Toronto Blue Jays getting contributions from unlikely sources

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Luke Maile
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Luke Maile /

The Toronto Blue Jays continue their surprising start to the month of April in part to contributions from unlikely sources.

If someone were to tell you last season that Luke Maile would give the Toronto Blue Jays a walk-off win, it would have been followed up with some looks of disbelief.

This has been a part of the story for the Blue Jays, who won their 11th game of the season against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. When it looks like things are not going their way, someone steps up and delivers an important hit or a strong inning on the rubber.

With Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki on the disabled list, Justin Smoak continues to drive in runs with 10 RBI. (Donaldson is right behind with nine.) That was expected going into this season, but the players who follow on the list raise some eyebrows.

Last season, Aledmys Diaz hit seven home runs and 20 RBI. This year he is well over halfway to passing that, with four home runs and eight RBI.

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Then there’s Steve Pearce, who has started to show some of the production the Blue Jays needed last season, hitting three homers and seven RBI. In this case, the team should be glad Pearce has been able to stay off the DL (knock on wood).

Backing up Russell Martin, Maile is 8-for-19 with seven RBI and an OPS of 1.079. That is production the Blue Jays needed last season but didn’t get, and the results have shown it.

On the pitching side, the biggest surprise has to be the way Jaime Garcia has thrown through three starts, with a 3.86 ERA, 17 strikeouts and only five walks. If he can sustain that, it puts the Blue Jays in good strength with their pitching depth.

Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ have performed like many expected, but it was a bit surprising to see Joe Biagini get the start considering how he pitched during spring training. He went 5.2 innings, allowing six hits and three runs.

That should inspire a lot of confidence if the Blue Jays have to deal with injuries considering how the past few seasons have played out, but so far a lot has gone the team’s way.

Obviously, the Blue Jays have been fortunate to have some easier matchups the past couple of weeks, leading to their best start in April since 2009 as Ian Hunter wrote.

They have another four-game series against the New York Yankees followed by a series against the Boston Red Sox. Those next seven games will go a long way in showing whether the Blue Jays are able to sustain their hot start or are just capitalizing on some weaker competition.

What do you make of the Blue Jays’ strong start? Who has impressed you and what do they need to do to keep it going? Let us know in the comments below.