Heading into the past week, many of the Toronto Blue Jays faithful feared for the worst as they embarked on their final road trip of the season. Reason being was that they were going into the haunting venues of Yankee Stadium and Tropicana Field to face the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays respectively. Not only have the Jays struggled against their divisional rivals for much of 2023, but they have always had it tough playing in their opponents’ barn, as the Jays have a lifetime record of 150-203 at Yankee Stadium and 88-136 at Tropicana Field prior to the week.
But if we were told that the Jays would come out of the week with a 4-2 winning record, many would probably be more than happy with that result. And guess what, that is exactly what happened to the surprise of many. Not only did the Jays take two of three from each of the Yankees and Rays, they did it such a manner that resembled playoff-style baseball. They came through with some clutch hits, scraped away at runs late in ballgames, displayed stellar defence, and both the offence and pitching came through together to provide the victories. In particular, with plays like these, it's hard not to believe in these guys:
Key contributions were made throughout the lineup, as it wasn’t just the big boys doing all the damage. The team leaders Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer were definitely heating up at just the right moment, but it was also the likes of Cavan Biggio, Kevin Kiermaier, Daulton Varsho and others collectively that helped the team achieve success. Pitching was definitely solid too, as they held the potent Yankees and Rays’ lineups to just 3.5 runs per game over the six games.
Of course, there was also some adversity they had to deal with too, with the demoralizing loss in the hands of the Rays on Saturday after the Jays fought hard to produce their unbelievable comeback after being down five runs. But the key part was how they quickly bounced back on Sunday with a convincing win to put the previous game behind them. In doing so, that is what makes a team championship-calibre rather than chumps.
Now with six games remaining, the Jays will be facing the same opponents, but this time around they will all take place at the Rogers Centre. Every game from here on out will have a direct impact on the final Wild Card standings, so the Jays must keep their momentum going. But with the team firing on all cylinders and their confidence going into the week at an all-time high, this should be the week the team finally makes a firm statement that they are here to be serious contenders and punch their ticket into the postseason once and for all.