THE BRONX, N.Y. — The Toronto Blue Jays have the jets on full throttle as the end of the regular season looms.
After their 6-4 win over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the Blue Jays have won eight straight games and 11 of their last 12 games. This comes at a crucial point with only 23 games left in the 2021 season. With a clean four-game sweep in New York, the Blue Jays sit half-a-game behind the Bronx Bombers — who have been spiraling out of control after winning 13 games straight games in August and now maintain a 2-10 record in their last 12 games.
Vladimir Gurrero Jr. — who’s vying for M.V.P. votes as Shohei Ohtani continues to dominate and perfect his craft — has led the Blue Jays in numerous categories including home runs (42), runs batted in (100), and a leading slash line of .319/.409/.607. His 165 hits and 1.016 OPS lead the major leagues.
The 22-year-old has risen to prominence, even with the weight of his father’s legacy bearing on his shoulders. His growth and determination to succeed turned lethal for his opponents following an average 2020 season that only covered 60 games.
Since being traded to Toronto on July 30 from the Minnesota Twins, Jose Berríos has found comfort within a steadily aggressive pitching rotation that has allowed eight runs over the span of the last five games.
In Thursday night’s matchup against the Yankees, the Puerto Rico native was able to limit the Yanks to two earned runs and five hits over 6.2 innings.
“Amazing group, they like to have fun out there,” Berríos said after earning his fourth win as a member of the Blue Jays. “That’s the most important thing so far. And usually, they got great ability, and they can do a lot of good, good things out there … they are believing in themselves.”
Left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu leads the pitching pack with 13 wins, while Robbie Ray’s 2.60 ERA and 212 strikeouts give the Blue Jays the edge they need to compete aggressively as the season comes to a near end.
What’s more true than a winning ballclub that has forged a deep-rooted bond and can have fun when cementing their success?
“That’s who we are,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said following the sweep of their division rivals. “We’ve gone through everything, you know, and it’s, we’re relaxed, and that’s the truth. Nobody’s making that up. You know, we’ve gone through so much the last two years being away from Toronto, that hey, this is what it is. And we’re gonna play our every game one game at a time. That’s what’s what we do. And we do a great job of that.”
What the Blue Jays captivate is the youthful prowess that lies on the diamond. For many of the young talent on the team, the 2021 season was the first 162-game season they have on their big league resume. Their success and ability to overcome timid adversity in the American League East have become a testament to their surging success.
“This team never complains,” Montoyo said of his ball club. “They’re always ready to play wherever that was. And that’s why we’re here right now … we have no excuses.”
Toronto now heads home to face the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game series at Rogers Centre. Five of the remaining seven series of the season will be played against American League East rivals — three series being against the playoff-contending Yankees and the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.
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