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Blue Jays AL East Recap: Jays Perched on Top

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Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) catches a foul ball for an out during the seventh inning in a game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) catches a foul ball for an out during the seventh inning in a game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Each week, Jays Journal will take a look at the bigger picture of the American League East to help frame not only where the Blue Jays are in the standings, but why they are there.

Toronto Blue Jays: 67-51
Baltimore Orioles: 66-51
Boston Red Sox: 64-52
New York Yankees: 60-57
Tampa Bay Rays: 47-69

The Toronto Blue Jays ended the week in style, beating the Houston Astros 9-2 and positioning themselves at first in the division. The Blue Jays have competed hard for first, spending most of the week leading or tied for the A.L. East lead. Though by a slim margin, the Blue Jays have been able to hang tough with the Orioles and stay very much alive in the race.

The week was a successful one for the Blue Jays. They ended their home stand 4-2, winning both series’ against the Rays and Astros. This success comes amid some unfortunate off field news, though.

Toronto lost two of their core players in Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista to the disabled list. The offence was much more lively this week, scoring four or more runs in every game but their two losses. The sudden offensive burst comes at the right moment, as the roster was struggling with Bautista and Pillar in the lineup. Joining the white-hot Devon Travis were Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin, who both had exceptional offensive weeks.

Final Takeaway:

The Blue Jays looked like the team they were meant to be this week. Dominant starting pitching combined with excellent offence. If the Blue Jays can keep up both, then they could come away with a more commanding lead down the stretch.

Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Orioles bounce back

Baltimore Orioles: 66-51

The Orioles rebounded after a rough week that saw them lose first by stunning the Giants late on Sunday and taking a series win. The series win for the Orioles came on the back of losing 3-of-4 from the Oakland Athletics.

Baltimore pitchers gave up as many runs as their offence provided them with a weekly run differential of 27-27, an oddity for the Orioles. Baltimore’s pitching was for the most part the most solid aspect of the team, it was the lack of offence that hurt the Orioles for the better part of a week. As usual, Baltimore’s bullpen was magnificent holding most of the games this week. Closer Zach Britton earned his A.L.-leading 37th save on Sunday.

The Orioles will now start a home stand that features a two-game split against the Red Sox. The last time the two clubs faced, they were battling for first place. They begin play Monday now battling to control second place. Camden Yards should be the perfect place to get Baltimore’s offence back on track.

Final Takeaway:

Baltimore will enter a crucial two game set to start the week that has many implications for a very tight A.L. East race. If they can get their offence going, they could easily swing themselves back into first place.

Next: Raking Red Sox still very much involved...

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