Don’t look now, but the Blue Jays are suddenly on a five game winning streak, and there could be a runway ahead of them to keep it going over the next few weeks.
The Blue Jays arrived in L.A. in the middle of last week and were set to face one of the better teams in the American League so far in the Angels. Thankfully the Jays’ bats finally woke up after a very cold start to the year, as they scored a total of 27 runs in the four-game set, sweeping the Angels and leapfrogging them in the AL Wild Card standings in the process.
In addition to the bats coming to life in Angel Stadium, the pitching has continued to be very strong of late, with the exception of Sunday’s rough outing from Jose Berrios that lasted just 2.1 innings, followed by a slug fest between the Jays and Angels. Overall though, the rotation has been making a strong effort of late, and the bullpen has managed to mostly stay together despite being pretty overworked.
If the Jays can somehow put it all together at once, I think most of us would agree that they have the talent to go on a pretty special type of run. The first opportunity for such a thing could be right in front of them now, as they’re set to face the Chicago White Sox in a series that starts on Tuesday night, which is also the beginning of a six-game home stand.
In addition to the Blue Jays coming in on a positive note, it’s not such a bad time to have to play the talented White Sox either. They’ve dropped three out of their last five games, and they’re also dealing with some injuries at the moment as they’re missing stars like Luis Robert, Eloy Jiminez, and Lance Lynn, among others.
From there the Jays will host the Twins, which could be their stiffest challenge over the next little while. After struggling through the 2021 campaign, the Twins are back to their winning ways and hold a 5.0 game lead in the AL Central as of this writing on Sunday evening. They’re playing well right now too, but they could be without the services of breakout star Joe Ryan, who is on the Covid-19 IL, as well as a few other solid contributors. While you can’t take the Twins lightly at all, I also like the profile of the starters that are left in the rotation for them at the moment with Ryan and Chris Paddack on the shelf, as the Blue Jays hitters seem to perform better against right-handed pitching, especially lower-velocity guys like Dylan Bundy, or Chris Archer. *Edit- there are also varying reports that the Twins could be short-handed in Toronto due to some unvaccinated players being unable to cross the border, which will be an interesting story to follow.
After that the Jays have one of the softer spots in their 2022 schedule, as they’ll play the 16-30 Royals for three games, followed by three games against the 17-29 Tigers, and then four at home against the Baltimore Orioles. They’re not going to win every game even when they’re at their best, but looking ahead at the next 16 contests, it would be really great if the Jays could make up some ground on the Yankees by going something like 12-4, or even 11-5 during this next stretch.
In a perfect world the Blue Jays will be able to take advantage of some weaker competition coming up, and use it as an opportunity to find their groove and start performing up to their potential. That’ll be especially important as they’ll see the division-leading Yankees again from June 17-19, and hopefully the standings will have moved a bit by then. On paper the Blue Jays should be one of the better teams in baseball, and while they’re still in a playoff position and are doing better than most people would describe, they’ve definitely left fans wanting more.
Coming off of a 4-game sweep on the road against the Angels, the momentum has shifted and things are moving in the right direction. If the Blue Jays can take advantage of the next few weeks, we might forget all about their “cold” start to the year.