The good times are rolling in Blue Jays land as Toronto looks for the four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins later tonight before heading off to New York. Now 4.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East and holding a 1.0 game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Wild Card, the Blue Jays are surging. In today’s Morning Brew, we get you set for your day with stories on a healthy Edwin, an unlikely Minor League arm and the Jays’ newest money printer.
Business is booming – The Rogers Centre has been bumping since the Blue Jays made their big additions. A buzz has returned to Toronto that’s rarely, if ever, been seen this the early-90s. Along with this comes ticket sales and merchandise sales, and John Lott of the National Post tells us both have shot through the roof over the past two weeks.
On the day Toronto acquired David Price and the following day, the Jays sold a total of 64,000 tickets. When you consider that an average day sees them sell 3,500 to 5,000 tickets, that number is astounding. Lott also reports that jersey and merchandise sales have been up 40%. Now, these don’t instantly become “David Price Dollars”, but they certainly don’t hurt.
Playoff odds update – Ian Hunter of Blue Jays Hunter updated us with some exciting numbers prior to Wednesdays game. Entering play the Jays were given a 65.1% chance of making the playoffs by Baseball Prospectus, a number that has steadily risen since the deadline. Keep in mind that the AL East isn’t out of the question, either.
Chris Smith profile – Quin Barry of SB Nation’s Minor League Ball gives us a great profile on Chris Smith, an unlikely member of the Dunedin Blue Jays. After converting to the mound in college, his professional path has been challenging. After allowing a game-deciding grand slam in his first inning of professional ball with the Lake Erie Crushers he was released, and no teams called. For a year.
He received his next opportunity from the Traverse City Beach Bums. Yes, the Beach Bums. The contract he signed with the Bums earned him a grand total of $0.00. After bouncing around in Independent League ball, he’d miss a year with a broken forearm before ending his storybook journey back in pro ball with the Dunedin Jays.
“I once thought that I wasn’t panned out for pro ball. But now I know I have the ability,” Smith says. “I just need the opportunity. In baseball, they love these young guys, but I’m a young 26-years-old.”
Edwin heating up – Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi brings us an update on Edwin Encarnacion, who has been swinging a hot bat since the All Star Break. A lot of that has to do with Encarnacion getting past shoulder and groin injuries. Now that his body is right, the slugger expects a big stretch run.
“I’ve been swinging at the ball too hard and that’s not the way I swing. I try to stay short, that’s what I’ve been trying to do the last couple of weeks, after the all-star game it’s been working more for me.”