Having won 8 games in a row for the first time since 2008, the Blue Jays will sit idle tonight as they have an off day ahead of a pivotal 3 game set with Baltimore this weekend before hitting the road again next week.
Although the off day gives us fans a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the fact that our Toronto Blue Jays have clawed their way back in to contention (4.5 games back of a Wild Card spot), it will come as a disappointment to some who have lived and breathed this team throughout this incredible stretch.
Well there’s no reason to go with out Blue Jays baseball as there are a series of MiLB games on tap for you to sink your teeth into tonight…
Originally, I was going to tailor this post to Jose Reyes‘ rehab stint however his recent promotion to AAA Buffalo for this weekends series vs Durham means that he will be on the bench this afternoon as the Bisons take on the the Gwinnett Braves at 1PM. That being said, this evenings focus will be the freshly minted Florida State League North Division 1st Half Champion, Dunedin Blue Jays.
On Wednesday, June 12th, Dunedin lost their game vs Palm Beach (St Louis) setting up what would be a dramatic finish to the first half of the Florida State League schedule.
If Dunedin wanted to take the FSL North’s 1st half title, they would have to match the streaking Brevard County Manatees (Brewers) in the win column which was no easy task as the Manatees had won 6 of their last 8 contests.
In order to remain in 1st place and clinch a playoff spot come September, Dunedin would have to run the table over the next 4 games, 1 of which was against Palm Beach who had already won the previous 3 games of the 4 game set between the 2 clubs.
Toronto’s Single A affiliate did exactly that, out slugging Palm Beach in the series finale and sweeping away the Tampa Yankees in a trio of hard fought games, 1 of which going into the 11th inning.
Although there were a number of key contributors to Dunedin’s championship first half, there are a couple of standouts that deserve recognition for their strong play thus far in 2013.
Andy Burns lead the charge in the first half hitting 8 Home Runs while driving in 53 across 64 games with the Dunedin in 2013. As a team. the D-Jays hit .268 which was good for 5th place in the league however it was the teams pitching that truly dominated early.
As a staff, Dunedin rolled a 3.25 ERA in a collective 589 Innings Pitched while recording a league best Walks Hits Innings Pitched (WHIP) at 1.18. Anchoring the starting rotation was Scott Copeland going 6-2 with an ERA of 2.49 while Blake McFarland notched 12 Saves and fellow Bullpen arm, Scott Gracey, walked only a pair in 20.2 Innings Pitched, earning him a promotion to New Hampshire earlier this season.
Dunedin had it’s share of MLB’ers pass threw Florida Auto Exchange Stadium during the first half of the D-Jays season as in total, 8 players with time in Toronto this season suited up for the club.
Brett Lawrie played in 2 games hitting .429 , Rajai Davis hit .300 over 3 games and more recently Jose Reyes strolled into Dunedin helping them clinch while hitting .417 in a trio of games before moving up to AAA Buffalo.
Josh Johnson, Darren Oliver, Jermey Jeffress and Brandon Morrow also took the hill for Dunedin during their rehab stints in 2013, contributing to a 37-29 record.
Tonight, the D-Jays look to stay hot as they hit the road for Daytona kicking off a 3 game set vs the Cubs (Chicago) before venturing to Brevard County to take on the Manatees.
You can catch the game online at 7:05 via the D-Jays website.
As always, here’s a link to tonight’s audio feed here.