Monday with Mitchell: Burning bats help Jays’ playoff chances

TORONTO – Standing behind the batting cage Monday night, batting coach Guillermo Martinez can only smile when asked about the course of his Toronto Blue Jays offense these days.

Average 7.5 points per game over the past 16 games, the Burning Bats led the Jays to a 14-2 record during that span and propelled them to the top of the Joker race from the American League.

Prior to that, the offense had suffered its worst collective meltdown of the year, and many believed it had killed the Jays’ playoff hopes.

“We just kept our routines the same and literally didn’t hit the panic button,” Martinez said. “Baseball is top to bottom. I think it was just more noticeable because we’re in a playoff race.

After a loss in Detroit on Aug. 27, with sticks as cold as they had been all year and the club treading five games to over 0.500, FanGraphs rated the Jays’ playoff chances at only 4.7 percent.

Heading into Monday’s three-game series against the AL East leaders Tampa Bay Rays, they now have a 66 percent chance of playing baseball in October for the second year in a row.

“I think they’re just trying to prove to a lot of people that they’re a really good team,” Martinez said. “I know they’re young, but they’re ready to play baseball in the playoffs.”

While the AL East pennant is still a pipe dream at this point, the Jays’ six remaining games against the Rays will provide a litmus test and a potential psychological boost if they can play well against a team that has been a thorn in the side. for years.

If the Rays claim the best record in the American League – as they’re about to do – they’ll also be waiting for the winner of the wildcard game, which means any potential route to the playoffs for the Jays will have to go through Tampa.

THINGS I LIKELY TWEET

Social media had fun with the fact that the Jays beat 14 NFL teams on Sunday in their 22-7 beating against the hapless Baltimore Orioles … the first time since the end of the 2016 campaign, when they were 86 -69 with a few days to play in this season linked to the playoffs… Sitting at 85 innings the year before the start of Monday, manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed that there was no innings counter or limit at Alek Manoah, 23, who entered the year with just 17 professional innings under his belt… playing in a pair of Florida Complex League games… Quietly, Teoscar Hernandez leads all baseball with 54 RBIs since the all-star break.

STAT DIG: 44 circuits

In his first real full season in the major leagues, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has already matched his father’s best season in the home run department.

Elder Guerrero has crashed over 40 bombs twice in his career, peaking at 44 with the Montreal Expos in 2000.

After reaching his 44th Sunday at Camden Yards, Junior has plenty of time to set a new family record and could push 50 if he stays as hot as he was in September.

Vladdy’s streak of success also breathed new life into his run for the triple crown, with the 22-year-old leading the American League batting average, sitting tied for the home run and just behind the slugger. Chicago White Sox. José Abreu to RBI.

In baseball history, the triple crown has only been won 12 times.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I have never seen anything like it in the past three days. I’ve been in the game for 35 years and have never seen anything like it back to back to score so many points. When you do what we did yesterday, you usually show up today and score four or five. But to score 22? It’s impressive.”

—Charlie Montoyo on her team’s hot sticks in Baltimore

THE CALL LIST

Five players closest to a promotion in the big leagues in case of need:

1 — INF / OF Cavan Biggio, Triple A Rehab: Desperately trying to come back to help with a playoff push, Biggio (left elbow) took part in a pair of rehab games over the weekend with the Bisons, by collecting one. struck in six trips to the plate.

2 — RHP Thomas hatch, Triple-A: After being required for four frames on Saturday in Baltimore, Hatch was brought back to Buffalo where he will continue to work as a starter.

3-RHP Anthony Castro, Triple-A: Now recovering from an elbow injury, Castro reappeared in the majors for the first time in two months on Saturday, before being sent back to Buffalo.

4-LHP Tayler Saucedo, Triple-A: The left-hander will continue to commute from Buffalo when new arms are needed. Also add Trent Thornton, Bryan Baker, and Kirby Snead to this list.

5—3B / SS Kevin Smith, Triple-A: His first big-league cameo was a learning lesson with a .094 GPA. If Biggio and Santiago Espinal (hip) regain their health, Smith will bide his time at Triple-A.


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