Jays tie franchise record with 11th straight win 0
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Josh Johnson earned his first win of the season, helping his team sweep the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)
And the beat goes on.
A team that’s ‘Too legit to quit’?
Call it what you like but the Blue Jays are a team that has forgotten how to lose.
Josh Johnson was the latest starter to jump aboard the runaway train that has now won 11 consecutive games when he pitched his way to his first victory of the season in the Jays 13-4 thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles.
That’s 11 wins in a row and counting which ties the club record for consecutive wins set in 1987 and 1998.
The Jays have now swept three consecutive series — four games in Texas on the road and three against both the Colorado Rockies and Orioles at home. It also marks the third time in club history where they have gone undefeated on a homestand of at least six games.
The sun-drenched crowd of 45,214, an official sellout, lapped it up.
Their streak started on the road with a victory June 11 in Chicago against the White Sox. They haven’t lost since.
The Jays have now won 15 of their past 18 games to climb two games over .500 with a 38-36 record.
Coupled with Boston’s loss to the Tigers, the Jays now sit five games out of first, tied with Tampa Bay. They are 21/2 games back of the Yankees and three games back of Baltimore.
They now head out on a seven-game road trip against their East Division rivals where they will play three games against Tampa Bay and four next weekend in Boston against the division leading Red Sox.
Just what is going on here?
“It feels good. I know it’s repetitive but it’s good baseball all the way around,” manager John Gibbons said as he attempted to make sense of it all. “It’s good pitching, good hitting and good defence. You can’t forget that, that has been a big part of it. And then the bullpen, so ... we’re on a nice little roll right now. It’s not going to go on forever so you enjoy it and take it for as long as it lasts.
“If you play good all-around baseball you have a chance to win. You’re not going to win them all but you have a good chance.”
Lind, who was munching on a post-game ice cream cone had a simpler explanation.
“This is how it was supposed to be since Day 1” Lind said of all the pre-season hype due to all the high priced acquisitions. “Then the expectations changed and the norm changed and then we won in Chicago (June 11).
“It isn’t because there were any signs of anything, it just happened.”
Streaks, good and bad, seem to snowball and nobody knows that better than Gibbons and his team which was simply dreadful in April (10-17) and not much better in May (13-15).
“When you expect good things to happen they usually do,” Gibbons said. “Just like it can be the other way around when you’re struggling. It goes the opposite way.
“You ride it out and we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. We shut down a really good team over there. We’re just rolling along right now, playing better.”
The win for Johnson was his first in a Blue Jays uniform in eight starts. On the season he is 1-2 and has often been the victim of low run support.
When the Jays acquired him in the big trade with the Miami Marlins, who could have figured it would take him until June 23 to win his first game?
Johnson threw five shutout innings, gave up a pair of runs in the sixth and after allowing a single to Chris Dickerson and two-run home run to Ryan Flaherty in the seventh he was gone.
But a win is a win and Gibbons hopes it gets him on some kind of a roll.
“He missed a lot of time with that injury (right triceps inflammation) but he was good again today,” Gibbons said of his starter. “It’s another good outing for him and getting on the board so you have something to show for it always makes you feel good.”
Speaking of feeling good, it was a sluggo day for the offence which banged out 14 hits.
The big bat belonged to Edwin Encarnacion who had a two-run home run (No. 21) and a two-run double to up his RBI total to 63.
Let the good times roll.
LOVING THE FANS
Blue Jays fans, take a bow.
At least those fans who shelled out the bucks to come to Rogers Centre this weekend for the three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles.
All three days the fans were jazzed up, boisterous, highly supportive and vocal.
The players loved it.
“The fans, that’s home field advantage,” Adam Lind said of the din. “This weekend was special, was fun to be a part of and something to experience.
“We fed off them. They were great this weekend. It’s been a while, other than an opening day. It was a real treat to have our fans behind us that much this weekend.”
Lind believes that not having a winning team since the ’93 World Series and the high expectations surrounding thus year’s team plays into it.
“Obviously they’ve wanted to experience this for a while,” he said. “I’ve been part of two rebuilding processes, maybe three and they’re craving a winner and right now we’re giving it to them.”