This isn't 2013, don't expect a collapse from Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is congratulated by designated hitter Adam Lind...

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is congratulated by designated hitter Adam Lind after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, June 1, 2014. (TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/Getty Images/AFP)

Ken Fidlin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:45 PM ET

TORONTO - There still are scads of skeptics more than happy to poke holes in the Blue Jays balloon after their surge from last on May 4 into a 31/2-game lead in the American League East.

Typical are the folks who cite how the 2013 Jays went on an 11-game win streak about this point in the schedule and then fell right off the map. Those folks want to know what’s so different this time around.

Well, plenty.

“We’re just a much better team than last year, offensively,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’re just stronger. Reyes is back healthy. Francisco has been huge for us. Melky is back and healthy. Brett is here and healthy. Edwin and Jose are doing their thing. Lind is smokin’, picking up where he left off. Tolleson and the (3B-2B) platoon has been big for us. Gose and Pillar have been big for us. Have I left anybody out? How dare I forget our catchers, Navarro, Kratz and Thole.”

A year ago, after 58 games, the Blue Jays were 24-34, averaging 4.4 runs per game, 255 overall. This year, they are 34-24, averaging five runs per game, 291 overall. They sit either first or second in most every American League offensive category.

On the pitching side, where chaos and uncertainty reigned in 2013, there is a level of stability and performance that was never part of that picture a year ago.

A pitching snapshot at 58 games in 2013, reveals an ERA of 4.61, an average of 5.1 runs per game allowed. A year later, after 58 games, the team ERA is 4.09 and the staff is allowing just 4.3 runs per game.

The unearned runs total for both seasons reflects how the Jays have cleaned up their act defensively. A year ago at this time, they had allowed 27 unearned runs. This year, they have allowed just 17.

More than anything there is a very different attitude in the clubhouse this season.


Videos

Photos