Jays From the Couch brings you the Toronto Blue Jays Player of the Week: The MLB Postseason Edition- The Toughest Decision Yet
For as many people though this season was over just a few weeks ago, the Blue Jays are one of the final four teams still playing baseball in 2016. Getting to the playoffs is a long and sometimes frustrating road, but if your team is lucky enough to get there, soaking in every moment, makes that season of ups and downs feel so much sweeter.
The Blue Jays were lucky enough to get home field advantage in the Wild Card game, facing off against a really tough Baltimore Orioles team. After a controversial bullpen decision by Orioles manager Buck Showalter, to keep Ubaldo Jimenez in the game rather than turn to their closer Zach Britton, allowed Edwin Encarnacion to groove an extra inning home run into the second deck, advancing the Blue Jays to the ALDS against their old foe the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers had the best record in the American League, with home field advantage, this would have been a tough series. The Jays took no time at all, with a 10-1 blowout in game one, a nail biter 5-3 win the following day, the Jays would find themselves all the sudden up 2-0 heading back to Toronto. In game three the Rangers and Jays would trade runs back and forth, and with the Rangers up in the late innings, a passed ball by Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy would tie up the game. In extra innings, with runners on first and second, Russell Martin would ground out to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, on what appeared to be a fairly routine double play. Rougned Odor would commit a throwing error, giving Josh Donaldson enough time to round around third for a walk off win on an E4.
The Blue Jays will be off to face the Cleveland Indians, making their second straight ALCS. If this hot play can continue, who knows how far the Blue Jays can go. Here are your Blue Jays playoffs players of the week.
Hitter of the Week – Josh Donaldson .500/.526/.778, 9H, 0HR, 3RBI
The man who would score the final run in the ALDS gets the nod -he was simply impressive all week. Donaldson would come up huge offensively and defensively, including an impressive 4-4 outing in the first game against the Rangers, and two massive doubles in the final game of the ALDS (hitting five doubles in the playoffs so far on a bum hip). After struggling for much of September, it seems as though Donaldson has found his groove again, hitting the ball hard into the gaps, and coming up in the key moments. When the reigning AL MVP starts to perform like this, the entire offense seems to ignite around him.
Runner Up – Edwin Encarnacion .375/.474/.938, 6H, 3HR, 7RBI
The Blue Jays wouldn’t be in the position they’re in without the heroic bombs of Encarnacion. In four games, he has already hit three home runs. With the Blue Jays going through a power slump through their final stretch of the regular season, it’s nice to see their biggest bat this season come up in almost every game with a huge hit. The other crazy part of Encarnacion’s week that should be noted, is he has only struck once in nineteen plate appearances thus far.
Honorable Mention – Ezequiel Carrera .375/.444/.563, 6H, 1HR, 2RBI
The bottom of the Blue Jays’ order has been disastrous all season, and finding a competent lefty bat was difficult when Michael Saunders cooled down. Carrera has been that unsung hero, coming up in big moments at the bottom of the order, turning the lineup over to the red hot top of the order. When Devon Travis went down with a knee injury, Carrera stepped up and lead off for the Jays. The baseball season can be difficult to predict, and back in May, if you had said, “Ezequiel Carrera was going to be coming up in so many big playoff moments for the Jays,” you might have gotten some strange looks.
Pitcher of the Week – Roberto Osuna 5.0IP, 1H, 0ER, 0BB, 6SO
After appearing to have hurt his shoulder in the Wild Card game, Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna came up with a perfect week. Pitching an amazing five innings, Osuna would only allow one batter to reach base, while striking out six. We marveled at Terry Francona’s use of Andrew Miller, the versatility in which he used him which I wrote about here, and Osuna was used in the same capacity as Miller. He wasn’t just coming in at the ninth in save situations, but whenever the game was on the line, he was in. Wild Card game 1.1 innings, Game 2 ALDS 1.2 innings, Game 3 ALDS 2 innings. This is amazing because this kind of workload is so outside what Osuna has been doing all season, and I think we are all looking forward to whatever comes our way in the next series.
Runner Up – Marco Estrada 8.1IP, 4H, 1ER, 0BB, 6SO
The starting pitching has been a strong suit for the Jays all season, it was important for them to get off to a great start on the road after a strong outing from Marcus Stroman in the Wild Card game. The Blue Jays offense scoring 10 runs would certainly help Marco Estrada’s gem as he would pitch into the ninth inning, allowing only one run, no walks, and striking out six. Last postseason some of the best starts came from Marco Estrada, including a 7.2 inning one run game Estrada pitched in game 5 of the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals. It was nice to see Estrada pick up right where he left off from last year.
Fan Vote – Josh Donaldson .500/.526/.778, 9H, 0HR, 3RBI
For the amazing all around play and the slide into home to seal the deal against the Rangers, the fan vote for player of the week has to be Josh Donaldson. Thanks for everyone who voted, there will probably be another poll after the finale of the ALCS.
Wild Card/ ALDS Player of the Week! Who ya got!
— Spencer (@Spenred) October 10, 2016
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Sportsnet (Twitter)
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