Toronto Blue Jays: First Place In The AL, Tulo and More


The Toronto Blue Jays are staying afloat, even though they are still some major questions that need to be answered.

By now, everyone knows that Troy Tulowitzki‘s injury is creating some problems in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup and batting order. Though at this point of the season contributions are always needed from everyone. The Jays have been through so much adversity this year (as was pointed out in a great piece here by the National Post), but have continued to keep chugging along despite numerous skeptics along the way.

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Alex Anthopoulos has done a great job all year of addressing numerous concerns as they have come up during the year, and picking up a former Gold Glover in Darwin Barney is the latest example. Not all additions need to be of the MVP variety, it’s simply important that this team’s ownership sees the potential at hand here and now.

When you really stop and think about all the surprises and injuries along the way, one has to commend the Jays’ nucleus for staying strong and keeping them alive. The season started with Marcus Stroman and Michael Saunders going down.

Then out of nowhere we saw Devon Travis start out on fire, get hurt, and come back just as strong only to get hurt again. Jose Bautista has battled shoulder injuries all year, Edwin Encarnacion has had lingering problems and Russell Martin continues to be a gamer and push through his injuries, because we simply need him back there, even if he’s only at 50-60 percent.

Really, see what this teams’ lineup, starting rotation and bullpen looked like at the beginning of the season. Then look at it now.

Sep 12, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) hits an rbi double during the second inning of the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Heck, Brett Cecil was anointed the closer coming into the year, while Aaron Sanchez and the departed Daniel Norris were seen as guys who needed to have strong seasons as starters, for the Jays to have a chance. This team has found ways to get it done with a revolving door of players.

Thankfully their 2, 3, 4 hitters have carried the way, as we are soon to have three guys with 30 plus homers and 100 plus RBIs. Without these three, the Jays wouldn’t be anywhere close to where they are right now.

The Jays have just 19 games remaining and six series left (Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays (two), Orioles). The end of the season is drawing near.

Given all that has gone on with the Jays this year, they went into Tuesday nights’ game against the Atlanta Braves just two games behind the AL leading Kansas City Royals. The Royals haven’t been playing there best lately and the Jays have gone from a team who no one thought would make the playoffs, to a team who has a legitimate chance at being the best team in the regular season in the American League.

Every game, inning and pitch is important now and we need whoever is out there to step up. It’s natural to suggest that some guys like Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins might be a bit nervous, but in many ways that’s good.

These two have had to fight to make it to the big leagues and have played their entire lives to be put in a situation like this. A situation where they will be counted on in the final weeks to help win a division title and perhaps more after.

I really don’t know how to predict the final couple weeks, and though I thought they’d be a playoff team before the year started, this really isn’t even the same team that came into Spring Training. This has been a fun ride so far and being a part of something this late in the season is all the Jays could have asked for coming into it.

Even guys like Edwin and Bautista haven’t been in this spot, so it will be fun to see how they handle it. They’ve been waiting, and asking for this for a long time. It’s time to see who they really are.

Next: Marcus Stroman Sharp in Season Debut

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