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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 3.
- Late Inning Kings
Imagine if Rob Manfred went crazy last offseason in his eternal quest to solve baseball’s pace of play issues, and decided to shorten major league games to seven innings? Games certainly would be shorter thus far in 2018, but the Blue Jays would likely be the worst team in the league. Through 14 games it is quite obvious that something magical comes over this team once the game hits the 8th inning. Last Monday Toronto scored five runs in the 9th to turn a 2-1 nailbiter into a 7-1 blowout. On Tuesday they scored single runs in the 8th and 9th to edge the O’s 2-1. Then on Friday they scored three times in the top of the 9th to finish off Cleveland. For the season Toronto has now scored 26 runs in the final two frames, or 36% of their total. With that kind of late game offense, the Jays are truly never out of any games. Watch to the end.
- Dominating Sanchez
Aaron Sanchez would probably be the first to tell you that he didn’t pitch one of his best games last Tuesday in Baltimore. He issued five walks, only struck out four batters, and only generated 10 swings and misses. But he did manage to keep Oriole hitters off balance, induce weak contact, and came within six outs of doing something that has only been done once in Blue Jay history – throw a no-hitter. He ultimately fell short due to a few Oriole hits in the bottom of the 8th, but the effort was very encouraging. Through each of his three starts his innings pitched total has increased and his earned runs allowed have decreased, a perfect combination. Jays fans everywhere would gladly accept a failed no-hit bid if it meant eight quality innings, each and every time.
- Down Goes Donaldson
Just as he was starting to heat up a bit, the Jays were forced to place Josh Donaldson on the 10-day DL last Wednesday with right shoulder inflammation. It was the same issue that plagued him on Opening Day, forcing him to spend a few days as DH. While it’s never great to lose your MVP and perennial All-Star, the timing of Donaldson’s loss couldn’t be worse. The Jays are already missing Troy Tulowitzki, and with Devon Travis struggling mightily (.079 average, .252 OPS) they now have no choice but to use their infield depth of Diaz and Solarte as injury replacements, rather than to give Travis a break to get himself sorted out. There’s no telling how long Josh will be out, but each day he misses puts more pressure on Travis.
Player of the Week
Aledmys Diaz, IF
4-for-15, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .267 / .313 / .667 / .979
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
Reminder: Better Days Are Ahead
Stats as at April 15 (AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
The Look Ahead
April 16 – 18 vs. Kansas City Royals
April 19 – 22 at New York Yankees