Just like death and taxes, the end of regular season baseball is certain. It happens every year and every baseball fan around the world dreads it annually; that is unless your team is going to the playoffs which unfortunately our boys in blue were not able to do so this year.
As some people would describe the Blue Jays 2017 season as “horrible”, “awful” and “just plain sad,” those people were overlooking all of the greats this season had and focusing too much on the what could’ve been. Yes, some people would say, “We’d be in 1st if we still had Edwin,” while others would say, “Even though we finished last, I’m still proud of our team.” By the way, I am part of the majority who is extremely proud of all the Blue Jays this year. But that doesn’t mean at times I wasn’t disappointed in them. So, to refresh your mind of the Blue Jays season, I have compiled a list of the highs and the lows of the 2017 regular season.
SMOAK GOES ON FIRE
I think a lot of people would consider Justin Smoak’s surprising successful season as one of the most notable highs of this year. Smoak has been a Blue Jay for few years now and will be for at least another year, two at most, thanks to “Shapkins”. We had known beforehand that Smoak had power in him, as in 2015 he hit 18 home runs and drove in 59 runs while in 2016 he had 14 homers and 34 RBIs. He was always mediocre at most when it came to his hitting but nobody saw Justin’s incredible 2017 at the plate performance coming. Justin Smoak belted out 38 HOME RUNS and 90 RBIS!! Compared to the season prior, he almost tripled his HRs and RBIs. His outstanding performance earned him a starting position spot at 1st in the All-Star game and praise for being the Blue Jays MVP.
OSUNA MATATA: ALL-STAR
Speaking of the All-Star game, Justin Smoak wasn’t the only Blue Jay to make his first All-Star appearance. 22-year-old star closer Roberto Osuna was also in the All-Star game, something Osuna was well deserving of. Roberto’s first half stats consisted of a 2-0 record, a 2.06 ERA, 22 saves and 47 strikeouts through 35.0 innings pitched. Those amazing stats earned him a spot in the Midsummer Classic where he pitched a scoreless inning in the 7th. When asked about it, Osuna responded, saying it was, “…a dream come true.” I know for me and many other obsessed Osuna fans, Roberto being in the All-Star was the best Blue Jays moment of 2017.
PEARCE MAKES HISTORY
Nobody could’ve guessed that in a span of one week, one player would hit TWO grand slams, let alone walk offs, but Steve Pearce did just that. His first grand slam came on July 27th against the Oakland Athletics in the 10th inning. With the score tied at 4 a piece and former Blue Jay Liam Hendriks pitching for the A’s, Steve Pearce belted the ball, walking off the Jays in grand slam fashion. Doing it once alone is a huge feat by itself but doing it for the second time in a season, IN A WEEK, is just crazy. But somehow, Pearce was able to do that. Just three days later, on July 30th, Steve Pearce was once again put in that situation for a walk off grand slam to occur, this time against the Angels. While watching the game, I remember thinking how insane it would be if Pearce if he was to hit another grand slam but knew the odds of that happening were extremely slim. Well, Pearce shocked everyone and for the second time that week, he hit a walk off grand slam, becoming the first player in MLB history to achieve such a feat.
STROMAN GOES DEEP
Everybody should be jealous of Marcus Stroman because he can do everything. He pitches like an All-Star (BTW I’m still mad that he didn’t make it this year), he can rap, he has an intense passion for the game AND he has home run hitting ability. And he’s also extremely good looking, in my opinion. But enough of that, and back to the home run. On May 19th vs the Braves in Atlanta, Marcus Stroman blasted a solo home run in the top of the 4th, extending the Blue Jays lead to 8-0. Stroman was the first Blue Jays pitcher since Mark Hendrickson to hit a home run.
COGHLAN’S DARING DIVE
I could watch Chris Coghlan’s dive all day and not get bored. Every angle to the dive is amazing on so many different levels. On April 25th vs the Cardinals in St. Louis, Chris Coghlan did the unimaginable. In the 7th, after Kevin Pillar hit a triple, Coghlan came racing home and instead of doing the expected of just sliding into home, Coghlan took another approach by dolphin diving over Yadier Molina. And when I mean dolphin dive, I literally mean dolphin dive. He even did a nice somersault afterwards. Considering how bad the month of April was the Jays, Chris Coghlan’s dive was something every Blue Jays fan needed at the time.
THE DISABLED LIST DOOM
It seemed this season, at one point, all the Blue Jays on the 25 man roster were injured and for the most part, it’s pretty accurate. The Jays that spent time on the DL this year include Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, etc. There were many others who were on the disabled list this year but those were mostly minor injuries. But some of the Blue Jays who unfortunately were hit with an injury this year, got hit with it bad. Aaron Sanchez was on the disabled list 4 times this season, all because of a recurring blister on his finger. The Jays eventually did shut him done for the season. After spending months on the 60 Day DL because of a serious ankle injury, Toronto shut down Troy Tulowitzki in early August. In all, Tulo only got 241 at-bats this season. Devon Travis also was shut down for the season after getting knee surgery. Sanchy, Tulo and Travis are all expected to be healthy by the time spring training comes around.
You know it’s a big deal when someone makes a T-Shirt about it. If you’re a real Blue Jays fan (and not just a stupid bandwagoner) you stuck with your Jays in the month of April, something that was extremely hard to do. April 2017 for the Toronto Blue Jays was anything but nice. The Blue Jays finished the month of April with a 6-16 record, the worst record in April in franchise history. If that record doesn’t sound bad enough in the first 10 games of the season, the Jays’ record was 1-9. It was very hard but I’m proud to say that I did survive April ’17.