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 16.
Week 16: July 18 – July 24
Record: 3 – 2
Season-to-date: 55 – 44
AL East: 3rd, 3 games behind Baltimore
Wild Card: 0.5 ahead of Houston
- Pitching Magic
Toronto came home on Friday, winners of three straight and close to taking over top spot in the AL East. They were then promptly throttled by the Seattle Mariners, losing 2-1 and 14-5 to fall back to three games behind Baltimore. Entering Sunday the Jays were reeling and really needed a huge performance from J.A. Happ to stop the bleeding. And as he has more often than not this year, he delivered. Happ, Cecil, Grilli, and Osuna combined to toss a 1-hit shutout, limiting the Mariners to only six total baserunners. Not a single Mariner reached third base. The pitching performance was huge not only because it prevented a sweep, but also because it rescued Toronto’s offense from a miserable weekend. Including Sunday’s win, the Jays managed only 7 runs on 16 hits, looking nothing like the juggernaut that obliterated the Diamondbacks.
- So Long Storen
off-season acquisition of Drew Storen was greeted by much excitement by Jays fans. With the trend being to create incredibly strong bullpens, the Jays looked to have constructed a pen to rival the Royals and Yankees for effectiveness. After all, Storen entered 2016 with a career 3.02 ERA and 95 saves, and would make the back end of Toronto’s pen unstoppable when combined with Osuna and Cecil. To say it didn’t work out would be an understatement. Storen struggled all season long. After allowing three ER on Saturday to drop his ERA to 6.21, the Jays finally pulled the plug on Drew, designating him for assignment. Osuna still looks good and Grilli has been a revelation, but Storen’s failure leaves the bullpen in a great state of flux. With the trade deadline now just one week away, pitching help should be priority #1 for Atkins and Shapiro.
- Tulo Lives!
To put it bluntly, Troy Tulowitzki was awful early this season. He was hitting .107 with a .426 OPS after his first eight games, and by May 27 he found himself on the 15-day DL sporting a .204 average and ,673 OPS. He was striking out a ton and making several uncharacteristic errors in the field. But before anybody could even think about the word “regression”, Tulo has turned things around in a big, big way. Since the calendar switched to July, he has been on fire, posting a .338 average, .902 OPS, and 6 RBI, with 6 extra base hits. He also recorded a hit in every game last week to extend his hitting streak to nine games. A healthy and productive Tulowitzki has yet to play at the same time as
a healthy and productive Bautista. With Jose set to return this week, the two of them could be key for a charge to the top.
Player of the Week
Marcus Stroman, SP
Huge bounceback effort for Stroman in Arizona: 8 IP, 1 W, 8 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 52 – 50, 4th place, 12 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 45 – 55, 5th place, 22.5 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 33 – 36, 5th place; Second Half: 18 – 13, 2nd place, 2 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 36 – 34, T-5th place; Second Half: 17 – 14, 3rd place,
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: 16 – 21, 4th, 3 GB
The Look Ahead
July ends with six more at home, including a showdown with the Orioles
July 25 – 27 vs. San Diego
July 29 – 31 vs. Baltimore