College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
Who would have thought that 41 games into the season the Toronto Blue Jays (24-17) would be third in the East – two games behind the second place New York Yankees and five behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays (Boston is 20-20 on the season and three and a half back of the Jays). I don’t think it’s all that surprising that they’re in third, but it’s the fact they’re seven games over .500 and in contention with the top teams. Granted the Jays schedule hasn’t been exactly challenging and when they have played the supposed top tier teams Toronto has not preformed well, especially within their own division. They lost two of three to the Rays in Tampa and in six games with the Red Sox they’ve only won once. They have yet to play the Yankees. That being said (or written in this case), the Jays have been exciting to watch so far this season. They lead the league in home runs (65, Boston second with 55), doubles (105, Detroit second with 91) and are the first team to have three players hit double-digit long balls and RBIs (Alex Gonzalez – 10 HRs/29 RBIs, Vernon Wells – 11 HRs/32 RBIs and Jose Bautista – 11 HRs/31 RBIs). They’ve accomplished all that while having one of the worst team batting averages in the league (.244, 24 out of 30 teams). Toronto is doing this without the help of their two best players last season – Aaron Hill and Adam Lind. Last year Hill hit .286 with 36 home runs, while Lind hit .305 with 35 long balls. This season both are struggling to reach the Mendoza line for average (Hill -.175, Lind – .231) and they’re combined home run total is one shy of Wells. Tonight the Jays kick off an eight game road trip. They start with two in Seattle, then get their first taste of inter-league action against Arizona and cap things off with three in Anaheim. Historically the trips out West have not been all that good for Toronto. So far the Jays are 13-6 away from the Rogers Centre and like they’ve done this season, could surprise us all with a successful West Coast trip.