As we said this morning, we’re spending the day looking at the American League while trying to manage the significant worry that comes with the NLDS matchup. We saw their opponents in the first post, so let’s take a look at the Toronto Blue Jays before their afternoon first pitch.
If there has ever been an example of how the trading deadline can work out for a team, Toronto would be it. They weren’t out of the race when they pulled the big deals for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, but they weren’t anything like the juggernaut they are now, a favorite not only to get to the World Series, but to win it. Long time friend of the blog Ian from The Blue Jay Hunter agreed to tackle the questions for us and I heartily recommend checking him (and the other great Toronto blogs) out during their run.
C70: If you had to sum up this season in a word or phrase, what would it be?
BJH: At long last. 22 years is a long time to wait for a postseason berth, let alone a division title. The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays accomplished what many have been yearning for many decades.
C70: What worries you the most about the Rangers?
BJH: To me, it’s their ability to deploy a lot of left-handed hitters in that lineup. The Blue Jays’ pitchers have fared pretty well against lefties, but with Fielder et al and really one one stable left-handed reliever in Brett Cecil, those late-game situations against left-handers worries me a bit.
C70: What has to happen for the Blue Jays to have a deep October run?
BJH: They just need to continue to do what they did the entire season; score tons of runs, and even if they don’t, a fairly solid starting pitching performance will still keep them in the game. With Price, Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and R.A. Dickey, I feel more confident about this pitching staff than I have in a very long time.
C70: Is there a player that will be the key to the postseason?
BJH: I think a lot of people will say Josh Donaldson here, but I really believe Jose Bautista will come alive in the postseason. He’s been a superstar in the making since 2010, and the 2015 postseason really could be his coming out party.
C70: How high is confidence running among the Toronto faithful?
BJH: It’s as high as it’s ever been. Keep in mind, this is uncharted territory not only for the team, but for the Blue Jays’ fan base. If you asked me maybe a month ago, I’d say the Blue Jays would merely be happy to squeak into the playoffs. But after winning the AL East division crown, the Jays are now picked as many people’s favourites to go all the way.
C70: What’s the minimum that counts as a successful postseason for the Blue Jays?
BJH: Again, I’d say just making the postseason is a huge step forward for this franchise, but winning at least this series against the Rangers would go a long way to establishing them as a formidable foe in the American League.