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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 5.
- Ace Happ
Entering the 2018 season the Blue Jays strength was supposed to be their rotation, primarily for the potential of having two aces: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. But through the first month of the season, J.A. Happ has stolen the “ace” label and might not give it back. He was sensational in two starts last week, first dominating the Red Sox and then snapping Toronto’s four-game losing streak by completely overwhelming Texas. Happ pitched seven innings in each start, allowed only three earned runs, and struck out a whopping 19 batters. Perhaps most impressive is that he didn’t walk a single hitter. He is currently tied for 1st in the AL with 4 wins, 3rd with a 12.5 K/9 ratio, 2nd with 50 strikeouts, and 3rd with a 7.14 K/BB rate. In short, he has been awesome and has transitioned into the ace the Jays didn’t know they needed.
- Travis to the Minors
Devon Travis began the season as the Jays leadoff hitter, and while there were question marks surrounding him, they focused more on his inability to stay healthy, not his inability to produce. But Travis has endured a nightmare start to the season, with his disappointing performance culminating with a demotion to the minor leagues on the weekend. Through 18 games, Travis is hitting just .148, has only three extra base hits, and his OPS is a minuscule .458. He is also ranked 261st out of 265 AL players with a -0.7 WAR. Despite his struggles, Toronto still has high hopes for Travis, and his demotion was mainly due to the fact that he has options remaining and not as a punishment. After all, this is a guy who hit .130 last April and rebounded with a .364 May. Hopefully he can iron out his swing in Buffalo and return to the big league club with a vengeance.
- Trouble With Contenders
The general rule of thumb for contending teams in any sport is to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat and hold your own against the best. For the Blue Jays, this means beating up on weak teams like Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Kansas City, and others, and playing .500 baseball against true contenders like Boston, New York, Cleveland, and the like. Despite a minor slip-up against the Rangers this past weekend, the Jays were doing exactly what they needed to against the weak teams, going 10-5 and winning four-of-five series. The concern lies in their play against the top teams. The Jays lost two-of-three at home to the Red Sox last week, on the heels of dropping three-of-four in Yankee Stadium. Including their win in Cleveland the Jays are currently 5-7 against winning teams, a .416 winning percentage that won’t be good enough moving forward. With 49 games remaining against Boston, New York, Washington, Houston, Anaheim, and Cleveland, that percentage needs to climb closer to .500 for the Jays to truly have a chance at October.
Player of the Week
J.A. Happ, SP
2 starts, 1 – 0, 14 IP, 3 ER, 19 K, 0 BB, 1.93 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 12.2 K/9
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
Reminder: Better Days Are Ahead
Stats as at April 29 (AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
The Look Ahead
April 30 – May 2 at Minnesota Twins
May 3 – doubleheader at Cleveland Indians (makeup games)
May 4 – 6 at Tampa Bay Rays