Blue Jays Weekly: Winning Streak Edition

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Jun 6, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop

Jose Reyes

(7) celebrates the win with Toronto Blue Jays right fielder

Jose Bautista

(19) at the end of a game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

With the Jays in the midst of an exhilarating 10 game win streak that’s helped to alleviate (or at least temporarily forget about) some early season woes, we’re going to take a look at which players have been big contributors to the Jays’ recent run of success. Here’s a recap of 6 Jays who have been instrumental to the Jays’ winning streak:

Jose Reyes: Reyes certainly has responded well to criticism, hasn’t he? Going into Saturday, Reyes has hit an eye popping .378/.452/.568 during the winning streak and even more impressively swiped 5 stolen bases…showing fans that he’s still got a lot of speed left in the tank. While the concerns over his defensive play are justified, Reyes continues to be an elite offensive shortstop and a sparkplug in the leadoff spot. Despite his regression in the field, the Jays are simply a much better team with Reyes in the lineup. If the Jays are to be a team that’s going to win with their offence, Reyes is an extremely valuable asset and it’s a good sign that he’s put much of the negative attention he received to rest.

Josh Donaldson: The Bringer of Rain continues to impress in his first year as a Blue Jay and has been sitting among the league leaders in WAR for over a month (per Fangraphs he’s now second in the MLB, behind only Bryce Harper). Going into Saturday, Donaldson has collected 15 hits to post a .385/.405/.564 slash line during the winning streak and is certainly an imposing threat to opposing pitchers hitting between Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista.  For the year, Donaldson is 4th in the big leauges in WPA at 3.04 and certainly has been every bit the player the Jays envisioned when they traded for the potential MVP candidate this offseason.

Mark Buehrle: During the winning streak Buehrle has had 2 starts, tossing 15 innings (including a complete game shutout against the dangerous Washington Nationals lineup) that have only yielded 2 earned runs (both on solo home runs against the Miami Marlins). Over these two starts, the south paw has recorded a miniscule 1.20 ERA and a very respectable 3.67 FIP.  Though it hasn’t counted towards the 9 game winning streak, Buehrle’s start on May 29th was also a complete game in a victory against the Minnesota Twins. With 2 complete games in his last 3 starts (all resulting in Jays wins) Buehrle has been able to pitch deep into games and provide the bullpen with valuable rest and a reduced workload.

Jose Bautista: Finally 100% healthy again, Bautista has been a force in the Jays lineup during the win streak. Going into Saturday, Bautista has hit 4 home runs and registered 8 RBI’s while hitting .303/.429/.667 with a very Bautista-esque 1.095 OPS during the winning streak. The home runs are a welcomed sight for Jays fans, as there was some concern over whether his lingering shoulder injury was having an impact on his power generated at the plate. These concerns appear to be in the past, and Bautista looks to have returned to his perennial All-Star form. With Jose Reyes on fire and Josh Donaldson continuing to hit everything, the fearsome Jays batting lineup looks to have kicked into full gear.

Justin Smoak: With Bautista back in right field, Smoak has benefited from regular plate appearances and has impressed at the plate during the 10 game winning streak. Smoak has featured in 9 of the wins and going into Saturday has hit .348/.423/.826 with a huge 1.249 OPS during the winning streak. In his 8 seasons in the big leagues, Smoak has gained a reputation of being a power hitter that hasn’t been able to hit for average and that struck out far too often. This year he is showing signs of improvement at the plate and while he may eventually slide back to his career .226 batting average, Smoak still has significant value as a power bat and defensive first baseman that allows the injury prone Edwin Encarnacion to get off the field as the DH.

Liam Hendriks: Although perhaps not as noticeable as other contributors, Hendriks has been at his best during the winning streak. Including Saturday, the Aussie has had 4 appearances, pitching 7.0 innings without giving up a run and recording 6 strikeouts. Hendriks has been a welcomed surprise for the Jays’ bullpen and is slowly becoming a trusted arm in late game situations for John Gibbons. The starting pitching has improved during the winning streak, but when Hendriks has been handed the ball he certainly has impressed. With Roberto Osuna beginning to show that he’s only a 20 year old rookie, Hendriks may have earned himself more high leverage innings with his recent success on the mound.

Next: Steve Tolleson and Devon Travis nearing return

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