Toronto Blue Jays: Guide for the Part Time Fan Week 10

By Matt Antaya

It’s been a good week to be a Blue Jays fan by all account. Amidst a nine-game winning streak built on three consecutive series sweeps of Boston, Oakland and Tampa Bay, the Jays are in first place and the rest of the MLB is abuzz with talk of Toronto

Not to sound like a broken record (get it?), but Edwin Encarnacion is unstoppable. Hitting his 15th home run in the month of May on Thursday night, Edwin broke George Bell’s franchise record for most homers in one month. Later in the same game, Edwin hit another, his 16th this month, tying him with Mickey Mantle for the all-time AL record for the month of May.

And though the Jays were unable to make it 10 straight on Thursday against Kansas City, the positive signs continue. Let it be said, the Jays were not outmatched, but rather beat themselves with a couple of sloppy plays in the late innings. And while the usual suspects (Bautista, Encarnacion, Cabrera) are playing well, the team is also seeing contributions from its younger players (Gose, Tolleson and Pillar).

Currently, the only real dilemma for Toronto fans is deciding how much swagger to sport in public – lest we be the one’s to jinx it. We recommend you cheer as loud as possible, but keep the smack talk for October. 

Insider Stuff
With the Jays on a roll, the conversation continues to be about starting pitching – or perceived lack there of. Famous names have been floated as possible acquisitions the Jays could (some say MUST) make to bolster their, for the moment, over-achieving rotation. Many claim Cubs’ starter Jeff Samardzija would be the ideal trade candidate. The truth is the Jays have already inquired about Samardzija and Chicago’s asking price was just too lofty – both Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, the Jays’ two best pitching prospects. That trade would be reckless. The Jays mustn’t mortgage the future for a simple helping hand today. There’s also no guarantee that Samardjiza’s National League pitching success would translate to the much more competitive AL East.

Instead, the Jays may need to look towards homegrown options to reinforce a late summer race. Brandon Morrow continues to rehab a torn sheath in his index finger and, if all goes well, could be available by mid-July. The aforementioned prospect Marcus Stroman could be called upon if his performance in AAA-Buffalo proves dominant. And then there’s the enigma: the return of Ricky Romero. Is there any chance Ricky might exorcise his demons, stop walking batters, and play a role in a 2014 pennant race? Well, stranger things have happened.

Buzzword of the Week: Walk Off
A walk off occurs when a scoring play results in an immediate victory and the end of the game. Only the home team is capable of scoring a walk off, as they are entitled to the final at-bat of the game. A walk off typically occurs in the bottom of the 9th or extra innings with the score tied or the home team behind. A scoring play by the home team puts them ahead, eliminating the need for further play. When the scoring play in question is a home run, it is dubbed a ‘walk off homerun’. The scoring play has caused a victory by the home team and, thus, the end of the game… and the two teams can, quite literally, walk off the field.

The Jays experienced their season’s first walk off on Wednesday when, with the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th, Kevin Pillar scored on a throwing error by Tampa Bay. Game over; Jays win.

So what have you learned?
The Jays have given us all kinds of reason to raise our voices. Edwin continues to mock the month of May. The younger Jays are proving they want in on the action. Some help in the rotation would be nice, but not at an unreasonable cost. And the Jays had their season’s first walk off this week and managed the obligatory mob scene like champs. We’re going to go strut around downtown with our heads held high, but we promise to make it back before next Friday with more inside information on the best damn (and only) ball club north of the border.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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