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 10.
Week 10: June 6 – June 12
Record: 4 – 3
Season-to-date: 35 – 30
AL East: 3rd, 2.5 games behind Boston/Baltimore
Wild Card: Tied with Seattle
- Somebody Woke Up…
There’s no denying that Edwin Encarnacion is a streaky hitter. There are many examples of how up and down he can be, the most well known being in 2014 when he followed a .250 AVG / .747 OPS April with a 16 HR, 1.132 OPS May. Well, it seems as though our good friend Edwin is once again on the upswing. After a miserable early half of the week (0 for 17, 1 RBI after three games against Detroit and one full game plus four at bats against Baltimore) Edwin woke up in a big, big way. In his fifth AB on Friday night he led off the 10th inning with a walk-off HR, giving the Jays a 4-3 victory, and then almost single-handedly won games on Saturday on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon EE walked in the 1st, hit an RBI double in the 3rd, walked again in the 5th, belted a 3-run HR in the 6th, then hit a solo shot in the 8th. Then on Sunday he hit an RBI single in the 1st, doubled in the 2nd, and walked in the 4th, before finally being retired in his final two plate appearances. Overall he reached base safely in eight consecutive at bats. The surge improved his season OPS from .755 on Friday morning to .817 on Sunday evening.
- Grilli Time
When the Jays acquired Jason Grilli a few weeks ago in attempt to shore up the bullpen, it was greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and a collective groan / chuckle from fans. After all, the 39-year old was last a truly dominant reliever in 2013, he was coming off a torn Achilles and was sporting a 5.29 ERA thus far in 2016. Maybe it’s because he is far enough removed from his injury, maybe the change in scenery has reinvigorated him, or maybe being reunited with Russell Martin has worked wonders on his confidence – whatever the case he looks very, very good as a Blue Jay. Granted it is a very small sample size, but in 4.2 IP Grilli has a 1.93 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 10 strikeouts, and a save. He also has suddenly taken over the team lead in highly energetic fist pumps. If he can keep up his effectiveness, it will be a huge win for the Blue Jays as Grilli provides something more important than strikeouts and saves – insurance and much needed rest for overworked closer Roberto Osuna.
- A Tale of Two Cities
Let’s play a quick game. Let’s pretend that the only thing you knew about baseball was what you learned from others, either the local or national media, or by following social media sites. From those sources, you would have learned two key stories about the AL East. The first is that the defending champion Blue Jays are having a terrible season. Troy Tulowitzki can’t hit and is hurt again. Russell Martin looks awful. Bautista, Donaldson, and Encarnacion are nothing compared to their 2015 selves. The rotation has been good but there is an innings limit on Sanchez, and Stroman has regressed significantly. The bullpen is bad, causing Osuna to carry much heavier a load than desired. The second story is that the Red Sox made some big offseason acquisitions and look tremendous. The offense is lighting the league on fire, with Betts, Bradley, Bogaerts, and Ortiz seemingly hitting at will. The rotation hasn’t looked great, but David Price is coming around, and they have plenty of prospect capital to make a deal for a starter. Seemingly nothing can go wrong in Boston. Now, make a guess as to how big of a lead Boston has over Toronto. Based solely on what is being published, an outsider would easily guess 10, 12, 15 games. But take a look at the standings this morning. After taking three of four from Baltimore, the Jays sit only 2.5 back of Boston. And that is with most of Toronto’s roster struggling and most of Boston’s roster putting up career numbers. Which horse would you rather be betting on?
Player of the Week
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
All of his damage came in 8 AB: 6 for 25, 7 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, .240 / .375 / .680 / 1.055
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 33 – 30, T-4th place, 3.5 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 28 – 34, 4th place, 16 GB
A+ – Dunedin: 27 – 35, 5th place, 12.5 GB
A – Lansing: 31 – 30, 5th place, 5.5 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
A quick break for interleague, and then straight back to the AL East…
June 13 – 14 vs. Philadelphia
June 15 – 16 at Philadelphia
June 17 – 19 at Baltimore