Blue Jays: Supplying context for the team’s early success
By Mark Colley
It’s been a long time since watching the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball has been this entertaining, or fun, or real. It seems as if the team’s success as of late is something that is sustainable. The 2017 season was almost completely devoid of joyful moments, and now, with only six games played to-date, 2018 is already shaping up to be better than 2017.
But where are the numbers behind this, and how long, exactly, has it been since we’ve seen the Blue Jays play this well?
Tuesday’s game was groundbreaking in and of itself. It was the first time since May 29, 2017, that the Blue Jays had scored 14 or more runs. In that game, Toronto beat the Cincinnati Reds 17-2.
The Jays scored 14 or more runs three times in 2016 — on June 28, against the Colorado Rockies, July 3, against the Cleveland Indians, and August 26, against the Minnesota Twins.
Toronto is currently riding a four-game win streak, and could up that number by one with a win Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox. With a five-game win streak, the Jays would match their 2017 season high, which they accomplished three times — in May (twice) and September.
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After the sixth game of the season in 2017, the Blue Jays were already 3.5 games back in the AL East. Right now, they’re only one game back.
When Toronto first reached .500 on April 1, it was the first time in 546 days that the Blue Jays were at or above .500.
There’s been a lot made of comparing some feats of the Blue Jays so far this season to that of the slow start of 2017. I don’t like what’s made of some of the stats — like saying Toronto has scored 10-plus runs almost two full months earlier than they did in 2017 (mainly because a team can have success without scoring that much) — but some stats actually do hold meaning for a team.
The Jays didn’t earn their fourth win of the season until game 16 in 2017 when they had already been subjected to a seven-game losing streak. This season, they took their fourth win in game six.
If the Blue Jays do win on Wednesday, it’ll be their first sweep of the season (obviously). In 2017, that came May 11 through May 14, when Toronto swept the Seattle Mariners at home.
Of course, it isn’t all good news for the 2018 season. Attendance, by comparison, has already dropped to a low of 16,629, something that wasn’t matched at home in the entirety of 2017. The lowest attendance at a Rogers Centre game in 2017 was 28,401, which came on September 11 against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Blue Jays, if they continue their ways, will have their first winning April since 2012. By this point in 2017, Toronto’s odds of making the postseason had dropped by 20 percent, as pointed out by Gideon Turk on Twitter, but this year, they’ve risen by six percent.
Next: Blue Jays: A Tale of Two Starts, A Statistical Comparison
It’s a long way from here, but it’s never to early to start talking about the postseason. At least, I hope that’s the case.