With the Toronto Blue Jays, 11 just seems to be the unlucky number they can’t get past.
1987. 1998. 2013. 2015.
Those are the years that the Blue Jays clubs have reached a franchise-high 11-game winning streak. The Jays were going for the big 12 against the New York Mets tonight at Citi Field.
The streak this year began on June 1st after being shutout for the first time this year 2-0 by the Washington Nationals on the day’s doubleheader. They were the only team in baseball not to yet be shut out.
After that they won the series against the Nationals 2-1, swept the Houston Astros in three games and swept the Miami Marlins in three games, both of those series were at home. Then they took to the road to sweep the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Over the streak, they outscored the opponents 78-40. With the offense and the pitching that has been great as of late, it seems like it would be much harder for this team to string along a losing streak than a winning streak.
The streak ended there at 11 straight in an 11th inning loss of 4-3 when shortstop Wilmer Flores smacked a single into center field that scored Lucas Duda from second base.
It’s a bit disappointing considering over the streak they scored an average eight runs every game, but the offence can’t do eight runs every single night.
Mark Buehrle was great over seven innings pitched, not surrendering a run until the sixth inning – where two scored, but Buerhle was only charged with one earned run.
It’s a disheartening loss but it wasn’t short of bursts of excitement even if there was little scoring. What was also interesting was the fact that the Mets and the Jays were entering the series with virtually the same record.
Scoring for the Jays was mostly from Jose Bautista, who had a solo blast in the first inning. When the Mets were up 2-1 in the top of the ninth, Jose Bautista hit another home run to tie the game.
The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion hit a bloop double into right field, and with no outs, the bullpen shut the Jays batters down again. When the Jays took the lead 3-2 in the 11th inning off of a sacrifice fly from Dioner Navarro, the Mets had their own rally with two outs to win the game on Flores’ bat.
There are a lot of things Jays fans can dwell on about the loss, like the fact that Russell Martin got the day off even though he helped lead the comeback against the Sox in Friday’s 13-10 win, or that he got the game-winning homer in Saturday’s 5-4 extra innings win.
Instead Dioner Navarro had a one-RBI night that gave the Jays the lead going into the bottom of the 11th, but if Martin would have played the whole day, it makes you ponder what could have been — since the team was going for a franchise record 12 games straight. Everyone needs a day off – but if it’s not broken, why fix it?
It’s better to look ahead, and the only thing to do now is to start another streak, just as long as it is not a losing one, as the case was in 2013 where the Jays’ streak, from June 11-23. Funnily enough, that streak started around a postponed game as well and a win against an American League East rival 13-5 (against the Orioles that year, against the Red Sox this year).
The 2013 club went on a downward spiral after that where, from June 24 to July 31, they went 10-16, even having a seven-game losing streak at one point right after the All-star break. They also had another 7-game losing streak in August.
But with the Blue Jays’ offense this year, I don’t think that will be the case, as the offense has scored an MLB-leading 359 runs.
The Jays still need a real closer, but the bullpen has been a lot better (save the blown save last night from Brett Cecil and then the Aussie Liam Hendriks who gave up Flores’ game-winning single) and the starters have been even stronger.
Now, as Scott Copeland takes the mound against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, it’s time to see a better game from our offense, and hopefully Copeland replacing Aaron Sanchez for the time being could get his 0.90 ERA even lower. Maybe not, but let’s hope he at least goes the distance and has another great outing after his awesome season debut as a starter.
And one thing that would be nice to see this ball club do is break the curse of the no-playoff-curse, where the other ball clubs who have had the 11-game winning streak haven’t made the playoffs. Again, with our offense and the great additions of Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson who might have a real chance at MVP, I think things will just keep getting better for the boys of the North.