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Preview: Blue Seek Second Straight Sweep

The first-place (!) Toronto Blue Jays aim for their second consecutive sweep when they host the Oakland Athletics this afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

With a victory yesterday, the Blue Jays have officially won four consecutive series, something they have not done since 2010.

This is the latest they have been alone in first place since July of 2000. (That’s so remarkable. How do you not even manage that by accident in 15 years. Wow.)

They are the hottest team in Major League Baseball (tied with St. Louis, who is also 8-2 over its last 10 games.)

And, as shown by the graphic below, they are playing very very well.

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Look at that starter’s ERA! If I had told you these guys could have put a run like this together you would have accused me of being on LSD.

I’m going to be perfectly honest. After a 5-1 road trip, I totally foresaw (actually expected) them to come crashing back to Earth with the best team in baseball coming to town. But they’ve ground out two solid wins, in a fashion they don’t normally win with.

Friday night was great pitching and stellar defence. Saturday afternoon was incredible baserunning. Is today the day the power bats come back?

Hopefully, but probably not, as demonstrated by this afternoon’s lineup:

Blue Jays 05/25 (28-22)
OBP HR RBI
SS 7 Jose Reyes .307 3 14
LF 53 Melky Cabrera .359 8 25
RF 19 Jose Bautista .429 12 32
1B 10 Edwin Encarnacion .329 13 39
3B 13 Brett Lawrie .275 8 26
DH 30 Dioner Navarro .304 1 18
2B 18 Steve Telleson .356 1 4
C 31 Erik Kratz .238 3 7
CF 11 Kevin Pillar .286 0 0
WHIP W – L K/BB
P 48 J.A. Happ 1.76 3 – 1 20/14

That doesn’t EXACTLY inspire a lot of fear. But it’s the lefty-free-facing-a-lefty lineup that Gibbons has been fond of lately. And hey, it’s working. A unit similar to this one scored seven runs against Jon Lester.

Today’s opponent is 25-year-old Drew Pomeranz (WHO?). In 12 games this season (3 starts) he’s 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. It’s too bad he didn’t line up with Hutch. It would have been a fun Drew vs Drew battle to determine the king of Mountain Drew.

In his three starts, Pomegrante has thrown 15 shutout innings (exactly 5 per start), surrendering just eight hits and four walks (0.80 WHIP), while striking out 16 (9.6/9IP).

So what I’m trying to tell you is this: he is pitching INCREDIBLY well. But all good things have to come to an end eventually, right?

The Jays lead the AL East by two games over the Yankees. Even in a worst-case scenario, they’ll still have a share of the lead when they wake up on Tuesday morning. But hopefully it doesn’t get to that.

A win today will pull them to within one of Oakland for most W’s in the American League. (Oakland has played one less game, and Detroit is also on 28 victories, but have played five less games than Toronto, somehow).

Finally, your bonus for making it the whole way through: people love free shit. This is a picture of the lineups outside the Dome at 10:55 (five minutes before gates open), as people wait to get in on Free Replica Jersey Giveaway Day.

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I have never seen the lines that long (and I stood in line for all three bobblehead days last season). I’m willing to bet 60% of people in those lines already have a blue jersey anyway. Giveaway days are actually starting to get so popular that I try to avoid them altogether.

But the sun is shining, the Dome is open, and a first-place ball club will play in front of a packed house, like they should be. Enjoy the game, and the day, Toronto.

 

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