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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 11.
- Winning is Fun!
So that’s what winning feels like! After losing twice to the Yankees early in the week – losses that dropped them to 1-7 in the last 8 and 9-23 since May 2 – the Jays rebounded in a big way by sweeping four straight from the woeful Baltimore Orioles. The sweep included a bit of everything: two walkoffs (including one on a walkoff walk), ninth inning dramatics, solid pitching, and an offensive eruption. Yesterday’s 13-3 blowout was the first time Toronto had reached double digits in runs since May 16th in New York against the Mets, and was only the second time since May 26th they managed to score more than 5. The Jays are now 6-1 against Baltimore this year, and it’s a shame they couldn’t face the O’s instead of the Yankees and Red Sox. Toronto is a pitiful 5-14 against the AL East leaders and a solid 25-21 against the rest of baseball.
- Is This the Real Grichuk?
When Toronto acquired Randal Grichuk in the offseason it generated some genuine excitement in the fan base. The consensus was that although Grichuk would never have a great OBP, he might be able to put up 30 HR playing at the Rogers Centre. But after the first month of the season those predictions were wildly inaccurate. In the 25 games he played before being placed on the DL he was hitting .106 with a .435 OPS, 2 HR, and 24 strikeouts – nearly a third of his plate appearances. He was activated on June 1 and after going 0-for-5 in his first two games Grichuk finally resembles the player the Blue Jays thought they were getting. In his last 6 games he has posted a .435 average and 1.437 OPS while slugging 3 HR, driving in 8 runs and scoring 7 times. So which is the real Grichuk? Hopefully the answer is somewhere closer to his recent performance.
- Quality Starters
After two months of poor performance, the Blue Jays rotation has finally awoken. Marco Estrada pitched six strong innings yesterday to extend the rotation’s streak of consecutive quality starts to seven. Estrada in particular has looked terrific his last two outings, allowing only 3 runs and 1 walk while striking out 15 batters in 12 total innings. J.A. Happ continued his strong season with a great start on Friday, Sam Gaviglio has come out of nowhere, Aaron Sanchez is slowly turning his season around, and Jaime Garcia chipped in with a gem of his own. In the past seven starts Toronto’s rotation has posted a 1.42 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 2.5 K/BB ratio. The turnaround has proven that winning is much, much easier with good starting pitching.
Player of the Week
Randal Grichuk, OF
8-for-19, 1 BB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, .421 / .476 / .842 / 1.318
Down on the Farm
A look at how the minor league affiliates are doing
Reminder: Better Days Are Ahead
Stats as at June 10 (AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
The Look Ahead
June 11 – 13 at Tampa Bay Rays
June 15 – 17 vs. Washington Nationals