In the last week the Blue Jays won series against the two best teams in baseball; first they were in New York winning two of three against the Yankees, then headed home and pounded on the Tampa Bay Rays.
By now this is a broken record in Toronto, the ball club plays well, but is always missing that something to make it into the post-season.
So what is the problem with the Blue Jays?
Thus far in 2010, we know the Blue Jays can hit home-runs. The team leads the majors with 175 as of August 7th.
The sting of losing ace Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies was just a figure of speech because the Blue Jays have quality young arms that have made his absence almost forgettable. The pitching prospects are top notch, but this group needs to stay together in 2011 for their talent to really start to show.
They can hang in the AL East because they continually prove it.
My theory is all the Jays do is hit home-runs, so the inevitable slumps hit deeper because they don’t play small ball.
Toronto’s starting rotation has given up only 93 home-runs this season, second in the AL behind the Chicago White Sox who have the lowest in the majors with 78.
So, please explain how the team who hits the most home-runs and gives up the lease can’t even contend for the postseason?
Could the Blue Jays stay hot and make a miracle-type of run for October?
Toronto’s typical behavior over the last few seasons is a hot streak that ends just before the All-Star break and that is about it.
This is not the case in 2010, as the Blue Jays are making another go at it and doing it against baseball’s elite.
Hey in sports, you never know what can happen. Maybe Toronto fans should go cheer because the team is surely giving them reason now.
JUST A NOTE….One AL East team has a four game winning streak and it’s the Baltimore Orioles. New skipper Buck Showalter will inspire good things to come in Camden Yard. It’s about time the loyal depressed O’s fans had something real and good to look forward too.
The Boston Red Sox disabled list is long, but even impaired, this is a darn good ball club.
Winning the first game against the Yankees proves the Red Sox are still in the mix in the AL East.
Boston’s starting rotation is now all active and healthy, and they are ridiculously good.
Red Sox ace Josh Beckett‘s being back is huge because his passion and fiery attitude demand a lot of respect. Clearly, Beckett is the leader of the staff and his absence was clear.
In Friday night’s loss, the Yankees should have taken advantage of Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
It looked that way after Mark Teixeira’s blast in the first-inning, scoring Derek Jeter, but that was the extent of it. Jeter was on base all night, as the other Yankees run came from Alex Rodriquez driving in the Captain in the fifth.
Buchholz set this game’s tone, as he successfully pounded the strike zone. He didn’t let pitches get up too high after being reminded why by Tex. Buchholz allowed nine hits in total, while the Red Sox were fielding error-free behind their starter.
Considering the Red Sox’s record amount of injuries, their record of 63-47 is astonishing.
Recalling all the doubt at the start of the 2010 season in the Red Sox as a team is something no one will question again. GM Theo Epstein is so confident in the teams he puts on the field because the Red Sox are always atop the top teams list.
With #600 now in the past, the New York Yankees are ready to take on their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Boston has been hit hard with the unfortunate injury bug. Making the six and a half games the Red Sox need to catch the first place Yankees, who are tied with Tampa Bay Rays, not completely out of reach.
This puts a lot of pressure on Boston, as the importance of winning in the Bronx is pretty much a make or break situation.
The Yankees can’t afford to lose the series either because the Rays are playing great baseball right now.
It is no secret that the Yankees have lost two series in a row and to say that Alex Rodriguez’s 600 mark turned the team around has yet to be proven.
The Red Sox most recent DL member is first baseman Kevin Youkilis who is one of the best hitters in baseball and a Yankees killer. Youkilis is a significant loss and his absence will be noticed by both ball-clubs.
The Red Sox have their pitchers all back now and all healthy, so the Yankees have to counter at the plate.
The second place New York Yankees were on the brink of getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays. This would have been the second series loss in a row for the reigning champs and the timing could not be worse for a slump to begin.
Yankees fans were worried, because Alex Rodriguez‘s struggles at the plate were affecting the whole team.
A-Rod was struggling to hit a milestone 600th home run, which puts him on an elite list and the youngest of the seven players on it.
Now the Yankee Universe can finally breathed, because this afternoon in the first inning A-rod hit his 600th career home-run at the age of 35. The team won and avoided the sweep, beating the Blue Jays 5-1. Phil Hughes got the win and Mariano Rivera dominated in the ninth inning.
Things are looking up in the Bronx, but the Yankees now are looking up in the standings at the Tampa Bay Rays. It is just a one game lead, but the Rays keep winning.
The problem is that what may seem like not a big deal today, could be an issue a week from now. Just imagine if the Yankees were the team to miss the playoffs?
It makes me sick to think about, but why I am is because I felt that Joe Girardi gave the Rays the series win last weekend. It was as if the Yankees were having a exhibition game, trying their new players out for practice.
New Yankee Lance Berkman was acquired to fill the designated hitter position that was Nick Johnson, which should have been Hideki Matsui’s job in the first place.
So when I saw Berkman playing first-base, I thought it was ludicrous. If anything (god-forbid) happened to Mark Teixeira wouldn’t Nick Swisher be the better option? I fully understand that Tex needs a day off, but against the Rays?
The series was on the line and so taking Brett Gardner and A-Rod out made the Yankees look arrogant.
Next up is the Boston Red Sox, who are coming for a four-game visit. Any series against the Red Sox, injured or not, is always tough for both ballclubs. The Red Sox need the wins to stay in the playoff discussion, but so do the Yankees.
If the Yankees lose three of four games, within the division it will be a bigger problem them it might seem. It would cut the Yankees lead to just 3.5 over Boston and opens up a three game race again.
Not to mention the wild-card is just as easy to lose, as the Red Sox have a much harder schedule then the Yankees do down the stretch. When teams who aren’t in contention are playing teams that are, the former always seems to screw things up by winning.
The basic point here is that the Yankees are guaranteed nothing yet, except that A-rod’s 600th home-run is in the past and the team tends to follow A-rod’s lead at the plate.
Whatever the answer is regarding changing Phil Hughes innings limit is; Hughes is pitching dynamite again and it would be a shame to have to pull him from the rotation.
I like what I see out of the bullpen, other than Mo. Kerry Wood will be a great presence for Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan, because David Robertson cannot be the only reliable middle-reliever.
So what needs to go on from here on out is….WIN, WIN AND KEEP ON WINNING!