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 12.
Week 12: June 19 – June 25
Record: 3 – 4
Season-to-date: 36 – 39
AL East: 5th, 5 games behind New York/Boston
Wild Card: 3.5 games behind Cleveland
Some things are bigger than wins and losses. Roberto Osuna has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, seemingly single-handedly rescuing Toronto’s bullpen from early season ruin. But his off-field actions last week might just be the most important thing he has done in his career. By publicly speaking up about his anxiety issues he has helped open the door for other professional athletes to come clean about any potential issues they might be dealing with. He looked great in his return to game action on Sunday, and here’s hoping he can make a full and healthy return, not only to the team, but to his life as well.
- Nightmare in KC
The 2015 version of the Kansas City Royals won the World Series using smoke and mirrors, and remain one of the worst championship teams ever. Jays fans will remember the Royals beating Toronto in the ALCS with a combination of lazy pop-ups that found holes, and broken bat opposite field singles. Well this weekend the Royals were back to their old tricks. They won on Saturday thanks to some shaky Toronto defense, but Friday was the real kicker. The Jays entered the bottom of the 9th with a 4-1 lead, and proceeded to retire two of the first three batters. With a runner on 2nd, 2 out, and three straight sub-.200 batters due up, the Jays win expectancy was 98%. Then the Royals started doing Royal things: a 9-pitch walk, a bleeder that dropped in, and two solidly struck hits later, KC walked off with a 5-4 win. In a season in which Toronto is unable to reach .500, giving away games to middling opponents is tough pill to swallow.
- RISP Woes
Of course, one of the main reasons why the Royals won that game on Friday night was their ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Sadly, this is something that has eluded the Blue Jays this season. They were up 4-1 heading into the 9th on Friday, but could easily have had more after putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 8th. The result? Back-to-back weak groundouts by Pillar and Barney. For the week, Toronto went 16 for 74 (.216) with RISP, lowering their season mark to .226, second worst in the American League. In a season where runs are seemingly harder to come by than ever, the Blue Jays are going to need to improve on that number to have any chance at making it back to the playoffs.
Player of the Week
Justin Smoak, 1B
Now a 10-game hitting streak for Toronto’s potential All-Star: 10 for 24, 4 BB, 2 2B, 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .417 / .500 / .625 / 1.125
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
AAA – Buffalo: 35 – 40, 5th place, 13.5 GB
AA – New Hampshire: 31 – 43, 6th place, 17 GB
A+ – Dunedin: First Half: 34 – 35, 4th place, 4.5 GB; Second Half: 1 – 3, T-5th, 2 GB
A – Lansing: First Half: 37 -29, 4th place, 7.5 GB; Second Half: 0 – 4, 8th place, 4 GB
A (Short Season) – Vancouver: 8 – 3, T-1st place
The Look Ahead
Back home to kick off a hellish 13-game stretch.
June 27 – 29 vs. Baltimore
June 30 – July 2 vs. Boston