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 5.
Week 5: May 1 – May 7
Record: 3 – 3
Season-to-date: 11 – 20
AL East: 5th, 10 games behind New York
Wild Card: 6 games behind Boston
- Signs of Life
It has been a miserable start to the season for the Blue Jays. The team sits in dead last in the AL East, already a whopping 10 games back of New York. But for the first time this year the club showed some signs of life last week, with the offense finally deciding to show up. Entering the week, Toronto was averaging 3.56 runs per game through the first 25 games of the year, a far cry from the lofty heights set in 2015. But in six games last week they scored 29 runs, an average of 4.83 per game. What was more promising was who was doing the damage. Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales, the two key offseason signings, combined for 5 HR, 11 RBI, and a .342 average, and Kevin Pillar continues to torch the baseball. With Donaldson and Tulo due back soon, the Jays lineup might once again look a little imposing for opposing pitchers. Now, about Bautista…..
- Rotation In Flux
This was not supposed to happen. Toronto’s starting rotation was expected to be the main strength of this team, but instead it has become a daily adventure. Happ and Sanchez are on the DL. Stroman left his start on Wednesday with tightness in his throwing arm. Liriano is about as erratic as they come, dominating at times (30 Ks) but also struggling mightily (just over 4 IP per start, and 20 walks). With the injuries the Jays were forced to ride three starts from Mat Latos, who looked serviceable in his first two before getting lit up by the Yankees on Tuesday. He was released afterwards with Mike Bolsinger taking his place. Joe Biagini looked great in a shortened spot start yesterday, but his appearance in the rotation taxes an already overworked bullpen (2nd most innings in the AL). It remains to be seen how long Happ and Sanchez will be out, but the Jays need them healthy and back ASAP. There’s no telling how much longer this patchwork rotation can last.
- Osuna Matata
After a disastrous start to the season, it appears that all is (thankfully) well with Roberto Osuna. He put up dominant numbers in 2015 and 2016, but was knocked around in his first several appearances this year, uncharacteristically blowing saves. But he looked like his normal self this past week. In three appearances, he pitched three innings, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out six, notching his fourth save in the process. With so much uncertainty in the lineup and in the rotation, it helps a ton to have Osuna back in his rock solid form.
Player of the Week
Kendrys Morales, DH
Finding his footing after a slow start: 8 for 25, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .320 / .320 / .640 / .960
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 16 – 11, 1st place
AA – New Hampshire: 10 – 19, 6th place, 8.5 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 17 – 14, 3rd place, 3 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 16 -12, 4th place, 3 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
The return of Edwin Encarnacion highlights the start of a 9-game homestand. Time to start winning some games.
May 8 – 10 vs. Cleveland
May 11 – 14 vs. Seattle