<
>

Blue Jays on another level over dominant stretch

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays are the hottest team in baseball. Their two big moves made at the trade deadline – trading for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price – are paying major dividends.

When Tulowitzki made his Blue Jays debut on July 29, the team was one game under .500 and eight games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East. Since then, the Blue Jays have the best record in baseball (11-1) and have made up 6.5 games on the Yankees in the standings.

We take a look at what’s been working for the Blue Jays.

Hitters are dominating

Since inserting Tulowitzki into the leadoff spot, the Blue Jays' top four hitters have been a wrecking crew. Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion have combined for 17 home runs, more than 24 of the other 29 teams in baseball during that time.

Donaldson has seven home runs and 15 RBIs in the 12 games since Tulowitzki’s debut.

Pitching lights out

Over the last 12 games, Price and the Blue Jays pitchers have had some of the best statistics in baseball. They rank first in ERA (1.86), opponent batting average (.178) and opponent OPS (.504) since July 29.

Price continues to pitch well as the season progresses. Among active pitchers with at least 300 innings pitched in August or later, three pitchers have a better ERA in that time frame than Price's 2.92: Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels.

Toronto pitchers shut out the Yankees for the final 26 innings of their series over the weekend, after Mark Teixeira's second-inning home run in Friday's 10-inning game. In franchise history, that is the longest streak of shutout innings that Blue Jays pitchers have completed within one series.

Of the 49 games remaining for the Blue Jays, 10 are against the Yankees.

Acquisitions help fuel win streak

The Blue Jays have won eight straight games for the second time this season (they won 11 in a row in June). It's the second time in franchise history they've posted multiple eight-game win streaks within a season. They also did so in 1985, when they advanced to the American League Championship Series.

Toronto hasn’t made the playoffs since they won the 1993 World Series. That is the longest active playoff drought in the four major North American sports.