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 15.
Week 15: July 11 – July 17
Record: 1 – 2
Season-to-date: 52 – 42
AL East: 3rd, 3 games behind Baltimore
Wild Card: 1 ahead of Houston
- Same Old Problems
The Jays were rolling heading into the All-Star break, winners of 8 of 9. The issues that plagued the team from mid-May to early-June seemed to be a thing of the past. And then the second half started, and back came the same old problems: a bad Marcus Stroman, an inconsistent R.A. Dickey, and a leaky bullpen. On Friday night Stroman was staked to an early 7-3 lead but surrendered home runs to Josh Reddick, Khris Davis, and Stephen Vogt to tie the game, before Brett Cecil allowed the winning run to drop his record to 0-6. On Saturday Dickey was rocked for three HR, turning a 2-0 lead into a 5-4 loss. Then on Sunday it only took Jesse Chavez four pitches to allow two inherited runners to score as the Jays blew a 3-0 lead. Thankfully they came away with the W on Sunday, but really could have won all three. Let’s chalk it up to an All-Star break hangover, but any lasting effects might prove devastating.
- All-Star Success
Five Blue Jays were named to the AL All-Star team, and all that were eligible to play saw game action last Tuesday night. Although the contributions by the Jays were negligible – Donaldson, Encarnacion, and Saunders combined to go 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, and Sanchez allowed a run on two hits and a walk in one inning – the American League left San Diego with a 4-2 win and home field advantage in the World Series. While I personally disagree with making the All-Star game itself worth something as valuable as home field advantage, it was nice that for the first time in decades (literally), Toronto entered the break as a contender. For once, the game itself actually mattered to a Blue Jays fan.
- David Ortiz the Troublemaker
Perhaps it’s because this is his final big league season. Maybe it’s because he is playing so well. It could be because he is likable and says things with a laugh and a smile. Whatever the reason, it seems a little bit odd that nobody seems to care about what David Ortiz had to say during the All-Star festivities about Edwin Encarnacion. For those who missed it, Ortiz – on multiple occasions – stated that Boston should pursue the Jays DH in the offseason when he becomes a free agent. “There is no better replacement for me than Edwin,” he said, before adding “sorry Blue Jays fans.” In a profession where even the smallest things can lead to tampering charges, it is surprising – shocking even – that this is seemingly being pushed under the rug. Maybe it’s nothing worth fretting over, but for a star to be openly lobbying for another player while he is still under contract to another team (a division rival no less) seems upsetting.
Player of the Week
Roberto Osuna, RP
Not much to choose from in a three game week, but Osuna shut the door when called upon: 2 IP, 1 SV, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 51 – 45, 4th place, 9 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 42 – 52, 5th place, 23.5 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 33 – 36, 5th place; Second Half: 17 – 8, 1st place
A – Lansing: First Half: 36 – 34, T-5th place; Second Half: 15 – 10, 3rd place, 1 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: 15 – 16, T-2nd, 1 GB
The Look Ahead
A short 5-game week
July 19 – 20 at Arizona
July 22 – 24 vs. Seattle