In the span of eight hours, the Toronto Blue Jays played 19 innings of baseball and won two games. Not a bad day at the office for one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball.
The Blue Jays completed their impromptu doubleheader with the Kansas City Royals by winning both games on Tuesday. Toronto took game one handily by a score of 11-3 and finished the doubleheader by winning in dramatic fashion; a 5-4 walk-off win over Kansas City.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 18, 2018
For the 18,645 fans in attendance for the double-dip, they witnessed quite the treat by the Blue Jays; a drubbing in the afternoon game, followed by a walk-off win in the evening. It really was a perfect day of baseball in the city of Toronto.
The Blue Jays completed their fifth comeback victory of the season and continue to find improbable ways to score runs late in the game. They’ve scored 36 runs in the seventh inning or later, which leads all of baseball.
The season is still very young, but the Blue Jays are baseball’s comeback kids in 2018. The impressive part is they’re managing to do this without their MVP-calibre third baseman, Josh Donaldson.
Maile bat flip dot gif pic.twitter.com/tJCIji5cc0
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) April 18, 2018
Tonight, the big hero was their backup catcher, Luke Maile. He delivered a pair of clutch opposite-field hits and delivered the game-winning single in the top of the 10th inning.
Maile’s teammates already have a new nickname for him: “Lukie Barrels.” Just ask his teammates Marcus Stroman and Kevin Pillar.
LUKEY BARRELS! @BlueJays
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) April 18, 2018
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) April 18, 2018
Through 16 games, the Blue Jays have only blown one lead. Their bullpen currently owns the best ERA in the American League, sporting a sparkling 2.19 ERA. When the Blue Jays relief corps takes over the game, they’ve been lights-out thus far in 2018.
By securing their 11th win of the season and moving six games above .500, the Blue Jays have their best start to a season since 2009. The 2017 Blue Jays didn’t record their 11th win until May 7th; their 31st game of the season. Meanwhile, the 2018 Blue Jays have reached that win total in nearly half the time.
In recent years, the club has been a notoriously slow-starting team. The Jays haven’t posted a winning record in April since 2012 and they haven’t been six games over .500 in the month of April since 2009.
Despite their historically-poor performance in March and April, the Blue Jays are off to a tremendously hot start in 2018.
Mind you, the level of opponents they’ve faced so far is among the lower-tier of teams in the American League. Aside from the Yankees and Indians, the Blue Jays have faced the lowly White Sox, Rangers, Orioles, and Royals. These are teams the Blue Jays should be preying on and defeating handily.
The true test for the Blue Jays comes after the conclusion of this series with the Royals, when the Jays fly to the Bronx to face the Yankees for four games and then return home for a three-game set against the Red Sox.
In the meantime, this is a Blue Jays team that can seem to do no wrong right now.