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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 6.
- House of Horrors
When John Gibbons called Tampa’s Tropicana Field Toronto’s personal “house of horrors” last week, he wasn’t issuing a ground breaking statement. In fact, he was simply confirming what Jays fans have long known: playing in Tampa Bay is terrible. Toronto dropped 2-of-3 in Tampa over the weekend, dropping their franchise record to 73-106. That .408 winning percentage is Toronto’s worst road mark against any team in the AL. That’s right: even considering the 10-15 year stretch of dominant Yankee and Red Sox teams, and a decade of abject futility by the Rays, the Jays have still fared better in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park than the Trop. In fact, Toronto has only posted a winning record in Tampa Bay four times in 20 seasons, and are now off to a 1-2 start in 2018. The next stop in Tampa is June 11th – prepare for more nightmares.
- Donaldson Returns
Josh Donaldson made his welcome, if somewhat surprising, return to the lineup last week, just in time for Thursday’s doubleheader in Cleveland. It was expected that Donaldson might spend 7-10 days on a rehab assignment but he returned after only a few games and it didn’t take him long to contribute. Josh went 4-for-11 with two doubles, two home runs, and three RBI against the Indians, helping the Jays to a win the matinee game. The trip to Tampa Bay didn’t go as smoothly (which is no surprise – see above), but having the perennial MVP-candidate back in the middle of the lineup is a huge boost to Toronto’s playoff chances.
- Roster Madness
Thanks to some terrible weather that pummeled much of the US and Canada in mid-April, the Blue Jays were forced to play 21 games in the past 20 days, a stretch that included two doubleheaders and just a single off day. Add to that injuries suffered by Randal Grichuk and Steve Pearce, and you have a staggering number of roster moves made by Ross Atkins. The Jays GM made 24 (!) moves last week alone, making full use of the disabled list (for Pearce and Grichuk), the paternity list (Justin Smoak), the doubleheader 26th man rule (Josh Donaldson), and Buffalo (Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith Jr., Luis Santos, Tim Mayza, Joe Biagini, Carlos Ramirez, Jake Petricka, Gift Ngoepe, and Richard Urena). The turnover was so constant that moves were sometimes made within games. Forget about trying to figure out who’s in the starting lineup; fans now get to guess who’s even on the big league club! With all makeup games out of the way, hopefully things settle back down to a normal pace. Then again, with Diaz injuring his ankle yesterday, perhaps more moves are on the way….
Player of the Week
13-for-35, 2 BB. 3 2B. 2 HR, 5 R. 8 RBI, .371 / .405 / .629 / 1.034
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
Reminder: Better Days Are Ahead
Stats as at May 6 (AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
The Look Ahead
May 8 – 10 vs. Seattle Mariners
May 11 – 13 vs. Boston Red Sox