The Toronto Blue Jays took a gamble and GM Alex Anthopoulos decided to go all-in at the trade deadline this year when the team added Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere and LaTroy Hawkins. The Jays have had an explosive lineup all season but they were still under .500 at 50-51 when they made their first move and acquired Tulo on July 29th. Toronto was in fourth place and 8 ½ games out of first in the American League East on that day and were headed for another disappointing finish. Since July 29th the Jays are 11-1 and have made enormous progress in closing in on the first place Yankees, who they swept in the Bronx on Sunday. The Blue Jays now have the best run differential in baseball at plus 129 and appear to be the team to beat in the American League East.
This is no time for the Jays to get overconfident however, as they will now have to get through the mental hurdle of being the favorite in a divisional pennant race, which is a rare feat for them. Toronto still has ten more games against the Yankees and seven against defending AL East champion Baltimore during the rest of the season. They are going to have to fend off two teams with recent playoff history if they want to win the East and make the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 1993. There is no doubt that the Blue Jays have the best lineup in baseball but that was also true before the trade for Tulowitzki. The acquisition of David Price was more meaningful for Toronto and it seems to have inserted energy into the entire pitching staff. The Jays pitched very effectively during the sweep at Yankee Stadium and surrendered a single run in the entire three game series. The Blue Jays will have to continue to pitch well if they want to take full control of the division.
If Toronto does what they should do and advance to the post season, they have the team that is capable of winning the pennant. Kansas City is probably the favorite in the American League because they have the best record and are the defending AL champs. However, there is no dominant team and the Jays are now as good as anybody in that league. Toronto has a post season lineup and an ace that can match up with any team’s best starter in a short series. The Jays have not been to the playoffs in over twenty years but they will have three starting pitchers in Marco Estrada, Mark Buehrle and David Price that have pitched in the post season. If the Blue Jays can continue their winning ways, Toronto will have more to look forward to in October then just a bad hockey team.