Toronto Blue Jays: Players Who Stepped Up in the ALDS Series

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Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna reacts after retiring the Texas Rangers in the 8th inning in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna

Neither Sanchez or Osuna were expected to be in the bullpen when spring training started. Osuna at the age of 20 was coming off Tommy John surgery and was a longshot for an invite to camp. He received a non-roster invite and once he got the chance to impress the coaching staff he took it all the way to becoming the closer. He has been a remarkable story for having a calm demeanor and an ability to pitch in big moments like he did in Game 5, striking out four of the last five batters of the game. There will be questions of whether he should be a starter in the future, but for now the Blue Jays will need him to be lights out in the ALCS because the Royals thrive in late game moments.

Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Sanchez, like Osuna, had a lot to prove at the beginning of the season as he earned a spot in the rotation after a strong ending to last season as a reliever.

Unfortunately the adjustment from the bullpen to the rotation was not an easy one for Sanchez as he struggled to command the strike zone. He then missed significant time with an injury which forced the Blue Jays to move him back to the bullpen where he has been lights out, especially in the postseason.

He has appeared in all five games in relief, which is no surprise given his ability to throw 95+ mph while making batters look silly. At one point in Game 5 he threw a fastball for 100 mph like it was nothing and when Price got into trouble during Game 4 it was Sanchez who bailed him out. There could be a future for Sanchez to be a starter again, but with the injury concerns and his success in the bullpen it would not be surprising to see him in that spot next season. Going up against the Royals both Sanchez and Osuna will probably see a lot of innings late into a game especially with the injury to Brett Cecil.

While the entire Blue Jays team deserves recognition for their efforts against the Rangers the impact that these players had when it mattered most for the Blue Jays was something that is usually only seen in movies. Hopefully the script for the Blue Jays does not end here as they make the climb to the top with the Royals in their way.

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