May 31, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The Toronto Blue Jays take the field under an open roof at Rogers Centre at the start of their 12-2 win over Kansas City Royals.. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Blue Jays
This week, the Blue Jays had their 9 game winnings streak snapped. After sweeping, the Red Sox, Rays and A’s, the Blue Jays lost 2 in a row to the Kansas City Royals. The Royals! For me, what stood out about this recent hot streak is that they beat good teams. Each of the teams they swept are supposed to be contenders. Now, some will point to last year’s 11 game win streak and say “Look how that turned out”. Well, all I can say is that this one is different. It has a different feel. Last year, it seemed as though the players themselves could not believe the streak they were on. This year, there is a much more calm, quiet confident approach to each game. Gregor Chisholm (MLB.com) echoes this when he gives us an explanation as to why the 2014 Blue Jays are better off than a year ago. Right now, they are playing with confidence and without the stressful pressure they put on themselves last year. And, they are starting to make believers out of those who once doubted them.
At MLB.com, Anthony Castrovince is one of those believers. He explains why the Blue Jays may actually be able to contend for the AL East title. His piece mentions that the Blue Jays’ ability to win has a lot to do with the apparent crumbling of the other teams in the division.
As you’ll see as you go through this post, he is on to something.While other teams are struggling, the Blue Jays are starting to pull ahead. Here’s how:
Firstly, the performance ofEdwin Encarnacion
has been just jaw dropping. In May, he has hit 16 homeruns. 16! I don’t really need to say much more. Instead, I’m going to let the following video montage say it for me. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the following order of chicken wings:
The Blue Jays have been playing MUCH better defense this season, too! Even with theBrett Lawrie
(J-Frank) alternating at 3rd, they have managed to stay near the top of the league on defense. They have committed just 29 errors (3rd) and have a fielding percentage of .986 (2nd). That quite the turn around. To wit:
The Blue Jays are also getting great performances from their starters. Mark Buehrle is surprising everyone with his 9-1 start. He is embodying the “bend, but don’t break” idea this season. He is giving up his share of base runners, but he is being helped out by his defense and his offense. If the All Star game were this week, he’d be my choice for the starter for the American League.
Liam Hendriks and Marcus Stroman (#StroShow) have also chipped in to help. Hendriks picked up the win in his first start for the Blue Jays. As well, a Celebratory Brett Lawrie High Five goes to the #StroShow who picked up his first MLB start and win against the Royals. I’ll leave you with this Vine of Eric Hosmer to sum it up for you: