When was the last time you had this much fun being a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays? After sweeping the Minnesota Twins in four game at the Rogers Centre to punch their way into an AL Wild Card spot, the Blue Jays’ weekend sweep of the New York Yankees in the Bronx has pulled them within 1.5 games of the AL East. That’s 6.5 games gained on the Yankees in just two weeks.
These results are even more encouraging when we examine just how the Blue Jays got it done. After a first half that saw the Jays consistently fall short in tight or low-scoring games, Toronto slammed the door shut twice in New York by winning the bullpen battle. The times are a changin’ in the AL East, and to kick off this baseball-free Monday in Toronto, here’s your Morning Brew.
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Price’s incredible arsenal – Kyle Matte of Capital Jays put together this great breakdown of David Price‘s pitching arsenal, one which he considers to be incredibly unique because, unlike many ace-level pitchers, it lacks “one of those single, pre-eminent gas-cans of a pitch.”
You’ll find a pitch-by-pitch look at Price’s fastball, two-seamer/sinker, cutter, curveball and changeup. What stood out most to me was the growing success that Price has found with his changeup since 2010, as his usage of the pitch has steadily risen from 4.74% that season to 22.40% in 2015.
Jays rotation flexibility – There’s been a ton of discussion surrounding Toronto’s starting rotation, which now features four very comfortable options and one Drew Hutchison. Scott MacArthur of TSN expects the rotation to stay on it’s regular rotation for this trip through, but the key game is next Sunday against the New York Yankees in Toronto.
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With Hutchison due to start that game, there’s a chance that Toronto uses this off day to shake up the rotation next weekend and avoid using their coldest starter against the East-leading Yanks. “We’ll make the adjustments as we go,” Walker said of Hutchison. “Right now our plan is to keep him in the rotation and keep him every fifth day or as close to it as possible. He’s certainly capable of giving us a quality start and winning a ballgame.”
2015 vs. 1993 – When a Blue Jays team flirts with playoff baseball, they are inevitably compared to the great Jays team of 1993. This current roster has sparked that conversation again, but as Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun tells us, even a star of the ’93 team is willing to bet against himself. “This one is better,” Roberto Alomar says.
Former Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen likes what he sees, too. “This lineup has more power than we did. But White, Alomar, Molitor and Henderson had better speed. The base-running advantage would go to the older team. Both teams have real deep lineups. We had Ed Sprague who became a 20-homer guy hitting eighth. This year’s team has a great hitter in Kevin Pillar eighth. This team is intimidating for an opposing pitcher. Explosive.”
Alomar also gives a gold star to GM Alex Anthopoulos. “Alex has done what needed to be done. He knew that, when there is a time to go, you go for it. Those chances don’t always come twice. I feel honoured he gave me a shout to ask about a couple of things. Adding these players … this is what everyone wanted.”