Weighing Post-Season Expectations For The Blue Jays
With the Toronto Blue Jays having clinched the AL East this past week, I wanted to write an article explaining to Jays’ fans that we should have no expectations for the team in the post-season; we should just enjoy the ride and live in the moment. After all, this is the first time in 22 years that we’re experiencing playoff baseball and we should just enjoy it.
However, after watching the clinching game this past week and getting all excited that they finally did it, I got to thinking about other teams that would even match up to Toronto in terms of offense, pitching, and defense. Truly, every other team pales in comparison to the Jays as they posted these awe-inspiring stats in the second half: first in MLB in runs, OBP and SLG; second in batting average only to Boston who just surpassed them by a point. Pitching wise, they were first in the AL in ERA, WHIP, and had the fewest walks. They went 48-23 post all-star break (a .676 win percentage), and went 43-18 since the Tulowitzki trade July 29th, a .704 win percentage. With that, I began to realize just how formidable this team is and the kind of damage they can amass against opponents.
Consider some of my favourite quotes that came out this week:
Russell Martin told Sportsnet, “This is the best I’ve felt going into the post-season. We’re dangerous offensively, we’re dangerous on the mound, we play awesome defence. If somebody’s going to beat us, they’re going to have to play tremendously well. And even then I don’t know if it can happen. The confidence feels pretty good right now.”
Jose Bautista added, “We’re not going to take any breaks until we get to what our main goal is, which is win the World Series. We’re focused on that.”
Josh Donaldson also mentioned on the pre-game show yesterday, “We truly believe we have the team to beat.”
Then Martin said this to the Toronto Star, “This is the best I’ve felt about a team going into the post-season. I definitely feel like we have everything it takes to win the whole thing.” And this is coming from a guy who’s been to the playoffs 8 out of his 10 seasons!
That’s gold! You know what, he’s right. The Blue Jays have the potential to actually win the World Series this year, however there’s still one caveat – you’ve still got to play the games. Throw out all the regular season success, the playoffs have added pressure and that’s when we’ll see how well this team can perform and overcome adversity. The last two games should serve as a reminder that anything can happen too. There might be errors on the field or a reliever may just have a particularly bad day. Still, you’ve got to like the Blue Jays chances!
So with that, maybe we should expect the best. It sure sounds like the players do!
By the way, Buster Olney has the stats to back it up too.
Elias Sports Bureau: TOR’s run differential is +136 over any team in its league. Of history’s 15 teams at +130/better vs. league, 12 won WS.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 1, 2015