Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays are ready to forget that the team was 9-17 at the end of April. Now, the Blue Jays have suddenly emerged back to the team fans know they really are. The month of May brought them back to life.
After a gloomy, and dismal start to the season, the Toronto Blue Jays turned it around in May. Toronto went 18-10, which was a win better than May 2016, and now find themselves 5 1/2 games back of first in the AL East.
The Blue Jays did have their share of injuries to players such as; Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Steve Pearce, and Aaron Sanchez who were shelved on the DL. However, the end of the month showed more positivity when Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and J.A. Happ all returned.
Fans also got to witness the debut of Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford along with the return of a former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion. The Blue Jays also won six out of nine series they played which included sweeps against the Seattle Mariners and recently against the Cincinnati Reds.
Here’s a recap of how the team did in May. The hitting and pitching stats include their League rankings.
.263 AVG (11th)
.332 OBP (12th)
.477 SLG (2nd)
.809 OPS (2nd)
As shown above, the Blue Jays hitting has dramatically improved over the course of the month. Part of that is thanks to the 49 home runs they hammered, which they ranked third in the League, and 116 wRC+, finishing second once again behind the Houston Astros.
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4.08 ERA (13th)
1.34 WHIP (15th)
BB% 9.0% (10th)
K% 24.6% (7th)
The four players above have either swung a hot bat or showed signs of improvement in the pitching department. Utility players including Ryan Goins, Chris Coghlan, and Darwin Barney deserve credit for stepping up in the absence of Donaldson and Tulo.
Travis was hitting .131 but he improved from April when he hit four home runs, 19 RBI, and a franchise-high 16 doubles in May. Bautista was in a similar situation like Travis. The 36-year old was hitting .178 then turned red hot after he hit nine home runs, 21 RBI and a slash line of .317/.412/.644/1.055.
Osuna’s 17 strikeouts also saw the closer earn eight of his 11 saves as he only allowed two earned runs the entire month. His ERA was a remarkable 1.42, which was much better than his 5.63 ERA in April.
Tepera has been the go-to guy once a starter is done for the day. He hasn’t let anyone down in that role since his ERA was a fabulous 0.54 in May. With two holds and two wins from last month, Tepera and the rest of the bullpen will try to continue their duties of maintaining leads or close scoring games.
It was a tough start for Grilli. He was the victim of two walk-off home runs against the Baltimore Orioles, although, the veteran reliever is starting to put things together once again. Grilli is starting to throw well as his fastball and breaking balls are improving. On top of that, he’s allowed two earned runs on four hits in his last six outings.
Howell has been mildly inconsistent this season. The lefty found himself on the DL for a short period of time, and the Blue Jays use their other lefty, Aaron Loup, more than Howell. Like Grilli, Howell is showing small signs of improvements. Even though he pitched just five innings in May, he carved out a mediocre 3.60 ERA and allowed two earned runs on six hits in those appearances.
The Blue Jays have yet to be above the .500 winning percentage this season. They’ll also look to build off the success going into June. It’ll be a challenge since the first place New York Yankees are in town all weekend.
All the Blue Jays can really do is nothing but continue to climb up in the AL East and the wild-card race.