1 run and 2 hits. Then yesterday afternoon he dominated LA for 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 8 strikeouts. For the season, Estrada is sporting a tidy 2.39 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, and has 36 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. In short, he has been dominant.
Player of the Week
Marco Estrada, SP
He seems to keep getting better: 0-0, 13 IP, 11 K, 1.38 ERA, 0.62 WHIP
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 13 – 17, 6th place, 4.5 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 11 – 17, 5th place, 9.5 GB
A+ – Dunedin: 13 – 16, 4th place, 6 GB
A – Lansing: 16 – 11, 3rd place, 1.5 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
Heading west for the first time.
May 9 – 11 at San Francisco
May 13 – 15 at Texas