Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's okay, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
Don’t look now, but the Blue Jays are rolling. They took their second game of their huge series against the Yankees yesterday afternoon, giving them seven consecutive victories. It’s not just the big names that are carrying them to victory, either, as Justin Smoak’s grand slam yesterday led them to the win. Toronto is now just 2½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. Back at the trade deadline, that deficit was at six games and they were tied with the Orioles for second place in the division. They’ll look to close the gap to just one game today in the series finale.
While this team had plenty of firepower before the trade deadline, they went out and made themselves a whole lot scarier in July. Toronto now boasts a lineup featuring Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin. That is a borderline unfair group. Their pitching has been an issue all year, but they partially rectified that by bringing in legitimate ace David Price before the deadline. The Blue Jays got even more good news last week, as Marcus Stroman is starting his rehab soon and could be a big piece out of the bullpen during the stretch run.
This is a significant push to the playoffs for this franchise, who is currently mired in the longest active playoff drought in any of the four major sports. If the Blue Jays’ playoff drought was a person, it could go out and legally drink right now. Toronto hasn’t seen postseason action since 1993, when they won it all. Because of this, there is an electric atmosphere at their home games right now, arguably the best in the league at the moment. Right now, it looks like this is finally the year their playoff-less streak comes to an end.
- Mike Trout recently celebrated his 24th birthday. Let’s look at his ridiculous numbers at such a young age.
- Marlins fans — and baseball fans in general — are all holding their collective breath as Jose Fernandez has been sent for testing on his right shoulder.
- CC Sabathia looked like his old self against the Red Sox on Thursday, but don’t get carried away thinking he’s back just yet.
- It’s been an extremely disappointing season in Washington so far. Can the offense get it going at some point?
- Although he didn’t spend much time there, Mike Napoli made quite the impression on Boston. I guess walking down the street shirtless with a cigarette in your mouth will do that.
- The Cape Cod League is where so many of baseball’s best fine-tune their game. I highly recommend scheduling a trip at some point if at all possible.
- The Giants didn’t do anything major at the deadline, but instead just acquired Mike Leake to stabilize their rotation. Now, Mike Leake is headed to the disabled list.
- Adam Eaton had quite a scare the other night, and it made White Sox fans realize they basically have no other leadoff options.
- Nick Swisher’s run in Cleveland was overshadowed by a bad contract, but there were plenty of good times in there, too.
- Nobody knew what the Pirates were getting in Jung Ho Kang this offseason, but he is making them look very smart for taking a chance on him.