Blue Jays Morning Brew: Wild Card, Estrada, and more

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Marco Estrada
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Marco Estrada /

Jays Journal brings you a morning brew of updates, including where things stand in the Wild Card race, Marco Estrada’s status, and more.

Wild Card Race Update

After Tuesday’s games were completed, the Blue Jays remained just 3.5 games back of the second Wild Card position. With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim losing their contest, the Blue Jays’ loss didn’t hurt them in games back column, but of course there are more than just the Angels they’re chasing.

The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals are just 0.5 games back of the Angels for that second spot, so Mike Trout and company haven’t exactly secured their playoff position. Behind them are the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays, at just 1.5 games back. Rounding out the list of who is ahead of the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers are 2.0 games back of L.A.

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At 57-62, the odds are long for the Blue Jays to overtake seven teams on route to that second Wild Card spot, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Marco Estrada Update

As we’re all aware by now, Marco Estrada was put on revocable trade waivers by the team last week. The question of whether the 34 year old will be dealt or not has been one of the hottest topics around the team, especially since his performance has improved recently.

While he had been especially good over his last four starts, Estrada wasn’t at his best on Tuesday night against the Royals, allowing ten hits and six earned runs over 4.1 innings. He also walked four batters, including the last two hitters he faced in the 5th inning. Unfortunately, the bases were loaded as well, so each walk forced in a run, and ultimately ended his night.

Still, pitching is always in demand and it’s not surprising that someone put a claim in on Estrada. The suspect was the New York Yankees, at least on the Blue Jays’ broadcasts tonight, but that has not been confirmed by either club. It doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere either, with even John Gibbons flat out admitting, “we need him”.

Donaldson heating up at the plate

It’s no surprise that the recent surge for the Blue Jays has coincided with a hot streak from the 2015 AL MVP, Josh Donaldson. The “Bringer of Rain” has been red hot at the plate this week, and hit a home run for the 3rd consecutive game against the Rays on Tuesday night.

After spending over a month on the DL earlier this season, Donaldson has really started to look like himself at the plate lately, and consequently the Blue Jays’ offence has looked a lot better. Hopefully he can remain healthy down the stretch and help to lead a resurgent Blue Jays’ office into an interesting month of September.

Mayza impresses in his MLB debut

Tim Mayza didn’t waste any time in impressing his new teammates, as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. He came on with the team behind 6-4, and held the Rays without a run to give the team a chance in the bottom of the ninth.

The left-hander could pitch himself into a place in the bullpen with a strong performance, as the team has been in search of left-handed depth throughout the year. They’re carrying a lot of it at the moment, but the opportunity to potentially stick, and/or impress for 2018 is there for Mayza’s taking. He did allow two hits in the inning as well, but also struck out the first batter he faced, Peter Bourjos, to begin his career.

Next: Brett Anderson is a worthwhile gamble on MiLB deal