It all looked lost. The Great Toronto Blue Jays experiment of 2013 appeared over before it really began. Injuries and generally awful play doomed the Toronto Blue Jays for the first two months of the season. They sported one of the worst records in the American League and seemed incapable of getting a decent outing from a starting pitcher.
The offense functioned in fits and starts, powered by one or two hot hitters at a time. But injuries mounted and loses piled up.
Then, suddenly, the Toronto Blue Jays could not lose. The Toronto Blue Jays have not lost in 11 games, tying a franchise record. The Blue Jays raced from as many as 11 games below .500 and 12 games back to now two games over .500, gaining six full games on the division leaders in less than two weeks.
The road remaining is long but the Blue Jays are officially relevant once again.
The work remaining is still very, very hard. Any Blue Jays fans quoting the number of games behind the Wild Card without mentioned the sheer number of teams ahead of them is missing the most important part of the equation. The Blue Jays, for all their winning, are still just one percentage point out of last place in the American League East.
The American League’s Eastern Division is currently insane. It looks precisely as most expect it would before the season began. “Put all five names in a hat, pick them out one by one, those are your final standings.” The Blue Jays trail two very good teams and are two games ahead in the win column of another good team. Also: the Yankees.
The Rangers and A’s are also good teams currently battling for the AL West crown with the loser sitting in a nice position to drop into the Wild Card chase.
The road is hard. The Blue Jays had to establish a franchise record for consecutive wins just to be a part of the conversation. The hard work remains.
After winning three in a row against the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays now face the Tampa Bay Rays three times and the Boston Red Sox four times, all on the road. Unlikely as it is to continue this crazy, Hatteberg-esque winning streak, the Jays must keep it rolling to further cement themselves in any playoff race.
Should fours in the next seven games be considered a disappointment or a decent return from a tough road schedule? The hole the Jays dug themselves doesn’t allow for such luxuries. They can’t get all the wins back at once but they don’t have the margin of error to permit lapses. The fans wanted meaningful baseball? They’ve got it in June. Thanks to the 17 losses in April, every game now counts. Enjoy!
RELATED – Game Chart of the Weekend
The Blue Jays are pretty much back into the Wild Card race. The Los Angeles Angels…are not.
There is only so much that Mike Trout can be expected to do.
Chirping Bird of the Weekend
Weekly Reminder that Wins are Dumb
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 23, 2013
Matt Harvey is really good! How good? One of the Phillies “keys to the game” on Saturday was “don’t get no hit”, in as many words.
The Phillies didn’t get no-hit but Matt Harvey still pitched like Matt Harvey, which is to say “really well.”
Eleven swinging strikes and pitches that touched 101 mph? That’s pretty good, and probably worth TWO wins. Alas, he receives just one.
RELATED – When is a catch not a catch?
Apparently when the umpires decide transferring the ball from glove to throwing hand. Ben Revere of the Phillies fell victim to just such a ruling during the Phils lose to Matt Harvey and the Mets, as The 700 Level details with love and affection. They even quote from the rule book, noting “release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.” Call me crazy, but passing the ball from glove to hand as Revere did in this clip sure looks voluntary to me.
The stakes were a little higher in the Red Sox/Tigers game yesterday at Comerica Park but a very similar ruling changed the course of the game dramatically. Defensive replacement (snicker) Daniel Nava was ruled to have dropped a ball when it appears he was moving the ball from his glove to his hand.
Call me crazy but those catches look like…catches, to me. There is no clock or timer which determines what makes a catch a catch. The act of moving on to a throw makes it a catch, to me. These are two bad calls and John Farrell was right to get tossed, considering the leverage of the situation.
Would video replay help get these calls right? It certainly wouldn’t hurt, though the umps still seem to need encouragement to reverse a call made on the field. Which is super encouraging, is it not?
Photo of the Weekend
Every good game needs a ladder.