Blue Jays quickly climbing Fox Sports' Power Rankings

Arizona Diamondbacks v Toronto Blue Jays
Arizona Diamondbacks v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

All is good in Blue Jays land.

After a satisfying weekend sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Jays have won eight of their last nine games sandwiched around the All-Star break.

This is the Blue Jays team that fans and pundits alike were expecting to see coming into the season, and while they have stopped and started more than once since Opening Day, they are starting to get into a groove, and those outside Toronto are taking notice.

Ben Verlander of Fox Sports has the 53-41 Jays moving up from 10th to sixth in his most recent MLB Power Rankings.

Verlander references their improved offensive output over the weekend, reminding everyone that they can still "flex their offensive muscle when needed," as Jays fans have seen recently. With their sweep of the D'backs, Toronto was one of two teams with a positive double-digit run differential this past weekend, per Verlander.

He also points out that the pitching has been improved as of late. Besides Mitch White's ninth-inning walk-fest on Sunday, Blue Jays pitchers looked sharp coming out of the break. In July, the Jays' staff has the best K-BB rate in the majors at 21.6 percent. They also hold the lowest HR/9 at 0.6, the ninth-best batting average against (.241), the sixth-best WHIP (1.15) and the seventh-best wOBA against (.288).

AL East remains a daunting foe for Blue Jays

Now at 12 games over .500, with their playoff odds ever improving, the Jays still trail the "for real" Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East standings and Verlander's rankings. He has the Orioles in second place and the Rays in third, as the AL East is again proving to be the juggernaut of divisions.

Speaking of the AL East, Verlander notes that the Jays "have been playing fine" against most teams not named the Boston Red Sox, with a 52-34 record. However, fans are painfully aware that the Jays have struggled to a 7-20 record against all teams in their division and are a woeful 0-7 against the Red Sox, in a sharp reversal from last season's domination over Boston.

With four series against west coast opponents on the schedule, can the Jays continue rising up the power rankings before another meeting with the Orioles looms at the end of the month?