TORONTO- The Toronto Blue Jays are the hottest team in baseball. After matching their season-high with an 11-game winning streak for the 2nd time this season, they’ve shown that they are the most dangerous team in the MLB.
The Blue Jays continue their impressive run with a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics this past Thursday afternoon. They became the first team since the 1954 Cleveland Indians to pull off two 11-game winning streaks in one season. Two weeks ago, the Blue Jays were one game under .500 and were 8 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Now they are 12 games over .500 and leading their division.
Since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki and David Price prior to the MLB trade deadline two weeks ago, the Blue Jays have been the talk of baseball. Many people are asking, “what is going on with the Blue Jays?” Throughout their winning streak, they have executed well in every aspects of the game.
The Blue Jays’ offence continues to score a lot of runs. During their 11-game winning streak, they outscored the opposition, 59-22 and averaged 5.36 runs per game. Yes they continue to hit the long balls, but where they have really improved is in manufacturing runs. Now we see the team hitting with runners in scoring position and receiving contributions from everybody on their roster. Josh Donaldson has been productive all season, hitting .293/.408/.707 with five homers and 10 RBI during the 11-game winning span. He proves to be a legitimate candidate for AL MVP candidate.
Their starting pitching was dominant since the all-star break. They have surrendered three runs or fewer in 17 consecutive starts and posted a 2.37 ERA, which is 2nd most in the majors. While R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Marco Estrada continue to be solid in the rotation, the Jays also got a major boost by acquiring Price before the trade deadline. Drew Hutchison came off from one of his best outing last Tuesday, pitching 7 strong innings, and, only giving up 2 runs against the A’s.
During the first half of the season, the Blue Jays’ bullpen was worn out and struggled to close out ball games. That wasn’t the case during their winning streak. The Blue Jays’ new bullpen hasn’t allowed an earned run in the past 25 innings. New acquisitions Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins provide veteran leadership, while Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna prove themselves to be effective late innings relievers.
Heading to last offseason, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos emphasized on improving the team’s overall defense. They improve that dramatically with the additions of Tulowitzki and Ben Revere, which have been significant upgrades at the shortstop and left field. The team has also transformed into an outstanding defensive unit that complements a much-improved pitching staff.
It is quite an impressive run for Canada’s only baseball team in the MLB and many Blue Jays fans love it. The fan base has been waiting for their team to be successful. Since the Tulowitzki trade, over 300,000 tickets were sold (this weekend series vs. the Yankees are sold out) and the TV ratings went up dramatically, averaging 1.19 million viewers since the trade deadline. The atmosphere at the Rogers Centre is unbelievable, reminding fans of the glory days back when the Blue Jays won two World Series Championships back-to-back in 1992 and 1993. The players feel great, ownership is quite pleased and the fans have their optimism and enthusiasm after dealing many past years of mediocrity.
The Blue Jays have definitely chosen the right time to win meaningful games. Sure we can’t expect them winning all of remaining games, however we can be optimistic and they need to carry this momentum for the remainder of the season. It’s a good feeling for Blue Jays nation and it’s going to get even better if they end their 22-year playoff drought this season.