“They’re back”: Toronto Blue Jays Reclaim First Place


Times are good, baseball fans! Our Toronto Blue Jays are in first place again!

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After splitting an uneven two-game road series with the lowly Philadelphia Phillies (50-74 on the season, 28-30 at home) earlier this week, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays (69-55 on the season, 29-32 on the road) as they opened a fresh three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (63-61 on the season, 39-27 at home) from the visitors dugout on Friday.

“Would the bats be alive? What about the pitching? Will the Angels close ground in the Wild Card race?” I thought to myself.

36 runs later I have my answer: the Jays are hot – otherworldly hot.

The Jays outscored the Angels by a combined total of 36-9 and will ride their brooms out of town en route to a three-game road series against the suddenly surging Texas Rangers (64-59 on the season, 28-30 at home) on Tuesday night. Those 36 runs, by the way, represent a new club record for the most damage caused by the Blue Birds in a three-game series.

Aug 23, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto got timely hitting from Josh Donaldson, Ben Revere, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar throughout the series, and strong pitching performances from David Price (12-4 on the season, 3-0 as a Jay) and Marco Estrada (11-7). R.A. Dickey (8-10) gave up five runs (all earned) in the first inning of today’s matchup, but he finished strong on 92 pitches over six innings of work to pick up his eighth win of the season.

If wasn’t enough, however, things get better: the New York Yankees (68-55 on the season, 36-24 at home) lost to the Cleveland Indians (58-65 on the season, 34-31 on the road) today for the third time in four days at home. These loses, combined with the Jays’ sweep of the Angels, have propelled Toronto back to the top of the American League East.

Aug 23, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) prepares for his at bat during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

As a bonus, the differential in games played between the Jays and the Yankees has mostly been erased by now so we’re getting a clearer sense of the actual standings these days. Things won’t get easier for New York as they open a three-game series against the American League West-leading Houston Astros (69-56 on the season, 24-35 on the road) tomorrow night at new Yankee Stadium.

It would have been easy to turn off the television today after a rough first inning for Dickey and the Jays, but loyal fans were rewarded with another stellar comeback performance from a team that doesn’t know how to quit. Is there any situation these guys can’t hit and pitch their way out these days?

What are your thoughts on the series? Surprised by the fireworks and the result? Was it what you expected? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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