With the Toronto Blue Jays within striking distance of a wild card spot, the team has found the formula that makes them a legitimate playoff contender.
By the time this weekend’s series is complete, the Toronto Blue Jays could find themselves in a playoff spot, something that was not really a thought when the team was struggling to beat the Detroit Tigers.
What’s been impressive about the Blue Jays eight-game winning streak is that all their wins have come against teams they are competing with in the American League wild card race. In their last 12 games, Toronto is 11-1 coming off a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees.
It’s games like this that the Blue Jays weren’t winning earlier in the season whether it was the bullpen blowing leads late or the offence not providing the timely hits the team needed. During this stretch, the team has found a balance between their pitching and offence that makes them a team to be feared down the stretch.
What’s more impressive is that the absence of George Springer hasn’t been as big of a problem as it was when he missed the start of the season. It certainly helps that Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have stepped up their production offensively in that regard.
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitching has been heartbeat of team’s winning streak
Many across baseball have taken note of the Blue Jays winning streak and why they would be a terrifying team to go up against in the playoffs.
Offensively there is no debating that the Blue Jays lineup is tough to go up against but their pitching staff doesn’t get enough credit. Toronto’s pitchers have a 3.83 ERA (10th) which is the type of performance the team was likely expecting given the depth the starting pitching has currently.
Robbie Ray has been performing at a Cy Young level and the rest of the rotation with Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, Alek Manoah and the recently acquired Jose Berrios are providing more than enough adequate options for Charlie Montoyo. With Ross Stripling and Thomas Hatch also waiting for their chance, the Blue Jays have the option to use them as insurance in case a starter goes down or in the bullpen as long-relief options.
With FanGraphs giving Toronto a 52.4% chance of reaching the postseason and a four-game weekend against the Baltimore Orioles, this is not the time for the Blue Jays to think they can let the foot off the gas. The Blue Jays are 8-4 against Baltimore this season and at this stage, the Orioles would like nothing more than to end Toronto’s winning streak and disrupt their playoff momentum.
This is what good teams are supposed to be prepared for and what happens this weekend will confirm whether the Blue Jays’ momentum can continue to carry them.
Do you think the Blue Jays can keep their momentum going as they continue their playoff push? Let us know in the comments below.