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 11.
Week 11: June 12 – June 18
Record: 2 – 3
Season-to-date: 33 – 35
AL East: 5th, 5.5 games behind New York
Wild Card: 2 games behind Tampa Bay
Try as they might, the 2017 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays just can’t reach the .500 mark. On Tuesday they tried for the sixth time to break even at home against Tampa Bay, but dropped the game 8-1 to the Rays. Then on Friday night the Jays welcomed the White Sox to town with opportunity number seven to reach .500. But they dropped their seventh straight contest in .500 games, this one an 11-4 thumping. It remains a huge hurdle that this squad has yet to overcome. One gets a feeling that all they need to do is break through that barrier, and once through a huge run awaits. But getting there has proven to be the toughest part. At 33-35, the Jays will hopefully have an eighth crack it early next week.
- Lefties Starting to Shine
Entering the season, Toronto’s rotation was expected to be a major strength. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case. As of this morning, Toronto’s starting pitchers have posted a 4.48 ERA, 7th best in the American League. Obviously injuries have played a major part, with Sanchez, Happ, and Liriano all missing time. So it was with great relief when both LHP were activated from the DL in recent weeks, and with greater joy when Happ and Liriano were effective in their most recent starts. Liriano pitched 7 innings allowing only 2 ER, 5 H, and 2 BB while striking out 9 on Wednesday, and has posted a 3.71 ERA in his three starts since returning. Happ pitched into the seventh inning yesterday, allowed 3 ER, struck out 9 and didn’t walk a batter. He has now won two straight starts. With Estrada and Biagini scuffling in recent weeks, the Jays are going to need Liriano and Happ to continue to pitch well in order to reach .500 and beyond.
- 2017 Draft
The MLB draft was held last week and by all accounts the Blue Jays did very well. With their first pick Toronto took SS Logan Warmoth from the University of North Carolina, and added RHP Nate Pearson from Central Florida Community College with their supplemental first round pick. Although it will take years for either player to make an impact, both selections received an “A” grade from Bleacher Report, for what that’s worth. The most interesting selection Toronto made was picking Kacy Clemens in the eighth round. Kacy is the son of Roger Clemens who obviously spent two very good (and likely chemically enhanced) years as a Blue Jay.
Player of the Week
Kendrys Morales, DH
Another big week for Morales, which included an absolutely mammoth HR yesterday: 6 for 21, 1 2B, 4 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .286 / .286 / .762 / 1.048
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 34 – 34, 4th place, 10.5 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 28 – 39, 6th place, 17 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 33 – 33, 4th place, 2.5 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 37 -29, 4th place, 7.5 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: 2 – 2, T-2nd place, 1 GB
The Look Ahead
A seven game road trip against recent playoff foes. Watch for fireworks.
June 19 – 22 at Texas
June 23 – 25 at Kansas City