Embed from Getty Images
Every Monday during the 2018 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 2.
- Keep Calm
Over the past three seasons, games involving the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays were anything but calm. From the bat flip to the brawl to the playoff walkoff, these two clubs have evolved into bitter rivals. Well, maybe it’s the fact that Bautista is gone, or that the weather was cold, or that it’s simply too early in the season, but this weekend’s three game set in Texas had none of the fireworks of previous seasons. Both teams were calm, cool, and collected as the Jays took two of three to move into second in the AL East. But perhaps the calmest person in either dugout was manager John Gibbons who watched Friday and again Sunday as his bullpen nearly blew big leads. On Friday, staked to an 8-0 lead through six innings, Aaron Loup and Seung-hwan Oh allowed four runs in a single inning, forcing Osuna into the game. Then on Sunday, Loup and Oh again had a rough day, allowing four hits and an inherited runner to score in only 0.2 IP. Credit Gibbons for guiding the team to both wins, but perhaps it’s time to question whether the Jays could use a different lefty in the ‘pen.
- Two Sides of the Newcomers Coin
Through 10 games of the season, the Blue Jays have to be incredibly pleased with the performances of three of their key offseason acquisitions. Aledmys Diaz has two home runs, a .783 OPS, and has played solid defense in place of the injured Tulo. Yangervis Solarte has posted a massive 1.086 OPS, had several key hits, and is making a name for himself as the best dancer in the game. Fifth starter Jaime Garcia is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his two starts, and has struck out 12 batters against only 4 walks. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Randal Grichuk, who is off to a miserable start to his Toronto tenure. The RF is batting only .059 with a homer and a single in 34 at-bats, and he has struck out a team leading 13 times. While the Jays managed to plate 37 runs in 6 games last week, Grichuk went 0-for-20 with 8 K’s. It’s still very early, but Toronto was obviously hoping for a bigger return from Randal.
- Pleasant Backup Surprise
2017 was a nightmare year for Toronto’s backup catchers. But instead of trying to fortify the position over the winter, the front office elected to stick with Luke Maile in the role in hopes that he is able to contribute at least a bit with the bat when called upon. Well, so far so good. Maile has made three starts thus far and has looked pretty good, going 4-for-12 with 4 RBI and a .968 OPS. For context, Luke only had 19 hits in 130 AB all of last season. Obviously it’s a small sample size, but you can’t help but be pleasantly surprised so far.
Player of the Week
Roberto Osuna, RP
3.1 IP, 3 Saves, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA, .182 BAA, 0.60 WHIP
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
Reminder: Better Days Are Ahead
Stats as at April 8 (AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
The Look Ahead
April 9 – 11 at Baltimore Orioles
April 13 – 15 at Cleveland Indians