TORONTO – What a difference three weeks can make.
When the Blue Jays returned from their West Coast road trip from Hell again on July 10, the harrowing end of a 1-9 vortex, they stumbled in a tie for AL Wild Card’s final spot with the Mariners. The Red Sox, now finding itself in an absolute free fall, was comfortably seated at the top.
The Blue Jays are now playing the best baseball game of the season at the best possible time. With Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Tigers, who scored more errors than hits, Toronto are in a 12-3 streak since returning from the West Coast and 11-3 under new coach John Schneider.
“I love it,” Schneider said. “We’ve come from a tough period on the road and everything that happened off the field, and I love the consistency they play with. Offensively, defensively and on the hill. Our Pulp was great. Our starts were great. The guys are swinging. It’s fun now.”
Schneider’s role was not accurate. There was a change at the top of the lineup, which resulted in a noticeably more aggressive style of play. On Saturday, when the players showed up for the day game after a night game, a DJ was set up in the middle of the club, hitting the walls with music. It’s easy to achieve when you win, of course, but as the trade deadline approaches, this team should get stronger.
Last season, that meant Jose Berrios, who landed the Blue Jays on July 30 for Austin Martin and Simon Woods Richardson, second and fourth at the time. Sunday night, instead of worrying about what jersey he’ll wear on Monday, Berrios will host his Blue Jays teammates at his home near Tampa, Florida, for a team building party. He will join the backyards with his neighbor, George Springer, to celebrate.
He and the rest of the Blue Jays will watch, optimistic but confident.
“In this case, we have two more months left in the season,” Berrios said. “We’re still there. We have a chance to do the qualifiers. Everyone knows we have a chance to add some skills. I don’t know who and when [a trade is] It will happen, but I know it will happen. For now, we still believe in our group. We have talent. Our group.”
Piraeus July helped reduce the need for Blue Jays at the start of their rotation. Consistency eluded the right-hander for most of the season, an odd turn for one of baseball’s most predictable commodities dating back to 2017, but he finally patched the ship, giving the Blue Jays three starters alongside Alec Manoah and Kevin Gusman.
Matt Chapman was the driver for this increase in the squad, with his home team on Sunday being his fourth in as many days. He spent July doing his best at making a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. impression, and after adjusting the last swing to better use his legs, the star-studded third was set up for a snappy extended run.
Chapman was the big plus earlier this year, in the middle of spring training, so he knows the world of speculation well.
“Everyone talks about it a little bit, like, ‘Where’s this guy going?'” Chapman said. “It is curious that the names of the men are being put up there and where they will go rather than who we will reach. We’re not in those conversations with the front office, nor do we necessarily know. We are confident of the group we have now. Obviously, no matter how rus [Atkins, executive VP of baseball operations and general manager] and mark [Shapiro, president and CEO] And those guys decided to do it, we’re on board.”
Every player is different. Some like to play the GM while others prefer to stay away from the noise, but there is one common thread running through all of this: It’s a lot easier to keep track of this speculation when your team is buying, not selling.
The bulls remain Toronto’s biggest need, but even that group has been looking strong lately. Starting depth and seat position depth are also on the table, with the Blue Jays well positioned in terms of prospects and dollars to make a big push if they find the right fit. That deadline will be spurred on by a chance against the Blue Jays, though, and one that this roster has fully earned, finding themselves after an uneven start to the season.