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 10.
Week 10: June 5 – June 11
Record: 3 – 3
Season-to-date: 31 – 32
AL East: 5th, 7.5 games behind New York
Wild Card: 1.5 games behind Cleveland/Tampa Bay
- Surviving Out West
Last week brought with it a six game road trip to Oakland and Seattle. Despite the A’s generally underachieving in recent years and games in Seattle resembling home games due to the tens of thousands of Canadians that flock there, trips to these stadiums typically bring bad news to the Jays. Since 2010 Toronto’s record in Oakland is a dismal 11-15 and in Seattle a worse 9-14. So expectations were muted. But a 3-3 week has to be considered a win, more-so when you factor in the lacklustre first two games against Oakland. Outstanding pitching by Happ, Stroman, Smith, and Osuna combined with some clutch hitting by Donaldson and Smoak enabled the club to take 2 of 3 vs. Seattle, a venue in which they had dropped 5 of 6. Also, this happened, one of the best things I have seen in years:
- Smoak is Firing
What else can we say about Justin Smoak? The much maligned 1B was left for dead by fans in the offseason, with many begging and pleading with Ross Atkins to simply release him before Opening Day. (Yes, including me). But he has done nothing but rake all season long. He kept his hot streak going last week with another huge week, hitting 4 more HR and posting an OPS of 1.353. Smoak is now in the top-10 in the American League in Slugging (.599), OPS (.956), Total Bases (124), HR (18), and RBI (43). He is one of the main reasons why the Jays are within a game of the .500 mark.
- Osuna Matata
If Smoak is red hot, Osuna should be classified as scalding. He has now registered a save in 11 consecutive appearances, including 3 last week alone. In those 3 saves, Osuna struck out 4 and needed only 27 pitches to record 7 outs. Of all AL relievers with at least 20 IP, Osuna ranks T-4th with 16 saves, 6th with a 0.84 WHIP, and 13th with 11.88 K/9. And all this from a guy who blew 3 of his first 4 save opportunities and had an ERA of 7.50 in late April. His turnaround, coinciding with the emergence of Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera, and Danny Barnes, gives Toronto one of the AL’s better bullpens.
Player of the Week
Justin Smoak, 1B
His incredible run just keeps going: 9 for 23, 2 BB, 4 R, 4 HR, 4 RBI, .391 / .440 / .913 / 1.353
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 32 – 29, 3rd place, 9 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 24 – 37, 6th place, 16 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 30 – 32, 4th place, 3.5 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 34 -26, 4th place, 6 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: season not started
The Look Ahead
The team returns to Toronto for a short 5-game homestand.
June 13 – 14 vs. Tampa Bay
June 16 – 18 vs. Chicago White Sox