Every Monday during the 2017 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 3.
Week 3: April 17 – April 23
Record: 3 – 3
Season-to-date: 5 – 13
AL East: 5th, 7.5 games behind Baltimore
Wild Card: 5.5 games behind Boston
For the first time in 2017 the Jays finished a week with fewer than five losses. After back-to-back 1-5 weeks to start the year, Toronto split six games against the Red Sox and the Angels to push its winning percentage above the .200 mark. It certainly wasn’t pretty, but there were some signs of encouragement. For the first time all season the Jays showed some fight, twice coming from behind in the 8th inning to win on Friday and Sunday. They also battled back on Thursday with a 9th inning HR by Kendrys Morales off of Craig Kimbrel to force extra innings against Boston. Jose Bautista finally hit his first HR of the season on Friday, Devon Travis broke out yesterday, and Russell Martin pushed his batting average to .149. Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done but at least we are finally seeing some steps in the right direction.
- Bullpen Woes Continue
While the team as a whole is making forward progress, the same can’t be said of the bullpen. The Jays have already used 13 different relievers and most of them have looked really, really bad. As a unit, Toronto’s ‘pen ranks 10th in the AL with a 4.40 ERA. and 10th with a 1.32 WHIP. They have walked 26 batters (fifth most in the AL), and converted only 3 of 7 save opportunities. Most concerning is that Roberto Osuna hasn’t looked right and Jason Grilli has looked awful with a 7.11 ERA. Thank goodness for Joe Biagini (0.69 ERA in 13 IP), Danny Barnes (2 baserunners allowed in 3.2 IP), and Joe Smith (12 K in 7.2 IP). Hopefully their success will rub off on the rest of the guys.
- The Stro Show
Much was expected from Marcus Stroman this year, especially after his dominating performance in the World Baseball Classic. After a solid start to the season, Stroman was absolutely crushed by Boston on Tuesday night ,surrendering 11 hits and 6 runs in less than 5 innings. It left many wondering if that start would cause an early season regression for the streaky pitcher. Well Stroman answered his doubters in a huge way on Sunday by throwing his second complete game of the season against the Angels. He needed only 99 pitches to get 27 outs, allowing only 7 hits and a walk. He was also able to keep his composure despite a couple of egregious decisions by home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus. Stro’s performance has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing start for the Blue Jays.
Player of the Week
Kevin Pillar, CF
He extended his hitting streak to 11 games after a huge week: 10 for 27, 3 2B, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, .370 / .393 / .704 / 1.097
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 11 – 4, 1st place
AA – New Hampshire: 7 – 9, 5th place, 3 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 9 – 9, 4th place, 3 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 9 -8, T-2nd place, 1 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
Pitchers get to hit!
April 24 at LA Angels
April 25 – 27 at St. Louis
April 28 – 30 vs. Tampa Bay