Hear that sound? You know the sound. You’ve known the sound pretty much since the beginning of this 2013 season. It’s the sound of your fridge door opening and closing. You opened it again to help numb out the pain of watching yet another bad Blue Jays loss. ::Insert Blue Jays Starting Pitcher Here:: didn’t make it through six innings of the ball game you’re watching… again. The Jays bats once again let you down in another heart breaker. You need a cold alcoholic beverage or some sort of comfort food to allow you to feel better about your life, because at the beginning of this 2013 season, you are a Blue Jays fan… and that’s a tough reality to stomach.
Hear that sound! That’s the sound of NEW life. The sound you hear is the Ka-KLINKING of a cold alcoholic beverage and resounding slaps of high fives surrounded by some of your best Blue Jays friends! That sound of life isn’t just your life that’s come back to life, but also the sound of life from the Blue Jays bats!
Since Toronto’s low point record of 10-21 on May 4th, the Jays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. It’s tough to tell because even with a 10-6 record over the last 16 games, the Jays still sit at 20-27. They’re still 7 games under .500. They’re still 8.5 games behind 1st place New York. They went 10-6 with guys like 39 year old Ramon Ortiz and former 2009 1st round minor league underachiever, Chad Jenkins, in the starting rotation.
Jays fans, I know you know the team is winning games. I know you’ve got to suddenly be feeling somewhat good about this team. How can you not?
Since May 5th, just looking at the AL East teams alone, the Blue Jays have the 2nd most runs scored (96) and the 2nd least runs allowed (78) giving them a differential of +18, best in the division during that time. That would also give the Jays the 2nd best record (just missed being the best by a measly half game) during that same span. They haven’t done this against slouch teams either. Excluding the New York Yankees (Joshua Menezes has it all here as to why they’re excluded), the Jays won series from the likes of the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants. Last night, they humiliated the Baltimore Orioles for the first win this current showdown.
It’s not just who the Jays are winning against that’s impressive, but it’s how they’re doing it. Half of their 10 wins have been by 4 runs or greater. The stat lines during this stretch have been ridiculous by some players. Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Adam Lind, and Edwin Encarnacion have been killing it.
Bautista: .370 BA, .493 OBP, 14 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 15 BB, 10 K
Cabrera: .371 BA, .403 OBP, 11 R, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 9 K
Encarnacion: .288 BA, .389 OBP, 10 R, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 10BB, 8 K
Lind: .318 BA, .403 OBP, 10 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K
Doing some easy math, that accounts for 48 of the 96 runs scored. So with all of these hot bats, who accounts for the rest of the runs? Well, then there’s the enigma that is known as Colby Rasmus (further in depth analysis to come soon.) Rasmus has inexplicably managed to drive in 10 runs of his own with a minuscule BA of .216. He also belted out three home runs, which shows he continues to all or nothing theme the Jays showed early in the season. He’s the anti-thesis to this article. When he’s played during this time, the Blue Jays have gone 9-5, yet, according to Baseball Reference, he is the only player of the players mentioned, to contribute negatively to the team winning games (-0.066 Win Probability Added.)
Make no mistake though, while the Jays are continuing to live and die by the dinger, they’re at least doing it more timely and effectively. The two series against the Rays this month are perfect examples. The Rays are considered to have a very good, if not excellent, bullpen. Tampa Bay had the lead late in all seven games this month and wound up losing four of them thanks to timely hits and home runs by Toronto. Last night against the O’s, Encarnacion put the game out of reach with a late-in-the-game grand slam.
It’s hits like these that are giving this team some character. And let’s face it – back in April we were wondering if this team even had any character. Late game, heroic wins are something a team can build around. It shows heart and mental toughness. It makes them believe in themselves and in turn, we fans start believing. When the victories start coming, maybe a playoff run isn’t such a dream after all.